Basic Fantasy Questing

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JoeCarr28
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Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:31 am

So, here's a draft of my first contribution to the mighty Basic Fantasy supplement library ...

I know this won't be to everybody's taste, but it's an alternative approach to character progression that transplants a very light d100 mechanic into the Basic Fantasy rules in the mould of The Other Big '80s Fantasy Game (you know, the one that involved questing for runes).

The major casualties from the existing BFRPG rules are experience points, levels, and saving throws (nothing major then :o !). I've also used the opportunity to propose an alternative approach to magic. But apart from that, I've tried to be as efficient and sparing as possible with the changes and probably 95%+ of the existing Basic Fantasy rulebook is unaffected.

I still need to proof read the draft properly and there might be some further tweaks. I also want to put together a dedicated character sheet. Furthermore, in the fullness of time, it will almost certainly require balancing following playtesting. But whilst all this happens, I thought I'd post an early draft to be shot at.

Latest release available to download in the Showcase.
Last edited by JoeCarr28 on Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:23 am

Ah, good old Chaosium.

You'll probably want to compile the various tables as an appendix for quick reference. Also, you need to address monster saving throws in some form, as most don't have stats per se. You also should consider how to handle combined classes.

You could easily add secondary skills at the same time (in the spirit of keeping it Basic, perhaps as an Optional Rule). Also, this gives the potential for cross-class skill options - assuming that you give a way for characters to start in/train in something at 0. I'd also suggest having a Magic Item skill to cover scrolls & devices in some form (being nice, the first time a character tries to use an activated effect on a new item, afterward they know what they're doing).

Regarding higher level casters, having some sort of MP progression (based on hit dice or casting skill) would help align the top end better. You might also offer Focusing items that let a caster reduce Spell Level penalties - Making the focus only good for one spell or type of spell (illusions, fire-based, healing) would be a way to limit this if it proves too much of a boon.
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JoeCarr28
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:05 am

Yes, you're right, monster saving throws - I completely overlooked those. Thanks!

The other ideas are all good, but I'll probably leave them for later updates and concentrate on getting the basic mechanic balanced first.
Sir Bedivere
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:28 pm

I like the idea, and it's cool that someone is porting BF into another system.

Magic-Users seem to be the hardest hit by this system. You have to have an 18 intelligence to cast 6th level spells, and then you only get one a day. Plus, w/ an 18 INT and 100% casting skill (so 115%), you still have a 45% chance of failure. The optional 7th level spells are impossible for a PC as rolled. This is really a massive cut in power for high level Magic-Users.

In the skill improvement system, I think I would reverse the requirements. I'd make a failed roll the requirement to check to see if the character learns anything, and then a successful roll to see if it's 1% or d4+1%. You learn from your failures, after all, and success is its own reward. Mathematically it works out about the same, I think. (A much slower system would require a failure just to check and another failure to get the d4+1% improvement.)

Keeping track of the mean thief skills also seems a bit complicated.

I look forward to seeing what you do with it. This looks like it could be a fun system.
Sir Bedivere
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JoeCarr28
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:12 am

Thanks for the comments SB. It's just a first draft at the moment, but you're right - as it's written, high level magic-users come of worst in comparison to standard BFRPG. However, I think the restrictions could be fairly easily circumnavigated by the judicious availability of (high level) items that provide additional reserves of magic points or, as suggested by JtR, foci that increase the chance of casting certain spells. But, personally, I quite like the idea of the most powerful spells being both demanding and draining to cast. The pay-off of the system of course is that low-level magic-users get many more opportunities to cast.

The skill progression system as it's written simply reflects the d100 convention, although I understand what you're saying.

The Thief advancement is probably the thing I'm least satisfied with, although I haven't been able to come up with a better approach so far. Also the Clerical turning, which has ended up a long way away from standard BFRPG.

I'll provide a further update in the near future and then start some playtesting.
Sir Bedivere
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:49 am

JoeCarr28 wrote:... as it's written, high level magic-users come of worst in comparison to standard BFRPG. However, I think the restrictions could be fairly easily circumnavigated by the judicious availability of (high level) items that provide additional reserves of magic points or, as suggested by JtR, foci that increase the chance of casting certain spells. But, personally, I quite like the idea of the most powerful spells being both demanding and draining to cast. The pay-off of the system of course is that low-level magic-users get many more opportunities to cast.
Looking at the MU chart in the core rules, the two MUs are equal at 4th level, if the Basic Quest MU has an 18 INT. (4th level = 2 first & 2 second level spells = 18 MP.) So it's not high levels; after 4th level, the Basic Quest MU is weaker. However, most MUs won't have an 18 INT. If you take a BQ MU w/ a 12 INT, he's equal to a 3rd level BF MU. So you're effectively reducing the MU to permanent 3rd or 4th level capabilities.

How's the BQ MU going to do a mid-level dungeon crawl? At 7th level, the BF MU has 3/2/2/1 spells, equal to 51 MP of spells, or almost three times the casting power of the most powerful BQ MU (which would be 54 MP) at any HD. And, the BF MU's spells never fail.

Even the 5th level BF MU has the equivalent of 27 MP available, half again the max possible BQ MU's capability. A BQ MU w/ 12 INT is really toast. Even if he has 10 HD, he can only cast 4 first level spells, or 2 second level spells, or 1 second and 2 first level spells, or a single 3rd level spell, in a day.

Also, since he would only get a single spell in a day if he decides to cast a 6th level spell, how does he plan to make it to the point he would need to use a 6th level spell? He can't cast any other spells on the way. Even if he makes it there, he fails 50% of the time (w/ INT 18 & casting skill 95%) in casting his big spell, and failure reduces his MP by a third; and that's the equivalent of a 20th level MU.

The Cleric would have similar problems, but since he has better HD, weapons, and armor, he won't have the trouble surviving that a MU would.

Maybe this is how you want to do it, but if not, some things that I might consider would be giving additional MP whenever a HD is gained and making the MU a secondary fighter like the Cleric w/ d6 HD and better weapons and armor. +3 MP / HD gained still leaves the BQ caster weaker, 7 HD w/ 18 INT = 36 MP where the BF MU has 51, but maybe that's where magic items pick up the slack.

JtR's suggestion about extra MP for reaching a certain level of casting skill would also be good, or instead of extra MP, maybe some kind of efficiency effect. For example, for any spell that the caster has a raw 50% chance of casting, the cost for success is only 2 MP / lvl. So at 60% casting skill, first level spells would only cost 2 MP for success. At 70% skill, 2nd level spells only cost 4 MP for success. Something like that. I haven't done the math on the idea, so I'm not sure how it works out, but doing this and the +3 MP / HD might balance the two MUs out better.

Of course, Solomoriah would say that BF spells are not designed for a point system, so the best way to approach this would be to redesign the spells to make them fit the point system.
JoeCarr28 wrote:The skill progression system as it's written simply reflects the d100 convention, although I understand what you're saying.
I guess by 'convention' you mean, 'how it is in RuneQuest'? I've never played it so I don't know. I can always house rule this.

I'm really interested in this project (or I wouldn't have done all that math!). I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
Sir Bedivere
Sir Bedivere
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:55 am

A bit of errata: In the MU skill / HD table, you skipped 9HD + 9 and have +8 both at 90% & 92%.
Sir Bedivere
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JoeCarr28
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:42 pm

Sir Bedivere wrote: Looking at the MU chart in the core rules, the two MUs are equal at 4th level, if the Basic Quest MU has an 18 INT. (4th level = 2 first & 2 second level spells = 18 MP.) So it's not high levels; after 4th level, the Basic Quest MU is weaker. However, most MUs won't have an 18 INT. If you take a BQ MU w/ a 12 INT, he's equal to a 3rd level BF MU. So you're effectively reducing the MU to permanent 3rd or 4th level capabilities.

How's the BQ MU going to do a mid-level dungeon crawl? At 7th level, the BF MU has 3/2/2/1 spells, equal to 51 MP of spells, or almost three times the casting power of the most powerful BQ MU (which would be 54 MP) at any HD. And, the BF MU's spells never fail.

Even the 5th level BF MU has the equivalent of 27 MP available, half again the max possible BQ MU's capability. A BQ MU w/ 12 INT is really toast. Even if he has 10 HD, he can only cast 4 first level spells, or 2 second level spells, or 1 second and 2 first level spells, or a single 3rd level spell, in a day.

Also, since he would only get a single spell in a day if he decides to cast a 6th level spell, how does he plan to make it to the point he would need to use a 6th level spell? He can't cast any other spells on the way. Even if he makes it there, he fails 50% of the time (w/ INT 18 & casting skill 95%) in casting his big spell, and failure reduces his MP by a third; and that's the equivalent of a 20th level MU.

The Cleric would have similar problems, but since he has better HD, weapons, and armor, he won't have the trouble surviving that a MU would.

Maybe this is how you want to do it, but if not, some things that I might consider would be giving additional MP whenever a HD is gained and making the MU a secondary fighter like the Cleric w/ d6 HD and better weapons and armor. +3 MP / HD gained still leaves the BQ caster weaker, 7 HD w/ 18 INT = 36 MP where the BF MU has 51, but maybe that's where magic items pick up the slack.

JtR's suggestion about extra MP for reaching a certain level of casting skill would also be good, or instead of extra MP, maybe some kind of efficiency effect. For example, for any spell that the caster has a raw 50% chance of casting, the cost for success is only 2 MP / lvl. So at 60% casting skill, first level spells would only cost 2 MP for success. At 70% skill, 2nd level spells only cost 4 MP for success. Something like that. I haven't done the math on the idea, so I'm not sure how it works out, but doing this and the +3 MP / HD might balance the two MUs out better.
A big thanks for this. You've actually done what I should have done in the first place and performed a proper comparison between standard BFRPG and the proposed system.

I'm now leaning towards a system by which MUs gain MPs in the same way as HPs. If we simplify the MP cost of a spell to 1st level = 1 MP, 2nd level = 2 MP, etc., then a d4 (+INT ability score bonus) MP die works quite well as per the table below. Aside from the possibility of spell casting failure, spell casting capacity now scales in a similar way to standard BFRPG.
BFQ-MU-MPs.png
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JoeCarr28
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:49 pm

Incidentally, as an aside (and I can't be the first person to raise this) when you look at it in detail, the standard BFRPG MU spell progression chart is a weird and wonderful thing. For instance, between level 9 and level 10 an MU gains a 1st level spell, a 3rd level spell and a 5th level spell. However, between level 14 and level 15 an MU gains just a 1st level spell. Just struck me as a bit odd!
Sir Bedivere
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Re: Basic Fantasy Questing

Post Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:16 pm

JoeCarr28 wrote:A big thanks for this.
My pleasure. I enjoy working on stuff like this.
JoeCarr28 wrote:If we simplify the MP cost of a spell to 1st level = 1 MP, 2nd level = 2 MP, etc., then a d4 (+INT ability score bonus) MP die works quite well as per the table below. Aside from the possibility of spell casting failure, spell casting capacity now scales in a similar way to standard BFRPG.
The chart looks pretty good. I like the idea of rolling for MP. You'd have outliers above and below the mean, but that's how BF is.

If you run a playtest of this PBP, I'd like to play.
Sir Bedivere
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