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Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:26 am
by Zettonsperson
Somewhere on this forum, someone suggested maybe converting the old Exile PC games from Spiderweb Software into pen and paper AFF. I don't know if someone's tried, but this will be where I'll post my attempts. Disclaimer: The Exile PC games are not my intellectual property, they are the intellectual property of Spiderweb Software. Advanced Fighting Fantasy is not my intellectual property. I am not attempting to make money by this conversion. The conversion documents marked "Zettonsperson" are my intellectual property.

Before getting to monster stats, quests, towns, the environments and so forth, the first thing that comes to my mind to work with are Exile's spell lists (I'll be working from the Blades of Exile lists for nearly everything, given it's open source these days), which have Mage and Priest spells. Mage spells are fairly easily converted to Wizard spells, but Priest spells are slightly different. As AFF doesn't really have Priestly magic except as the powers granted by the gods, one way to reconcile them might be to conceptualise the Priest spells as being powered by one's innate magic, as with Wizard spells, and learned separately to one's god-granted powers, thereby still using the Magic Priestly skill, but powering them with MP. One's Devotion score will be used as the test for whether a Priest spell succeeds or not. (This may also work for converting Clerical spells from other pen and paper RPG systems into AFF).

Documents soon.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:01 am
by SkinnyOrc
This is the computer game? It looks a lot like the Ultima games, which I played a few of back in the day. Of course the look isn't what's important when converting to a pen and paper RPG.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:37 pm
by Zettonsperson
Yes, that's the game. First game I ever played, as Shareware on a fourth-hand '98, was Exile:Escape from the Pit. And its sequels, including the moddable, now open source, Blades of Exile.

Anyways, as promised, the first of my attempted conversions, of the Priest spells to AFF. I welcome all suggestions to this project.

Exile Priest Spells Converted to AFF, verson 1

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:34 pm
by Zettonsperson
I've now done version 1 of my conversion of the Exile mage spells into AFF Wizardry spells. It's this document.
Exile Wizard Spells Converted to AFF v1.7z
(16.21 KiB) Downloaded 346 times

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:49 pm
by Zettonsperson
Overnight notes/thoughts in progress.
Exile was based around the premise of undesirable characters getting shoved through a portal to the cavernous underworld by the un-diverse Empire and then trying to escape and make a new home on the surface. To make the underworld possibly connected into Titan, my concept for the portal would be a random magical phenomenon that zoops up random people from random worlds and dumps them into the underworld - to be called Cavea in my AFF version <dodges copyright (I think)> (spot the play on words, and linguistics, and I'll be delighted)- where they may, or may not, remember their previous lives, thereby allowing either continuing characters or completely new ones to adventure out into Cavea. It will be hinted that the people-sucking portal must have a balancing portal -an Escape- that sends people back to where they come from. If a concrete connection to Titan is wanted, there may be an entrance to Cavea - so named by the inhabitants- wherever a Director wants it, although one option might be the Chasms beneath the Khulian kingdom of Gorak. This might allow some of the inhabitants of Cavea to be Gaddon, as well as standard humans and so forth. Or Firetop Mountain. Or Khakhabad. Or Fangthane.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:00 pm
by Nuvole!
Lovely project! Enjoy it (and thank you for letting Caveatitan enjoy us as well!

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:31 pm
by Slloyd14
Awesome! I once played a game called Avernum which TVTropes tells me us basically Exile. I would love to see more!

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:54 pm
by Zettonsperson

Before working my way through the conversion of Exile's monsters into AFF, I wanted to discuss Exile's intelligent beings, and where they might fit. Aside from humans, goblins, ogres, giants, the occasional dragon, demons (nearly all fire-based, conversion obvious), there are four other main non-traditional fantasy varieties of intelligent beings. They are the lizard-men Slithzerikai, the cat-people Nephilim, the wonders that are Giant Intelligent Talking Spiders (GIFTs for short.All named Spider! Who like kissing people!) and the deep cave-dwelling crystal-magic-using Vahnatai.

Sliths (for short) in the Exile-verse originate deep underground, and, despite being largely amphibious, despise cold. For the most part, they fit with existing AFF Lizardmen, except for their two-tined fish-hunting spears, their tendency to worship heroes and their tendency to (depending on the tribe) not be overly hostile to outsiders. Being underground-based, one might imagine finding them in any cave system and quite possibly in Temperate regions in the summer months.

Nephils (for short) in the Exile-verse end up underground because of the Empire and its dislike of difference. There are two varieties, standard Nephils, and the stronger, but sterile, and more savage, Nephars. I suppose, with their tendency to prefer bows, they are Exile's version of elves, in a way. However, in an AFF setting, it is possible to imagine that they are a more organised, and settled, version of Cat People. To find them in Cavea, it is quite possible that they would be zooped up by that random portal, and are forced to band together largely to defend themselves against everyone, and everything else, that struggles for life there.

GIFTs are clearly, in the Exile-verse, the comedic lightening of the mood - but Spiderweb Software's developers have a great dry wit all through their games. They don't attack people who don't attack them first. In AFF, it might be possible to find them everywhere other spiders live, willing to help nice people for a kiss and a correct guess at their name. But of course, characters would have to be careful of which spider they decide to attack because it's a giant spider. The GIFTs in the Exile-verse exist in a constant battle with their magic-using, savage cousins, the Aranea, who have sophisticated methods of recording knowledge in their webs. Magic-using spiders might make a great enemy for AFF, or a great focus for a spider cult...

Vahnatai are mysterious and powerful, wisp-thin people who hibernate once they have exhausted the thin resources of their caves, often for centuries, who have magics to imprint their spirits into crystals. They live deep below the world, and in the Exile-verse, only reveal themselves after being attacked by the Empire as it steals away some of their crystal-imprinted elders. In AFF, it is possible to imagine them as a branch of the N'yadach, less degenerated from their prime, but turned more towards contemplation and crystal-magic, respectful of their environment, seekers (perhaps based on the Japanese) of perfection in all their arts, whether they be farming, blade-smithing or their magics.

Orcs don't exist in the Exile-verse, however, that darned random magical portal might've zooped some into Cavea if the Director wants...
Dark-Elves likewise, or they might've tunnelled downwards from their cities...

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:27 pm
by Zettonsperson
Alrighty, then, one Exile-to-AFF Monster Conversion List, as promised. It's very rough. It is literally a list, and you WILL need the AFF bestiaries for reference. But almost every monster and non-named NPC is present and comparisons found or made, or alterations made. All suggestions welcome!

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:58 pm
by Zettonsperson
Thoughts and Notes in Progress

I have gotten permission from Spiderweb Software, as long as I don't officially publish this Cavea project anywhere else, to use specific information from the Exile games.

Life in Cavea, v1
Cavea, so named by the inhabitants, has been occupied by the unfortunates gathered up by the random magical portal (known by the Caveans as the Taker) for centuries now. However, it is only in recent years that the Kingdom of Cavea has been formed, with the intention of every person helping others to survive in the harsh cavernous underworld. It only occupies a sixth of the known underworld, and is a tenuous confederation of Cavean towns (which on the surface, wouldn't even rate as villages) that currently control the main site where the Taker delivers its captives, known as Entrance (there are other sites). Caveans live in permanent dimness, the underworld only lit by trawling glow-worms and bioluminescent moulds such that flames are blinding. They eat only mushrooms, or the pallid, bloodless meat of giant lizards, pale cattle and blind fish. As such, those who bring foods (if the Taker hasn't stripped them clean) from their surface homes will find themselves immensely rich, a mere loaf of bread worth a thousand times its surface value to the Caveans. Trouble is, newcomers are stuck in Cavea with their new wealth. Wealth is different in Cavea. Jewels and precious minerals are kept by even the poorest of Caveans in great handfuls. Wood from real trees (instead of the fibrous fungal Cavean variety) is true wealth, and true currency in Cavea. Caveans, due to the unpleasantness of their existence, are very religious, with even the Taker being worshipped in an expiatary sense (to cleanse sins) , as well as the hopeful doctrine of the Returner (the Escape portal). They fight monsters, other tribes of Cavean inhabitants, hunger and chaos every day. They live in constant fear of the sky (as the jokers call it) falling on their heads (by Toutatis!). Some joys do exist. Mostly bitter fungal ales, though, that result in choking and cases of blindness in newcomers. Somehow, life in Cavea continues, people have children who have never seen the sun, and adventurers go forth in search of wealth and the Returner.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:20 am
by Zettonsperson
Life in Cavea, v1, Continued.

Aside from the penitent doctrines of the Taker, and the hopeful doctrine of the Returner, Caveans look to a vast collection of gods to make their lives better, or at least, prevent them being worse. Titanners give their prayers to Throff of the Earth, Lorodil of the Magma and Titan Himself more than other gods (that sense of preservation, given Cavea's underground placement), but also pray to Sindla, Usrel, Libra, Courga, Telak, Hamaskis, Fulkra, Aqualis and not a few Beast Lords. Logaan is also regularly given sacrifice. Brought down from other worlds are the doctrines of the Anama and the Divine Lucre: the Anama despise wizards and all their magics; adherents of the Divine Lucre attempt to gather corrupting wealth to themselves to protect others from its corruption. Caveans have also developed faith in a god of Cavea, called variously the Digger, the Tunneller, the Rock-Eater, the Hole-Maker, the World-Carver, or, impolitely and used as an expletive, the Hell-Sculptor.

Caveans cannot build structures above two storeys. Most of their construction is, of course, of stone, or thick clay, or, if desperate, fibrous fungus wood. Glass is non-existent, but then, so are the things -weather and bugs- that glass windows are designed to keep out. Some Caveans carve their homes directly into the living caves, whether downwards into a cave-floor or into a cave-wall. Light in homes is provided either by the everpresent bioluminescence or from gathered glow-worms. Furniture is of fungus wood.

It might seem strange, but Cavea has a thriving boat-building scene. Boats provide transport on the dark lakes and rivers of the underworld, as well as allowing the collection of a major Cavean food-source: blind cave-fish. They are, however, flimsy: a true wave would sink them. They are leather, or thick, oiled fungus cloth, stretched out over a fungus-wood frame.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:35 am
by Zettonsperson
Cavean Dragons

Cavea, being underground, may not seem the place to find dragons, creatures of the air that they are. Their occupancy of Cavea began long before the Taker began its work, and may long continue. To Titanner scholars who have come to Cavea, the native dragons are very much like the dragons of Titan. They are coloured a jade-green with trimmings of garnet. Despite the colouration, scholars would name them Grey, to fit into the Titan schema of dragons, or others Rock, or further others, Cave. The one dragon who deigns to speak with scholars, Motrax, will not speak to their arguments.

(Note that the names of the dragons, and their locations, are directly from the Exile games).

Of the Cavean dragons, only five are known to dwell in the known tunnels.
Motrax, mentioned above, lives within the tunnels claimed by the Kingdom of Cavea, and welcomes humans to his cave for conversations.
Athron, known to live in the maze of tunnels just beyond the Kingdom's reach, is known not to be hostile, but will not actively prevent outsiders being consumed by her vicious brood.
Pyrog, living deep in caves claimed by giants, has slain all who have attempted to converse with him.
Khoth, far, far from the Kingdom, is a gatherer of knowledge, and has texts in his hoard-library written by beings unknown to any human. Nothing but the delivery of a choice ancient text will move him to conversation, but otherwise, outsiders may browse his library, as long as they do not steal.
Sulfras, remotest of all the dragons, has a lair that is rumoured to have an entrance to the surface. She will not converse, and will block entrance to the innards of her home, but will allow outsiders to live - provided they leave quickly.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:17 am
by Zettonsperson
Converting Weapons and Armour from Exile to AFF

Exile's weapons and armour have specific material levels, related to the Exile games' levelling and game progression. Therefore, a Stone Shortsword is not as effective as an Iron Shortsword, if only because an Iron Shortsword will be less likely to shatter.

For my attempt at reconciling the two systems, I decided not to design specific dice rolls for each weapon and armour, worrying not only that I might not accuractely calculate those values and not having the time for it. Instead, weapons and armour outside of AFF's standard, such as a Stone Shortsword, have a modifier applied, being either -2 Damage Roll or -1 of a standard Shortsword's Damage Roll.

Here's the document.


Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:05 am
by Zettonsperson
Geography of Cavea part 1

Given that most newcomers to Cavea arrive (via the Taker, the random magical portal) in Entrance, in the Kingdom of Cavea, I thought it important to begin describing the geography there.

First of all, Cavea is a...wait for it...CAVE! It may extend for many kilometres, but any map is forced to be top-down (as in the actual Exile games). For role-playing purposes, the roof has a height of anywhere from 3 metres in the smallest dungeon-like caves to 150 metres in the two Great Caves, with stalactites hanging down, and stalagmites sticking up from the floor wherever they like and great columns of cave wall acting much as cliffs. Typical compass directions apply for simplicity.

The Kingdom is in the north-eastern corner of the known tunnels of Cavea. It is ruled from Cotra on shores of the Cavean Sea in the Lesser Great Cave. Silvar, Dove and New Zetton, other towns of the Kingdom, are also in the Lesser Great Cave. Formello, Drakos and Ganrick, further towns of the Kingdom, are in the more twisty, tight tunnels to the north. Entrance, just to the north-west of Cotra, is not a town as such, but a major post for newcomers to either travel into the Kingdom, or beyond it, to the caves of the Sharptail Nephilim confederation to the west. South of the Kingdom are a set of tunnels that are twisted and tight, occupied by undead and ogres and other societies other than the Kingdom.

The attached maps are of the Kingdom's South, its North, and the tunnels south of the Kingdom. They are really very rough.

Re: Converting Exile to AFF

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:08 pm
by Zettonsperson
Thoughts in progress.
Quests: Obviously, the main quest/campaign should be the hunt for a way to Escape the Cavean underworld. But what about everyone else? Would characters want to help the Cavean people with their problems? Defeat a few demons, bash a few giants? Save a town from a plague of giant cockroaches? Restore to Khoth the dragon a stolen scroll? Find the mystical Orb of Thralni that allows flight? Find some gremlins some wine (the good stuff, surface stuff, in glass bottles) for a major party and then help them find their girlfriends (who got totes angry at being taken advantage of)? Heal an archmage's wife of her incurable illness? Steal the Brew of Knowledge from a mob of Mad Monks? Find a bunch of weird magic keys that open a bunch of weird magic doors in cave walls? What about the other side? Stealing town treasuries? Assassinating a few dignitaries? Summoning forth the demon lord Grah-Hoth to wreak dreadful damage and crack open the world so that they can Escape? How about just making a living as adventurers in a dim, dangerous underworld? Or not even as adventurers? How about traders? Hunters?

As I began thinking further on my Cavean Geography, I started thinking of how I could fit some of the original Exile games in, particularly the part about assassinating the surface emperor, then where that surface emperor might be, then why , then how that would make sense in Cavea, where people only get dumped there by the random whim of the Taker portal. Well, let's say that some Caveans realised that there was a major coinky-dink what with their neighbours and relatives showing up, and that all these people gathered together in one area of Cavea - not roughly depicted yet - and realised that the surface empire might've discovered the Taker and done a little targeting on its undesirables. And the archmage Erika Redmark wants the emperor dead because his mages sent her down. Perhaps...this surface empire is based on a noncanon continent on...say...Titan...called Valorim, because that's the one from the Exile games. But there'll still be all these lovely tunnels heading to other places on Titan, such as one I'm thinking of popping out just north-west of Wolftown on Allansia, near a nifty Flatlands village called Zetton. Or, y'know, whatever surface world y'want.

Obviously, if there are tunnels out of the underworld, they're also entrances. But they'll be dangerous, steep, slippery, haunted by all sorts of dreadful monsters and...what's the reason to go down there? Magical messages calling to the surface? Somebody tracing disappearances with magic? Great big sudden sinkhole exploration?
And why wouldn't the people down there leave?

Outlines of the six archmages: Rone, Patrick, Solberg, Linda, X and Erika Redmark. Rone's old. Patrick loves his wife. Solberg is trapped in his hermit-tower by a mob of demons who want his power. Linda's twitchy, muttery and demon-summony. X is in a hidden library dreaming of giant anvils dropping on heads. Erika Redmark totes blames her surface emperor for ending up in Cavea and for cursing her to death if she ever feels sunlight again and plots his assassination in her trap-filled, far away from civilisation tower. Erika's also the most powerful, and arrogant, of the lot.

Other major NPCs: Anastasia - mage with a Nephilim alliance; Queen Ydesyllyra of the Kingdom of Cavea; Elspeth and Nance; Anaximander; Sss-Thsss - Slith god-king; Grah-Hoth - Demon Prince (noncanon); Rentar-Ihrno - Vahnatai Archmage; Bon-Ihrno - Vahnatai mage and welcomer of strangers; Tor - outfitter of Cavean newcomers at Entrance. More with time.