AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Advanced Fighting Fantasy discussion
Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1109
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Nuvole! » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:03 pm

I recently read the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks and I noticed that they are based as well on the 2d6 system that also AFF uses. De facto, that ruleset can be considered a variation of AFF ruleset.

That gamebooks are based on horror stories set in "modern" times (Britain of years '20/'30 in fact...) completely different from fantasy and have an atmosphere and a setting (and a bestiary...) that is really cracking!
First book is more Lovecraft, while second is more Stephen King... in practice, some of the people involved in that was involved also in the call of Cthulu and it's not difficult to believe.

This made me think that, besides the Sci-Fi version of AFF we may want to think about a horror version of AFF... what do you think?
Last edited by Nuvole! on Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Robb 1
Knight
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:55 pm
Location: Sheffield UK

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Robb 1 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:23 pm

The original FF book House of Hell and Ian Livingston's Blood of the Zombies ( with some adjustment as it uses a very stripped down version of the FF rules are also good points of reference for a present day or 1920s Horror or Lovecraftian style setting. Dread Cthulu in an AFF setting I can feel my Sanity and Fear traits slipping away already :wink:

For a more fantasy horror setting beneath Nightmare Castle could be used as a good starting block :D

User avatar
torus
Knight
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by torus » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:44 pm

There was a thread last year about this I remember, and adding a SAN attribute. Personally I've never managed to get horror to work either as a player or GM, but it's obviously a very popular genre.

Mr Nibbs
Knight
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Mr Nibbs » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:09 pm

Hullalla wrote:This made me think that, besides the Sci-Fi version of AFF we may want to think about a horror version of AFF... what do you think?
Absolutely! But if it is AFF shouldn't it be on Titan? The Demonic Planes are going to need exploring sooner or later.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1109
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:07 pm

Mr Nibbs wrote: Absolutely! But if it is AFF shouldn't it be on Titan? The Demonic Planes are going to need exploring sooner or later.
Yes and no: Appointment with FEAR is set in a modern day city called Titan City, leaving it arguable if it's on Titan or not, so theoretically a lovecraftian horror setting could well be in a future Titan where the technology is similar to real word '20/'30s and there are no humanoids or monsters left around for millennia... well, anyway it's a different setting and you could use the name Titan as maquillage.
A lovecraftian horror setting with Goblins, Elves and Orcs freely roaming around wouldn't work very well, as it's core is bringing a person from a "normal" environment (dominated by science and reason) step by step to cosmic-sized monstrosities...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1109
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:25 pm

Mr Nibbs wrote: absolutely! But if it is AFF shouldn't it be on Titan? The Demonic Planes are going to need exploring sooner or later.
maybe I should read Nightmare castle first... maybe it shows the way to introduce Lovecraft to Titan...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Mr Nibbs
Knight
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Mr Nibbs » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:12 pm

You could play this first...

http://www.ffproject.com/bodies.htm

darksoul
Knight
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:15 am

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by darksoul » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:25 am

Hi, I wanted to throw in my personal take on this since I happen to be reading "Beneath Nightmare Castle" right now. I'm trying to set up a story in Khul currently and I'm using the game books as reference. A problem that I have discovered is that game books seem to adjust for thematic purposes. BNC, House of Hell are possibly the best horror stories usable for Fighting Fantasy. I had just finished "Master of Chaos" which also takes place in Khul and takes the player to the City of Kabesh, but I found that the story did not have the same feel as "BNC" for several reasons.

1)Artwork. I understand that this isn't something totally usable if your playing AFF, but it is something that impacts the reading of each book. The Artwork in "BNC" is illustrated by Dave Carson, who is a fan of the Cthullu Mythos. Threats and monsters look are horrific looking in BNC. The art style for "Master of Chaos" on the other hand doesn't inspire that same horror. Instead, Master of Chaos made me feel that I was going through a Fantasy world that just happened to have creatures with strange mutations. This makes me think that "BNC" had a lovecraftian theme intentionally instilled into it and that it is meant to be a FF version of a Cthullu adventure. Master of Chaos was, on the other hand, a quest narrative.

2)Choice Narration. This is a bit hard to describe, but in "BNC" there is always a sense of worry about your choices and I would even say that some of the solutions to problems in the book are unorthodox. The book may give you a selection of choices with your answer leading to something horrific or unusual.

3)Fewer Fantasy Elements. "BNC" contains fewer Fantasy elements such as fantasy races. Instead you are confronted by unrecognizable monsters and shrouded humans.

4)Magic items. I've noticed 2 things about magic items in "BNC", they seem to be Very powerful and almost uncontrollable, and they almost always have drawbacks. They also retain a sense of mystery and allure. In a standard fantasy book you learn that you get a weapon that adds to your initial skill, etc. Without revealing to much, I'll say that items in "BNC" are more than just that.

5)Fearful environment. This is partly based on the NPC's in the setting and partly on the Willpower stat which you must maintain or lose your mind on a failed check.

6)A sense of the foreign. Strange Gods, Strange enemies, Strange humans, Strange magic. In a way, "BNC" reminds me of "Talisman of Death". "Talisman of death" being placed in the strange world of Orb, had fantasy elements in it, but they didn't seem like the fantasy monsters from Titan.

I hope this helps. It seems to me that horror is more about setting than stats but if you want to use extra stats than "BNC"s use of willpower or "House of Hell"s fear stat might be what you're looking for to help you set that environment.

Mr Nibbs
Knight
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Mr Nibbs » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:57 am

I think it is more useful to think of the ruleset and the setting as completely separate, rather than trying to place Lovecraft in a sword & sorcery Titan. Hullalla's idea of a Titan in the future is probably the best way to go, and a CoC to AFF conversion might be a good start. There was a suggestion many years ago that Port Blacksand may be based on Los Angeles, but I can't remember where I read that.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1109
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:28 pm

I think it's difficult to shoehorn too much in a world and maybe Beneath Nightmare Castle (with darksoul's observation about reducing some fantasy elements, races, etc.) can be an indication (I haven't read it yet).
In general, a certain kind of horror (based more on atmospheres and on building climaxes...) works well in a world where horrors are not creeping everywhere, otherwise the effect is spoilt.
A future Titan (more similar to modern days earth could help.

Anyway, let's not forget that Titan isn't the only Fighting Fantasy world: there are also Orb and Amarilla... and everything else you can imagine... :wink:
Last edited by Nuvole! on Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Bronn
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Bronn » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:50 pm

House of Hell... Blood of the Zombies... Titan is by no means required.

If I were to run AFF as a horror game I'd consider the following changes.

-- Deadlier Combat: Increase damage across the board, maybe by one or two points for every weapon.

-- Dark and Dangerous Magic: No Sorcery or Wizardry, sub Necromancy and Conjuring instead.

-- Replace Luck with Sanity: Tested when facing scenes of horror and despair. Lose enough points and gain derangements!

darksoul
Knight
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:15 am

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by darksoul » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:01 pm

Hi Bronn.

Just a suggestion, I'm not sure I would replace luck. Since, I've started replaying AFF lately, I've found that luck is a really important stat. It was very underappreciated when I used to play the books or the RPG. When your character didn't have a high skill, using luck rolls would be huge help in combat, especially against tougher opponents. It's also am important stat since it's used to avoid spells. I like the gaining derangements part.
Bronn wrote:House of Hell... Blood of the Zombies... Titan is by no means required.

If I were to run AFF as a horror game I'd consider the following changes.

-- Deadlier Combat: Increase damage across the board, maybe by one or two points for every weapon.

-- Dark and Dangerous Magic: No Sorcery or Wizardry, sub Necromancy and Conjuring instead.

-- Replace Luck with Sanity: Tested when facing scenes of horror and despair. Lose enough points and gain derangements!

Mr Nibbs
Knight
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Mr Nibbs » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:04 am

Hi everyone, I think luck needs to be separate simply because the idea of the death-defying "lucky escape" is fundamental to Fighting Fantasy. There is a sense of humour in the game which reminds me of James Bond's "almost creased my suit" fight scenes and Indiana Jones' "nearly lost my hat" encounters.

In an AFF Lovecraft setting, sanity might act like "psychological hit points" and put characters into panic mode or become paralysed with fear. In a physical combat horror setting it might better reflect a "combat mentality" and be named differently?

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1109
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Nuvole! » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:59 am

Mr Nibbs wrote:You could play this first...

http://www.ffproject.com/bodies.htm
I really really loved it, but the ruleset is really too cumbersome for a 140 paragraphs gamebook...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Mr Nibbs
Knight
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: AFF2 horror / lovecraftian version

Post by Mr Nibbs » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:57 pm

Hullalla wrote:I really really loved it, but the ruleset is really too cumbersome for a 140 paragraphs gamebook...
Yes and yes. I suggested it for the way it got the atmosphere and tension going.

Post Reply