Any plan for à third édition ?

Martigan
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Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Martigan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:40 am

Maybe Graham Botley will make à third edition of aff. With the second édition of aff, i think he have better comercial success than the previous édition.

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Dawndeath
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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Dawndeath » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:10 pm

Even though I've been buying everything available for 2e, if he did bring out a 3e, I'd still buy it. :lol:

Martigan
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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Martigan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:35 pm

The game is house ruled pretty heavily for many very good reasons of gameplay balance by the community. The core of the rules is good. But some changes must become official if a third edition is published. The community of fans of AFF knows where the second edition is weak, principaly, even if they are divided on some minor things. It can be simply fix in a third edition of the game. After 8 years, why not begin to think about that ?

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by LordArioch » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:49 pm

The rules, being remarkably simple, have as their strength the property of being open to interpretation and alteration -- if the GM sees fit. That is in no way a flaw, but an asset. Instead of a "3E", a better idea would be to have a "houserule contest" where the winning concepts are chosen by the Publisher and released as a supplement of optional "add-ons" which are not mandatory for the RAW/BtB. 8)

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Martigan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:24 pm

I think the game need some major changes. Why a giant have 9 stamina and only the heroes can have up to 24. It is possible to update that without hurting the people who want to keep the value of the monsters in a second edition of monsters manual, compiling out of the pit and beyond the pit. The thing to do is to not to asign precise value for monsters skill and stamina and leave the director choose by his own like the guide line i suggested in the house rules suggestions section of this forum. Go look at what i have posted. I played a lot. And i think there is no challenge by playing the game like he is made to play. Skill + special skill can't go up to 18, it can't. We must keep it to 12, like in the gamebooks. And it must cost much more experience points to raise special skill and stamina. I think every director raise the characteristics of the monsters by many points in a serions campaign, not only one or two points like it is said to do. Every director knows that 18 is far overpowered in skill and special skills in a serions campaign. I run a campaign since four years and no one have reached 6 in special skills and 24 in stamina. One big monster is often enough for my party of five adventurers. But the monster have sometime 35 or 40 in stamina because the magic attacks can do 15 to 20 damage in a turn with the wizard and the sorcerer i have in my group.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by LordArioch » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:41 am

If a given giant has only 9 STA, then, to make him more durable, give him significant damage reduction (=armour, like thick, leathery skin, plus many layers of heavy, shaggy hides), and/or the ability to regenerate STA points after a number of combat rounds (due to some weird natural ability or a magic item on his person). As I said above, it is a flexible set of rules which encourages experimentation. Otherwise, you could rule that only magic weapons or spells do any damage.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Catweazle » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:49 pm

I think LordArioch is making a good point. Unfortunately, the word "Edition" has a bit of an unpleasant flavour in the role-playing world, given the upheavals it can create in the players' community. There are still only a handful of rulebooks available for the game, and that makes it quick to pick up for a new player, which I think is a great strength.

It would be interesting to see a "Toolkit for Long Campaigns" accessory though, with observations, suggestions and the distilled wisdom of long term directors and players, suggesting where potential pitfalls may lie (with the understanding that Peter's bug is often Paul's feature), with suggestions on how to address the issue if desired.

Some games have a nasty habit of flooding the community with product, announcing a new edition, then flooding that same market again with updated re-iterations of old books. Not all popular games do it, though. Consider Castles & Crusades, a popular OSR game; fifteen years in print and still on the first edition. Despite this the game has grown naturally and lends itself readily to being hacked. Indeed, it encourages it and published a book that was essentially a tome of advice for hacking the core game engine.

Anyway, I think I've waffled on long enough.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by bottg » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:08 pm

If i am honest, there are few things i would change for a new edition! A revised and updated maybe, bringing in houserules and clarifications, combining books etc, but i agree with the sentiments upthread about a new edition every few years simply to sell more books!

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:02 pm

It seems like the problem with new editions of RPGs is they're often incompatible enough with the previous one they force you to buy a whole new set of books. A revision that corrects errata and adds a few house rules is all that's needed, more of an AFF 2.5. I agree it doesn't need much changed, AFF2 has my favourite mechanics of any RPG, seeing off everything else I've looked at in the years since I discovered it.

However there is a problem with how those great mechanics line up with monsters from the Pit books. Those came from the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks where you had a base Attack Strength (AS) of your SKILL score of up to 12. AFF2 adds up to 6 points for Weapon Special Skills (WSS) giving a base AS of up to 18. Add in the fact the gamebooks have a lone adventurer while AFF2 has a whole party working together and you can see why there's a mismatch.

With the AFF2 combat system, the party having more than 2 AS points greater than their opponents usually makes the fight an easy one. The SKILL 6 to 10 range represents over 73% of all creatures in the rulebooks. So the longer PC Attack Strength is kept within a couple of points of this 6-10 range the better the game works.

It's not clear there's an issue when you play with starting characters because they can only have an AS of 9. However this already means the usefulness of the almost 25% of creatures with SKILL 6 or less is limited. Once characters gain a couple more relatively cheap WSS points in a weapon, 60% of creatures are too easy, and at WSS 6 over 85%! That's without even increasing SKILL. So ideally starting characters would have a slightly lower AS, and maximum AS would be significantly lower.

It's been suggested Special Skill progression can be limited to half SKILL. This does help by slowing down how quickly AS increases but doesn't fix the core issue. High level PCs still have an AS that's too high and starting PCs still aren't challenged much by 25% of the creatures available. Also you want to be able to have non-adventuring NPCs with a high special skill but low SKILL.

I believe the solution is bonuses for Weapon Special Skills coming from a table so they can be in a lower range. The Armour Special Skill already works like that so it's not a new idea, and you note it on your sheet so you don't need to look at the table in game. I've suggested this:

WSS .... AS. ... Critical
0 ....... -2 ....... 12
1 ....... +0 ..... 11-12
2 ....... +1 ..... 11-12
3 ....... +1 ..... 10-12
4 ....... +2 ..... 10-12
5 ....... +2 ...... 9-12
6 ....... +3 ...... 9-12

Other values could be used, but my opinion is if AS isn't going up each time you need to give something else, and expanded critical ranges seem like a simple alternative that won't unbalance play (far less than high AS).

I've written a fair bit here explaining the reasons, but in the rulebook this wouldn't be a lot of text changing. Apart from that the only ones I'd be really keen to see are the modified Dodge Special Skill from SA and an adjusted Natural Mage Talent.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Slloyd14 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:51 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:02 pm
It seems like the problem with new editions of RPGs is they're often incompatible enough with the previous one they force you to buy a whole new set of books. A revision that corrects errata and adds a few house rules is all that's needed, more of an AFF 2.5. I agree it doesn't need much changed, AFF2 has my favourite mechanics of any RPG, seeing off everything else I've looked at in the years since I discovered it.

However there is a problem with how those great mechanics line up with monsters from the Pit books. Those came from the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks where you had a base Attack Strength (AS) of your SKILL score of up to 12. AFF2 adds up to 6 points for Weapon Special Skills (WSS) giving a base AS of up to 18. Add in the fact the gamebooks have a lone adventurer while AFF2 has a whole party working together and you can see why there's a mismatch.

With the AFF2 combat system, the party having more than 2 AS points greater than their opponents usually makes the fight an easy one. The SKILL 6 to 10 range represents over 73% of all creatures in the rulebooks. So the longer PC Attack Strength is kept within a couple of points of this 6-10 range the better the game works.

It's not clear there's an issue when you play with starting characters because they can only have an AS of 9. However this already means the usefulness of the almost 25% of creatures with SKILL 6 or less is limited. Once characters gain a couple more relatively cheap WSS points in a weapon, 60% of creatures are too easy, and at WSS 6 over 85%! That's without even increasing SKILL. So ideally starting characters would have a slightly lower AS, and maximum AS would be significantly lower.

It's been suggested Special Skill progression can be limited to half SKILL. This does help by slowing down how quickly AS increases but doesn't fix the core issue. High level PCs still have an AS that's too high and starting PCs still aren't challenged much by 25% of the creatures available. Also you want to be able to have non-adventuring NPCs with a high special skill but low SKILL.

I believe the solution is bonuses for Weapon Special Skills coming from a table so they can be in a lower range. The Armour Special Skill already works like that so it's not a new idea, and you note it on your sheet so you don't need to look at the table in game. I've suggested this:

WSS .... AS. ... Critical
0 ....... -2 ....... 12
1 ....... +0 ..... 11-12
2 ....... +1 ..... 11-12
3 ....... +1 ..... 10-12
4 ....... +2 ..... 10-12
5 ....... +2 ...... 9-12
6 ....... +3 ...... 9-12

Other values could be used, but my opinion is if AS isn't going up each time you need to give something else, and expanded critical ranges seem like a simple alternative that won't unbalance play (far less than high AS).

I've written a fair bit here explaining the reasons, but in the rulebook this wouldn't be a lot of text changing. Apart from that the only ones I'd be really keen to see are the modified Dodge Special Skill from SA and an adjusted Natural Mage Talent.
This is a good point and I think some of AFF's problems stem from trying to make a consistent RPG system from the system designed for gamebooks and the inconsistent world building and monster stats that went on due to the series going on for over a decade with several different authors. I love Sorcery, but the only reason we have the sorcery spell list is because of the Sorcery! series. The combat system is a sticking point for reasons you have said.

I like restricting the attack strength bonus. I would change the critical ranges. 9-12 means a critical hit with a 10/36 chance (almost 1/3!) and since a critical hit reduces SKILL by 1, that could easily cause a vicious cycle where the person who scores the first critical hit wins. So either get rid of the SKILL reduction or make the critical range smaller, such as.

WSS...….Critical......Critical probablity
1......…...12...……... 1/36
2...……... 12...……... 1/36
3...…….. 12...……... 1/36
4...…….. 11-12...……... 3/36
5...……. 11-12...……….. 3/36
6...…... 10-12...………. 6/36
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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:00 am

Something I forgot to mention is I'd keep it that only a 12 automatically wins the round, expanded critical ranges shouldn't change that. It means you can roll a critical and not win the round, in which case it has no effect. The text about winning on a 12 could be moved out of the bit about critical hits to make it clearer.
Slloyd14 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:51 pm
I would change the critical ranges. 9-12 means a critical hit with a 10/36 chance (almost 1/3!) and since a critical hit reduces SKILL by 1, that could easily cause a vicious cycle where the person who scores the first critical hit wins.
It's 28% so you could look at it as a bit more than a quarter of the time, but yes it might be a step too far.
Slloyd14 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:51 pm
So either get rid of the SKILL reduction or make the critical range smaller
There should be some reward for each level of WSS. But if you have -2 for using a weapon without the WSS, 1 could just be not getting that penalty like this (crit probabilities from here):

WSS .... AS. ... Critical ... Crit %
0 ....... -2 ....... 12 ....... 2.77
1 ....... +0 ....... 12 ....... 2.77
2 ....... +1 ....... 12 ....... 2.77
3 ....... +1 ..... 11-12 ..... 8.32
4 ....... +2 ..... 11-12 ..... 8.32
5 ....... +2 ..... 10-12 .... 16.67
6 ....... +3 ..... 10-12 .... 16.67

By the way, the -2 for using a weapon without the WSS has the nice side-effect of encouraging players to put XP into a wider variety of weapon types to have at least basic competency beyond their main one.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:07 pm

I still prefer the Weapon Special Skill bonuses to Attack Strength coming from a table so they're in a 0-3 rather than 1-6 range, but seeing as Graham may not be keen to ever use that it's worth exploring other options. I can do what I like in my houserules but I'd like to see my favourite RPG work as well as it can as written.

Seeing as limiting special skills to half SKILL is something that came from Graham (although just as a houserule he said he was trying) it makes sense to start there. This works great for slowing down the rate that AS can increase. I've said a few times before that I don't like it means non-adventuring NPCs with low SKILL can't have any high special skills. The fairly obvious solution to that is only special skills in the Combat category are limited to half SKILL. That makes it work pretty well.
Dawndeath wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am
My one thought on this is that I've never really like the idea of imposed limits on character improvement. I understand the necessity sometimes from a game balance perspective, but it just doesn't sit right with me that there is a specified maximum ability that all characters can reach, and then improvement just stops.
Limiting WSS to half SKILL doesn't reduce the maximum AS PCs can reach to more sensible levels, but as Dawndeath says, maybe they shouldn't have hard limits on how powerful they can get anyway. As long as it takes long enough to get there they'll probably die or retire before they reach the point where they're unplayably powerful.
Dawndeath wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am
In terms of maintaining game balance, there are various solutions. Most obviously, NPC/monster stats (such as those given in the Pit books) can be adjusted so that they can keep up with the Heroes. However, there is only so much that can be done with this option without turning the game into something like Dragonball Z, where it's just a constant escalation of power on both sides.
You could rebalance AS from the monster side by increasing the typical SKILL for all of them by at least 3 points. It's a much bigger change in terms of text needing to be adjusted though. Also personally I like that the creatures in the Pit books are in line with the ones from the gamebooks.
Dawndeath wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:00 am
More preferable is an increasing use of tactics by enemies, whether it's simply attacking the Heroes in greater numbers, using ambushes or guerilla strategies in place of face-to-face fighting, or otherwise working to skew the odds in their favour.
Most of the creatures in the Pit books are listed as appearing in less numbers than your typical group of adventurers, although I've always said those are too low across the board and need to be treated as a guide. The smart tactics stuff I think should happen anyway, any time it fits. All the situational combat bonuses in AFF2 mean there's real advantage to be had if it's looked for. But the PCs should be doing it as least as much as the bad guys, so I don't believe you can really change the balance of the game this way. If they're not they'll soon catch on if it's being done to them.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Dawndeath » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:10 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:07 pm
You could rebalance AS from the monster side by increasing the typical SKILL for all of them by at least 3 points. It's a much bigger change in terms of text needing to be adjusted though. Also personally I like that the creatures in the Pit books are in line with the ones from the gamebooks.
I also like the Pit entries matching the monsters in the gamebooks. That way they are still suitable for use in solo-play (which I'm hoping Graham still has plans to develop in future publications). I was thinking more of using the stats given in the bestiaries as a guide to typical examples of each particular creature, and introducing more powerful versions to adventures as the party grow in experience and begin to outclass the regular monsters. This is always an option for making sure combats don't become redundant, but as a solution to the problem in hand, it's not my preferred one.
SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:07 pm
Most of the creatures in the Pit books are listed as appearing in less numbers than your typical group of adventurers, although I've always said those are too low across the board and need to be treated as a guide. The smart tactics stuff I think should happen anyway, any time it fits. All the situational combat bonuses in AFF2 mean there's real advantage to be had if it's looked for. But the PCs should be doing it as least as much as the bad guys, so I don't believe you can really change the balance of the game this way. If they're not they'll soon catch on if it's being done to them.
Here I'm not necessarily talking about maintaining a numerical game balance, but maintaining a level of excitement about combat for the players. In low-level play, combat is exciting because there is a real risk of character death. But combat can quickly become routine once the risk is minimised. Maintaining balance between Heroes and monsters is one way of keeping up the thrill; but another way is by making combat a bit more cerebral.

What I mean is that if there is a recurring group of monsters going up against the party - say the Heroes are invading an orc lair - then the monsters should learn pretty quickly that they can't hope to defeat them in fair fights. So the monsters don't fight fair. They start attacking the party in large groups so as to try and simply overwhelm the Heroes by sheer force of numbers. And they start using tactics that will give them the advantage, based on what they have learned about the party.

Yes, the players should be using tactics too. If not, then for experienced parties, the hope is that the Director can by use of tactics so tip the balance in favour of the monsters, that it's the Heroes who can't hope to win the fight, unless they start actually thinking about combat. That way combat goes from being about 'who has the higher skills', to 'who can come up with the better strategies'. Because that's what real combat is about - looking for any edge available. And it's what can continue to make combats exciting for the players: they can't rely only on their Heroes' great stats and skills, they have to actually think, plan and strategise.

And as the Heroes start to gain back the advantage through better tactics, then the monsters have to start improving their strategies. This is what fighters and military strategists have been doing in real combat for centuries, if not millennia. I think it's only appropriate that our games reflect the same struggle.

I realise that I've deviated somewhat from the tweaks to the combat system originally being discussed. I just thought this side of the matter was worth exploring too.


By the way SkinnyOrc, I do think your idea about applying a reduced bonus to AS and an increased chance of critting based on WSS is an elegant solution. I'm keen to try it in a long-term game to see how it plays out.

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by bottg » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:15 am

One option is to take either the WFRP 2e approach or the Adventures in Middle Earth option.

The former has templates that can be added to a standard monster. So the "Brute" Template might look like:

Brute
+2 STA
+1 on Damage rolls

Champion might look like:

Champion
+1 SKILL
+3 STA
Improved Armour (1 step)

and so forth. You could have Hero, Shaman, Legendary and so on, suitable for both humanoid and animal forms.


The AiME supplement "The Road goes ever on..." has a table that adds Strengths or Weaknesses to an encounter. This could be a magical item or ability, bonuses to stats or abilities, special powers, tactical approaches or increased number [Strengths] or limitations, penalties to stats or worse equipment [Weaknesses]. A Director can use this to increase or decrease the threat from an encounter.

Whatever approach is used, it must also be remembered that the original FF gamebooks were very much a Resource Management game as well. It was rarely the case that an individual fight threatened a Hero. With healing somewhat limited, the STAMINA of a Hero gets whittled down bit by bits so that when a powerful opponent or boss is fought, that is when the real threat appears.
Ganging up too makes a difference, especially if static target numbers are used for missile attacks. Even a powerful hero fighting twelve Goblins is likely to be in trouble. Twelve arrows first up vs a static target number will see a fair number hitting and most of those causing some damage. Outnumbering at say six-to-one means that all of the Goblins get a +5 bonus to Attack Total, giving them an effective SKILL of 10. And with another six shooting and available as reinforcements, that Hero is in real trouble. This is a bit of an extreme example, but then again Goblins are pretty weak.

You can also throw in ambushes, tactical advantage such as the Heroes fighting in water, mud or smoke, enemy spellcasters, having to protect an NPC etc. Lots of options!

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Re: Any plan for à third édition ?

Post by Dawndeath » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:54 pm

Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking, Graham. I couldn't summon up specific examples, but yours are spot on for the point I was feebly trying to make. :mrgreen:

Perhaps there is a Titan equivalent of The Art of War that is compulsory reading for a particular band of orcs... :lol:

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