This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.
The RPGPundit's Own Forum Rules
This part of the site is controlled by the RPGPundit. This is where he discusses topics that he finds interesting. You may post here, but understand that there are limits. The RPGPundit can shut down any thread, topic of discussion, or user in a thread at his pleasure. This part of the site is essentially his house, so keep that in mind. Note that this is the only part of the site where political discussion is permitted, but is regulated by the RPGPundit.

Author Topic: The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A  (Read 23323 times)

RPGPundit

  • Administrator - The Final Boss of Internet Shitlords
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46526
    • View Profile
    • http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« on: July 27, 2007, 04:12:06 PM »
Hello all.  

This thread is the official thread for Questions and Answers regarding the new Forward... to Adventure! RPG.

You guys put up the questions, I'll give the answers.

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

jdrakeh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • j
  • Posts: 916
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2007, 04:20:48 PM »
Q: How is FtA different from D&D in the terms of the game experience that it provides? I gather that there is some kind of narrative "build it as you go" approach but woefully little information about what this approach consists of has been released to date.

Q: How is FtA different from Donjon in terms of the game experience that it provides? Again, assuming that allusions to a "build it as you go" approach have been genuine, how does this approach differ from that in Clinton Nixon's Donjon?

Q: What features of FtA would you consider to be "unique" or, else, rarely exercised in game design?

Q: Was this laid out in a word processing program? That may seem extraordinarily petty but it's a valid concern. If I'm going to pay money for something, I'd prefer that its production values be several steps above "free rpg" and the cover does not give me confidence that this is the case.
 

Silverlion

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5483
    • View Profile
    • http://www.silverlionstudios.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2007, 05:10:08 PM »
What is actual play like?

Do you have a link? (that describes system elements as well as the dialog of participants)
High Valor REVISED: A fantasy Dark Age RPG. Available NOW!
Hearts & Souls 2E Coming in 2019

Skyrock

  • #FFFFFF Knights No More
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
    • View Profile
    • http://skyrock.blogg.de/
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2007, 05:10:54 PM »
Q: I noticed a lot of NetHack references in the blurb (wraith corpse eating, shop-lifting, Gnomish mines etc.) Is this just for the blurb, or will I find a lot of annotations to this classic CRPG in FtA itself?

Q: The stunt thing in addition to movement and combat during the combat round sounds unusual. What's up with this one? What can I do with stunts, and what purpose do they have in the system?

Q: Are there any dump stats like Charisma that most PCs can safely ignore, or was it a high priority that every attribute has at least a small substantial use for everyone?

Q: I heard there're rules to generate dungeons, including room layout, monsters, traps, treasure and what else belongs to it. Does that mean that I can just pick up the dungeon tables and wing an adventure without any prep, or is it just meant to fill smaller gaps on-the-fly?
My graphical guestbook

When I write "TDE", I mean "The Dark Eye". Wanna know more? Way more?

RPGPundit

  • Administrator - The Final Boss of Internet Shitlords
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46526
    • View Profile
    • http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2007, 06:45:55 PM »
Quote from: jdrakeh
Q: How is FtA different from D&D in the terms of the game experience that it provides? I gather that there is some kind of narrative "build it as you go" approach but woefully little information about what this approach consists of has been released to date.


FtA! Can certainly be played in a "build it as you go" sense at least for the dungeon elements (it has a complete random dungeon generator in the book).  There's very little actual setting material in the book, there's no preset setting, though some of the rules elements assume a certain kind of generic fantasy setting with certain gonzo elements.. so you get glimpses of the SORT of settings you could use for FtA! in the descriptions of things like races, the magic system, and magic items.

The main way FtA! differs from the current incarnation of D&D is that it is made for MUCH faster character design and getting right into play.  Characters are more archetypal, which makes them less developed mechanically speaking but makes it easier to get right into the game. It has much more of an "old school" feel to it.

Quote

Q: How is FtA different from Donjon in terms of the game experience that it provides? Again, assuming that allusions to a "build it as you go" approach have been genuine, how does this approach differ from that in Clinton Nixon's Donjon?


I have never actually read Donjon, only read about it, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that question fully, but from what I have read I would suppose that FtA! is much closer to a traditional old-school game than Donjon.

Quote

Q: What features of FtA would you consider to be "unique" or, else, rarely exercised in game design?


The combat system is collective, as far as I can think of only Tunnels & Trolls used that system before.
Other than that most of the other elements of the game system are extremely derivative, but not from any single source.  The game is not meant to be special because it does something really new and different, but because it epitomizes the stuff a lot of people liked about "old school" gonzo-style gaming.

Quote

Q: Was this laid out in a word processing program? That may seem extraordinarily petty but it's a valid concern. If I'm going to pay money for something, I'd prefer that its production values be several steps above "free rpg" and the cover does not give me confidence that this is the case.


The layout was done by Clash and he'd have to answer that for you.  As it stands, the cover (and much of the style of the interior layout) is something of an homage to the old-school garage-RPGs designed by small press companies in the 70s and early 80s; but organized in a way that I think is far more practical and easier to read through than most of those games ever were.

The production values of the game are on par with Flying Mice's other games; so if you've seen Starcluster, In Harm's Way, or Cold Space you'll have an idea of how its done.  I didn't do any of the actual layout beyond the writing of the rules themselves... so I chose which chapters went where, but beyond that it was all Clash.

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

RPGPundit

  • Administrator - The Final Boss of Internet Shitlords
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46526
    • View Profile
    • http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2007, 06:48:45 PM »
Quote from: Silverlion
What is actual play like?

Do you have a link? (that describes system elements as well as the dialog of participants)


Actual play is what I'd describe as fast, risky, and tactical.  I don't have a link handly to the kind of full-blown actual play report you'd like, probably the closest one would be the one Settembrini wrote up on his blog (maybe he can link it), but that was of one of the earlier playtest rounds and so there are several concerns he voices in that playtest that have since been addressed.

Hopefully there'll be some AP reports in the future, when more people get a chance to try out the game and report on it.

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

RPGPundit

  • Administrator - The Final Boss of Internet Shitlords
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46526
    • View Profile
    • http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2007, 06:57:09 PM »
Quote from: Skyrock
Q: I noticed a lot of NetHack references in the blurb (wraith corpse eating, shop-lifting, Gnomish mines etc.) Is this just for the blurb, or will I find a lot of annotations to this classic CRPG in FtA itself?


No, its not just a blurb.  Nethack and OD&D were the two main inspirations for the game (and of course Nethack was originally inspired by OD&D, so there you go), and the game is full of a very "Nethack" feel to it.  You could easily use it to play a tabletop multiplayer version of Nethack.

Quote

Q: The stunt thing in addition to movement and combat during the combat round sounds unusual. What's up with this one? What can I do with stunts, and what purpose do they have in the system?


Stunts are used to represent any kind of special maneuvre aside from just attacking or casting spells.  So a "stunt" would be any action that didn't involve making an actual regular attack (or magic) in a combat situation.  They also describe "special maneuvres" done with skills (any unusual use of a skill, in other words) even outside of combat. So in other words a "stunt" isn't like a feat, you don't buy them or earn them or something like that, they're just a term describing (and guidelines for the GM on how to handle) any kind of special non-standard action that would require an ability check to succeed at.

Quote

Q: Are there any dump stats like Charisma that most PCs can safely ignore, or was it a high priority that every attribute has at least a small substantial use for everyone?


The stats are the standard six D&D stats (str, dex, con, int, wis, cha).  There are certainly "dump stats" for certain classes.  A standard fighter might not need too much charisma; a wizard might make due with not too much strength.  
But for certain, there's no stat that's low-necessity for absolutely everyone.
I tried to make sure that all the Stats had utility and that you wouldn't want to be pathetically low at any of the stats. But I wasn't overly obsessed with this particular kind of "game balance".

Quote

Q: I heard there're rules to generate dungeons, including room layout, monsters, traps, treasure and what else belongs to it. Does that mean that I can just pick up the dungeon tables and wing an adventure without any prep, or is it just meant to fill smaller gaps on-the-fly?


Yes, you could roll up an entire dungeon as you play, using just a tiny bit of GM discretion. Its the "smaller gaps" you'd probably have to fill in with your own creativity. The Dungeon design rules are made to create the type of dungeon, the rooms, the monsters treasures traps and other weird stuff in the dungeon. Its very complete and probably one of the best features of the game, IMO.

Its still EASIER to roll up the random dungeon before beginning play, but if you're fast with the rolls and good at improvising the little details there's no reason you couldn't just "roll as you go". Indeed, I did exactly that on several of the initial playtest sessions.

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

jdrakeh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • j
  • Posts: 916
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2007, 07:09:49 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
The combat system is collective, as far as I can think of only Tunnels & Trolls used that system before.


So far so good. . . now what do you mean by "collective"? ;) I've played a lot of T&T but am still at a loss here. Are you referring to the fact that combat is treated like any other conflict in the game, merely with opposing 'sides' engaging one another?

Quote
The layout was done by Clash and he'd have to answer that for you.  As it stands, the cover (and much of the style of the interior layout) is something of an homage to the old-school garage-RPGs designed by small press companies in the 70s and early 80s; but organized in a way that I think is far more practical and easier to read through than most of those games ever were.

The production values of the game are on par with Flying Mice's other games; so if you've seen Starcluster, In Harm's Way, or Cold Space you'll have an idea of how its done.  I didn't do any of the actual layout beyond the writing of the rules themselves... so I chose which chapters went where, but beyond that it was all Clash.

RPGPundit


Eargh. All of that, for me, is a huge against buying the game at MSRP.  That 'homage' part rings a bit hollow in light of the second paragraph, as well (most FMI products aren't paying homage to anything layout-wise). Despite decent design, I have an extreme aversion to paying for many FMI products due to the hideous layout.
 

RPGPundit

  • Administrator - The Final Boss of Internet Shitlords
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46526
    • View Profile
    • http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2007, 07:55:24 PM »
I've often been critical of Clash's layouts myself in my reviews; so I understand your concerns.

However, I've also noted that Clash has been improving in his layout work in every product, and I think FtA! is his best work.  I won't lie to you and claim that its a masterpiece of layout, but its completely manageable: you can easily find everything, and the order of things all make sense.  The labelling is clear, and the structure of the game follows the modern "D20" sense (abilities, races, classes, skills, stunts, combat, magic, monsters, items, dungeons).

RPGPundit
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


My Blog:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

jdrakeh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • j
  • Posts: 916
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2007, 08:52:20 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
I've often been critical of Clash's layouts myself in my reviews; so I understand your concerns.

However, I've also noted that Clash has been improving in his layout work in every product, and I think FtA! is his best work.  I won't lie to you and claim that its a masterpiece of layout, but its completely manageable: you can easily find everything, and the order of things all make sense.  The labelling is clear, and the structure of the game follows the modern "D20" sense (abilities, races, classes, skills, stunts, combat, magic, monsters, items, dungeons).

RPGPundit


I won't lie -- this diminished my interest in FtA quite a bit (the credits not apparently reflecting the suggested reality in regard to playtesting is also a big strike at the present time). That said, the rest of what you've said has kept me from marking it off my "must own" list. So. . . what exactly did you mean when referring to combat as collective?
 

flyingmice

  • Flunchist-Cruftist
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9757
    • View Profile
    • http://www.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2007, 10:52:56 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit

The layout was done by Clash and he'd have to answer that for you.  As it stands, the cover (and much of the style of the interior layout) is something of an homage to the old-school garage-RPGs designed by small press companies in the 70s and early 80s; but organized in a way that I think is far more practical and easier to read through than most of those games ever were.


The layout was done in Adobe FrameMaker 7.0. I don't use a wordprocessor at all. Text was entered either directly into the layout program or (mostly in the case of FTA!) imported in from a text editor.

-clash
clash bowley * Flying Mice Games - an Imprint of Better Mousetrap Games
Flying Mice home page: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Currently Designing: StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire
Last Releases: SC4 - Dark Orbital, SC4 - Out of the Ruins,  SC4 - Sabre & World
Blog: I FLY BY NIGHT

JohnnyWannabe

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 544
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2007, 11:28:08 PM »
Quote from: jdrakeh
Eargh. All of that, for me, is a huge against buying the game at MSRP.  That 'homage' part rings a bit hollow in light of the second paragraph, as well (most FMI products aren't paying homage to anything layout-wise). Despite decent design, I have an extreme aversion to paying for many FMI products due to the hideous layout.


I think you're being a little unfair here, James. Clash's layout has improved immensely. Now, his books have limited white space, functional charts, and are easy to read. I don't know about you, but I want a functional text, not a picture gallery. RPGs are technical manuals, first and foremost. They are tools.
Timeless Games/Better Mousetrap Games - The Creep Chronicle, The Fifth Wheel - the book of West Marque, Shebang. Just released: The Boomtown Planet - Saturday Edition. Also available in hard copy.

jdrakeh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • j
  • Posts: 916
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2007, 11:56:01 PM »
Quote from: JohnnyWannabe
I think you're being a little unfair here, James. Clash's layout has improved immensely. Now, his books have limited white space, functional charts, and are easy to read.


To be honest, I wouldn't know, I based my remarks on the only products of his that I've ever seen (i.e., Book of Jalan, Star Cluster, Star Cluster II, Tribes of Mother Night, and Bloodgames). All have solid design. All look like they were laid out in Microsoft Word, complete with copy and pasted pictures (i.e., most of the pics haven't been formatted to fit inline with the text, but rather seem to be dropped in wholesale). The newer products may very well be an improvement. I honestly wouldn't know.
 

JohnnyWannabe

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 544
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2007, 12:06:08 AM »
Quote from: jdrakeh
To be honest, I wouldn't know, I based my remarks on the only products of his that I've ever seen (i.e., Book of Jalan, Star Cluster, Star Cluster II, Tribes of Mother Night, and Bloodgames).

The layout is greatly improved. Cold Space was the real turning point.
Timeless Games/Better Mousetrap Games - The Creep Chronicle, The Fifth Wheel - the book of West Marque, Shebang. Just released: The Boomtown Planet - Saturday Edition. Also available in hard copy.

jdrakeh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • j
  • Posts: 916
    • View Profile
The OFFICIAL FtA! Q&A
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2007, 12:44:44 AM »
Quote from: JohnnyWannabe
The layout is greatly improved. Cold Space was the real turning point.


It looked very good in the previews but the previous layout made me hesitant to spend money on it and the fact that few people here locally enjoy sci-fi RPGs (well, other than Shadowrun and Star Frontiers) pretty much sealed the deal :( That said, since I don't know you from Adam, I can only positively assume that you're an impartial party and, thus, I'll take you at your word.

Now. . . I only need to get straight answers on the playtest investiture and how many people actually playtested the product and for how many man hours such QC testing actually comprised. Five or six months of four hour game sessions conducted by two play groups isn't going to meet my standards, I'm afraid. I'd consider that to be the bare miniumum for one round of playtesting.