(My first blog post where I actually practice some HTML. Oh boy)
Advanced Fighting Fantasy is already a simple game system compared to others out there. However, in the circle of folks I have to game with at the moment, I want to ensure that any future gaming goes smoothly and simply. So the question remains what do I keep and what do I discard?
As much as I like the variety of weapons and weapon damages, as well as varieties of armor, I think that can go. The weapons don't vary much in damage output, and it would save a die roll. While I know of the strongly recommended variant rule that you role the weapon/armor die, I think it's unnecessary. That and I would prefer characters choose weapons mostly by what feels right for their characters. Our Paladin likes a heavy maul and our Ranger likes bows and spears. Nice.
To that end, I have a few choices to make. Either one type of flat damage (2 points, as in FF) or something slightly graduated. On the arion-games forum I found a post that suggested 3 points for light weapons, 4 for medium, 5 for two-handed heavies. Flat damage has much to recommend it. You just succeeded in an attack, it shouldn't be undermined by a cruddy damage roll. There are other game systems like Old school Hack that use a "wounds" system. Each player gets 6. Heavy weapons do 2 wounds and a critical strike gets you an extra wound. Not a bad idea. Who cares about scratches and near misses in lethal combat? That can be narrated. I'll still use Stamina, of course. But quite obviously 2 or 3 whacks with a battle axe and you're dead, like you should be.
The flat damage happens to coincide with approximate average die rolls (when rounded) for d4,d6 and d8 weapons respectively, when using the OSR game systems. I'll gladly use the Dungeon World armor soak of 1 point for leather, 2 for chain and 3 for plate. Good enough. A shield, if usable, will negate another point if used casually or block a hit outright if used actively.
What do I mean by that? Well if you back down a little 3 foot high goblin corridor with your round shield plugging up the hole, I doubt any arrows will hit you. I don't care that it's only -1 damage, it's plugging up the hole. Unless they shatter the shield with something heavy or wrestle it away, nothing will hit you. I may borrow "shields will be splintered" from OSR and let the player save himself by sacrificing a shield (or a backpack, or some other valuable sturdy item.
While on the subject of combat, I will use 1 and 2 hit minions for minor foes and give Stamina only to major creatures. It will make record-keeping simple. Swarm creatures are meant to be popped. I'll let the players pop them. Getting ganged up on by minions can still be dangerous as most heroes will attack just one at a time.
On the subject of ganging up, in the Dungeon World game I allowed the Paladin to attack multiple enemies, and just divided their HP into the damage dealt. That was a game with a high potential damage output (but anyone could try it, of course). In AFF, I intend to implement multiple attacks by PCs as follows:
Divide total SKILL + Weapon Skill by the number of targets. Add that to the die roll. If higher than the roll for any enemies, it's a hit.
What else can go? It may be practical to group the thieving skills (traps, sneaking, slight of hand, locks) into one skill. I understand that a skilled cave explorer might be good at finding traps but not very good at sneaking. I'll have to think about that one. There might be other similar skills that can be grouped.
So what this experiment boils down to is finding a half-way point between the basic Fighting Fantasy and AFF. I want the AFF magic systems and ability to pick special skills, but with a simple battle resolution system.