- For other uses of Skill, see Skill (disambiguation)
- For other uses of Stamina, see Stamina (disambiguation)
- For other uses of Luck, see Luck (disambiguation)
The Fighting Fantasy Game System, in comparison with the mechanics employed in role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons or even the similar Lone Wolf series, is extremely simple and requires a minimum of book keeping from the player.
The player character, in the majority of books, has only three statistics, namely skill, stamina and luck, which are determined randomly by dice rolls at the beginning of the adventure:
- skill: Roll 1d6 and add 6 to the score
- stamina: Roll 2d6 and add 12 to the score
- luck: Roll 1d6 and add 6 to the score
The number given for the skill score is a measure of the player's expertise at fighting and a range of other activities, such as sneaking, climbing, or dodging. The higher the player's skill score the better. Throughout an adventure, changes in a player's Skill score are usually much rarer than changes in stamina and luck.
Testing Your SkillEdit
Testing Skill is usually similar to testing luck. The player rolls 2d6, and typically if the total rolled is less than or equal to the player's Skill score he is successful, if it exceeds his Skill score he fails. Like luck tests the consequences of success or failure depend on the situation the player is in. However, unlike luck tests, each of which decreases current luck by 1, a Skill point is not typically deducted after a test of skill
Conventionally in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, a player's Initial skill score was found by rolling 1d6 and adding 6. Thus, the player had a 1 in 6 chance of rolling an Initial skill score of 12. If skill tests were passed by rolling less than or equal to the player's skill on 2d6, then a Skill level of 12 practically ensured that a player would automatically pass tests of his skill.
Importance of SkillEdit
In the gamebooks, skill is arguably the most rolled on of the regular attributes. skill factors into Attack Strength in combat encounters and the text itself often prompts tests of skill. A high skill score will generally minimize stamina loss and may also render the use of luck in combat unnecessary. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean that skill supercedes luck in importance: outside of combat luck tests may well occur more frequently in the narrative than tests of skill, and the consequences of failing them may be worse.
The number given for the stamina score shows just how fit and healthy the player is, and how determined they are to survive. Every time a player suffers a wound, its stamina score is reduced by one or more points. If a player's stamina score ever reaches zero, they are dead. Thus, the higher a player's stamina, the longer they will survive.
Uses of StaminaEdit
stamina can come into play during combat, when using items or spells, when prompted by the text etc. Usually this is in the form of an increase or decrease in stamina points, but occasionally a player will be asked to roll on his stamina, perhaps when performing a feat of strength or endurance. However this is generally much rarer than skill or Luck rolls.
- Most gamebooks offer some means of restoring stamina during gameplay. (See Provisions)
- Chasms of Malice features fuel, which when collected can be used for the cooking of food. This allows, when instructed, for the player to add 2 additional stamina points when eating provisions.
Importance of StaminaEdit
A high stamina score is desirable, particularly in gamebooks containing many stamina deductions. However, high stamina coupled with a low skill score could see the player's stamina depleted fairly quickly. By contrast, if the player rolls high skill and Luck scores, then even the minimum initial stamina of 14 can often prove sufficient, especially in gamebooks where the player is afforded plentiful opportunities of restoring stamina.
Luck is fortuitous circumstance, the favour or displeasure of chance. It is one of the player's three regular attributes: your Luck score indicates how naturally lucky a person you are; it may only be through good luck that you survive!
Testing Your LuckEdit
Testing Your Luck comes into play both by explicit instruction at various points in the narrative, and (at the player's choice) in combat. The player rolls 2d6 and compare the result to their Luck score. If the result is lower than their score they are considered to be lucky and are informed of their results; conversely, a roll which results in a score higher than the player's Luck will have a different, almost invariably negative, result. In either case, the player's luck score is decreased by 1 each time it is tested and thus subsequent Tests of Luck become increasingly difficult unless the player finds some way to replenish luck. (Sometimes the player is given a choice not to Test Luck and thus to conserve a higher luck score for future occasions.)
At the outset of an adventure, the player conventionally rolls 1d6 + 6 to find his initial luck score, thus placing it somewhere between 7 to 12. A score of 12 is most favourable, as it practically guarantees a successful luck roll when the player is first asked to test his luck.
Testing Luck in CombatEdit
In combat luck can be optionally used to increase damage dealt or decrease damage received. After wounding an opponent, the player can choose to make a luck roll. If successful, the opponent has suffered a serious wound and therefore incurs a further loss of 2 stamina points. However, if the player has suffered a wound, then making a successful luck roll deducts 1 stamina point from the damage he has sustained.
Neverthless, using luck is a gamble. If the player fails his luck roll when attempting to inflict extra damage, he does 1 stamina point less damage. Obversely, he will suffer 1 further point of stamina loss if he fails his luck roll when attempting to reduce the damage received.
Importance of LuckEdit
Tests of luck may be more frequent than tests of skill. Similar to skill tests, the consequences of success or failure can be significant or trivial. In combat luck can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but employing luck can also make matters worse for the player. Indeed, unless the player is in dire straits, rolling against a luck score of 6 or less is almost never worth the gamble. This is because on 2d6 there is a higher probability of exceeding 6 than rolling equal to or below it, thus a negative outcome is more probable, and a luck point is wasted. Therefore, once the player's luck drops below 7 he may be doomed to a spiral of failed luck rolls and ever decreasing luck.
- Freeway Fighter makes the stamina score a 2d6 plus 24 roll.
- In Legend of Zagor, the reader must play one of four different heroes: Anvar the Barbarian, Braxus the Warrior, Stubble the Dwarf or Sallazar the Wizard. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, and as a result each of the three main attributes is calculated differently for each character:
- With skill Anvar and Braxus have the standard 1d6 plus 6 roll, Stubble a 1d6 plus 5 roll and Sallazar a 1d6 plus 4 roll.
- stamina has Anvar as a 1d6 plus 18 roll, Braxus and Stubble a 2d6 plus 12 roll and Sallazar a 3d6 plus 6 roll. Effectively all four can achieve 24 stamina points, but the odds of this decrease from Anvar through to Sallazar.
- Finally, luck is a 1d6 plus 4 roll, Braxus and Sallazar a 1d6 plus 3 roll and Stubble a 1d6 plus 5 roll.
- In Howl of the Werewolf, initial Skill scores are arrived at by a different calculation than the usual d6 + 6. The player still rolls 1d6, but now divides the number rolled by 2 (rounding any fractions up) and then adds 7. Therefore the maximum starting Skill is decreased from 12 to 10, though the minimum starting Skill is increased from 7 to 8. With a range of just 8 to 10 any particularly high or low rolls no longer affect the player so strongly. Thus, the formula proves to be more limited, but also more balanced.
Whenever the player engages an enemy in combat, the statistics for that enemy are displayed in the text. (See Fighting Fantasy Statistics)
The player must determine their Attack Strength by rolling 2d6 (a pair of six sided dice) and adds this number to their skill, then does the same for their opponent. Whichever combatant has scored higher has wounded the other, and the wounded party must subtract 2 points from their stamina. At this point the player has the option to Test Your Luck, a gamble which either increases or decreases the damage done. This process usually continues until one party's stamina reaches 0, at which point they are dead.
Occasionally the player or his opponent will be wielding a weapon or be fighting in a position such that their Attack Strengths will be altered. Modifiers can also apply to the amount of damage dealt and received, increasing or decreasing the regular 2 stamina points of damage.
- While fighting unarmed in Rebel Planet, if the player wounds their opponent they roll an additional die and on a roll of 6 score an instant kill.
- In Creature of Havoc a hit to the player in combat does 1 stamina point less damage than usual due to the player's tough hide and rolling a double when determining the player's attack strength will instantly kill an enemy. Testing Your Luck in battle when wounded means that a lucky roll results in no damage.
- Chasms of Malice has rules for "One-Strike Combat" which is the regular combat reduced to one round where the loser instead of being slain is knocked from whatever narrow ledge the fight takes place on and falls to their death.
- In Island of the Undead as the player begins only with a knife they must perform a 1d6 roll for each round of combat in which they win. Here a 5 or 6 denotes a 2 stamina point attack, a 1~4 a 1 stamina point attack.
Additional Forms of CombatEdit
- Some books use vehicle combat or weapons combat (with different rules) as well as hand-to-hand:
Generally most of the fantasy-orientated books offered the player the choice of one of three Potions at the start of the game. These were:
- Potion of Skill: restores the player's skill to its Initial level
- Potion of Strength: restores the player's stamina to its Initial level
- Potion of Fortune: adds 1 point to the player's Initial luck score and then restores the player's luck to this new Initial level
- The first book to employ something other than the "standard" three attributes was The Citadel of Chaos (Jackson, 1983), which made use of the new attribute magic. This was a simple 2d6 roll with the addition of 6 to the number rolled which determined the number of spells the reader begins the adventure with.
- Starship Traveller (Jackson, 1983) employs weapons strength (1d6 plus 6) and shields for the ship Traveller.
- House of Hell (Jackson, 1984) employed the use of a fear attribute, where a "maximum" level was set via roll of 1d6 plus 6. If the players fear score rose to reach that level or more then the player has literally died of fright.
- Space Assassin (Chapman, 1985) introduced the first futuristic attribute in the form of armour, a 1d6 plus 6 roll. This worked similar to the Testing Your Luck system to determine if a player was protected by their armour.
- armour reappeared in Freeway Fighter (Livingstone, 1985) as a 2d6 plus 24 roll, joined by a new attribute firepower (1d6 plus 6) for the vehicle driven by the player.
- The Rings of Kether (Chapman, 1985) features weapons strength (1d6 plus 6), a variation on Freeway Fighter's firepower and shields (1d6).
- Seas of Blood (Chapman, 1985) includes rules for combat between vessels with the attributes of crew strike (1d6 plus 6) and crew strength (2d6 plus 6).
- Appointment with F.E.A.R. (Jackson, 1985) employs a unique mechanic for the series, Hero Points, which are awarded to the player for every villain captured and disaster averted, allowing them to compare their performance from one play-through to the next.
- Sword of the Samurai (Thomson & Smith, 1986), in which the character also has an honour score which starts on 3. The player is instructed to turn to (99) should their honour score fall to 0.
- The Warlock's Way (Chapman & Allen, 1986) sees magic reappear as a 2d6 plus 12 roll. There are separate rules for combat with magic and in all uses of magic a roll of 6 indicates a failed spell. The Warlock's Way, along with The Warrior's Way, features two new attributes that affect the gameplay of the books. Theses are action and status, both of which start at 0. action is a reflection of the choices made by the players during the course of the adventure with the actions of one player affecting the experiences of the other. status meanwhile is an indicator of the state of the player (dead, alive, wounded, imprisoned etc.). Should one of the players die in the course of a two-player adventure status should be set permanently at 1 for the surviving player. If the books are being played solo then the player's scores for both these attributes start at 1 and remain there for the duration of the game.
- Beneath Nightmare Castle (Darvill-Evans, 1987) includes a willpower score (1d6 plus 6). Like luck, this attribute is tested throughout the book, with a note should the player's willpower score fall below 6. At this point should they be unsuccessful when instructed to Test your Willpower they lose their grip on their sanity and lose the game.
- fear makes a return appearance as a stat (again a 1d6 plus 6) in Star Strider (Sharp, 1987). This time it works like Testing Your Luck except that the fear score does not change for the duration of the adventure. Also, throughout the adventure the player faces physical tasks or special encounters. With the physical tasks this is usually determined by a 1d6 plus the player's stamina score. An example of a special encounter:
- in (201) a game is played against Grom where the player's stamina score becomes their cunning and the encounter follows normal combat rules. The loser is the one whose cunning drops to 0.
- Phantoms of Fear (Waterfield, 1987) features an extra score, power (2d6 plus 6), which is reduced by one every time a spell is cast.
- Sky Lord (Allen, 1988) features the stat of rating to determine the player's skill in piloting combat vehicles. It is a 1d6 roll where a 1, 2, or 3 means a rating of 3 and a roll of 4, 5, or 6 equals a rating of 4. The rating score is used to determine who fires first in such combat. If the player defeats an enemy whose rating was higher than their own, the player may add 1 point to their rating score at the end of the battle.
- Daggers of Darkness (Sharp, 1988) features the attribute of poison which marks the spread of the poison from the Death Spell Dagger. On the Character Sheet this is represented by a human figure divided into 24 units. Throughout the game the player is instructed to mark off these units to show the spread of the poison, and all 24 units shaded represents death at the hands of the poison. In effect this is simply another way of measuring time during the playing of the game.
- Vault of the Vampire (Martin, 1989) uses a faith score (1d6 plus 3 roll). Unlike the usual three scores, the faith score can exceed its Initial value. A player's faith is tested throughout the book in manner similar to Testing Your Luck. The exact same faith score returns in Revenge of the Vampire (Martin, 1995).
- In addition to the regular attributes, Dead of Night (Bambra & Hand, 1989) features evil which start with an Initial score of 0. Throughout the book the player may encounter people or creatures, or do things that will increase this score. As a result the player is asked to Test Your Evil at certain points in a manner similar to Testing Your Luck.
- Master of Chaos (Martin, 1990) features a notoriety score which represents how much attention is being paid to the player. This starts at 0 and when it reaches 8 the reader is forced to leave the town of Ashkyos and the score can adversely affect further events later on in the adventure.
- The Keep of the Lich-Lord (Morris & Thompson, 1990) features two new attributes. One is resolve which determines if the player is paralysed by panic at encountering a member of the undead. This is a 1d6 plus 5 roll. The player is asked to Test Your Resolve in a manner exactly the same as Testing Your Luck. The resolve score can fluctuate, dropping as low as 2 and rising as high as 12. These values can not be exceeded. Then, if the player manages to penetrate Bloodrise Keep then an alarm value comes into play. This begins at 0 and can increase or decrease depending on player actions and represents the amount of noise and disturbance created by the player.
- Spectral Stalkers (Darvill-Evans, 1991) features a trail score that begins at 0. This is a measure of the trail the player leaves behind them as they travel that the Spectral Stalkers follow. At various points the player is required to Test Your Trail Score which is a 3d6 roll. If the rolled amount is equal to or greater than the trail score the player remains undetected.
- honour makes a return appearance in Tower of Destruction (Martin, 1991) and the score starts at 6 and can affect play as the game unfolds.
- The Crimson Tide (Mason, 1992) introduces the attribute of ferocity which is determined by a 1d6 roll with the addition of half the player's stamina score (with halves rounded upwards). Should the player's ferocity score fall to 0 or less they are instructed to turn to (200). Also, for each age increase the player is to lower their ferocity score by 2 points.
- Island of the Undead (Martin, 1992) has a new attribute called presence is a 1d6 roll, which is halved (rounding fractions up) and 4 added. This reflects the force of the player's personality and can either gain help or attract unwanted attention depending on the situation. The score must not exceed 12.
- Night Dragon (Martin, 1993) has a honour score (starting at 0) monitors the player's heroic character, increasing or decreasing according to their behaviour and can, in fact, go below 0. There is also a nemesis score tracks how much the player's enemies learn of the player's opposition to them and more desperate their attempts to stop the player become.
- In Spellbreaker (Green, 1993) the player keeps a faith score to track their resistance to demonic forces, and sometimes repel creatures of Evil. This score starts at 1. In one part of the book (162) the player must also keep track of an infection score to measure how infected they are by disease. If the total ever reaches 15 or more they must turn immediately to (13).
- In Legend of Zagor (Livingstone, 1993) all four characters have magic points, Anvar starting with 1, Braxus 3, Stubble 2 points and Sallazar with 7. These are used for casting spells or using magical items that the player may come across.
- honour returns in Knights of Doom (Green, 1994), beginning with a score of 6.
- Curse of the Mummy (Green, 1995) features a poison score which begins at 0. Should the player's poison score reach or exceed 18 the player dies from the poisons in their bloodstream.
- In Howl of the Werewolf (Green, 2007) the player keeps track of a change score measuring how far their transformation into a Werewolf has progressed. This score begins at 0 and while it can increase and decrease, once the change has begun it cannot drop below 1. At times the player must roll dice and if rolling below the score, their Wolf nature gets the better of them.
Several books allow the player to select from a number of abilities:
- Special Skills
- Appointment with F.E.A.R. (Jackson, 1985)
Several of the gamebooks make use of the passage of time to add a further element to the game:
- The concept of "time" having an effect on the playing of the game first appears in Seas of Blood (Chapman, 1985) as the log.
- In Star Strider (Sharp, 1987) the player has a measure of time to work against. This time it is simply labelled time and the player begins with 48 units which deplete as the game progresses.
- Slaves of the Abyss (Mason & Williams, 1988) has a special sheet for time that is found on the inside front cover and made up of 20 small boxes. The player is instructed to tick these off when ordered to by the text and two boxes feature a paragraph reference number indicating that this reference should be turned to if the player ticks off that particular box.
- In another variation on the time score of previous books, Fangs of Fury (Sharp, 1989) has the player is fitting with a bracelet that glows each time one of the fourteen walls that defend Zamarra falls. If all fourteen fall then the bracelet kills the player. The walls are indicated on the Character sheet by a depiction of a piece of wall with a flag which is shaded in when the wall falls.
- In Tower of Destruction (Martin, 1991) the player records time elapsed to count the days from the start of the adventure till they arrive at the palace. Each time the text indicates that they sleep a night the player must add the day to the box.
- age is an attribute of The Crimson Tide (Mason, 1992) due to the young age of the player at the outset and has an affect on the gameplay. Also, at each age increase the player is able to restore their Temporary stamina to the Permanent figure.
- "Time" is kept a track of in Siege of Sardath (Phillips, 1992) through a short calender covering a period of one Allansian week (day of the week). Where instructed the player ticks off a day of the week to show the passage of time.
- In Night Dragon (Martin, 1993) there is a time track score also increases as the adventure goes on. The longer the player takes to reach the titular Dragon, the more powerful will it will be when they meet.
- Knights of Doom (Green, 1994) features a time score, beginning at 0.
- Revenge of the Vampire (Martin, 1995) features blood points that measure the strength of the enemy at the end of the adventure, but are in effect simply another means of measuring the passage of time.
- Bloodbones (Green, 2006) uses a time score to record the passing of time, but is not used after a certain point in the book.