Fan Interview #2
July 18, 2018
Here’s my second fan interview question:
How did you use TFT, back in the day? Stand-alone combat games, combat module for other RPGs, or a full RPG system of its own?
When we just had Melee and Wizard it was mostly a stand alone combat game. Then it turned into a reg style adventure (where each adventure as a set of running combats fitting on a single Wizard map).
After we had tried out D&D, it turned into a stand alone RPG with lots made up and stolen from D&D.
When ItL, AM and AW eventually came out, we used those rules as a rpg.
– Rick Smith
We followed the growth of the system, beginning as stand-alone combat games, and then full-blown RPG. After the release of TFT:ITL, we only used Melee and Wizard as stand-alones for teaching the basics of movement and combat to new players wishing to join our group. We did try to integrate TFT as the substitute combat system for Gamescience's Superhero 2044, by Donald Saxman (1977) – but being aged 15 or so, we failed miserably, as we basically had to rewrite the entire system to work for supers. We were way out of our league for that task, but we had fun trying.
I basically used them as stand alone combat games. With the release of the programmed adventures like Death Test, some rpg elements were overlaid, but it was still ultimately a stand-alone system (albeit very enjoyable as that!) for me.
I never played Tollenkar's Lair, and was full into AD&D for a fantasy rpg.
I never used them as substitutes for other game systems.
The solo aspect was key - I had not discovered T&T yet, and enjoyed the ease of playing a game on my own when my AD&D group wasn't meeting.
When Melee was recommended to me at the local hobby shop back in '81, the resident gamer handed me Melee and Death Test. Soon after that, I collected the remaining microquests as the store re-stocked them. I was hooked.
My 2 older bros and I would play D&D when we played an RPG. We never used Melee/Wizard as a replacement for combat. When we played TFT, we played TFT. When we played D&D, we played D&D.
However, TFT stuck, while we lost interest in D&D as time went on.
My bros were 7 and 8 years older than me, so most of the year I was a solo gamer playing MicroQuests. Or I was collecting/playing other solo-friendly games (T&T, Barbarian Prince, etc.) And then the golden age of computer games dug its claws into me. . . Wizardry, Ultima, etc.
But TFT was always the one non-computer game that held my attention in-between sessions on my Apple IIe.
– Glenn Doren
My group was deep into a D&D campaign from 1976 until 1980 (Palace of the Vampire Queen)
I had created a small campaign setting of my own to place this game and by 1980 my friends were getting a little bored of the game and my setting (which was a bit too traditional "high fantasy")
I read, but did not run Death Test, and then when Advanced Wizard, Advanced Melee and The Fantasy Trip books came out I was sort of inspired to create a new setting
The thing I got really charged up about was a city setting where the Player Characters had regular lives, regular responsibilities, but at times they would get together and head off into the "wild" usually to recover some lost person. My new setting involved a lot of stories with university professors going off to some newly found ancient discovery and disappearing, so that the university would have to hire "heroes" to go and find them and bring them back. I ran this trope into the ground but the players never seemed to mind.
We had a regular campaign going for about a year. Then I enlisted in the US Navy, and I could not find people interested in this game to play with
Once I was back home, in 1983, I started up again with the same city but with new adventures.
I never really played one-off battles, except by myself.
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