Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Renaissance and Troika! and Warlock!

With the release of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, second edition, by Arion Games (website, DriveThruRPG) in 2011 it seemed a renaissance for Advanced Fighting Fantasy had arrived. This has been born out by Arion Games releasing one or more books for AFF2E every year since then except 2015, and by their release of bunches more small products in PDF since then. And most (if not all) of their larger AFF2E products are available in POD at DriveThruRPG now, as well as in PDF. They also have a science fiction game that uses the AFF2E rules, Stellar Adventures, which is good and has several supplements.

I have enjoyed all the the AFF2E products and playing AFF and have just gotten two more, Creatures of Mishna and The Warlock Returns Issue #01, both of which look very good to my cursory glance.

And I also just got Troika! Numinous Edition science fantasy RPG from the Melsonian Arts Council and oh does it look pretty, both from a graphical design standpoint and a rules design standpoint! It has a website devoted to it. It was apparently released in 2019 (though the book says the copyright is 2015–2018), and I really wish I had gotten it earlier. It uses rules obviously inspired by AFF with Skill, Stamina, Luck, and Advanced Skills (similar to AFF's Special Skills), and has a neat and quirky random “backgrounds” system for character creation that provides you with Skills, Possessions, and other Special benefits. (One of the backgrounds has a “Small but vicious dog”, in a neat nod to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.) I've read it except for the backgrounds, which I've skimmed, and the bestiary. It is an excellent rules light RPG. My one criticism so far is that there doesn't seem to be a table or index of all the backgrounds, so it is hard to find a specific background if you want to read a particular one, as once rules example in the book requires to understand completely. There is a free version as well, and it contains a license allowing you to publish free or commercial material based on or compatible with with Troika!.

I also got Fronds of Benevolence, which looks good too, on a more cursory glace. I'm probably going to have to look for more Troika! products, too; I've seen that there are more out there.

Getting Troika! vaguely reminded me that there was another new RPG broadly inspired by AFF. Investigating revealed Warlock! from Fire Ruby Design (some of whose games I've greatly enjoyed - Exilim, Summerlands 2E, Esoterica, all of which have supplements I need to get), and that convinced me so I bought it. It too is obviously inspired by the AFF rules, though it does away with the all-in-one Skill of AFF in favor of starting the equivalent of AFF's Special Skills at higher values. It also drops the 2d6 rolls for d20s, and damage appears to by a simple dice roll, rather than AFF's 1d6+mod indexing a different table for each type of weapon, which could have its advantages… It also has Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay style careers. I haven't read much of it, but I'm definitely going to. It has several supplements too.

All in all, I think the AFF renaissance is growing!

Last edited: 2020-12-12 15:25:57 EST

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