Sunday, June 24, 2012

Solo Adventuring in High Fantasy

In the preface to High Fantasy, Jeffrey Dillow states:
This is not a book of rules. The actual rules consist of only a few pages. What this book is, is an accumulation of medieval weapons, spells, and monsters with clear explanations on how to use them in fantasy adventures.
Actually, the page distribution is as follows.

Dillow also uses the preface to point out the 'giant' solo adventure and its suitability for teaching the reader how to play.  Specifically, Dillow says in the introduction to the adventure, it “was teach beginning players how to work through combat and to give them a basic understanding of how High Fantasy works.”  The adventure, Escape from Queztec'l, was written by Craig Fisher, who also wrote another High Fantasy solitaire adventure, In the Service of Saena Sephar. With Queztec'l, Fisher not only provides a solo adventure and a streamlined version of High Fantasy combat, he also provides some setting background, including a continent map, notes on religion, and creature statistics.  The setting deserves its own post, so I will not dwell further on it here.

Dillow says, “High Fantasy is based on the sound mathematics of the percentile dice.” I don't know why the RPGGeek listing includes “Dice (Primarily d6)” as a game mechanic. Six-sided dice are not mentioned in High Fantasy (at least not in the second edition), doubtless due to their comparatively unsound mathematics.

Anyway, for purposes of playing the solo adventure, the reader controls a character named Xenon.  The picture above suggests that the character's full name is Xenon Swif's'ord and that Xenon could be of either gender based upon the preference of the reader.  For purposes of the adventure, all characters have three attributes:  quickness, offense, and defense.

Essentially, quickness determines initiative.  It also determines movement rate.  It is affected by encumbrance.  For purposes of initiative only, it is also affected by weapon type.

In order for Xenon to hit an adversary in combat, the adversary's defense is subtracted from Xenon's offense; the result is the percentile chance of success.  Assuming Xenon is successful, the combat table is consulted.  The chance of success determines which column to use and another percentile roll determines which row to use.  The combat table provides a number that is subtracted from the adversary's offense and a number that is subtracted from the adversary's defense.  Death occurs if and when defense is reduced to zero.  Combat against Xenon is handled similarly, except that defense damage is divided – as indicated by the combat table – between 'personal' defense and 'armor' defense (if any).

Depending upon the attack, more or less damage may be inflicted.  A 'plus' means moving to a column to the right of the column indicated by the chance of success (more damage) and a 'minus' means moving to the left (less damage).  For instance, a weaponless attack by a human has a -5 damage modification while a Xermoc's claw has a +6 damage modification.

Apparently, “pad[s] of character sheets” as well as percentile dice were available from Fantasy Productions Inc., the company that Dillow created originally to publish High Fantasy. The character sheet graphic in the book is, in effect, a diagram with different sections labeled with numbers associated with the steps a player follows when making a character. For my cherished readers – as well as posterity in general – I have scanned in the so-called character sheet and cleaned it up somewhat, taking out the step labels.  The result appears below.  You can use it as a reference as we continue our exploration of this fine game.

No comments:

Post a Comment