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Day 9: Melee

I’m on the road for the next few days. I won’t have a lot of time so I’m moving to a much simpler system. For the next four days, we’ll build characters for Steve Jackson’s The Fantasy Trip. Today we are going to cover the first part,, released by Metagaming as Microgame 3.

Characters in Melee are straightforward. They were merely called figures in the original rules. They have two attributes, Strength and Dexterity.

Strength is hit points. All damage is taken directly on strength. At strength zero, you die. Strength also determines what weapons a figure can wield. Each weapon has a minimum undamaged strength figure needs to use it. Finally, strength determines who well you do in unarmed combat.

Dexterity is used to determine if a figure hits with a weapon or hands. You roll 3D6 and try to get under it. It also determines how easily a figure can disengage from combat. Finally, dexterity determines strike order. Wearing armor can lower a character’s effective dexterity.

The first step in character creation is determining the two attributes. Both start at 8 and you divide another 8 points between them. This makes Melee our first game without random attribute generation.

I want a quick guy who deals a lot of damage. Quick implies good dexterity so let’s assign 6 points to it and 2 to strength:

ST: 10
DX: 14

Because Melee is a battle game, it’s relationship to the full The Fantasy Trip is similar to that of Arms Law to Rolemaster. Characters are not given money to buy gear. A figure can carry two weapons plus a dagger. A shield is a weapon. They can wear any armor in the game.

For weapons, we’ll take the rapier, main-gauche (left-handed dagger), and a dagger. The main-gauche can be used as a shield or a shield and a weapon. Also, if it is in use when hand-to-hand combat occurs, it counts as a dagger.

Leather armor stops two hits but reduces dexterity by two. I’ll take the drop-in dexterity. It also gives a movement allowance of 8 instead of 10.

Last of all, our figure needs a name. Darba was the gladiator killed for sparing the title character in the movie Sparticus.

Tonight, we’re bad to the index cards I used so often with The Fantasy Trip, as did Gaming Methuselah, Jim Murphy

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