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Day 11: In the Labyrinth

Monday, we covered the combat portion of The Fantasy Trip in its microgame incarnation, Melee. Yesterday, we covered it’s basic magic system in the microgame Wizard. Today we cover the addition that completed the system as a roleplaying game, In the Labyrinth.

The Fantasy Trip: In the Labyrinth was released by Metagaming in 1980. It was accompanied by two expansions of the original microgames, Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard. They were supposed to be in one book and are in the current release by Steve Jackson Games.

Characters, and they are finally characters, not figures, are created with an extension of the Wizard system. They have the same three attributes whose values are set the same way.

Characters need to be one of two archetypes, Heroes or Wizards. This distinction has only one purpose, to decide the costs of abilities: talents, languages, and spells. Talents are a mixture of abilities that cover skills and powers. A starting character has points to spend on his abilities equal to his IQ. The base cost for spells and languages is 1 point. Each talent lists a specific cost.

A pays 3 points to learn a spell, while a wizard spends double the cost to learn a talent. Everyone knows the tongue of their home free but spends 1 point for other languages.

After character creation increasing your IQ gave you new points to learn abilities in the original edition. This lead to high IQ characters. The current version does not do this. Raising IQ with experience only affects rolls against IQ and which talent and spell lists are available. The acquisition of new spells, talents, and languages requires the direct expenditure of experience points. The tripling of spell costs for heroes and doubling of talent costs for wizards continues using experience points.

For today we’ll create a hero to get a look at the talent system.

The first question is what kind of hero. The rules have two big lists of suggestions: fighters and others. Fighters include ideas like mercenary and human tank. Others include ideas like thief, priest, ranger, and merchant. The original version included amazon among the fighters, but it was edited out of the new edition.

AMAZON: The beautiful, dangerous female warrior. She probably has high DX and wears little armor. Talents include Sex Appeal, Unarmed Combat, Bow, and Thrown Weapons — plus several other weapon talents.

In The Labyrinth (1980 edition) pg. 6

I’m pretty sure its omission was a sensitivity to sexism, but the archetype is straight out of the swords & sorcery literature that inspired TFT and D&D before it. So, let’s make a The Fantasy Trip amazon.

Before we assign attributes, we need to check the IQ minimum for abilities. We want the four listed plus Sword. Sword and Bow are IQ 7 talents. Sex Appeal and Thrown Weapons are IQ 8 talents. Unarmed Combat is the highest of the five at IQ 10. So, we need an IQ of 10.

That uses up 2 of our 8 free points. We want a high DX, but we want to make sure we can use the weapons our talents allow. The short box requires a ST of 9, while the horse bow requires a ST of 10. In the swords list, the saber needs a ST of 10 as well. I watched a documentary way about that argued the historical Amazons were women warriors in steppe horse tribes, so we’ll go with a ST 10 to wield a horse bow and a saber like any good cavalry.

That leaves us 4 points to get a DX 12, fitting the description.

Of the 10 points we have for abilities, we have used 2 on Sword, 2 on Bow, 1 on Sex Appeal, 2 on Thrown Weapons, and 1 on Unarmed Combat. This leaves us 2 points. That’s not enough for a spell. Horsemanship costs 1 as does Literacy.

For the first time in The Fantasy Trip we have money to spend. We start with $1,000. Yes, it uses the dollar sign for currency. We’ll call them silver pieces.

Starting with weapons and armor we get a saber ($50), horse bow ($30), 20 arrows ($20), and two daggers ($10 ea) for a total of $120. That covers We’ll take leather armor ($100) and instead of a shield we bow a main-guache ($20) to use with the saber. Weapons and armor have used $240, or about a quarter of our money.

Looking at the basic equipment list, first things first we need clothing. Middle class clothing costs $50. A 20 ST light horse ($459) with a plain saddle and bridle ($50) eats up a little over two-thirds of our remaining money.

We’ll get a leather backpack for $40, two water or wineskins for $6, a quart of wine for $2, and 7 days of rations for $5 each. Looking for dungeon exploration equipment, we grab the dungeoneer’s kit for $30. This includes 10 yards of rope, a hooked grapple, a collapsable 6′ pole, flint and steel, a hammer, and five steel spikes. To that we’ll add 10 torches ($1 each), a crowbar ($10), and two belt pouches for $5 each. We need a backpack which is $40. The rules lack a quiver so I’ll declare it to be $10 based on the backpack and pouch costs.

We’ll stow our last 8 silver in one belt pouch.

For an Amazon I want a name from the horse tribes of the Eurasian steppes in antiquity. Ildico was the last wife of Attila and the only female Hunnish name I can find. So, I present Ildico, Woman Warrior.

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