Sunday, April 10, 2011

How to break 1st edition Advanced Fighting Fantasy part 1 - how to create a god mod character

The new cover.
I was glad to find out that Arion Games will be releasing a 2nd edition of Advanced Fighting Fantasy.  

I enjoyed reading the three Advanced Fighting Fantasy rulebooks (Dungeoneer, Blacksand and Allansia), the monster manual, Out of the Pit and an in depth sourcebook about the Fighting Fantasy world of Titan called Titan.

I enjoyed making a wide range of characters and customising them with skills and spells.  I also enjoyed the way that the adventures were presented as films with scenes, cast list and a director.  

Grudthak (right)
and pals.

They were written with a humorous and light hearted tone.  They did not take themselves too seriously.  Here is a section from Dungeoneer:


During the fight, Grudthak periodically flings half-chewed Goblin bones at the Heroes.  If you want to simulate this for your players, a few of the toy bones that pet shops sell for dogs to chew on will come in useful here.  If you want to be really authentic, a batch of week old fried chicken drumsticks would be more suitable - but we don't see why you should behave as disgustingly as the Ogre.

It says that we
should all learn
the dodge skill.
However, there were problems with the first edition rules which meant that there could be a lot of inbalance between different heroes, between different skills and between different spells.  

There are some people in this world who are very helpful and constructive and if they spot a problem with something, then they will highlight it and provide a solution.  Andrew Wright offered a more balanced AFF system.  

It's OK.  I know the
Ironhand spell.
Arion Games' 2nd edition AFF system is also addressing problems with the system as they have written in their forum.  

However, there are some people, who, when they notice problems in a system, decide to exploit them for all their worth in order to gain the best advantage possible.  

When it comes to games, I think that I am one of these people and this post aims to show you how to create an overpowered AFF hero by exploiting all of the imbalances with the system.

I will look at the imbalances between heroes and the overpowered skills and spells that they could use.

Inbalances between heroes

We could do that.  Or I could just
summon a horde of angels...
A hero's skill is determined by rolling one die and adding 6 to the result, as with most solo Fighting Fantasy books.  And like most solo Fighting Fantasy books, there is a huge difference between having a skill of 7 and a skill of 12.  

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that heroes' special skills are bought with a number of points equal to their skill score.  Their score with a skill is equal to the number of points they spend (maximum of 4) + their initial skill score.  This means that a skill 12 character can buy 12 special skills and have a score of 13 in each one.  Since most ability checks are done with 2d6, this means certain success for most rolls.

A character with a skill of 7 has 7 points to spend.  So they can have one skill with a score of 11 or seven skills with a score of 8.  A score of 8 is not too great.  

Overpowered skills


This skill is extremely powerful and versatile compared to most skills.

Getting out of the way goes a long way.
A dodge skill can be used to avoid certain spells instead of a test for luck.  Since you lose a luck point every time you test your luck, having the dodge skill saves luck points and makes dodging easy all of the time whereas if you test your luck to avoid a spell, then it becomes harder to dodge the next one.  

This helps in the first Dungeoneer adventure, Tower of the Sorcerer, where a hero has to dodge four 'force bolts' to get close to Xorton Throg.  

The dodge skill can also be used to increase a hero's attack strength for one round during combat.  The hero can roll his or her attack strength against their dodge skill rather than skill or weapon skill.  If they succeed, they can escape or attack with a +1 bonus the next round.  

If a hero has enough time and a high dodge skill, then they can fight with an effective +1 to their attack strength.

There are plenty of things to dodge and if you use this skill instead of a test for luck then you can dodge things all day (or until you fail or roll a double 6), avoid many spells and increase your attack strength in combat.


If you have one point in this skill, you deal one extra point of damage with each hit in combat.


Two decapitations are
better than one.
Allows the hero to disarm their opponent, which reduces their skill by 4, a debilitating penalty in combat.  It will not work if the opponent is not armed and it is harder if they have strength or  disarm themselves, but if the hero also has strength and disarm then its a potent ability.

Two weapon fighting

Gives you two attacks.  I'm unclear as to whether you roll against this skill or your weapon skill with your second weapon, but if you fight with two daggers and have the dagger weapon skill then it solves that problem.


Allows the hero to spot most traps, ambushes and secret doors.


Hide, sneak and disguise all rolled into one as long as you are outdoors.

World Lore

Covers pretty much everything that isn't languages, etiquette or terrain lore. Not essential for survival but good 


Restores stamina points for no cost, though not as well as the stamina spell. Not essential but a 
nice add on.

Leadership and Con  

You '...can probably persuade anyone to do anything!' (Allansia pg 15) if you use both of these skills in conjunction. Indispensible if the campaign demands a lot of persuasion and interaction 
as opposed to just combat.

Overpowered minor magic spells
This is what Magic the
Gathering costs
stopping time.

Although they are supposed to have tiny effects and cost no stamina points, some of these
spells are pretty potent.  A hero can have as many minor spells as they have initial luck points.

Minor spells can be triggered with a moment's thought and a small gesture (Blacksand pg 35), so these minor spells could be obscene:

Hold it!

Freezes time for 2 seconds in a 5 metre radius, no saves. So every time you could lose an attack round, just freeze time and get out of the way.


Can ruin a spellbook which may weaken an enemy sorcerer. However, it can be reversed, but it may buy time if the sorcerer only finds this out when you are attacking them.


No bottle of water is safe now.
Stops someone casting a spell if they are reading it from a book or scroll from a range of 5 metres. Once again can ruin an enemy sorcerer's day.


Touch someone if you suspect they're lying and they will instantly tell you the truth. However, this can be negated with a skill test or luck test.


Makes someone drunk at a touch or if they drink some liquid instilled with this spell, no save. Drunk characters suffer a -2 penalty in combat (Dungeoneer 167) and a -4 penalty to spellcasting (Dungeoneer pg 199).


Unless the victim tests for luck (which bad guys can't do) they will pucker and can't drink potions. Not really a game breaker but might stop a bad guy healing themselves. 

Overpowered sorcery spells


No spellcasting for you.
Allows you to restore your stamina to 1 below its initial level, almost completely negating the damage from any combat or from spellcasting. The new AFF will have magic points though which stops this little trick.

Tongue twister

Tangles an enemy's tongue from a distance - it says that it is especially useful against an enemy sorcerer, implying that they can't cast spells for the two minute duration of the spell. It can be avoided with a test for luck, but most enemies do not have a luck score.

Iron hand

Increases the hero's initial skill (and also special skills) by 1 point per stamina point put into the spell with not limits to how much you can put in.

Glowing eyes? Light?  Farseeing?
Man, this guy was doomed.

Reduces an opponent's skill by 1-6. Iron hand is usually better as you know how many points your skill will increase but this can be good if you want opponents to fail a roll.


Thank god it takes 10 minutes per size category or this could have been obscene. 

If you know that you need something in advance and you have the time and a small piece of it, you can summon it. Therefore, a small bag of bits of item pieces becomes an armoury, a treasury, a stable, a granary and a storeroom for pretty much anything given the time. You can also summon people with it, making jail breaks easy peasy. 

And although it costs 10 stamina to summon a very large item, you can just cast the stamina spell and get it back.

Overpowered priest spells


this also a pretty good anti sorcerer spell - however, that is a priest spell and so by having priest magic instead of mage stops you using iron hand, weakness and tongue twister, so it may not 
be worth it.

So there we go.  Next week, I'll post a few adventurers that I created...

1 comment:

  1. It is good to see that I am not the only one who thought Iron Hand was a horribly broken spell