Improving the Fighting Fantasy Rules:
The Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks can have their limitations and usually provide a player with a number of different choices, such as ‘Will you go to the left (turn to 165) or to the right (turn to 222)’. In a real situation the readers adventurer, would quite possibly try something else, like going back down the cave passage to the last cavern where the Goblins were defeated to double check their bodies for equipment, or even listening on the floor for signs of movement in each direction. The Gamebooks can never hope to provide a player with a whole host of alternatives such as these, that is, without filling an entire book with lots of possible outcomes!
When playing with a friend however, the Gamebooks can be made more fun by introducing the PROBABILITY rule! Probability allows you to add more realism to the Gamebooks by allowing an adventurer to do almost anything! How can this be done? With one player as the adventurer the other becomes a GAMESMASTER (a referee an narrator). The player who assumes the mantle of Gamesmaster (otherwise known as a GM) is responsible for controlling the Gamebook, reading the descriptions, and the creatures and characters that the player’s adventurer will encounter.
The GM also has control of what is and what is not possible in an adventure that goes outside of the Gamebooks descriptions and rules. To do this the GM uses the PROBABILITY rule, and the guidelines that enable them to allow the player to choose other options.
Any event, action or reaction that does not depend on the adventurer (for instance the chance that a Monster will chase after an adventurer when they escape from battle out of a door) is decided upon by the use of a GM PROBABILITY roll. The PROBABILITY represents the ability of chance or the fluke of nature and is determined by rating the likelihood of an event of action on a scale of 1 to 6.
- Extremely possible (1)
- Quite Possible (2)
- Maybe (3)
- Possible (4)
- Maybe possible (5)
- Not possible (6)
For example, let’s say that in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain a player reaches the part of the adventure where the ugly creature is asleep at its post. You read the description to the player and the single choice of tiptoeing past the sentry. In our two-player option the player may decide to attack it? Try to pick its pockets? Tiptoe past? Or try to take its weapon? How you decide whether the player is successful depends on how you rate the probability. Allowing the player to tiptoe past the creature is dependant on the player Testing for Luck, however, you may decide that the success of the player successfully striking the sleeping guard or picking the pocket of the sleeping guard may not be tested for luck, but instead on the probability of the ugly creature waking up by chance.
For example: the player decides to quickly attack the sleeping creature. You decide that there is a probability that ‘MAYBE’ the creature will awaken. Giving it a rating of 5. Therefore there is a 5 in 6 chance that the ugly creature wakes up. You roll one die, roll a 3, and declare to the player that the creature wakes up. A roll of a 6 would result in the player successfully making a surprise strike.