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Tabletop Game / The Fantasy Trip

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The Fantasy Trip was Steve Jackson's first Role-Playing Game. Starting with Melee in 1977, later expanding with Wizard (which added magical combat), the rules started out as a simple yet tactical set of combat rules. When In the Labyrinth came out, the rules expanded to a full-on RPG one of the earliest RPGs, along with Dungeons & Dragons and Tunnels & Trolls, in 1980. For a while, The Fantasy Trip was the second-best selling RPG of all time.

Unfortunately, Metagaming went out of business only a few years later. Steve Jackson tried to buy the rights to the game, but instead went on to his new company, Steve Jackson Games, and wrote a set of rules that was, more or less, The Fantasy Trip Advanced.

Despite being out of print for almost three decades, The Fantasy Trip still had a cult following. Its rules are viewed by its fans as a more elegant version of GURPS, as the rules were very simple and focused on fantasy. There have been conversions to other settings on the Internet.

On December 26, 2017, Steve Jackson announced he'd finally reacquired the rights to the eight TFT releases he'd written himself (Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In the Labyrinth and Tollenkar's Lair), and in July-August 2018 there came a Kickstarter for a boxed set including all of the releases. The new edition was published in due course; see its official Web site for details of its current status.

This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • The Movie: Not a movie, but the almost unknown Tomb of Terror video game from 1985 used the base mechanics.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dwarves are straight out of the Tolkienian mold. However, some details (mostly concerning dwarf women) are left unspecified, meaning that players can form their own conclusions.
  • Re Traux: One of the achieved stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign was a Pocket Box edition of Melee and Wizard, a format Steve Jackson Games hasn't used since the 80's. It even has the same sort of primitive, two-color cover art of the early PB games.
  • Squishy Wizard: Partially averted. Wizards are penalized for wearing metal armor or carrying metal weapons (specifically, iron or steel), so can't defend themselves very well. However, casting spells costs fatigue, which is dependent on strength, so wizards are often relatively strong.
  • Three-Stat System: ST, DX, and eventually IQ. Split HT from ST and you get the stat system for its Spiritual Successor, GURPS.
  • Trope Maker: The game, particularly Melee, is widely considered to be the first RPG also meant to be realistic, now a common type of RPG.
  • Weakened by the Light: In his errata for the system in The Space Gamer magazine #29, Steve Jackson said that the reason that slimes live underground is that they die if exposed to daylight.