Shields are weapons too

I am rebuilding Advanced Fighting Fantasy to be what I want it to be. This requires separating the bits and interrogating them, demanding answers on why they do not excite me. Armour has been twiddling its thumbs and looking at the floor while everyone else engages in vigorous defence.

Weapons in AFF go like this:

Roll a D6 for damage, compare to the weapon's table. Do that damage.

(7s can be rolled due to miscellaneous potential bonuses)
  1. 2
  2. 3
  3. 3
  4. 3
  5. 3
  6. 4
  7. 5

Easy peasy, allows for all sorts of variety and characterisation of weapons without much overhead. A sword is reliable, for instance, whereas an axe is awkward but hefty (below),

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
Not miles away from a sword, but it produces more glancing blows while also having the possibility of hewing your head from your shoulders (or vice versa).

Armour in the first edition wasn't even considered. A short paragraph informed us that the game works out damage under the assumption that the players are wearing something, and that if they are ever caught naked they should take more damage. In the second edition we're given a mirror of the weapon tables, with them reducing damage according to a roll of the dice.

  1. 0
  2. 0
  3. 0
  4. 2
  5. 2
  6. 3
  7. 4
On top of this you'll get shields which add bonuses:

Small Shield
  1. 0
  2. 0
  3. 1
  4. 1
  5. 2
  6. 3
  7. 4
But how are shields significantly different to blocking with weapons? Blocking, parrying, same thing. Treating shields like just another bit of armour is terribly dull, plus I reckon I could kill you with a shield pretty reliably.

Shields are weapons.

Shield, Small
  1. 1
  2. 1
  3. 1
  4. 1
  5. 2
  6. 2
  7. 3
Which means weapons are shields

  1. 2/0
  2. 3/1
  3. 3/1
  4. 3/1
  5. 3/1
  6. 4/2
  7. 5/3

So you've got some protection from the weapons you use and the armour you wear. Add 'um all together and you have some numbers. Armour applies to wherever you're wearing it, weapons protect you all over. Write them in the little boxes, done.

At first it seems a lot of hassle, but when you consider the rigmarole involved in AC or attack bonuses in any randomly determined edition of D&D and you'll feel a lot better.

When using a shield and a hand weapon you may pick which one to defend with.

The numbers are rough, but now weapons are nuanced enough to enable you to make a million of the damn things without resorting to weirdness, if you're inclined. Everyone can feel like they're making choices past the aesthetic when picking up that spear and shield, know they're being reckless and cool by not wearing a helmet.

Keys and their Portals

The key is...

  1. The Rhyme of Ronald Rear-Guts, all 27 verses, accompanied on a bassoon
  2. A club forged from old iron keys
  3. Happy thoughts
  4. A squirming rabbit held in each hand
  5. Deja vu
  6. A mouth full of sea water
  7. The blood of 72 virgins
  8. Galloping on horseback
  9. D#
  10. An actual and unique key held in trust by an esoteric fraternity
  11. Post coital bliss
  12. A dying ember

The door is...

  1. A frog on a toadstool
  2. The corner of a room
  3. Behind a lamppost
  4. An old giant's pocket
  5. The mouth of Monstro the Whale
  6. A wedding arch
  7. Inside you all along
  8. The top of a rickety old ladder
  9. Slapshack Alley in the Dentist's Ward
  10. A mirror
  11. Death
  12. A bricked over door

Which leads to...

  1. The Labyrinth
  2. The Infinite Abyss
  3. The Palace of Tigers
  4. The Dead City
  5. Fiddler's Green
  6. Troika, City in the Middle of the Road
  7. The Fern Court
  8. The Red Room
  9. A conflux between worlds
  10. The Tertiary Underworld
  11. The Astral Plane
  12. Field of Heroes

This place looks nice, I'd go there

Lamentations of the Star Princess - Classes


Ex hive-mind soldier from the armies of the Autarchy

Gets levels, attack modifiers and saves as Fighter

Still has their cerebral sockets and vast knowledge of war, so may add their attack modifier to flying ships or other military machinery. Includes FTL combat if the right plugs are available.

Don't remember their lives before being whatever Warmind they formed part of, and honestly don't care that much. They're a jettisoned mental illness or undesirable personality fork, though effectively still the Warmind they used to be, only not all-seeing and little bit barmy.

Is unable to rejoin the warmind unless the dominant personality somehow falls in line with the rogue one.

Free Agent

You're doing this 'cos you want to.

Saves and XP as Specialist

Start with 4 in and every level get 1 additional point spread across the follow skills:

  • Stellar navigation
  • Pilot
  • Electronics
  • Mechanics
  • Languages
  • Survival
  • Stealth
  • Awareness

Starts with one of the following (d6):

  1. A pair of silvered retractable ion wings. May "jump" 12x their hight in atmosphere or manoeuvre comfortably, quickly and indefinitely in vacuum.
  2. Reptilian bird thing pet no one can identify that you picked up in a market on the edge of the commonwealth. Doesn't eat or drink, but feeds on misery. It's about as smart as a dog and is trained similarly. Anyone making eye contact with it while hungry must save vs. psychic or be incapacitated with self loathing. Will only successfully do this once a day, once it's sated it curls up and falls asleep.
  3. An autonomous self aware flesh-core +4 starship. Once a part of a warmind, you managed to befriend it (might have had a part in its defection) and have been together ever since. It has a zero-point cannon and a small (2d6) selection of nuclear warheads in displacement holds. Name it.
  4. You're actually a full citizen of the Commonwealth. Maybe you earned it with military service, maybe you were born into it, maybe you got it another more unusual way, but you have it. You will be afforded the full hospitality of the Autarch wherever you go, if it is available. Warminds are obliged to accommodate you. In other places you will be hated for it. Start with 10x the usual funds.
  5. Nano warhead cloud. You bought this at great expense, an invisible bloom of nanobots ready to turn into a tiny nuclear missile on your command. A single use only, but deals 2d100 damage on mental command. No roll to hit, no save. You've probably been threatening people with this for so long that some might be doubting you even have one.
  6. von Fribish vacuum suit, hand made by the master himself. Gaudy, puffy, beautifully articulated, rated for 4 Tj, absolutely priceless! Counts as full plate armour, not encumbering if worn, immune to environmental harm (air conditioned and self contained) if fully sealed. Can remain self sufficient for 36 hours before needing to recharge for an hour in a sunny and breathable atmosphere.


Basically a magic user

Always blind, so they can see better without distraction from mundane energies. They may be physically blinded, or just have lost a need for normal sight but still able to make eye contact and other social niceties.

Can see perfectly in the dark

"Sees" in a sphere around them, all within the usual restrictions of sight (except dark). Quite rationally lives in fear of psychic nulls, who practically don't exist to them.

Large amounts of psychic energy can "blind" them, like darkness with a normal person

Starts with 2 random spells of difficulty 5 or less

Each spell has a difficulty which must be beaten on a number of dice. An astropath has 1d6 per level that they may roll to beat it. Any sixes rolled must be re-rolled on the Mind Storm table and not rolled again until the psychic rests, they still count towards casting though.

May roll up to double the usual casting dice while in space or on uninhabited planets. Less psychic background noise.

Psychic powers are subtle, only detectable by other psychics. Roll d20+HD vs d20+HD to detect psychics, unless they dont care about being spotted, in which case you can tell roughly how powerful they are.

Some example spells:

Mind Lattice - 3
Quickly skim someone's mind for a fact you're looking for. If they have it you will find it on a successful casting.

Pyrokinesis - 2+
Agitate matter to cause it to ignite. Range of level times the number of casting dice in metres. Damage, if used on a person, is equal to the casting roll if successful.

Astral Beacon - 5
Can use this to navigate in space. Still needs access to a map or somesuch tool, but this spell does the equivalent of telling you where "north" is. treat it like a successful Stellar Navigation skill use.

Simulacrum - 9 + target's HD
Become a perfect copy of the target with all the physical aptitude they possessed. Lasts 24 hours or until ended, needs the target to be physically present to be cast.

Perfect Recall - 12 + HD
Place hands on a target to gain complete access to their mind. You may ask one question per level, it will be answered fully and truthfully unless they save vs psychic. Each question causes d6 damage. Each failed question causes 2d6 damage.

Amity - *
The astropath creates a sense of peaceful companionship with the target. They won't act irrationally but will behave like they are having a good day and are inclined to like the user. To cast successfully you must roll equal to or more than the target's Int score. Lasts for 5 minutes but the sense of peace will remain after the power has resolved unless ruined somehow.

Mind Storm Table

1-4 - Nothing

5-6 - Smell toast. Take d4 damage as you fry your brain a little bit.

7-8 - The astropath starts to vomit luminous, Nth dimensional (2d6), psychic slurry. May not act for for d6 rounds and, depending on what dimension it inhabits, the slurry may cause problems.

9-10 - 2d6 modest fires start in the vicinity. Depending on the surroundings this may or may not be a serious issue.

11-12 - Psychic feedback. The astropath suffers from a psychic ringing in his ears for 2d6 rounds, causing d6 damage and the difficulty of all powers to double.

13-14 - A demonic presence is formed. It is only real to the astropath, but it is real to the astropath. Treat it as a warmind of the psychic's level. It will spend d6 turns beating up the psychic, eating his face, spitting fire, whatever, and then flees. It will be back and cannot be escaped or harmed by anyone other than its creator. If it kills its creator it may then go on to lead its own life.

15-16 - Randomly pick someone within eyeshot, they must test vs. psychic. If they pass, work through everyone until someone fails. Whoever fails first swaps bodies with the Astropath. Unless the host body is blind they cannot use their psychic powers, and I imagine the other guy doesn't appreciate being blind either. This lasts for d6 1-3-hours/4-5-days/6-years.

17-18 - Mind storm! Reroll all these dice, take that much damage.

19-23 - You die, your brain leaking out of your nose. Those within 10 metres must save vs psychic or take 1d8 damage and be incapacitated for d4 rounds while the scream and bleed from their eyes.

24+ Instrumentality event. The astropath is dead, his mind scattered, a psychic ringing so loud that even those not attuned to such things can hear it. Everyone within a mile must save vs. psychic or die. Everyone within a mile of them must save of die, and so on The collective psychic backlash will create a psychic presence that will cause all kind of weird troubles for a long time and be sensed by all psychics in the same system. There's a good reason astropaths are trained in space.


Saving throws are now: Paralyse, Poison, Blast, Device, Psychic

Treat spaceships as little people. They get +X in Speed and Combat, have an AC, HP, etc. At certain HP thresholds there is a chance of events happening, like an engine exploding, or a fire, or a gaping hole into space.

Each ship will have stations that players can engage with to take part in ship stuff. Like, take a gun, drive it, put out fires, etc.