I’m running the first edition of Freebooters on the Frontier. I have 4 players and three of them have ended up with an ability score of 18, which equates to a modifier of +3.
Now, I’m a long-time Dungeon World GM (with all sorts of tricks up my sleeve for getting creative with the fiction to prevent mechanically potent PCs from succeeding all the time), but even I am struggling here.
Specifically, I have a Fighter with 18 Strength and a Magic-user with 18 Intelligence.
Freebooters is pitched as a hard-scrabble DW, but these guys are just bad-asses in their specialist areas. I want to run premade OSR adventures and I’m not too keen on countering their significant aptitudes by twisting these adventures to make the creatures much harder. It’ll bug them.
Is FotF (1st ed) just a bit broken in this specific case? Do I need to go to the 2nd ed?
I think the Funnel Mode included with the 2nd edition *really captures the scrappiness very well. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at 1st edition, so I can’t recall exactly how that one works. Freebooters 2e is more expansive than 1e, and worth learning. It’s also free (or it was), but their website isn’t pulling up for me tonight …
Also, are you comfortable hacking the game (I have things I’ve tried involving the numbers and whatnot) and/or asking the players to modify or re-roll their stats? What do they think about changing editions?
I’m a bit loathe to hack or change editions just yet because we’ve only just translated existing characters from another system to this one (we’re into the story and characters but trying to find the system that fits best for what we want).
Maybe I’ll just say that an ability score of 18 gives a +2? That’s almost not even a hack.
These PCs have been through some stuff so we made them 2nd level.
I think the +2 mod would be easy to implement, so why not. 18 strength is unlikely for a reason. For character generation in systems like this, I currently prefer 2d6+3 for stats, since having an 18 or 3 Intelligence is fun, but not very practical.
Another easy, dramatic thing is to have them roll 1d12 to hit, instead of 2d6. This is controversial, and I know many PbtA purists would argue against this idea, hard. But yeah, I’ve tried it a couple times, and feels pretty hardcore. (If it feels too hardcore, you can increase the range of “mixed success” to cover 6-9 instead of just 7-9, but I imagine that won’t be necessary.)
Hmm yeah. I might go with that. I’m ok with the swinginess for hard scrabble - and there are often +4’s to deal with too, what with the classic and magic user able to buff others with a +1.
In fact, I’m definitely going with rolling d12 instead of 2d6. The more I think about it, the more the swinginess fits my conception of the PCs as roguish types, living largely on their luck. Now even a +4 (+3 plus one for a cleric’s bless, for example) gives a reasonable chance to fail.
Thanks for the suggestion @CapKudzu .