June 20th 2024

Prepare for Combat

Buckle up, this is a big update!

We've rebuilt the encounter system from the ground up, and we believe we've finally nailed it—third time's the charm! This update makes Friends & Fables a truly first-of-its-kind digital TTRPG experience, and we’re super excited for you to try it.

The highlights:

  • DnD 5e Combat Features - Franz will handle surprise rounds, initiative tracking, critical hits, monster multi-attacks, xp, leveling up, short/long rests, and more. We still have more to iron out and add to get to 5e parity but we’re getting quite close!

  • Natural Language → Weapon & Spells - During combat, you can say “I cast Fireball at the Goblin Leader”, and Franz will update your spell slots, apply your spell modifier, and resolve the turn by accurately processing your attack + damage rolls and updating your target’s HP.

  • Constraints & Consequences - To date, AI RPGs (including F&F) have felt somewhat meaningless because they have all lacked proper constraints and consequences. Franz is now the first AI Game Master that will truly impose constraints on you. He’ll stop you during combat and remind you that you can’t cast a spell because you’ve run out of spell slots, or don’t have a particular weapon equipped. Regarding consequences, the combat system means that if you mess with the wrong thug or fall into a manticore’s lair, you risk dying if you can’t roll your way out. These constraints and consequences will make your decisions feel more meaningful, and your adventures more impactful.

Monsters

Combat wouldn't be complete without monsters! We've added several new features to enhance the world building experience.

  • Foundry Screen: Located on the homepage, the Foundry is the place to create monsters that can be reused across different worlds. In the future this will also include homebrew items, spells, characters, and more that can be shared with other world builders to use in their worlds.

  • World Monsters Tab: Within a world, the monster tab displays all the monsters present in the world. You can add monsters from your Foundry or create brand new ones which will automatically get saved to your Foundry for later use.

With this, world builders can create dynamic worlds and areas of varying danger containing different monsters! Being able to drag and drop monsters in the map view is coming soon.

  • Dynamic Generation: Monsters aren’t limited to what’s defined in the world, and will also be dynamically generated for the campaign given the context of the story.

Encounter Generation

Encounters are generated and combat begins whenever a party member clicks "Roll for Initiative". Here are some key points:

  • If monsters haven't been added to your world but Franz detects them in the story, he will generate them.

  • If you fail a skill check in a dangerous situation, Franz will initiate an encounter.

  • You can trigger Franz to ask you to roll for initiative by declaring an attack, such as saying "I attack the first Goblin".

  • Successful sneak attacks will trigger a surprise round, allowing your party to act before the enemies.

Combat

We've aimed to keep combat as close to Dungeons and Dragons 5e rules as possible, and we'll continue to refine this. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Manual Commands: Trigger attacks via the spell screen (Wand button), roll screen (Dice button), or by speaking to Franz (e.g., "I cast Fireball at Goblin 2!"). Franz will generate the attack for you to confirm, updating your spell slots and handling weapon damage dice.

  • Mid-Combat Inquiries: Ask questions like "How far away is the enemy?" or "Can I use this spell right now?". Early testers have even gotten Franz to generate ASCII battle maps.

  • Accurate Rolls and HP Updates: All attack and damage rolls are calculated accurately, ensuring HP updates reflect real damage dealt.

  • Critical Hits and Advantage/Disadvantage: Franz detects and handles critical hits and advantage/disadvantage scenarios.

  • Saving Throws: Franz automatically rolls saving throws for enemies when necessary

  • Fleeing and Death: Flee combat by saying "I try to flee". Note that we’ve made a slight departure from 5e rules—characters die as soon as HP hits 0, with no unconscious states at this moment.

Leveling / XP / Rests

  • Gaining XP: Earn XP for each monster you defeat.

  • Rests: Long and short rests can be initiated by asking Franz.

  • Leveling Up: Characters will automatically level up, with Franz notifying you of max HP gains and proficiency bonus increases. Feats will be introduced later!

Known Issues / Roadmap

While this update gets us much further, there is still work to be done! Here are some known issues you can expect. We plan on addressing these issues over the next couple of weeks!

  • Franz may not always correctly handle lasting effects from spells.

  • Mid-combat healing with health potions or spells is problematic.

  • Conditions are not yet implemented.

  • Proficiency bonuses from weapons are not applied correctly.

  • Stat boosts from spells or weapons may not work properly.

  • Feats are not available when leveling up.

  • Updating spells or weapons for NPCs in your party is currently not possible.


Thank you for your continued support, patience, and feedback as we work to improve Friends & Fables. We’d love to know what you think as you try out the new update. If you're enjoying F&F, please consider mentioning us on social media!