- He can wield a Great Sword (the most powerful melee weapon available, doing 3d+1 damage), and yet is “frail of frame”
- He can punch you in the face for 1d+1 (equivalent to a warhammer), and yet is “frail of frame”
- He can lift 324 kg (that’s over a third of a ton...), and yet is “frail of frame”
- He can wander around in cloth and leather armor without penalty, and yet is “frail of frame”
- Per ITL, he can also pick up “...items of furniture, BIG rocks, etc., and throw them for (1+1) damage”, ... and yet is still considered “frail of frame”
Geez! I wish I could have such a “frail frame”... I could arm wrestle Conan of Cimmeria and actually rip his relatively “puny” little arm off and beat him to death with it, if I so chose! I would sure hate to see what the module writers would have considered to be a robust frame...
Of course, the real problem here is that ST is used for both fatigue and physique, and since a wizard’s spells can exact a high price in terms of exhaustion “damage” (especially for the more potent spells), they are forced to bulk up like Hercules just to be viable spellcasters.
Naturally, I am hardly the first to notice this, and many house-rule solutions have been proffered to remedy this situation. They generally involve either creating a separate “Constitution” or “Endurance” type attribute, or splitting ST in some manner so as to have a separate “Fatigue ST” (fST). These solutions will certainly work, but their general drawback is that they take away from the elegance of the basic TFT system.
There are three other approaches that have not really been proposed before, though. The first two involve the creation of new talents that allow for either additional fST points, reduction of fatigue damage or more efficient spell casting capability in terms of fatigue cost, while the last allows for using more than one IQ point to learn a given spell, which would give various benefits to include in some cases lower fatigue costs.
A straight-forward talent to add would be an “Endurance” talent, similar in concept to the existing “Running” talent, that could enhance one’s ability to take fatigue damage through yoga and other exercise. The in-game effect would in its simplest form be to arbitrarily add a few fST points to your total ST. Any loss of fST due to spells or other exertion would be taken from this, first. An alternative approach would either reduce the cost of the fST loss or spread it out over time better (or both). For example, a spell that cost 3 to cast and 1 to maintain might cost only 2 to cast and 1 every other turn to maintain. There would be at least two levels for this talent, maybe three. Adopting this approach would make the most sense if other fST costs and penalties were assessed for other strenuous activity, such as fighting for several turns, running in armor or running in general for long distances, etc.
Another approach would be talents geared specifically towards wizards. A truly skilled wizard may well be able to manipulate magical energies in such a manner as to gain the same “bang” for less fST “buck.” Using this approach you might have some sort of “Magery” or “Sorcery” talents that reduce the cost of casting and maintaining a spell (as explained above) and perhaps provide some other benefits as well.
The final method is simply to allow for “double” and “triple” memorization of spells, in other words, to practice them more intensely to allow the wizard to cast them more efficiently and/or effectively. Depending on the type of spell (T, M, C, or S) this allows for lower fST to cast, or perhaps greater effectiveness (or both). In many cases the wizard will expend less fST to cast the spell.
I have not settled on a final method, as each approach has advantages and disadvantages. I do kind of favor the multiple memorization of a given spell, which sort of treats each higher “level” of the spell as an advanced talent, sort of like UC1, UC2, UC3, etc., though I also like some of the ideas behind using talents, as well.
Bottom line, though, is that with these changes to the TFT rules you can make Lou Ferigno wizards a thing of the past!