Sunday, March 2, 2014

House Rules for Labyrinth Lord

I've grown alittle of tired of Adventurer Conqueror King and its list of proficiencies, undue complication, over-fiddly (and IMO incorrect and anachronistic) economics. I really like the look of Labyrinth Lord, its class list, and, with the Advanced Edition Companion, evocation of first and second edition D&D with the simplicity and coherence of the retro clones. That said, I'm going to be adding a number of house rules to get the type of play I like. Some of these are stolen from Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which I'm not using because I like all classes to increase their fighting abilities over time (and I like giving players the options of Paladins, Rangers, and other traditional classes). So here's the list:

1. Death and Dismemberment table for when characters fall below 0 hp. To increase survivability at low levels, but nevertheless give serious consequences to damage. I also added effects of destroying armor and reducing ability scores, so that the latter can be decreased instead of inevitability increased over time. From BRP games I've played in, I liked the feel of having to replace and repair armor.

Death and Dismemberment Table: When a PC is reduced to 0 hp or below (at -10 hp all characters die), she passes out until above 1 hp unless she wishes to attempt to stay conscious with a Save v. Death and rolls on the following chart:

Instant Death (decapitated or other grievous wound) also, armor and helm 75% chance each destroyed
Fatal wound: (gutted, stabbed through lung, broken back, etc) die in 1d6+1 rounds unless treated. Any armor worn is effectively destroyed. Permanent -2 CON.
Severed or utterly crushed limb: (DM decision or roll randomly) die in 3d6 rounds unless stanched by fire, tourniquet or Cure Serious Wounds. Armor damaged (-2 effective AC) and any shield destroyed. Permanent -1 STR and -1 DEX.
Head injury: (broken skull, smashed face, ear lost) If helmet worn, destroyed and extra save v. death -4 required to stay conscious. Without helm, unconscious 1d4 weeks and permanent -2 INT and -2 CHA.
Broken bone: (DM decision or roll randomly) Limb useless until healed with Cure Serious Wounds or set and then allowed to heal 1d4 weeks. Can use for 1 round if conscious and succeed at save v. death -4.  Armor damaged (-1 AC) and any shield destroyed. If not healed by magic within 1 day, Save v. Death or permanent -1 STR or DEX.
Lost Feature (lost eye, finger, gnarly wound): As bleeding below, and -1 DEX (e.g. hand or limb wounds) or -1 WIS (e.g. eye) or -1 CHA (e.g. ugly scarring), player choice.
Bleeding: (deep laceration, internal bruises, etc.): Character loses 1 hp per round unless healed or stanched from bleeding. Armor damaged (-1 AC)
Concussion: Cannot regain consciousness for 1d4 rounds after healed. If not wearing helmet, -1 INT. Helmet destroyed.

2. Silver piece standard. I'm going to try keeping costs the same but income converted from GP to SP (including starting wealth), since I find portable goods to be far underpriced in D&D from a purchasing power parity inflation standard. I also want the feel of struggling to gain and maintain wealth. SP will give 1 XP, rather than GP (so now worth ten). Generally, I agree with Middenmurk on this topic.

3. Ranged weapons and oil flasks (and lances): All range modifiers decreased by 1 (so now short range is +0 rather than +1); oil flasks only do 1d4 damage, and only catch on fire those hit with a 4 for initial damage (meaning the victim takes 1d4 damage next round, ad infinitum if 4s are rolled). "Point blank" range for medieval ranged weapons makes little sense, given that they were actually poor at piercing armor (maybe I'd retain a +1 modifier to crossbows?). Dedicated lances (i.e. a longer and heavier spear, not just a spear by another name) do 1d8 damage rather than 1d6.

4. 50% discount to all XP requirements. If using races as different than classes, I give humans a 10% discount to XP because, let's face it, level caps never actually come into play and I loathe parties totally filled with demihumans.

5. Encumbrance: Haven't fully decided on this, but I found that reduced movement for encumbrance doesn't really encourage players to forgo loading themselves up with tons of gear. Also, it's not really that you're slower in bursts or sprints when you're carrying gear (in my experience from the Army and hitting people with padded sticks, and what I've heard from others), it's that you get exhausted more easily. So, I would propose limiting the number of continuing rounds of action in combat without taking a 1 round "rest" (no move, no attack, quaff water and talk only). Start at 3+CON bonus at the first encumbrance level as the number of rounds, reduced by 1 each level, until max encumbrance. I also may use the rule about characters wearing armor adding 1 to their encumbrance level. I'll see how harsh this all works out.

6. Fighter weapon specialization: at first level and every 3 levels thereafter (i.e. 4th) a fighter can "specialize" in a weapon giving +1 to attack and +1 damage (I'm fine with this being weapon categorizes like 1-handed swords). This is to make the class a more attractive option and reflects how different weapons are used differently in medieval combat, and more practice with certain weapons gives more skill with those weapons that isn't transferable to all other hand-to-hand weapons. 

7. Creative Criticals on a natural 20 (maybe 19-20 with swords). By default, criticals are 2x damage. But the player can elect to do something creative with criticals if I think it works with the weapon/armor combination between the attack and defender, like breaking a shield or a piece of armor, disarming an opponent, etc. Depending on the choice, may still do regular damage.

8. Cleave: a killing blow allows the character to follow up with an attack on an adjacent enemy. [Edit:] Fighters and subclasses can cleave a number of times per round equal to their level, and other classes once per round. I like that this gives a 'heroic slaying' feel to the game, so I don't mind adding it.

9. Fumbles give attacks of opportunity by adjacent enemies and/or a dropped/broken weapon. This is to balance the cleave rules above, and adds more random chaos-y fun.

10. Magic: Mages get the benefit of bonus spells for high INT as divine casters do for high WIS. Spell research rules as per Lamentations of the Flame Princess, rather than having to wait until 9th level to make a scroll.