Wednesday 20 May 2015

[LotFP/LL/S&W/OSR] Knife fighting

Pic from:

In The Brotherhood Of Rose novel by David Morell there was a knife fighting scene between two agents. They used knife hand to attack and off-hand to parry opponent's attack. That is an inspiration for this post. I decided to use LotFP as a default for writing this, but this is easy to adapt to other OSR games like Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord, as long as you remember that Armor Class values are a bit different in those. LotFP unarmored default is 12, in S&W it is 10. Both of those are ascending. In Labyrinth Lord default unarmored AC is 9 and it is descending.


In this example I use a character with leather armor which is 2 better than unarmored in every edition. In addition the example character has +1 modifier (-1 in descending) to AC from his Dexterity Score.

This is how his AC looks:
Unarmored--with Dexterity--With leather armor--TOTAL

When using a fighting technique, where you use your main hand to attack with knife AND your off-hand to parry opponents knife strikes, add 2 to armor class. The AC would consist of the following:


So, to hit the character and inflict knife's d4 damage to HP opponent needs to roll 17 or higher. Just like by-the-book. But parrying with your hand hurts, am I right?

When the attack roll hits the range of the "technique", which in above example would be 16 and 17 of AC, one point of damage is suffered. Why?

0-12 is the default how hard anything human sized is to hit. 12-13 is how much the guy with DEX bonus dodges and moves around. 14-15 is where the actual armor comes in play. 16 and 17 are your hand blocking the knife's sharp blade, so naturally roll results of 16 and 17, which in AC scale represent your hand result damage.

In A Nut Shell:

Fighting with a knife using off-hand to parry gives +2 to AC, but the AC values in that +2 ranges when rolled with to-hit (with attack bonuses) deal 1 HP damage.

Monday 18 May 2015

I fixed low monster xp for B/X style games

Monsters don't give much experience points in earlier editions and similacrum systems (OSR) because the point of the game is treasures and exploration. Generally if you want to kill tons of monsters you should choose a game with less deadly (early levels) combat and better support for monster killing.

There are cheap and quick fixes for character survival; max HP at first level, dead at -X instead of zero HP, starting HP equals to CON score etc. These fixes give characters few extra hits to survive but don't change the advancement.

Here comes XP multipliers for monsters!

So, when characters kill monsters in creative or cool ways, X2.

When they kill monsters in sneaky ways, X3.

When they survive the combat uninjured, X5.

The point is to make fights rewarding and to encourage players to do everything else than roll dice taking turns (and propably die - also boring).

Avoiding monsters gives normal monster XP, so spotting them and getting around them is still a reward. Now you can concider the risks: should you sneak past them (X1 XP) or try to maul them with cunning and survive unharmed (X5 XP).

True, if you engage many fights you will get more XP than default. You are more likely to lose those extra experience points, though. With your character's life!

I have to admit I am a little loose on handing experience points. I don't have months to see players' characters to grow in power, and they will be dead or retired at some point anyways.

Once I even gave solid 10x for all monster XP for more heroic and combat oriented game! It's all about what you want from your campaign and what will be the focus. The focus of the campaign is a good start to determine the source for XP.

One-shots and adventure module gaming RAW is fine. In that kind of game experience is not numbers on the paper (is it ever only that) but the challenge and the story for the players to have fun with.

Well, that's how I roll.

Sunday 3 May 2015

[Review] The Tomb Of Gardag The Strange

A Labyrinth Lord compatible adventure by 3 Toadstool Publishing+Shane Ward. PDF, pay-what-you-want available at DriveThruRPG.


Artwork is very cool, looted from Shane finds the best pictures there! Layout is clear two columns. What I like very much in descriptions is that general information is separated from italic GM information. This style makes entries easy to read and separate what should be told right away for players, and what not.

The Adventure

Dungeon with a good introduction. Something else than your average "there's treasure, go get it". Background of the adventure is nice and easily put in a setting of your choice. In only 16 pages (including OGL) there are 24 rooms! That's a lot!

The adventure is quite dark with undead, tombs and stuff like that. I like it. If you've played Skyrim you know what I mean if I say that I can imagine Tomb Of Gardag like draugh tombs.

I think that all content fits together quite nicely, I didn't get any "that's random" or "what is that doing there in the first place" feelings like some dungeons give.

Extra Stuff

You also get three pregenerated characters. The adventure is for 3rd level adventurers but the pregens are first levels. Shane told that it's a mess-up and leftover, because initially this was going to be Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel adventure inspired.

You also get 12 interesting henchmen. No stats, but cool descriptions. I like little things what can be used elsewhere even if the adventure is used.

Value For Money?

Yes. This is great dungeon! It is pay-what-you-want, so it doesn't cost anything to get. So I think this is a must have. Although I think this is worth money, and the money is well spent.

When Shane was writing this I saw WIP and got very excited about it. Now published, it claimed my excitement and gave more.

I like this!

Ran Temple Of Greed for my girlfriend

Needless to say, there be spoilers of this adventure I wrote.

Available here:


I decided to use Swords & Wizardry Core. My girlfriend was playing alone, so she created four characters for herself. This took less than an hour, and she had:
Seppo, human Cleric
Teppo, dwarf Fighter
Nen, halfling Thief
Keppo, elf M-U/Fighter

Here's the character sheet I made for this occasion. Two charactersheets fit one paper.

Disclaimer Of Player's Style

My girlfriend does play roleplaying games, but she is more interested in stories, characters and that sort of thing than adventures and action. Sure she handles action and combat, but meta-level dungeoneering what needs player skills is unknown to her. She doesn't search for traps all the time, but randomly chooses when to do so. This door she might search, but weird altar nope. Also she's not too gold-lusty, so many potential treasures are left behind.

This Is What Happened (Did I Already Say SPOILERS? Yes I Did!)

I won't write everything what happened, just the highlights.

  • The word puzzle on a door where you need to push letter buttons went well. No one lost fingers.
  • Second puzzle was quite obvious, especially when she searched for traps. No one got gassed.
  • They found the skeleton, but didn't loot it.
  • Elf senses tingled and the gold at altar room was found out to be cursed. Despise of that Halfling took one cursing himself with greed, negative experience point and unable to gain experience if he's not greedy enough. Others kicked Halfling's ass for this.
  • Halfing decided to check out the diamonds of the scythe trap. Failed save and scythe cut piece of his nose, left cheek and ear off! Lost 25% permanent HP and 2 points of CHA. Others think that Halfling isn't very good Thief at all!
  • First statue, they raised wrong hand in purpose because were too suspicious and scared to raise the right one. No one checked for traps though. In the end they had to come back and raise the right hand.
  • They figured out that if you put all your gold on the altar you get that much exp! But the gold turned into liquid and was lost! Halfing tried this but he's cursed so no experience gain for him from the gold he lost! Others kick Halfling's ass again.
  • Door with plate mechanism, my girlfriend knew this from when I wrote this adventure. She knew that she needs to peek somewhere, found that place and solved the puzzle.
  • Was delighted of the big diamond, but lost it for the second statue. Somehow it was Halfling's fault.
  • Third statue was easy, no problem. But at this point first statue was aligned wrong so nothing happened. Back there, fix it, and a secret door opens!
  • Three fail save and want to move gilded altar away from the room. Elf thinks they are stupid. Altar leaves room, illusion breaks, door opens.
  • Long corridor. Slot for gold coins and engraving hinting of the amount how much money should be put in. They ignored it and proceeded, no trap-searching. Save, and dwarf jumps back when trapdoor opens on the floor and the rest fall in. 10 feet drop into liquid gold and the trapdoor closes! Dwarf tries to tinker with it a little, but the door doesn't stay open long enough so rope was useful.
  • Dwarf thought, he'll proceed and figure out later how to get friends out. In the liquid gold pit Elf and Cleric blame Halfling for this and are plotting to murder him. Halfling is too short so his head is below the surface, so Elf and Cleric need to take turns to carry him!
  • Dwarf finds a door and a diamond and a slot on the door the diamond fits. Dwarf didn't check the door and puts the diamond in. The door opens and Dwarf saves and doesn't die.
  • Inside is tons of gold coins (10,000) and the door closes shut behind him (I decided this door instead of the front door to keep the guys near each other). Dwarf tries to figure out what's going on searching hints, but finds nothing how to escape.
  • Dwarf in turns is happy for the huge treasure and sad because he's stuck in that room. Later he gets hungry and eats gold pieces. Not a good idea, he found out. DWARF DIES... later...
  • Elf and Cleric start to figure out that Dwarf is not getting them out. They get tired of holding Halfling up. Halfling is first to drown in liquid gold. Elf and Cleric blame Halfling for this. They die later drowning in liquid gold.
Total loot: Well, they didn't get anything into the town, but what they kinda got was:
  1. 1 cursed gp for the Halfling
  2. 10,000 gp for the Dwarf
  3. 1,000,000 worth of liquid gold for Halfling, Cleric and Elf