Monday, February 27, 2012

20 Questions

Branden's survey has made for some interesting blog posts, so I figured I'd join the band wagon....and yes, I would jump off a bridge, assuming the rest of the old school D&D bloggers were doing it...

This info is for my Labyrinth Lord campaign. It's still pretty fresh, so some of this info is likely to change as time goes on...

1. Ability scores generation method?
3d6 straight. Players determine character race and class after rolling. We've created a binder full of characters anyone can use. You can pick what you want to play out of that binder. There are plenty of good, mediocre, and lousy characters to choose from. Every once in a while, someone shows up with a bunch of rolled characters to restock the population.

2. How are death and dying handled?
You die at 0. Unless you make other arrangements, the other players are free to loot your corpse, but do not gain experience for gained treasure. 

3. What about raising the dead?
If you can find someone to cast it, and you have a bunch of money (or are willing to take on a quest), we can probably work something out.

4. How are replacement PCs handled?
I've had people take over retainers or other NPCs. They can also find replacements (from the character sheet binder or something of their own creation) when they head to some sort of civilization. If they are in the middle of a dungeon crawl, I'd probably have them stumble across another party or individual.

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Group rolls a d6 vs. the bad guys. In the case of a tie, the action is simultaneous. I let the players go first, then I go. If a PC or NPC dies during a tied initiative round, they still get their strike in.

6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Critical hits happen on a natural 20 only and do double die damage. Strength and bonuses from magic items do not double. Critical hits roll on a d20 table to determine location and cause scars (which mostly just look cool). Rolling a 1 will always miss the target. On the following round, you go after the PCs and the NPCs while you fumble around and try to regain your composure.

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
All armor is assumed to include a helmet of some sort. Magic users could purchase and wear some sort of helmet (preferably with ram horns on the sides). It doesn't come up much, but I could see a couple traps or specific locations where I might give a bonus if the character has a helmet.

8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Yes you can, but only if you fumble. Firing into melee is at a standard -4 penalty.

9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
Running can be a very wise decision.

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?

11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Just like above. Playing traps, spells, monsters, poisons BTB. If the bug bears don't get you, the yellow mold will.

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
I'm not too strict with encumbrance. Just trying to keep things within reason.You shouldn't be carting around an entire adventuring supply shop plus your life's savings every time you leave the house. I am experimenting with tracking torches and rest periods, though. You'll also be expected to tick off rations for each day away from civilization.

13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
No training or extended down time required, although you will need to rest before leveling. You can only get new spells by discovering them in treasure and copying to spell book. Large cities may have a Mage's Guild willing to allow copying for a fee (or quest).

14. What do I get experience for?
 Most of the XP will come from treasure at 1 XP per GP. No XP for magic items. Some XP will come from killing stuff. Occasionally XP can be gained from completing tasks. You've gotta get the treasure back to your base of operations before you get the XP, though.

15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Some combination. It depends on the trap. I roll behind the screen for people actively searching. If you are moving through the dungeon at the exploratory pace, I give passive rolls. If you are running or moving quickly, you do not get the passive roll.

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Retainers are encouraged. 0-level men-at-arms and non-combat retainers do a morale roll at the end of the adventure and during dire situations. Charisma bonuses and general treatment bonuses will apply. Classed retainers expect a 1/3 share of found treasure, do not require "end of the adventure" morale rolls, but may desert in dire situations (again, general treatment and charisma bonuses apply).

17. How do I identify magic items?
Most must be identified through use or casting Identifiy (from LL AEC). Potions can be identified by sipping or consulting an alchemist.

18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
 You can find magic items. You might be able to buy something on occasion, but the owner isn't likely to know about the magic properties. Potions can occasionally be purchased from alchemists or temples.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
 Sure...I haven't worked this out yet. I'd need to review the rules in the books. Definitely not at low levels.

20. What about splitting the party?
 If you really want to, but I wouldn't recommend it.


  1. I like the idea of keeping a binder full of pregens.

  2. Since the players help to generate them, they can still some kind of connection. It also works out nicely when they happen upon a leveled NPC and hire him on as a retainer. We even have a "Grave Yard" in the back of the binder for the guys that didn't quite make it.

  3. I am very fortunate to have found your group, Mike- I wholeheartedly agree with the outlook & philosphy of all of you and these questions verify that I even agree with your minor play choices.

    The only (very minor) point of divergence is how I handle firing into melee. It really hasn't come up in play for us (as we don't have many ranged weapons in the group), but here's how I handle it: if you miss your target completely (the roll would fail to hit AC 9), roll again for anyone engaged in melee with the target.