Friday, August 19, 2016

Tentative House Rules for My Online LotFP Game

UPDATE: Please see THIS POST for more up-to-date house rules.

Since I'm hoping to start an online campaign of Lamentations of the Flame Princess with some friends in the near future, I figure I might as well explain some house rules I'm considering for use in said campaign. None of this is set in stone, of course, but this is all stuff I've been pondering for a while, and which I'd like to try out. I also can't promise these are good house rules, but one of my goals is to playtest them, so I guess that comes with the territory. I should also note that most of these are lifted from the LotFP Playtest Document, either as-is or in modified form. I may not explicitly mention this in all cases, so please keep in mind that credit for a lot of this material should go to James Raggi.

The Rule of Reasonableness (Paraphrased from the Playtest Document) - If the chance of failure wouldn't be interesting, or if it seems reasonable that something should just work, let the PCs automatically succeed at what they're doing.

The Rule of One (Paraphrased from the Playtest Document) - If the DM just really wants an excuse to screw with the players, they can roll a d6. On a 1, the DM has permission to add a problem or complication to the current situation.

Character Classes - Options are the Specialist, the Magic-User, the Cleric, maybe the Alice (from A Red & Pleasant Land), and possibly other classes upon request (since there are so many great homebrew classes on blogs and in zines and such).
But what about the Fighter, you may ask? All PCs, of all classes, start with the Fighter's combat options and with a Base Attack Bonus of +2, and gain +1 BAB per level after that (maxing out at +10). Unless you stay at home like a good little peasant or wimpy noble, you have to be a killer to survive in this world. Especially if your career revolves around killing folks/monsters and taking their stuff. (You can probably glean some of my justifications for trying this idea in some previous posts, but I'm willing to explain, discuss, and debate the matter in the comments or on the Facebook group or one of the Google+ groups if anyone is interested. At any rate, it's just a fun experiment, and if it breaks the game I can just deal with it.)

XP per Level - All PCs need the same amount of experience points to reach each level:
  1. 0
  2. 2,500
  3. 5,000
  4. 10,000
  5. 20,000
  6. 40,000
  7. 80,000
  8. 160,000
  9. 320,000
  10. 480,000
  11. 640,000
  12. 800,000
  13. 960,000
  14. 1,120,000
  15. 1,280,000
  16. 1,440,000
  17. 1,600,000
  18. 1,760,000
  19. 1,920,000
  20. +160,000 per level after Level 19.
Ability Scores
CHARISMA - As per Rules & Magic.
CONSTITUTION - Affects Hit Dice (see below) and Wilderness Travel Speed (as per Rules & Magic)

  • 3 to 4 CON = d4 HP per level (+1 from level 10 on)
  • 5 to 8 CON = d6 HP per level (+1 from level 10 on)
  • 9 to 12 CON = d8 HP per level (+d2 from level 10 on)
  • 13 to 16 CON = d10 HP per level (+d3 from level 10 on)
  • 17 to 18 CON = d12 HP per level (+d3 from level 10 on)
DEXTERITY - As per Rules & Magic.
INTELLIGENCE - Affects Saving Throws vs. Magical Effects (and Saving Throws vs. your Magic-User spells)

  • 3 to 4 INT = 2d6 (and targets of your Magic-User spells get a bonus d6 for their saves)
  • 5 to 8 INT = 3d6
  • 9 to 12 INT = 4d6
  • 13 to 16 INT = 5d6
  • 17 to 18 INT = 6d6 (and targets of your Magic-User spells get a penalty d6 taken from their saves)
STRENGTH - Affects item slots per Encumbrance Point (see below) and Melee Attack Bonus (as per Rules & Magic)
  • 3 to 4 STR = 3 item slots per Encumbrance Point
  • 5 to 8 STR = 4 item slots per Encumbrance Point
  • 9 to 12 STR = 5 item slots per Encumbrance Point
  • 13 to 16 STR = 6 item slots per Encumbrance Point
  • 17 to 18 STR = 7 item slots per Encumbrance Point
WISDOM - Affects Saving Throws vs. Non-Magical Effects (and Saving Throws vs. your Cleric spells)
  • 3 to 4 WIS = 2d6 (and targets of your Cleric spells get a bonus d6 for their saves)
  • 5 to 8 WIS = 3d6
  • 9 to 12 WIS = 4d6
  • 13 to 16 WIS = 5d6
  • 17 to 18 WIS = 6d6 (and targets of your Cleric spells get a penalty d6 taken from their saves)
Ability Score Checks - When a PC attempts to accomplish certain risky actions that are not covered by a Skill, the DM may ask for an Ability Score Check (Strength Check, Charisma Check, etc.) in order to determine success or failure. The player rolls a d20. If the result is equal to or less than their character's relevant ability score, they succeed. If the result is higher, they fail. EDIT: I am considering using 3d6 for Ability Score Checks instead of 1d20.

Increasing HP - Upon leveling up, roll a number of Hit Dice equal to your new level (up to level 9, after which each additional level gives you less, as per the CONSTITUTION house rule above). If you roll an amount higher than your previous maximum, that becomes your new maximum HP. If you roll an amount equal to or lower than your previous maximum, your new maximum is your previous maximum plus 1.

Saving Throws - As per the Playtest Document, except that PCs (not NPCs) count Partial Saves as Full Saves, except in the following cases.
  • Saves vs. Death upon reaching 0 HP or less (see below)
  • Breath/Area of Effect Saves (Full Save = no damage, Partial Save = half damage)
  • Saving Throws against effects that would ordinarily still cause harm if the Save is successful (Full Save = no effect, Partial Save = normal effect of a successful Save as written)
  • Saving Throws made to resolve an attempt by a PC to do something unusual not covered by a Skill Check, Ability Score Check, The Rule of One, The Rule of Reasonableness, or any other standard resolution mechanic. For example: Hugh Cain the Specialist is trapped on an alien spaceship. He finds a sealed door operated by a complicated control panel nearby. He happens to have no reasonable way to figure out what each button does just by looking at it (using his Intelligence, for example) because he is completely clueless about both the language and technology of the aliens. He decides to hit buttons on the control panel randomly in an attempt to open the door. The DM calls for a Non-Magic Saving Throw. On a Full Save, the door opens. On a Partial Save, the door opens, but a complication is introduced (maybe the door jams halfway open, or the control panel zaps Hugh). On a Failed Save, the door does not open, and a complication is introduced. EDIT: It occurs to me that since Saving Throws are completely dependent on Intelligence or Wisdom now, using a Saving Throw for this kind of situation still isn't that different from making an Intelligence Check or Wisdom Check. I might just either completely replace these kinds of Saving Throws with INT/WIS Checks, or use Saving Throws instead of INT/WIS Checks only when the possibility of a Partial Save adds something very interesting to the situation.
Bonuses and Penalties to Saving Throws (for purposes of backwards compatibility) - Increase or decrease the number of dice as follows:
  • Penalty of -6 or more = Three less d6s
  • Penalty of -4 to -5 = Two less d6s
  • Penalty of -1 to -3 = One less d6
  • Bonus of 1 to 3 = One more d6
  • Bonus of 4 to 5 = Two more d6s
  • Bonus of 6 or more = Three more d6s
Note that the maximum number of dice in a Saving Throw is 6d6, and the minimum is 2d6, so bonuses and penalties that would normally result in more than 6 dice or less than 2 dice simply result in the maximum or minimum number of dice instead.

Dying - If a PC is reduced to between 0 and -9 HP, the player must roll a Non-Magic Saving Throw and consult the following table:
  • 0 HP:  Full Save = Conscious and Active, Partial Save = Unconscious, Failed Save = Unconscious
  • -1 to -3 HP: Full Save = Conscious and Active, Partial Save = Unconscious, Failed Save = Unconsciousness and Inevitable Death in d10 minutes.
  • -4 to -6 HP: Full Save = Unconscious, Partial Save = Unconsciousness and Inevitable Death in d10 minutes, Failed Save = Instant Death
  • -7 to -9 HP: Full Save = Unconsciousness and Inevitable Death in d10 minutes, Partial Save = Instant Death, Failed Save = Instant Death
If a PC reaches a state of Inevitable Death, no amount of healing, magical or otherwise, can save them from dying. At the DM's discretion, they can rouse themselves from unconsciousness long enough to choke out a few final words, but that's about it.
If a PC is reduced to -10 or less HP, they die instantly.

Skills - The list of Skills includes everything listed in the Playtest Document, plus Sneak Attack (see Rules & Magic). More Skills can be added if desired. The Open Doors Skill is simply replaced by a Strength Check if needed. EDIT: Actually, I probably am going to change the Skill list a bit more than this. See this post for details.
Climbing and Traveling use the new rules from the Playtest Document.
Skills work as explained in Rules & Magic (i.e. Roll a d6 and try to get your Skill score or lower, etc.).
At character creation, every PC starts with 4 points in one Skill and 3 points in another, as chosen by the player. Otherwise, every Skill starts at 1. Skills cannot be permanently increased beyond these starting amounts except through class-based features (for example, the Specialist starts with 4 extra skill points and gains 2 more per level) or through special effects, usually magical, which may occur over the course of various adventures in highly specific circumstances.

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