Original edition – ancient school style

Old School Rules, or better, Pre-Gygax rules, share one quality: They are immensely flexible. You can glue almost any other system onto them, and they still won’t break.

I have mentioned on MeWe that I find myself of two minds when it comes to roleplaying: for scifi campaigns and Hong Kong action sessions, I prefer our Landshut rules just the way they are: no hit points, no xp, no fixed character classes, no fixed character races, no ability scores, no damage roll.

Strangely enough, this is not my preferred way of roleplaying when I referee fantasy. For my fantasy games, I want all the bells and whistles.

I’ve already written about how easy and quick the Landshut rules can be adapted to play Cyberpunk 2020. Last week, we started our space opera campaign, using the Landshut rules to power Star Dogs.

Today, I want to adapt our rules to play the game that Gygax made out of Dave Arneson’s rules. Let’s see how this works out. For this post, I’m using the Single Volume Edition. I’m also throwing some of Campaigns Playable’s house rules in the mix.

1) Roll abilities
For every 15+, I write down “very” + the adjective that belongs to the characteristic, and for every 5 or lower, I write down the opposite of the adjective. All other numbers signify an unremarkable, average stat.

2) Prime requisites
Here; I’m riffing off of Campaigns Playable’s house rules:

… but simplify them: a very high prime requisite earns the character 20 percent more xp, while a very low PR costs him 20 percent. Done.

3) Character Classes
Fighting-men: Prime requisite STR, +1 Hit Die per level, use all weapons and armor
Magic-users: PR INT, +1 HD per odd level, +1 HP every even level, use dagger/staff, no armor
Clerics: PR WIS, +1 HP every third level, +1 HD all other levels, no sharp weapons
Hobbit: PR DEX, +1 HP every third level, +1 HD all other levels, no huge weapons
Dwarf: PR CON, +1 Hit Die per level, no long weapons
Elf: PR CHA, +1 HP every third level, +1 HD all other levels, no blunt weapons

4) Spells

Clerics, Magic-users and elves get Spell Points. Magic-users get 4+Experience Level points, all other casters get 2+Level points.
All casters can cast spells of any level. A save is required to cast a spell successfully. A failed roll means you lose Spell Points equal to the spell level.
The referee might consider giving out treasure that increases Spell Points. This might be done to counterbalance the more costly higher level spells (compared to the old system).
To record spells, casters can write, draw, etch, tattoo or paint the formulas on every suitable surface.
5) Attacks
Add HD to the attack roll.
6) Damage
All weapons 1d6 damage. Play tactically.

7) Give them a fighting chance
Zero hp or lower requires a Basic Roll of at least 10 as per the Landshut rules to survive (unable to move, comatose, but alive).

8) Experience
Ripped straight from Playable:

So let’s create a character already!

Abilities:
STR: 11, average, what I write on the character sheet: nothing
INT: 9, average, , what I write on the character sheet: nothing
WIS: 6, average, , what I write on the character sheet: nothing
CON: 7, average, , what I write on the character sheet: nothing
DEX: 6, average, what I write on the character sheet: nothing
CHA: 13, average, , what I write on the character sheet: nothing

I play a fighting-man. I start with 1 HD and roll a 6 for HP.
My fighting-man adds +1 to his attack.

The original Gygax game uses no skills, so let’s skip this step in the Landshut rules and go straight to equipment:

I pick 2d6 items: 7
1. Sword
2. Dagger
3. Plate Mail
4. Iron Rations for 1 week
5. Backpack, leather
6. Water skin
7. Mallet and three stakes

…and I lose 1d6 of them: 2

Rolling 1d6, I get a 2 and lose the dagger, so my new equipment list looks like this:

1. Sword
2. Dagger
3. Plate Mail
4. Iron Rations for 1 week
5. Backpack, leather
6. Water skin
7. Mallet and three stakes

I roll 1d6 again and start at the dagger: a 5. I count down 5 steps and land at the mallet. My final equipment list:

1. Sword
2. Plate Mail (counts as +10 HP)
3. Iron Rations for 1 week
4. Backpack, leather
5. Water skin

And last but not least, I get to pick two “powers”: special equipment, special abilities, connections, and similar stuff:

I can see in the dark just like a cat. And someone high up in the hierarchy owes me a favor.

This is what my original edition Landshut rules character looks like:

___________________________________________________
Splint Brackwater
Level 1 Fighting-man
XP: 0
HD: 1
HP: 6 +10
Attacks: 2d6+1
Can see in the dark like a cat. Someone high up in the hierarchy owes him a favor. 

Sword, Plate Mail (counts as +10 HP), Iron Rations for 1 week, Backpack (leather), Water skin
___________________________________________________

3 thoughts on “Original edition – ancient school style

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