Playing Warhammer with the Landshut Rules, v2

Warhammer!

It doesn’t get any more British or European than that. Chaos beast men, tragic and dangerous magic, Warhammer has it all. Plus, Landshut is not only the title of my ancient school, free kriegsspiel rules, but also the name of my hometown, which happens to be… a medieval German town. Remember Altdorf, the city in the Old World of Warhammer? That’s a town about two miles from where I live. Just saying. Us Germans have bragging rights when it comes to Warhammer, right?
 
Okay, so now Warhammer. How can we play it with the Landshut Rules
 
Like so:
You need the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game 1st edition. Because that’s the one and only. And please lose your copy of Zweihänder. Because it’s an abomination.
 
But first: You need a name! Names inspire and imprint your character’s personality.
 
1) STATS
Use 2d6 to determine Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Dexterity, Leadership, Intelligence, Cool, Will Power and Fellowship.
 
ONLY record a stat if you roll 2 or 3, or 11 or 12 for it. If it’s 2 or 3, write „low“ or „bad“, followed by the stat, and if it’s 11 or 12, write „high“ or good“, followed by the stat.
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2) Create your character with the help of the Warhammer 1e wiki
 
3) Humans get 5 hits, dwarves get 6 hits, elves and halflings get 4 hits.
 
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Optional Rule: Gore Die
 
Remember how you roll attacks with 2d6. These two dice should have different colors. ONE die is the Gore Die. The higher that die, the messier, bloodier, gorier your hit is. Note that a gory, bloody, bloodspraying, disgusting hit will not kill the opponent if he still has Hit Points left – but it will definitely put negative modifiers on his next attack roll, movement, abilities, skills and so on. Only when Hit Points are reduced to zero, a character dies. To give you a few rough ideas for Gore Die results:
  • Gore 1: drop weapons, superficial wounds, hits that knock the wind out of you, stumble, bruises, stuns, knockdowns 
  • Gore 2: dislocations, shattered weapons, numb limbs 
  • Gore 3: incapacitated limbs, deep wounds, smashed teeth, broken bones 
  • Gore 4: severed arteries, internal bleeding, spine injuries, gouged out eyes 
  • Gore 5: half a limb lost, organs ruptured 
  • Gore 6: entire limb lost, body parts hacked in half 
  • Gore 7: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, flying body parts, fuck what a mess
Gore 7? How? This is another optional rule: When a character is down to 1 Hit, the next attack that takes him to his gods has Gore Die +3.
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12) MAGIC
Magic is the offspring of Chaos. It’s powerful, but dangerous. Choose one of six Schools of Magic you belong to. Each school practices one general type of magic.
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Amethyst = death, undeath, entropy
Ruby = fire, hell, blood
Amber = animals, monsters,emotion
Gold = metal, industry, physics
Moss = plants, plagues, life
Sapphire = time, abyss/stars, thought
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Casting Spells
Warhammer magicians start with (level+1) spell points. Spells are freeform – describe what you want to achieve, and the referee will roll 2d6 against your Magic Dice. Roll your 2d6 at the same time. Magic is a fickle mistress, you never know if you can surf the waves of magic – or drown in them. That’s why the referee always rolls against you, instead of determining a target number you have to beat.

 

The only wizards facing great dangers are Demonologists, Necromancers, and Evil and Chaotic magicians. They gain Insanity Points and Disabilities, or increase the chances of contracting Tomb Rot (necromancers, I’m looking at you).

If you roll successfully, you cast the spell, and it costs you zero spell points. If you fail the roll, you still cast the spell, but it costs you (spell level) spell points.

This is Warhammer, so I’ll allow wizards to sacrifice 1 hit to gain 2 spell points.

A character example:
 
My name is Konrad Fuchs, from Eschendorf, a village in Stirland.
I roll completely average for all stats.
Over at the WH1 wiki, I’m rolling my character:
 
I’m a human, 1.7m tall, 50 years old (nice, exactly my real age)
4 Fate Points
 
I choose to be an Academic. 
I get 3 skills: Super Numerate (a gift for calculation), ambidextrous, lightning reflexes.
 
My trappings: suit of decent, light-weight clothes, including sandals. A knife is carried, tucked in the belt, alongside a purse of 10 Gold Crowns.
 
My career: 99! Wizard’s Apprentice!
My career skills: Arcane Language: Magick; Cast Spells: Petty Magic only; Read/Write; Secret Language: Classical, Scroll Lore
 
I start with: (Level 1+1) spell points: 2
 
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So, in short:
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Konrad Fuchs, Wizard’s Apprentice
(from Eschendorf in Stirland) 
1,70m tall, 50 yrs
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Trappings: suit of decent, light-weight clothes, sandals. Knife tucked in the belt, 10 Gold Crowns.
Skills: Super Numerate (a gift for calculation), ambidextrous, lightning reflexes, Arcane Language: Magick; Cast Spells: Petty Magic only; Read/Write; Secret Language: Classical, Scroll Lore
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4 Fate Points
2 Spell points

I’m a wizard’s apprentice, so I might know, let’s say, 1d6 petty spells: I roll 2d6 and take the higher result: 4. Then, I pick the spells from the list: Butterfingers, Cunning Hand, Flight of Amar and Magic Alarm. Each petty spell costs 1 spell point if I fail the roll.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Playing the Rules Cyclopedia with the Landshut rules, REDUX

To recap the rules for adapting games to Landshut:

  1. If you’re playing a published rpg setting: roll attributes. Write down only extremely low and extremely high stats. 
  2. Pick 5 or 10 skills from the rulebook (if the game uses skills) 
  3. Pick 2d6 pieces of regular equipment/gear from the book, then lose 1d6 of them 
  4. Pick 2 “Powers”: special equipment, spells, special abilities, connections, special backgrounds etc.
So, I roll 3d6 in order for STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHA. Every stat that’s 5 or lower is the weak version, every stat that’s 15 or higher is the strong version.
STR: 6. What I write on my character sheet: nothing
INT: 12. What I write on my character sheet: nothing.
WIS: 13. What I write on my character sheet: nothing.
DEX: 7. What I write on my character sheet: nothing.
CON: 12. What I write on my character sheet: nothing.
CHA: 10. What I write on my character sheet: nothing.
So, that character’s stats are average, nothing worth mentioning.
Next step: I’m picking a character class. Since we’ll be playing without XP, but with milestones instead, the “prime requisite” stat recommendation is not of interest here.
A Magic-User it is.
Next step: The Cyclopedia offers a skill list. I pick 5: Alchemy, Alternate Magics, Planar Geography, Ceremony and Mysticism. In play, these are interpreted freely as the opportunity arises.
Then: I pick 2d6 regular items: 10!
  1. Staff
  2. Dagger
  3. Backpack
  4. Iron rations for a week
  5. Rope
  6. Hat
  7. Fine clothes
  8. Lantern
  9. Oil
  10. Books
Now, I lose d6 of them: 3. I roll 1 d10 three times to find out which: the hat, the rope, and the dagger. So, my magic-user ends up with: Staff d6, backpack, iron rations, fine clothes, lantern, oil and books.
The last step: I pick two powers: My magic-user has a very fine sense of smell, and he can walk on fire and lava, with only minor burns.
As usual, attacks are opposed 2d6 rolls. To this roll, you might add a very small bonus if a character is experienced in fighting, or has a good advantage over the opponent.
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. But a save is required to cast successfully and avoid paying Spell Points. A failed roll means you lose Spell Points equal to the spell level. If you don’t have enough Spell Points, the referee might allow you to pay the rest with hit points – at three times the cost. 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. 

I start with 1d4 spells: 3. Yes, this is way more than regular Basic. But we’re not playing very often, so I want to speed things up. I pick 2 1st level and 1 2nd level spell: Hold Portal, Magic Missle and Knock.
Damage, injuries and wounds are determined by the ref, and should follow in-world logic. Also, the amount of pain or damage a character can take before falling unconscious or dying is pure in-world logic. 

Common sense, combined with genre awareness, is the key for every FKR game.

_______________________________________________________________
Win Sasreq the Fearless
1st level magic-user

Spell Points: 5
Spells: Hold Portal, Magic Missle, Knock

Staff, backpack, iron rations, fine clothes, lantern, oil, books
_______________________________________________________________

Finally. I’m writing a new game. For the Free Kriegsspiel Revolution.

Yes. A wrestling game. A roleplaying game about pro-wrestling.
And I’m not talking about the old chestnut Kayfabe, or its hip offspring World Wide Wrestling.
What I mean is this:

PICTURE THIS.
You are one of the chosen few. One of those who have been raised in the ring. As long as you can remember, wrestling runs in your veins, the lucha makes your heart tick. At first you thought, what a wonderful sport. What a feeling when the adrenaline rushed through your body. What a kick when you pulled off that Suicida Somersault Splash from the top rope. And the fans were going crazy!

Then you saw one masked man against many, fighting in that back alley, and all he used were those over-the-top high-flying moves you knew from inside the ring. As you ran into that battle, preparing yourself to help him, your eyes locked with his. And you knew: you had an ally, no, a brother, connected with you across many generations of your families.
And you understood that pro-wrestling had two sides: the public one, with cheering fans and spotlights and pops and heels and babyfaces. And the real one, here in the world, where wrestling is real and the costumes have power.

This game will be powered by Landshut.
Working title:

An example wrestler: Sir Thomas Hardcastle
A mat technician (someone who’s good at grappling), filthy. Strong. Tough as nails.
Stiff British wrestling, many joint locks, strikes with forearms and knees.
Special Power: Stiff Upper Lip
Day job: Financial Advisor
Lives with his dog (“Spike”) and his girlfriend (“Linda”) – yes, in that order
Hailing from Bushbury, NH

On genre assumptions and the vagaries of fate, or: Hit points, shit points

I have a strange relationship with hit points.
For “science fiction” games, I’m perfectly fine with “hits” and fixed damage: 1 hit does X amount of damage (usually 1, but this can go up to 4 for really terrifyingly potent weapons).
For fantasy games, though, I’d like to have hit points and variable damage (= dice).

After thinking long and hard about the reasons, and asking on the Bastionland discord, I thought I had come to a conclusion: probably I like hp/variable damage because for old school fantasy games, it’s not that uncommon to fight against many opponents on any given day, while in scifi games, this is happening significantly less often (or not at all).

Hm.

Not quite. What I’m thinking now is that I just like the uncertainty of variable damage; one blow might knock me down, or barely scratch me. THAT’S what I’m after. THAT’S what my more than 30 year-long experience as full-contact martial artist tells me.THAT’S also what I want, within limits, to have in my games.

Still, introducing damage rolls in my game is nothing I seriously consider. What I’m looking for is

  • The uncertainty of combat: My attack might miss or glance off the opponent. I don’t want autohits.
  • The uncertainty of resilience: One blow might be sufficient to knock me out good. I don’t want fixed damage, or better: I don’t want fixed damage all the way through.

Unknowingly, I already had the solution to this when I wrote the Into the Odd hack for my Landshut Rules.

Time to recap.

  1. Your character has X amount of hits. Usually, in the Landshut Rules, this is 4, but you can also roll a d6 if you’re feeling lucky (punk).
  2. Each successful attack reduces your hits by 1 or more points – this is something the referee and the players agree on before the game starts.
  3. If your character has run out of hits, any further damage might become critical: To avoid being critically injured (and unable to move, possibly dying), roll 2d6 vs the referee’s 2d6.The ref might grant you a bonus to the roll. If you roll higher, your character has avoided a critical injury: write down the damage, anyway. If you roll lower than the ref, your character is knocked down and is critically injured. The ref determines how long it will take to heal up. For heroic fantasy: If your character ever reaches Level+4 negative Hit Protection, s/he dies. For harsher games: reduce that number.
So there. I’ll be using this in my next game.
I’ll keep you posted.

Big Motherfuckin’ Crab Truckers come to Landshut

Have I written about Big Motherfuckin’ Crab Truckers, the one-page rpg written by Gregor Hutton, tha author of 3:16 Carnage among the Stars, and others?

No? About time, then.

So, BMFCT is a game where you play… exactly that, big motherfuckin’ crab truckers. You pick a class (Driver, Fighter, Lifter or Something else), and there you go. Classes in BMFCT are a cluster of four traits, with one trait being predefined: The Driver has a trait called, you might have guessed it, ‘Drive!’, the Fighter has one called ‘Fight!’, and so on. Fill the rest of the slots with your own traits.

Whenever you want to do something risky, AND someone at the table says ‘no fuckin way!’, roll 2d8, and add 1d8 for every relevant advantage or ttait you might have. Pick the two highest dice, and add them together. The referee does the same, but he always only gets 2d8. Higher roll wins.

Those are the rules in a nutshell.

This is extremely interesting: You have (usually) 2d8+bonus (dice), and an opposed roll.

Guess what system works the same? Yes. My Landshut rules. The only difference is that we’re using 2d6 and add a bonus number instead of rolling with advantage, but that’s marginal. Fact is, it almost looks like BMFCT and Landshut are twins, separated at birth.

I’m thinking to include that character class descriptions in the Landshut rules because they make it easier for people who have never played an rpg to get into the groove.

Like so:

Paladin: You are a fighter for the Side of Light. You are one of the Good guys. You possess a divine determination to eliminate evil. You get Smite Evil!, and three other traits.

Hobbit Chef: Aaaaah! Isn’t this delicious? Come, try some of my new chocolate-rum pudding, it’ll seduce you like one of the ladies down at the Hairy Feet Inn. You get Turn Everything Into A Good Meal!, and three other traits.

Wild Hog Rider: Your clan has been on this land forever. You may be only half as tall as them hoomins, but by the Gods!, your hog can be a fierce bloodthirsty beast on the battlefield. You get Warhog!, and three other traits.

Freeform Shadowrun First Edition: The Detective.

Man! I just love that character! It speaks to me, and it’s a shining example of how different the first edition Shadowrun really is. The Detective is just so… normal, so down-to-earth, compared to the other classes. All the other archetypes have something special. Magic or cyberware.
Not the Detective. This here is a hardworking P.I., and he looks like straight out of a hardboiled flick. So good.
So, I hear you want to play that beautiful character. I get it. I’m just as attracted to playing him, becoming him in the game, as you are.
Alright.
This is his introduction:

“They told me you were looking for me. Well, you found me. So turn on the sob story. I got the time. But first tickle my comp with your credstick. I may have the time, but | haven’t got the interest ‘until | know you’ve got the nuyen. Time takes money, chummer. Just flick he stick into the slot. The box will dump my rates and sheet onto your stick.
The sheet will give you the highlights of my illustrious career: maidens rescued (extra charge for preserving original status), the lost found, the necessary lost, but I don’t do erasures. No point in
going on. | see by your eyes you’ve already scanned the sheet. Charlie at the  precinct, or did Stevie the Snitch pass It on? Don’t really matter. If somebody hadn’t given you my name, you wouldn’t
be looking for me. Now before we go any futher, let me check the cred balance. Whew! You got my interest, all right. What’s the job?”

And the commentary reads:

The detective leads a hard life, balanced between the shadows of crime and the harsh glare of corporate and city life. To keep his own code of honor and Justice intact, he makes constant compromises to get through the day, or the night. He won’t touch magic, though his cases often involve it, and he won’t augment his body, though sometimes his resolve puts him at a disadvantage. He’ll tell you that a man has to stand on his own feet.

This tells us a lot about the character. And it’s all usable. On to the stats.
In Shadowrun 1e, a 3 is the human average, and a 6 is the max for humans without body augmentation. The Detective has average strength and charisma. His body (think constitution), quickness (dexterity) and willpower are slightly above average, but what’s really outstanding is his Intelligence: a 6.
Now, THIS is something I’ll write down: “extremely intelligent”
On to his skills:
Car, Street Etiquette and Computer skills are slightly above average. So he can find his way around in the neighborhood. He knows a little Biotech. But his Firearms skill, his Negotiation skill and his Unarmed Skill are really, really good: a 6 in all three cases. His stealth skill is almost as good.
So, I write down: “OK car, street etiquette and computer skills. Very, very good shooter, negotiator and brawler. Very good at stealth”.
The Detective has a long list of contacts, and I dig that. A P.I. just knows a bunch of people.
So, this is the ready-to-play Shadowrun 1e Detective:

(for freeform games or The Landshut Rules)

____________________________________________________________
Doug Kraskovsky
Detective
extremely intelligent
robust, dextrous and strong-willed
Skills: OK car, street etiquette and computer skills. Very, very good shooter, negotiator and brawler. Very good at stealth”
Contacts:
Bartender, Bouncer, City Official, Fixer, Gang Member, Gang Boss, Media Producer, Any Street Type, Another Street Type, +3 extra contacts
Gear:
Ares Predator, Armor Vest, Investigator’s License, Mcro-Recorder, Sony Pocket Secretary, Walther Palm Pistol
____________________________________________________________

Amost diceless gaming

This is the Landshut Rules, redux.

Write down a couple of things that are advantageous for you. Skills. Abilities. Special powers. These things are called Good Things.

Write down a couple of things that are disadvantageous for you. These things are called Bad Things.

Roll dice when the referee tells you so. Most of the times, the ref will simply assess the situation and make a definite ruling. But when the outcome might be catastrophic and/or dramatically interesting, the ref might tell you to roll dice.

What dice? Any. Just roll a die or two or whatever. The ref will tell you a number to roll over or under. Or s/he might roll dice against you. If you beat the number or the ref’s roll, your character’s action is successful.

Hits? Can’t be bothered, really. Just apply what’s common sense in the game world. Three solid hits in the gut with a combat dagger should drop any cyberpunk hero, but might make Conan and his twin brother Konnan just really angry.

Just in case you need it:

Have fun!

Beating THE dead horse again

I know, I’m writing about that again and again and again. I know I’m repeating that stuff so often, it might bore some of y’all to tears.

I know.

But playing like the earliest roleplayers did, BEFORE D&D was published, BEFORE RULES were the be-all and end-all of gaming: That’s right up my alley, that’s what I do. It’s what I love doing. Take my Landshut Rules: a love letter to “pre-school gaming”. And still, people keep asking me for specific rules, for specific situations. And I keep replying, “whatever works for you, dude”, and this is the truth. At my table, with my people, things work that might fail abysmally in other groups.

Just keep the game going. Drop the rules. Go with the flow. Fly with the moment, and make it as complex or as simple as you as a group want it. This is your game. Your friends. Your time. Your creativity. Rulebooks are always just a suggestion, giving you ideas or hints.

That said, I’m beating THE dead horse again today: I’m quoting a five year old forum post (not written by yours truly):

Your descriptions sound very similar to the sort of gaming I’ve “discovered/fallen into” in the last few years. I also have very little interest in a lot of new RPGs and find myself more and more distanced from the hobby as its represented online/in rpg forums. The focus on rules minutia holds little interest for me, as does the strict division of gaming styles. For years I GMed a very lose historical occult investigation style game, where I pretty much abandoned any rulebooks in favour of a very quick and intuitive framework of a system I stole from a game from the early 80s, and generally just made rulings on the fly as they fit the situation. 
I heavily experimented with different forms of play (one game took place on a submarine, and I ended up separating the players into different rooms with the lights off, only able to communicate via walkie-talkies), one game was nothing more than a dinner party where everyone remained “in-character” for the proceedings. But the breaking point for me was getting back into miniature wargames a few years back, wherein I rediscovered my love, not just of painting minis, but also building scenery and creating elaborate gameboards. 
As simple PvP wargames bored me quickly, I began coming up with more and more elaborate narrative scenarios, and elements of RPGs began bleeding in. I became fascinated with that gray area where wargames and rpgs meet, and the different manner games could be combined into an overall experience. I brought in elements from Diplomacy, constructed overarching campaign rules that dealt with things like resources and troop training/replenishment, and came across some great naval battle rules that led to several months of high seas adventures, switching between ship to ship combat and regular combat rules for boarding parties. 
As time goes on, the term “gaming” for me has started to become an all-encompassing creative thing that doesn’t really match any singular modern definitions of rpgs/larps/wargames etc. I for one would love to hear more about how the old Tekumel games were run, particularly more specifics on what you looked for in players and what it meant to “get” Tekumel, or more specifically, the style of gaming you’re describing. I find it hard these days to get new players who are on board with this sort of free-wheeling creative approach, especially those indoctrinated by the last 20 years of very specific ideas of what an RPG is and the “importance of rules”.


Tristram Evans, 06-18-2015

This. So much this.