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.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Magic Items, FKR style

So, everything is up to interpretation in FKR games, right?

Why don’t we apply that rule to… magic items?

Let’s ask the oracle for a name, shall we?

Ah, the infamous “Berserkers’ Cudgel of Platinum Cloud”!

Quick brainstorming here, and then I write down the following ‘tags’: HUGE SPIKES, EMITS PLATINUM-COLORED CLOUDS, HEAVY

After tagging, the fun part begins.

The players write down the tags, and so do I. The tags are all they have and know. No numbers, no mechanics.

When a situation arises where a piece of Loot or a Spell might fit, I roll a die. One die. The higher the result, the more effective that Loot or Spell works. How do they work? I’ll make a ruling. Maybe the Berserker’s Cudgel of Platinum Cloud does damage alright, but if the die rolls a really high number, a hit turns enemies into clouds, or engulfs them with clouds that do horrible things to them.

Of course, you can also ask the players what they think it might mean… and use their ideas for your sinister plans 😉

FKR: Risus, played with The Landshut Rules.

Now, that’s going to be fun!

I love Risus for more reasons I care to admit, but its game system doesn’t sit right with me. At least, most of the time. So why not FKRify it?

A standard Risus character starts with 10 so-called cliché dice. These dice are distributed among several traits (clichés) the player defines themselves. No cliché starts higher than a 4.

So this is a typical Risus character:

Kenna McKormick

Burned-out Magician (4)
Master of White Crane Kung Fu (3)
Avid vegan chef (2)
Lucky Shots: 5

(Lucky Shots are brownie points you can spend on a 1:1 basis to roll additional dice. 5 Lucky Shots cost 1 ciché die.)

How to roll FKR Risus dice

You don’t have to change anything on the character sheet. Just roll 2d6 or 1d20, according to the Landshut Rules. When a character has an advantage (because of a higher cliché number, for instance), add one or two points or so to the roll. Higher roll wins, as always. You could even add the cliché number to your roll. Do whatever feels best for you and your group.

Hit Points

If you’re into hit points and your character has just lost an opposed roll, simply reduce the cliché your character just used by 1. Zero cliché dice means the character is now at the mercy of their opponent.

And if you don’t like numbers on your sheet

That’s easy, too. 6 is the human maximum in Risus. World champion level. 3 is average. So, using the Kenna McKormick character again:

Kenna McKormick

Burned-out Magician who’s still better than most wannabes
Thinks he’s a Master of White Crane Kung Fu, but really isn’t
Avid vegan chef with, er, room to improve
Lucky Shots: 5

Landshut Rules: Alternative combat rules, explained as Troika! combat

The 4th edition of my Landshut Rules have been available for free download for a couple of days now. One of the biggest changes were the “alternative combat rules”:

 This is free kriegsspiel in its purest form. Let’s take a closer look:

“Use common sense and do not roll dice to attack.”

For many roleplayers, this is heresy. After all, part of the fun is rolling dice, right? Yes, indeed. But still, playing free kriegsspiel-style is interesting because it forces players to act tactically in combat. All-out attacks are rarely a sensible thing to do, except when you find yourself in a vastly superior position.

“Damage is dealt without rolling against each other”

Now we’re talking. So, we have decided to not roll to hit – but we can, of course (if we want to) roll for damage. This brings back a degree of uncertainty, and I like that.

“(damage) happens simultaneously – the referee judges the players’ narration and interprets it accordingly and fairly.”

Now this is interesting. Instead of rolling initiative or drawing cards, narration decides who hits when, but all damage happens in one “round”. Last man standing.

Of course, if you want to keep initiative rolls, you can always do that.
For Troika! combat, keeping the initiative cards is key!

How do I incorporate this rule in my Troika! games?

Let’s say there is a Troika! Chaos Champion (Skill 6, Stamina 20, 3 Maul Fighting) fighting against a Man-Beast (Skill 8, Stamina 11, Armor 1, Modest Beast damage)

Turn 1: I draw Chaos Champion’s card. He hits with damage 1 (rolled a 2 on the damage table, but Man-Beast’s armor reduces it to 1). Man-Beast’s STA is now 10.

Turn 2: It’s Man-Beast’s turn. It rolls a 2 on the damage table: 6. Chaos Champion now has STA 14.

Turn 3: End of Round.

Turn 4: Man-Beast hits with 4 points damage. Chaos Champion now has STA 10. Man-Beast has 10, as well.

Turn 5: End of Round

Turn 6: Chaos Champion hits with 3 damage. Man-Beast is down to STA 7.

Turn 7: Chaos Champion again, with 2 damage. Man-Beast is now at ST 5.

Turn 8: Man-Beast hits with 8 damage. Chaos Champion now has STA 2 left.

Turn 9: Man-Beast hits again, with 6 points damage. Chaos Champion is dead.

What would I do if the involved parties have a huge Skill disparity?

Simple enough. I’d roll the Luck Die, and adjust the rolls according to the skill gap between the combatants. For instance:

An unlucky Thaumaturge (Skill 4, Stamina 20, no fighting skill, with a sword) fighting against a Man-Beast (Skill 8, Stamina 11, Armor 1, Modest Beast damage). My ruling would be: there’s a 4 in 6 chance that the Thaumaturge really hits when his initiative card is drawn.

Let’s shuffle the cards and go!

Turn 1: Man-Beast hits with 8. Thaumaturge’s STA is now 12.

Turn 2: Thaumaturge’s card turns up, I roll a 3: yes, he hits! 4 damage. Man-Beast’s STA is down to 7.

Turn 3: Man-Beast hits with 8 again. Thaumaturge’s STA is 4.

Turn 4: End of Round.

Turn 5: Thaumaturge hits (rolled 3) with 6 damage. Man-Beast now has STA 1 left.

Turn 6: Man-Beast hits with 8. Thaumaturge now has STA 4.

Turn 7: Thaumaturge MISSES (rolled a 5).

Turn 8: Man-Beast hits again, with 6 damage. Thaumaturge is dead.

Playing Warhammer with the Landshut Rules

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. 
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. 
2) CHOOSE a race: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling
3) Record your racial abilities
4) Determine your age
5) Determine your Fate Points
6) Pick your Career Class
7) Determine how many skills you have, your mandatory skills, and roll the rest on the appropriate table
8) Record your trappings
9) Roll for your Career
10) Record the career trappings and skills, just write them down
11) Humans start with 3 hits, elves and halflings with 2, and dwarves with 4. 
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.
12) MAGIC
Magic is the offspring of Chaos. It’s powerful, but dangerous. Spellcasters start with 1d6-1 Magic Dice (at least 1). Then, choose one of six Schools of Magic you belong to. Each school practices one general type of magic. 
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
Casting Spells
Spells are freeform – describe what you want to achieve, and the referee will roll 2d6 or more against your Magic Dice. Roll your dice 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. For any spell, roll as many of your Magic  Dice as you like.
When casting combat spells, roll your Magic Dice against the 2d6 of your opponent, just as in regular combat (but you might roll more than 2d6). If your number is higher, the spell hits and does damage. A rough guide for damage might be the number of Magic Dice you rolled: the opponent loses that many hits. If you want harsher spells, ask your referee. 
Casting other spells follows the same logic. The ref rolls 2d6 (maybe more if it’s really difficult), you decide how many magic dice you roll, then roll them and try to roll higher than the ref. If you roll higher, your spell is successful. If not, it simply fizzles.
Sixes explode: If you roll a Six when casting a spell, that Six explodes: roll that die again and add the new number to your total. If the new number you’re rolling happens to be another 6, keep rolling.
BUT.
Every 6 you roll opens a rift in the fabric of the world, and Chaos creeps in. This directly affects you, the spellcaster. One 6 might be a minor mishap, 2 mean minor mutations and inabilities, 3 are major consequences, and so on – but the more 6s you roll, the more gory and terrifying it gets. If you ever happen to roll six Sixes for a spell, you’re doomed.

Back to really simple roleplaying

Professor MAR Barker started it. He started creating his world Tekumel in the 1940s and kept adding things and adventures to it till he died in 2012. That’s A LOT. Probably there’s no other work of imagination as developed as Mr. Barker’s world.

When original D&D was published, Mr. Barker tried to adapt the game to Tekumel, so other peoplecould go on adventures in this fantastic world. It was a mediocre success. So he developed his own set of rules, which is still in use today, played by people like Chirine ba Kal and Bob Meyer, to name just two. Chirine has told us again and again that Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson used these rules (or very similar ones) as well.

What you’re about to see is NOT the cover of the rulebook. It IS the rulebook. These rules have been in use for at least 30 years.

 
 

Yep. That’s it. 

The interest in the rpg community in super-simple, super-lite rules seems at an all-time high at the moment, and personally, I think that’s good, very good indeed.

As you might have guessed, my favorite taste of rules-lite is Perfected, or to be more exact: opposed rolls. Using opposed rolls cut out two things that I don’t like in rpgs: math. Checking stats to see if I rolled high or low enough.

My most downloaded rpg, with thousands of downloads, is Landshut, a Free Kriegsspiel Revolution game on one page. You can grab it for free here: https://darkwormcolt.wordpress.com/the-landshut-rules-free-kriegsspiel-rules/

Another rpg system using this method is the brilliant Sword&Backpack, written by Gabe Soria. Check it out here. The rules? Player character tries something, referee tells him what to roll with a d20, or rolls against them. Done.

Cecil Howe, he of Hex Kit fame, made a booklet version of Sword&Backpack, and it’s a beauty to behold. The booklet version adds a rule: Whenever a character is trying something that is appropriate for their background or profession, add 5 to the d20 roll.

Cecil also published a zine for Sword&Backpack (unfortunately only one), called Peril, and yes, it’s good! In Peril, Cecil also introduced a new concept he calls “Difficulty”. To quote: “This is the number of combat rounds a monster can lose before it is defeated, think of the D as standing for difficulty. The number can be any number, not just one. Really tough monsters will have a high number, and really flimsy monsters will have a low number. “

Bob Alberti is the treasurer of the Tekumel Foundation. He played in Prof. Barker’s game for over 20 years. His ruleset is, as you might have suspected, similarly simple. To quote: “You have dice to resolve any questions (01-10 good, 90-00 bad, use common sense). (…) All the other crap – character stats, encumbrances, combat rules, etc., are the tools of the rules-lawyer, and not worth the attention of dignified persons.”

Today, Claytonian published his one-page rpg “The Party“. And lo and behold, it uses opposed rolls to solve everything. Check it out here.