The Landshut Rules are rooted in fiction-first gaming – even if their grandfather, the Braunsteins and Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor, were invented by wargamers. My role model for gaming is Prof. MAR Barker, the inventor and author of Tekumel, and his way of roleplaying or refereeing:
The “Perfected Rules”, Prof. MAR Barker’s roleplaying rules, are at the heart of my Landshut Rules. THAT’s what they boil down to.
And that’s also the reason why they’re so stable and sturdy. They can take anything you throw at them. For instance: You can glue on randomizers. Like the cards from Matthijs Holter’s fantastic Archipelago III storygame.
A few days ago, I posted an article about playing Warhammer with the Landshut Rules. You could add the Archipelago cards. For instance, when someone is casting a spell. What happens? Replace the die roll with a draw of the cards. The riskier the spell, the more cards the player has to draw – and you, the ref, pick the one you like most.
Let’s say a wizard casts a Battle Magic spell. I’m the referee and say, ‘okay, Ben, draw four cards and give them to me” – or I could draw them myself, of course.
So the player draws these four cards:
And because my players know magic in a world that’s losing to creeping chaos is REALLY, REALLY dangerous, I pick this one here:
I could use the Everway fortune cards. They’re similar to tarot and have a positive and a negative orientation. Let’s say I draw one card, Knowledge, but upside down:
Not good. Falsehood. So I let my creativity flow and say, “Ben, you got one tiny detail in the spell wrong. Maybe the spell has changed itself, you just don’t know yet. But the spell fizzles. And you… burst into flames. WHAT DO YOU DO?”
See, in games with lots of rules, I’d have to look up the rules for fire, and my players probably would start calculating the chances of the wizard to survive. In storygaming, and in storygaming-adjacent rules like Landshut, it’s the story that counts. Immersion, baby. I want you to sit on the edge of your seats, biting fingernails and/or shoving popcorn in your mouth to somehow cope with the tension. What will happen? If the wizard survives, will there be long-term effects? What do you mean, snakes seem to love him?