Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Make Pits & Perils Lethal Again!

Welcome to 2017 and the new, improved Pits Perilous (same as the previous version, but now bi-weekly)!  And with the holidays behind us and everyone (hopefully) rested and ready for action, there's never been a better time for us to reduce our workload and the time we spend blogging.  What can we say?  Laziness rules...

But it's not all doom and gloom.  We're working on the Opherian Scrolls expansion to Blood of Pangea, which is our little foray into the OTHER sword and sorcery tradition: meaning dark fantasy after Lieber and Moorcock.  You know, the 60s and 70s stuff complete with anti-heroes and wicked, soul-sucking swords?

So yeah, we're keeping busy, which I suppose gives us an excuse!

In the meantime, let's talk lethal.  Those who know and play our games know we value narrative over detailed rules because what happens in the adventure is ultimately more important than the rules used to get us there.  And old-school games make much of player agency and interpersonal negotiation.  We just formalize this with rules that (deliberately) keep things simple and open-ended.

Opherian Scrolls draws
from this sword and sorcery tradition...

Accordingly, Barons of Braunstein, Blood of Pangea, and, of course, our own Pits & Perils, offer somewhat more survivable characters because when role-playing and interaction are prioritized, we can only assume that participation, and not sudden death, is what really matters here.  This is the experience people want...

Except when they DON'T.  And some of you do prefer it lethal!

So here's a little freebie (assuming you haven't developed your own house rules) for variable damage and lethality:

And if you REALLY wanna make things lethal, use the revised hit point rules from The Collected Pits & Perils House Rules from Yerth appendix and watch the heroes fall!  Oh, and enemies are generally treated as combatants, with the possible exception of commoners, although the city guard might be both common AND tough, armed with the right weaponry.  If you want lethal, here's a way to go.

Now some of you are probably using the UNTRAINED rule from the Referee Companion.  In this case, damage is 1 up to 9, adding all applicable bonuses for weapon type.  Easy enough...

Two WARHOGS from the
decidedly more lethal Maze of Memory...
We need to emphasize here that individual referees should already know their players and what is takes to challenge them, making these provisions optional.  The ball's pretty much in YOUR court.     

Of course, the above applies to Barons of Braunstein, Blood of Pangea, and Pits & Perils and will appear in the soon-to-be released Olde House Rules Combat Companion, so this is a PREVIEW!  You can expect critical hit tables and alternate rules for magical armor and weaponry to keep things interesting.  So yes, we've been BUSY!

But if you like to kill with careless abandon and want something more along the lines of an elimination dungeon, check out our humble The Maze of Memory, designed specifically for one-shot games, but expandable for campaign play.  It's our first to use polyhedral dice and features character creation DURING play.  Look it up.  

Anyway, we wish everyone a safe and happy year ahead!  Now, if we could just pull away from Netflix long enough to make some real progress on this stuff.  Robyn is good, but I'm starting to discover that I have a favorite chair (50, you know).  Rest assured, though, we're playtesting like mad and promise to get this stuff going...

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