Random Wizard has done it again. Questions to troll the bloggers, to ring the echo chamber, to offer us all the possibility to pontificate… And I can’t resist!
- Should energy drain take away one level of experience points from the character? Yes. Take away their XP and have them reroll their hit-points. Keep the new total if lower than their current hit-points. Conversely, when people gain a level, they reroll their hit-points and keep it if higher than their current hit-points.
- Should the oil used in lanterns do significant damage (more than 1 hp in damage) if thrown on an opponent and set on fire? Yes. I’m using 1d8 this round and 1d8 next round. It also takes two actions: throwing the oil and throwing the torch. Both need to succeed at a ranged attack vs. AC 9 (no armor). Thus, the damage is similar to the use of a weapon, except it’s easier to hit. I think this appropriate considering the weight and price of every pint of oil.
- Should poison give a save or die roll, with a fail rolled indicating instant death? Yes. At higher levels, the game is no longer about hit-points but about save-or-die traps and spells and the appropriate counter-measures.
- Do characters die when they reach 0 hit points? No. When they reach 0 hit-points and every time they are hit thereafter, they roll on the Death and Dismemberment table. This reinforces the idea that hit-points is just the will to live and getting hit with 0 hit-points is when the injuries happen.
- Does the primary spell mechanic for a magic user consist of a “memorize and forget system” (aka Vancian)? Yes. It’s simpler that way. When I tried a free form magic system, my player kept casting the same spell. That’s great, but not much different from Vancian magic. Therefore it stays.
- Should all weapons do 1d6 damage or should different weapons have varying dice (1d4, 1d8, etc…) for damage? 1d6 to rule them all. It works. I use varying dice for monsters.
- Should a character that has a high ability score in their prime requisite receive an experience point bonus? No. Distributing experience points is already a chore. Don’t make it more complicated. The bonus stems from a time when the ability gave no other benefit. It’s no longer necessary.
- Should a character with 18 constitution get a +3 bonus to hit points, or a +2 bonus to hit points, or a +1 bonus to hit points or no bonus to hit points? +3. Moldvay knows best. Beyond Strengh and Dexterity: Wisdom provides a bonus to saves against Spells. Intelligence provides bonus languages and Charisma provides a reaction roll bonus and an upper limit on henchmen, and it determines their morale.
- Should a character have 1 unified saving throw number, or 3 saving throw types based on ability scores (reflex, fortitude, will), or 5 types based on potential game effects (magic wand, poison attacks)? 5 types works for me. When I write down monsters, however, I will often just use 19-HD plus or minus two or four depending on resilience. Who cares about the fiddly details when fighting monsters? Not I!
- Should a cleric get (A) 1 spell at 1st level (B) no spells at 1st level (C) more than 1 spell at 1st level? None. In my game, they are supposed to get none for their first adventure only. Then, hopefully having gained some grace, they get the one spell the rules accord them.
My house rules are based on Labyrinth Lord: Halberds and Helmets.