Sunday, January 08, 2017

LotFP vs BX - operations

"Operations" is my pet term for the things you do to make an adventure happen that aren't the fighty rules.  Obviously in some games most of the operations rules are in the skill section, while others fold combat and operations into some sort of universal mechanic.  LotFP is more focused on skills than pre-1989 editions of AD&D, but it is still not a heavy skill-based game.  Furthermore, LotFP uses my favorite way of resolving darn near anything: throw d6, roll low for success.

The operations chapter in LotFP (titled "Adventuring: The Rules of the Game") is broken down into 20 subsections arranged alphabetically.  Each section is one or more paragraphs in length.  To avoid this post becoming too long to be useful, I'll try to keep my analysis of each to a sentence or two.

Architecture - Dwarven-type stone lore, but since this is now a skill, everybody else gets a 1 in 6 and Specialists can improve it.

Climbing - Another base 1 in 6 chance skill (no roll needed if both hands free and using ropes or a ladder), failure indicates a fall from a random point along the climb.

Doors - Useful rules for multiple people on the same door, crowbars, breaking down doors and the time it involves.  A simple but nice improvement on BX.

Excavations - Rule for how fast people can dig.  I'd compare it to the rates in the DMG but it's in another room and I am snug under a blanket right now.

Experience Points - Combat points are earned only for dangerous foes killed, KO'd, routed, or captured.  Chart similar to the one in BX but simplified nicely.  1xp per 1sp looted from adventure areas only.  You level up only after you return to a safe place.

Foraging & Hunting - Nice rules based on the Bushcraft skill.  I'm slightly put off by the lack of explicit rules for fishing.

Getting Lost - Similar to BX, but the Bushcraft skill can avoid the problem.  Since halflings are great at Bushcraft every wilderness expedition should include one.

Hazards -  Subsections here for ability score loss, aging, damage (KO'd at 0 hp, mortally wounded at -3 leading to death in d10 minutes, stone dead at -4), disease, drugs & alcohol (drunk characters are -2 dex and saves), falling, poison, starvation, and sleep deprivation.

Healing - Three tiers for healing rate: half hit points or more heal fastest, less than half heal slow, 0HP or less heal even slower.  At the fastest rate full bed rest only heals 1d3 per day.  No natural healing in dungeons.

Languages - Now a 1 in 6 skill but Int mods apply.  Each time you encounter a new tongue roll to see if you know it.  Penalties apply to the roll if the language is outside your culture.  I can't get behind the -3 penalty for dead tongues, though.  That means only Specialists who focus on linguistics or people with Int scores of 18 can learn them.

Light and Vision - Straightforward rules for lanterns, torches, and candles.

Mapping - Explicitly requires one party member carry paper and ink and nothing else in their hands.

Movement & Encumbrance - The best encumbrance rules I've seen in a published rulebook.  You count items instead of pounds or coins.  Identical small items can be grouped into a single item (e.g. 20 arrows), while 100 coins make a single item.  Up to 10 items is 120' movement, up to 15 is 90' movement, up to 20 is 60'.  Carrying an oversized item (including Great weapons) bumps you down the movement scale.  Also, great rules for mounts here.

Searching - Specifies that finding a secret door and knowing how to open it are not the same thing.

Sleight of Hand - Pick pockets and other shenanigans.

Stealth - Move silently/hide in shadows bundled into a single base 1 in 6 skill.

Swimming - LotFP assumes all PCs can swim but gives a 90% drowning chance to anyone with a movement rate of 60' or slower due to encumbrance.

Time - An exploration turn is 10 minutes.  A combat round is six seconds.  A segment is one second.

Tinkering - Locks, traps, jury-rigging, and other mechanical shenanigans.

Traps - Mostly general advice, but I like the optional rule here that spellcasters can be allowed a 1 in 6 chance to detect a magical trap.

Overall, lots of very sensible parings-down and beefings-up of the BX rules, presented in clear, concise language.  This is probably my favorite chapter in the LotFP Rules & Magic book, as it provides many nicely streamlined ways for the PCs to get into all sorts of trouble.