I’ve made a permanent House Rules page for reference and to make it a hell of a lot easier to link back to when I mention these things.
It can be accessed via the glaring triangle on the right.
Also surprise of all surprises I’ve made a few new ones and changed a few old ones.
A little while ago I switched to Hard & Fast rather than the traditional Melee/Ranged attack bonus split.
- HARD uses your Strength modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d8 damage or more and bows.
- FAST uses your Dexterity modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d6 or less damage and most other ranged weapons.
If someone was throwing bigger melee weapons (like axes or spears), I’d probably let them use either.
Gambits are still working like an absolute treat, except I changed “miss your next turn on a double-miss” to a straight-up fumble.
I changed a couple of the other LotFP combat options to be more palatable though:
- RECKLESS/DEFENSIVE: by the rules this is just +2 to AB/-4 to AC, or the other way around. Boooooring.
Instead of that, gain a bonus of your choice to your attack or defence by taking a double penalty to the other.
e.g. “I want +4 to hit this guy while I wail on him like a madman. Yes I know that means -8 to my AC I don’t care I hate him.”
- PARRY: by the rules you choose not to attack this Round to get +2 AC, which, what? Who would ever do that.
Instead of that, and since I’m using Contested Melee, you can re-roll your defence instead of attacking this Round. You can do this a number of times equal to your Fast AB per combat.
e.g. “Okay well I just rolled a 3 for my defence and he rolled a 12 for his attack. I’d rather not get stabbed in the face and I think I can beat that, so I’m going to try to Parry it thanks.”
- DUAL WIELDING: each Round choose between +1 AC, or two attacks. If you make two attacks split your AB between them with a penalty equal to the smaller of the two weapons.
(So fighting with a longsword and a parrying dagger is easier than fighting with two longswords.)
EQUIPMENT WEAR AND TEAR
Every weapon has a Quality rating from 1-5; Quality 3 is average, Quality 1 weapons cost twice as much, Quality 5 costs half as much.
What happens now though is that the first time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, your weapon takes a number of Notches equal to its Quality. Weapons break when the number of Notches is equal to their damage die.
The next time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal maximum damage, try to roll over the number of Notches on its damage die; if you’re successful, it takes another Notch, if you’re not, it breaks. So you might embarrassingly break your axe with a wild swing against the wall, or you might snap your dagger off in the merchant priest’s chest.
example 1: You roll a 2 when trying to stab someone with your new Quality 5 dagger. That’s lower than its Quality, so it takes 5 Notches. Daggers only deal d4 damage though, so it already has more Notches than it can handle and snaps on their armour. Don’t be such a penny pincher next time.
example 2: You roll a 3 when attacking someone with your Quality 3 longsword. You’ve damaged it once before, so it already has 3 Notches (equal to its Quality), and longswords deal d8 damage, so there’s a 3 in 8 chance of it breaking. You roll a d8 and get a 6, so your sword doesn’t break but it takes another Notch, increasing the breakage chance to 4 in 8 the next time you either roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal 8 damage when cleaving someone in half.
There’s a couple of reasons I changed it from the original rules. For one thing, after that first lot of Notches it’s going to feel a lot more likely that your weapon is going to break, making it a point of tension instead of just more bookkeeping and upkeep. For another, the original rules required checking for breakage after every attack which is way too much damn rolling, whereas only checking when you roll the Quality or less or maximum damage results in the same idea only without being a massive pain.
Since I’m having people roll for their defence with Contested Melee, I can use the same Quality range for armour.
When rolling for defence, if the d20 comes up as that number or less and the attacker hits you, decrease the AC of your armour by 1.
[Further to that, I’ve noticed that the girls have pretty quickly started to accrue various bits and pieces of armour, and I’d like to acknowledge that. So what I’m going to do is give them an extra section on their character sheet to record the different pieces of armour they’re wearing along with their individual Quality and AC bonus, so that they can be individually affected. I’ll probably also rule that when a piece of armour is damaged it also absorbs 1 point of damage from the attack, like, “They swing their axe down at your face but you lift your hand just in time to block the blade. Your Vermillion Gauntlet is absolutely ruined, but shearing through the steel slowed down the axe enough to stop it cutting ALL the way through your hand.”
Oh oh and while we’re talking about armour, if you aren’t a Fighter, you don’t get to add your Dexterity bonus to Medium or Heavy armour unless your Strength is equal to its AC.]
The standard rate for repair is a tenth of the item’s full cost per Notch or AC point (so one Notch on a Medium sword costs 2 silver groats to repair, and it will set you back 100 silver groats to repair the point of damage that drugged-up Nun of the Lotus caused to your Heavy armour).
Prices are still subject to review and gouging.
Also if you’re using firearms, the Notches rules actually work really well as a direct replacement for misfire rules and such.
Higher Quality firearms then obviously have less chance of misfiring, using an already-damaged firearm as a club requires checking if it breaks, and if you fail a breakage check on a misfire it freaking explodes!
PASSING OUT IN A HORRIBLE CAVE
Hit points are still Flesh & Grit because they’re awesome.
I’ve found myself dissatisfied with dying rules/immediately fainting at 0hp though, which isn’t about making characters more durable, but rather about upping the drrrrrrrama.
[I know a lot of people prefer a simple Save or Die at 0hp, but it isn’t for me, which again, has nothing to do with protecting characters. In my last play report 5 of 7 characters survived, and 3 of the 5 survivors no longer have all their parts attached, which I find a hell of a lot more interesting than 5 beautiful corpses.]
So here’s some new dying rules, inspired by Josie’s Hit Point Stopwatch.
[Important things to note about Flesh & Grit are that you die outright at minus your class HD, and any single attack that deals maximum weapon damage or half your maximum Flesh causes a serious wound, like lopping off a limb.]
When you’re dropped to 0hp or below, a countdown starts to losing consciousness, a number of Rounds down to your class HD.
e.g. Malatesta du Caddis gets stabbed one too many times and is reduced to -2 Flesh. Being a Fighter, his class HD is d8, so in 6 Rounds he’ll pass out from the pain.
Until you pass out, crawling away to a dark corner is fine, but every Round that you exert yourself (by attacking or running and such), you actually lose another point of Flesh.
[So instead of people fainting quietly around you, they’re screaming in fountains of blood spraying from their stumps, they’re using their final dying breath to stab your opponent in the back to save you, it’s horrible and beautiful.]
Outside of combat, when below half your maximum Flesh you can only travel for that many continuous Turns before needing to rest, and lose another point of Flesh every Turn you try to push onwards.
Characters that didn’t sustain any serious wounds (i.e. they still have all their bits), regain a point of Flesh every Turn until they wake up at 1 Flesh.
Characters that were dropped below 0hp with a serious wound have to save vs. Poison every Turn to stay alive until they are healed.
If magical healing isn’t available, I’ve introduced a Surgery skill. [Updated just now thanks to the wisdom of James Young]
- If successful, the character is stabilised and regains hit points equal to the number rolled.
- If you fail you actually cause damage equal to your failure.
e.g. Your friend just lost an arm and you have a 2 in 6 Surgery skill. You roll a 1 so you stop the bleeding and they regain 1hp. Later they also lose a leg but this time you roll a 6, failing by 4 and therefore causing another 4 points of damage to them, staring at your blood-soaked hands as they bleed out.
CARRYING SHIT AROUND
Yes yes this thing again, but, I think I’m finally completely happy with it. Less numbers to worry about, better trade-offs, ties in nicely with the other house rules.
- Don’t count really small items, that’s just common sense, just write it somewhere damnit.
- Other items in a pack take up one slot each, number them from 1 upwards.
Things like torches, flasks, and bottles can be carried in bundles of 3. Smaller things like iron spikes or sling bullets can be carried in bundles of 10.
- When you’ve got a pack on you’re carrying Dead Weight, you move slower and take a -2 penalty to physical rolls.
You can carry Dead Weight up to your Strength or Constitution, whichever is highest.
- If you carry more than that in your pack you are Overweight, you move at half speed and take -4 to physical rolls.
You can be Overweight up to your Strength PLUS Constitution, to a maximum of 30 items.
- If you carry any more than that you are Morbidly Encumbered, you can’t do anything but shuffle around under the weight because you’re greedy.
- If you want to find something in your pack in a pinch, roll its number or higher on a d30. No other action this Round.
- Money you pick up only counts as encumbering until you’ve visited a Merchant Priest or moneylender in a civilised area. Until then it takes up one item slot per 100 coins.
- You can carry up to 20 Worn Items on your person in immediately accessible places, including any weapons or shields you’re holding. They can be strapped to you, in pouches, in orifices, wherever. Number them from 1 upwards.
No bundles unless they’re small or something like a quiver of arrows.
Heavy/long items take up two slots, and also they’re QUITE BIG. If you’re trying to walk around with a greatsword, a spear, and a 10′ pole strapped to you you’re a dickhead. Stop that.
- Now, contested melee means that there’s actually quite a wide range you can be hit on. Whenever you get hit in combat, if the number of their attack roll matches the number of one of your Worn Items, you lose that item as well as getting stabbed. Obviously the lower the number the less chance of it being hit, so shuffle your items around as you see fit.
The immediate penalty for wearing a pack might seem harsh, but have you tried swinging your arms around while wearing a backpack? Awkward.
Plus, this allows for carrying a whole buttload of stuff, so if you’ve crammed your pack with 26 different things, it’s then a matter for yourself if you want to bear the -4 penalty for trying to fight while carrying it, or put it down and risk losing everything.