Game Rules

Game Rules

Rule Set


The base rules are spiritually the Moldvay/Cook/Marsh circa 1981 so-called B/X set or Basic/Expert set.

I have these as PDFs and in print but legally they’re not mass redistributable.

However Labyrinth Lord has a number of clarifications and layout improvements, as well a few changes I agree with. As linked above, you can find a tweaked & compressed PDF on my colocated box. If you want to read all the monsters and treasure as well (I don’t really mind) there’s an art-free PDF of the rules at Goblinoid Games . If you want, you can also buy a pdf or book with art.

Major points you might not know

  • Oil & Holy Water are readily available special weapons that can be used by anyone
  • Wolfsbane can be applied to a weapon as a toxin towards shape-changers (werewolves, wererats, wereleprechaus, etc)
  • Experience
    • Gained from killing monsters (shared equally)
    • Gained from achieving adventure goals (shared equally)
    • (House rule) Gained from doing awesome things role playing or otherwise (might be shared or individual)
    • (House modified) Gained 1xp per 1gp by spending money on experience. Essentially this means that you decide for yourself how to tell the tale of what you spent your money on in some means that fits the idea of your character. This is probably not money you spend on gaining minor skills etc which is an independent thing to spend money on.

This means that scraping hidden treasure out of nooks and crannies is pretty important to advancement.

  • Magic items are not necessarily obvious.
    • Weapons +1 and so on may often simply be weapons of a superior caliber, e.g. Thyatian silversteel that anyone with a good eye for craftsmanship can spot
    • Truly magical items may or may not stand out
    • Discovering magic items can be readily achieved by putting loot in a pile and casting Detect Magic (a level 1 spell for Mages & Clerics both)
    • Discovering WHAT a magic item is and does and how it’s used is not as easily done. EG. Wands may require a command word, devices may have unique activation requirements, you may learn one power of an item but not the others at first.

House Rules

As game master, I’m personally interested in shoving a little local flavor and storytelling into the works, the base rules are quite spare, and that allows us to change stuff.

Here are the rule replacements I plan to play with from the outset.

  • Leveling up grants hit points at any adventure conclusion, but other benefits require some training in a town.
  • Non-combat abilities and knowledge flow from character background and development, and need not be explicitly declared. If you want to spend some between-adventure time in town learning to juggle, researching plants, or whatever, go for it, but I think it would be more fun to do this in IMs, email, forums or whatever so I can use it to flesh out story and world.
Death & Dying
  • Characters can be resurrected a maximum of three times.
    • Resurrection can be purchased by sufficiently amenable high priests in larger towns etc.
  • When characters hit 0 hit points they will roll on the Death, Dismemberment, and Dangerous Damage table
    • Repeated hits of 0 points will roll on the table at increasing penalties (-1 per hit), reset by actually dying or going to town for extended recuperation.
  • Despite those lower-danger edits, characters who are eg eaten by ghouls, dissolved in acid, etc are probably just gone.
  • Ammo is lost on odd to-hit rolls, on even to-hit rolls it is recoverable (given a chance to recover it.)
  • Encumbrance is per character sheets, things weigh in units of Items.
  • Individual Initiative & Combat grid are both optional and can be requested for any fight by players or GM/DM.
Class power clarifications
  • (Tentative) Cleric Turning. Clerics have no limit on Turning undead, the penalty for failure is a wasted turn. Only one type of undead can be Turned per round, if multiple types of undead are present, the cleric explicitly selects which type they are focusing their divine wrath towards.
  • Thief backstab can be used by a thief directly behind an opponent who does not know they are there, whether or not special thief abilities are used.
  • Karma points can be spent on die rolls, increasing them by one point per number increase of the die roll, after the die is rolled.
    • You cannot increase a die roll above its maximum, for example you cannot roll 22 on a 20 sided die.
  • You can have a maximum of 10 karma points.
  • You can spend down to -2 karma points
  • There might be game scenarios in which you gain or lose karma for your actions
  • There may be times that your karma influences what happens. Hanging out at -2 karma at all times may not be ideal.
  • You can gain:
    • One karma point for showing up for a game session on time
    • One karma point for dealing with the food ordering
    • Two karma points for writing up a game session and posting it.
  • It’s possible there may be other ways to spend karma in the future.

Game Rules

Labyrinth Lord Lives jrodman