Why I prefer d6 (1-in-6) checks over 3d6 or d20

I prefer 1-in-6 chance checks, sometimes modified by your attributes (a +1 STR would translate to a 2-in-6 chance, while a negative means it’s impossible for you, or else you must roll 2d6 and only succeed if both dice come up 1.)

Why? Because some of the actions are not inherently difficult or easy depending on your own physical or mental traits. The difficulty of finding a trap is about the same for everyone regardless of their stats; high intelligence doesn’t necessarily make you better at finding traps, so INT 10 and INT 18 and INT 6 have the same 1-in-6 chance of finding the trap.

Yes, sure, some have an easier time doing so, but it’s certainly due more to experience and knowledge than to intrinsic intelligence values, or simply due to good luck (i.e., chance). And this is where the flexibility of OSR comes in: Can you give me a good reason why, on this occasion, your character should have a better chance of finding a trap? Maybe you have already found another trap in the same area, you are using some tool, or you remember reading or hearing stories about this place. For this time, you have a chance of 2-in-6 or even 3-in-6.

A base chance of 1-in-6 because it gives a 16 or 17 percent chance, which is not too high but not too low either. It’s unlikely but possible, as it should. See, a group of 3 characters will have a 50-50 chance of success if all 3 make the roll, which I allow if it makes sense, but sometimes only one person can roll. If it was easy, then what would be the point? Just tell the story and avoid rolls. Decide the result by only speaking and move on.

However, if an action becomes harder or easier due to the character’s innate traits, then their range of success is modified by their attributes, so why not roll 3d6 in those cases, since those traits are based on a 3d6 roll? Because I firmly stand that we shouldn’t make a different rule when your traits alter the result than when they don’t. Let’s use the same system for both cases, when your stats are relevant and when they are not.

1d20 is basically the same as 3d6, in both cases you roll under your traits, so it only makes sense when the difficulty depends on your stats and not on the action itself, which means we should not use these (disclaimer: use whatever you like, I’m just saying.)

Games like Into the Odd rely on d20 rolls under your traits; it’s ugly but at least the game is quick and easy.

Other games, such as DCC, call for a d20 roll against a difficulty set by the referee, and a high score is sought. Depending on the circumstances, the result can be modified positively or negatively by the character’s attributes or the tools used. It is the same principle as the 1d6 system, but in the 1d6 system it is very easy to award without having to think if this action is of a standard difficulty or higher or lower. And if we take into account that the standard difficulty is, say, 12, it is actually very easy to succeed in about half of the attempts, and if more than two characters can roll, success is almost guaranteed.

Not to mention, too, that the d20 system (where this mechanic comes from) is that all the rules are the same, so climbing, hitting or seducing don’t feel like different actions to the player.

And this, the 1-in-6 checks, is the main reason I like LotFP’s system more than others. It’s not the only reason but it’s the main reason.

5 blogs I read this week

The past days, as usual, I spent some time navigating the blogosphere, and these are 5 of the most interesting, useful or fun entries I found, in no particular order.

DCC Crits by Dice Type

A house rule by Anne, from DIY & Dragons. I’ve been reading Anne’s blog for a while now, and she never fails to present interesting content and inspiring ideas, as well as deep-thought pieces, like this one, in which she designed a better way to implement critical hits in Dungeon Crawl Classics, which, as you probably know, uses not only the standard D&D polyhedral dice, but also the funky dice. Her article says:

“My suggestion is this. When a player rolls a d24 attack dice, they score a critical hit on a natural 20 and a natural 24. So they improve from a 1-in-20 chance to 1-in-12, or around 8%. When a player rolls a d30 attack dice, they crit on a natural 20, 24, or 30. Their chance increases to 1-in-10, or 10%.”

But you should read it because she explains why, it’s not a simple witticism.

Updated 17th Century Timeline

A very useful chronology for use with LotFP by Hexelis, from The Sword of Sorcery. It sets some LotFP adventures in an aproximate year, which is a great way to create a long-term campaign, but he also adds stuff from real-world History, which can be added to your games as needed. See an excerpt:

1600. Giordano Bruno is burned as a heretic.
English East India Company established.

1600-1603. The God that Crawls.

1603. Ieyasu rules Japan, moves capital to Edo (Tokyo).
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is first performed.

1605. Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha, the first modern novel.

Absolute Freedom

David McGrogan (Yoon-Suin), of Monsters and Manuals, is thinking about absolute freedom vs. contraints when it comes to creation. Do we need constraints? He says, yes we do. And his argument reminds me of a Daria’s episode in which she is assigned to write a story but her mind is blank and doesn’t know what to write about. He asks Mr. O’Neill for help and he says something like: “Well, why don’t you write a story taking people you know in real life and turning them into fictional characters?” Later, her mom adds: “write something honest, something that she’d like to see, rather than trying so hard to write something ‘meaningful’.”

In this episode, people help Daria get free from absolute freedom, they put limits to what she writes and ends up writing a good story, or at elast a satisfactory story for others to read.

Entheogens

Entheogens are what we most commonly know as psychedelic substances, but in a reverent or mystical context they should be called entheogens. And the blog Alone in the Labyrinth brings some plants that must be used under those terms. If your game need some mystical plant magick, this is gonna work great!

“Before we get down to the smoking and the snorting and the toad-licking, it must be understood that these entheogens are not meant for recreation: although they can be enjoyable, their use is sacred and therefore proscribed outside of ritual contexts. Since the PCs are exiles, they are no longer bound by taboos, and are free to ignore such restrictions.”

They also add linsk to their other stuff, which is interesting! Oh, and by the way, the author called me a degenerate.

A More Mythological Take On Necromancy & A New Necromanctic Ritual For Your Old School Campaigns

One can always trust needles of Swords & Stitchery to bring both a convoluted title and a thought-inspiring idea to the table.

“The modern view of the necromancer is something like this guy. An insane occult loner & black wizard psycho who lurks out in graveyards & creates undead hordes for his demonic masters! Well the mythological necromancer could be anything but this socially maladjusted demonic throw back wizard. The necromancer of the mythological antiquity had a far different form & vital function in the society of the Greeks & Romans from where I’ll be drawing some of this blog post conclusions.”

And he delivers! Although it’s not always easy to follow his writing. If he took the time to polish his entries, they would be among the best out there, but he would not be as prolific a blogger as is, those seweing machines won’t repair themselves!


Blogs are not a social media, but we can make compilations like this one to make blogs reach their audiece.

Short reviews | In the Light of a Ghost Star; Black Sun Deathcrawl; Ford’s Faeries; Campfire Tale

Here’s some short reviews.

In the Light of a Ghost Star

A set of minimalistic rules that is a true wonder. The rules fit on one page, and the rest of the booklet is an introductory adventure, some illustrations, and tools for players and referees. Among the best that science fiction has to offer. Get it!

Black Sun Deathcrawl

It is not hyperbole to say that there is nothing like it. It is not a hyperbole but almost, because recently there have been some things inspired by Black Sun Deathcrawl, or at least that remind us (In the Light of a Ghost Star, Mothership or Null Singularity). Anyway, this masterpiece of cosmic horror and nihilism made clear the need to create games with a different, more serious and dark approach. Based on Dungeon Crawl Classics, BSDC takes us to a world where life on the planet’s surface has become impossible and we can only seek refuge in the depths … existentialist dungeon crawling, if you want. Get it!

Ford’s Faeries

This bestiary inspired by the illustrations of Henry Justice Ford is a little jewel. Fairies and monsters for your OSR campaign (I already saw myself using some of these pages in Dolmenwood.) It’s free, too. Get it!

Campfire Tale

An adventure for Labyrinth Lord and The Black Hack. It is brief, more than adventure, an encounter, ideal for the next camping of the players. It is not very deep or brings anything original, but it is fun and will get you out of trouble when you have nothing ready for your next session. Get it!

Armour Class (AC) Conversion Between OSR/D&D Systems

In this table, you will find the AC values ​​of different editions of Dungeons & Dragons and the most important retroclones/OSR games.

B/X D&D = Dungeons & Dragons Basic/Expert sets. AD&D = Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. BFRPG = Basic Fantasy RPG. S&W = Swords & Wizardry*. BXE = B/X Essentials (name changed to Old-School Essentials). LL = Labyrinth Lord. AS&SH = Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. OSRIC = Old School Reference and Index Compilation. DCC = Dungeon Crawl Classics. 1E = Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition. 5E = D&D Fifth Edition. LotFP = Lamentations of the Flame Princess**.

*S&W uses both the descending and ascending systems. In the ascending system, the base AC is 10, and continues identically to DCC, although the armour types are more similar to 1E.

**LotFP has an AC of 18 as the maximum value. This value can increase if you use plate mail with a shield, you have a high dexterity or get circumstantial bonuses.

BFRPG B/X D&D,
S&W
LL,
AS&SH, BXE
1E,
OSRIC
DCC, 5E, S&W LotFP
11
(no armor)
9
(no armor)
9
(no armor)
10
(no armor)
10
(no armor)
12
(no armor)
12
(shield)
8
(shield)
8
(padded leather)
9
(shield)
11
(shield, padded)
13
(shield)
13
(leather armor)
7
(leather armor)
7
(studded leather)
8
(leather, padded)
12
(leather armor)
14
(leather armor)
14 6
(scale mail)
6
(scale mail)
7
(studded, ring)
13
(studded, hide)
15
15
(chain mail)
5
(chain mail)
5
(chain mail)
6
(scale mail)
14
(scale mail)
16
(chain mail)
16 4
(banded mail)
4
(banded mail)
5
(chain mail)
15
(chainmail)
17
17
(plate mail)
3
(plate mail)
3
(plate mail)
4
(banded armor)
16
(banded mail)
18
(plate armor)
18 2 2 3
(plate mail))
17
(half-plate)
18
19 1 1 2
(field plate)
18
(full plate)
18
20 0
(suit armor)
0 1
(full plate)
19 etc.
21 -1 -1 0 20
22 -2 -2 -1 21
23 -3 -3 -2 22
24 -4 -4 -3 23
25 -5 -5 -4 24
26 -6 -6 -5 25

Compatibility between most OSR games, and retro-compatibility with classic D&D editions, are two of their biggest attractions. If you don’t have a manual, you can use the adventures published for it with another system; conversion is easy and in most cases it can be done without prior preparation.