We’ve played a fair amount of Labyrinth Lord over the past few months. My initial inclination was to begin house ruling left and right, but we’ve settled on a rather short (and apparently not unusual) list of official house rules:

  1. Abilities – 4d6, [drop lowest], arrange to taste
  2. Hit Points – Maximum hp at 1st level
  3. Thieves – Get d6 hit dice
  4. Bonus Spells – Clerics with Wis 15+ or Magic-Users with Int 15+ get one extra first-level spell per day
  5. Critical Hits – A natural ’20’ means roll damage dice twice
  6. Critical Miss – A natural ‘1’ means no attack next round *
  7. Death and Dying – 0 hit points (exactly): Unconscious 1d6 turns, revive with 1 hp
    -1 to -10 hit points: Save vs death to survive, save means 0 hit points (as above)
    Below -10: Dead, no save
  8. Bind Wounds – Heal 1-3 hit points after each combat if 5 minutes spent
    Can bind unconscious character’s wounds to revive (with 1 hp) after 5 minutes
  9. Infravision – Simply see in the dark…no IR heat-sensing vision

* We plan to replace this with a different system which will give variable results. A critical miss with a missile weapon against a foe in melee with a friend means the friend may be hit.

One thing we’re sort of waiting for is the upcoming Advanced Edition Characters system for LL which will bring AD&D-style classes to the LL rule set. Our expectation is that we will adopt AEC for our LL game. I was initially resistant to the idea of bolting advanced characters onto the basic game, thinking that if I wanted advanced characters I’d play the advanced game. But then I remembered that our AD&D game back in the day was a heck of a lot closer to B/X than to AD&D even though we had never played B/X.

The plan at this point is to play Labyrinth Lord more or less by-the-book and to house rule Swords & Wizardry White Box to the hilt. I’m actually in a bit of a quandary about S&W, because though I love the concept of the lower power curve, Labyrinth Lord is getting everything done I want to get done. I’m actually a bit hesitant at this point to commit to another rule set, particularly one I plan to customize seven ways to Sunday if I use it.

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9 Comments to “Labyrinth Lord House Rules”

  1. Timeshadows says:

    I really enjoy reading folks’ House Rules. Thanks. 😀

    • Kilgore says:

      I’m taking as non-sarcastic, so you’re welcome. I like reading house rules to see what other gamers are doing to get ideas for my own use and to get an idea of what other groups find “acceptable” and “balanced”.

      I don’t mind having my own thing going, but I don’t want to get too far “out there” unless there’s a very good reason.

  2. JB says:

    To monsters also roll double damage on Critical Hits? I would think this would lead to more character kills.

    I never liked the whole Infravision/Heat Sensing thing…doesn’t Indel the Elf carry an f’ing torch for the party? Still, I am using it in my current B/X game, but withOUT hard/fast rules as to how it works (DM’s license!).

    • Kilgore says:

      Yes, monsters get criticals as well. I’ve been waffling about whether a monster with multiple attacks (i.e., claw/claw/bite) can score multiple criticals in the same round. I think the fact that PCs can kill monsters quicker via criticals AND the bind wounds rule makes up for any advantage monsters get.

      And I have no problem with lethality, as long as it goes both ways.

      Also, the 0 hp = unconscious rule usually only applies to PCs and a few significant NPS/monsters for ease of record-keeping.

  3. bulette says:

    Nope, not unusual at all seeming, and all very reasonable.

    I think I’m the only DM left in the world that does straight down the list 3d6 rolls.

    • Kilgore says:

      I use straight 3d6 for S&W White Box.

      I probably would have for LL to, except we jumped over from 2e and the expectations were inflated. Now that we’re all getting “used” to lower numbers I’m mulling a switch to either “4d6, drop lowest, in order, swap any two” or “3d6, arrange to taste”. I really have no problem whatsoever with giving players a chance to get the class they want and be at least a little optimized for it.

  4. […] my plan has been a two-pronged approach to fantasy gaming. Labyrinth Lord by the book with only a few house rules would be one side of the coin while a totally customized Swords & Wizardry White Box system […]

  5. […] I noted recently in my Labyrinth Lord House Rules, I’ve decided to give thieves a d6 for hit dice rather than the d4 specified by LL and B/X […]