Los Angeles OSR
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is the baseline ruleset, with the following house rules in effect. The system is basically 90% DCC with some 1st Edition AD&D and Savage Worlds bits thrown in.
- Base Abilities are: Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Constitution, Personality, Luck. This changes nothing except the names. Since this game is in large part an exercise in nostalgia, these name changes only make sense.
- Damage is abstract. Required reading: AD&D DMG pg: 82 on Hit Points.
- Critical Hits – when rolling a critical hit, regular damage should be rolled first. If it’s sufficient to lower the recipient to 0 or less hit points, the critical hit is handled abstractly by the DM. If it’s not enough to drop the person hit, then proceed with normal critical hit rules.
- Shields Shall Be Splintered! – any damage from a single attack can be ignored by sacrificing a shield. The negated attack can include a critical hit and its effects. The shield is rendered sundered, broken and/or knocked away or otherwise useless. Magic shields are knocked away.
- Helmets – Any combatant wearing a helmet may elect to “soak” a critical hit (or any called shot specifically against the head) by directing it to the helmet, triggering an alternate critical hit roll on the helmeted head chart.
- Narrative Action – Always describe what your action is, any mechanics can be discussed and then finally the result will be handled narratively either by the DM or player. If I ask you “What do you do?” and your response is mechanical, ala “I use my Climbing skill.”, you’ll automatically fail.
- Luck: Instead of adding a +1 to a result for every point of Luck burned, each point burned allows a re-roll of any roll, taking whichever die result is preferred. Your Luck score cannot go below 3, but as long as you have luck points remaining to burn, you can keep re-rolling the roll. When using Luck, you always keep any die result you want, including the original roll, so you can’t get a “worse” result by burning Luck.
- When Thieves burn a point of Luck, they can make an extra roll, plus their luck die. If the Thief wants to burn another point, he can throw another action die and one more luck die, always—independently—taking the highest action die and the highest luck die thus rolled.
- When a Halfling burns a point of Luck, they can re-roll twice for each point of Luck burned. This also applies to when a Halfling burns Luck for an ally.
- Luck has a actual score and a current luck score. When burning luck, it reduces your current or effective luck only, not your actual ability score. However, your current luck is what is used during play for all purposes and is more or less semi-permanent. During any time the DM may award luck points “restored”, usually at the end of an adventure. This adds to your current luck but cannot exceed your actual Luck ability score. This works much like hit points. This also limits Halfling and Thief luck regeneration more clearly. Very rarely, the DM will tell you your luck has gone up or down “permanently”, such as pissing off or pleasing a higher power. This affects your current and actual Luck simultaneously and applies to any class, including Halfings and Thieves.
- Luck can be burned on hit point rolls. This is a permanent burn for Thieves and Halflings.
- Dwarves are not trained in the use of two-handed swords.
- Warriors are trained in all weapons except garrote, blowgun and blackjack.
- Abilities are still rolled in order with 3d6, but there is one area where your character has a distinct edge over “the common masses” and that is Luck. For Luck only, determine your 0-level would-be hero’s Luck score by rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest die.
- At zero-level, all demi-human characters can make a single ability score “swap.” This allows demi-humans to have more compatible scores for their class, since they cannot choose a class. Luck score cannot be swapped.
- At zero-level, all Dwarves receive a +1 to Constitution (max 19) and -1 to Personality (min 3).
- At zero-level, all Elves receive a +1 to Dexterity (max 19) and -1 to Constitution (min 3).
- At zero-level, all Halflings receive a +2 to Luck (max 20) and -2 to Strength (min 3).
Initiative is handled with a card system based on the Savage Worlds ruleset. This is fun, fast and I think it fits well with the DCC theme of “bringing back the random”, since on any given round the initiative order can completely change. It also puts some of the workload during combat over onto the players. I’m a big fan having one less thing to keep track of.
Your Initiative Bonus is determined by totaling your Agility modifier plus any weapon, magic or other modifiers to Initiative per normal DCC rules. The only exception is that Warriors should disregard their class bonus. Two-handed weapons have no modifier or effect on initiative.
Slow: If a character’s Initiative Bonus is -2 or worse, no face cards or Aces can be kept during the draw. Slow combatants can still draw a Joker normally.
Fast: If a character’s Initiative Bonus is +2 or better, anytime the character draws a card smaller than 5, he draws a new card until he has at least a 5 card.
Warriors are simply dealt 2 cards, keeping the best card of the two.
If a Fast Warrior (Initiative Bonus +2 or higher) draws two cards that are both less than 5, he may keep drawing 1 one more card at a time until he has at least one card with a 5 or better.
If a Fast Warrior draws his two cards and one of them is a 5 or better and the other is less than 5, he does NOT draw an additional card, he simply keeps the larger qualifying one.
Just like Savage Worlds, anytime a Joker is drawn, the character can go at anytime, including interrupting actions and receives +2 on all rolls during his turn.
Any round a Joker is dealt, the deck gets reshuffled before the next round/deal. “Held” cards are not shuffled in. You can Hold on a Joker if you want to (see below).
Per Savage Worlds, when combat starts with surprise, the combatants starting the fight (with the element of surprise) start on “Hold”.
Victims of the surprise attack make a perception check with the DC set by the DM according to the level of surprise in that situation. Surprised combatants that make this perception check, get dealt a card. Surprised combatants that fail their check, do not get a card at all for the first round. At the beginning of the second round, assuming it was not a stealthy attack such as a sniper taking out the last man in a column, then everyone is dealt a card.
When someone’s card comes up, a combatant may choose to “Hold” and see what happens or just go later. To hold, a player flips his card over to face down. This Hold status is indefinite and in the event a new round begins, he is not dealt in and is still considered on Hold.
Any combatant taking damage while on Hold, loses their Hold status and cannot act until they are dealt back in next round.
A character on Hold who wants to interrupt another combatant’s action or if 2 characters on Hold want to act at the same time, they must roll a contest of Dexterity (d20+Dex modifier) to see who goes first. Ties are simultaneous.
Spell Casting and Dueling
When a spell caster decides to cast a spell when his action comes up, the player declares he is casting a spell and draws an additional initiative card. The caster is considered “casting” until that card comes up in the initiative order, at which time the spell finishes and takes effect. If the card is higher, then the player must cast until that card comes up in the next round. If the second card is a Joker, the spell may be cast instantaneously.
While casting, the cleric or wizard is vulnerable to being interrupted, should someone be so bold. This includes another spell caster engaging in a magical duel. This can be thought of as the two casters locking into melee—or as an even more accurate analogy—grappling. Attempting to interrupt 2 or more casters engaged in an actual duel is even more foolish, but also possible. For mechanical combat purposes, any caster currently dueling is “casting”.
Detect Evil – pg 259 – Detect Evil does not detect traps or any other dangerous inanimate object, it is idol magic that senses intention and bad “juju” in different manifestations.