Monday, August 27, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Lamentations 2 Playtest and Knave

Lamentations 2

I don't hate it. I've heard plenty of grumblings about it so far, but I don't hate it.

I'm fine with having nearly everything be bundled into attributes. I'm fine with the change to saves. I'm fine with weapons all being one die. I'm okay with all that to some extent. But I have a pressing question:

Why are there still classes?

With clerics and demihumans gone, only fighters, specialists, and magic-users remain. With VAM/EC magic in place, the only actual difference between these classes is whether they get +1 attack bonus, +2 skill points, or +1 spell slot when they level up. That's it. Daniel Sell's scoundrel class allows people to pick one of those three very things, my traveler class is much the same, except clumsier, Maze Rats is built around that system, and I don't see why that shouldn't be the default method. You could go straight down the line in either of the three ways, but if that's the only differentiation, go classless.

When looked at that way, as the baseline for a classless OSR game, I go from not hating the rules to actually kinda digging them. The ease of class creation was a major part of what brought me to the OSR / DIY scene to begin with, sure, but a big list of backgrounds a la DCC is just as good. In terms of avoiding confusion and choice paralysis among new players, even better.

Luke Thompson's recent posts on adapting the playtest rules for space have me very excited to see where that line of thought leads, as well. I never much liked classes in space.


Moving from "should probably be classless" to "actually is classless", we've got Knave. Mechanically, it's a lot more tweaks to the formula than a complete reworking.

 I'm picking up some Shadow of the Demon Lord influences (always a plus) with how stats and modifiers are determined (modifiers are stat - 10, for example. Stats are lowest of 3d6 + 10) and with how there is a standardized roll-to-beat (15 rather than 10, in this case). Advantage and disadvantage rather than boons and banes, but hey, that's cool too. Could add boons and banes easily enough.

Everything here is based around managing your inventory slots (which are just "equal to your strength", which I like far more than LotFP's encumbrance points). No skill system, but it doesn't need one (again, a big old background list is just waiting to be used.)

Some interesting diversions from tradition in which stats apply to what: ranged weapons are now effected by WIS, pickpocketing is INT.

Level-less spells, also a good move and good call.

Grand props given for adding even more good tables to use with those found in Maze Rats, and for making it Creative Commons.

No one has yet adapted it to space. This shall be remedied by some party in due time.

Extra thoughts

You know how Camus said that we must imagine Sisyphus to be happy? Apply that to fiddling around with RPG systems for me. Doesn't matter that there's no destination, the constant pursuit of just right is fine enough for me. House rules are like shoggoths: amorphous and perpetually mutating, always on the hunt for new genetic material to assimilate. Good stuff to be had here to that end.

I've got a RL game night upcoming and I heard some whispers that Star Wars was a hit when I last ran it. Perhaps I will test out Luke's hack with that...

1 comment:

  1. I definitely feel like playing around with all this between by space stuff and my dungeon hobo stuff. Seems like good fits for that.