I surrender; Labyrinth Lord it is

This tinkering is just getting out of hand.  The latest incarnation pretty much scrapped all the complicated ‘powers from prime attributes’ stuff and modifies B/X/Labyrinth Lord classes to accommodate primes and ability checks from C&C (although that too is modified).  So what follows is the modification of Labyrinth Lord I worked up.  Fighters and Thieves were squeezed together into the Hero class, and Elves are seriously changed, and Halflings became little people (Munchkins, Gnomes, and Tallfellows), and Half-Humans were added to cover Woodwoses and Half-Elves and Half-Orcs. I also added a Paladin class, and would have added a pagan Druid class.  I have not given much thought to XP tables (or balance, really) but would probably keep the bases from LL, and Half-Humans would advance as Dwarves, and Paladins advance as Magic Users, I think.

I think I ripped off a lot of sources.  Mandragora: the Mandrake March for animal languages; The Companion Expansion for Half-humans (although to some extent I just had the same idea); Akrasia for the fighting styles Heroes choose and the concept of colors of magic; Labyrinth Lord for a lot of the B/X material; Red Box Fantasy for the skill mechanic; I may be missing something. In pretty much every case I modified the stolen stuff but not beyond recognition.  I still haven’t posted my brother’s weapon & armor rules but have not fully adapted this to follow them anyway. I you want to see where I stopped, and decided screw this, let’s play Labyrinth Lord, it is below the “More.”   At some point in the future I’ll post my work-up of religion would work, though, as I think I had some neat ideas (and one big one stolen from Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy Wargaming, although it is ultimately stolen from occultism…

Update: My brother just announced he’s going to use Basic Fantasy instead and just drop the % based thief skills, and no longer insists on primes.  On the one hand I like the idea of being able to recruit new players saying we are playing some particular game, rather than a heavily edited amalgam.  But on the other hand, this was a lot of effort to flush down the drain.  I can concentrate on painting minis again, though, so win-win.

Creating a character

1) Roll 3d6 six times and assign as desired to the six abilities

2) Choose a class

3) Choose Primes from those allowed

4) Choose skills, languages, and spells, if applicable

Ability Checks and Saving throws: These are rolls made against a target of 18 (roll 18-20 on a d20), with modifiers according to the character’s level, the ability being checked against or relevant to the saving throw, and other circumstantial modifiers (Primes, Skills, and difficulty as assigned by the DM).

Primes: Each character has two or three “Prime” attributes which reflect their areas of extraordinary ability.  Primes do have to be the character’s highest attribute scores.  Primes come into play whenever a character is required to make a saving throw or ability check.  They give a bonus of +3 to any rolls made where the attribute modifier applies.  For example, a Hero with a Dexterity Prime adds three to any rolls for Dexterity checks, in addition to any bonuses (or penalties) for high or low attributes, skills, circumstances, etc.  If Roger the Rogue has to make a Dexterity check to sneak up on a guard, he might add +3 for his Stealth skill, +3 for his Dexterity Prime, and +1 because his Dexterity is 14.

Skills: Skills are areas of knowledge, experience, and/or training which give a bonus to ability checks (+3).  They are usually fairly broad and it is up to the player to advocate for when the skill should give its +3 bonus.  The DM will reward creative use of skills by allowing the modifier to apply.  Only one skill bonus can be applied to any given roll, so even though picking someone’s pocket could be covered by Stealth or Trickery, a character with both skills only applies a +3 to the check (not +6).


The colors of magic: Magic comes in White, Green, and Black forms.

White magic is mainly protective and restorative. A character may not cast White magic unless he belongs to a religious order and does not use a pointed, spiked, or edged weapons.  Paladins area special exception to this rule, but they must maintain a strict code as outlined by their religious vows.

Green magic is associated with the glamour of the fairy realm, and no character may cast Green magic while holding or wearing any object of iron or steel.

Black magic is destructive, causing damage and gating in extraplanar beings or matter. Because of this destructive nature, Black magic can only be cast by characters wearing no armor.

All spell casters can cast any spell from a scroll, but can only copy and memorize spells of their chosen color. White magic spellbooks are called “Prayerbooks,” Black magic, “Grimoires,” and Green magic, a “Book of Shadows.”  One color of spells may be written in any given book, so Magic-users and Dark Elves will need to maintain two spell books.


Requirements: None

Allowed Primes: Any

Hit Dice: 1d6

Maximum Level: None

Class skills: Theology, History, Singing, Medicine, Empathy

Humans who become Clerics have pledged their lives to serve a god or a specific religion. To this end, they conduct their lives in a way to further the desires and will of their deity or religion. Clerics may use spells read from their prayer books.  A starting cleric’s prayer book will contain all 1st and 2nd level White Magic spells.  More powerful prayers may be found in forgotten or lost scriptures, taught by higher level priests of the religion, or created by the cleric.  The power and number of spells a Cleric can cast are determined by level. Clerics are also trained to fight, and they should be thought of not as passive priests but as holy crusaders, monster hunters, or witch-hunters. If a cleric ever falls from favor, due to violating the strictures of his religion or breaking the vows of his order, the DM will impose penalties upon the cleric. These penalties are entirely up to the DM, but may include penalties to attack (-1) or a reduction in spells available.

Clerics can use any form of armor and weapons except for weapons that have a sharp edge. This eliminates weapons such as swords, axes, and arrows, but not slings, maces, or other blunt items. Strict holy doctrine prevents clerics from using any cutting or impaling weapons.

Turning Undead: Clerics have the ability to Turn Undead. The potency of this ability is determined by level. The cleric is able to call upon the name and power of his deity to repel, and even destroy, undead. Turned undead will leave the area by any means they can, and will not attempt to harm or make contact with the cleric.  <Use C&C turning rules>

Reaching 9th level: Once attaining 9th level, a cleric may establish or build a stronghold. So long as the cleric is currently in favor with his god, he may buy or build a keep at half the normal price due to divine intervention. Once a stronghold is established, the cleric’s reputation will spread and he will attract 1st and 2nd level followers of the fighter class (numbering 5d6 x10). They are completely loyal (never checking morale). The Labyrinth Lord chooses which proportions of followers are bowman, infantry, etc.

Druids: use green magic, traditional druid weapons/armor, different skills.


Requirements: STR 9, CHA 12

Allowed Primes: Any

Hit Dice: 1d8

Class skills: Theology, Military Science, Empathy, Riding

Humans who become Paladins have pledged their lives to serve a deity or religion. To this end, they conduct their lives in a way to further the desires and will of their deity or religion. Paladins may eventually use spells read from their prayer books.  A starting Paladin’s prayer book will contain all 1st and 2nd level White Magic spells.  More powerful prayers may be found in forgotten or lost scriptures or taught by higher level priests of the religion.  The power and number of spells a Paladin can cast are determined by level.  Paladins cast spells as Clerics two levels lower than their level, so a third level Paladin casts as a first level Cleric.  Paladins are also trained to fight, and usually belong to “Military Order,” an order of knights who have taken religious vows. If a Paladin ever falls from favor, due to violating the strictures of his religion or breaking the vows of his order, the DM will impose penalties. These penalties are entirely up to the DM, but may include penalties to attack (-1) or a reduction in spells available.

Paladins can use any form of armor and weapons, but generally refrain from using missile weapons except against foes they cannot reach in melee (flying creatures, etc.).  They will also use missile weapons if they must defend a fortification or under other exceptional circumstances.

Turning Undead: Paladins have the ability to Turn Undead. The potency of this ability is determined by level. The Paladin is able to call upon the name and power of his deity to repel,

and even destroy, undead. Turned undead will leave the area by any means they can, and will not attempt to harm or make contact with the cleric.  <C&C turning rules>

Protection from Evil: <C&C>

Reaching 9th level: Once attaining 9th level, a Paladin may establish or build a stronghold. So long as the Paladin is currently in favor with his order, he may buy or build a keep at half the normal price due to divine intervention. Once a stronghold is established, the Paladin’s reputation will spread and he will attract 1st and 2nd level followers of the fighter class (numbering 5d6 x10). They are completely loyal (never checking morale). The Labyrinth Lord chooses which proportions of followers are bowman, infantry, etc.


Requirements: CON 9

Allowed primes: STR, CON, INT

Hit Dice: 1d8

Class skills: Stone/Metal Work (INT), Mining (INT), Crafting (INT), Merchant (CHA)

Dwarves have a reputation for having surly attitudes, and are particularly gruff with Elves. Dwarves are stout, short, bearded demi-humans who average a height of approximately 4 feet and weigh about 150 pounds. Dwarves value precious metals and stones, and live underground. Perhaps not surprisingly, they have skin, hair, and eye colors in earth tones. Due to their short height, dwarves cannot use <two-handed weapons or longbows.> However, they can use any other weapon or armor.

Due to their habit of living underground in great mines, Dwarves have the ability to see twice as far as normal by torch or candle light in the dark.

Stone/Metal Work: From their experience underground, dwarves have chance of detecting traps, false walls, hidden construction, or noticing if passages are sloped, if  they are actively searching.

Dwarves are particularly hardy people, and have a strong resistance to magic, as reflected in their saving throws (+3 to saves vs. magic effects).

Languages: Common, Dwarvish, Goblin, and Kobold.

Reaching 9th Level: When a Dwarf reaches level 9, he has the option of creating an underground stronghold that will attract Dwarves from far and wide. Dwarves usually live in clans, so Dwarves of the character’s clan will be attracted to live under his roof, but Ddwarves from other clans will also come and live nearby to be ruled by the character. A Dwarf ruler is able to hire Dwarven soldiers or mercenaries, but may only hire members of other races for other tasks, such as human alchemists or Elves for spell casting.


Requirements: INT 9

Allowed Primes: WIS, and one choice

Hit Dice: 1d6

Class Skills: Dance, Sing, Music, Fairy Lore, Keen Senses

Elves have pointed ears, and are thin, fey beings.

Elves are immortal, and die only by violence; they do not die of old age or disease. Elves have no souls, and cannot be Raised or Resurrected by magic.  Elves typically reincarnate a few centuries after they die, but a Reincarnation spell can eliminate this waiting period.  Having no souls, Elves do not suffer level loss when hit by undead with energy drain powers, but still suffer normal damage plus 1d6 per level normally drained.  They are also immune to the paralysis caused by certain undead like ghouls.  Other special attacks used by the undead function normally on Elves.

Elves are often cheerful and playful, enjoying food, music, and dancing, although their morality and emotions are very alien to humans.

All Elves are talented fighters and users of magic. They can wield light, long, and missile weapons, and use light armor and shields, in addition to casting Green Magic spells as a magic-user of the same level.  Because of their fey natures, they have a special vulnerability to iron, and cannot cast spells while touching any iron or steel, and all ability checks are at -2 when they hold or wear iron or steel.  For this reason elves use leather, wood, and bronze for their weapons and armor.  Some elves also have access to other non-ferrous metals.

Elves have keen eyes that allow them to see by moonlight as if it were sunlight.

There are many kinds of elves, and the character’s primes will determine what sort of elf the character is:

STR: High elf (may use any weapon or armor; addition skill: Military Science)

INT: Dark elf (may also learn Black Magic; additional skill: Wizard Lore)

CON: Cobbler (may work ceaselessly without resting for up to 24 hours at a time with no penalties; additional skill: Crafting)

DEX: Wood elf (may disappear in the woods as a Little Person; additional skill: Tracking)

CHA: Fair elf (may use magical songs to charm, inspire, or terrify listeners; additional skill: Persuasion)

Wood and fair elves typically stand 5 to 5 ½ feet tall and weigh about 120 pounds, high elves stand 6-7 feet tall and weight 150-200 lbs., and cobbler and dark elves stand 4-5 feet tall and weigh about 100 lbs.

High elves are tall, noble Elves who train especially for combat.  They are the most serious of the Elves, and their sonds are usually about wars, heroism, and bravery.  Some High Elves are seafarers who sail on large galleons and are known as Sea Elves.  It is uncertain where their island kingdom may lie.

Dark Elves are the ugliest of the Elves, often having exaggerated noses and long, spindly fingers.  They often live underground and are the most magically adept of the Elves.

Cobbler Elves are short, jolly Elves and the most friendly to humans, who they often help in times of need.  Cobblers may live almost anywhere, even in extreme environments like the arctic North.  They are also on better terms with the Dwarves than any other Elves due to their work ethic.

Wood Elves are the wildest Elves, living treetop villages and dressing in leaves and animal hides.  They are renowned as archers and hunters, and said to join Herne the Hunter on the annual Wild Hunt.

Fair Elves are the most beautiful of all Elves, and many have vestigial fairy wings hidden under their gowns.  Fair Elves delight in storytelling, singing, music, and frivolity, but are also the highest-ranking Elves in the Seelie Court, so they must have some capacity for seriousness and politics.

Languages: Common, Elvish, Gnoll, Hobgoblin, and Orc.

Reaching 9th Level: Elves can establish a stronghold in a natural setting, such as a forest or glen, when they reach the 9th level. Rather than impose upon nature, this keep must blend seamlessly with it. Because of the Elven connection to nature, within 5 miles of the stronghold all ordinary animals will be kind and helpful to Elves. This helpfulness includes the ability to warn of dangers and pass information, or even messages to others nearby. However, in exchange, an Elven ruler must always defend the animals within this territory.

Elven rulers can hire members of other races in the capacity of retainers or specialists, but only soldiers of Elven stock may be hired.

Elf Spell Progression

Elves follow the same spell progression as magic-users up to 10th level. Refer to the chart “Magic-user and Elf spell progression.”


Requirements: None

Allowed Primes: Any

Hit Dice: 1d8

Class skills: Choose any five: Stealth, Athletics, Animal Handling, Tracking, Military Science, Streetwise, Find Traps, Professional (specify job), Persuasion, Mechanical, Trickery

Heroes are human adventurers who rely on their wits and the arts of combat and war. They are specialists at dealing physical blows and using skills. Heroes can use any weapons and armor.

At first level, heroes may choose one of two fighting specialties: swashbuckling or weapon mastery.  Swashbucklers gain a bonus of +2 to AC when their encumbrance is at light or none.  Weapon masters may choose one kind of weapon to master (gain a +1 to hit and damage), or may choose to master shields, in which case they add +1 to their AC when using a shield of any kind.

Beginning at 10th level, a hero gains one additional attack per round. One further attack is gained every 5 levels to a maximum of 4 attacks per round.

Languages: Common, Alignment

Reaching 9th Level: At level 9 a hero may become a great leader of men, taking control of a parcel of land and a leadership rank in his society. A hero will, assuming money is at hand, build a castle. He may ultimately control several villages and towns, but must be a good, strong leader and provide protection.

Example Heroes:

The rogue (Choose Stealth, Athletics, Persuasion, Trickery, Find Traps, and Swashbuckler fighting style)

The warrior (Choose Athletics, Military Science, Animal Handling, any two other skills, and Weapon Mastery fighting style)

The ranger (Choose Stealth, Tracking, Animal Handling, Athletics, Military Science, and either fighting style as desired)

The thief (Choose Stealth, Trickery, Find Traps, Mechanical, Streetwise, and the Swashbuckler style)

Little People (Munchkins, Tallfellows, and Gnomes)

Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9

Required Primes: DEX, CHA, and choice of one

Hit Dice: 1d6

Class skills: Profession (specify); Stealth; Animal Handling; Merchant

Little People are generally smaller than dwarves, being about 60 pounds and only attaining a height of around 3 feet.

Little people may use light and missile weapons, and wear light armor and use shields.

Little people have an uncanny ability to disappear in the wilderness.  In bushes or other outdoor cover, Little People can hide with 90% ability.

Little people are dexterous folk who get a bonus of +1 to initiative rolls when alone or in a party composed only of Little People.

They have keen coordination that grants them +1 on any missile attacks.

Because they are so small, Little People have a lower armor class (-2) when attacked by creatures larger than human sized.

There are different kinds of Little People, and the choice of the third prime determines what kind the character is.

STR: Tallfellow (use any weapon and armor; additional skill: Military Science)

INT: Munchkin (do-overs; Additional skill: Persuasion)

WIS: Gnome (speak with animals; additional skill: Medicine)

Tallfellows are taller than usual for Little People, standing up to 4 feet tall, and strongly built.  They are the most adventurous of Little People, and live in farming towns similar to human villages.

Munchkins have furry feet and curly hair. They have a gentle nature, and value free time, good food, and good drink. They will engage in playful activities when not on an adventure. They love comfort, and will spend their riches on the most extravagant items.  Munchkins are exceeding clever. Sometimes it seems like they made a mistake but in reality they were only testing the water. Outside of combat the Munchkin can call a do-over on their last action. However, they can only redo something in game time that took one round. They have LV do-overs per session.

Gnomes wear tall felt caps and the men wear long beards; women wear their hair in two thick braids.  They look a bit like dwarves but with much lighter builds.  They are a merry folk, who enjoy being in nature and tending to plants and animals.  Gnomes can speak with any animal from their native area, and may learn additional animal languages in time.

Languages: Common. Gnomes may also choose three animal languages for free.

Reaching 8th Level: When a Little Person reaches level 8, he can build a stronghold (Munchkins build Manors, Gnomes build underground Halls). These strongholds will be in serene,

beautiful valleys or wooded areas and Little People will come from great distances to settle there. The character becomes the sheriff of the people (their leader) and must rule them wisely and well.


Requirements: INT 9

Allowed Primes: Any*

Hit Dice: 1d4

Class Skills: History; Wizard Lore; choice of one more of Mechanical; Alchemy; Trickery

Sometimes called wizards, warlocks, or witches, magic-users study arcane secrets and cast spells. Magic-users are able to cast a greater number of increasingly more powerful spells as they advance in level. However, they are limited in their choice of weapons, as they are only able to use simple weapons such as a dagger. They are unable to use shields or wear any kind of armor. For these reasons, magic-users are weak at low levels, and in an adventuring group they should be protected.  Magic-users all learn Black Magic by default but may also choose one additional color of magic (White or Green) that they may learn.  If they give up one Prime, they may learn all three colors of magic.

Magic-users carry spell books, which hold the formulae for spells written on their pages. A magic-user can have any number of spells in a spell book, but can only memorize a certain number of spells that he can know off hand to cast at any time. This number increases as a magic-user increases in class level.

Reaching 9th Level: When a magic-user reaches the 9th level, he is able to create spells and magic items. These rules are in the Magic Research portion of Section 8.

Reaching 11th Level: A magic-user may build a stronghold, often a great tower, when he reaches level 11. He will then attract magic-user apprentices (1d6), who will range from level 1-3.


Requirements: CON 12 (CHA 12+/-)

Required Primes: CON, WIS, and one choice.

Hit Dice: 1d8

Class Skills: Tracking ; Athletics; Stealth; Survival; Medicine

Half-humans are similar to heroes, surviving mostly by cunning and physical prowess.  They may use any weapon and armor or shield.  They excel at outdoor survival, either because they are outcasts (Half-orcs), uncivilized (Woodwoses), or in tune with nature (Half-elves).  Their stealth and keen senses make them surprised only on a 1.  They are excellent trackers and hunters, and they can forage for food outdoors (spend one hour foraging to feed one human or equivalent for a day).

Half-humans may be Half-elves, Half-orcs, or the primitive near-humans known as Woodwoses or Greenmen.  Half-orcs must have a Charisma of 12 or less, and Half-elves must have a Charisma of 12 or more.  The choice of the third prime determines what sort of Half-human a character may be.

STR: Half-orc (dirty fighter; additional skill, Traps)

DEX: Woodwose (climb trees; additional skill, Animal Handling)

INT or CHA: Half-elf (use scrolls and magic items; additional skill, Fairy Lore)

Half-orcs can pass themselves off as ugly humans, with slightly longer than usual arms and pronounced canine teeth.  They are dirty fighters and gain a +1 to hit and damage when backstabbing, in addition to the usual bonuses.  They can eat almost anything, and save versus poison at +1.  They suffer -1 to reactions from humans, elves, and dwarfs but gain a +1 to reactions from humanoids that are smaller than them (goblins, kobolds, etc.)

Half-elves look like beautiful, slightly fey humans, often with pointed ears.  They can cast spells from scrolls (Green or Black magic only) and use items normally reserved for Magic-users and Elves.  They suffer a -2 to ability checks when wearing metal armor.

Woodwoses look like humans, but those with a CHA of 12 or less are covered with think wooly fur.  Woodwoses are incredibly good climbers and can climb trees and rocks at their full movement rate.  They also gain a +2 to AC when wearing no armor, but do not get the Common tongue for free, so only those with a high intelligence will be able to speak.  Humans and Munchkins react at -1 to Woodwoses.

Reaching 9th level: At 9th level Half-humans attract a band of followers if they establish a stronghold (typically a tree fort, cave hide-out, or similar hidden refuge).

Languages: Half-Orcs: Common, Orc. Half-Elves: Common, Elf.  Woodwoses: Choose two Animal languages.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 10:29 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thats a really great set of house rules, one I am quite tempted to borrow for my game.

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