Because really, when you get right down to it, the rules really do matter!
All action and combat in the game of Lair of Sword & Sorcery takes place on gridded board called the Demonboard. It is required for the game but only takes about an hour to make a basic one.
Because all the action happens on the board everything is very clear. The players and the gamemaster take turns moving, attacking, and taking actions.
Combat is simple. When someone attacks, the two combatants each roll 2d6 and add their Attack score.
The one with the higher score wins and causes damage.
Instead of losing hit points like in other games, they fighters lose "endurance" points. The winner cases a certain amount of endurance damage to the loser.
But the winner will also take a small amount of endurance damage themselves, by wearing themselves out attacking someone.
Once a someones endurance reaches zero, they have to make a "death roll" to see if they are taken out of combat.
After the combat is over and people can check on their injured friends, they can roll to see if they are only injured, or truly dead.
Armor is also used in the game. When you take damage the armour absorbs some of it.
There are also rules for unarmed fighting, fighting against animals and creatures and missile weapons.
Magic in the Lair of Sword and Sorcery game does not take the form of spells which a character casts.Most magic in the game comes in the form of spirits or demons which magical characters summon and control.
Instead of casting a fireball spell a character would summon a fire breathing spirit, whcih would then burn their enemies.
Characters are limited in the number and power of spirits they can summon and control instead of how many spells they can cast in a day.
Of course a summoning can go wrong at times, summoning the wrong spirit, or having the spirit break free and attack the summoner.
Magic items take the form of spirits trapped in items. For example, instead of a magic wand that shoots lightning bolts, the character would have a wand which has a spirit trapped in it...that shoots lightning.
The end effect is the same but with the ever present threat of the spirit turning on the user.
In Lair the characters can have skills which allow them to create armour, potions, weapons, build houses, or anything else they may need. These same skills are used for repairing or destroying items.
In the Lair system there is no healing magic. Characters don't have hit points to heal. They have endurance, which returns quickly by resting. When endurance reaches zero they make a death roll and find out if they are merely injured and back up on their feet after a couple of weeks, or they are dead.
This doesn't leave a lot of leeway for healing, but on the other hand means it isn't required.
For the Gamemaster...
In Lair the gamemaster takes the role of all the enemies when in a Lair. The Lair system uses a ranking system which keeps encounters relatively balanced.
The characters are usually able to escape if things turn on them so the game master is free to attack the heroes as hard as they want. Unlike other games, in a game of Lair the Game master really is trying to beat the characters.
The demonlord is far more limited in their actions than the characters though, so even when the characters are heavily outnumbers they can win a combat with wits and cunning.
Was doing a bit of reading yesterday (Where do we find the time?) on the state of D&D in 5e.
I will preface this article with something you may not know from the tone of the site.
I love D&D.
I'll just put that out there along with the fact that I think 5e has the potential to be the best system since the Cyclopedia.
Do the math, look yourself square in the eye, face some hard truths and you'll agree, the Cyclopedia was the best flavor of D&D every produced. If it had been supported in the same way as the boxed sets in the 80's it would never have gone away (instead of being viewed as a gateway drug to "Real D&D")
Today I want to talk about Lairs.
For the last year or so I've been hearing alot of talk about the 5 Room Dungeon, and with 5th edition alot of talk about Lairs, encounters, and experience point Math.
I know these longer rambling posts tend to get skipped over a lot so I'll just put the main point up front here.
Lair of Sword and Sorcery is built from the ground up for "Lair" Encounters.Those of you who know what that means will be interested enough to read on. For those of you who don't, in a nutshell "Lairs" represent the way people have been playing D&D all along if the DM is doing their job right and everyone is having fun.
History time, skip to the heading about "Lairs in Lair" if you already agree.Go to your first edition handbooks, look in the Dms guide for how to make up your own Dungeon. Remember back to how we thought of "Dungeons" way back in the day. Not any particular published dungeon but that one that we all have striven for, the one we read about in the comic book ads for Dungeons and Dragons, the ones we imagined when we read the rules for Torch Duration, and when buying Iron Rations.
The massive sprawling, multilevel monster dungeon, where players went in level one, fought enough 1 hd monsters to level up, then went to level 2, fought enough 2hd monsters to get up to level 2 and so on.
Each level increasing in size to have enough encounters to level up again, with parts being added on periodically to keep things "fresh", wandering monster tables, "to keep you from wasting time",
Huge randomly generated monstrosities with encounters in "30%" of the rooms, oh and don't forget to map everything, even in that massive 70% of barren nothingness or your party will become "lost".
We all dreamed of playing or running one of these behemoths, but the fact is, if we ever sat down to actually play it, it always came off a little pretty poor, unless the Dm really did his job.
And what was that?
In the huge warren of a dungeon you find a door, opening it you find a pile of bedding, a monster is about! Now that the players are on their toes they enter one of the two doors leading from this room, It's a cave with 3 orcs sitting over a cook-pot, interesting,
They kill the orcs, find that the pot doesn't contain anything and so go back and go through the other door, Here they find a fourth orc, about to butcher some poor adventurer for the stew pot. The kill the orc and question the adventurer.
This brave knight had been on a quest to discover the great lost sword of whosiwhatsit, held by a brave knight venturing here to kill an evil cleric who's run off with the churches jewels.
Careful searching of the rooms reveals a few coins and a letter from said cleric saying to meet him at the usual place by the well. Wait a minute there was a well just outside this door says one of the players. So they wait, kill the cleric but he does not have the treasure. They follow his trail around the corner to another grouop of rooms.
These rooms are clearly an evil temple, Finding a secret passage near the altar they brave their way to the inner sanctum, narrowly avoiding a fiendish pit trap in the dark.
In the inner sanctum they accidentally release a fiendish devil fromt he pits whom the evil cleric worshiped.
Luckily they discover the magic circle in the floor which protects them while their cleric using a chalice found in the stolen churches treasure, banishes the demon.
The NPC gathers up his churches belongings, there is of course plenty left over for the players.
They killed some orcs, a mid level evil cleric, and even defeated a minor demon, depending on the system they will get xp for the gold or avoiding the pit trap as well. Not a bad haul.
They got to figure out some clues and the whole string of encounters was wrapped up in a single night, an accomplishment.
What they just defeated was a 5 room dungeon, or what could be considered the Lair of an eveil cleric and his minions. Just because it happened int he middle of a sprawling megadungeon does not change it one bit.
Now say you start that story off with an hour of wandering monster rolls, mapping endless empty corridors, tracking torches and rations on your character sheet, and then do the same thing on the way out.
Would that make it more or less fun? A good Dm would have handwaved all the bit at the beginning and the end saying "You are now at the place you left off last time", and at the end he would handwave again saying "you make it back to town safely".
All well made Mega dungeons are really just a series of "Lairs" or 5 room dungeons strung together along a theme. The "dungeon" was originally just an easy way to get right to the adventure without having to write alot of backstory why the characters would be encountering this band of orcs and a cleric, "They're in the Dungeon" is all they needed. If this happened in the wild on a road the Dm would have to do alot of story crafting, once it's in a dungeon it's all readily accepted by the players.
Look at all the original modules, you would get a wilderness map which players would tromp through to make the trip to the dungeon more interesting (each dungeon does need a bit of history and backstory) but when you got there it would be a tower with 3 levels with 10 rooms each, half of which were empty, or to look at it another way, three 5 room dungeons each one harder than the next.
Lairs in LairIn Lair of Sword and Sorcery the players all gather together and play a "Scenario". Every scenario takes place in a "Lair". The lair is laid out on the Demonboard, either all at once (for a "Skirmish" type scenario, ie a pitched battle between two groups) or one room at a time for a "Blind" Lair.
The Demonboard is a fixed size, no single Lair may be larger than the Demonboard.(22x28 squares).
At the end of one Lair they may find the entrance to another but all the action for this lair will occur on this one Demonboard.
The main difference between Lair of Sword & Sorcery and other Roleplaying games is that each Lair has an accompannying scenario which states some basic rules for this Lair (the same Lair may have different a different scenario if the players return to it however)
Each Lair must have the following things:
Scenario Objective:This is what the players need to do to "Beat" the Lair. They may know the objective when they begin or it may be a secret which they have to discover within the lair.
Reward:The lair must have a reward for beating it. If the Objective is killing the evil cleric the reward could be something simple like recieving his treasure. Or it may be something less tangible like recieving a blessing from the noble knight they saved, or they may be allowed to stay at his temple and recieve training, or the temple may owe them a favour to be cashed in later.
Sometimes the Reward could be something as simple as not recieving the punishment for failing, which is a reward in itself.
Punishment:If the characters are not able to defeat the Lair then there will be a Punishment. This is a huge difference between Lair and other Roleplaying games. In your typical dungeon if you don't feel like going in the dank tunnel under the altar to see what's inside you can just leave. Or you can decide to go back to town, get a couple of strong lads and healing potions and come back to defeat the demon.
There is little sense of urgency to pressing forward in the dungeon.
In Lair things are different.
The Players are always in a Lair for a reason. The backstory will usually provide this but the punishment rule reinforces the urgency of the dungeon. The evil cleric may have kidnapped the children of the town and will sacrifice them if the players are not able to stop him first.
The punishment also need not be that dire.
In the evil cleric example above if the players decide to leave the lair without pushing on into the passage beneath the altar the next time they return they will find the passage has been entered by someone else, likely other orcs, and stripped of it's treasure, meaning the Knights temple will never recover their sacred relics. In this case the punishment was the lack of any reward, which is acceptable, though the temple may be a little standoffish to them in the future.
Special Feature:Every Lair is Sword and Sorcery needs a special feature.
It will usually be tied into the Scenario Objective and possible the reward and punishment as well.
It is the mighty set piece of the Lair and will not have appeared in any Lair before (thought it may be reused later but not as a special feature). Every special feature requires rules for the players to interact with it.
In the Evil Cleric example the Special feature may be the "summoning room" that they enter. The rules would be that when any player first touches the circle the demon is summoned (demons are not special features, the room itself is). Another rule would be that the demon cannot enter the circle so the players are "safe" while there.
The players would not be told this when entering the room, finding out the special features rules is the biggest fun of the game.
Special features may be an incredibly devious trap or lock with many levers to pull, may be a special raised platform the final enemy hides upon dumping boiling oil on the players, a special item, a special creature, anything which the players have not encountered before.
Ideally the rest of the Lair will be built around and lead up to the special feature.
By specifically stating that each Lair must have a special feature and that each special feature must have rules made up pertaining to it it actually takes a lot of work off of the Demonlord (DM in Lair parlance). Because frankly each dungeon should have something special, something unique, It doesn't have to be fantastically original, the oil dropping example above shows that a simple difference, with some rules attached to it will bring an ordinary encounter up to an epic battle with the players have to come up with whole new strategies to accomplish what would ordinarily be a straight up fight.
Using these in other gamesThese basic rules, Objective, reward, punishment, and special feature, can be used in any encounter, dungeon or lair in any game system you like. Simply applying these strategies when building your own D&D encounters make the sometimes tedious and boring task of crafting encounters fun again, and the reward punishment system may breathe new life into a campaign grown stale.
Most Role playing games, whether pen and paper, or video games, are based on the great grandfather of them all, Dungeons and Dragons.
The tone, genre and setting of the original D&D materials was a "quasi medieval" setting. So you have kings and kingdoms, knights, villages, cities, maps, trade, languages and ships.
As for the trappings of the fantastic you have dragons, monsters, and other creatures hiding in secluded places.
For magic you have magic weapons, inspired by things like Excalibur, and wizards, inspired by legends of Merlin and others.
It's a wide open setting, based only slightly on a historical template from our own earth.
It's original rules and mechanics were based on rules created for tabletop war-gaming, where large masses of men fight against each other. This means you had a lot of men and didn't feel too much loss when any of them died.
Dungeons and Dragons the role playing game is based on the idea if each player controlling only one man. And following their exploits as they grew in power to become a "Super Hero".
Now you have a handful of men versus a large number of enemies and a "general".
IF you were to set both groups on a war-game table and let them attack each other then you would have a very short lived game. The enemies would quickly overwhelm them, killing them in a short period of time.
What the "heroes" needed was a way to encounter the same number of enemies but in small groups, starting with the weakest ones first and increasing their fighting abilities before fighting the next group.
This is what led to the 3 main ideas which drove the D&D game and indeed all role playing games afterward.
The first idea was the dungeon.
Think of the dungeon like a battlefield.
You start at one end and work your way through the enemies cannon fodder, the weakest and easiest to start with. The closer you get to the other "end" the more powerful the enemies become, through the shock troops and the generals body guards till you get to the general himself.
The twisting corridors and small rooms of the dungeon are conducive tot he Heroes Guerrilla style warfare tactics of hitting small targets and getting away quickly.
Indeed the first "dungeon" was the basement tunnels of a fortress.
During a war game scenario a small group of skirmishers were trying to overthrow the by sneaking in through a back door.and through the basements, but the players enjoyed that part of the scenario so much it was decided to expand on it.
The next big thing was to figure out was how was a group of mediocre soldiers ever supposed to defeat an enemy so powerful that they threaten the world? Well if the enemy was somehow able to amass so much poer there must be a way for the heroes to do so as well. And so an "experience point" system was born, so that they could incrementally improve until they too were "superheroes" capable of defeating the enemy general.
But there was still one more problem. The heroes were still too weak. If you consider the pacing of an adventure game it becomes clear that heroes have to kill alot of enemies to succeed in their quest.
IF they walk into a dungeon, kill a couple of guys each and then run off to heal, waiting a couple of weeks for natural healing to do it's work then the enemy would clearly move more guards to that room again before they returned.
The heroes had to find a way to press further into the dungeon in a single outing.
And so magical healing was born, healing potions, healing spells and even Resurrection spells were created. No one wanted to spend years creating a character just to see them killed by some lackey with a lucky strike. For Heroes to act like heroes they needed to be able to run in heal quickly while still in the dungeon if things got really bad and move on a little farther.
The idea that:
a: massive underground labyrinths exist everywhere in the world
b: that by simply entering them and killing enough enemies and gaining enough treasure will make you more powerful
c: that if you make a mistake you will be magically healed and able to continue on
are the hallmarks of all fantasy role playing games today.
So what happens if you try to directly import these 3 things into a sword and sorcery setting?
There are many types of dungeons but lets look at the generic three.
2 of them have a "leader at the end" the other does not.
Dungoen 1: Stronghold
Whether it be a cavern complex full of orcs, an ancient dungeon overrun with kobolds, or an underground fortrees of men, these are all large areas full of beings who occasionally come out to lay waste to the countryside around them.
These fit best inot the Sword and Sorcery setting.
However an entire underground complex of creatures like orcs or kobolds does not work well. In Sword and Sorcery the hero may wander into a city in the desert full of snakemen, or wash up on a mysterious island full of savage tiger men, but these things are never a threat to the outside world. These things of the Other Side, the magical, are always hidden, spoken of in legend but not a threat to actual civiliszation.
An isolated village may mysteriously disappear overnight leading the heroes to investigate but once they have entered the "dungeon" they may not leave until the enemy has been dealt with, or if they escape, on a return to the place they will find it to be completely abandonded.
This means that the classic "dungeon crawl" with it's many repeated trips back to town to drop off loot, pick up henchmen and heal up is not really possible with these types of dungeons.
A stronghold of men works very well but again not a good candidate for "dungeon crawls". If the hereos goal is to infiltrate the stronghold and kill the leader, or rescue a prisoner, then they certainly won't be able to make multiple trips, killing off more and more guards every time till the leader is left alone.
IF they leave the stronghold, whatever way they used to get in will be fortified, guards will be doubled or tripled. If the heroes were working for a local lord the stronghold may also decide to outright attack the lord laying seige to his own stronghold, leading the villagers the heroes know and love being killed.
Dungeon 2: A wizard did it
Oh sure it may be a witch, or a necromancer, or a sorceror, or a liche, or a wizard. But they will usually be evil.
They may be terrorizing the local populance, or raising an army, or be researching evil magics.
The end result though is that they have a castle/tower/underground cave that the heroes must enter to either kill the wizard or steal something from him.
If done well this is an excellent "dungeon" for sword and sorcery.
But like the stronghold the heroes will not get to come and go as they please. Especially if the wizard is extremely powerful. After attempting to rob him they may find themselves the target of terrible magics soon after, and indeed this is the reason most lords ever allow them to lay in their strongholds for so long without molestation.
It is best to let a wizard who is not actively attacking you to his own devices rather than face his wrath. Of course hiring some heroes to do the job is certainly a way to deal with them. These heroes annoyances may even amuse the wizard as they see them as useful test subjects fo their evil magics.
Dungeon 3: Abandoned tombs/underground cities/mines.
This is the bread and butter of the sword and sorcery "dungeon".
Not truly "Occupied", the heroes may encounter one group of inhabitants without neccessarily inciting the wrath of everyone in the complex. Organization between groups of inhabitants may or may not exist .A sword and sorcery world is chock full of lost cities and tombs, abandoned shrines and temples.
Usually these places will be "lost" and the heroes will stumble across them when trying to get somewhere else. Or they may actively be chasing legends. Either way the general population will not know the location or may be kept away from it by terrible legends or powerful natural defenses, like a difficult road, or fierce jungle animals.
If they are able to keep it a secret they may be able to leave and return several times but usually when they return they will find that either others have found it, or that what inhabitants there were have left with anything of value or interest. Also possible is that the entrance will be covered by a landslide or earthquake.
Essentially it's best to think of Sword and Sorcery as a short story instead of a Novel.
The heroes enter a lair for some reason, check it out, try to accomplish their mission and get out again never to return.
Adventuring leads to an increase in power
Classic role playing game rules usually dole out some form of experience for either completing a quest successfully, beating your enemies, and sometimes even for gathering up treasure and and other valuables.
This is usually because the role playing aspects of increasing power are usually abstracted, there is some sort of abstract reward for success which eventually translates into some abstract bonus for the character in time.
In Sword and Sorcery however we are usually presented a fully formed hero, who quickly goes about their quest and the story ends with their victory or defeat.
If they do return in further stories usually something will have happened in between the stories, say spending a few years with a band of mercenaries. In Sword and Sorcery usually "power" does not equate to how many people you can kill. It is usually measured in actual knowledge and skills. Travelling the world allows you to know more about the people and places in it.
A successful thief does not necessarily have a great skill in climbing, or shooting, or walking silently, but are more likely to have powerful friends contacts and allies.
Simply knowing when a valuable item will be moving from one stronghold to another is far more valuable than being able to pick someones pocket. Having a well placed friend in a stronghold who will leave the right door unlocked at just the right time is far more likely to be successful than simply a magical like ability to climb up walls.
In Sword and Sorcery you do not gain fighting ability simply by clashing swords with alot of enemies, you will be far better served in using your fame to secure you another great swordsman as a teacher (gold works just as well as fame in these situations).
Indeed in fine Heroic tradition the weapons master teaching an unskilled student is the first step on many quests.
Fine Armour and weapons are good but knowing how to use them is far more important. Many games will merely hand wave experience gain as this type of training, suggesting possibilities for including them in Role play but people rarely take advantage of them.
In Sword and Sorcery a famous hero is often sought out by those who need something done. They do not hang around bars waiting for a job. Fame, and the favor of your lord are just as valuable as a +1 to your to hit roll all with the benefit of not being mysterious and magical.
Too often players will think of their characters as merely a collection of bonuses to attack which are useful only in ensuring that they gain more levels for more bonus to gain more levels.
The problem with generic fantasy is that once you introduce magic as being fairly available and relatively safe to use, the character will soon come to the conclusion that if everything goes truly wrong then the other high level characters working for the King will be able to step in and take care of things.
In Sword and Sorcery the Heroes are the people that are stepping in to do something, But without magic they must rely on good old muscle power to get things done, if there is an opposing army marching on them they have no magical abilities weapons or spells to wipe them all off the map. The only thing that will stop them is another army, or killing the person who has sent them.
Since that person also has no infinite sources of magical power or fighting ability it means that the heroes will have to depend on their connections, favors, information and natural human abilities to take care of the threat.
The funny thing is that these favors and plans are far more dependable than magic. If an upstart sorcerer has chosen the heroes to vent his anger on, and the local lord owes them a favor they can quickly pick up a battalion of men to march on the sorcerers tower. Human talent and resources are just as interesting as magic.
If you wish a kingdom of your own you must earn it, it will not be given to your hero just because he has risen to a high enough level, it will be won when he has amassed enough influence in the world to thwart those who would take it from him.
Now we tackle the last Trope of Classic Fantasy Role playing.
In Most Fantasy role playing games, whether on computer or pen and paper, one of the most fantastic elements (ie hardest to believe) is magical healing. Whether through potions, magic items, spells, or innate magical abilities, "magical" healing is everywhere in most fantasy games. The concept of the
Healing "potions" that players can buy at the local market is now considered normal in any game.
The reason this has gone on for so long is because, hit points, or damage points, or life points, are all fairly abstract systems which take into account fighting ability, endurance, luck, as well as a characters physical size and strength.
Even though characters have more "hit points" as they go up in levels, game masters found out that if characters are not fighting enemies of equal toughness the players would feel no excitement, due to there being no risk of death.
So the enemies get more hit points as well, or the characters fight more powerful monsters.
The problem with this system is that after the first fight the characters would have to go back to town and rest up for weeks to get their hit points back. And so Magical healing was born. Now characters could plow through a whole nights worth of encounters one after the other, by the end of the night their healing spells and potions were used up and they would head back to town with their treasure and tally up their experience points.
As you can see this type of fight-treasure-town cycling is what leads to alot of the mechanics and "game balancing" rules of the d&d system. That is because the main conceit of D&D is that there are large underground dungeons, close to town, where you can move through 10 to 20 of the rooms in a night, Each of those rooms will have an encounter or a fight, but when the characters decide to leave they are free to go.
More than that all of the other creatures in all of the other rooms will happily sit in their own space waiting for the characters to arrive in their room instead of all of them converging on the characters at once.
Now lets look at a sword and sorcery version of an adventure.
We'll use the classic Conan short story "The Tower of the Elephant" (I'm not going to look up any specifics, so if my details aren't quite spot on at least you'll get the gist of it).
First Conan hears about the tower at a tavern, that there is a huge amount of treasure inside as well as a huge sorcerers gem which is the source of power for the Towers Owner, some wizard guy.
He decided immediately to break in.
So immediately he has an objective, get the gem, and any other loot he can carry. He is warned that there are terrible guards keeping others from doing so (explaining why this place is in the middle of the city and unlooted).
He also has a time frame, he cannot enter, look around, leave, and come back again. He has to complete this "adventure" in one night of game time.
He enters the garden surrounding the tower. There he meets another thief who joins him, there are now two people in the "party".
They meet some lions as their first "encounter". Now ordinarily these lions would rip them to pieces and this would be the end of the adventure but the other thief has a mysterious powder that puts them to sleep.
Note here, this advanced thief does not have a lot of hit points and is therefore able to fight the lions, he has the right connections to get this powder to defeat the lions, something a thief would not have when he begins his trade.
The first encounter over they now climb to the top of the tower to avoid the guard who wait by the front door. They do this with a super strong super light rope the thief has acquired or made, again through his connections and knowledge.
Now they are at the top of the tower. The other thief enters the door first but is killed instantly falling back outside the door.(he was bit once by a venomous spider, doesn't matter how many hit points he had he's dead)
Conan decides to brave the room anyway and enters.
Inside is a "Giant" spider. We're not talking something the size on elephant, or even a man, but the size of a dog. But Conan has been warned by his friends death that the spider is poisonous so a single bite will kill him.
So Conan is forced to dodge and run about the room avoiding the spider until he picks up a chest and throws it at the spider squashing it dead.
So Conan loses no "hit points" and the spider is instant killed not by an attack per se but by being squashed by a bit of room furnishing,
Conan then continues on and meets a big elephant headed guy, they talk for a bit the elephant guys asks Conan to put him out of his misery and take the gem down to the evil wizards guy.
Conan kills him takes the gem, gives it to the wizard, the wizard is sucked into the gem, The tower collapses and Conan escapes, probably with a few gems he grabbed from the spider room.
And that's it. Conan did not deal a single hit point of damage nor did he take one.
That is because a sword and sorcery story is short, there isn't time for a large labyrinth of varying bizarre rooms and endless scenes of the heroes fighting yet another group of bad guys in yet another room.
Sword and Sorcery lends itself well to short episodic adventure and without needing to rely on a lot of fantastic additional add ons to make it all work.
Making it perfect for a night of roleplaying fun.
But expand what you think of sword and sorcery because yes there are swords but there is also definitely sorcery.
All of the fantastic creatures, spells, monsters, wizards, sorcerers, rooms full of treasure, lost cities, dragons, underwater tombs, and races of terrible lizard men, all of these are sword and sorcery too. It's just how they are used that is different than fantasy. In Sword and Sorcery the fantastic is, well, fantastic. It is not everyday, everyplace, regular stuff. And doesn't that make it more fun?
Quiet Slayers, the Designer Speaks!
As I write up the rules into a final form I am noticing something
I spend more more time and space explaining why a rule is a certain way, or why the game of Lair is created in such and such a way.
Since I have only so many pages per issue you may wonder why I spend so long on these issues when I could just lay out the few pages of rules and be done with it.
It's because it's necessarily. There are so many roleplaying games out there, and so many ways to play them, so many types of players etc, that if I don't point out specifically why something is the way it is then people may gloss over the intent of the rule in favour of the way the rule is written.
Lair is a very different kind of Roleplaying game and it fits it's role very well. It's for new games and old because it is not built to fit a certain mechanic or to suit a certain genre. It's built to be fast, fun, easy to learn, and just as importantly, to be easy to run.
It is the friday night game that you whip out and play for a few hours and then head out to the bar. It's the game you pull out when the drummer is going to be a few hours late to practice because he has to work second shift. It's something to do for fun.
It's a game that you can sit down and say "We are going to plough through this entire dungeon today and finally give that Sorceror guy a kick in the nuts."
Roleplaying is a game and a hobby, it's a lifestyle but shouldn't replace actual life. Lair is something you can play with a few friends after work and still make it home in time to take out the trash and put the kids to bed.
Instead of waiting until everyone has a lifestyle where all your players can gaurantee to be able to play once a week, on friday, from 6 till midnight, to actually start up a game (which will peter out in a couple of months) just whip out Lair right now, play a game, throw the characters back in the box and next time you have a few hours pull it out again.
Instead of the endless planning of a game master, he can just whip out a Lair scenario, read the first page and you;re off and running, or play a quick skirmish. Gm can't play tonight, no problem someone else whip out the scenario and play the bad guys, it's just moving little guys around a board, being a gamemaster was never meant to become an epic level lifestyle of endless planning, building and writing.
Just Have fun instead!