This weekend I am running a public Labyrinth Lord game using Dyson’s most excellent Goblin Gully one-page dungeon. This will only be my second public game of LL as a DM (my first was a special one-shot version of X1 The Isle of Dread for GottaCon 2011), and I am a little nervous.
I have a million ideas to make the game fun and exciting for my players, but only so much time to prepare. Apart from the usual tasks of drawing maps and creating appropriate pre-gens, two of the other things I am working on are
- a way to differentiate the fighter-type characters from each other (which I will cover below)
- and a way to implement some kind of Organized Play program for returning players (which I hope to detail in a later blog post)
While a human Fighter is already very different from an Elf or a Dwarf or a Halfling, I still want to try to give each of them something else to set them apart. Ability scores can help the distinction (as in this is the strong guy, this is the fast guy, this is the tough guy), but I think another good place to look for warrior-types is in their armament.
I have already decided that the Halfling is going to use a sling. She is going to be a skirmisher rather than a front-liner, so I will probably dress her in something like leather or studded leather armor. But for the others, I want something that the players will feel makes their character unique while still being a recognizable archetype. So I have decided that the Fighter will use a two-handed weapon, the Dwarf will sword-n-board, and the Elf will fight with two weapons (when he’s not shooting his bow).
But since I am not using variable weapon damage, any smart player will immediately ditch a two-handed or off-hand weapon for any shield they find. The solution is to add incentive for the other weapon options.
Now I don’t know if I have read some or all of this on another blog and am just regurgitating it from my subconscious, but I think it is a simple solution that can be used by all characters and not just the fighters.
- Two-handed weapons do +1 damage
- Shields add +1 AC (as they currently do)
- Off-hand weapons add +1 to hit
I considered putting other restrictions on the options such as two-handed weapons only add the bonus to damage if the character has a Strength of 13+ and off-hand weapons only add the bonus to hit if the character has a Dexterity of 13+, but felt it over-complicated things. And in fact I like the idea of a weak character using a two-handed weapon to compensate for a low Strength.
So that is what I am going to try this weekend. I think it will help to make my pre-gens into seven ‘iconics’ that I can always have on hand for new players, regardless of the level of the adventure. They already all have names (that were randomly generated along with their level 5 versions using the fantastic Labyrinth Lord Character Generator), and a few other details like the Magic-User uses more combat-oriented spells such as Magic Missile and Shield, whereas the Elf uses enchantment spells like Charm Person and Sleep.
Hopefully I can introduce them all in a future post