ORACLE

5/09/2010

[LL Supplemental] Social Backgrounds

When thinking about character creation using the Labyrinth Lord (LL) system something that immediately comes to mind that can be added are rules that cover the Social Backgrounds of the characters being created. Below is a simple set of rules that outlines several levels of society that can be used in conjunction with the existing character creation rules covered in the LL Advanced Edition Companion (AEC). If running a human-centric campaign (as I do) these rules can be used in lieu of the racial rules found in the LL rulebook. In this case I have included possible Ability Score adjustments that can be used in place of racial Ability Modifiers. Also, I have included Possible Careers for each level of Social Background. Some of the careers included are not listed on the optional rules Secondary Skills list found in the AEC (page 21), but I do not think the list was intended to be all inclusive or complete, so feel free to use the careers listed or discard them as needed.

Most sword & sorcery stories deal frankly with slavery, and it is part of everyday life. Here is a table for randomly generating Social Background in these types of campaigns:

d20 Social Background:
1-2 Serf/Slave
3-6 Barbarian
7-14 Peasant
15-18 Townsman
19-20 Noble

For campaigns without the issue of slavery:

d20 Social Background:
1-3 Barbarian
4-13 Peasant
14-18 Townsman
19-20 Noble

Serf/Slave
These are the unfortunate souls who live their lives in bondage and sevitude. They are forced into the service of those wealthy enough to own servants. There are no social rights for this level of people, and they are viewed by the rest of civilized society as property, pure and simple. Only the truly lucky find a way to escape their bonds and live as free men.

Ability Modifiers: +1 STR, -1 INT (muscular from hard labor, but poorly educated)
Starting Wealth: per Labyrinth Lord AEC rules x .25
Possible Careers (Secondary Skills):
  • Concubine
  • Cook
  • Footman
  • Laborer
  • Oarsman
Barbarian
These are the individuals who dwell on the fringes of society, choosing to live by their wits and survive by primal instinct. They are clannish, valuing honor and kin over everything. Strength of arms and of character are held in high regard, and they will never bow down to be enslaved by the bonds of civilization.

Ability Modifiers: +1 CON, -1 CHR (a hearty people, but a bit xenophobic)
Starting Wealth: per Labyrinth Lord AEC rules x .5
Possible Careers (Secondary Skills):
  • Animal Trainer
  • Blacksmith
  • Furrier
  • Huntsman
  • Seafarer
Peasant
These are the folk who make up the majority of free men who do not dwell within the cities of the world. Hard working and proud, they tend to their farms or work their crafts for trade, earning just enough to get by in life. Almost all of these people work outside of the guild system, so they never seem to gain a leg up when trading within the towns of the land.

Ability Modifiers: No modifiers (a well rounded folk)
Starting Wealth: per Labyrinth Lord AEC rules x .75
Possible Careers (Secondary Skills):
  • Farmer
  • Fisher
  • Herdsman
  • Miner
  • Woodcutter
Townsman
These free men are the city dwellers, living their lives within settlements and trading their goods in the market places. Most have apprenticed within the guild system, or have served as town guard, so they have the potential to be highly skilled in a craft or at the use of arms.

Ability Modifiers: +1 INT, -1 CON (well educated, but laking survival instinct)
Starting Wealth: per Labyrinth Lord AEC rules x 1
Possible Careers (Secondary Skills):
  • Apothecary
  • Merchant
  • Physician
  • Shipwright
  • Tailor
Noble
These are the privilaged of the civilized folk. Nobles live lives of luxury and never want for anything. They are highly educated and have access to areas of knowledge and learning that are beyond the grasp of lower levels of society. Nobility can be a cruel mistress, as those who have it want to maintain it for as long as possible and everyone else wants to attain it no matter the cost.

Ability Modifiers: +1 CHR, -1 CON (born to authority, but soft from good living)
Starting Wealth: per Labyrinth Lord AEC rules x 10
Possible Careers (Secondary Skills):
  • Courtier
  • Diplomat
  • Explorer
  • Guild Master
  • Scholar
The rules presented here are considered Open Game License (OGL).
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