[Sword & Sanity RPG] Labyrinth Lord Compatibility License

Work progresses on Swords Against the Outer Dark: Sword & Sanity Roleplaying, my supplemental rulebook for use with Advanced Labyrinth Lord. It has been a very long time since I have looked over the compatibility license agreement for Labyrinth Lord, so I decided to do so again tonight. I realized I am going to have to alter my plan just a bit to be in compliance with the agreement. This is not a huge deal, and in the end may help save me a bit of time.

A while back I published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for my project, and this is one of the entries I will need to adjust:
Q: Will the Sword & Sanity RPG book be a stand alone rulebook, or will the Labyrinth Lord rulebooks be required to play.

A: When I first decided to take on this project I thought the book would be designed as a supplement and require the Labyrinth Lord rulebooks to play. When the writing began I quickly changed my mind on this and now I am writing it as a stand alone product. This is not to say that some of the Labyrinth Lord rules I have decided to not use or to change cannot somehow be worked back into the game, so in essence I am not making the Labyrinth Lord rulebooks obsolete with this product. Just not totally necessary.
The new answer:
A: Swords Against the Outer Dark: Sword & Sanity Roleplaying will not be a stand alone rulebook, but a supplement for Advanced Labyrinth Lord. This project will carry a Labyrinth Lord compatibility logo on either the front or back cover, so the Labyrinth Lord core rules and the Advanced Edition Companion will be required to play.
So, my plan to create a complete rulebook has been nixed. I think Dan Proctor has done a hell of a job with Labyrinth Lord, and I see no reason not to show my support for the product and release compatible supplements and materials. Why reinvent the wheel... again?

What this means on my end is that I need to adjust the way I am approaching the classes, by building on existing ones and offering a few new ones, as opposed to ignoring all the old classes and designing the game around a complete package of all new ones. Also, I will offer ways to integrate existing spells from the Labyrinth Lord rules, though the rules for spellcasting will not be the same. Also there will be new spells included with this supplement.

All this also means its back to the drawing board for just a bit, which should not take long to readjust things and get some forward momentum going again. I am just glad I reread the agreement again, and realized the error in my design plans before they had gone too far.


Sean Robson said...

While I'm sorry to hear you won't be writing this as a stand alone game, I understand your rationale.

I'm not sure that it's such a great idea to require both the core rules and AEC to play Swords Against the Outer Dark, though. This makes your product not a supplement to LL, but a supplement to a supplement. This might cost you the support of people who would otherwise be keen on your game, but who aren't interested in investing that heavily into the LL books, or who just aren't interested in AEC.

Personally, if you are going to go the supplement route, I'd rather see you stick to the core LL rule book as your touchstone and modify that as necessary.

Anonymous said...

Did you ask Dan about making it stand-alone? Hasn't he always said it's all negotiable? 'Cause this way you'll need three books to play your game... LL, ALL, and yours.

Gavin Norman said...

Sounds like a good way of doing things to me, Shane. I'm interested that you say it will be based on the Labyrinth Lord core rules plus the Advanced Edition Companion. What is it you're planning to integrate which requires the AEC?

Shane Mangus said...

@Sean - The AEC already has a lot of redundant rules from LL. The main thing the AEC does is update spells and add a few advanced classes. The spells are what is the most important to me. The ranger and paladin are not as important to my book. I have created the explorer class to replace the ranger, and the paladin just doesn't fit into a Sword & Sanity setting. The assassin and monk are a different story, as both can fit seamlessly into the setting. Both LL and the AEC are free to download, so asking people to have copies of each is not really asking a whole lot. I will have to think more on this one. This is a valid point that not one I am ready to write-off.

@Anonymous - No I have not spoken to Dan about this particular issue. The license is pretty clear though, and I would have a hard time seeing him make an exception for me and not everyone else.

@elf23 - Thanks! I plan to cover all of this very soon with blog posts. That way I can get feedback as I discuss each design decision.

Sean Robson said...

@Shane: I certainly understand your desire not to reinvent the wheel and also to incorporate some of the AEC character classes.

While I do understand that both the required rulebooks are available as free downloads, I'm one of those people that just can't stand printed-off pdf's - professionally bound hard copy is the only way I roll. I'd also find needing three rulebooks a bit unwieldy, especially when they aren't nicely divided (i.e. monster book, spell book, character book, etc.) but require that you use some things from LL, other things from AEC, and still others from SAtOD. This could get confusing and I fear that it would require some of my players, at least, to make a sanity check on a regular basis. It would be nice to compile all of the needed rules in one book, or use only one core rule book supplemented by SAtOD.

R.R. Hunsinger said...

While I echo others' understanding of your decision, I was looking forward to a stand alone game for Sword and Sanity. Success in the venture!