Poll Closed, Variable Damage Kills It!

Well this one came as no surprise. When asked which damage rules they prefer when playing an older version of D&D/Labyrinth Lord/Swords & Wizardry, variable or unified damage, a huge majority of gamers voted that they liked variable damage the best. Seventy-seven people voted on this poll (I believe this is the largest number of votes on any poll posted here on the Outer Dark) and 72% voted for variable damage. I guess this shows that not all weapons are created equal in the minds of most old-school D&Ders.

Personally, I have used variable damage as far back as I can remember. Judging by the date of when I first played D&D I know I had to of played in least a couple of games where we used the Holmes basic edition. I did not own a copy of this edition and did not actually get to read over this rulebook until I was in my late teens. Roughly a year after my first experience playing D&D I received a Moldvay basic edition for my birthday. I poured over that rulebook countless times back in the day, but until very recently I did not even realize that the unified d6 damage rules were actually included as the default damage rules and the variable weapon damage rules were considered "optional". To be honest I am not sure I missed out on anything by glossing over the default damage rules and going straight for the optional.


[Sword & Sanity RPG] FAQ

Recently I have talked a bit about the Swords Against the Outer Dark Labyrinth Lord supplement I am currently writing. After typing out Swords Against the Outer Dark Labyrinth Lord supplement enough times I quickly realized I needed an easier way to tag the articles that I post for this book. Sword & Sanity RPG seems like a much easier shorthand for this project, so from now on this is the tag I will be using for the game.

To help lay the groundwork for this book I feel like it would be a good idea to take a minute and answer a few questions I have received from various sources. This is not an all-inclusive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Sword & Sanity RPG, but consider this the beginnings of one.

Lets begin:
Q: What is the official title of the game?
A: Swords Against the Outer Dark: Sword & Sanity Roleplaying

Q: What game system will Sword & Sanity RPG be using?
A: I will be using Labyrinth Lord as the foundation for the game. There are a few other Open Game License (OGL) products that I will be referencing and drawing inspiration from when designing certain rules. So far these games include: Mutant Future, Swords & Wizardry, Castles & Crusades, Conan: the Roleplaying Game and Dragon Lords of Melniboné.

Q: How compatible will this game be with Labyrinth Lord?
A: Very. There will be some rules additions and tweaks, but when possible I will be leaning heavily on the rules that Daniel Proctor has laid out in the Labyrinth Lord core rules, as well as the Advanced Edition Companion.

Q: When will this game be released?
A: When it is finished. I would like to have the writing completed sometime in November, but honestly we will just have to see how things go. I am guessing the project will be ready to publish sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

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 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.

Q: What formats will the rulebook be offered?
A: There will be a no frills complementary PDF available, as well as a deluxe PDF that can be purchased. I like smaller books, so I am pretty sure the final book size will be US Trade (6"x9"). The cool thing with US Trade is the compact "pocket" size of the book, and I can offer it in hardback or paperback. Paperback editions can be printed as perfect-bound, coil-bound or saddle-stitched, and I will make all three bindings available.

Q: How much will this game cost me?
A: My goal is to price the books as closely to the price of the Labyrinth Lord books as I possibly can.

Q: Will you be publishing this game independently or through a game company?
A: Right now I am going the self-publishing route, and I will be going through Lulu for the printing.

Q: Would you consider allowing an established game publisher to publish the game?
A: Possibly. It depends on the publisher and the offer.

Q: I heard something about a pledge drive for this project. Is this still on and where can I find out more?
A: I discussed the possibility of having a pledge drive to help with the funding of illustrating the book, but I have not initiated the drive as of yet and I am not sure I will be going that route. I am working on a couple of other possible ways to help fund the project, but it is too early to announce anything.

Q: Will there be new races available for the players to play in this game?
A: No. Sword & Sanity RPG is being designed as a human-centric game. Exotic and/or fantastic races just do not have a place in this style of game. I am introducing Social Backgrounds to help fill the void of not having several races available for play.

Q: Will there be rules for new classes?
A: Yes. Though the classes offered in Sword & Sanity RPG may seem familiar at first glance they all have a unique flavor and have been designed specifically for the game.

Q: Can you share the names of the new classes?
A: Right now they are: Academic, Entertainer, Explorer, Infiltrator, Mystic and Warrior. This may or may not change as I get further into the design of the game.

Q: Will you be posting previews of of these new classes?
A: Yes. I will begin posting these previews in the next week. Since a complementary copy of the game will eventually be available I have no problem posting previews and even whole chapters as soon as I feel the material is ready to share.

Q: Can we expect a new monsters to be included with the rulebook?
A: Yes. I will be writing up all the standard Lovecraftian horrors, as well as a few originals.

Q: Will the game use Sanity Points to track the mental health of the characters?
A: No. Longtime readers are already familiar with my approach to this. More on this later...

Q: How will magic be handled in Sword & Sanity RPG?
A: The answer to this question is an article and chapter unto itself, and I will be revealing more in time, but rest assured I will be offering a system that has been designed to capture an authentic Lovecraftian flavor.

Q: Will the book include an introductory adventure?
A: Yes. And time willing I will also detail a campaign setting as well.