Posted: May 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Introduction | Comments Off on Rules

Originally the rules for the Lost Roads of Lociam were far from uniform and a bit of a mess. With revisions being made the rules were streamlined and simplified, and finally made into a bit more of a cohesive whole.

The base of the rules-engine is the hundred-sided die, or the D100. This is normally rolled with two ten-sided dice (D10), with the darker one being the multiple of ten and the lighter one the single digit (so that the dark die landing on 8 and the lighter on 4 would result in an 84 and so on). The D100-test is used for all skill-tests, all basic attribute-test and a lot more. There are some exceptions, but using two ten-sided dice you can get through all of them.

Attributes for humans are rolled with 2D10 (rolling two dice and adding the results together) meaning that the attributes range from 2 to 20. The values obtained for the eight attributes are then used to calculate attribute-rolls which are used when no skills can be applied to a certain situation, like breaking up a door or spotting a lie when you get told a fib.

Player characters have eight attributes

  • Strength – reflects the physical strength of a character. Feats like breaking up doors and lifting heavy loads are dependent on this attribute.
  • Dexterity – This attribute describes how nimble and coordinated a character is. This is used for such things as stacking card-houses or undoing a knot you have tied in your pocket with only one hand.
  • Speed – This is fairly simple; a measure of the physical speed and reactions. When a character is involved in a contest of reaction (like the hand-slapping game) or when you want to try to grab a snake before it bites you.
  • Constitution – is a measure of the physical endurance of the character, stamina, resistances to disease, exposure and pain. When you want to stay away all night or engaging in long-distance running this is the attribute to test against.
  • Wisdom – This attribute is all about the smarts and knowledge of the character. It is not about intelligence or problem-solving, only about information the character has gathered. T is used to determine what is the best place to make a campfire (“I wonder if this will result in the fire spreading”) or which material best used for a blanket (“This fiber is loosely stitched, but it might attract the damp”) for instance.
  • Perception – Is also fairly simple; it is all about the senses of the character, sharpness of eye and general alertness, for instance. You can use this to spot a lie when you get it told to you, or recognizing a single in a crowd speaking all at once.
  • Charisma – Charm, weight of personality and talents of persuasion are all included in this attribute. When you want to intimidate someone or bluff them, this is the attribute you test against.
  • Mana – The final attribute is that of magical power. It is used as a base for a character’s magical talent, reservoir of magical energy and resistance to magic used against him/her. It is used for a few different magical tests, including magical perception and resistances.

These are used to calculate secondary attributes like movement-rate, initiative, alertness and a lot more.

Then there are some tertiary attributes, which reflect the player’s interaction with the character. One of these are Karma; the favor the character has with his/her chosen deity, used to check if a prayer is answered or a miracle performed. Another is Common sense, which fills in the gaps in knowledge between the character and the player (naturally, a character will know more about the world he/she lives than the player who only plays a game in the same world every once in a while).

Combat in the game is divided into rounds, where the speed of the character and his/her combat-experience factor in in determining the order of actions in that round. The order is then followed down the turn. Each combat-action (like the swing of a sword for instance) has a roll to see if it hits, another to see if the target manages to get out of the way or block it in some way, a roll to check how bad the damage is, and finally, if the target has a suit of armor, checking if this mitigates some of the damage. With only four principal rolls to make per action, the pace can get high enough to impart the feeling of a quick and deadly conflict, which adds to the excitement.
The tide of battle can be turned with a few good rolls, and can be very deadly. For a player character is is a lot easier to get knocked out than killed though (heroes tend to get knocked out rather than killed, whereas henchmen and monsters die like flies). This keeps the combats interesting, and as natural healing is slow when not augmented by magic, one has to think both once and twice before getting into an armed scrape. An arrow from a longbow, for instance, if it hits, is not avoided or mitigated by armor will knock most anyone out, and the same goes for a good solid bash with a big mace, or the stomp of a 3-meter troll’s massive foot. To quote one of the playtesters; “Incapacitated does not mean decapitated, but once incapacitated it is hard to defend yourself against anyone’s intentions of taking your head off.”
The combat rules also include rules for such diverse situations as drowning, falling, fire, natural disasters, poisons and starvation.

The magic rules have been streamlined to minimize the number of rolls, both for Lower magic (which is part of most everyone’s professional education) and Higher magic (which is the more complex arcane art used by magicians and others that study it in more depth). The magic rules are mostly concerned with these two kinds of magic and with rules for spotting/sensing magic nearby. These are dependent on the innate magical talent of a character, both for their type and range.
Lower magic is learned as part of a character’s education; thieves have one kind, warriors another, traders a third, and so on. If you want to learn more magic you can study the entire “package” of another education, and, depending on your talent, master some or all of them.
Higher magic is divided into Spheres, each concerned with a specific topic. The Core Rulebook contains five Spheres; Change, Fire, the Body, Water and Wind. In this game you do not learn one spell at a time, but an entire Sphere at a time. However, that is not enough. You also have to study the magical language Arcane, and the greater your proficiency in this language the more effects of the Sphere will you be able to use. You can therefore have a character with a great deal of study and time invested in a Sphere and able to only do a few of its effects (but succeeding more often than not) because of his poor training in Arcane, whereas if the positions are reversed, the magician would know a lot of the Sphere’s effects, but fail on most attempts to use them due to lack of training in the actual Sphere.
Lower magic is commonly quick, immediate and low-powered; useful in situations you get into in your professional life, but not more. Higher magic, on the other hand, can literally move mountains, given enough study, preparation, energy and time. The quicker and more subtle the effect, the lesser power can be used through it, normally. Higher magic is divided into Thoughts (which require no vocal component to take effect), Spells (which require speech and moving of arms), Runes (which you have to write down) and Rituals (which can take hours of chanting). The more powerful effect, the more energy the magic will claim from the user.

The rules for religions govern what sort of things certain deities consider to be good offerings, rules of conduct and traditions, along with how prayers and miracles work. Prayers are rolled with 2D10 rather 1D100, adding a character’s Karma, to overcome a difficulty; the greater the favor asked of the deity the higher the result must be. Asking for your god to make you a copper coin so that you don’t starve a devout follower can succeed with about four tries out of five. However, the same follower asking for the god to make him/her a private floating island would take a month of prayer and fasting, a suitable offering and a one in one hundred roll.

The rules are easy to learn, and there are examples to the more complex rules in the rulebook itself. In addition to this, there are several examples on the homepage, of both character creation and combat, to walk you through the process, and make it even easier to learn.

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