Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Reflections on Labyrinth Lord
I've now used the retro-clone for three sessions, and I'm beginning to question it's usefulness in my games. When I decided to try it out I defended it against repeated assaults from critics and naysayers, not because I had become a born again OSR fanatic, or because I was labouring under some naïve belief in the superiority of all things old. No, Sir, I went to bat for LL because I wished to go at it with an open mind, and because it forced me to approach my GM'ing in a different manner.
What I really like about LL is it's simplicity. However, this is also it's main weakness. I've said earlier that in some ways it plays similar to the Storytelling game system. I still hold to that statement, but with some qualifications. Just as ST, LL does not bind the players to what's on their sheets. Unlike ST however, LL does not provide much in the way of support for any type of play except combat. And herein lies the rub.
I want to run a game where the characters interact with the world they're in in more ways than by applying sword and spell. Skills, I've found, is key here, and LL has none. This is the reason why the system feels unfinished to me. Yes, I am aware of the arguments for role playing challenges instead of relying on rules to solve them, but if the players have to describe every single action they take outside of combat, it'll become quite tedious right fast. Conversely, I know that the lack of skills can be overcome by rolling modified ability-checks, but to me that only feels like masking a problem with a sub-par solution.
So, while I haven't pulled the plug on this experiment yet, the results are starting to come in, and when it is brought before the committee I would not be surprised if the old school is abandoned in favour of 3.X. Hell, I've already started thinking about which iteration of 3.X we should use.