Editors notes:Welcome to issue 5: Lairs! (The sideways issue)
As we near the end of another year we also near the end of the 5 core books of LoSS (Lair of Sword & Sorcery)
Lets take a look at what I’ve done with LoSS and why.
Issue 1: Demonboard: Detailed the making of the all important demonboard on which all the action of the game takes place. Since a battlemat was so inherently important to the proper play of the game it was necessary to dedicate most of an issue to it. But I didn’t want to just send you out to buy a battlemat or even more expensive 3d dungeon materials.
If the game was to be played by anyone I had to prove that you can make a great looking 3d dungeon yourself with just a few dollars. Not only that but I had to show a way that anyone could do it, not just artists that can create a full 3d dungeon out of foam and cardboard already.
I needed something that was cheap, easy, and not at all time consuming.
I often say that you can make a perfectly suitable Demonboard in the same amount of time as it takes to watch Conan the Barbarian.
I have in fact done that very thing myself a couple of times during the past couple of years.
I also wanted to include some material for the world of Kartharka. To show people what kind of adventures I wanted to make for LoSS. To show them a world made for exploring, for Adventure. A world created for them to tear around in and either save, or conquer.
I wanted a world full of wonder, excitement, hidden places and mystery. A world where one week you could play in the snowy peaks of the Winterlands, and another weak in the steaming Hunzar jungles, or ply the coasts of the Islands, or brave the Desserts of the Summerlands.
Issue 2: Combat: In issue 2 we really get started.
The combat issue finally started presenting some rules. Most important for adventure games is obviously the combat rules. The actual rules needed for 2 people to fight it out.
Since combat doesn’t happen in a void it also included rules for the basics of moving in lairs, how to set up a scenario for people to fight in and some guidelines for small scale skirmish battles between groups of people.
It also included the all important SOTA rules. The rules for doing something other than fighting.
The combat rules were created to make heroes that can easily hold their own against regular folk. But no matter how powerful they become, they can still be taken out by large groups of enemies. But the opposite is true as well. No mater how powerful their enemies are they can still kill them if they have enough manpower.
And because you need heroes to do that fighting the Hero creation rules are in this issue as well.
Issue 3: Veteran: But combat rules do not a Roleplaying game create.
One of the most important things to the way we play roleplaying games is the idea of advancing our heroes. Of making them better, more powerful, more skilled.
In the Veteran issue the rules for earning and spending Veteran points are included. To allow the heroes to improve their abilities.
The issue also includes lots of little things. Heroes homes, more of the world of Kartharka. Animals and monsters of the World of Kartharka as well as guidelines for crating your own enemies.
Also included are the first set of guidelines for creating and running Lairs or your own.
Issue 4: Sorcery: The sorcery issue finally adds the magic which all great fantasy roleplaying games need.
Magic items, spirits, ghosts, demons, and how to use them all. Now your heroes can become great Sorcerors, but unfortunately now evil Sorcerors and their minions are at the beck and call of the Demonlord.
Issue 5: Lairs: This issue finally gives the actual rules and templates for creating your own Lairs.
But what does all this mean?
I wanted to create a new Roleplaying game from scratch. Something fun and easy to play, so anyone can play without a lot of reading or learning.
I also wanted to create something that was easy to write Lairs for, with some simple guidelines for relatively balanced encounters for the heroes. I wanted adventures that were fun to write, and easy to run.
What kind of game is LoSS?
Well I originally went far away from what people would consider standard roleplaying systems. But it seems to have looped back to where games started. A simple combat system, you earn points for completing scenario which you then use to improve your hero.
More importantly when you want your hero to do something other than attacking, you describe what you are doing and the game master assigns a dice roll to see if it works.
When writing and realeasing the rules I knew that they were going to be a little confusing since they are being released in small pieces. People couldn’t look at the whole game at once and understand what it was.
Not only that but the rules system was not set in stone when publishing began. Things have changed over the past year from how I had originally planned them.
This means that I could not refer to other unpublished parts of the system when presenting any of the rules. We were still playing around with the game ourselves, adding things trying things and seeing what worked.
Now with the release of book 5 everything is indeed now locked in stone.
What’s with the weird release format? Why the focus on retailers and the sudden switch to pdfs?
When I started the game I was very Friendly Local Game store oriented. I wanted to only release the game through game stores. But I soon found that contacting them and getting books on the shelves was just too difficult.
So I began selling hardcopies online. But I wanted to avoid the whole pdf thing. I liked my roleplaying games on paper. Well the fact is shipping is expensive. It’s cheaper for most people to buy the pdf and print it wherever they are if they like it enough to want to use it. I wanted to avoid people putting up the pdfs for download and sharing them around and other nonsense.
The fact is my opinions have changed over the past year. And mostly it’s due to my getting involved with the online community on Google+.
If you really want people to play your game you have to just put it out there. The pay what you want pdf system is really the best one there is right now. People can download everything for your game for free and if they like it they can throw a few bucks your way.
The same thinking goes for everybody publishing things for your game. If they want to put up a website writing their own adventures and rules, heck you should let them. They’re all just sharing the game in their own way and the more people getting involved the better.
So what can the fans do with the game?
Whatever you want! Publish your own Lairs online, print your own fanzines, if people are willing to throw a few bucks your way to keep on doing it then feel free to sell it.
I wouldn’t mind you posting a link back to the LoSS website if you can manage it.
So go on and have fun with the system, make stuff up, post your own pdf’s, post content to your blogs, heck you can even put the LoSS issue pdf’s up on your website if you want.