How is Lair Different?

Character Creation

No Classes

Lair has no classes or similar constraints. Every character (or Hero as they're called) can fight, sneak, use sorcery, or anything else they want.

Your character has statistics, a listing of their physical and mental abilities.

The stats are Body, MInd, Quickness, Vitality, Camaraderie, and Other World.

In the world of Kartharka an average person has stats that are all zero.

If they are a little better at something they get a bonus, called a strength. If they are a little worse, they get a negative, a weakness.

The player gets 5 points of bonuses to distribute however they like amongst their stats. But because all heros always have a weakness they must also distribute 5 points of weakness amongst their stats.

And that pretty much sums up character creation. Pick some items and do a little math (with all of the calculations right on the sheet.

Not to worry though, there are plenty of exciting things to give your hero as grow in strength, which happens fairly quickly in Lair.

Unique Combat System

Combat is simple in Lair.

To attack something you roll 2D6 and add your Attack Score. The Defender rolls 2d6 and adds their Attack Score. The one with the higher total number wins.

The winner rolls a d6 for damage and adds their Damage score. This is the amount of Endurance damgae they cause to their enemy. The enemy deducts their Defense Score from this total and subtracts this from their endurance.

However the attacker loses 1 endurance as well. When taking part in a fight, whether you win or lose, you take endurance damage as you get tired. The loser takes alot more though.

This means that even if you're winning the combat you can't fight forever, and even if you are for more skilled than your enemy you can be quickly overwhelmed by large amounts of unskilled warriors.

Reaching Zero Endurance

Once something reaches 0 Endurance they are no longer able to defend themselves in combat. Every time they lose additional Endurance a Death Roll is made. If they fail the roll they are taken out of the combat. For enemies in a dungeon this means they are simply removed. For heroes they will have to wait until after the encounter is over to see if they have survived by making a Fate Roll

Hit Points and Healing

Characters get a number of Endurance Points. This represenents their ability to continue to fight. It is a guage of how long they can fight, and fight well enough to defend themselves.

Once their endurance is used up they become tired, they make mistakes, they slip, and the enemy is able to get an attack in.

Since Endurance doesn not represent physical damage it can be regained very quickly, by resting between encounters. Endurance is not fully regained by resting, they only get half back each time they rest. They cannot fully rest until the adventure is over and they are safely home.

Points Based Experience

Players earn Veteran points for doing things during the game.

Fighting combats with enemies that are of equal or great power.

Completing adventures.

Succeeding at an impossible task like an incredible jump.

An impressive Role-Playing moment.

Or anything else the Games Master wishes to award them for.

Veteran points are used to buy Veteran skils. These can increase combat scores, stats, movement, or other things of use in a fight.

But they can also be used to buy skills like crafting, or to gain sorcerous abilities.

All the skills are available to all the heroes.

3d Battle Matt

All the action in Lair of Sword & Sorcery takes place on the Demonboard. This is a 3D battle mat on which all the figures are places.

They can be extremely simple, taking only a few minutes to make. Or they can be incredibly elaborate taking a whole afternoon to make.

It's up to you how much work you want to put into it but detailed instructions are provided.

The most simple version is detailed in the Core Rules, just a piece of Bristol Board with a grid Drawn on it and some stips of bristol board to serve as wells.

In Issue 1 of LoSS are detailed instructions for making a gorgeous full 3D board that only takes hours to build using cheap and easy to find materials. This is accomplished by making easy to use stamps which you can use to "paint" the entire dungeon and all the walls in no time.

By assuming that all games of Lair will be played on a battle mat it makes the rules much more simple.

By having a standard size play mat it also means that all players will be able to play all adventures on their mat, without worrying if they will have enough space to play the adventure.

A Magic System with No Spells

There are no wizards in Lair of Sword and Sorcery. Any character is free to learn the Sorcererous arts.

In this game there are no lists of spells the character can learn.

Instead they have the ability to control and enslave spirits, ghosts, and demons.

These beings all have their own powers, which are at the command of the sorcerer.
Instead of casting a fireball spell the sorcerer controls a fire demon, which will may throw fire at the sorcerers enemies.

This type of magic also extends to the world of magic items.

Instead of a magic sword which bursts into flames, the item acts as a prison for a fire demon, which belches forth it's fire at the characters command.

Fame and Favour

In most games you have a vague idea if your hero is famous, but what does it do for you? Maybe a drink at the bar or someone recognizes you in town.

Not so in Lair of Sword & Sorcery.

In Lair your character has a Fame score.

This is used to track just how well you are known and whether any given person or town will have heard of you. But wait, there's more!

When characters complete adventures they don't just get treasure and experience points, they also often earn a favor from the town or person they have helped.

These favors are an actual game mechanic and can be cashed in later when the character needs something. The more famous the character is, the more they can get for a favour.

Built in Fleeing System

The game of Lair is fast, tactical and dangerous.

The characters can be quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers or by encountering fresh enemies too soon after a battle.

In Lair Fleeing is always and option and has it's own rules, if the heroes can make it to the edge of the demon board then they have escaped.

Often times this means they will fail in their mission and won't have a second chance to enter the dungeon but the heroes will live on to fight another day

Rules for the Characters Home

In the game of Lair a Hero's home is very important. It's where they go to rest, to recover, to learn new skills, to craft and repair, and to train.

Crafting skills require certain items, combat skills need to be practiced, and new skills need space to practice and sometimes special items to train.

But the home is not just for character advancement, it is also an important place to store gear and treasure, a place to retreat to when you need to rest, or a place to defend when things get really bad.

The game of Lair includes all these rules for the Characters homes.

Adventure Creation Templates

Most games just leave you to wing it when it comes to adventure creation. 

Setting up a dungeon, filling it with items, enemies and cool things to entertain the players can be time consuming, difficult, and thankless if the players never see it.

With Lair everything is set up on easy to use templates.

A campaign of linked adventures is called a "story" in Lair, and there is a convenient flow chart style template to track all the adventures or areas which may be in it and how they interract or lead to each other..

Each of these encounters is then set up on a lair template sheet. 

Each lair template has:

  • A grid perfectly sized for a demonboard
  • Objectives for the players
  • Punishments for failing the adventure
  • Rewards for success
  • Special features
  • Setup of the adventure
  • Area list
  • A force list of enemies including all their stats

Just fill in the blanks, make a quick sketch of the rooms and corridors, and you're good to go.

Not only do the templates make it easy to create adventures, but it also makes it easy to run them.

Each adventure has all the information you need on two sheets, you can pick up an adventure, read it in 5 minutes, and be ready to run it right away.

The Lair Balancing system

When setting up adventures you don't say that there are "4 orcs" in a room.

You instead say that you have a "1/2 rank encounter".

That means that you take the parties combat rank (calculated on the character sheet) and divide by 2. Each Orc will have a combat rank as well and you simply add enough orcs to equal the total combat rank that you need.

This means you can take a party of heroes of any rank and throw them into almost any adventure and things will be relatively balanced.

A Henchman System That Works

In Lair there is not much consideration given to things like, how much can you carry, transporting large amounts of supplies, or carting piles of treasure.

Neither is it concerned with tracking things like rations, arrows, torches or other miscellaneous items.

With these things gone, the usual need for henchman to carry supplies, torches or other miscellaneous things while the heroes fight is gone.

But the heroes will still need a little backup from time to time to help out in a fight.

This is where the Henchman rules come in.

The Lair balancing system means that most encounters can be tailored for the party. But some, like the big finale of an adventure against the big bad, will always be the same difficulty. This is where the henchman come in.

If the largest combat rank encounter in adventure is higher than the parties total combat rank, then they may hire followers to increase their rank.

These followers are controlled by the heroes in the same way as their own characters.

However they are there only to fight. They can't do anything creative, like figure out a trap, or come up with a plan, or anything else other than fight. 

This means that they players still need their heroes to do all the interesting or dangerous things.