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Alexandra the Elf lashes out with her sword again, but the goblins keep getting closer. The dark pit looms behind her, the crevasse that had only moments earlier consumed her companion. She turns and makes a desperate leap toward the pit, hoping to land safely on the other side…
You are about to enter an entirely new world. Unlike board or card games that have highly structured play options and little flexibility, most of the action in LL takes place in your imagination. There are no limits!
LL is a role playing game. When you play a role playing game it is like acting in a play. You take on the role of an alter ego, and progress through an interactive story. But in a role playing game, there is no script or predetermined ending. You get to determine your fate, while seeking fame, wealth, and power by conquering foes, gathering treasure, and accumulating levels of experience!
You’ve taken the first step on your adventure, but you are still a 0 level human. Don’t despair, because you become 1st level when you create your first character, and progress from there. Gaining a level is a special occasion, because it incrementally marks your success as your alter ego. Each time a character gains a level, he becomes more powerful and capable of taking on the dangers of deeper and more exciting labyrinth levels.
…Alexandra fails to clear the pit, and plummets within! She feels the cold, slimy walls of stone slide against her, and begins to tumble and glide along the curved wall as she slips into the darkness. She falls a great distance before coming to a sudden, squishy halt. A gasp escapes her as she realizes the slide is stopped by the corpse of her companion, Niles the halfling. He is impaled on a wall of spikes with his mouth still open, as if to scream a warning or produce a shriek of surprise.
How to Play
Although all of the people who sit down to play LL are “players” in the traditional sense, they are not all referred to as “players” in this game’s terminology. One game participant is referred to as the “LL,” for which this game is named. This person is the moderator of the game, and is the person who should understand the rules better than any other participant. The other participants are called “players,” and they take on the role of a character (or, rarely, more than one character). Characters played by players are referred to as player characters (PCs). The players act in the role of their characters in the setting or world designed and presented by the LL. Characters each have a class, which might be thought of as a profession, and the class will dictate what sorts of capabilities characters have.
The LL is the final arbitrator of rules and rules decisions. He guides the progress of the game, and plays the roles of monsters and non-player characters (NPCs). Non-player characters are characters that share many similarities with the characters played by the players, but the LL decides on their actions, personalities, and motivations.
No one in this game “wins.” Characters do sometimes die; this is a fact of the game, but it does not indicate failure or “losing” in the sense that someone loses at, say, a card game. One can measure “success” in this game in many ways, such as achieving treasure, levels of experience, or powerful magical items. However, the one common measure of success that everyone should strive for is to have fun. Everyone can win at this game, because everyone can have fun playing it. So while a character may die, or riches may be lost, it is the game play itself that matters. Winning is in being able to suspend disbelief long enough to be immersed in a fantasy world.
Many adventures the characters undertake will take place in monster-filled labyrinths, in the wilderness, or in a town. Labyrinths may be large or small, but they are usually underground locations that are mapped and have the contents determined and described by the LL. While the LL may design these areas, published pre-made labyrinths or other areas might be used. The LL has the hardest job of all, because he must be prepared ahead of time to inform the players of what lies ahead and how the results of their choices unfold.
LL primarily uses six different kinds of dice to determine the results of actions and situations, but these same dice might be used to generate numbers of varying ranges. These different dice and the terms employed to use and describe them are detailed below.
Dice and Notation
Dice rolls are described with expressions such as “3d4+3,” which means “roll three four-sided dice, sum them, and add 3” (resulting in a number between 6 and 15). The first number tells you how many dice to roll (adding the results together). The number immediately after the “d” tells you the type of die to use (sometimes this is not a “real” die, see below). Any number after that indicates a quantity that is added, subtracted, or multiplied with the result. LL uses the following die notations:
|d2||A result of 1 to 2 is obtained by rolling 1d6. A result of 1-3 = 1, and 4-6 = 2.|
|d3||A result of 1 to 3 is obtained by rolling 1d6. A result of 1-2 = 1, 3-4 = 2, and 5-6 = 3|
|d4||Four sided die|
|d6||Six sided die|
|d8||Eight sided die|
|d10||Ten sided die, a “0” indicates a result of 10|
|d12||Twelve sided die|
|d20||Twenty sided die|
|d% or d00||Percentile dice (a number between 1 and 100 is generated by rolling two different ten-sided dice. One (designated before rolling) is the tens digit. The other is the ones digit. Two 0s represent 100.)|
Some important terms have been described already, and more will be described later, but to avoid confusion a few more clarifications are in order. Whenever the term “LL” is presented in italics (LL), it is referring to the name of this game. When the term is presented without italics, it is referring to the game moderator discussed previously.
Another important concept is to understand different usage of the term levels. There are four instances when the term levels might be used. One instance is when we are discussing levels of experience for characters, or class level.
Characters begin at 1st level in a particular class. As they accumulate experience points through fighting monsters and gaining wealth, they will reach higher levels (2nd level, 3rd level, and so on). With each level comes more hit points and additional class capabilities (discussed later). While we are talking about characters, another term that might be used is spell level. Characters who can cast spells will have access to more spells and spells referred to as being of a higher level as the characters increase in class level. For instance, some spells are 1st level spells, and some are 2nd level, and so on.
Spell levels do not directly correspond to class levels; they are only a relative measure of the power of spells.
Another way in which the term “level” is used is when discussing the level of a monster. This corresponds directly with how many hit dice monsters have. For instance, a 2 hit die (2 HD) monster might be thought of as a 2nd level monster. This is a direct measure of how many hit points a monster will have, and how challenging an opponent it is. Finally, the term “level” will be used in the context of labyrinth level. The primary adventuring locations in LL are labyrinths, or underground mazes, that are filled with many monsters, treasures, and treacherous secrets. A labyrinth level could be thought of as a floor of a building. When characters travel into the top-most level of a labyrinth, they are in the level closest to the surface of the earth. If the labyrinth has multiple levels, the next level down is the second level, then the third, and so on. The deeper the labyrinth level, the greater the dangers that await the characters.
One term that is frequently used is adventure. An adventure is often used to describe one play session. It may also be used in reference to a full scenario that may take several play sessions to finish. Many published adventures will use the term adventure and module interchangeably. When many adventures are strung together, often with the same characters in play, this is referred to as a campaign.
Experience points (XP) are used to measure the progress of characters. These points are assigned based on how powerful monsters that have been defeated are, and on how much treasure is found. As more experience points are gained, characters go up in level. As characters go up in level, one thing that changes is their number of hit points (hp). Characters gain more hp as they advance in levels, and this allows them to suffer greater damage and survive. Characters most often take damage from monsters while engaged in an encounter. An encounter is a situation in which the PCs and monsters or NPCs are interacting. Time and movement are measured differently during encounters, and this will be covered in depth later.
If you are confused about what some of the terms used so far mean, many terms are explained as they are presented in later sections of this book.
Below are some of the most common abbreviations that will be found in this book or LL supplemental books.
|shp||Structural hit points|
|HD||Hit dice (or hit die)|
|THC||Treasure Hoard Class|