Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Land of Ice (The Adventure, Part 2)

[continued from here]


Characters in LAND OF ICE do not have as many levels of experience as the normal B/X rules, being limited to 5th level for most classes and 4th level for the non-humans (Alfr and Dvergr characters). Likewise, the experience point tables are a little different from the standard ones found in the B/X rules, due to the compressed nature of leveling.

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 800xp
3rd Level – 8000xp
4th Level – 40,000xp
5th Level – 80,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 700xp
3rd Level – 7000xp
4th Level – 35,000xp
5th Level – 70,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 1000xp
3rd Level – 10,000xp
4th Level – 50,000xp
5th Level – 100,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 600xp
3rd Level – 6000xp
4th Level – 30,000xp
5th Level – 60,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 500xp
3rd Level – 5000xp
4th Level – 25,000xp
5th Level – 50,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 1500xp
3rd Level – 15,000xp
4th Level – 75,000xp

1st Level – 0xp
2nd Level – 900xp
3rd Level – 9000xp
4th Level – 45,000xp

In LAND OF ICE, experience points are earned for the same things as in B/X: acquisition of treasure and defeating opponents. 1xp is earned for every gold mark (gm) worth of treasure recovered or earned for an adventure. Experience points for opponents are earned at the same rate given in the B/X rule book.

Experience points are distributed at the end of an adventure (i.e. each game session), evenly divided amongst all surviving party members. Once the individual awards are determined, individual bonuses and penalties for Wisdom (see Chapter 2) and Honor (see below) are calculated. If the party has a skald, all PCs earn additional XP based on the skald’s level, as explained in Chapter 2.

Earning a level has several effects: hit points and class abilities are increased as explained in Chapter 2 and attack and saving throws increase as explained in Chapter 5. In addition, player characters earn one advance for every increase in level. An advance is a special bonus, earned as a reward, used to distinguish characters from each other based on their own personal focus. Players can choose from the following advances upon reaching a new level of experience:

Ability Increase: +1 to one of the character’s ability scores
Extra Hit Points: +1D6 extra hit points (no Constitution modifier)
Psychic Power: +1 additional psychic point (only if character is already psychic)
Psychic Clean-Up: Subtract 2D4 corruption points (minimum 0)
Saving Throw Bonus: +2 bonus to one category of saving throws
Weapon Specialization: +1 to attack and damage rolls with specific weapon

A saving throw bonus can only be taken once for each saving throw category. A character can only take weapon specialization once for each weapon. Non-psychic characters (other than dvergar) that raise their Intelligence to 14 develop a psychic talent (with 1 psychic point) just as if they had started the game with a high Intelligence score.


Honor is an important aspect of the northman’s character, and a major source of confidence and ego to human characters. Failing to act “honorably” results in characters devaluing themselves; in game terms this results in penalties to experience points earned during a play session.

While the alfar and dvergar know and understand the honor of the northmen, being non-human they have different ideas of what is “honorable behavior” and they don’t allow considerations of honor get in the way of adventuring. Thieves are outside the normal expectations of “honorable society” and never face honor penalties for their actions.

What constitutes honorable action differs between character classes, as listed below. Whenever a character acts dishonorably during an adventure, the DM should make note of it. When experience points are distributed at the end of an adventure, penalties are assessed on the character’s individual share. Some penalties may be assessed more than once per session, at the DM’s discretion.

All Characters (except thieves)
Allowing insult to stand unchallenged: -10%
Breaking oath or word of honor: -100% (-20% for non-humans)

Backing down from a worthy* fight: -10%
Fleeing combat: -25%
Surrender against long odds: -10%
Surrender without a fight: -50%
*a worthy fight is against an opponent of equal or greater level/hit dice.

Admitting own abilities insufficient: -10%
Asking for assistance: -25%
Failing to defend own goods/property: -20%
Refusing a solo assignment: -30%
Waste: -10%

Displaying envy/greed/lust (by word or deed): -10%
Displays of power for vanity: -5%
Fighting with mundane weapons: -10%
Wearing armor for battle/war: -20%
Wearing armor otherwise: -50%

Choosing sides for greed or whimsy: -10%
Failing to maintain splendid appearance: -5%
Initiating combat without discussion: -25%
Losing instrument: -25%
Refusing a request for performance*: -30%
*not applicable in combat situations, of course!

Refusing a social drink: -20%

Giving a gift without recompense: -20%


  1. I hope you get to play test soon, so we can see the results. Intrigued by your XP choices and the honor system.

  2. @ Jovial: Huh...I wasn't really planning on play-testing. This was something I was putting out on the blog for my readers who were tired of all the sci-fi/NFL nonsense I've been posting the last couple months.

    But maybe I WILL...if I ever get another B/X group together!

    [BTW: I'm not totally sure I dig the honor system. It's supposed to provide (in addition to flavor) a mechanical justification for in-game behavior choices. How do you keep fighters from running from fights? Penalize 'em when they don't!

    However, the majority opinion on game design is one of POSITIVE reinforcement over negative...give people bonuses for staying in the fight (for example) instead of penalizing 'em for "not playing right." That's the part I'm not sure about.

    But dammit, I WANT to penalize people for not playing right! Eh...we'll stick with this for now]
    ; )

  3. Addendum:
    One thing I like about the XP penalty is the advantage this gives thieves; that is, the ability to act with impunity and not worry about the repercussions can be considered a benefit of the class. It's HARD to live righteous!

    However, with THAT in mind I should probably reverse the XP needed for the non-psychics; fighters willing to face death itself SHOULD advance faster in level (or die trying).

    Let me think about it.

    (posted while riding a bus)

  4. I think you should have a playtest of some sort, even if solo and just to test it.

    Intrigued by the slow XP progression. Don't you feel that it might be a bit slow for some player?

  5. @ Simon:

    Think of it as jumping levels in increments of 3...and even then, it should be quicker than standard play.

    Certainly it could use some play-testing...but consider the difference between a 1st level, 2nd level, and 3rd level fighter in B/X is nothing more than a difference in hit points...AND (depending on how one rolls for HPs) there may be no difference AT ALL between 1st and 3rd level!

    My version, skips right to level 4.

  6. Good points. I've always grouped levels into sets of three to judge how difficult an encounter or adventure will be.

  7. You need to include honour bonuses for badass Beowulf style stunts like fighting without weapons and armour, or making everyone stand back so you can fight singlehandedly.