Thursday, December 1, 2011

Land of Ice (PC Information, Part 1)

[The following setting material replaces the information found in the Basic and Expert sets; when using the Land of Ice campaign setting the following rules should be applied. Where the information provided does NOT contradict the normal rules, the standard B/X system should be applied]

Creating a character for LAND OF ICE consists of the following steps:

1. Determine Ability Scores
2. Choose Class
3. Adjust Ability Scores, Note Bonuses
4. Roll Hit Points
5. Roll Money, Choose Equipment
6. Determine AC, Attack Rolls, Saves
7. Name Character, Final Touches

Step 1: Determine Ability Scores

Characters in LAND OF ICE have the six ability scores found in B/X: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma. When creating a character, each player rolls 4D6 a total of six times, discarding the lowest die rolled. The six sums are then arranged in any order the player desires.

Step 2: Choose Class

Players have seven classes from which to choose. Fighter, Huntsman, Magician, Skald, and Thief are the five classes available to northmen; there are also two non-human classes: Alfar and Dvergr. Only one skald may be present in an adventuring party; if more than one player wishes to create a skald, the PC with the highest Charisma has the first option to play the skald (of the PCs have the same Charisma, roll randomly to see who gets to play the class and who must play a different class). All starting characters begin at 1st level of experience.

Step 3: Adjust Ability Scores; Note Bonuses/Penalties

The characters in LAND OF ICE have no prime requisite scores, and thus do not make adjustments to ability scores based on class. Instead, players may add +1 to any ability score UP TO FIVE TIMES. These +1 bonuses can be added to the same ability score, or divided between ability scores, reflecting the extra time and effort the PC has devoted to the ability.

For every +1 bonus taken, the player receives one less die when rolling for money (see below).

Ability score bonuses and penalties are different from standard B/X play. Penalties are only assessed for scores below 8, bonuses are only received for scores greater than 13.

Strength <8 = Base damage is D4
Strength >13 = +1 bonus to melee attack rolls
Intelligence <8 = Illiterate

Intelligence >13 = Character has psychic talent
Wisdom <8 = -25% from earned XP

Wisdom >13 = +10% on earned XP
Dexterity <8 = -1 penalty to missile attacks

Dexterity >13 = +1 bonus to missile attacks
Constitution <8 = -1 hit point per level

Constitution >13 = +1 hit point per level
Charisma <8 = -1 to Reaction rolls

Charisma >13 = +1 to Reaction rolls

Step 4: Roll Hit Points

Hit points (HPs) represent a character’s luck, endurance, and physical conditioning. It is a resource pool that must be depleted before a character suffers real, physical damage. Weapons and hazards do damage to characters; this damage is deducted from HPs, first; so long as the character has HPs remaining, it functions at full capacity. When HPs are reduced to 0, additional damage is subtracted from Constitution, representing real, physical damage, as explained in Chapter 5: The Encounter.

Fighters roll D8 per level for hit points; all other characters roll D6 per level. A character always receives at least one HP per level, regardless of Constitution penalty. DMs may allow characters to reroll any result of 1 or 2 at 1st level.

Step 5: Roll Money, Choose Equipment

There are three types of currency in the LAND OF ICE: gold marks (gm), silver shillings (ss), and copper pennies (cp). 25 coins weigh one pound. One mark (gm) has the same value as half a pound of silver. One penny (cp) is worth one-tenth a shilling. This can be expressed as:

2 marks (gm) = 25 shillings (ss) = 250 pennies (cp)

Player characters begin the game with 6D6 (6-36) marks worth of wealth. For each +1 bonus characters added to their ability score, the number of D6 dice rolled is reduced by one. For example: a character that added +2 to strength rolls only 4D6 for wealth instead of 6D6.Unspent money can be saved for later expenditure. When creating a new player character, you may not spend more than half starting wealth on any one single item.

The following equipment is available for purchase:

Heavy furs/hides – 1gm
Studded leather jack – 4gm
Half-mail – 6gm
Full-mail – 10gm
Full steel helm – 3gm
Shield – 2gm
Horse barding – 30gm

Axe, battle – 1gm, 5ss
Axe, hand/throwing – 10ss
Dagger – 5ss
Mace/war club – 1gm
Maul* – 1gm, 8ss
Pole arm* – 1gm, 5ss
Spear – 7ss
Sword, short (seax) – 1gm, 5ss
Sword, long – 3gm
Bow* – 4gm
20 arrows – 1gm
Crossbow* – 6gm
30 quarrels – 2gm
Sling – 3ss
*indicates a two-handed weapon, see Chapter 5

Backpack – 1gm
Flask of (whale) oil – 5ss
Hammer, small – 3ss
Steel spikes (12) – 5ss
Lantern – 2gm
Mirror, small – 1gm
Rations, iron (1 week)
Rations, standard (1 week)
Rope, 50’ – 2ss
Sack, large – 5ss
Sack, small – 2ss

Snowshoes – 10ss
Tinderbox – 8ss
Torches (6) – 2ss
Water/wine skin – 2ss
Wine (1 quart) – 5ss
Wooden pole, 10’ – 2ss

Canoe – 10gm
Cart – 10gm
Chicken – 1cp
Cow – 4gm
Hawk, trained – 8gm
Horse, draft – 7gm
Horse, good – 15gm
Horse, poor – 5gm
Horse, war – 50gm
Mule – 5gm
Pig – 7ss
Saddle bags – 10ss
Sheep – 5ss

Sleigh - 13gm
Tack & saddle – 3gm
Viking longship – 3000gm
Wagon – 30gm

Step 6: Determine AC, Attack Rolls, and Saves

Character saving throws and attack rolls can be found in Chapter 5: The Encounter. Armor class (AC) is a function of armor worn as shown below; a lower number is better (i.e. more difficult to hit).
  • None: AC 9
  • Heavy furs/hides: AC 8
  • Studded leather jack: AC 7
  • Half-mail: AC 6
  • Full-mail: AC 4
Armor assumes a light cap or helm. Wearing a full steel helm is worth a +1 bonus to AC (reducing AC by 1 point); wielding a shield is worth an additional +1 bonus (or more when “On the Defensive;” see Chapter 5).

Step 7: Name Character, Final Touches

Choose a name for the character (examples are provided at the end of this chapter), and decide on the character’s appearance. Beginning PCs start with 0 experience points (XP), and will earn more for winning renown and glory.

All player characters have a score called Reputation which determines how well-known they are. Starting Reputation for player character is 0%; this is adjust upwards 5% for each exceptional ability score (i.e. an ability above 13 or below 8). More information on Reputation is found in Chapter 4: The Adventure.


  1. A classic JB post - great inspiration. Can't wait for the classes.

  2. @ Jovial: Aren't all my posts "instant classics?"

    You'll have to tell me what you think of the classes (now that they're posted).

    @ Ryan: Good, because I want you to run it for me and my buddies so I can play a psychic viking with a big axe and a bad attitude!
    ; )

  3. I gotta know, what's the rationale behind going with 4d6 drop the lowest?
    Especially since you're using super minimalist od&d style bonuses

    1. Probably written like that from "force of habit." Especially considering the chance to add bonuses in exchange for a penalty to starting cash.

      I honestly don't remember my rationale at this point.