At least at the start, we’ll be using one of the “clone” versions of Basic D&D (the 1980’s “Red Box”), specifically Labryinth Lord (from Goblinoid Games). I like this clone because it captures the essence of “Red Box” D&D, but fixes a couple things (they give clerics a spell at 1st level).
This is an “Old School Renaissance” game, so you probably should read the OSR Primer.
Here’s a character sheet.
We’ll use those rules, as written, with a few exceptions:
Under no circumstance shall a player describe the person running the game as the “Labyrinth Lord.” While the rulebook does so, “Dungeon Master” is corny enough, but established over over 35 years of gaming. “Dungeon Master,” “Game Master,” “referee,” “DM,” or “GM” are fine.
It’s a shock to many players that old school D&D doesn’t roll attack bonuses vs. AC like more recent editions (3.0 and later) do. In ye olde days, you looked up the target number on a chart using your class and level vs. the armor class. This was painful. Someone invented THAC0 (“to hit armor class zero”) as a shortcut, but it confused a lot of people who didn’t like subtraction.
There’s another way to handle the hit roll called “Target 20.” Basically, every player computes his or her character’s hit bonus (20 minus whatever you need to hit AC 0, so +1 for everyone at 1st level), then add the armor class of the monster you’re hitting. If you get a 20 or better, you hit.
For example, a Fighter 1 is attacking an Orc. The attack chart says a Fighter 1 needs a 19 to hit AC 0. 20-19 = 1, so the Fighter’s attack bonus is 1+5 and get a 20 or more to hit. (Any roll of 14 or better will hit.)
A character can travel at about 3 miles per hour for a number of miles per day equal to his or her Constitution score. A successful d20 roll under one’s Wisdom will allow the character to travel an additional number of miles equal to half Constitution (rounded down). On a failed check, the character can still move the distance, but must roll d6 + Strength Bonus on the Travel Difficulty Chart. The penalties all last until the character has rested twice (that is, a full day plus the rest of the current day).
Travel Difficulty Chart
|1-2||Broken leg. Strength -2. Movement causes 1 hp damage per hour.|
|3-4||Sprained ankle. Travel is halved on the following day.|
|5||Pain. Constitution -2 until you’ve slept two nights in a row.|
|6||Tired. Get a full 8 uninterrupted hours of rest or suffer -2 Wisdom the next day.|
|7+||Lazy. You just don’t want to travel any more. You’re done for the day.|
These travel distances apply to characters carrying 41-60 lbs. (or wearing leather armor or lighter). Here’s the full story:
Overland Distance by Encumbrance
|Encumbrance||Overland (miles)||Additional Miles|
|0-40 lbs||3/2 x Con||3/4 x Con|
|41-60 lbs||1 x Con||1/2 x Con|
|61-80 lbs||3/4 x Con||3/8 x Con|
|81-160 lbs||1/2 x Con||2 miles|