The Best In Old School Roleplaying

The Best In Old School Roleplaying
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thoughts on a Stamina Score for Swords & Wizardry and Other D&D Variants

In my little semi-simulationist world (which has recently had to take a back seat to my real world,) I've been thinking about stamina and endurance.  I like the idea of simulationist rules that are easy to track and also MATTER in the game. Simulation strictly to the point of book keeping that does not matter in actual play is pointless. If said rules have a true impact on the game and affect the way the that players play and/or how the game feels, THAT is when the rule is worth while.

So, with that said, my idea is to create a Stamina attribute. This attribute will differ from the 6 that are pre-existing in Swords & Wizardry. Rather than rolling for this score, it will be based on pre-existing scores. It is a simple process. A character's Stamina will be the average of their Strength and Constitution rounded up. So, a fighter with 16 STR and 13 CON would have a 15 STM. Determining STM for monsters is simple and can be done on the fly. A monster's STM is determined by it's size and HD. A creature's STM is equal to it's HD +7(small) +10 (medium) +13 (large.) The  size factor is up to the referee's discretion, but as a general rule creatures less than 3/4 the size of an average human would be considered small and creatures more than 1-1/4 the size of a human could be considered large. If a creature is particularly stocky the referee may want to give a small bonus to the score (ex. Dwarves, pack animals.)

What is the STM score used for? What makes it meaningful to the game? The STM determines the length of time (in rounds or turns) of strenuous activity that a creature can endure before becoming fatigued and needs a brief rest. This means that the fighter in our above example can fight, run at full speed etc. for 15 rounds (minutes) without being winded. When dealing with activities that are less strenuous, those measured in turns, the amount of time is double the STM score. A rogue with a STM of 10 would be able to carefully crawl along the dungeon, meticulously checking for traps and secret doors for 20 turns (3 hours and 20 minutes) before needing to stop for a quick break, a drink etc.

When a character become fatigued and needs rest they can continue to push on if they wish. A character who attempts to push on must make a STM check. This is done by attempting to roll below the stamina score on a d20 each round/turn they push on. If succeeds, they suffer no ill effects and must roll again every round/turn they persist. If the character fails this roll at any time the begin to suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws and ability checks each round that they persist without resting.

Rest will always recover STM. For every 10 minutes a character rests they regain STM equal to their hit die type. This meaning a fighter in S&W Complete will recover 1d8 STM per 10 minutes of rest, while a Magic-user will recover on 1d4. Regardless of hit die type sitting at rest for 3 turns (30 minutes) will recover all STM that has been lost.