There are three main reasons why Crypts & Things is my Swords & Wizardry variant of choice:
- Breaking up magic into shades of black, white and grey;
- Removing clerics from the character class equation (healing is now simply a magical spell)
- Adding Constitution (CON) as a level of 'extra' Hit Points for heroic characters and NPCs.
Watching the penultimate episode of Spartacus: War Of The Damned last night got me contemplating how to add an extra layer of bloody detail to Crypts & Things combat, without overcomplicating it with unnecessary bookkeeping.
Off the top of my head I came up with this...
When a player-character (or major NPC) takes damage that causes him CON wounds, the DM rolls a d6 to randomly choose another Statistic (1. Strength, 2. Dexterity, 3. Intelligence, 4. Wisdom, 5. Charisma, 6. None) and the PC then takes the same amount of damage to that random statistic.
This then reduces his effectiveness if a combat becomes drawn-out - and remember that once a character starts taking CON damage every blow that hits necessitates a Saving Throw (at -2) or else he falls unconscious anyway.
These other lost Statistic points are recovered at the same rate as lost CON (one point every two days, without magical assistance).
If a Statistic is reduced to zero, before CON hits that level and the character dies, then the following happens:
- If Physical Statistic (ie, Strength of Dexterity) then the character collapses, conscious, but so battered and bruised that he is unable to move without the help of others.
- If Mental Statistic (ie Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma) the character is rendered senseless for 6d6 minutes. A senseless character always strikes last in combat, attacks at -5 and cannot use two-handed weapons or magical spells.