Archive for June 28th, 2010

28
Jun
10

Fighting Blind

“It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.”

So someone’s swinging a sword at a target they can’t see. This isn’t as unlikely as it seems! Aside from hiding beneath a blanket of invisibility or blinding foes with light or darkness spells, the party may simply find themselves in the dark without a torch.

What happens then? Various old-school rulesets have little to say on the subject, and they often disagree.

—-

OD&D and Red Box don’t seem to cover the question of blindness.

The Rules Cyclopedia gives the following penalties to blind characters:
* -6 penalty to attack rolls;
* -4 penalty to saving throws;
* +4 penalty to Armor Class;
* Move at 1/3 speed (this is in feet, even outdoors); increased to 2/3 if led (this is in yards if outdoors), or to full speed if on a horse that’s being led.

Against an invisible foe, the Rules Cyclopedia only applies the -6 penalty to hit.

Labyrinth Lord imposes a -4 penalty to hit for both blindness and invisibility.

OSRIC and Swords & Wizardry impose a -4 penalty to hit for invisibility, but provide no rules for blindness.

—-

In all cases, one must know the approximate location of an opponent in order to attack. Obviously this leaves a lot of room for DM rulings. If a distant opponent is standing in one place and making a ruckus, can it be targeted by a blinded character with a bow? If so, where do you draw the line at which you do or do not know a foe’s “approximate location”?

The Rules Cyclopedia seems to be a bit of an outlier in terms of the effects of blindness, but it also covers some bases that might be worth considering.

—-

So here are my own tentative rulings on blindness in Red Box:
* -4 penalty to attack rolls;
* Move at 1/3 speed, or 2/3 speed if led—may attempt to move faster by making a 3d6 Dexterity or Wisdom check, whichever is better;
* May be backstabbed from any direction, not just from behind.

How do you see yourself handling blindness in your old school game?




Past Adventures of the Mule

June 2010
M T W T F S S
« May   Jul »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

RPG Bloggers Network

RPG Bloggers Network

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog & get email notification of updates.

Join 1,053 other followers