LLCF: Running the Game

The following is a collection of rules and advice for the GM, including how to handle NPCs and Monsters.

Tips & Tricks

The following are guidelines that can make the game more fun and easier to GM.

Situations & Character Arcs

No well-laid plan survives contact with the players. To save yourself trouble, do not build your campaign around a central plot. Instead, build situations and locations for your PCs to encounter and try to build your game around their individual character arcs, rather than one over-arching plot. Let the players’ decisions guide the course of the adventure, rather than forcing them down one single path. To make this easier, players should create characters with flaws they can work through over the course of the campaign.

When to Award Luck

Max Luck should be increased based on when a character achieves a major personal goal—it should not, however, be increased with every personal goal. Rather, when the character has done something akin to a Turning Point—when they have done something they have strived for that changes the world around them (even if it is just one town) to be closer to their ideal—that is when their Max Luck should increase. The scale on which these changes must be made should, of course, increase over time.

Foreshadowing Surprises

Ensure the players are aware of the dangers their characters face—sprinkle clues throughout the world that telegraph dangers ahead: shed skin, claw marks, corpses, cryptic warnings, and rumors are all effective ways of warning players about obstacles ahead of them.

Selecting a Character’s Starting Gear

It is up to you, as the GM to determine or approve PC starting gear, but doing so may seem like a daunting or menial task as you attempt to avoid giving every character the same equipment. For an open-world hexcrawl, consider the following list:

  • Two pieces of combat gear
  • Bedroll, Rations, and Torches
  • Two occupationally related items
  • Something related to the role the player wishes to fill

Asking for Checks

Anything a character can do in a reasonably safe and easy manner shouldn’t call for a check. Checks should only be called when the consequences of failure will have a meaningful effect on future events. Sometimes, you may determine that the character does “succeed” in whatever task they are attempting to complete, but suffer related consequences as a result.


Every failure on a check should result in consequences of some kind, but consequences can be difficult to determine. If you ever find yourself stuck, consider the list below:

  • The character risks or takes damage.
  • The character wastes time, or uses more time than they otherwise would have.
  • The item the character is using takes damage or is broken.

Lasting Damage

When a player fails an injury check, the GM may allow the PC to acquire a permanent injury rather than dying. These should be debilitating conditions that impact the narrative in the long term, and need not be entirely permanent (e.g., a broken bone would qualify). If you are seeking simplicity or are struggling to formulate injuries (such as for piercing weapons), bear in mind that an infected wound requiring amputation or a bleeding wound requiring a tourniquet (and thus amputation) is an option. Permanent Injuries should be taken into account in the narrative and may cause penalties on related tasks.

Broken Bones

The GM may choose to allow broken bones, a special type of permanent injury. These function similarly to severed limbs, but heal after 2 months. Optionally, these may also result from failed fatigue checks from blunt weapons instead of falling unconscious.


When a character fails a stress check, they acquire a trauma. Traumas should be related to the source of stress that caused it, potentially causing penalties when the character deals with that source in the future. If a character gains trauma from the same source multiple times, their trauma may get worse, possibly requiring them to succeed a check (Bravery, Faith, , Sanity, or Willpower) or be frozen for a time. Other, more unique, traumas may be used at the GM’s discretion. Some sample Traumas include:

  • Phobia: when dealing with the related topic, -1 to all non-damage checks.
  • Minor PTSD: when encountering the related topic, succeed a check (Bravery, Faith, Sanity, or Willpower), or remain frozen for one combat round.
  • Major PTSD: when encountering the related topic, succeed a check (Bravery, Faith, Sanity, or Willpower) or remain frozen for an exploration turn.
  • Paranoid Psychosis: the PC may see, feel, or anticipate the source of their trauma with no cause.

Monsters & NPCs

While NPCs can be created using similar rules to Player Characters, a full character sheet is generally not necessary. To make things simpler, most monsters and NPCs are boiled down to three sets of information: 3 aspects—which act similar to a PCs aptitudes—a list of features, and a potential luck rating. In some cases, monsters may have no stats at all, instead acting more as an environmental hazard.


There are three aspects that an NPC may have: Body, Mind, and Spirit, each with a value ranging from -2 to +4. When an NPC attempts an action, the GM determines the applicable aptitude and applies its value to the roll. Each aspect generally corresponds to the following set of aptitudes and rolls:

  • Body: Brawling, Breath, Coordination, Dexterity, Endurance, Flexibility, Might, and Speed; Melee Attacks, Thrown Attacks, Parrying, Dodging, Fatigue Checks, Combat Maneuvers, and Maneuver Defense.
  • Mind: Concentration, Creativity, Hearing, Perception, Reaction, Smell, and Vision; Thrown Attacks, Propelled Attacks, Parrying, Fatigue Checks, Sanity Checks, and Maneuver Defense.
  • Spirit: Bravery, Charisma, Empathy, Faith, Sanity, Speech, Steadiness, and Willpower; Propelled Attacks, Dodging, Sanity Checks, and Maneuver Defense.

In the event that two aspects may apply to a roll, the higher should be used. Note that constitution and injury checks are not listed above. In cases where a Creature should gain a bonus or penalty to injury rolls, this should be noted in their features and should generally be no greater than 3.


The features of an NPC list any bonuses or abilities they may have outside of those covered by aspects. This list is a combination of a PC’s qualities, gifts, and equipment, and may vary from bonuses on specific actions to the ability to fly. For examples, please see the list of sample NPCs and Creatures.

Luck Rating

Certain NPCs and Creatures may have a luck rating. This gives them access to a luck pool (wherein their max luck is equal to their luck rating) that functions very similarly to a PC’s luck. Note that an NPC cannot use their luck on an action that a PC is using their luck on—if an NPC uses its luck on a roll and a PC uses their own luck to cancel it, the NPC gains their luck back rather than losing it.

Run-of-the-mill NPCs should generally not have a luck rating—rather, only NPCs that are especially important (such as the big bad) or creatures that are especially imposing (such as dragons) should have a luck rating.

Stat Blocks

Below are sample stat blocks for various creatures that may commonly be found in a standard fantasy campaign. Unless otherwise noted, creatures are assumed to move at speeds similar to that of a PC (30′ per combat round)


  • Body +1; Mind 0; Spirit 0
  • Laborer: +1 to injury checks
  • Pitchfork: +1 ITM reach attack
Fist of the Stalwart Earth
  • Body +2; Mind 0; Spirit 0; 2 Luck
  • Pugilist: +0 ITM/+2 FTM unarmed attacks
  • Quake: The Elementalist leaps into the air, shaking the ground within a 15′ radius upon landing. All creatures within range must make a standard check (Coordination, Might, Steadiness) or be knocked down; the elementalist must make the same check with advantage.
  • Spike: The Elementalist risks an injury as he stomps his foot, creating a human-sized spike of earth within sight. Targets standing where the spike is created suffer a +3 ITM melee attack that cannot be parried. The spike remains an obstacle on the battlefield until the Elementalist spends an action returning it to the ground.
  • Body +1; Mind +1; Spirit 0
  • Mace: +0 ITM/+1 FTM melee attack
  • Torch: 30′ Light radius
  • Chainmail: +2 AD
Keeper of the Sacred Flame
  • Body +1; Mind 0; Spirit +1; 2 Luck
  • Pugilist: +0 ITM/+2 FTM unarmed attacks
  • Explosion: The Elementalist risks an injury as he throws his hands out, combusting a 15′ radius around him. All creatures within range take an injury.
  • Static Charge: The Elementalist rubs his palms together, electrifying his hands. His next unarmed attack has +2 ITM, or he may instantly kill an incapacitated character.
  • Body +1; Mind +1; Spirit +1
  • Longsword: +1 ITM, bonus to parry
  • Round Shield: +1 AD, bonus to shove, +1 FTM
  • Plate Armor: +3 AD, Penalty to Dodge
  • Body 0; Mind +1; Spirit +1
  • Saber: +1 ITM; bonus to parry
  • Gambeson: +1 AD
  • Buckler: +1 AD
  • Body 0; Mind 0; Spirit 0
  • Cudgel: +0 FTM melee attack with hit bonus
  • Body 0; Mind +1; Spirit +1
  • Shortbow: +1 ITM 80′ ranged attack with hit bonus
  • Quiver: 20 arrows
  • Dagger: +0 ITM melee or 20′ ranged attack
  • Gambeson: +1 AD
  • Body +1; Mind 0; Spirit +1
  • Pike: +1 ITM reach attack
  • Round Shield: +1 AD, bonus to shove, penalty to dodge
  • Gambeson: +1 AD
  • Body +0; Mind +0; Spirit +1; 1 Luck
  • Dagger: +0 ITM melee or 20′ ranged attack with hit bonus
  • Body +0; Mind +1; Spirit +1; 2 Luck
  • Arming Sword: +1 ITM melee attack
  • Dark Grasp: The Warlock risks Stress as he reaches out his hand to hold a visible target in place. The target must succeed a standard check (Faith, Might, Willpower) or be held in place. Repeating Dark Grasp on the same target multiple turns in a row causes the target to take injuries as their body is slowly crushed.


Rat, Giant
  • Body +0; Mind +0; Spirit -1
  • Fangs: +0 ITM melee attack with hit bonus
Spider, Giant Ground
  • Body +1; Mind +2; Spirit -1
  • Fangs: +0 ITM melee attack, targets suffer a penalty to all actions until the end of the next exploration turn.
  • Spider Climb: The Spider may walk on walls and ceilings as if they are level ground.
  • Web Shot: 30′ ranged attack, targets are immobilized by webbing and must succeed a check (Brawling, Constitution, Might) to break free.
Spider, Giant Jumping
  • Body +2; Mind +1; Spirit -1
  • Fangs: +1 ITM melee attack, targets suffer a penalty to all actions until the end of the next exploration turn.
  • Spider Climb: The Spider may walk on walls and ceilings as if they are level ground.
  • Great Leap: The Spider may leap up to 30′ as a move action.
Spider, Giant Widow
  • Body +1; Mind +2; Spirit -1
  • Fangs: +0 ITM melee attack with hit bonus, administers neurotoxin
  • Spider Climb: The Spider may walk on walls and ceilings as they are level ground.
  • Sneaky: The Spider gains a bonus to all attempts at going undetected.
  • Body +1; Mind +1; Spirit +0
  • Claws: +0 ITM melee attack
  • Quick: The Wolf has a walk speed of 40′.
  • Pack Mentality: The Wolf gains a hit bonus when attacking the same target as an ally.