An approach to Flailsnails

I have been meaning to run more Flailsnails games. In pursuit of that goal, here is a brief overview of how I would run such games for ease of linking. The objective is to maintain a certain level of restraint, to keep the game interesting, but to not fight too hard against the strange cross-world agglomeration which is part of the charm of Flailsnails or expect folks to rewrite PCs extensively.

House rules are minimal:

  1. No more than two outland magic items (stole this rule from Zak)
  2. Significant items carried without penalty = strength score
  3. Save or die at zero HP (no negative HP)

What this means for you, the player: you probably do not need to worry about system level changes much, but you will need to spend 5 to 10 minutes most likely to decide what you will carry. Hopefully this won’t be to onerous?

“Native” base system is something like B/X D&D (ability mod range of -3 to +3, 3d6 in order assumed for stat generation). If you used some other method for character generation, that’s fine, just be aware that you are likely to be above the curve a bit (the equivalent of a higher level character). I do not worry much about inter-party level balance and a group of characters with drastically different levels plays fine at the table with this kind of game in my experience.

I use ascending AC. If you do not already have an attack bonus calculated for your PC, use level for fighters, zero for magic-user types, and half-level for all other classes.

In addition to this, the session will begin with a brief “downtime” turn. PCs must pay for upkeep or start disadvantaged in terms of HP and resource recovery (5 coins buys standard upkeep, 100 quality, and 500 luxurious; quality and luxurious accommodations grant better HP rerolls or some bonus temp HP depending on your preference). During this turn, gear can also be purchased and retainers recruited. This is not intended to be an expansive roleplaying opportunity, just a staging ground. While these matters are being sorted out I will also recount the basic rumors and adventuring opportunities available.

At the end of the session, I will give XP based on treasure recovered. Normally, I prefer to do XP for treasure spent, but that is impractical within the Flailsnails context. I do not award any XP for defeating monsters. Special XP awards may be available for completing other tasks, and if so this will be made clear during the preparatory downtime turn along with rumors.

It should go without saying, but please also let me know beforehand if you have some really strange power or extra potent magic item. Use your best judgment; I reserve the right to nerf stuff during play that was not cleared beforehand.

Oh, and no infravision or dark vision. Continual light works differently in my games too (ask me if it matters). I am sure I am forgetting a few other things as well.

See also:

2 thoughts on “An approach to Flailsnails

    1. Brendan Post author


      By coincidence, I did in fact run a Flailsnails game using these rules last night (when the ref for a previously scheduled game that I was going to play in had to cancel), but this post was not designed for a particular session. I do try to get new players to visit my (virtual) table regularly and yeah lots of prospective players seem to read the blog. Last night, such a visiting player even rolled up a dragon PC using that class I posted recently.

      I hope to run such pickup games more often. In the past, I have announced open seats on Google Plus, but maybe I should do more player recruitment posts here as well.


Leave a Reply