I just now spotted an article on the playtest document for the new edition of Lamentations of the Flame Princess that has been send out to some GMs back in february. I also noticed just a few days back that the new Referee Guide is still in work, which will include new unique monsters for the game. I assume it will be released alongside the new rulebook.
I don’t have the playtest rules myself, but looking at this summary from Dragons Gonna Drag (another new OSR website, like what you did so far Justin) I already spotted some things that I found interesting.
Intelligence determines skill points at first level. After that only specialists keep getting more points. I’ve been thinking about ways to give fighters and witches limited access to skill in my campaign these last couple of days. This is certainly one way to make it work.
There’s also a Medicine skill, which is nice, as it indicates support to play without magic healing. Very Sword & Sorcery.
Strength affects how many items characters can carry. This is one shortcoming I’ve seen with the Encumbrance system of the current edition and something which I think the system by LS from Pencils and Papers did better.
What I find really interesting is that classes are reduced to fighter, specialist, and magic-user (the other classes are said to be put in an appendix). I did the very same thing for my campaign. There’s been some talk not long ago about clerics and how they are pretty much a unique thing of D&D and not really fitting for other settings that don’t want to be worlds defined by the D&D conventions. (B/X is a great system on its own, even divorced from its D&D legacy.)
All characters advance with the same amounts of XP, a topic that I’ve been discussing on a forum just today. And I am very much in favor of it. Making miniscule adjustments to XP required for the next level is pointless when level loss, replacement characters, and characters of newly joined players all have a much bigger impact on the different levels of characters.
Justin mentioned having the impression that group initiative is being ditched, which is something I wouldn’t approve of. But it’s trivially simple to do anyway, and it isn’t like Dexterity would become a useless stat if it no longer affects Initiative.
There’s a new saving throw mechanic that basically uses a d6 dice pool and counting successes. That’s something I really don’t see myself using if it makes it into the new edition. I think a d20 roll against a target number indicated by your class level is just fine and much less of a hassle. There’s also partial saves, which is more granularity than I want to bother with. This new system also doesn’t improve odds as the characters level up, which I think is a pretty important feature of B/X. I can see why Raggi wouldn’t want that in his home games, but it’s something that I would really not want to miss in mine.
There’s also big changes to how spells are prepared, but since I’m using a completely different magic system that doesn’t have anything to do with D&D magic anyway, this doesn’t affect me personally.
Overall, I think this all sounds very good. I almost certainly won’t use the rules straight out of the book, but I don’t think there are many OSR GMs who do that with any game that is around. I am very much looking forward to the new rulebook and referee guide.