Saturday, November 27, 2010

Swords and Wizardry: Is this rad?

I must admit, I've been ogling this from afar.  I also downloaded the free rules but haven't been able to read through them all yet.  Part of the appeal, for sure, is the appearance, but part is the promise of, perhaps, even greater simplicity of mechanics.  I have been a huge fan of Labyrinth Lord Core since I found it, and doubt that I will stray from using it.  Moldvay is way too ingrained in my mind to easily shift away.  I almost think that OD&D or one of the close systems like S&W might make that shift harder, because much would be similar and it would be more difficult to remember what exactly IS different.  But what of the one universal saving throw?  And other peculiarities of S&W?  Anyone have an opinion on those?

In actual play, I doubt there would be much difference, really, between S&W and my modified Labyrinth Lord Core.  Perhaps I'm just jonesin' for that boxed set. :) 


  1. The box set looks pretty sweet, but if you're content with your rules I'd say stick with them. If just you want OD&D flavor for LL, Goblinoid's 0e Characters book will do the job nicely.

    On the other hand, if you need a really bare-bones framework for building a unique setting-specific ruleset you can't do much better than White Box. Doug Easterly's Savage Swords of Athanor and Robert Conley's Majestic Wilderlands are two great published S&W variants that come to mind...

  2. That's a good distinction that I hadn't thought about. The Lost Continent has been common enough that LL Core has been able to cover it nicely, being flexible enough for all the LC peculiarities. But perhaps, as it gets weirder, I might need to look for a system that is more "bare-bones" as you put it. Building up that system, rather than paring down a more complex system and adding new things.

    It's been easy enough to slice and dice with LL so far, as I said. For instance, the LC accommodates no elves. There are, however, several types of humans that are different enough to need some special rules (psionics, mostly).

    Thank you for the helpful info.

  3. I'm the guy who wrote the S&W White Box rules set. While it's not a perfect clone of OD&D, I think it's a nice rules "skeleton" where you can start with some standard rules and then build your own campaign to suit your tastes.

    If you don't like the universal saving throw, make up a table of your own. Personally, when I run my games I have drifted more to the 3E model of fortitude/reflex/will saves instead of the original OD&D categories.

    The philosophy of the White Box is all about house ruling what you need rather than having someone tell you how to run the game. For example, your Lost World game could be done in a hurry if you simply add in firearms and some dinosaurs. I've run that kind of game using OD&D and S&W and it's pretty easy to just tweak a couple of things and just play!

    John Adams of Brave Halfling games has done a wonderful job of bringing the rules set into an actual White Box and I love the way it turned out.

  4. finarvyn, I agree that the White Box is a beauty. Now that I've read through the rules, I can also say that it's a great set and something you should really be proud of. I think the "make up your own table if you don't like this one" vibe was well conveyed in the book. Part of the beauty of classic D&D is the way you can change a subsystem like the saving throws and not have it change the whole game. Well done.