Swords & Wizardry???

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Swords & Wizardry???

Post by CharlieRock »

I found this company called Black Blade Publishing that apparently just started recently (website founded June '09). They have a game called Swords & Wizardry which sounds a lot like AD&D. I wanted to know if anyone has ever looked at it , or played it. If so, I have a few questions:

What is different/same about it and OSRIC?

What is same/different about it and C&C?

Are their adventure modules compatible?

They appear to only have one adventure module in print (the Goodman Games module is also in C&C, so no point getting it).

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Post by Breakdaddy »

If its the same as Mythmere Games' Swords & Wizardry, then its a cleaned up clone of OD&D white box with some supplemental material. If not then *shrug*...
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Post by Dagger »

It's basically an homage to OD&D + Supplement 1 created using the OGL. There are some changes, so it's not identical to D&D. For example, the standard saving throw categories are replaced with a single category.

I would think the adventures would be pretty compatible because it's basically just D&D with a few changes.

It's different than OSRIC because it's far less complex.

It's different than C&C in pretty much the same way that OD&D is different than C&C.
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Post by Treebore »

OSRIC is actually for 1E D&D. and Swords and Wizardry is for the original boxed set D&D + supplement 1, which Rob Conley just released his nicely done Majestic Wilderlands for.

I have to admit it (Swords and Wizardry) is very nicely done despite my current disdain for Mythmere.
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Post by dachda »

Treebore wrote:
I have to admit it (Swords and Wizardry) is very nicely done despite my current disdain for Mythmere.

You don't have to like the artist to enjoy the art!! and sometimes, thank goodness for that!
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Post by Go0gleplex »

It is Mythmere Games S&W (sounds like a bunch of vegetables ). Black blade and now Brave Halfling have rights to publish...though the announcement over at BHP is for the "white box" set and other support stuff to follow.
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Post by Coleston the Cavalier »

Go0gleplex wrote:
It is Mythmere Games S&W (sounds like a bunch of vegetables ). Black blade and now Brave Halfling have rights to publish...though the announcement over at BHP is for the "white box" set and other support stuff to follow.

Yes, WB is my baby now. It is an edited version of the Core Rules (by Finarvyn) to make it even closer to the 3LBB.
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Post by PeelSeel2 »

I like S&W, but if I start house ruling it, I get pretty darn close to C&C, so I choose C&C because I have to house rule a lot less. I keep coming back to C&C for that reason, it is the closest of any version of D&D to what I want to play.
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Post by Dagger »

PeelSeel2 wrote:
I like S&W, but if I start house ruling it, I get pretty darn close to C&C, so I choose C&C because I have to house rule a lot less. I keep coming back to C&C for that reason, it is the closest of any version of D&D to what I want to play.

exactly
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Post by Omote »

S&W is not C&C enough for me.

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Post by CharlieRock »

dachda wrote:
You don't have to like the artist to enjoy the art!! and sometimes, thank goodness for that!

From what I've been reading about FASA lately I'm going to second this.
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Re: Swords & Wizardry???

Post by jaybird216 »

CharlieRock wrote:
They appear to only have one adventure module in print (the Goodman Games module is also in C&C, so no point getting it).

You could buy it for the cover art [shameless plug].
All kidding aside, I heard people having a lot of fun playing S&W at the North Texas RPG Con. I won the core rules in the raffle there, but haven't really given them much of a reading. My bi-weekly C&C game is about all the gaming I can handle right now.

At the time, Black Blade (who published the module) wasn't affiliated with Mythmere (who created S&W), but they've since joined forces, from what I can gather. BB is run by Allan "grodog" Grohe and Jon Hershberger - both class acts, in my book.

That first AD&D-compatible module took a bit of a thrashing in the reviews around the web (including the very valid point that it was a GG module which had already seen conversion to C&C), so it's my understanding that BB heeded the feedback and has retooled a bit for future releases. I'm afraid Coleston would know more about the BHP involvement than myself or anyone else.
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Re: Swords & Wizardry???

Post by Philotomy Jurament »

Others have already answered, but here are my comments:
CharlieRock wrote:
What is different/same about it and OSRIC?

OSRIC is a 1e clone. S&W is an OD&D clone. There are two versions of S&W, Core and WhiteBox. The Core version is based on OD&D with material from the Supplements (especially Supplement I). The WhiteBox version is based on the original three little books without the influence of the Supplements. Like all clones, S&W has some differences from the original.
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What is same/different about it and C&C?

No SIEGE engine is a big one.
Quote:
Are their adventure modules compatible?

Compatible with C&C? Yeah, in the same way that a Basic D&D or AD&D module is compatible with C&C. Same for OSRIC/S&W compatibility: it's like using Keep on the Borderlands with AD&D, or T1 with Basic/Expert D&D. In other words, not much of a problem.
Quote:
They appear to only have one adventure module in print (the Goodman Games module is also in C&C, so no point getting it).

S&W was only recently picked up by Black Blade. Prior to that, its books and modules were made available on Lulu (and those that BB haven't made available still are on Lulu, I believe). There are several modules out for S&W: Tomb of the Iron God and The Spire of Iron and Crystal both spring to mind. I was a playtester for both of those (Matt and I are in the same group); my favorite of the two is Spire. It's also the adventure that Matt ran at the North TX RPG Con.

I think there are some third party S&W modules, too, but I haven't been keeping up.
PeelSeel2 wrote:
I like S&W, but if I start house ruling it, I get pretty darn close to C&C, so I choose C&C because I have to house rule a lot less.

Heh, that's how I ended up moving back to the original TSR rules: my house rules for C&C were making it more and more like TSR D&D. I ended up picking the "starting point" that best fit my preferences and approach to the game (Original D&D, in my case). I think that's an excellent way to approach things.
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Post by Eisenmann »

I'm currently running/playing a Swords & Wizardry Core game where I pull material out of the C&C PHB and M&T. It's a big old school-ish amalgam.

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Post by Treebore »

I did play this at Troll Con, ran by DF's Random, we had a blast, the only thing that bugged me is the spell progression. I think I am too used to 1E onward, so if I were to run , or play, the game long term I would have to get that aspect revamped.

However there is a lot of good support products out for it. Like MAjestic Wilderlands, and I believe Barrataria games supports this edition of D&D as well. I don't use them for S&W, but I am using them, and the content is well above average.
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Post by finarvyn »

Coleston the Cavalier wrote:
Yes, WB is my baby now. It is an edited version of the Core Rules (by Finarvyn) to make it even closer to the 3LBB.

Yeah, it's been a fun journey to create. John has done a great job with the boxed set of the WB (in an actual physical box, this time!) as well as the hardback version. He and Verhaden (interior layout) are really making me look good.
And as a huge C&C supporter I'd say that both sets of rules work well together. WB is nice because it's smaller and designed to "house rule" and C&C is nice because it has better detail and whatnot. I think that WB has that OD&D feel, while C&C is more like OSRIC/AD&D.

At one point John and I had discussed trying to SIEGE the WB (replacing some of the WB mechanics with primes and such to create a WB-C&C blend) but I've never really followed up on this. Also, with TLG's basic set coming out there probably isn't as much need for it as there might have been 6 months ago. Of course, John had suggested this project before he found himself hip-deep in boxes, booklets, and dice!
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Post by Breakdaddy »

I ordered two white boxes. I will report my feelings on the white box after I get em.
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Post by Omote »

While I certainly like the this new "ole'" white box, I think the game is overly simplistic for my tastes. In this regard C&C corrupted me. I like the Seige Engine and what it can do for these types of games, and that's why I would go for the C&C White box over the excellent S&W WB.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

Omote wrote:
While I certainly like the this new "ole'" white box, I think the game is overly simplistic for my tastes. In this regard C&C corrupted me. I like the Seige Engine and what it can do for these types of games, and that's why I would go for the C&C White box over the excellent S&W WB.

~O

I bought into the new white box because I loved the original and the only copy I have of the original is signed by Gary so I wont use it for play anymore. If I get an itch to play it again, I will have the new whitebox to use. I tend to agree with the magnificence of the C&C whitebox though. I only ever played C&C whitebox twice but houseruled it a bit and it was awesomesausage. I remember letting all classes use any weapon they wanted but damage was based on the class Hit Die, so no matter what weapon a fighter used it did d10 dmg or if a wizard used any weapon d4, etc. Worked nicely for our one-shot. If I were to carry on with it, Id probably allow for two handed weapons to increase the die to the next level (wizard two hander would do 1d6, fighter 1d12, etc). This is something Ill be using when I run Harvesters as well.
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Post by capitalbill »

I'm running both a Castles & Crusades game and a Swords & Wizardry: White Box game. I'm loving both rule-sets at the moment, I look at it like they're each scratching a different itch for me.
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Post by Traveller »

My only copy of OD&D I try not to open too much because after thirty plus years the covers crack way too easily. But at the same time, I don't need Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, or any of the clone games. I have my own now, which has its own little tweaks and quirks, just like Swords & Wizardry. Even if I didn't, I have B/X, BECMI, AD&D, AD&D2, and somebody else's homebrew made in the mid '80s sitting on my shelves. Kind of negates the need for such games for me.
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Post by capitalbill »

I understand that line of reasoning completely- I've got both pdfs and hard copies of OD&D, Holmes, B/X, BECMI, the RC, AD&D, and 2E so I don't really need retro clones either. However, at least in my area, I'm in the definite minority in that regard; very few others around here have old school collections. So if I wanted to get an OD&D or a BD&D or an AD&D game started it is much easier to point players to a free pdf or a decently priced physical book that is readily available than to tell them to go to eBay or to an OOP online retailer. And I think the prospect of retro clones making it into games stores is great- that might even create some new fans of the kind of games that I like. Just my $0.02, YMMV, HYOH, and all of that.
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Post by Eisenmann »

I don't have any OD&D material. I hit the scene with Red Box basic and moved on to AD&D 2nd Ed. I cracked those bad boys open and couldn't bring myself to run 'em. Then I found Castles & Crusades. Ahh, great game.

When I heard about Swords & Wizardry and that it was an OD&D retro-clone I thought to mysef, "Oh, that's pretty cool." and got a chance to look at how the game used to be - of sorts anyways. It was kind of neat to see that the game is/was played a lot like the way I played AD&D. My 10 year old brain at the time automatically filtered out a lot of the rules and I really didn't realize it till I compared WhiteBox and my AD&D manuals side by side. It was a gaming enlightenment moment.

I have a lot of fun tinkering with Swords & Wizardry. While the Siege engine promote tinkering Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox virtually demands it. I like that. For example, I use a character's saving throw as an ability check. It's really easy since there is only one saving throw type in S&W. With a little on the fly adjudication is makes sense and it works. As encompassing and flexible as Siege? No way. That's why I still play C&C.

I'll compare learning Swords & Wizardry to learning a new language. It gives a little different perspective on the type of game we like to play. A lot of work has gone into the projects and it shows. Kudos, guys. Great job.

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Post by Treebore »

The biggest thing I can say about S&W is when I read it I actually wanted to try it out. I have had the LBB's for over 15 years now and never got an interest in trying out the rules.

The only thing I can guess as to why is the clearer presentation and wording.

Now I like S&W for short run games (4 to 6 sessions) and one shots, but for a campaign I would much rather deal with C&C than any other system.

Same with Labyrinth Lord, BFRPG, 1E/2E, I like them all for short term games, but when it comes to looking at a long haul campaign, C&C is my go to system.
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Post by Dagger »

I've got a mini-rant about S&W that I'd like to throw out there. If you've heard me go on about this in the Society chat room, this is the same rant...

S&W is a decent enough game, but the thing that turns me off about it is the fact that it TRIES to be vague on purpose. The D&D rules that the game is based on were vague by accident. The original rules were an attempt by amateur writers to throw together varying ideas about fantasy gaming from campaigns that were completely different. The end result is a charming game that makes very little sense... and hence people took it and made it their own.

S&W on the other hand approaches this from the opposite end of the spectrum. The writers are fully aware of how RPGs developed over the years and had to purposefully throw in vague statements and weird rules to try and recreate the feel of the original.

A great example of this is the magic missile spell. The book describes the spell and then states that the referee may decide to require a hit roll or not and whether it does a d4 or d6 damage. Why? Why not just say what it does? How does the beleaguered referee know what choice to make here? There's no advice anywhere for making these choices.

The elf is another great example. In D&D, the description of the elf was very confusing. They were trying to say that elves got to decide which class to accumulate experience in each adventure, but it was poorly written and edited. It reads as though the elf magically switches between fighting man and magic-user; forgetting the skills and abilities of the one class when adventuring as the other. This is obviously just poor editing. S&W runs with this by copying it literally and saying that every time the moon rises, the elven adventurer picks which class they want to be. Huh? The S&W book claims that the rules are a good starting point for swords and sorcery gaming. I don't recall ever reading s&s stories with elves who have amnesia.
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Post by concobar »

^^

This is why I prefer the Becmi set to OD&D and why i went with LL over S&W.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Dagger wrote:
I've got a mini-rant about S&W that I'd like to throw out there. If you've heard me go on about this in the Society chat room, this is the same rant...

S&W is a decent enough game, but the thing that turns me off about it is the fact that it TRIES to be vague on purpose. The D&D rules that the game is based on were vague by accident. The original rules were an attempt by amateur writers to throw together varying ideas about fantasy gaming from campaigns that were completely different. The end result is a charming game that makes very little sense... and hence people took it and made it their own.

S&W on the other hand approaches this from the opposite end of the spectrum. The writers are fully aware of how RPGs developed over the years and had to purposefully throw in vague statements and weird rules to try and recreate the feel of the original.

A great example of this is the magic missile spell. The book describes the spell and then states that the referee may decide to require a hit roll or not and whether it does a d4 or d6 damage. Why? Why not just say what it does? How does the beleaguered referee know what choice to make here? There's no advice anywhere for making these choices.

The elf is another great example. In D&D, the description of the elf was very confusing. They were trying to say that elves got to decide which class to accumulate experience in each adventure, but it was poorly written and edited. It reads as though the elf magically switches between fighting man and magic-user; forgetting the skills and abilities of the one class when adventuring as the other. This is obviously just poor editing. S&W runs with this by copying it literally and saying that every time the moon rises, the elven adventurer picks which class they want to be. Huh? The S&W book claims that the rules are a good starting point for swords and sorcery gaming. I don't recall ever reading s&s stories with elves who have amnesia.

That's a very interesting take. With all the hullabaloo surrounding the White Box, I was considering picking it up. This is a very interesting take on it and one I haven't heard as of yet.
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Post by Omote »

concobar wrote:
^^

This is why I prefer the Becmi set to OD&D and why i went with LL over S&W.

Word.

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Post by capitalbill »

I respect Dagger's take on it, although I don't completely agree. I think that Swords & Wizardry is definitely mimicking the OD&D feel/flavor (it is a retro clone after all), but at least in regards to the White Box version of S&W (I haven't done much with the Core Rules) I don't get the feeling that it is written vaguely just to be vague. I just get the feeling that it is trying to provide a brief framework and leaving the rest up to the individual referee (which I always applaud). There are some rules departures from the OD&D rules and I don't get quite the exact same feel reading the S&W:WB booklets that I do reading the OD&D booklets (that isn't completely a bad thing), but I am using S&W:WB to run a game with the same feel and flavor as OD&D so in that regard it's doing what it is supposed to be doing.

All that being said, what I like is certainly not for everyone. Heck, I am also a fan of Labyrinth Lord (and of C&C of course). I get a different feel from LL than I do S&W:WB. I like LL's Advanced Edition, and although I don't get the exact same feel from it that I do from AD&D I think I could run an AD&D game with it no sweat. I am very curious to check out LL's Original Edition, and compare it to S&W:WB.
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Post by Traveller »

Regarding the OD&D Elf, I guess it's all about how you read the description. When I read it, I seemed to understand what it meant (between adventures, the player chooses whether to earn experience as a fighter or a magic-user). However I do see where the ambiguity lies. Organization and explanation of material was not the strong suit of OD&D, and on that I wholeheartedly agree. The gaps in the rules though are up to the various referees to fill, and fill the gaps they did.

B/X and BECMI are good rule systems but while relatively light in their rules, lacked the flavor I wanted in my games. An AD&D-ish flavor with fewer rules that allowed for more referee "wiggle room" than AD&D itself. OD&D plus supplements provided that for me. Swords & Wizardry's apparent quirks won't provide that flavor for me either, but it's a moot point since I'll never look at it.

Feel free to continue the discussion gents, because I don't have anything else constructive to add to the discussion...and shouldn't have read this thread anyway. My stomach is complaining.
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