Magical Research

Things are moving fast and I’m putting together even more house rules for Swords & Wizardry. Now, these have been in my notes for quite a while but I just haven’t posted them here. So here it it.
First, this uses the previously posted Skill rules. But for a recap and just use this here’s the low down. Bonus: Average of Int and Wis Modifiers (Wits Skill) +2 (for being a Magic-User doing magic stuff). Skill check number is based on the character’s level. Just check out Attack Save Cheat Sheet.
So what to roll, how long does it take and how much is it going to cost?
Scribe spell from spell book or scroll: 1 Day/Spell Level; -1/Spell Level; 10 GP/Spell Level
Scribe spell scroll of a known spell: 1 Day/Spell Level; -2/Spell Level; 50 GP/Spell Level
Research new existing (already in the rule book) spell: 1 Week/Spell Level; -2/Spell Level; 500 GP/Spell Level
Research a brand new (not in the rule book with GM approval) spell: 1 Month/Spell Level; -3/spell Level; 1,000 GP/Spell Level.
Of course, other modifiers may come into play. Found an ancient book of arcane knowledge? Summon a demon to give you a hand? It’s old-school so this part is very much based on what the player’s have done, found or previously researched.
Fail the roll? Then you just lost time and a whole lot of money. I may do some lab accident type random table but that’s for another post.

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Luck: That’s How I Roll

I admit it. I like luck mechanics. I like the Bennies in Savage Worlds, Inspiration in 5E, and Dungeon Crawl Classics Luck and Fleeting Luck rules. So as I sit here pondering various house rules and hacks for upcoming Swords & Wizardry campaign, my brain started thinking about adding some sort of Luck Mechanic.
Now I know it isn’t “old-school” I get that but I do like that extra bit of punch it can add to a session and it avoids that annoying one-bad-roll-kills-you thing. So I started thinking about those mechanics that I mentioned before plus some others that have crossed my gaming path over the years and here’s what I came up with.
At the start of each session, each player gets one Luck Point. No carryover from the previous session.
Using Luck Points: Spending a Luck Point before you roll grants Advantage on a d20 roll. Advantage/Disadvantage is pretty cool and simple bit from 5E. I like it and it’s been fun at the table. If the player spends a Luck Point after they roll then the player can reroll but must take the second roll even if it is worse and Natural 1’s cannot be rerolled. The player may only spend one Luck Point per “action”. A Luck Point may also be spent to heal one HD worth of HP.
Gaining Luck Points: The rule of cool is in force here. Do cool stuff. Keep the game and story going. Make everybody at the table laugh. That sort of thing. I know players should be doing that sort of thing anyway but if there’s an incentive to do it then it’s more likely that players will do cool things.
Losing Luck: If the player rolls a Natural 1 on a d20 (except Initiative if that’s what you use). The player gives all of their remaining Luck Points to the GM who gets to use them for the monsters/NPC’s. See Luck ain’t a free ride.

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Playing It Wrong: Too Many Choices

I took a couple of days off so this episode is coming in a little late and it’s time to rant.
We had a case of GM burnout in the gaming group so we’re heading back to 5E with a fresh GM. Time to make a new character. WOTC hasn’t put our as many splat books as in the old days but there’s still a lot of stuff. And as far as DM’s Guild goes. There’s a lot of junk. Plus the usual rants and reading from the Ancient Tomes.
You can subscribe to the podcast on most platforms or heck just stream it here.

So what do you think I should play for the 5E game? BTW we’re doing Out of the Abyss. Leave your comments below.

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More Races for YARC

Another iteration of races for YARC. Like the Races Part I this relies heavily on the house brewed Skill Rules. It’s just my take on Races that they shouldn’t have lots of moving parts but they should have some natural aptitudes. This keeps things very simple and doesn’t create too strong incentive to match certain races with certain classes to get an even more powerful character. It’s the same reason I’m overly fond of racial stat bonuses.
Any distinction between your standard human and the other races should come from role playing and any specifics from the world. Not the game rules.

Half Orc
Darkvision
+1 Damage with melee attacks
+1 Athletics or Survival

Gnome
+1 Tinker or Banter
+1 Save Vs Illusions

Kenku
+1 Appeal, Skullduggery, and Stealth

Tabaxi
Claws: 1d4 Damage
+1 Athletics and Stealth

So what’s happening next? Well, I plan on a few more races that aren’t quite “standard” and a couple more classes. I just might do the Bard and Barbarian (or at least my take on them). And maybe more.

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Playing It Wrong: NPC’s

Wow, it’s a multimedia day. And here’s this week’s episode of Playing It Wrong. It’s about NPC’s. Don’t over think it. Let the dice, the story, and the Player Characters determine what’s important. And don’t go into detail that you don’t need to. Plus a short call in from Tim “Gothridge Manor” Shorts. Yippee! The Old School Essentials are in my grubby grognard fingers. And more readings from original D&D. You can subscribe to the podcast on most platforms or just stream it right here.

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Old School Essentials Unboxing Take Two

Ok, this is take two of the “unboxing”. The first time around packing peanuts went everywhere and it turned into me trying to keep the dogs from eating them. Plus it was pretty dull and the lighting was really bad. But all that’s taken care of. So here’s the video.

Go ahead and check out Necrotic Gnome to get your hands on this sweet box set.

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My Little Swords & Wizardry Cheat Sheet

I really like one page cheat sheets. Maybe that’s why I generally don’t use your standard GM screen. More often than not, there isn’t the chart of table that I need. It’s not organized as well as I like it. Or there’s lots of stuff that I don’t need but it’s there just to fill space. So I cooked up this little sheet. Note: It does include my house ruled skill check. So here you go. Enjoy!
Attack Save Cheat Sheet

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Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

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