Tag Archives: Swords & Wizardry

What’s Next? Part 1

Yes, it’s time again for me to start thinking about what to run next. I know that my little gaming group is only a few sessions into the 5E game but I always start planning months out. And there’s a lot reasons I’m doing it on this one.

It’s all about really coming to grips about what I really like. I’ve always leaned more towards Sword & Sorcery and coloring outside of the lines just a bit but never going full Edgelord. Never go full Edgelord. I really love house ruling, kit bashing, and just tweaking rules. And lastly. 5E is just really loosing its luster for me. Sure, when it first came out. I liked it. And I still think it’s a good game system for a vanilla modern D&D setting. But I just think it won’t work that well with kind of game this going to turn into.

I went a long time without going “Oh wow! That’s cool.” But a few publishers really sparked my imagination. Planet X Games with the Phylactery Zines and Magic & Shit; the wild and crazy adventures by Dark Wizard Games; the Black Label adventures by Art of the Genre; and finally the recent Kickstarter for Hypreborea. To put it simple, these folks are talking my language. A little pulpy, grind house, B-Move Inspired weird fantasy material with a dark sense of humor without going full on Edgelord. So I have to fully admit that this sort of thing is right in my wheelhouse.

My first step is come up with what game I want to use the foundation/chassis to build this campaign around then start adding bits and pieces to make the characters fit the setting/genre.

I know I’ve ranted a lot about Barbaric! And it has a lot going for it. It’s an easy system for new players to pick up. Character generation is very quick and easy. And it’s cheap. (I won’t need to be asking players to shell out a bunch of money). There a couple of things going against it. Most of my players are only familiar with d20 based games (especially 5e) and I have so much material that based on old school d20 games on hand. I suppose I could convert the adventures and stuff. But it add another layer to any GM prep time and, well, I’m lazy. And I’m not sure how well it would work for a long term campaign.

I’m also looking at White Box. So it fulfills the cheap for the players and d20 based. The rules are very simple and I’ve done plenty of hacks on them. The only minor thing is converting monster damage and spells from later editions like BX or even AD&D. It wouldn’t be that hard. So that’s a definite possibility.

Swords & Wizardry has been my go to old school game for a long time. Some of the group even played in Blight Campaign. Easy to house rule and convert on the fly. The monster stat blocks are really easy to use and there are ton of monsters available. So yeah there’s that one.

Old School Essentials/Labyrinth Lord OK, these two are basically the same game. I did run a Labyrinth Lord game for the group and they liked it. I do have to say that OSE is the old-school darling of the day and is laid out and organized much better. Lamentations of the Flame Princess also basically has many of the same rules and some interesting spells.

Hyperborea has taken a lot my attention of late and the setting itself is very close to whole vibe I’m going for. While there are some extras from AD&D era, I don’t think it’s anything really overwhelming.

These games for me start with the best frame works to start working from. Sure I do love me some Dungeon Crawl Classics and Castles & Crusades does have a special place in my heart. But so much of what I’m planning is a total Franken-Game. Grabbing the best bits from various games or just being inspired by them. So yeah there will bits and ideas from all of the above but right now I’m trying to think which one I’m going to hack apart and put back together with the extra ideas and inspiration. What’s strange is that I’ve already got 40 pages of notes that I’ve copied and pasted from old house rules, random ideas, and various inspirational material. So needless to say, the final setup will have a bit of a different vibe going for it.

So I guess this really long post is a gigantic teaser about what’s coming up here on the blog and maybe on my Patreon.


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Xoth, Not Forgotten

It’s been way too long since I wrote anything about Xoth and it’s coming back to my mind with a vengeance. In case you’ve been keeping up, I’m trying to get the old gaming group back together.

I’ll admit that I have nothing against the Standard D&D type game and I can even tolerate the Cantina Scene type parties. But then there’s times when I want to go all Swords & Sorcery. For me, that means Conan and Robert E Howard. So it’s back to Xoth as one of my pitches.

I had picked some of the stuff way back when during the days of Pathfinder 1St Edition. Sure I played Pathfinder but I never would want to run it. But I liked the writing and changes so much that it always stayed in the back of mind.

This gets me to where we are today. I was searching the Internets and lo, there’s a 5E Player’s Guide for Xoth. Now this could be interesting and it is. This takes the 5E rules and makes them perfectly friendly to a grimmer more down to earth type of campaign.

Let me break the basics down for you. First, Races & Classes. It’s all human but there’s still various “cultures” that replace the mechanics of Race. There’s the Savage, Civilized, Enlightened, Decadent, and Degenerate. Each gets a stat boost and some neat skill-boosts/tricks. But each as a disadvantage. And their pretty big disadvantages. Like the Savage. +2 Strength, +1 AC, Advantage on Perception Checks. Cool right? Oh wait. You also take disadvantage on attack rolls against aberrations, undead, and fiends. It’s a cool tweak.

Then there’s classes. Of course, all of the classes aren’t allowed because they just don’t fit the setting. So, there’s no Bards, Clerics, Paladins, Wizards, and Sorcerers. The remaining have some tweaks. No archetypes that have any magical or “super” abilities. No Eldritch Knights or Arcane Tricksters. Rangers don’t have spells but they get some other tricks. And the Druid and Warlock have some additional tweaks to them. And there’s three new classes: Conqueror (sort of the Paladin replacement), Cultist (as close as you’re going to get to a cleric), and Courtesan (Bard/Social class).

And of course there some rules tweaks on spells, magic items, healing and combat. All of it giving the campaign that Howard type feel. Oh and the best part the Players Guide to Xoth is free. Available on Xoth.net and DrivethruRPG. Note: On DrivethruRPG, you’ll have to login since it’s behind the adult filter because there be boobies.

If you want a more detailed review you can check this one out.

So back to what I might do with this. Of course, I could just use it with 5E. It’s the RPG that most of the players are familiar with. But then I’m a crazy OSR guy. So I can pull up Swords & Wizardry, Crypts & Things, or even my own Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery and run with that. Sure I’ll do some tweaking and house rules and all of those rules are kissing cousins. But since I’ve got a bunch of Pathfinder and now 5E stuff, it’s really easy to convert that material into an old school game. But then Barbaric! is another of my newly found favorites. Sure it’s easy on the rules crunch and character generation but conversion will take some doing.

What’s actually going to happen? I dunno. But I’ll keep posting about it here and we’ll see what happens.

Temple of Dagon & Death Ship of the Roach Princess

In case you don’t follow the blog regularly, I am a big fan of Swords & Wizardry. It’s my go to game for old school play. Also, Frog God Games via Necromancer Games have been doing quick crowd funding projects for adventures on Indiegogo. Well, I backed these two and got the PDF’s fast enough that putting my random thoughts on these into one post. As usual, I’ll try to do this without spoilers.

Temple of Dagon. I mean just look at the title. I had to get this one. The plot on this one is pretty straight forward. Ancient lost temple. Grab some artifacts and loot. Fight evil. So nothing to surprising there. Also, large parts of the adventure occur underwater. I’ve never been a fan of underwater adventures and I knew this going in. It always seems that the party needs to grab a bunch of specialty magic items to complete the adventure. But that’s just opinion. YMMV.

The good thing is it’s pretty easy to move some of the dungeon environs to not completely underwater. I really do like the adventure. There’s some real inspirational and useful material in there. Namely, I can see it as the groundwork for making the Cult of Dagon a regular villain group. It would still take some fleshing out by the DM but that’s part of the job.

Of course, there’s some new monsters and magic items. Overall, it’s a good adventure. It’s available for Swords & Wizard, Pathfinder 1E, and 5E. You can grab it up on DrivethruRPG or Frog God Games.

The second adventure to hit my inbox is Death Ship of The Roach Princess. This one was written by Matt Finch and when heard that players at conventions were getting the creeps when he ran it then I just had to get this one too.

This is one is pretty hard to describe without at least giving a little bit away. But the title gives you the biggies of the adventure. The Death Ship and the Roach Princess (Teratashia).

Let’s talk a little about Teratashia first. She’s the demon lord of roaches and she’s into all the nooks and crannies. Even those between dimensions and plans. And then there’s the Death Ship. Well. Death Ship pretty much says it all. Oh and it’s cursed.

The adventure starts off easy. It shouldn’t be any problems. The characters from some reason have to go an investigate a mysterious ship in the harbor. Things quickly go sideways. Remember, cursed death ship? Well, the real adventure isn’t kick in the door, kill the monster, and take the treasure. It’s get off the the cursed ship. It’s going to take some brain power on the part of the players to get off the ship. It’s no easy task and there are plenty of places where they could easily end up as just another cursed soul. Sure there’s treasure if they plan well.

Death Ship is really much creepier and challenging adventure. And if you don’t like cockroaches then you are going to squirm like crazy. This a creepy and really challenging adventure.

Of course, you can grab this up on DrivethruRPG or Frog God Games’ site as well.

With these adventures and the recently funded Blood Lagoon, I can’t help but think that these would be a perfect fit for a Razor Coast campaign.

Swords & Wizardry Boxed Set

I know I haven’t blogged about Swords & Wizardry in a long time. So in case you’ve missed my other rants, this is my go-to game for old school play. It just hits all the right marks for me. Clear rules and really easy to tweak and house rule. And converting stuff into it is a breeze.

So the boxed set isn’t anything new nor is it a new edition. It’s the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules broken down into smaller digest-sized books ala BX Essentials/Old School Essentials. It’s handy at the table and on the go.

And I grabbed up that Accessory Pack Add On. That’s Moar Monsters!, an adventure, and the above pictured GM Screen. Now I haven’t used GM screens in a long time. Most just get in the way. But this one is low enough to not get in the way and still tall enough to hide my notes. It’s just got the attack charts but I’ve never seen a GM screen for any game that had the charts that I wanted.

Now if you missed out on the Kickstarter, you might be out of luck. I think they may have a limited number of extra boxed sets available after fulfillment is completed. So you’re going to have to keep on eye Frog God Games for that.