With the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day fast approaching let’s throw out a little love for John Reyst who did all that not only the Pathfinder SRD but the fine Swords & Wizardry SRD. Yep, even threw up that little link in the side bar.
Yes, I really like that game. And yes I’m spreading the word. And yes there is a small chance that I might end up with gift certificate by doing so.
I’ll be honest here. Yes, that little certificate would be nice but you know what. This game deserves more love. If you’ve never heard of it or messed around with it then go to the SRD and check it out. It won’t hurt you and you just might discover a cool new game.
When it comes to the OSR, everyone has their game of choice. Some choose the originals which are now available again. While others choose one of the many retroclones. Some go for a clone that most resemble the early editions of D&D. And yet others go for the ones that that pay homage and are influenced by the early games but still go off in their own direction. I’m one of them. That’s why if I have to choose one for my own home game, I go with Swords & Wizardry.
I’m in no way saying that any body is playing it wrong. No, don’t even go there. But here’s what I like S&W.
Ascending AC as an option. I really disliked the old descending AC. As a group when 2nd Edition was new, we house ruled in Ascending AC.
One Save to Rule Them All: Yes, just one Saving Throw. It may sound overly simplified but it’s a very hand and flexible mechanic that can used to also for Skills and Ability checks.
Easy to read Monster Stat blocks: I really have to admit, it’s one those things that as GM I find really annoying when you have to waste a bunch of time figuring out a stat block (Um..Pathfinder..?)
Free Form Rulings Not Rules: That’s really a key stone of OSR play. You don’t need everything spelled out in exacting detail.
Now you combine all these factors, you have a dandy set of rules ripe for house ruling and blending. I can easily pull simple ideas, adventures, spells and monsters from other games and apply them with little or no effort.
That’s why Swords & Wizardry is my clone of choice. Go ahead and check it out. You can find a free version of the Core Book here, pick up the Complete Version from Frog God Games or just read throw the online SRD.
Have fun. Roll dice. Kill Monsters. Take their stuff.
Fighters fear the Rust Monsters but spellcasters of every type fear the Giant Silverfish. These insects crave and can quickly consume scrolls and spell books.
The Giant Silverfish
Armor Class: 9 
Hit Dice: 1 HD
Saving Throw: 18
Special: Eats Paper, Spells
Eats Paper: A giant silverfish can consume one scroll or one page of a spell book per round. This includes things like treasure maps or other valuable documents but the creature will prefer magical texts.
Spells: When a Giant Silverfish consumes a magic scroll, it makes a Saving Throw. If successful the beast can instinctively cast that spell once as if it were able to read the scroll. It can do this for either magic-user or cleric scrolls. Any Giant Silverfish encountered will already have consumed 1d6 spells from levels 1 to 4. determined randomly.
Arachni-Apes are the product of an insane experiment by an equally insane wizard. They have the body of a great mountain ape and the head of venomous spider.
Atk 2 hands (1d3), 1 bite (1d6+poison)
Special: Sticky Poo
Arachni-Apes may hurl their sticky poo at a range of 40 ft. If a target is struck and fails a saving throw then he his held in place for 1d6 rounds. The poison of an Arachni-Ape does 2d6 points of damage if a saving throw is failed, 1d4 points of damage if the saving throw succeeds.
So I admit that I watched Madagascar 3 this weekend but being the insane guy that I am I thought about the first movie and the Foosa. I’m not making that name up. It’s a real animal. But a little deeper digging turned up some myths about it so the obvious response is to make it a monster. Of course this isn’t about the real animal but something that just dug it’s way out of my imagination.
The fossa is an aggressive and cunning predator. They have been known to kill livestock and even stalk humans but this mainly for sport. Their preferred diet is to scavenge the flesh from freshly buried corpses. There are rumors that a scratch from a fossa can turn a human into a ghoul.
Armor Class: 6 
Hit Dice: 3+2
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Paralysis, Ghoul Fever
Paralysis: Any hit from a foosa requires a saving throw or the victim becomes paralyzed for 3d6 turns. Elves are not immune to this.
Ghoul Fever: Any character who has been paralyzed by a foosa and survived must also make a saving throw or be turned into a ghoul in 2d6 days. A Cure Disease spell will cure this condition.
Yeah, I heard about most of the little kerfuffle over rats with treasure. While not part of the original discussion, it was interesting watching the ripples pass from g+ to the blogosphere. But this got me thinking. OK, why would rats have copper pieces? Then I came up with this little idea.
Armor Class: 7 
Hit Dice: 1d4 hit points
Attacks: Bite (1d4)
Saving Throw: 17
Special: Carry Disease
Miser rats are the product of a young wizard’s failed attempt to end a vermin infestation. The wizard conjured a magical plague to wipe out the rats. Unfortunately, the surviving rats adapted to the disease and continued to thrive. Miser rats are affected by and carriers of a blood thinning disease (know as Artemis’s Rat Anemia). Because of this they have a craving for some metals. Primarily, copper and iron. Their nests are often littered with gnawed nails, needles and coins.
A character bitten by a Miser Rat must make a saving throw versus disease. If the character fails then he has contracted Artemis’s Rat Anemia. Until the character is cured of the disease, he has a -2 penalty to Strength and Constitution. Natural healing occurs at half the normal rate and magical healing is one half effective.
From the minds that brought us the Pathfinder SRD, an SRD for Swords & Wizardry. Right now, it looks likes its going to be a really handy tool for GM’s, players and designers. Plus it’s some nice exposure for a really cool game.
Go ahead and check it out. See what a bunch of grognards have been talking about.
This reminds me. I really need to write more S&W stuff.