Dec 26, 2016

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

+C Huth of The Elder Skull blog and Pelgrane Press, as well as a friend in real life, has very kindly created a one-page version of Into the Depths for your enjoyment using his layout wizardry. I like it a lot. I've also edited the numbering issues on the original 3-page pdf version, if only to prove to myself that yes, I can count.

Next up, I'm going to work on two supplements, one for Necrocarcerus, and one for the Old Lands. The latter is basically my "I want to run a module" low-concept campaign setting. These will have the much-anticipated "mystery cults", more gear, languages, that sort of thing. I don't know when I'll get them done, but hopefully soon, I've got a lot of stuff scheduled for the new year to work on.

Dec 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

I decided that rather than struggle doing conversions of various retroclones / neoclones, I might as well just write another one (the first one was Microlite Iron Heartbreakers). Here it is: Into the Depths. It's free for download and you're welcome to modify it however you please.

It's a chassis that I'll be building off of and using for Necrocarcerus and other fantasy campaigns, loosely inspired by the size and rules minimalism of Searchers of the Unknown and Into the Odd, with bits and pieces of my favourite house rules in it, and based off my experience using various versions of Swords and Wizardry. It's meant to be easy to plug material from other games into - my become-a-wizard rules for it will be some mixture of Wonder and Wickedness with the spell research rules from Crimson Pandect. It's classless, with minimal stats to keep track of, and is almost entirely the player-facing elements of the rules. I stuck in an upgraded version of my leveling rubric for the Black Hack, since that seemed popular with folks.

Anyhow, merry Christmas and enjoy!

Dec 11, 2016

Swords and Wizardry Core: A Short Reappraisal

After running somewhere just shy of a hundred sessions using Swords and Wizardry Complete, I find that I'm kind of hankering to go back to Swords and Wizardry Core. It's odd, but compared to the sheer amount of material I see for Complete and for Swords and Wizardry White Box, I'm surprised that Core doesn't get more love.

Swords and Wizardry White Box is actually kind of fiddly, especially in how it departs from how an increase in level also means an increase in hit die, but also in the unequal level distribution between classes, and in the various perks each class gets. There's also a loyalty mechanic unique to it, and several other instances where little variations make their way in (Haste and Slow become the single spell Alter Time, etc.). Perhaps counter-intuitively, Core is actually simpler in these respects, while the only real increases in complexity compared to White Box are that it lacks a universal attribute modifier chart and has variable weapon damage. To head off any "edition warring" at the pass, White Box is a perfectly fine game that many people seem to greatly enjoy for many reasons, and I don't have a problem with that, it's simply not the game for me, for the reasons above.

From what I can tell, the fondness for White Box and Complete over Core appears to be mainly an effect of support. White Box and Complete both have companies that seem more or less (at any given time) invested in supporting them - putting out new printings, supplements, translations in other languages, adventures, etc. Core has no such company (Mythmere Games is just Matt Finch in trade dress, from what I can tell, and hasn't put out new stuff in years, and the site has been down for about a year now). That's a shame, since it's such a simple, lovely little retro-clone.