Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Gather Ye Materials: Swords & Wizardry

Before I actually start creating the campaign (which I hope to start in around four months from now, so plenty of lead time for prep work), I'm going to go over the sources I'll be using. This boils down to Swords & Wizardry itself, the Strategic Review, Dungeoneer, and other miscellaneous sources. Starting with Swords & Wizardry, then...

OK, so here I have the basic rules set for the campaign. Three classes – Fighting-Man, Magic-User and Cleric, and four races – Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits. (Yes, I know the book calls them halflings. But they are Hobbits, darn it. Christopher Tolkien can sue me if he wants.) It seems a sensible idea to work on the principle that these will be the major classes and races of the campaign; so at least 95% of the classed NPCs encountered will be of the races and classes from this book.

One house rule I make right from the start. Instead of advancing as a hybrid, Elves choose either Fighter or Magic-User as a class, and advance as appropriate. A bit AD&D of me, I know, but it solves the 'Elves are awesome at first level' problem. (This further suggests the possibility that the Elves of this setting are divided into two different groups with two different traditions, but I'll shelve that for later.)

licking right to the back, there is the appendix with the Thief and Monk classes. Monks – no. This is a fantasied Occidental setting, and there were no 'hi-yah' kung-fu monks in Western Europe. It's not as if he's going to sit around copying manuscripts. The Thief is a harder sell. I must admit, I kinda agree with the school that suggests the Thief is an unnecessary addition – having said that, however, a lot of my players like playing Thieves. So the thief is in. I'll go with the Traditional Thief, and allow Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits to select it as a class. Already this greatly expands the number of options...

onsters and magic are nothing to particularly write home about. I intend to make greater use of the creatures from Dungoneer and the Strategic Review – but D& S&W isn't the same without the usual suspects making an appearance. Happy with the spell list as it stands, as well, so I don't plan to make any changes at this point. No need to reinvent the wheel at this stage. The idea is to run a fairly classic-styled campaign, after all.

Tomorrow: The Strategic Review!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Partying like it's 1976!

The year is 1976, and Dungeons & 'Swords & Wizardry' has just been released. Now comes an entry into the realms of myth and adventure!

I've been thinking a lot about my next campaign, and my initial idea is to go back, a long way back, right to the dawn of the hobby. Which essentially means drawing a line in June 1976 and shouting, “None shall pass”. What is special about that month? The publication of the last issue of the Strategic Review. I'm using Swords & Wizardry simply because I want to go right back to the beginning in one handy rulebook...and will be using the 'Core Rules' rather than 'White Box' edition, effectively to simulate Supplement 1.

So my personal canon is:
Swords & Wizardry, Core Rules (Standing in for Supplement 1)
The seven issues of the Strategic Review
A few issues of Liaisons Dangereuses
Dungeoneer, Issues 1- 6 (I would only use the first three issues from 1976, but the only version I have is the Judges Guild re-release, and no-one is selling Dungeoneer pdfs.)

What sparked this off was reading a rediscovered Gygax piece about creating a campaign, written back in 1975 – and I intend to follow it to the letter. So there will be a megadungeon where the bulk of the adventuring takes place, a home base town/city for the PCs, and a wilderness map upon which they are placed. I'll be talking about the article over the next few posts, but you can read it here.

If anyone has any other thoughts for material I should use based on this 1976 and back idea – any fanzines, etc – please let me know! Any material I can add will be of interest...

Bringing back the blog...

I've been thinking about this one for a little while, and I'm going to resume blogging here, as well as the 'Dusty Vault'. The Vault is where I intend to keep my reviews, but here's where I'll hang my hat on other things...

And speaking of which...