Posts Tagged ‘ Swords & Wizardry ’

Dinner & Gaming & Playtesting

I decided to start hosting Dinner & Gaming nights again, doing so once a month. I like to game. I like to cook. (I even considered going to a culinary arts school until I figured out I have anosmia.) So, I fixed taco salad, got a couple bottles of sangria, and broke out the Swords & Wizardry, In Search of the Unknown, and a couple copies of my WIP Optional Skill Resolution Rules.

With only two players in attendance, I was flexible with class and race combinations. Alex made up Brother Zaphod, an Elf Cleric/Magic-User who had been raised by weasels in the woods. I imagine them to have been giant weasels. Christopher made up Weeble Kneecracker, a Halfling Fighter/Thief who is also a skilled chef and a pariah from polite Halfling society. This stalwart pair of rookie heroes hired two men-at-arms and a torchbearer: Maximilio, Baldrick, and Leofrick.

The party traveled north into the hilly woodlands between the frontier village and the realm of the hated barbarians. After some traveling and searching, they found the entrance to Quasqueton. Weeble picked the lock on the door, and the group moved into the hallway beyond. They were startled by magical mouths that pronounced a grim warning.

Weeble crept forward, searching for traps. He determined there were none, but his intense concentration led to him being surprised by a pair of ghouls. Weeble was clawed and paralyzed.

The hirelings and Brother Zaphod battled the ghouls, killing them. Brother Zaphod suffered a moderate injury in the process.

Skill checks using my OSR2 system were made to convince the hirelings to work for free in exchange for spiritual betterment, to open the locked door, to search for traps, and to determine the weaknesses of ghouls. Based on this brief session of actual gaming, I think the system works pretty well, although I did leave out one detail regarding the characters’ starting skills, which I’ll have to amend next time we play S&W.

July 24th, 2014  in Product Development, RPG No Comments »

Aquatic Depths & Denizens Gets Some Art

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking advantage of my summer vacation to get some much-delayed writing done. One of those project is Aquatic Depths & Denizens, which focuses on adventuring underwater for Swords & Wizardry. You can download the playtest version of the PDF at the link in the previous sentence.

As I was working on the PDF, I just knew I had to have a group picture showing the five new races standing next to each other, just like the 1E Player’s Handbook had (and which I’ve displayed to the right). Unfortunately, a picture that included a Merman, a Naiad, a Triton, a Bahar, and an Aquatic Elf wasn’t the sort of the thing I’d be able to find laying around in the public domain. This meant hiring an artist, which is something that my tiny budget doesn’t let me do a lot of. So, I mulled.

While mulling, I read through MurderHobos from Brent P. Newhall’s Musaeum. (Mini-review: MurderHobos is exactly what it says it is, namely “a simple OSR game that hews closely to d20 mechanics. The stats are silly, but they do make a playable game.”) I noticed the interior art had a certain, rugged Old School fantasy gaming vibe to it, so I checked the artist.

Turns out the artist is a fellow named Peter Seckler, who just happens to be one of the many people I’ve never met with whom I am friends on Facebook. A few messages later a deal was made, and a few days later I had the picture I needed:


From left to right: Aquatic Elf, Triton, Bahar, Merman, Naiad.

The Six-Sword Box

If you’ve not supported Matt Jackson’s Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser, please do so. As previously posted, sales from my OSR PDFs go to support this worthwhile project. Item descriptions and discounts for those PDFs are in this PDF. Wheels within wheels!

If you’ve not watched Steven Chow’s Journey to the West, you should. It’s a hoot. Certainly right up there with Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. Journey currently streams on Netflix.

Today’s magic item was entirely inspired by Show Luo’s performance as Prince Important in Journey.

Six-Sword Box

The fabled Six-Sword Box appears to be a finely crafted, lovingly lacquered box of the sort often used by ladies to hold jewelry. Instead of such baubles, the box holds six miniature swords, each carved from hardwood. With a flick of the wrist and a sung command, the box’s holder can set the miniature swords to flying, at which time they transform into full-sized weapons forged from the finest steel. The swords race through the air, turning and flying as directed by the box’s holder, who must maintain line of sight on the swords for them to continue functioning. When a sword draws blood, it returns to the box and reverts to its original wooden form. The Six-Sword Box functions once per day.

Barbarians of Lemuria

Each round, the box’s holder directs the swords and makes 1d6 attacks against visible targets. These attacks are modified by the holder’s Mind. A flying sword does 1d6+2 points of damage with a successful attack. Once the box’s holder has made six successful attacks, the Six-Sword Box ceases to function until the next day.

Dungeon World

Whenever unleash the Six-Sword Box’s swords, roll+WIS. *On a 10+, you succeed with 1d6 attacks against visible targets with each attack inflicting 1d8 points of damage. *On a 7-9, you succeed with one successful attack against a visible target, inflicting 1d8 points of damage. The Six-Sword Box can make six successful attacks in a single day.

Swords & Wizardry

Each round, the box’s holder directs the swords and makes 1d6 attacks against visible targets. The swords fly with a speed of 36, and they attack as monsters with 6 Hit Dice, inflicting 1d8 points of damage with a successful attack roll. When a sword succeeds with an attack, it flies back to the box, reverting to its original wooden form.

July 21st, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

What’s Happening Lately?

Since the beginning of July, I’ve completed three PDFs and put playtest drafts out there for the public.

Aquatic Depths & Denizens focuses on adventuring underwater for Swords & Wizardry. It includes rules for swimming, drowning, fighting and spellcasting under the waves, five player character aquatic races, an assortment of aquatic spells, and a plethora of marine monsters. Download your copy and playtest today.

Optional Skill Resolution Rules presents a flexible system for resolving skill checks usable with Swords & Wizardry (and likely compatible with other OSR games). With OSR2, the Referee and players define a character’s skills based on race, background, and class. No skill lists restrain those choices. Do you want your Magic-User to be a ladies’ man? There’s a skill for that. Do you want your Paladin to have studied Forbidden Cults? There’s a skill for that. Download the playtest version of these rules today and see if they work for your game.

Here’s the playtest version of Astounding Archetypes: Bloodhand Gang. Presented in this Pathfinder-compatible PDF are five archetypes: dragon warrior, jotunkin, telekinetic monk, warp thief, and yo-yo magus (my personal favorite). I originally featured these archetypes on my website. I’ve tweaked all five a bit here and there, trying to clear up unclear rules, streamline class features, et cetera. I’ve also put together one villain for each archetype.

Of course, helpful folks who playtest the PDF and/or provide feedback receive credit in the final PDF. They also receive a free copy of the final PDF, providing I have an e-mail address. To further sweeten the incentives, playtesters/feedbackers may also select any single PDF from my on-line catalog to receive for free (again providing I have an e-mail address). My email address is mark at spesmagna dot com.

Atanasija’s Lyre

Dunwick Rossignols sang like an angel, but he had the heart of a devil. He used his charm and music to ingratiate himself into the life of Nafasi, a prosperous village situated near an important crossroad. Dunwick prospered. He also systematically seduced many of the village’s maidens and wives. The wicked bard delighted in the strife caused by his many conquests. He deliberately sowed seeds of jealousy and false hope, plucking on people’s emotions as deftly as his finger plucked his lyre’s strings.

Dunwick played his cruel games too long. His machinations provoked the widow Atanasija into a cold fury. She lured Dunwick to her home with carnal promises. As soon as he entered her home, Atanasija struck him a stunning blow to the head with a bronze candlestick holder. Her cold fury blazed white hot then, and she strangled Dunwick to death, crushing his windpipe with the candlestick holder. Horrified by her crime, Atanasija fled into the night, vanishing into Mabonde, the nearby forested valley. Dunwick was buried, and the villagers made a half-hearted and failed attempt to apprehend Atanasija. Little by little, life in Nafasi resumed something resembling what it was before Dunwick.

Months after Dunwick’s brutal murder, Atanasija, now mad, crept into the village’s cemetary. With ragged fingernails, she clawed Dunwick’s remains free from their grave and stole the bard’s skull. Back in her cave in Mabonde, Atanasija fashioned Dunwick’s skull into a macabre lyre. The mad widow played and sang her most beloved songs by Dunwick. Before the last echoes of her tortured voice faded in the darkness of her cave, Atanasija took her own life.

Decades went by as the widow’s corpse rotted away before a group of adventurers pursuing goblin raiders stumbled into the cave and discovered the Atanasija’s lyre.

Barbarians of Lemuria

A minstrel can play Atanasija’s Lyre and make a tough (-4) mind check modified by minstrel ranks. If the minstrel succeeds, 1d6 corpses within earshot of the lyre’s morbid notes rise up and attack the nearest living creatures, continuing to do so as long as the minstrel plays. If the minstrel’s check results in a natural 12, double the number of corpses that animate. If the minstrel’s check results in a natural 2, one or more of the lyre’s strings break and must be replaced before the lyre functions again.

Dungeon World

Whenever you play Atanasija’s Lyre near one or more corpses, roll+CHA. *On a 10+, several corpses animate as zombies under your musical control. *On a 7-9, several corpses animate as zombies.

Swords & Wizardry

Atanasija’s Lyre is a magical item usable by any non-Lawful character. As long as the holder plays this musical instrument, up to 2d6 nearby corpses animate as skeletons or zombies. Each round this lyre is played, there is a 10% chance the undead slip the musicians’s control and attack the nearest living creatures. In this latter case, the zombies and skeletons remain animated until destroyed.

July 2nd, 2014  in RPG No Comments »