Monday, October 28, 2013
What is Spellcraft & Swordplay?
Spellcraft & Swordplay is Jason Vey's old school game based on the Original edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It is a retro-clone, or more precisely a "near clone".
The feel of S&S is extremely old-school and when I played it with my son when it first came out it reminded me so much of OD&D that I wanted to make it my old-old-school game of choice.
You can read my original review here if you like. But there some things about it that I would like amend.
Just like you can't judge a game by reading it, you get a totally different perspective when you write something for it. Somethings I now like more than I did then.
Here are some quick tips to help you learn about S&S.
- Saving throws are based abilities. So you can make a Dexterity save to avoid getting hit with something, or a Constitution save to avoid the effects of a poison. Keep in mind S&S did this YEARS before it became the newest feature of D&D Next.
- The die mechanics are based on a 2d6, not a d20. Need an 18 to hit something? Better hope you have pluses because you can only roll a natural 12 at best! This makes everything grittier. The 2d6 produces a near normal curve (ok a pyramid) so it means you will roll a lot of 7s and almost no 2s (snake eyes) or 12s (box cars). This by the way was the original mechanic used in D&D, the d20 is the alternate method.
While there some differences S&S is one of those systems that become systemless after a while. The focus is less on rolling dice and more on adventure and roll playing. For that reason I find anything written for OD&D, Swords & Wizardry or Basic D&D can be translated and used in a snap.
In fact, as much as I enjoy Swords & Wizardry I find Spellcraft & Swordplay closer to OD&D in terms of game play and feel.
If you want to try out Spellcraft & Swordplay for free, there is a "Basic Set" available and a free character sheet.
If you like that then the Spellcraft & Swordplay rules can be had for cheap.
I even have some character write-ups if you like:
Elizabeth Bathory (monster stats)
Hex (from Skylanders)
Hope you enjoy this game as much as I do.