Monday, October 28, 2013

What is Spellcraft & Swordplay?

One of the questions I have been getting a lot this week is "How does Spellcraft & Swordplay play" followed by "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:
Asa Vajda
Elizabeth Bathory (monster stats)
Hex (from Skylanders)
Red Sonja
Sir Gannon and Del The Necromancer
Xena & Gabrielle
Hope you enjoy this game as much as I do.

1 comment:

BlUsKrEEm said...

You did a quick write up and you didn't mention magic system? I love the Spellcraft system and regularly offer it as an option for M-Us in my labyrinth lord games.