Archive for April, 2013
In this 3rd installment of the S&W Appreciation Day series, I thought I might pass along some new monsters, scavenged up from my favorite medieval bestiary:
As usual, all the original work below is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License except where included material is licensed under the OGL in which case that material remains licensed under the OGL.
First up is the Amphisbaena
Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 5 
Attacks: Bite (2d6) + poison
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Poison (+2 save or die in 1d6 hours), Immune to Cold, Can not be attacked from behind
Challenge Level/XP: 8/800
A fearsome serpent, this beast has two heads. One in the usual location, one at the end of its tail. Amphisbaena are spawn when the blood of a gorgon spills upon a common serpent. They are, unlike many serpents, often found in cold environments where they lure lost and weary travelers with their glowing eyes which, from a distance, appear like lamps from a village. Their jaws drip with venom and their poison causes painful convulsions which can last for hours before the victim finally dies.
Next we have a Leucrota
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 6 
Attacks: Bite (1d6) or Kick (2d4)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Suggestion, Intelligent
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400
This swift beast has the head of a horse, the chest of a lion, the hind of a stag and cloven feet, the twisted result of a mating between a hyena and a lioness. But it’s most distinguishing feature is its mouth, which grins widely from each to ear, and is not filled with teeth, but rather a single bone where the teeth should be. Wiley and cunning, it is said that the Leucrota can imitate the speech of humans, and that it is dangerous to listen to its voice, lest it place you under a spell.
When I first ran an S&W game, I did so using a bookmarked copy of the 4th printing of Swords and Wizardry, the Stickies application on my computer and a whole lot of flying by my pants. While it went well, and the book marks made jumping from chart to information very easy, I quickly found myself wishing I had a GM screen for Swords and Wizardry. Ultimately, I didn’t stick with the S&W game I started long enough for that desire to turn into a desire to make one myself. Eventually I did make one for Labyrinth Lord (which I should post some time) which worked out pretty well, but I never made one for Swords and Wizardry. For todays festivities I’ve decided to correct that failing, so without further ado I present a Swords and Wizardry GM screen:
Welcome to the Swords and Wizardry Appreciation Day at iDungeon Crawl. In case you wandered here without knowing what’s going on, today across the OSR community we’re showing our appreciation for Swords and Wizardry, a retro clone published by Mythmere Games. If you don’t have it yet, you can download a free copy of the core rules from the previous link. You can also find more information about what S&W is, but the short version is S&W is a cleaned up clone of an early version of D&D. S&W and other retro clones can exist legally due to the existence of the OGL and some various functions of copyright law. More reading on the OSR in general, and retro-clones in particular can be found elsewhere on the web, but are outside the scope of today’s events. For more Swords and Wizardry appreciation today check the list of participating blogs over at Tenkar’s Tavern.
Swords and Wizardry was the very first game that brought the OSR and it’s related community to my attention. Some years ago (2009 if the timestamp on the file is any indication), I was browsing the web searching for information about the older editions of D&D. I’m not entirely sure why or what path led me there, though it might have had something to do with the death of D&D creators Gary Gygax (2008) and Dave Arneson (2009). Regardless I soon stumbled upon the Swords and Wizardry core rules, which had just had their 3rd printing. Here was a chance for me to play original D&D and give it a try without dropping a bundle of hard earned cash on some books from a collector. Ultimately, the core rules make some (very handy) changes to the original rules that made it “less pure” than I was aiming for at the time, and that “impurity” sent me on a hunt through out the rest of the OSR in search of more “pure” versions. This caused me to discover such great games as Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Dark Dungeons and many of the blogs and links listed in the side bar. I still had though a soft spot for S&W and eventually returned to it (in its 4th printing, with my custom bookmarks) as my go to game for my first attempt at DMing a game.
Unfortunately, there was one thing that appeared in that 3rd printing of the rules that were subsequently eliminated from the 4th printing, which were the race-as-class versions of the Dwarf and Elf classes. While I’m generally ambivalent about race-as-class, I very much enjoyed the 3rd printing S&W interpretation of the Elf, which was a dual classed fighter / magic user that could switch classes each day as the need arose. A similar version of the class is preserved in the Whitebox version of the S&W rules, but I still liked the original. So to kick off today’s festivities, here’s the advancement chart for the elf variant as it appeared in the 3rd printing:
If you haven’t heard about it yet, Erik over at Tenkar’s Tavern is putting together an Appreciation Day for Swords and Wizardry on the 17th of this month. In anticipation of that day, I decided to post some revisits to some of my older swords and wizardry related posts:
The Corpse Crow post introduces a new monster. Looking back on it now, I notice that it’s a very Stirge like monster, which leads me to wonder if I might have over estimated its CL. The stirge is listed as a CL 1 monster, though if you follow the monster creation guidelines, it appears that it should be a CL 2 monster (1HD + Auto Damage). The corpse crow works in a very similar way, attacking and then dealing auto damage, though the crow then gains the ability to possess the corpse of its victim. The question is, does that possession ability make the crow 3-4 challenge levels tougher? I’m honestly not sure.
My post on the Repeating Crossbow introduced a new weapon that on reflection I think I did poorly. The basic concept is fine, but I think it might do too much damage. A user of a repeating crossbow gets 4 chances to hit per round, and each does damage and a chance to inflict poison even with the +4 save. Were I doing this again, I think I might say that a repeating cross bow user has two choices of ammunition. The first is the ordinary 1d3 bolt. The second choice is poisoned, but rather than doing damage and poison, I think I would say that a hit deals poison damage only (no save) and that the effect of the poison damage is 1/2 hp (or even 1hp) per round cumulative.