Thursday, July 1, 2010

Campaign Players Handbook

When I started my Swords & Wizardry campaign last year, I had gathered together some house-rules, random charts and altered the general S&W core rules to create the fantasy game that I wanted to run.

Nothing ground-breaking there, as most every GM does a little bit of tweaking to make the game flow the way they want to.

I thought S&W had the most open ended foundation with which to start this process. I threw in some elements from classic Holmes, Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lord, Knockspell and Fight On! and things I've read from so many of the great blogs and forums. The great thing about the OSR movement (is it still being called that?) is that there is so much of this stuff available to pick and choose from.

Like I've said before, I'm not one to world and rule-build from scratch. That's not where my strengths lie in gaming. I've used a process of 'found art' to create my campaign world. Of course, I started with a map 'cause I do enjoy that part of the process (really who doesn't?). I ended up using descriptions of a Holmes campaign world that Doc over at the OD&D Discussion forums put together altering it for my needs (thanks Doc!). I used this just as a background to give the 'world' some depth and it's much better than what I could have created. From there I focused on one small portion of the land, adding details, cities and towns and, of course, treasure filled dungeons, in a very broad-stroke of course. I add to it as needed as my players, in this sandbox world, branch-out every so slowly.

I wanted things to be more tough and pulpy for the characters but plenty of fantasy has crept into the sessions as well. One of the players, Mike (a huge REH fan) said that there was a good balance between pulp and fantasy in our campaign. Well, I'll take that as a success.

So I had all these little rules, maps, descriptions etc. floating around, and I put it all together into a booklet for my players - a Players Handbook of the campaign so to speak. It's been a great resource for the players and for me to keep track of what been added or removed in our 'rules'. We've updated the booklet already with rule tweaks and additions. I say 'we' because I feel that the players should have some say in the rules of the campaign. I mean, they are 'writing' a good portion of their adventures.

So here is the most current version of the Players Handbook / House Rules of our campaign. As you will see its still (and always will be) a work in progress and there are still some TBD sections such as the race descriptions for Stygians and Atlanteans (I'm still figuring those out so if anyone has any ideas or can point me in the direction of a good source…)

Download Swords & Wizardry House Rules Player's Handbook


  1. Flipping through it, I really like it! I also adore that you made it digest-sized.

    In fact, this makes me quite jealous. I keep meaning to do this for a Labyrinth Lord sandbox I have bouncing around my head, and it's probably 85% of what keeps me and a couple friends from rolling dice together.

  2. Paul I have some ideas for both of those races that I can share with you soon! ;-)

  3. Absolutely awesome. Thank you very much.

  4. Thanks for sharing! Much appreciated! Great work!