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Monday, February 11, 2013

Comparing OD&D to it's Nearest Clones - S&W Whitebox and Delving Deeper - Part I: The Abilities

I really need a better title for this series of posts i if you think of one, let me know;)

Anyhow, with the recent arrival of my Deeper Delving Boxes set, I thought it might be fun to compare it to the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed Set. Then I figured "Why not add in S&W Whitebox to the mix?" Really, why not? My boxed set is packed away in storage, and my paperback version is currently hiding on me, but I do have the PDF of the 3rd printing.

Remember, if you want to play along at home, the PDFs for Delving Deeper and S&W Whitebox are free. You can find links to both to the right of this post, under the heading FREE OSR GAMES.

The character book for OD&D is called Men & Magic (it also includes the spells), it's called Forging a Hero in DD and the S&W PDF isn't really broken down into separate books.

Original Dungeons & Dragons Abilities Section -

Horribly organized, but the same could be said about most of the LBBs. I'm sure some of this info is hidden in other books.

Prime Requisite of 13 or 14 for 5% expo bonus. 15+ for 10% expo bonus. 8 or 7 1-% penalty. 6 or less 20% penalty.

Strength: no bonuses listed. Mentions in description "will also aid in opening traps"

Intelligence: no bonuses listed. "Allows additional languages to be spoken"

Wisdom: no bonuses listed

Dexterity: above 12 (that's confusing) + 1 missile fire, under 9 - 1 missile fire

Constitution: 15+ + 1 HP per hit die. 13 or 14 "Will withstand adversity" (huh?) and some other survival %'s for lower cons

Dexterity: above 12 (that's confusing) + 1 missile fire, under 9 - 1 missile fire

Charisma: full chart breaking down number of hirelings and loyalty bonus based on Charisma score

Delving Deeper Player Characters Section -

Much better organized than OD&D, but what isnt? (answer - Tunnels & Trolls 5e)

Prime Requisite of 13 - 15 for 5% expo bonus. 16+ for 10% expo bonus. 6 - 8 10% penalty. 5 or less 20% penalty. So, a bit harder to get + 10% expo.

Strength: 15+ + 1 damage in melee. Full chart for opening door and movement by weight load.

Intelligence: Languages Known chart (applies to Wisdom too - use higher of the two)

Wisdom: Languages Known chart (applies to Intelligence too - use higher of the two)

Dexterity: 15+ for + 1 missile fire. 6- for -1 adjustment.

Constitution: 15+ + 1 HP per hit die. Includes a proper chart with "Survive Shock" %. 13+ will always survive. So, makes more sense than the original.

Charisma - full chart breaking down number of retainers and loyalty bonus based on Charisma score. Mirrors original exactly except for max number of retainers / hirelings (max is 10 in DD, 12 in OD&D)

Swords & Wizardry White Box "Getting Started" -

Puts Con before Dex on the character sheet. Weird. Crapload of optional rules baked in for you to choose from that bring things closer to OD&D (or further, depending on the alternate rules). Why the original method wasn't default and the new methods weren't the alternates? no idea

Prime Requisite: 15+ 5%, Wis 15+ 5%, Cha 15+ 5%. Very different

Strength: No bonuses listed

Intelligence: 1 additional language for each point of Int above 10

Wisdom: No bonuses listed

Constitution: 15+ + 1 to each Hit Die. 6- - 1 to each Hit Die

Dexterity: 15+ + 1 to hit bonus with ranged weapons. 8- -1 penalty.

Charisma: Chart maxes out with even lower Max # of Hirelings (7) and a lower max Loyalty Bonus (+ 2 instad of + 4)

Charisma slipped to the next page


  1. "In addition the charisma score is usable to decide such things as whether or not a witch capturing a player will turn him into a swine or keep him enchanted as a lover."

    The clones read like instruction manuals. Read the original, and you know why it conquered the world.

  2. "will withstand adversity" should be resurrected as an OSR meme.