Sunday, March 17, 2013

Looking At Saving Throw as Task Resolution in Swords & Wizardry (Via Crypts & Things)

As I spend time thinking about skills, especially Thief skills and Ranger skills in Swords & Wizardry, I find myself going in circles. I'm going in circles because I continually return to the dead ass simple solution to such that was presented in Crypts & Things (page 25), a Swords and Sorcery RPG derived from the Swords & Wizardry rules.

Here's a greatly edited down version version:

When attempting a particular task, the player rolls 1d20, applies any relevant attribute modifiers (e.g. a bonus of +1 to +3, a penalty of -1 to -3, or no modifier, depending on the attribute score), and any additional modifiers that the Crypt Keeper judges appropriate.

If the modified roll equals or exceeds the character’s saving throw number, the task is successful.
An unmodified roll of a 20 always indicates success, and an unmodified roll of a 1 always indicates failure.

(edit: classes get bonuses for relevant skills, so a thief would get + 3 on the Saving Rolls associated with traditional thief skills, rangers would get a bonus to tracking, etc)

Now, remember, Swords & Wizardry uses a single Saving Throw for the classes. This used to irk me. Now I'm beginning to like it for sheer simplicity. Using the saving throw for skill and task resolution? That's one of those "smack yourself in the head for not thinking it up yourself" moments.

Is it perfect? No, I'm sure it can be "gamed" by the right, or wrong, players.

But for what is going to be my perpetually short handed group of adventurers, this is exactly what the Referee ordered. I've got some tweaking to work on with this, such as the first time a Natural 20 is rolled in a certain circumstance (picking a lock, finding tracks or swimming a turbulent river and the like) I'm going to give the PC a + 1 to that particular circumstance as a permanent bonus. Well, at least that's the current plan. Who knows where I'll be at the end of the month ;)


  1. I'm all in favor of using saving throws as skills, but I think using Blood & Treasure's 3 saves makes more sense than one save. A thief and fighter should not have the same saves, any more than they have the same hit dice or attack bonus.

  2. I'd rather they all have the same Save and the classes each get bonuses versus various things (thieves to dodge, dwarves vs poison, MUs vs magic, etc). As it stands, if you use S&W saves as a skill checks then Paladins will be better at skills than thieves. Most of the saves for the normal classes are pretty much the same anyway.

    1. in C&T, thieves get +3 to the "saves" associated with their thieving abilities, and the play +2 wouldnt carry over for "skill / task" checks.

      That being said, as I reread C&T, the more I'm leaning towards running C&T instead of a houseruled S&W...

    2. But, look, right there under your nose, it's Barbarians of Lemuria...

      Ooh! Over there! That shiny copy of Jaws of the Six Serpents!

      Or, um, DCC!

    3. @SAROE - got all the above and then some. My players specifically asked for "D&D". DCC RPG is awesome, but I'm not putting that rulebook in front of 15+ year lapsed players and expecting them to play it.

      That being said, I'm thinking of converting some DCC RPG adventures to C&T if it's the route we go.