Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Mongrelized is the Ruleset You Run?

I run a Swords & Wizardry Complete game - actually, I run two campaigns of S&W. It isn't pure S&W though...

In addition to a ton of houserules of my own, I use some charts from ACKS, magic items from AD&D and adventures written for the DCC RPG (as well as a "Luck" variant inspired by the DCC RPG).

Is it any wonder that mongrelmen are one of my favorite "old school" monsters? :)

So, do you run your games "by the book" or do you use a houserules and rules sourced from other RPGs?


  1. B/X with about a 2 page Houserule document.

  2. I'm working on a game now for my group when we finish Slumber Tsar. It's going to be Castles & Crusades, with stuff pulled from just about every where. I'm looking at things from DCC RPG, ACKS, AD&D 1e, 3.5 Unearthed Arcana, and Swords and Wizardry.

  3. My Cossacks & Tartars utilize bits from:

    - Backswords & Bucklers
    - Swords & Wizardry Core Rules
    - Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules
    - Crypts & Things
    - Realms of Crawling Chaos
    - Call of Cthulhu 6th ed.
    - Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 ed.
    - Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Ed.
    - Labirynth Lord Revisited

    and of course ton of my house rules

  4. I run a Labyrinth Lord game using the Advance Edition Companion ruleset to bring it more in line with 1st ed AD&D as opposed to B/X. But I use the ascending AC ruleset from S&W as well as a mixed bag of rules culled from B/X, 1st edition, and S&W as well as mine own from 30+ years of gaming.

  5. Erik, what tables or charts do you use from ACKS?

    1. I was about to ask the same question.

    2. Death and Dismemberment, for one.

    3. Oh, and not a chart, but as I recall he uses the ACKS cleave rules, too. Not that they come up much lately. Just how many Hit Dice did those monsters have last week? I'm glad Joe was rolling well for once.

  6. I have a group (of two players) running around in ASE using ACKS with some Mazes & Mutants (from Mutant Future) rules hacked into a "Feral Mutant" ACKSified class.

    I have a game with my wife running with ACKS nearly "straight".

    In both cases I am trying to get a grasp on using Courtney Campbells "On the Non Player Character" rules for reactions and non-combat encounters.

    In both games (1-2 PC's) I am also using most of the combat/damage/defy death rules from "Scarlet Heroes"

    1. Interesting that you describe your use/attempted use of the Campbell book that way. All the reviews I read before I bought the supplement were glowing, and I did think it was a pretty stimulating read, but I've also been wondering if anybody actually uses those rules.

    2. I like it, and it is a stimulating read.

      My phrasing is meant only to convey that although I am trying to learn how to use it in play, it has not been a seamless transition. Deconstructing his intentions from the density of the writing is the first hurdle, which I think I am mostly past. Now the challenge has been integrating the social actions into the reaction roll play without it feeling stilted. I think I'm getting the hang of it.

      I haven't really touched the "social combat" or the deeper NPC relationship mechanisms (beyond the basic penalties for being a total stranger!) Just the post-reaction roll actions.

  7. Death / Maiming / Recovering the Body charts.

    Also use the ACKS Cleave rule

    1. My absolute favorite parts! I intend to include some variation of the Mortal Wounds chart in everything I do.

    2. Thanks! These were the same rules I would use from ACKS. Though I think I would make cleaning a fighter-only thing instead of how ACKS does it.

  8. Part of oldschool is hacking the classics - bx 1980 fely unfinished - an invitation. My game based on BX + simplified NWPs, no xp, modified classes, sorcerers and beastmen and other weirdness - i have used for sf now too with robots and aliens - i use BRP when i want crunchy and deadly and DnD for faster more abstract fun - i play modded marvel superheroes with own setting and a charisma stat FASECRIP - my current version of brp is mix of cthulhu-rq3-brp and ringworld - i buy lots of setting books for ideas and dont really consider running them but steal for my own games

  9. It changes every 6 months or so, but none of it is 100% pure this system or that. Usually a combo of 2 or 3 plus my own house rules... but even those change from year to year.

  10. Like everyone else I use all the branches from the learning tree. OD&D, Holmes, Moldvay, AD&D 1st edition, S&W, etc.etc.plus my own creations.
    I've also enjoyed the newer Scarlet Heroes since 99.9% of my adventuring is just me and my daughter. It is a great "rule set" to use for just two people or possibly three.
    The new Kickstarter book, Deep Magic is for Pathfinder but I got a copy to use for my own little world of gaming since I have no interest in Pathfinder.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I've been running a bastardized mix of AD&D and Castles & Crusades for a while now. Because I'm insane, I need to have all of my rules in one books... so I've made my own PHB and DMG: http://www.adnd3egame.com/cnc.htm

  13. Base: Hackmaster 5e
    * modified version of Encumbrance based on Torchbearer
    * ignore most combat tactical fiddly rules in favor cinematic action
    * treasure tables from all over the place
    * gaining EP is more like 0E
    * magic spells are custom and with some Vancian flair
    * some of the critical hits from WHFRG 1e
    * a form of sanity based kind of on CoC
    * some weird setting stuff from Kult
    * monsters from everywhere (the creepier the better)
    * some Quirks and Flaws from HM4e + house rules
    * reputations from Ars Magica
    * at one point i tried to use Palladium alignments (scrapped that)
    ...and probably a ton more that i can't een think of right now

  14. What I love about S & W is the ease of rule integration. For myself, that is what OSR is about - the homebrewing!

  15. My regular group would likely drop dead on the spot were I to announce that I was going to run a game 'by the book' :D

  16. Basic Fantasy standard rules, and some of my own house rules.

  17. I run S&W pretty close to by-the-book.

    * I use the popular"2d6 vs. Morale Number" type morale rules.
    * I allow wizards to scribe scrolls at any level (100gp/level, 1 day per scroll)
    * I allow wizards to spend gold to re-roll failed "understand spells" checks, representing further research into the spell.
    * Natural 20 is an automatic hit with max damage. If the target dies, they get an even more elaborate narration about their gory death. :)

  18. So many house rules, I wrote my own rule book. But it's not for sale.

  19. I'm not running or playing any campaigns at the moment, but when I was younger our 3.0 game used material from 1E, 2E and BECMI, along with variant rules from Dragon and the Internet (mostly AD&D stuff about drinking and sex, 'cause we were teenage boys). The game I'm (supposed to be) working on will contain material from OD&D through 3.0, though weighted more towards the earlier stuff (pre-Greyhawk Hit Dice, baby!)

  20. The group here would howl and whine if I suggested using anything more than one source. They need a single book/web page/PDF/whatever to go to for every answer. This has slowly morphed over the years from AD&D to 3.x to Pathfinder. House rules are OK as long as there "aren't too many of them," and they deal with things not covered by the core rules. Fortunately, the same constraints are not on the setting, which can be pretty much anything.

  21. Perhaps the next question is: Does anybody use the rules only as written? With a tabletop RPG's is that even possible, or is house-ruling the unwritten rule of the game?


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition