Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Newfound Appreciation for Swords & Wizardry White Box (from a hardcore S&W Complete Gamer)

My love of all things Swords & Wizardry is pretty well known, but until recently that affection was directed mostly at the Complete version (Core is fine, but if you are going to go Core you might just as well go Complete INHO.)

Now, White Star builds off of S&W White Box in an exceptional manner. I am drawn to S&W Complete because it comes damn close to emulating AD&D 1e as we played it - without all of the fiddly bits but White Star opened my eyes to the idea that even further simplicity opens up way more options. More options for the DM, more options for the players, more options for the campaign. Sometimes less is more.

When I decided I was interested in developing a DragonsStar / Spelljammer inspired setting for Swords & Wizardry, I knew White Star was going to be an integral part of that. So, I went deep into my collection and pulled out my beat up copy of S&W White Box in softcover (leaving the S&W White Box boxed set safely on it's display shelf - that shit aint cheap.) Yep, +James Spahn knew what he was doing when he reached for the White Box edition of S&W.

You can download S&W White Box for free at +Matt Finch 's website - SwordsAndWizardry.com

Not only is it in PDF format but there is also an MS Word Doc version that you can houserule to your heart's content.

If print is your desire, Lulu has Swords & Wizardry White Box in both hardcover and softcover flavors.

Alright, need to get ready for work. Downloaded S&W White Box to my phone for yet another reread tonight.


  1. Replies
    1. I feel like I've been assimilated ;)

    2. http://in-the-cities.com/2013/04/17/swords-wizardry-day/

  2. Have you picked up your copy of White Lies yet? Go now! What are you waiting for?!

    1. I have my PDF. It would work really well with White Star :)

  3. I love WhiteBix but what James and Bill did with their versions is far, far superior. I wish someone would take WB and update it slightly. They took the system, tweaked it and yet managed to keep what makess it WB.

  4. I'd love a post some time that talks about the S&W White Box advantages. I can't even convince my players to try S&WC these days let alone something simpler like White Star. I think they are too accustomed to mechanical complexity in char gen as built-in.

    1. I had a group that was totally "no go" on OSR games for exactly that reason. I told them, "Look, give me three sessions. If you don't like it then we can go back to 3.5."

      The next session we had characters made in fifteen minutes and we were off and running. By the end of a single session they'd saved the village of Larm from goblin raiders and begun cleansing an evil temple. They've been OSR guys ever since.

      My scheme is a bit of a deception though. By three sessions, the players are often already invested in both the events of the campaign and their own characters. But my PLAYERS don't need to know that...

    2. I have a weird group: it's old school guys, who cut their teeth on 1E or 2E AD&D and in fact still pine for those days....except when it comes to actually playing, then I get long speeches about how they are burned out on the old basic choices and really want to play dhampir warforged dragon riders from Pathfinder splatbook XXX. It's frustrating. The other group I have probably would be amenable to trying out some OSR, actually, but about half the players are what I call "trendy" gamers who will disappear the instant I move away from the most current iteration of D&D. I stealth-OSR that group by simply running OSR modules using the 5E ruleset, however....recently finished the 11 level delve from Dyson's Delve, for example, and will soon be using Tranzar's Redoubt followed by some of the Frog God 5E module conversions.

  5. if this is your cup of tea, great! For myself, I just don't get the appeal. It has strange and illogical restrictions such as WHY does a warrior-priest ONLY get to use blunt weapons? Or different classes that are conducting the same quest, facing the same traps/hazards, and (hopefully) defeating the same monsters/opponents they encounter, attain levels at different totals of exp? I realize OSR borrows heavily from historic mythology but even then you had wizards (like Gandolf) using swords, yet this system bars wizards from using anything but Daggers & Darts. Just....weird. Like I said, if this is what you like, go for it, but I sorely appreciate the flexibility and logical outcomes of newer editions of fantasy rules.


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