Saturday, October 29, 2016

Words of Wisdom from Matt Finch re: Swords & Wizardry

I've been doing lots of Swords & Wizardry related reading today, making notes on anything that may need conversion to Swords & Wizardry Light. There are lots of quotable pieces amongst the three adventures I've read today, but the first one I'm quoting from is Grimmsgate by +Matt Finch , as can be seen above.

There are no formulas for creating the magic of a successful and entertaining RPG adventure, but sticking to the rules as written will certainly hamper any such attempts.

Creativity is the key.

This is one of the reasons I'm such a huge fan of Swords & Wizardry. Unique magic items crop up in adventures. Original monsters. All adding to the tapestry that is Swords & Wizardry. Swords & Wizardry is ever a living system, and I hope with Light, my coconspirators and myself can keep that tradition going strong.


  1. Well, I pretty much buy whatever Matt writes or has written.

  2. Yeah, pretty much here too - if Matt, Bill, Greg, Skeeter, and now Zach (time to pick up Death & Taxes and Whisper & Venom), or any other Frog puts it out, you know it will follow this same mantra.

    Funny enough, there are several big thread on ENWorld going on about using 3PP or homebrew stuff in 5E games. It seems like a lot of the newer gamers are adamant it have a stamp of approval on it from WotC before it can be used. I say nuts to that. If it works for your game, go for it. And balance is bullshit.

    1. Wow what a list to have my name be a part of, thanks :)

  3. @Patrick I'm not sure it's a new thing that players are asking whether you can use this or that 3rd party or house rule ... if you read Dragon Magazine Q&A from the 80s there are a lot of questions just like that.
    Maybe the players that started in the 70s had less reverence for RAW but later players sure have had questions. :)
    With that being said, I feel that it's mostly the domain of the younger more inexperienced players and DM's ... the more mileage, the more experience with making things up on the fly, the less reverence for Rules that hinder the game I think...
    When it comes to balance my opinion is that it's important but not overwhelmingly so (that's what turned me off 4th ed), if all classes has a chance to shine when the opportunity arises that's all I think is needed.

    5th Ed is streamlined and quite easy to hack, which I enjoy ... 3/3.5/PF & 4th ... not so much

  4. @Jan - It definitely isn't a new thing. I was more amused at the timing of what Erik posted and the ludicrous conversation on ENWorld. The threads over there definitely reinforce what you are saying - the younger players are the ones that have shown the most hostility towards 3PP and homebrew material.

    And I agree on 5E also.

  5. Here is my position. The DM/GM can use any material necessary to make the adventure interesting which is Matt's position articulated in the sidebar above. The headache with 3PP material is on the player side. I am not interested having a player wanting a vampiric pixie with energy draining dust. I think the younger players are satisfied with standard options while some older players have gotten bored with these options.

    I also agree that the above sidebar is just as applicable to 5e as S&W that wasn't really true for 3e & 4e.

  6. All fair points, Shadow Demon. My players are less interested in having options like you mention (vampiric pixie) and more interested in being able to apply a certain archetype they have an idea for to their character. For instance, in my 5E game, one player wanted to play an Inquisitor similar to the class in Pathfinder, so we compromised and instead of having to create the class, found a few options of archetypes for paladins or clerics that would fit the bill and that was very reasonable. Those are the kinds of things that the other thread on the other sight were focused on and there was an uproar against anything that wasn't WotC official.

    If a player tries to pull in something ludicrous and that doesn't fit with the story and game, we'll talk about it and see if there are other options that already exist within the guidelines offered by official content or by 5E outfits I trust, like Kobold Press, Legendary, etc. The power creep that rose out of 3.x/4E and the options for a half-dragon, quarter-pixie, quarter-garter snake fighter with 27 prestige classes is ridiculous and is not the kind of addition I want at my table. This is the biggest reason I like 5E - it flatted out the exponential creep a lot. I like S&W even more because it relies on the creativity of my players to be much more descriptive about their characters instead of saying they have all these feats, these traits, and can quad attack for 987 damage using this, this, and this.

    The exaggeration in some of my examples was intentional to help reinforce the point you were making, Shadow Demon. I agree with both you and Jan. I think those that have gotten bored with standard options need to find a way to be inspired by them again and that is where me, as their referee and primary world builder, can definitely help.

    Hope all that makes sense.

  7. I think, that as Old School players we are in agreement;-)

  8. *Reads blog post*

    Yes. That is the spirit.

  9. I think this is a fabulous approach to the hobby.


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