The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

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The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby The Wanderer » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Interesting post by Merias at his blog: https://smolderingwizard.com/2016/08/29/thoughts-on-the-relative-success-of-basic-fantasy-rpg-labyrinth-lord-and-swords-wizardry/ There is good insight and commentary here on what Wayne Rossi said about the success of Basic Fantasy RPG.

My question: what can we do as fans of Swords & Wizardry to help boost the success of the game? If anything?
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby merias » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:55 pm

It's difficult. You in particular have done about as much as one can legally do, given that the original, editable source files (meaning those with layout, art and tables intact) for the various S&W releases are not available, just the unformatted text. And still you can't legally claim your improved version is 'Swords & Wizardry White Box'. There is no central place to develop and distribute updates to existing versions. There is no central search-engine indexed discussion forum (I hope this serves that purpose at some point, but for now the old forums still get bumped to the top of google searches, and all that great discussion on G+ is just lost). So we end up with a mishmash of distribution points and discussion venues. None of that is an issue with BFRPG. So people are finding it a path of least-resistance to playing old-school D&D. No sour grapes - I'll continue to play and promote S&W since I prefer it to BFRPG, and (like most of us here) am already heavily invested in S&W. But it's an interesting commentary on the open development model.

What I would love to see, perhaps bundled with your update to WB - is a new quickstart. The old quickstart was based on the first iteration of the core rules - the adventure is of course always usable, but the rules are dated now compared to the latest releases. Just a quick dungeon crawl with pregens and tips for players and referees. Maybe even in the style of B1 - a "stock it yourself" type of thing.
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby The Wanderer » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:49 pm

merias wrote:What I would love to see, perhaps bundled with your update to WB - is a new quickstart. The old quickstart was based on the first iteration of the core rules - the adventure is of course always usable, but the rules are dated now compared to the latest releases. Just a quick dungeon crawl with pregens and tips for players and referees. Maybe even in the style of B1 - a "stock it yourself" type of thing.


Hmm, I completely forgot about this. It may not actually be necessary. Tenkar is creating a new Swords & Wizardry Light which will have the rules in 4 pages and there will be adventures released to go with it. So I imagine that kind of becomes a "quick start".
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby The Wanderer » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:55 pm

merias wrote:There is no central place to develop and distribute updates to existing versions. There is no central search-engine indexed discussion forum (I hope this serves that purpose at some point, but for now the old forums still get bumped to the top of google searches,


And it looks like swordsandwizardry.com site is down now... I hope that's not permanent.
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby merias » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:48 pm

The Wanderer wrote:Hmm, I completely forgot about this. It may not actually be necessary. Tenkar is creating a new Swords & Wizardry Light which will have the rules in 4 pages and there will be adventures released to go with it. So I imagine that kind of becomes a "quick start".


I looked at that - he states it is aimed at lapsed gamers, so assuming some sort of gaming familiarity already. I think four pages is a bit light for a quickstart aimed at new gamers or those only with experience running newer RPGs. I'm thinking more of an inclusive middle ground, like 15 pages that present the adventure and offer just the needed rules and pregens to run it (I just checked, the old quickstart is 19 pages of content).
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby The Wanderer » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:51 pm

Yeah, I just read the old quickstart last night and you're right it is aimed at new players vs. lapsed players for S&W Light. I never read it before, probably due to the name "quick start".

So maybe this is something we could work on. If I get involved with it though, I would aim it towards White Box. The old one was for Core. Should we update the old one? Or write up a new one?
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby merias » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:10 pm

Yes, I lean towards White Box, especially if this is aimed at new players (I think WB did not exist when the original quickstart came out). We could use the OGL text and adventure from the old quickstart as a base - with new art - or come up with a new one entirely using a Dyson or Paratime map or maps.
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby geordie racer » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:24 pm

I tried out the Quick start with my kids upon it's release. I like its tone. One thing I'd recommend changing is those long lists of equipment and weapons - such a timesink. Maybe have 'packs' instead to choose from or roll for ?
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby The Wanderer » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:17 pm

Equipment packs is a good idea Geordie.

I really like what Michael Shorten did so maybe let's try to update his version to White Box. I have lot's of art that I purchased that we could use for it. Although, I think keeping the page count down is a good idea, so using minimal art might be the way to go. I think updating the first section would be doable and then possibly create a new dungeon. Using a Dyson map is a good idea Merias and then use the stocking tables from the book to fill out the dungeon?
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Re: The Success of Basic Fantasy and S&W

Postby Mach Front » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:13 am

Perhaps my memory is incorrect, but I'm pretty sure that at least the first edition of S&W:WB was available when the S&W quick start was released. Actually, I long wondered why this wasn't continually pushed/championed. I can only imagine that when chogwiz (or whatever that fellow's name is) soon after abandoned blogging and online activity the official Quick Start sorta suffered along with his (unfortunate) absence.

I'm less sure about Tenkar's (albeit noble) S&W:L. Aimed at lapse gamers. Hm. Can't a lapsed gamer 'suffer' through the ease of S&W:WB, S&W Core or even Wanderers' WB?
Seems odd. Many of us now held within the loving arms of the OSR were lapsed gamers of varying degrees/circumstances. I highly doubt any of us (since I've seen it repeatedly since at least around about '07-ish) could/would "come back" and then look at something like, say, S&W Core and just shake their/own heads and say: "Nah. Nevermind. That's too much/too hard." ....and I say this as someone who loves B/X and all of it's 128-ish pages and would never start a totally new game today wherein I had to read and learn as much or even half that. But, coming back to such wherein much or all of it was at least once familiar, even the laziest part of me could handle it or something slightly less complicated/complex/verbose. So, as such I fail to see how WB or Core does not already fill this niche.
I dig the idea of S&W:L in general, but only because I love games like RISUS or Strange Magic or Searchers of the Unknown and not because I need my hand held to get back to something I once knew intimately. I was once big into MERP when I was about 13, soon after getting totally into gaming.
If you wanted me to get back into MERP, just re-release an easier and more straightforward MERP. I wouldn't need a five page super-ultra-light iteration of MERP, ya know?

I suppose I'm more suspect of the niche even existing and actually needing a nigh-kiddie iteration of rules for a game that is already easy and straightforward. *shrug*
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