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Discuss Swords & Wizardry White Box - Rules questions, commentary, house rules
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First time DM for White Box

Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:08 pm

Hello all!

I am a long time DM and player who starting to really think he wants to run a game using S&W white box and do love the fact that it so simple. (Background is I normally play labyrinth lord most of the time) and have a few questions.... If I speak of heresy please let me know.

My basic idea was to take S&W white box (3rd printing) and weave in the B/X classes (So I have a thief, and clarity on Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings.) And a few minor stuff well in the normal house ruling. Has anyone tries this and is there any huge issues?

Is there any other general hints about running a white box game?

Re: First time DM for White Box

Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:59 pm

Welcome Distorted Humor! White Box (WB) is great fun, I've played or run it quite a bit. The key with WB is to realize it is a game framework, lots of specifics are left out for you to fill in. It relies on referee rulings, not rules. A lot of time the rulings will be on-the-fly, so it plays very fast. You may also be interested in 'White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game', which is based on v3 of the WB rules with a few added bits to make it more complete and to fix errata. There are lots of discussions on that game as it developed here.

If you want more of a B/X feel to the game, I recently came up with race-as-class tables: https://smolderingwizard.com/2017/07/03 ... white-box/. You mention a thief which you can steal straight from B/X, the Greyhawk OD&D supplement, the White Box Omnibus or Delving Deeper, or create your own. Personally I prefer the simplified d6-based thief skill checks from the Omnibus and Delving Deeper, I think they are more in line with how WB plays than the standard percentage skill checks. Let us know how it goes and feel free to ask any questions as you go.

Re: First time DM for White Box

Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:23 pm

I agree with almost everything Merias says. Most importantly, that White Box is a framework, a skeleton to be fleshed out as you will. I can't see any problem with adding race-classes. (I have a lot of love for B/X D&D.) As for thieves, I have a White Box campaign setting with thieves but no clerics. I agree that percentile abilities should be discarded. They can be replaced with a d6 system, as Merias suggests, or you can put S&W's single saving throw category to good use and get thieves to make saving throws to succeed at tasks. Both easy-peasy to implement and the chances of success are about the same, although the latter method has more granularity and the thief improves every level. I've used both methods at different times, and they both work just fine.

White Box is so flexible it's hard to break. It almost begs to be house-ruled and tinkered with, so I'd encourage you to have a go and see what happens. To my mind, the only heresy you could import from Labyrinth Lord would be to give clerics a spell at 1st level. :D

Re: First time DM for White Box

Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:04 pm

One more thing I just thought of. You asked for general tips about running White Box. Don't overlook the fact (and I'm guilty of sometimes forgetting it myself) that bows fire twice per round in S&W. This makes archers (either in the party or among humanoid monsters) potentially pretty deadly, and might lead smart players to adapt their combat tactics accordingly.
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