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Discuss Swords & Wizardry Core - Rules questions, commentary, house rules
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Poor Core?

Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:18 am

My fave flavor of S&W is WhiteBox. But I also dig Core.

Despite official support Core seems to have been lost.
WB was truly the one left languishing, but has of late (thankfully) received a good deal of quality third-party support. Heck, Barrel Rider Games' WB stuff were all top-sellers on RPGNow/Drive-Thru RPG.

WB has a pretty decent fan base.

Complete seems to be the main S&W that is the go-to for those who dig S&W at all.

Even most in the blogosphere who were Core fans have since switched to Complete.

Core, as I stated, has actual official support and has an attractively produced pdf (and soft and hard back Lulu POD books). Something WB does not, despite WB carrying a larger more dedicated fan base than Core.

It's almost as if many think of Core as: "Complete....but missing stuff", which is a shame.

I love S&W as a whole due to it's covering (in it's way) each major flavor of D&D for me.
I love WB because of it being...well..WB. That incredibly simple and low-power-curve baseline of old school original D&D. Even better than OD&D, it doesn't even worry about all the particulars of the game. (some consider this as being 'missing core rules'. As a fan of lite games and T&T in particular, this is cool by me. I suppose I sort of view WB as a D&D-mechanic version of T&T after a fashion. It's a wholly-D&D-compatible...fantasy game resolution engine.

I love the idea of 'AD&D lite'. C&C would seem perfect for this but even it is too rules-heavy for me. Labyrinth Lord + Advanced Edition Companion is where many flock to for this but even that is too much and anyway...like C&C and AD&D1E...those spell descriptions and stuff. Ugh. Heh. ;)
Besides. I want it in one short, concise book (as much as it can be).
Complete does this.
But...C&C has the greatest ranger and bard in all of D&D-dom, IMO.
S&W Complete doesn't have the OD&D bard (weird! ?!?) and the Aragon class instead of a ranger class. No illusionist. Sigh!
Suffice to say, I dig the idea. I'm not a big fan of the execution.

WB is a missed opportunity. Most especially now that we've passed the "OMG this is totally NOT OD&D exactly! Gasp!" and most finally accept that it is it's own thing: A spirit of OD&D play in a simple package.

But, to where I started. What this is really about:
Poor Core.

Left all alone.

What is it?
Well...yeah, we all know it's S&W's 'voice' of the 3LBBs + parts of Greyhawk that were most commonly used. That is to say: kinda Holmes and kinda B/X.

But that's why I love it. I love B/X. I love Holmes. I love what they both should be and could have been.
I wish both would have been slightly simplified and edited in one, hardback volume. I'd love it that they would have either only gone to or at least gone up to level 10.
I'd love an awesome cover.
Core delivers.
It's like Holmes+. B/X is super. It's perfectly edited and pared down to brass tacks. What if it was made even more succinct and concise?
Oh, yeah. S&W Core.
Yes, it's not perfect in that/those regard(s), but gosh is it ever super-close.

Perhaps this is an incredibly narrow portion of D&D desire. Thus it's nowaday second-rate status.
More's the pity.

How often have you wanted "Holmes+" without going all OD&D + Greyhawk or returning to B/X or whatever? I know I've been there. Often.
Thankfully Core does that.
It's just as easy if not easier to expand or change than B/X or OD&D (to me, at least).

Core remains just as vital as WB and even more viable than Complete.

But, just as important is that it's one facet of the jewel of S&W.
Want a super-simple OD&D game? WB. Do I want something like A&D but easy and do-able for...maybe a Ravenloft game without the work? S&W Complete. Something akin to a B/X game but more malleable? Core.
With S&W it's all done.

I guess I just wanted to give a shout out to the S&W that was the first and is now the 'forgotten' one and doesn't deserve to be.

Re: Poor Core?

Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:57 pm

To me, Core is a direct competitor to B/X, and I'm just such a huge B/X fan, I'm not sure when I'd use Core over it.

When I run WB, I do however find myself looking up missing rules in Core all the time.

Agreed about Complete missing the Bard. Weird! I also agree that Complete is a direct competitor to LL+AEC, and so far I've used that over it.

Re: Poor Core?

Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:59 pm

There is a definite time investment in learning the nuances and filling in the gaps in OD&D and to a lesser extent, Holmes. Core really is like a Holmes+ - a well organized and complete one without some of the warts (i.e. the two-attacks per round dagger rule), and so it takes far less time to ingest as a newcomer.

IMO Core is closer to Holmes than it is to B/X, given the race-as-class in B/X and the fact that Core is derived from OD&D plus Greyhawk, just like Holmes. Core even has the option for DEX-based combat. You're right in that I think a lot of people look at Core and Complete, and see two very similar systems, one with more class options, and choose it over Core.

Re: Poor Core?

Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:20 pm

Okay, maybe Core's competition then is BFRPG; both living in the "basic 4 classes, basic 4 races" space, but allowing class+race combinations.

Re: Poor Core?

Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:47 am

merias wrote:IMO Core is closer to Holmes than it is to B/X...

Now I'm going to look at Core more closely. It had been described as a B/X clone to me before, and I've got LL for that.

Re: Poor Core?

Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:28 am

Yeah, I can see the confusion when I compared it to B/X in my OP. It's certainly not just like B/X and if one wanted something very much like B/X I would point them to B/X itself or LL at least and not to S&W Core. However, if they wanted something similar but simpler or specified they didn't want race-as-class, then yes I'd say Core for such.
I was playing sort of fast and loose with regards to feel rather than exact rules when I blurted that out in my OP.

Re: Poor Core?

Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:33 am

ken-do-nim wrote:Okay, maybe Core's competition then is BFRPG; both living in the "basic 4 classes, basic 4 races" space, but allowing class+race combinations.

Yeah, I suppose that's closer.
Though, I've never taken Core to disallow any race/class combos. Short, simple statements such as "dwarves can only be x or y" or some such, so long as integrated mechanics don't get in the way (and none such exist here to do such), these statements are so easily ignored as to be non-existent.
I'd allow any race/class combo in any version of S&W (mainly because it involves no work to do so :D ).

Re: Poor Core?

Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:22 am

When I look at some of the products for Whitebox and Whitestar I wonder if they would not be better suited for Core because most of the classes and extra rules seem to be more defined, more suited to variable damage, and less reliant on rulings.

Re: Poor Core?

Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:21 pm

I have a copy of S&W Complete, printed and mostly read through. I have not yet printed and read the other versions of S&W. Is there a page somewhere that gives a good summary of the differences between each, and between them and OD&D?

Re: Poor Core?

Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:57 pm

outlander78 wrote:I have a copy of S&W Complete, printed and mostly read through. I have not yet printed and read the other versions of S&W. Is there a page somewhere that gives a good summary of the differences between each, and between them and OD&D?

I've seen explanations around, I can't remember where atm, but I'll take a stab at it here.

White Box - Material from the first two OD&D booklets only (Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure), 3 primary classes, stat bonuses limited to +/- 1, d6 hit dice for PCs and monsters, and d6 weapon and monster damage (slight variation with +/- 1 for some weapons)

Core - Adds material from the OD&D Greyhawk supplement, including the thief class, higher stat bonuses, variable class hit dice, variable weapon damage, monster d8 hit dice and attack routines (i.e. claw/claw/bite), also adds lots of material on wilderness and dungeon exploration that WB left out. Options for Holmes (blue basic book)-like combat.

Complete - Adds material from all the OD&D supplements and some Strategic Review material, most notably classes like the Ranger, Assassin, Monk, etc (but the illusionist is left out).
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