Newbie Questions

Discuss Swords & Wizardry Complete - Rules questions, commentary, house rules

Newbie Questions

Postby Crazycooter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:47 pm

I'm relatively new to S&W but have experience with D&D 3.5, Pathfinder. I love the gritiness of this game but some of the adventure modules I've seen make it almost impossible to survive. I was curious if (in general) most DM's playing this game let the players start out with some extra things like potions of cure light wounds or perhaps start adventuring at level 3 instead of 1? This is about giving the players a little better chance of survival. Since I'm new to this type of gameplay I was curious if what I mentioned would be completely out of the spirit of this type of game or does that seem like a perfectly acceptable thing to do? Also, if you are hiring followers/hirelings, they are not allowed to be combatants correct? The way I'm seeing it is that they can be torch bearers or shield bearers but not actually fight. Just wanted to get some clarification on that from more experienced players/dms. Thanks.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby merias » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:30 pm

Welcome, crazycooter!

You are right that old-school modules can be deadly. My suggestion is to try playing in this setting with the rules as written, just to see what happens. I personally like the deadliness and struggle to survive at low levels, it is fun when you embrace it. On the plus side, PC creation is quick :). That said, there are ways to increase survivability for new PCs:

- Start PCs at 3rd level, as you suggest. Gary Gygax in his later years played OD&D this way.
- Give 1st-level PCs max hit points.
- Allow PCs to bind wounds for 1d3 hp after any battle.
- Give 1st-level clerics a bonus spell for 15+ wisdom.
- Allow clerics and M-Us to create scrolls of any spell they can cast, for a cost of 100gp and 1 week per level (this rule is from Holmes basic). This typically allows at least M-Us to start with one scroll, since they aren't spending money on armor.
- Allow one NPC/retainer per character, to be taken over in the event the primary PC dies. These retainers normally get a full share of treasure but only a half-share of XP.
- Allow the hiring of mercenaries/meatshields, 0-level fighters who work for a daily wage and are expected to fight (sometimes morale comes into play with NPC retainers and hirelings, which can be fun).

There is no right or wrong here, it's your game so just try a few things and have fun with it. Apart from the above list, it is useful to encourage tactical thinking. Realize that in S&W, based on OD&D as it is, 1gp = 1xp, and so sometimes it is best to find ways to avoid a fight and steal treasure. Talking with enemies and trying to offer deals or help against common foes is another way to avoid fights. Charisma becomes very important in that scenario. Also, missile weapons are very deadly in S&W, since they fire twice per combat round, so you can encourage players to try and find ways to engage enemies from afar. That's all I can think of for now, I'm sure other members on this board can think of some others.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 873
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Eastern Townships, Québec

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby jcftao » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:56 am

Merias has some excellent points!

Also, you don't have to fight every foe you encounter. If you grind through each room, it will reduce your ranks quickly. Bribe and barter for advantage. Make alliances or find ways to gain advantage by aiding one side in a conflict. If that fails, get a magic-user with sleep and make quick trips into the dungeon! ;)
User avatar
Posts: 1013
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:52 am

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Crazycooter » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:29 pm

Thanks so much for the replies. This should give me some solid options for moving forward. I appreciate the advice.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:22 pm

Return to Complete Rules

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests