OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

From Men & Magic to Unearthed Arcana; OD&D & Holmes.
The Book-House: Find OD&D products.

Moderators: Idabrius, Blacky the Blackball

Post Reply
User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:25 am

I recently read this post by Tim Kask, and it make me curious about OD&D. How close is Swords & Wizardry to OD&D? Now that the OD&D PDFs are available, would you recommend using that, or the White Box S&W? It's my understanding that S&W has reorganized the content. Is that a fair statement?
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

DizzySaxophone
Goblin
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:49 pm
Gender: male

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by DizzySaxophone » Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:01 pm

S&W is pretty close, but does make some changes, and leaves out quite a bit of content.

Are you interested in playing with just the lbb's, or +Greyhawk? Or +All supplements?
I think Delving Deeper or Full Metal Plate Mail is closest to the lbbs. Iron Falcon is pretty good for adding Greyhawk, and S&W Complete is good for everything.

That being said, S&W Whitebox is my goto system for a pickup game.

User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:50 pm

DizzySaxophone wrote:Are you interested in playing with just the lbb's, or +Greyhawk? Or +All supplements?
I think Delving Deeper or Full Metal Plate Mail is closest to the lbbs. Iron Falcon is pretty good for adding Greyhawk, and S&W Complete is good for everything.

That being said, S&W Whitebox is my goto system for a pickup game.
That's helpful to know; thank you. How does S&W Whitebox differ from, say, Delving Deeper? I've always been curious about how OSR games compare and contrast to the editions they seek to emulate and each other, but I've had difficulty finding this information, especially in a single spot. I'd love a table on a web page that I can refer to, sort of like the tables that software companies use to compare different versions of a product. If you happen to be aware of such a thing, let me know. :)

In regards to your question, I honestly don't know enough about OD&D to provide a very good answer. I suspect one of my players would like to play a thief, so Greyhawk is most likely in. I'm less sure about the remaining supplements. They're not available on DMs Guild yet, so I haven't been able to do more than read a high level description of them.

Why do you go to S& Whitebox as opposed to other systems?
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

User avatar
finarvyn
Hobgoblin
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:23 pm
Gender: male
Location: Chicago = Greyhawk
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by finarvyn » Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:22 pm

S&W was one of the first "clones" out there, and when I did my WhiteBox rules I was really uncertain as to what kind of legal ground we were treading upon so I changed some things that probably didn't need to be changed. For example, my original manuscript made Light and Continual Light into "Light I" and "Light II", that kind of thing. As we got a better handle on what could be in a clone and what couldn't, most of those things reverted back to be more like the original.

What I like best about the WB rules is the "toolbox" mentality where I give you options and ideas on how to play and each DM makes a final decision about how it will be played in his or her campaign. I can't recall seeing that style in RPGs before I did it and now I see others using the same philosophy. Most of the comments I get about the WB rules revolve around this approach as folks either love it or hate it. ;)
Finarvyn
Earl of Stone Creek, C&C Society
OD&D Player Since 1975
Original D&D Discussion
I'm partly responsible for the S&W White Box

JMiskimen
Goblin
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:15 pm
Gender: male

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by JMiskimen » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:08 pm

I run an OD&D game, but I have been sorely tempted to use S&W as a rules base ... but my players are happy with our current system, so We'll probably continue using it ... but man, there's something about S&W that really appeals to me ...

I'd probably mod the hell out of the rules to get what I want ...LOL. a sort of mish-mash between Complete & Core, using Whitebox as a base ...

:ugeek:

User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:00 am

finarvyn wrote:S&W was one of the first "clones" out there, and when I did my WhiteBox rules I was really uncertain as to what kind of legal ground we were treading upon so I changed some things that probably didn't need to be changed. For example, my original manuscript made Light and Continual Light into "Light I" and "Light II", that kind of thing. As we got a better handle on what could be in a clone and what couldn't, most of those things reverted back to be more like the original.
That's helpful to know. Thanks!
finarvyn wrote:What I like best about the WB rules is the "toolbox" mentality where I give you options and ideas on how to play and each DM makes a final decision about how it will be played in his or her campaign. I can't recall seeing that style in RPGs before I did it and now I see others using the same philosophy.
That sounds great. I love systems that encourage GMs to customize the game to their liking. 13th Age very explicitly supports this. D&D 5e does a good job of it. Having read the article that I linked to at the top of this thread, it sounds like OD&D did, too. I'm glad the WB rules captured this aspect of OD&D play.
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:04 am

JMiskimen wrote:I run an OD&D game, but I have been sorely tempted to use S&W as a rules base ... but my players are happy with our current system, so We'll probably continue using it ... but man, there's something about S&W that really appeals to me ...
If OD&D takes a modular approach, would you be able to incorporate the rules you like from S&W and simply drop them into your OD&D game? Is the issue that your players wouldn't react well to new house rules? Would it help if they were implemented between adventure arcs, rather than in the middle of an adventure, perhaps?
JMiskimen wrote:I'd probably mod the hell out of the rules to get what I want ...LOL. a sort of mish-mash between Complete & Core, using Whitebox as a base ...
Maybe you could help me understand what the differences are between OD&D (or OD&D as you and your players play it) and S&W Complete, Core, and Whitebox. I understand at a high level which products S&W Complete, Core, and WB seek to emulate (if that's a fair word to use), but how would you envision a mashup?
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

JMiskimen
Goblin
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:15 pm
Gender: male

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by JMiskimen » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:07 am

Just modularly drop SW rules into D&D? Sure, I suppose I could do that, but when I was finished it'd look like SW anyway. My players probably wouldn't care too much about what system we use, but making the switch in-between adventures would make it easier to digest.

As for explaining what a mash up of the various editions of SW would look like, Simplified Combat Matrix (BTB), Streamlined layout, More Character Classes to choose from, Multi/Dual classed characters with a few Racial Classes, Single Saving Throw (to me, emulating more luck than skill, but ymmv on that ...), Not necessarily rules light, but simplified, better edited rules which are easier for new players to digest; oh and there's the WB thief, whose skill mechanics I adore - just to name a few.

Don't get me wrong, I love my D&D ... I just think SW might be better suited to my game needs ... :ugeek:

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 22960
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:22 am

finarvyn wrote:Most of the comments I get about the WB rules revolve around this approach as folks either love it or hate it. ;)
Sounds to me that the feedback you have there, means that you have the same approach.

One of the great things about D&D, D&D clones, D&D spinnoffs and other connected products is that we all have a choice. We can all find a mechanic that works for us and use that system in a group that contains other players who like playing with that system.

The really stupid thing about the old "Edition Wars" days is that no system needs to be proclaimed "the best" and all that nonsense just got in the way of people having respectful conversations with other gamers and having someone suggest that they try a different D&D or D&D-like product that might work better for them.

I think there is "brand-confusion" problem, with D&D (and the D&D family). A lot of people don't know what is what. And the Edition War numpties, who tell everyone they should use the "one true form of D&D" (whatever that is to them) get in the way of dispelling that brand-confusion, because they point people at products that are not necessarily the right ones for them.

I'm very happy to see this topic here, because maybe someone considering using Swords & Wizardry might surf past this topic, work out what the pros and cons of S&W vs OD&D and other retro-clones of OD&D are. If this topic can help some people make an informed decision then perhaps it could help improve somebody's purchasing decision, stop people who would "hate" S&W from buying it and make sure that people who might "love" S&W know that it might be perfect for them.

I started with 2e AD&D, and then moved to 3e D&D, and I've always loved the fact that there is an SRD, that people can look at, even if they don't own D&D. (Paizo made a more extensive version of the SRD - the PRD.) 4e and 5e had SRDs, but they have less information in them than the 3e SRD - not more. I would really love to see retro-SRDs that put the core mechanics of each TSR-edition of D&D online, so that people can use those online documents to learn about those older systems. Tim Kask said in his blog article, that some people didn't understand the OD&D books (but loved it anyway). If there was a hyperlinked alternative (similar to the Hypertext d20 SRD website) that might be a really useful resource for non-OD&D players to point potential OD&D-style fans at.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 22960
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:59 am

Tim Baker wrote:
finarvyn wrote:What I like best about the WB rules is the "toolbox" mentality where I give you options and ideas on how to play and each DM makes a final decision about how it will be played in his or her campaign. I can't recall seeing that style in RPGs before I did it and now I see others using the same philosophy.
That sounds great. I love systems that encourage GMs to customize the game to their liking. 13th Age very explicitly supports this. D&D 5e does a good job of it. Having read the article that I linked to at the top of this thread, it sounds like OD&D did, too. I'm glad the WB rules captured this aspect of OD&D play.
Funnily enough, this is one of the reasons why I am much much more into campaign settings than D&D rules systems.

The best campaign settings bring along their own unique house rules, that change D&D from a generic roleplaying experience...into a chance to visit a bespoke fantasy world. For me, that takes the focus off of the mathematics (or as Tim Kask was talking about, the charts and things) or it at least makes the charts and skills and other add-ons into something that has a meaningful context in the rules.

Dragonlance has three moons that make magic more and less powerful at different times. Forgotten Realms has a "Weave" and a "Shadow Weave". Planescape is based in the lands of the afterlife and makes for a totally different game.

Spelljammer (which is my favourite campaign setting) has open-decked ships that fly through fantasy space. And that gives you the potential to have different house-rules for every individual crystal sphere. I've even heard of a few people who rules for different editions of D&D in different crystal spheres.

I've been interested to learn that some SJ fans use OD&D, and would love to sit around a game sometime, just to see how the two work together, but I've also been pleasantly surprised to see people talking about the various OD&D campaign settings here. (That topic made me very very happy.)
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 22960
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:04 am

JMiskimen wrote:As for explaining what a mash up of the various editions of SW would look like, Simplified Combat Matrix (BTB), Streamlined layout, More Character Classes to choose from, Multi/Dual classed characters with a few Racial Classes, Single Saving Throw (to me, emulating more luck than skill, but ymmv on that ...), Not necessarily rules light, but simplified, better edited rules which are easier for new players to digest; oh and there's the WB thief, whose skill mechanics I adore - just to name a few.
"Various editions of SW"? How many editions of Swords & Wizardry has there been?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.

JMiskimen
Goblin
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:15 pm
Gender: male

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by JMiskimen » Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:53 pm

Whitebox, Core, and Complete ... about three printings each.

User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:22 am

Big Mac wrote:I'm very happy to see this topic here, because maybe someone considering using Swords & Wizardry might surf past this topic, work out what the pros and cons of S&W vs OD&D and other retro-clones of OD&D are. If this topic can help some people make an informed decision then perhaps it could help improve somebody's purchasing decision, stop people who would "hate" S&W from buying it and make sure that people who might "love" S&W know that it might be perfect for them.
Agreed! Some day, I hope to come across a D&D/OSR feature table, similar to the way features are compared side-by-side for different software versions. Increasing AC, unified saving throws, race as class, variable weapon damage, etc. could be listed as options with brief statements or even a simple yes/no for each game. I think that would help tailor the game to the group. It wouldn't help brand new RPG players, but for those who are familiar with F20 games, it could serve as a great guide.
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: OD&D vs Swords & Wizardry

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:28 am

Big Mac wrote:Spelljammer (which is my favourite campaign setting) has open-decked ships that fly through fantasy space. And that gives you the potential to have different house-rules for every individual crystal sphere. I've even heard of a few people who rules for different editions of D&D in different crystal spheres.
This is an awesome idea. I can't think of a better way to mechanically represent different crystal spheres having different "laws of nature." Seems like it might get a bit confusing, and reference guides would come in quite handy, but for groups that are up to the challenge, I bet it would be a blast.

While this isn't tied to Spelljammer, Jim Walls' Quattro con Carnage details a similar adventure that moved from system to system, and might provide insight into how to make such a game a success.
Image My Google+ RPG-related posts. | Image Escalation! fanzine for 13th Age.

Post Reply

Return to “Original D&D”