So things have been quiet here at the Toolbox; a part of that is because I’m doing a lot of prep work for a thorough investigation of Pathfinder feats, but an even bigger part is boring “personal life” stuff, like a big move for work that I’m in the middle of. Anyways, hopefully I’ll have interesting things to talk about here soon, but my “hobby time” has been pretty scarce lately.
But that’s for another time. Today is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day!
So, Swords & Wizardry is one of many game systems that are indicative of the “Old School Renaissance movement in tabletop RPG gaming. The idea is that RPGs these days aren’t like they were “back in the old days,” and that we’ve lost something in modern games that we had back then. I generally agree with the notion, with the caveat that I don’t think modern games are bad, just different, and there’s value in reviving this older style of play. S&W itself claims to be a “restated” version of the “Original Game” written by Gygax and Arneson in 1974.
In a lot of ways, I feel like Swords & Wizardry matches up a lot better with my assumptions about characters and the world than modern interpretations of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons – not because those games don’t match my expectations, but because they are more-general systems that allow for a wider range of experiences, and Sword & Wizardry intentionally restricts itself to the grittier core of fantasy RPGing.
So, let’s look at some of what S&W does and how it does it, and I’ll throw my thoughts in as well.