Category Archives: WhiteBox

Heists For Fantasy Thieves

Wherein your humble scribe, drawing on the “All The Dice” random generator concept (tip of the hat to Grim), presents a random table for your nerdly needs.

My latest obsession/idea is an old school urban crime mini-campaign, something along the lines of the old Gamelords Thieves’ Guild RPG.

My first thought was to use Labyrinth Lord/AEC and break down the thieving skills a bit to turn that subsystem into something that players could customize to reflect their own individual thief’s specialties (sort like AD&D 2e did – but I don’t have those books handy to steal from reference). But when I started doing the math I quickly realized I’d be better off using a different system (one that was already skill-based).

So in rode BRP and the fabulous Classic Fantasy monograph (to be used if I feel the need to retain a degree of D&D style). If I ever make this get off the ground (and given my current levels of gamer ADD and the general scheduling issues with the folks I play with, that’s a dubious proposition) I’m going to need an idea generator for some thiefly adventures & heists. Hence, the tables below. Please feel free to make use of these in any way you see fit. Sharing makes the world go ’round!

Let’s Roll

Grab yourself a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20 and roll ’em. Check against the charts below and let your creativity fill things out as needed.

Location of item(s) to be liberated, 1d4

  1. Temple or other religious/ceremonial building
  2. Private residence (1d4: 1 lower class, 2 middle class, 3 upper class, 4 nobility)
  3. Mercantile building (guildhall, apothecary, etc.)
  4. Governmental building (military hq, prison, town hall, etc.)

Complications of the job, 1d6

  1. No complications, job as described by the rest of the dice
  2. Minor complications, roll for a second guardian for the item (now under double guard)
  3. Major complications, roll for a second location (the item has been moved)
  4. No complications, job as described by the rest of the dice
  5. Serious complications, roll for two more guardians and a second location – the item(s) has been moved to a new location and is under a different kind of protection
  6. It’s a setup! A double-cross! A trap! Everything proceeds normally, but something bad happens if the job is successful (not paid, guard alerted, the job is completely fake, etc.)

Method of payment for liberating the item(s), 1d8

  1. No payment
  2. Keep anything else you can take
  3. Coin: ((2d4-1) X 10)% of item’s value
  4. Coin: ((1d10+10) X 10)% of item’s value
  5. A minor, limited-use magic item (potion of healing, etc.)
  6. Information (a treasure map, the name of a spy, etc.)
  7. Coins: (3d8 X 10) total gp value
  8. Gems: (4d6 X 10) total gp value

Nature of the item(s) to be liberated, 1d10

  1. Plain ol’ coin money
  2. Magic item (weapon/armor/shield)
  3. Religious relic
  4. Gems or jewelry
  5. Paperwork of significance
  6. Object d’Art (statue/painting/etc.)
  7. Symbolic item
  8. Magic item (non-weapon)
  9. Roll again twice using d8s
  10. Roll again three times using d8s

Guardian of the item(s) to be liberated, 1d12

  1. None
  2. Locked chest/safe
  3. Trapped & locked chest/safe
  4. Magical wards
  5. Generic human/demihuman guards
  6. Tougher-than-generic human/demihuman guards
  7. Natural animal(s)
  8. Monster(s)
  9. Undead
  10. Demon/devil
  11. Roll again twice using d10s
  12. Roll again three times using d10s

Source of the job, 1d20

  1. Professional connection (guild, crime family, etc.)
  2. Freelance theft-for-hire (merchant, sailor, etc.)
  3. Rumor/Innuendo/Legend
  4. Personal Reasons (revenge, matter of honor, thrill seeking, etc.)
  5. Religious connection (prelate with a problem, a favor for the god of thieves, etc.)
  6. Professional connection (guild, crime family, etc.)
  7. Freelance theft-for-hire (merchant, sailor, etc.)
  8. Romantic connection (spouse, mistress, etc.)
  9. Family connection (no-good brother-in-law, dying aunt, etc.)
  10. Political connection (local political faction, foreign government, etc.)
  11. Professional connection (guild, crime family, etc.)
  12. Freelance theft-for-hire (merchant, sailor, etc.)
  13. Rumor/Innuendo/Legend
  14. Personal Reasons (revenge, matter of honor, thrill seeking, etc.)
  15. Professional connection (guild, crime family, etc.)
  16. Freelance theft-for-hire (merchant, sailor, etc.)
  17. Military/Police connection (the corrupt sheriff, a questionable general, etc.)
  18. Rumor/Innuendo/Legend
  19. Professional connection (guild, crime family, etc.)
  20. Freelance theft-for-hire (merchant, sailor, etc.)

Some Sample Heists

  • Your older brother offers to pay you a lot of money to break into the town armory and steal the enchanted Shield of the Sentinels. Of course, the armory is guarded by a pair of basilisks, but that’s not a problem for someone like you. You know he can afford what he’s offering; you just don’t know what he’s up to, which is planning on double-crossing you by turning you and the shield in for the reward to pay off his gambling debts.
  • Old Garril the Stonemason offers you a number of small diamonds he once found in a wall he was repairing to steal the sixteen large sapphires Korath the Bold recently donated to the Temple of Naali. These are locked in a chest stored within the high priest’s chambers.
  • You’ve heard a rumor that there’s a woman in Amberton who will pay a nice sum of money for a set of enchanted combs that are currently available in the shop of Forlburt the silversmith. The smith is a paranoid sort, who employs a small number of human guards and trained hounds to stand watch over his shop even as he locks all of his merchandise within a heavy (and trapped!) safe every evening.
  • Your guild or crime family needs you to break into the manor house of the Harbormaster and steal the ledgers for the last season’s shipping taxes. Your reward for pulling off this heist is the name and location of the man who killed your family when you were young. Everyone knows that the house is protected by magical wards. Not even your contact knows about the wraith that has been bound to guard the grounds.
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S&W Appreciation: Rogues In The Gallery

Swords & Wizardry White BoxWherein your humble scribe presents a batch of characters for Swords & Wizardry Whitebox in honor of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day. You should have no trouble using these for any of the other flavors of S&W, though.

The party failed to run when they should have. Somebody just walked up and asked to join your public game. You need an NPC to befriend (or bedevil) your party. Whatever the reason, you need a character and your need it now.

Well have no fear, amigos. Strange Stones has made its name producing pre-made “rogues gallery” style characters for ye olde school and, just for you, here’s a passel you can pick from for your S&W game.


Count Augerin Vonfred du Hoxenbury, The Pale Heir / Human Fighter 1 / Lawful
STR 15 INT 8 WIS 5 DEX 11 CON 16 CHR 9
HP 7 AC 4 [15] Save 14
Items: 35 gp, Chainmail, Shield, Spear, Hand Axe, Longsword

Dunthal Rockstomper / Dwarf Fighter 1 / Lawful
STR 14 INT 14 WIS 12 DEX 11 CON 12 CHR 6
HP 4 AC 4 [15] Save 14
Items: 32 gp, Chainmail, Shield, Light Crossbow, 30 Bolts, Hand Axe, Warhammer

Fletcher Dorthal of Mirington-upon-Wyestoke / Human Fighter 1 / Neutral
STR 11 INT 9 WIS 9 DEX 16 CON 9 CHR 15
HP 5 AC 5 [14] Save 14
Items: 73 gp, Chainmail, Short Bow, Quiver w/ 20 Arrows, 2 Silver Arrows, Short Sword, 3 Daggers

Astrabian Silvershine / Elf Fighter 1 / Neutral
STR 13 INT 11 WIS 10 DEX 11 CON 15 CHR 9
HP 3 AC 4 [15] Save 14
Items: 2 gp, Chainmail, Shield, Longbow, 20 Arrows, Longsword, Dagger

Sylvestri Mancuso, The Black Mercenary / Human Fighter 1 / Chaotic
STR 14 INT 11 WIS 12 DEX 12 CON 9 CHR 13
HP 5 AC 2 [17] Save 14
Items: 49 gp, Plate Mail, Shield, Flail, Hand Axe, Longsword

Alwynnia Moonstone / Elf Fighter 1 / Chaotic
STR 13 INT 15 WIS 13 DEX 8 CON 10 CHR 6
HP 2 AC 5 [14] Save 14
Items: 9 gp, Chainmail, Shortbow, 20 Arrows, Shortsword, Dagger


Sister Catalina Rosarita Consuela Mendoza y Juarez / Human Cleric 1 / Lawful
STR 12 INT 11 WIS 16 DEX 10 CON 9 CHR 15
HP 4 AC 4 [15] Save 15
Items: 25 gp, Silver Holy Symbol, 1 vial of Holy Water, Chainmail, Shield, Mace

Brother Horace of Sherwylde Glen / Human Cleric 1 / Lawful
STR 9 INT 9 WIS 14 DEX 13 CON 13 CHR 10
HP 3 AC 4 [15] Save 15
Items: 14 gp, Silver Holy Symbol, 1 vial of Holy Water, Chainmail, Shield, Morningstar

Father Lars the Mountain Goat / Human Cleric 1 / Lawful
STR 6 INT 9 WIS 9 DEX 18 CON 16 CHR 9
HP 7 AC 6 [13] Save 15
Items: 13 gp, Wooden Holy Symbol, 1 vial of Holy Water, Leather Armor, Shield, Mace

Brother Ignacio Román Donatello, Initiate of St. Basil / Human Cleric 1 / Chaotic
STR 10 INT 14 WIS 14 DEX 9 CON 11 CHR 8
HP 2 AC 4 [15] Save 15
Items: 2 gp, Silver Holy Symbol, 1 vial of Holy Water, Chainmail, Shield, Flail

Selene Shelwyn, The Arm of St. Katerine of the Sea / Human Cleric 1 / Chaotic
STR 10 INT 7 WIS 13 DEX 10 CON 10 CHR 12
HP 5 AC 2 [17] Save 15
Items: 25 gp, Silver Holy Symbol, 2 vials of Holy Water, Plate Mail, Shield, Mace

Jean d’Urlan, Brewer Monk of the Parast Monastery / Human Cleric 1 / Chaotic
STR 10 INT 14 WIS 14 DEX 9 CON 18 CHR 10
HP 7 AC 6 [13] Save 15
Items: 18 gp, Wooden Holy Symbol, 1 vial of Holy Water, Leather Armor, Shield, Club


Thorgald the Runereader / Human Magic-User 1 / Lawful
STR 11 INT 12 WIS 7 DEX 13 CON 13 CHR 12
HP 4 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Charm Person, Read Languages
Items: 109 gp, Staff

Orlanarian Treeflower / Elf Magic-User 1 / Lawful
STR 9 INT 16 WIS 11 DEX 12 CON 13 CHR 13
HP 2 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Detect Magic, Hold Portal
Items: 174 gp, 2 Daggers

Mbana Tenkanaka / Human Magic-User 1 / Neutral
STR 9 INT 14 WIS 12 DEX 14 CON 14 CHR 11
HP 5 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Detect Magic, Light
Items: 66 gp, Staff, Dagger

Halina Halx, Guardian of the Silver Gate / Human Magic-User 1 / Neutral
STR 10 INT 14 WIS 11 DEX 12 CON 9 CHR 15
HP 6 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Charm Person, Protection From Chaos
Items: 43 gp, Staff, 2 Daggers

Veridian Starlight / Elf Magic-User 1 / Chaotic
STR 12 INT 16 WIS 8 DEX 12 CON 9 CHR 14
HP 5 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Hold Portal, Sleep
Items: 76 gp, Staff, Dagger

Skag / Human Magic-User 1 / Chaotic
STR 10 INT 16 WIS 9 DEX 11 CON 15 CHR 9
HP 7 AC 9 [10] Save 15
Spells: Hold Portal, Light
Items: 80 gp, Staff, 3 Daggers

While You’re Here Looking At S&W Stuff…

Be sure to take a gander at the monsters I’ve put together for S&W as well. Although they’re not officially part of S&W Appreciation Day, you might just find something useful. These are ones I didn’t submit for the S&W Monster Book (now known as Monstrosities, apparently) back in the day.

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Quick & Dirty BoL to Labyrinth Lord Conversion

We’ve been over this before, but it never hurts to say it. I love Barbarians of Lemuria. It’s a great little system that inspires me and I find it painless to write stuff for it. Of course, great as it is it has a limited player base, especially when compared to a certain well-known 800 lb. gorilla of the RPG scene. So here are some notes I’ve knocked together for converting BoL characters to Labyrinth Lord and other games in that big ol’ extended family. Use or ignore as you see fit.


First up, the ever important Attributes. Just like in my Quick & Dirty BoL to BRP Conversion post, attribute values can be derived by taking the BoL value, doubling it and then adding 10 to it. So a BoL merchant with a Strength of 1 would have STR 12 in LL while a mighty thewed-barbarian with a Strength of 4 in BoL would rock an 18 STR in LL. And so on. Hooray for that 3-18 scale that’s so popular with a certain era of games!

Of course, we need to map the BoL stats to LL stats. Here’s what I propose:

  • BoL Might = LL Str, Con
  • BoL Agility = LL Dex
  • BoL Mind = LL Int, Wis
  • BoL Appeal = LL Charisma

As with the BoL-to-BRP conversion, one could surely devise more detailed and “realistic” formulas for this sort of thing. But for most purposes, the above should work. That said, if you really need a character to be high INT/low WIS (or low STR/high CON, etc.), just adjust as needed.

Careers To Levels & Classes

Probably the biggest issue in this conversion is dealing with taking a non-class/non-level system like BoL and rendering class- and level-based characters out of it. There are probably a million different takes on this, but my suggestion is just to make the LL character’s level equal to the sum of the BoL characters career ranks. So your typical starting BoL character would come over to LL as a 4th level character, while the average BoL NPC (per the examples in the Legendary Edition) would wind up as a 2nd level character. This power level in LL might not quite match up with BoL, but it seems to give the characters a reasonable leg up while leaving room to grow as well. And hey, the original title for a 4th level Fighter was Hero and a 4th level Magic-User is called a Magician in those lovely light blue rules designed for experts*, so I’m happy with this.

As far as classes go, I feel the best thing to do is just pick the class that seems to fit the character best – multi-classing where needed, but preferably as little as possible. A character whose capabilities in BoL would require two classes in LL are really the only ones who should multi-class (e.g., characters with rank in both Soldier and Magician). If it is at all possible to stick with one class, though, that’s what I recommend. “But what about my Magician 2 / Merchant 1 / Sailor 1 / Torturer 0 character? Shouldn’t she be a F-M/U?” I hear you ask. And the answer is no. Being a merchant and a sailor – even skilled ones – doesn’t make you a Fighter in LL terms. But don’t worry, you’re not screwed. Read on for more…

Since classes are normally generalized while careers can be a bit more specific, I also suggest looking at the character’s career ranks and giving them +2 per rank in a career on Ability Checks related to the careers (but not to combat or thieving abilities or anything else that specifically mechanical in LL – those things come with level, not career rank). So that BoL character with 2 ranks in Merchant would get +4 on attribute checks relating to the buying & selling of goods, knowledge of caravan routes, and so on. Oh, and while having a Zero in a career rank won’t get you a bonus to checks, just like in BoL it could very well make checks possible that a normal person wouldn’t be able to make (por exemplo, the classic Thief 0 allowing you to know about the local thieves’ guild in ways that someone with no rank at all wouldn’t).

Combat Abilities

BoL’s combat attributes don’t translate all that well, since fighting skill is a defined function of classes in LL. You can either ignore these entirely (advised for most NPCs and Mooks) or bring them over where each rank provides a +1 bonus to the appropriate kind of attacks (for Brawl, Melee, Missile) or −1 to AC for each rank in Defense. Doing this for PCs and significant NPCs will further help with the perceived power level difference between BoL characters and their LL analogues. [editorial aside: This is one of the reasons I really adore BoL. Your combat skills aren’t based on whether you’re a fighter or a thief or whatever. They’re based on whether you’re good at combat or not. And that means you can have badass sword-swinging wizard or a fancy “can’t hit me” lightly-armored fighter without throwing a monkeywrench into the rules. End of editorializing.]

Boons & Flaws

BoL’s Boons & Flaws also don’t translate directly to LL. But, just like with Careers I suggest granting PCs and important NPCs a bonus (+2 or so, but maybe higher or lower depending on your needs) on Ability Checks (or Saving Throws) that relate to a boon that the BoL version of the character possessed. Similarly, imposing a penalty of −2 (or so) on rolls relating to a Flaw found in the BoL iteration of the character should get the job done just fine.

In the case of Boons & Flaws that don’t modify dice rolls, a little improvisation will be necessary. But the author of this quick & dirty guide trusts that his readers can handle those situations on their own and in the ways that will best suit their own needs.

Weapons & Armor & Such

Obviously BoL handles armor in a completely different fashion than Labyrinth Lord does. The easiest thing to do is just assign an Armor Class based on the overall armor level found on the BoL character. Translate as follows:

  • BoL No Armor → LL AC 9 (unarmored)
  • BoL Very Light Armor → LL AC 8 (roughly, Leather armor)
  • BoL Light Armor → LL AC 6 (roughly, Leather armor & Shield or Scale alone)
  • BoL Medium Armor → LL AC 4 (roughly, Chainmail alone or Studded Leather & Shield)
  • BoL Heavy Armor → LL AC 2 (roughly, Chain & Shield, Plate alone)
  • BoL Very Heavy Armor → LL AC 1 (roughly, Plate & Shield)

The examples given above are, as indicated, rough equivalents. I can do the math and know that Chain & a shield actually equals AC 4 and not AC 2. Remember, though, that BoL is much more fluid in its definitions of what armor levels equate to. If you want to be more precise, then by all means be more precise.


Oy, here’s a challenge. BoL’s magic system so completely doesn’t mesh with the Vancian fire-and-forget stuff that Labyrinth Lord and its relatives use. I suppose you could just say “Well, you’re a 4th level magic-user, so act like one” and be done with it if you want to keep it simple. I also suggest having BoL characters with Priest career ranks but no Magician ranks not be treated as Clerics, since BoL Priests don’t really work “magic” in the spellcasting sense. Ignore that suggestion if being a Cleric is really key to the conception of the character as it is crossing the line between these two world.

One other idea that occurred to me is that the Vancian stuff could work as a reasonable model of BoL’s Alchemy. Instead of having X number of spells per day per level, though, you’d get X number of alchemical preparations (which you define with Labyrinth Lord spells) per adventure. Just use the M/U spell tables to determine what X is and you’re set. So I’d class BoL characters who were Alchemists as M/Us in LL-land but restrict their usage of spells as noted above. To offset that, I figure you’d need to give them better HD or something. But again, that’s beyond the scope of this post.


The above stuff works for characters who display a full range of stats, but normal BoL monster listings are a bit more abstract. Ultimately, though, what you need for a Labyrinth Lord monster is an Armor Class, a number of Hit Dice, and a concept of how they attack & what damage they do. So here’s how I’m breaking these numbers out from a BoL listing:

  • LL HD = (Lifeblood/5)
  • LL Attacks = BoL attacks (i.e., claw/claw/bite or whatever, with the bonuses to hit listed), with damage as follows:
    • 1 LB = 1 HP
    • d2 LB = 1d2 HP
    • d3 LB = 1d3 HP
    • d6-1 LB = 1d4 HP
    • d6 LB = 1d6 HP
    • d6+2 LB = 1d8 HP
    • 2d6-1 LB = d10 HP
    • 2d6 LB = 1d12 HP
    • 2d6+2 LB = 2d8 HP
    • 3d6 LB = 3d6 HP
    • 3d6+2 LB = 2d10 HP
    • 4d6 LB = 2d12 HP
  • LL AC = 9 – (Defense + Average Protection/Armor Value)

But what about Movement? As I see it LL Movement varies quite a bit independent of creature size, while in BoL’s “Base Move” is entirely based on creature size. I’m too lazy to come up with a specific approach here, so I’d suggest just defaulting everything to LL’s 90/30 unless being fast or slow is part of the creature’s schtick. In that case, adjust accordingly.

For monsters’ attributes, just use the same translation method as for PCs ([BoL Att*2]+10) if you need to know them. But since LL doesn’t often reference creatures’ attributes, this shouldn’t matter too often.


A couple of examples are probably in order. So first, let’s look at a character. How about good ol’ Captain Ertegun Vaul? Based on his listing in the linked post, here’s how I would render him as a Labyrinth Lord character:

Ertegun Vaul / Human Magic-User 4 Chaotic Good
STR 12 INT 12 WIS 12 DEX 10 CON 12 CHR 14
HP 13 AC 7 Gold 40
Scimitar, +1 Dagger, Leather Armor
MU Spells: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, ESP, Phantasmal Force
Non-Combat Bonuses & Penalties: +6 to mariner rolls (+4 from careers, +2 from boon); +2 to merchant rolls; +2 to religion rolls; +2 to carousing rolls; −2 to resisting greed

Note that even though he had a rank of 0 in Sorcerer as a BoL character I went ahead and made him into a 100% Magic-User in LL. Even rank zero qualifies you to cast some scary stuff in BoL, so having that should – at a minimum – result in a 2/2 split with another class. More often, though, it should override all the other possible class considerations (in my opinion). Or you can, of course, build the character without magic at all. That’s an entirely reasonable approach as well. Mostly I think it depends on your conception of the character in question and the level of magic in the campaign you’re working with.

Now, let’s convert a monster – just for fun. In this case, let’s use the Ilthoth-eg of Nogoloth.

No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 1-1
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d4
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 7

Small, grey-furred cat-like beasts that inhabit the caves deep within the northern mountains of Nogoloth, Ilthoth-eg are set apart from the “normal” wildcats of the region by their abundance of eyes. A typical Ilthoth-eg possesses somewhere between 7 and 11 eyes arrayed across their bodies. Though not truly intelligent, these animals chitter and whisper their previous victims’ words as they stalk their prey through the darkness of the caves.

Due to their abundance of eyes, Ilthoth-eg are only surprised on a 1-in-6. Further, these creatures are incredibly difficult for thieves to backstab. A thief attempting to perform this maneuver against an Ilthoth-eg suffers a −25% penalty to the move silently and hide in shadows rolls necessary for a successful backstab.

Following my suggestion of tweaking the movement rate for a converted creature beyond 90/30, I upped these guys slightly based on their wildcat-esque nature. I improvised on the No. Encountered, Morale and Hoard Class for these guys. The Save As and XP Value were calculated per the LL rules.

In Conclusion

So that’s my ideas for converting Barbarians of Lemuria characters and monsters to Labyrinth Lord. I think they’ll get the job done well enough for most purposes. These should also allow you to take BoL resources and use them in any other game from the same gene pool as LL. Those games are, after all, pretty much the same game with some minor changes here and there.

I’m open to any thoughts you, my readers and friends, might have on how to handle things. So go nuts in the comments if you like. Your input is, as always, invaluable to me.

*Other iterations of the source material refer to a 4th level MU as a Theurgist. You can’t win ’em all.

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It’s My (S&W WhiteBox) Party

Wherein your humble scribe presents a by-the-book adventuring party for Swords & Wizardry (WhiteBox). Pretty much just for the hell of it.

Sister Magda / Cleric 2 / Lawful
STR 8 INT 11 WIS 15 DEX 12 CON 6 CHR 9
HP 7 AC 4 [15] Save 13
Spells: Cure Light Wounds
Items: 7 gp, Morning Star (1d6), Sling (1d6), Pouch w/ 20 stones, Holy Symbol (Silver), Chain Mail, Shield

Reldon Mald / Fighter 2 / Neutral
STR 16 INT 10 WIS 9 DEX 11 CON 13 CHR 6
HP 9 AC 6 [13] Save 14
Items: 19 gp, Spear (1d6), Hand Axe (1d6), Short Bow (1d6-1), Quiver w/ 20 arrows, Leather, Shield

Ardiel Ghostmoon / Elf (Variant) 2 / Neutral
STR 14 INT 16 WIS 7 DEX 13 CON 11 CHR 16
HP 7 AC 4 [15] Save 13
Spells: Sleep
Items: 11 gp, Long Sword (1d6), Dagger (1d6-1), Long Bow (1d6), Quiver w/ 20 arrows, Chain Mail, Shield

Jaeg Lurnal / Magic-User 2 / Chaotic
STR 8 INT 15 WIS 9 DEX 14 CON 12 CHR 10
HP 4 AC 9 [10] Save 13
Spells: Light, Read Magic
Items: 39 gp, Staff (1d6), 3 Daggers (1d6-1)

This, my friends, was difficult for me. Rolling up a straight, by-the-book, Swords & Wizardry (WhiteBox) party when you come from a heavily AD&D background is hard on the brain. The power level is so, so low. I can understand why some folks prefer this, but as much as I love my WhiteBox box (and my OCE box before it) I don’t think I could actually play this way. I’ve just got too much of the supplements (and later versions of the rules) in my blood.

Still, it was edifying and under the right circumstances I’d happily give this kind of game a try as a player. I’d try it as a GM, too, but I’d never in a million years get my normal player group to go along with it. They’re too enamored of the power levels associated with later iterations of old school play.

For the record, what I think I miss the most is the broader range of attribute modifiers. And the beauty of S&W is that I could easily add those in if I wanted to. Still, if I’m going to do that, and then start adding in spells (hey there, Magic MIssile) and other things that I’m also missing I’m reaching a point where I might as well be playing a different game. One that has what I’m looking for already in it (LL/AEC comes to mind).

In any case, though it may not be what I’m likely to play, I’m damn glad S&W exists. So please don’t take my personal observations as anything negative about the game itself. I’m just realizing how it relates to what I’m looking for.

And, of course, I do like designing for S&W (Core more than WB, though) – in no small part because it is so very small and free in scope.

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The Sunken Temple Of Arn

In honor of the late Dave Arneson, who left us one year ago today, I present my (non-winning) entry in last year’s One Page Dungeon Contest. I was gunning for the “old school” category and took my inspiration almost 100% from Supplement II: Blackmoor.

So in case you missed it (and you know you did) here’s your chance to visit .

Here’s the entirety of the background, as a teaser:

In ancient days the monastic assassins known as the Sons of Arn built a great temple to their strange god on an island off the southern coast.

For many years they managed a troubled coexistence with the other religions. But when they dared to strike down the high priest of the sea god, their island temple was cast beneath the waves forever in an act of divine retribution.

Their knowledge lost and their religion destroyed, the Sons of Arn vanished from the world, leaving only half-remembered whispers in their stead. But now rumors abound of a shipwreck whose lone survivor escaped from a Sahuagin band that makes its home in a submerged ruin eerily reminiscent of the legendary Sunken Temple of Arn.

As a One Page Dungeon, The Sunken Temple Of Arn lacks game stats, but should be useable with pretty much any system you want. I specifically had OD&D in mind when I wrote it (obviously), but Swords & Wizardry (Core or WhiteBox) or Labyrinth Lord should work fine. Of course, so would Barbarians of Lemuria, Basic RolePlaying, OSRIC, or any other system that tickles your fancy.

One quick note for those who might not be familiar with a couple of the monster names: per Blackmoor (and some later books):

  • Koalinth are aquatic hobgoblins
  • Kopoacinth are aquatic gargoyles
  • Lacedon are aquatic ghouls

Most people who happen across this post probably know that stuff already. But hey, it never hurts to pass along a bit of (slightly) lost wisdom, eh?

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Well Hello There, Everybody

And welcome to Strange Stones!

It seems that my pictures of the just arrived Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Boxed Set have turned out to be pretty popular. So welcome to all you new visitors (and old friends, too) who’ve stopped by.

Pictures of D&D Sets

I don’t have any new content today – I’m far too hungover from a night of EuroRails in which I lost the game but won the “Who gets to polish off this bottle of ’91 Glenrothes?” contest – but I thought for the sake of the new visitors I’d point out my main project on the blog right now, The Demons Of Adad Untash.

This project will wind up consisting of a whole passel of demonic baddies for use with Labyrinth Lord & the LL Advanced Edition Companion (though, clearly, they’re usable with a whole bunch of other games that share a certain DNA, including S&W). I’ve just recently completed the lower order demons and the standard order beasties are up next. They should start rolling out a little later this week.

Meanwhile, here’s one more picture of the WhiteBox, alongside its grandfather and its cousin.

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The S&W WhiteBox Boxed Set Has Landed!

Guess what just got delivered to me by my friendly neighborhood mailman? That’s right, kids, it’s Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Boxed Set time!

Some pictures below:

A few quick thoughts:

  • I love it. It reminds me of my OCE box when it was new.
  • The 3×5 character sheets that were listed in the initial offering don’t seem to be in here. Packing error or change in plans? This is slightly disheartening, but not tragic.
  • The dice are pretty crappy, all things considered. But they’re dice that came in a game box, so even though I’m a snob I love them anyway. Actually, I’ll probably throw these into my big bin o’ dice and put the Gamescience dice from my Castles & Crusades Collector’s Edition boxed set in here, since I’m not really a C&C fan anymore.
  • The box contains a flyer pimping TARGA and Chgowiz’s Reference Sheets, which I think I’ll take advantage of shortly.
  • The digest-sized graph paper pad will have me drawing dungeons within the hour. Or else I’ll refuse to sully it and it will still be pristine 30 years from now. Either way, score!
  • Mythmere’s A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming was born to be made digest-sized. It actually reads better at this size. Weird.
  • The books look sharp and feel “new.” It’s lovely.
  • Oh. My. God. Book II of IV: Spells and Book III of IV: Monsters both have blank templates at the back for you to fill in your own creations. These books are begging to be written in. Can I actually do it? Time will tell.

In summary, I’m damn glad I bought this little package when I did. I just wish that the box-maker hadn’t screwed over Brave Halfling as much as they did, because the delay in receiving this little gem gave Labyrinth Lord, by way of the Advanced Edition Companion, the time and power to devour my brain. Still, it’s not like these wonderful games can’t each get some of my time, and there’s no doubt that they will. If only I didn’t have to have a day job!

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