Appreciating Swords and Wizardy

Today is Swords and Wizardry appreciation day, and since I’ve been involved in a S&W campaign for a bit thanks to the kind invitation of +Erik Tenkar, I thought I’d throw my own thoughts into the ring.

I came to S&W after being reintroduced to playing D&D through a short tour in a Pathfinder campaign. Pathfinder was cool, though as you got into higher levels, you really needed to up your game in terms of system mastery.

S&W is the other side of that coin. The rules start simple and stay that way. The ascending AC system provides a mostly unifying mechanic that’s easy to understand. There’s just enough structure to adjudicate fights, and plenty of room to improvise outside of that.

The biggest thing I’ve grown to enjoy with S&W is, of course, playing with the group. Erik, +Peter V. Dell’Orto+Tim Shorts+Joe D and Reece, to name a few. We spend a bunch of time each game, sometimes as much as an hour, just shooting the breeze, largely because we only play monthly, so there’s usually a bunch to catch up on. Also, both the D&D5 game that +Rob Conley runs and Erik’s game is basically cheek-to-jowl with really excellent content creators.

I’ve learned a ton about small-encounter design from Tim. S&W in general has taught me the joy that is a simple and flexible mechanic, a trait that I hope Peter and I have properly exploited in the upcoming issue of Gothridge Manor.

S&W has reconnected me with the broader world of D&D and its flavors. It’s also given me a great opportunity to not fight the system, and settle into gaming mechanic and roles that I did not get to groove on when playing GURPS. Things like not having any active defenses; it’s not my favorite way to play, but I’ll tell you what: it’s fast as heck.

Likewise, running adventures and dungeon crawls as a resource management challenge, rather than a tactical one. Different way to play it, but still a lot of fun.

I’m very much looking forward to the new S&W layout by +Stacy Dellorfano and her team. The prior work she’s done on her zine was top notch, truly amazing stuff, as I noted in my Firing Squad interview with her. So I bet the new book will look fantastic. I’ve got a paper printout of a PDF now, and I will eagerly add it to my hardback collection when it comes out.

So . . . how many potions of Extra Healing does the vendor outside the dungeon have today? I’m going delving.

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