08 July 2009

Miscellaneous S&W/OD&D House Rules

Over the past few weeks I’ve posted most of the house rules that I use in my current Swords & Wizardry (OD&D-based) game.  I now offer for your consideration, gentle readers, the remaining few.

Rolling for Ability Scores

Players roll 3d6 seven times, rerolling any rolls of ‘1’ (so the lowest score that a starting character can have in any ability score is ‘6’).  Players drop the lowest score, and assign the other six to their characters’ abilities (strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma) as they choose.  If a player’s character does not have at least two ability scores that are 13 or greater, he or she may reroll the entire set.

Additional Ability Score Modifiers

A score of 18 confers a bonus of +2 to any roll affected by that ability score.  A score of 3 confers a penalty of -2 to any roll affected by that ability score.

Critical Hits

If a character rolls a natural ‘20’ he rolls again to see if he scores a critical hit.  If the second roll is also a hit, the character does maximum damage plus an additional damage roll.  (For instance, say a fighter wielding a broadsword scores a critical hit.  He does 8 points of damage + 1d8 + any applicable modifiers.)

Firing Missile Weapons into Melee

If a character is using a ranged weapon (bow, sling, etc.) and fires into a melee combat involving an ally, he suffers a -2 to his roll to hit his target (this penalty is due to the character being careful not to hit his ally).   


If a character rolls a natural 1 in an attack roll he must make a saving throw (modified by his dexterity bonus/penalty).  If he fails, he drops his weapon and must make another saving throw (again modified by his dexterity bonus/penalty).  If he fails again, he has fallen down and is prone for one round (-2 to AC).

Final Notes:

Well, fellow gamers, that's it for my house rules for S&W/OD&D (at least for now).  They have been play tested (albeit modestly), and seem to work well.  At some point I will provide summary of them all in a single post, along with appropriate links.  Unfortunately, I will not have time to do that in the immediate future.  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. RE: Ability scores -- This is how I handle them (including the +/- 2 for scores of 3/18) as well; however, you don't get to re-roll a new character unless you REALLY can't live with your scores. I find that once new players "get" the Old School mentality, scores that they would find unacceptable under B/X or AD&D seem more palatable under OD&D or one of its variants.

    RE: Firing into Melee -- I simply treat it as a called shot (-4) with a miss striking a random adjacent target.

    RE: Crits and Fumbles -- I prefer to keep it simple. A nat 20 does max damage or a ref-determined bonus, while a nat 1 allows an opponent a free attack or a ref-determined penalty.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).