Here is a summary of my house rules for Swords & Wizardry (with appropriate links). They are intended, when used together, to simulate more closely the ‘swords and sorcery’ genre, as exemplified in the fiction of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. Nonetheless, most of these house rules can be used on their own in a ‘standard’ or ‘classic’ ‘Old School’ D&D game (including Original D&D, Basic D&D, RC D&D, Labyrinth Lord, 1e AD&D, OSRIC, etc.).
1. Miscellaneous House Rules. Some minor rules for ability scores and combat (critical hits, fumbles, etc.)
2. Hit Points and Constitution. A system for treating hit points as ‘superficial’ damage (i.e., exhaustion, minor bruises, etc.), and constitution as ‘serious’ damage. The former is easy to heal, whereas the latter is not.
3. Wisdom as Sanity. A system for treating a character’s ‘wisdom’ score as a measurement of his/her sanity.
4. Background Professions. A list of ‘background professions’ (e.g., alchemist, minstrel, sailor) for characters, designed to give them some more flavour, and a few minor special abilities.
5. General Task Resolution Mechanic. A system for using the generic ‘saving throws’ in S&W as a ‘general task resolution mechanic,’ i.e., a system for determining whether characters succeed at various things.
6. Class-Based Weapon Damage. This system uses a character’s class in order to determine how much damage that character can do with a particular weapon.
7. The Thief. My version of the ‘thief’ class, inspired primarily by the ‘Gray Mouser’ character.
8. Everyone can Backstab. Pretty self-explanatory, I think.
9. Fighting Styles for Fighters. A list of six different ‘fighting styles’ (e.g., berserker, shield-master, etc.) available to fighter characters.
10. Magicians and the Colours of Magic. The magician is a new class meant to replace the cleric and magic-user classes. I designed it to have a stronger ‘pulp sorcerer’ flavour than the standard spell-casting classes. The ‘colours of magic’ refers to my categorization of all spells as either ‘white magic,’ ‘grey magic,’ or ‘black magic.’ All spells cause ‘exhaustion’ for magicians, and black magic spells might cause ‘corruption’ (i.e., loss of wisdom/sanity).
11. Experience Points. Quite simply, an alternative system for assigning experience points to characters.
Enjoy, gentle readers!
EDIT 1 (added 16 November 2009): A PDF of these rules, courtesy of Benoist, can be found here.
EDIT 2 (added 13 August 2020): The above link to the PDF no longer seems to be working. I'll see if there is some other way for me to make the PDF available.
EDIT 3 (added 27 March 2021): The PDF is available here. (https://web.archive.org/web/20160804192136/http://enrill.net:80/documents/akratic-wizardry.pdf) (Thanks to Evangineer for tracking this down!)