When it comes to the Old-School Renaissance I have some mixed feelings. On the one hand I enjoy the simple old-school charm of games like Swords & Wizardry or X-Plorers, but on the other hand I am unhappy with the lack of innovation and creativity in this part of our hobby. Games like the aforementioned X-Plorers, Stars without Number, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are the laudable exceptions here.
But recently I read about another new old-school game which seems to take things in a different direction. Crypts & Things, will be a swords & sorcery game based on a heavily modified version of the Swords & Wizardry rules.
Here’s a list of the changes from the core rules quoted from the games’ announcement:
- Fighter has optional fighting styles, to add more fun and to differentiate between fighter characters.
- Adds the Barbarian character class based off the version of the class originally published in White Dwarf 2 in 1977.
- Adds the Thief class. This is a more martially inclined version of the Thief, inspired by the Grey Mouser from Fritz Leiber’s Lankamar stories.
- Adds the Magician class, which combines the spell lists of the Magic-User and Cleric, and then separates them into White/Grey and Black magic spell lists.
- Removes the Cleric and Magic-user Class
- No Elves, Dwarfs or Halflings, Orcs, Goblins etc. Its all Serpent Men, Giant Apes, Primatives, creepy eldrich horrors all the way!
- No Turning the Undead either as a class ability or spell.
- Life events. This takes the form of a simple table where characters roll a single D20 three times for starting characters to learn some of the events that occurred before they started adventuring and the benefits that they caused.
- A simple skill system based off the Saving Throw number. Used for class skills (such as the thieves skills and barbarians abilities) and other skills that the character may have picked up along the way.
- Sanity rules. Wisdom is used as a measure of mental stability. This system is used for both taking mental damage for witnessing horror and for magicians casting Black Magic
- Altered damage rules. Hit points become a measure of exhaustion and fatigue – and are lost as a Magician casts spells. Constitution used as a measure of physical damage, and is lost once Hit points have been exhausted.
The setting will be based on the works of Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard and aside from being inspired by aforementioned authors will be original. Both setting and the expanded S&W rules make me particularly interested in this game and I will definitely pick it up once it has been released.