Lords & Wizards Design Plans: Take Two

After a week of discussion with my Sunday group, I’ve refined my plans/goals for Lords & Wizards (first listed here). The most general description of the game has not changed> Lords & Wizards will be a modern recreation of that “strange combination of 0e and 1e I used in the late 1970s with some of the ideas from B/X and some of the more interesting ideas from Microlite74 tossed in.” My Sunday group has a lot of say with respect to what they’ll like to see in this game because they are the ones who have been pushing me to actually do something like this.

The original plan was to take Swords & Wizardry White Box and build the game up a step at a time from where I started in 1975 to where I ended up circa 1981-1982. I started with Brown Box OD&D and just added what I really liked from the OD&D supplements, Holmes Basic, the AD&D books as they were published, B/X as it was published, Arduin, Dragon Magazine articles, White Dwarf articles, C&S, Empire of the Petal Throne, material from Judges Guild, my own ideas for house rules, etc.

The new plan is to trying doing this using the Adventurer Conquerer King System instead of Swords & Wizardry as the underlying core of the game. We’ll start with just four classes (Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, and Thief) and add stuff from there, but we’ll have the underlying economic and campaigning system from ACKS to draw on. Unlike ACKS, races and classes will be separate, but GMs will have the option to create racial classes if they wish to use them.

  • Standard races will be provided as will optional popular races from later editions. Guidelines for playing monsters as characters will also be provided.
  • Class levels range from 1 to 14 (like B/X). There will be two optional possibilities beyond this: epic advancement (gaining proficiencies, special epic abilities, etc.) and attempting to become an immortal.
  • An ACKS-like economic system will be assumed in the guidelines, but GMs will be free to ignore it if stuff like trade and figuring what is and is not available in towns is more work than it seems worth to them.
  • Arcane spells up to 6th level can be memorized and cast. Divine spells up to 5th level can be memorized and cast. Higher level spells can only be cast as rituals.
  • Spell lists will be mainly from 1e.
  • There will be lots of monsters provided (at least those of core 1e).
  • The world will have no magic, low magic, normal magic, high magic, and very high magic areas with the magic level of an area affect how spells and other magic work. GMs can easily ignore this by making the entire world “normal magic” (which just uses the standard rules).
  • Psionics will be included in the rules, but will be optional.
  • Mutations (think Mutant Future) will be included but are optional. They can be caused by magical radiation (left over from ancient wizard wars) and by being born in a very high magic area. Or those who want to run science fantasy games can have mutations caused by actual radiation. Even if one does not want to use mutations for characters, having lists of mutations and their effects provides a way to quickly create new monsters the players will not be familiar with.
  • My Body Point/Hit Point system will be used. This will be an “earlier” version than the one used in Microlite74 which works with the full number of spells early edition characters can memorize.
  • My Background system will be used as will ACKS proficiencies provided I can make them work together.
  • Science Fantasy play will be supported, but optional. While mixing science fiction and fantasy in campaigns is somewhat uncommon now, it was relatively common in the 1970s.
  • Adventures in other planes will be possible.

As mentioned before Lords & Wizards will be a major project. I don’t expect to have it ready for prime time for 8 to 12 months. Donors to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund will have work in progress access and a beta version will be released to general comment at some point (when it’s ready). Progress updates will continue to appear here, of course. Next week, my Sunday group will create their first Lords & Wizards characters. We’ll start playing with some slightly modified ACKS rules and develop things from there as we go along.

cover scanThe Brown Box/Wee Warriors Cancer Fund Drive updated with BONUS giveaway items is on. 12 standard giveaway items (including a third printing Brown Box D&D and Wee Warriors items are available. High Donors will get get six (their choice), the rest will be raffled off with each $10 donating giving you one chance. You can see the complete list of 12 items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Brown Box/Wee Warriors Cancer Fund Drive (updated with MORE donor giveaway items for Cancer Fund Donors). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our cancer treatment related bills (and to get access to some special downloads and a chance at the above-mentioned items), send a donation in any amount — small or large — to me via Paypal. Thank you!
As of 8 April 2013, $415 has been donated toward the Bonus Items. 83% of that needed for the first set of bonus items and 41% of that needed for the second group of bonus items. Only THREE days left in this donation drive (ends April 11th).

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2 Responses

  1. Rachel Ghoul says:

    I look forward to mercilessly raiding this game for my perpetually expanding frankenstein-of-a-set-of-houserules.

  2. Randall says:

    @Rachel Ghoul: I suspect that's what a lot of people will do with Lords & Wizards: raid it for house rules ideas.