A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swords & Wizardry Character Sheet

(Just a quick post, as I jump between projects at work.)

I've recently become enamored of Matthew Finch's OD&D retro-clone, Swords & Wizardry. I've had the PDF version of the game for some time, but haven't really looked at it until recently. (I was, admittedly, inspired by a number of my fellow old-school bloggers to give the game a closer look.) As I understand it, S&W is a clone of the "original" edition of Dungeons & Dragons (which most folks call "OD&D" these days, presumably to clearly identify it from its later offspring).

Mind you, I never played OD&D. Heck, I didn't even know the difference(s) between the game rules as presented in OD&D's "Little Brown Books" ("LBB") and the version of D&D that introduced me to the game (Moldvay's Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set) until I purchased the e-book versions of the LBB a couple of years ago. Coming from the point of view of a hardcore lover of Moldvay Basic, I didn't care for most of what I read in those rules. And, having never played them, I found little of nostalgiac value in them.

However, after becoming immersed in the old-school waters here in the blogosphere, I've gradually come to see that there is much goodness in the LBB. I'm a big fan of "rules lite" systems, and a proponent of the "less is more" school of game rules design. I like systems that support play, but don't interfere with it when they're not needed. I like systems that give GM's guidelines for running a game, but don't bog them down with tons of rules (and exceptions) that they have to learn, or that tie their hands. And the LBB offer just that, IMHO.

Having been moved to try the OD&D rules, I'm hoping to run a few games in my current campaign with them. However, I seem to have left $800+ (the amount I'd need to buy a decent copy of the LBB) in my other pants. Thankfully, I don't need to look any further than S&W.

I've recently ordered the S&W print version from lulu.com (as a Valentine's Day gift from my fiancee - she knows me so well), along with a copy of the first issue of Matthew Finch's old-school magazine, Knockspell. While I await their arrival, I've taken the opportunity to quickly retool a D&D character sheet I had sitting around. Here's the sheet I plan to use for S&W:

(Full disclosure: The design of this sheet was inspired by character sheets found at Tony DiTerlizzi's Imaginopolis Blog.)

As I said, I haven't yet received my S&W book, so this sheet's not been playtested. Hopefully, there are no errors herein. The PDF contains three sheet variations: a cleric sheet, a fighter sheet, and a magic-user sheet (each with a back). It's "bone stock," except for a "spell levels per day" space on the cleric and m-u sheets (for use with my own house rules). Also, the PDF is 100dpi, optimized. I'm not sure how it will look when printed, so if you'd like a non-optimized, 150dpi version, just let me know.

[EDIT: By request, here's a link to a 150dpi, non-optimized PDF, with a couple of minor modifications: 1) THAC0 (forgot to mention I use that) has been replaced with "To Hit"; 2) A "class generic" sheet (including a back page) has been added to the file. The file's ~3MB, so be prepared for a wait if you're on a slow connection.]
. . . . .


  1. These are fantastic! I can't print them out right now, but I always encourage higher DPI products, only in case someone wants to fiddle.

    Also, can you remove the THACO? Maybe replace it with Melee bonus or such? Or make it just say To Hit? That way we can use it in a generic ascending or descending fashion?

  2. Very nice! Did you do the illustrations?

  3. Thanks, guys!

    @Chgowiz: Check the EDIT at the bottom of the post.

    @Stuart: No. Although I'm sure I'm capable of it, I don't usually have the space to illustrate my own stuff, nor convenient access to a scanner to digitize it. So, the artwork here is a combination of modified clip art and a fantasy-themed "dingbats" font.

  4. Nice...totally showed me up there. I like the borders and logo..and the fact that you just made a spot for the "to hit" bonus rather than do the little chart..which my GM ( and spouse ) likes but which in my opinion just adds a superfluous mathematics process to finding out if you hit your target.

    Oh..and welcome to the happiness that is S&W! I'm wild about Core Rules and am really excited about getting the newer version with the added artwork included.