Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wilderlands Campaign House Rules

I know I said I would continue the saga of my players today, but got caught up working on my list of house rules. You will note influences from other games, as well as some new character classes. I'll post the classes this week, but most of them are based on already existing texts, so I may need to include the OGL and and send a notice before I post them. Please feel free to critique and comment on these house rules. I would be interested in knowing if other OSR GMs bother with anything this wordy.

Wilderlands Campaign House Rules

1. Swords & Wizardry are the rules we are using to run the game. S&W is a retro-clone of Original Edition D&D (the box set and the first three supplements, plus selected material from the early Dragon magazine). While this is the base, don’t be surprised if you run into things like spells and classes that are different in my campaign.

2. For attacks, we are using the target 20 system. Add your attack bonus and the armor class of your opponent to a d20 die roll. If the total is 20 or greater, you hit.

3. Criticals and Fumbles – if you roll a 1 or a 20, you may get a critical hit or a fumble. There aren’t any charts for this; I simply describe what happens based on the circumstances. The normal result of a critical is +1 to damage. The normal result of a fumble is that you fall down.

4. Every human character has a social class. Roll a d6 and consult the following chart:

1 – Noble

2 – Gentlemen

3 – Military

4 – Merchant

5 – Guildsman

6 – Peasant

The top three classes are considered ‘Noble’ and possess the right to bear arms and invoke High Justice. They may be trained in using Noble weapons on the weapon chart.

Merchants and Guildsmen are considered yeoman, and may bear yeoman weapons in a time of war or while traveling, which they may be trained in. They may invoke justice by Magistrate in the city of their origin and sometimes allied cities to their own.

Peasants may only bear peasant weapons, and only while travelling or in a time of war, and may be stopped, questioned and imprisoned without recourse.

If you want to know the exact status of your father and family within their class, ask me, and I will determine it randomly.

5. To generate a character, get a sheet of paper and roll 3d6, in order: Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con, Cha. Re-roll the lowest characteristic. High stats do not matter as much in this version the game. If you don’t meet the minimum for a class, talk to me and we’ll talk about adjusting the characteristics to allow you play the class you wish to. Roll 3d6 x 10 to determine your staring funds in gold coins.

6. The following classes are available to play, along their minimum statistic requirements.

Fighter (str 9)

Cleric (wis 9)

Thief (dex 9)

Magic-User (int 9)

Ranger (con 15, int 12, wis 12)

Paladin (cha 17)

Monk (str 12, wis 15, dex 15)

Druid (wis 12, cha 14)

Assassin (str 12, dex 12, int 12)

Amazon (str 12, dex 12, con 12)

Bard (cha 14, str 12, dex 12, int 12)

Elf (dex 12, int 12)

Dwarf (con 12)

Halfling (dex 12)

You will note that various non-human races are also a class. In order to be a particular race, you must also take the class. There is no multi-classing in the game.

Please note that these are the classes in their original form, which means there are real differences between these classes and their 1st Edition AD&D versions. For example, other than Fighters, all classes have a maximum +1 bonus to hit for high strength. Other differences exist.

7. If you are a cleric, you will have a custom list of spells and other abilities depending upon your religion. Most will be unique.

8. If you are a magic user, you will be given a grimoire with many spells and perhaps other magical knowledge. Most of these spells will be unique, and not listed in the rulebook.

9. Once a day, you may invoke a god or other being to receive a game mechanic benefit. You must speak the invocation in character (and get it right) to receive the benefit. This doesn’t cost any money, you just have to know the invocation and use it correctly. Invocations can be learned from a priest after making a minor sacrifice at a temple. If you go to a temple, you can ask the priest to make a sacrifice for you, and receive a Great Blessing which you can then invoke later. Great Blessings are like one-use spells, and vary considerably from temple to temple, even those worshipping the same god. The sacrifices involved are usually very expensive.

10. The weight of items is not tracked. Instead, items are divided into two categories, Encumbering and Non-encumbering, and are listed on your character sheet. The sheet tracks how this affects your encumbrance and movement.

11. There are two types of skills, Background and Adventuring. Backgrounds skills are descriptions, like Blacksmith or Fletcher, and describe skills you might have picked up in the past. No die rolls are needed. Either you have the skill and can accomplish the task, or not. Adventuring skills are possessed by most characters, and are rated on a 1-6 scale. 1d6 is rolled when exercising the skill, and if you roll equal to or under your rating, you succeed. Various classes may also have exclusive skills, such as thieves, bards or rangers, and these are usually checked using percentage dice.


  1. That seems like a lot of classes to begin with. Other than that, looks nice.

    Have you read the LotFP encumbrance system? It's really elegant, and is included in the free Rules and Magic download. It meshes nicely with OD&D or B/X D&D.

  2. Thanks for commenting!

    It may seem like a lot, but most are from S&W complete. Then there are the three non-human classes, one class that is native to the Wilderlands (Amazon), and the Bard I got published in Knockspell magazine, which is based on the first version of the Bard, in Strategic Review.

    I am definitely using the LotFP encumbrance system! I think it's great, too. Some of the skills I will be using also come from LotFP.