Thursday, October 19, 2017

Zero-Level Characters for SWCL

For those not already aware, Swords & Wizardry Continual Light dropped earlier this week. While I have a few quibbles (like the fact that there are monsters who can surprise on a 1-3 on a d6 and Thieves can backstab surprised opponents but there are no rules for surprise in the combat section), I really like this ruleset. It elegantly boils down D&D to its essence with as few rules as possible and still presents an immensely satisfying game.

I think my favorite part of the entire ruleset is the way it handles Optional Classes like the Ranger and the Monk. They play exactly like one of the four core classes: Fighter, Cleric, Magic-user or Thief, with an extra ability tacked on. The price a player pays for this ability is a slower level progression. Since experience is handled by the number of sessions played, the optional classes simply add an extra session to each level. Brilliant!

What I love the most about the way SWCL handles these Optional Classes is that it provides a very simple way to create world-specific classes that add a lot of color to the campaign without a lot of a lot of mechanics: take one of the four core classes, tack on a special ability and you are good to go!

Thus inspired, I decided to take the rough idea of zero-level characters that I mused about in my last post and applied the mechanical elegance of SWLC to produce a supplement that provides players and referees of SWLC a way to use zero-level characters to bring some life, depth and background to the characters that inhabit their campaigns.

Art by Joyce Maureira

You can download it here.