Category Archives: Swords & Wizardry

Ultima & White Box

What I want to write about today is something which started as a very small side project which eventually got a bit out of hand. Or you could say it’s still in the middle of getting out of hand.

imageInspired by a very awesome White Box character sheet, I decided to give Sword & Wizardry White Box another look. I couldn’t find my print copy anymore so I looked on the internet and stumbled upon a new White Box game called “White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game”. Leafing through the PDF immediately made me excited about running a White Box game again, something which I haven’t done in quite some time. So I started thinking about which campaign setting I could use. Since we are taking a break from our current Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign (an important member of the player group won’t be able to come next time), I already had a time and place to run a White Box one-shot.

During the last week I have been basking in nostalgia already by playing some of the games from the Ultima series. So the logic next step was to combine two awesome things into one. That’s how the idea of an Ultima campaign powered by White Box was born!

After some attempts with Campaign Cartographer I switched to the easier-to-use (although less powerful) Hexographer. Using a map from Ultima IV as a basis I created a hex map of the world of Britannia. I was actually surprised how easy that was. Sure, I had to take some liberties, but overall the map turned out great.

britannia world
The map I created in Hexographer The Ultima IV map I based my work on

I decided to use Ultima IV as a basis, because that’s the game which changed the series. In Ultima IV you play a character who strives to become the Avatar, the embodiment of the Eight Virtues, Britannia’s philosophical system. There’s no big bad to defeat, no princess to save, no artifact to find. Of course there are many dangers in Britannia and even if you are not interested in following the aforementioned path you can still go on countless adventures. But I wanted becoming the Avatar be a viable option for the players. The Stranger, the hero of Ultima I-III was actually supposed to become the Avatar, but in my version of Britannia, he just doesn’t show up when the campaign starts.

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What about Open Gaming Monthly? A short review…

OGM 01After my review of Gygax Magazine and my bemoaning of the loss of Kobold Quarterly, I discovered another magazine that was recently released in digital form Open Gaming Monthly, a digital only magazine supporting open gaming and brought to you by the folk at and Fat Goblin Games for $2.99. You might be wondering is the price of admission worth it? Most certainly!

Ok on to the fiddly bits…

The magazine is 99 pages long, full color, with a good balance of ads and content and a catalog of the items for sale at the PFSRD Shop in the back. Right off the bat I must say this did not feel like a shopper, the ads were there but they did not overwhelm me. They had certain columns, like previews, news, notes, and upcoming releases; with a print magazine such content can quickly become dated, but taking advantage of the digital format it’s all hyperlinked and really useful. And there is so much goodness here, from the small columns and asides, like GM Advantage with links to articles and tools, a Resources column, and Random Treasure, little boxes with items all around the magazine.

The content is solid, almost all open content! They had interviews, but they were NOT the main focus of the magazine. The focus was actual content, fluff and crunch I can immediately use in my game. Monsters, items, races, locations, adventures, optimization advice and an open content shared setting to be developed each issue.  There is an artic theme running through many, but not all, articles, which is very nice. The theme ties together parts of the magazine but does not make it so that people NOT running artic or cold themed setting are left hanging.

The largest chunk of the magazine is really Pathfinder content, but with publishers also hosting the Sword and Wizardry SRD and the Mutants & Masterminds SRD, I hope there is space for content for both these games and other OGL games in the magazine.

There are other details, like a full reproduction of the cover art with artist info, and even a recipe! Yes you read that right, a food recipe for Spinach Lasagna Rolls. The art, layout and everything about the magazine is top notch. If they can continue producing such a wonderful magazine month after month they have a regular client here.

An excellent product all around, if you like Pathfinder, Open Gaming content games and want to support and their related sites, check it out!

Crypts and Things

CT-frontcover-v2-web 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.


Continue reading Crypts and Things