After a lot of work I've managed to track down and obtain some edition of nearly every supplement for OD&D; all except one, and it's become a bit of a mystery to me.
What exactly is Swords and Spells? Is it simply an update on Chainmail, or is it something else entirely? What is the difference between the two? What's its relation to Spellcraft and Swordplay? Why doesn't it get more press in the vintage D&D sites?
Now before I get the ubiquitous "Check your PM's" I just wanted to say I'm not really looking for a pirated copy or clone of the supplement, just some basic info.
I wasn't quite sure where to put this, I'm sorry if it needs to be moved.
PS: How does it compare to Warriors of Mars?
Last Edit: Nov 21, 2010 23:54:23 GMT -6 by bluskreem
Swords & Spells has no relation at all to Spellcraft & Swordplay. It's a mass combat system built specifically for Dungeons & Dragons, which was released right at the cusp of OD&D and AD&D. It doesn't get more press for a few reasons--few people run mass combat in D&D, and those that do generally (at least in my experience) default back to Chainmail. Swords and Spells, while a really cool book to read, is much more complex and detailed than Chainmail, making it less intuitive to run as a mass combat system. Its advantage is that it was created after several years of D&D, so it's more tailored towards fantasy mass combat, while Chainmail came before D&D, so can require a bit of tweaking to maintain fluidity with D&D.
Swords & Spells has detailed rules on figure mounting, spell usage, monsters, scale, etc., and requires far fewer die rolls than does chainmail. It has been called a nearly diceless mass combat system, though I'm not sure how accurate that is. It works off of percentile dice, as best as I can divine.
For simple combat I use Chainmail and for complex combat I use OD&D. Swords & Spells always seemed like a offshoot system somehow.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
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Yeah, the only thing I use it for is guidelines for how spells function in mass combat situations. I've separated normal magic from "battle magic"; the spells in my game are the same, but since rounds in mass combat are equal to a turn in normal adventuring, all casting times are figured in Turns. This has the effect of, for example, MUs not trying to cast the mass combat version of sleep at a group of 20 charging orcs while the PCs are trekking across country, but allows its use in mass combat situations.
In general I don't require spellcasters to separately memorize battle versions of spells; they just result from taking a longer ritual to cast.
Swords and spells is Chainmail for use with ad&d--or more accurately (but redundant) 0d&d + all supplements and specifically using only the alternate d20 combat system instead of Chainmail+0d&d which assumes the use of multiple combat systems.
Swords and spells uses most of chainmails rules or tweaks/adds to them (like expanded movement rates based on what formation you are in), so I actually find it useful when trying to understand some things like flanking etc as you get the same rule explained differently or perhaps with a picture as well.
The notion of readied spells and scrolls also appears in Eldritch Wizardry.
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