Post by Sophia

Rules-lite D&D Fantasy

Fast-Play Fantasy?
A robust ruleset that you can use with thousands of adventures and supplements?

Yes, please.

Erik Tenkar from Tenkar's Tavern just released Swords & Wizardry Light, a 4-page-version of the 0e-D&D-retroclone.
It is a free PDF, like its big brother.
One of my favorite OSR writers, James Spahn, has also put pen to paper.

Short facts:

  • free download
  • 0e D&D, thus compatible with lots of game material
  • 4 classes: Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, Thief
  • 4 races: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings
  • 3 levels (for more, use S&W Complete)
  • simplified rules (starting gear packages, reduced spell list, no XP)
  • quick character generation
  • a small bestiary
  • pretty layout for the PDF
  • "hackable" .docx document
  • text is open content via the OGL
  • some rules ambiguity, minor typos 1
  • Game Master must be familiar with RPGs, otherwise you won't understand how to play the game

So you'll get a lightweight and robust fantasy game on 4 pages. Easy to play and comes naturally to the old-school fan. Free.

Now, go HERE to download it.

Sample Characters

Why? To play them in an upcoming solo game, of course.
(I will run these characters solo through a published adventure.)

Roll 3d6 in order: STRength, INTelligence, WISdom, CONstitution, DEXterity, CHArisma.
You can use your Ability Score modifiers as bonuses for different actions. But you only get a bonus of +1 for every score of 15 or above.
Your hit points depend on your HD (Hit Die), a d6.

Harry Cete, Cleric

STR 8 INT 13 WIS 16 (+1) CON 14 DEX 5 CHA 7
HP 6, ST 14 (+2 vs. death & poisons), BHB +0
Mace 1d6
Chain Armor + Shield AC 4
Adventurer's Pack 1 (Backpack, bedroll, flint and steel, 6 torches (burn 1 hr and shed light 30’), 50’ Rope, crowbar, 7 days rations, and a water skin)

Clerics don't get spells at level 1.

Tylas, Thief

STR 13 INT 10 WIS 4 CON 10 DEX 17 CHA 4
HP 5, ST 15, BHB +0
Long Sword (1d6) and Dagger (1d6)
Leather Armor AC 7
Backstab – When attacking with surprise and from behind the thief attacks at +4 to hit and x2 damage
Hear Sounds – Thieves have a 3 in 6 chance to hear and identify noise through closed doors
Read Normal Languages – Thieves have a 4 in 6 chance to read normal languages
Climb Walls – Thieves have a 5 in 6 chance to climb walls and cliffs
Thief Skills – Thieves have a 1 in 6 chance to succeed at Finding/Removing Traps, Opening Locks, Hiding in Shadows/Move Silently
Adventurer's Pack 2 (Backpack, bedroll, flint and steel, hooded lantern with 2 pints lantern oil (each pint burns for 4 hrs and sheds light 30’), hammer, 12 iron spikes, 10’ pole, 7 days rations and a water skin)

Annel Morley, Magic-User

STR 6 INT 10 WIS 11 CON 7 DEX 15 CHA 8
HP 3, ST 15 (+2 vs. magic), BHB +0
Magic Missile: Range: 150 ft Duration: Instantaneous — A magic dart flies where the caster directs, hitting the target, automatically causing 1d6 damage. There is no saving throw.
Sleep: Range: 240 ft Duration: Referee’s discretion — This spell puts 2d6+3 HD enemies into an enchanted slumber. It affects creatures based on their hit dice.
Dagger 1d6-1, Adventurer's Pack 2

Famah, Dwarf Fighter

STR 8 INT 11 WIS 6 CON 12 DEX 9 CHA 10
HP 6, ST 15 (+1 vs. death magic & poisons), BHB +0
+1 to hit & damage when fighting orcs and goblins, defensive bonus in combat because they are hard to hit (-4)
+4 on save vs. magic
Battle Axe 1d6
Bow 1d6
Chain Armor and Shield AC 4
Adventurer's Pack 1


Interested in how it plays? Me, too.

P.S. Look, it's a free download and just 4 pages. Just give Swords & Wizardry Light a try.


  1. I wrote an email to Erik and he addressed my concerns with this blogpost. The .docx file has the corrections.