Sunday, April 17, 2011

Big Project Announcement

This is about the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules

The Core Rules have been sort of left at the altar while I wrote the Complete Rules for Frog God Games, plus doing the art book, Knockspell #5, etc. Then my computer started dying, and then the new computer presents various new challenges with new software.

I'm ready to get the Core Rules out there again, but with a slight nudge in terms of what they represent. The Core Rules have changed a bit since the advent of WhiteBox and Complete. Originally the Core Rules were the OD&D I was publishing. A catch-all to represent the whole game in miniature. Now it fits badly as a catch-all, since with WB and Complete the gamut is actually covered. There's no need for what Core originally was. Where I see it now is as the archetypal 4 (yes 4) class system, with the thief being optional but still side-by-side with the other 3. I want to fix movement, I want to add the optional saving throw categories, I want to put in the wilderness encounters. I want it to be clearer that it's the LBBs plus the GH supplement (minus the paladin because more important than anything else, it's the archetype-classes game).

Making those changes takes time in terms of the production side (layout technology). Between working with Frog God, finishing the art book, and now getting used to new software, those layout issues have looked a bit like the side of a mountain.

However, my goal (and I can't realistically put a time frame on this since I don't know what kind of problems I'll run into) is to get the slightly tweaked version out in hardcover, with free pdf, etc. I have to chance the cover to reflect the new title, and I want to add outdoor encounters, optional saving throw categories, clarify how combat movement works, use the clearer treasure tables from Complete, etc. There is some work involved, even though I want it to be fully compatible with the original core edition.

However, it's the new priority while material is still coming in for Knockspell - I have a gap there. This last two weeks have been a bitch in RL ... it's mainly a matter of time more than anything else, because I know that with new technology there are going to be parts of the process where I'm going to be tearing out hair.

The issue, just so you understand, is that the original Core Rules are in a type of file (inDesign) that I can't use - and I think there are a couple of art pieces I no longer have or never had. So there's more assembly required than one would assume. The cover needs to be re-done to reflect things like Black Blade not being the publisher, and calling it either Essentials or Basic, or whatever, and I also can't make that change without re-creating the cover from scratch.

When I start working on this, it might happen fast, but I expect lots of frustrations. Once it's done, though, I will put up a hardback, softback, free pdf, and rtf file. It's just that the background work required on a book like this is more complex than most people realize (if you're not a graphic/layout artist) and I really don't want to put up a book that's about to get pulled off for a new "version."

Just keeping everyone in the loop, since there are lots of questions about this. I expect this printing to come out of the gate very strong. More details as they emerge.


  1. Just a thought to take with a grain of salt :) I think Basic is a better descriptor for Whitebox, since it really is the basics of the original game. Essentials, although fairly descriptive, feels a bit 'marketese.' I think the way to go is to go ahead and call it what we all refer to it as anyway, 'Core.' Swords & Wizardy with 'Core Rules' underneath has a nice ring to it. Like I said though, just my take :)

  2. Can't wait for the revamped CORE! Far prefer it to Complete...