Sunday, April 03, 2011

two B&B's worth a look

Here are a couple of fairly recent small D&D variants you should check out.

Albert Rakowski's 8-page Bandits & Basilisks is a challenge offered to tinkering DMs everywhere.  This text double dog dares you to drop all the stock D&D spells, magic items and monsters (except for the titular entities, the book's sample critters).  B&B provides just about the barest framework possible for D&D.  Don't skip the intriguing Arcane Lore rules or the smartly streamlined Treasure Chart.

At a more substantial 58 pages, Christopher Cale's Backswords & Bucklers provides a lot of interesting material for Elizabethan D&D with just a hint of Cthulhoid menace.  If you like the idea of Blackadder II and Kit Marlowe getting drunk and fighting cultists and Spaniards in the London sprawl then check this baby out.  Don't skip over the way each class earns XP in a different way.  I'm seriously considering making use of the B&B rules for running out of hit points (called Downright Blows in the text).  A list of further expansions to these rules is promised at the end and I sincerely hope we see them soon.


  1. Down-boinking-loaded. Domo origami, Mister Salami!

  2. ...whoops. That was me, Jeff. Dang gamer wives, amirite?

  3. Thanks for the tips Jeff! Always good to see how other people tinker with the system.

  4. Anonymous11:06 AM

    That very cool Bandits & Basilisks game is quite similar to the 19-page D&D rules document I've been using:

    1. No standard monsters. Each is unique and home-made.

    2. No magic items.

    3. No standard spells. I'm using Matt Finch's Eldritch Weirdness spells.

    4. Character level caps at 12.

    5. Two classes: fighters and magic-users


    About half the pages of the 19-page document consist of the spells.

  5. Thanks for the head's up. I've seen Backswords already and like it, though your post has me taking another look - might make use of it for a later series set in Nod, the way I'm using Ruins and Ronin for Mu-Pan. Bandits and Basilisks is new to me - sounds intriguing. Already did the "drop all the standards" things in Pars Fortuna, though, so I'm finished with that particular exercise for now.

  6. Thanks for recommending my work :-)

  7. Anonymous6:21 PM

    I hadn't seen Bandits & Basilisks before. I like the simplicity of it, being just 8 pages.

  8. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Thanks for sharing these!
    So much good OSR stuff out there these days :)

  9. Hey Jeff, thanks for pointing out Backswords & Bucklers. Love the description you gave. If you don't mind I might have to introduce people to the game with that phrase.

    We'll get the expansions out as soon as we can. Men of Magic first.