Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Rollenspiel

Knowing my interest in Thirty Years’ War-era fantasy, BB loaned me the AD&D 2e historical supplement A Mighty Fortress. I haven’t read the entire thing, but on the Muni the other day I read through the brief chapter on characters.  Some of the fighter and specialist rogue ideas were interesting, but I thought the cleric and magic-user kits fell pretty flat. Rather than adapting the system to fit the setting, the author just shoehorned preachers and priests into the “cleric” mold. Likewise with mages. After describing various types of magic (white magic, alchemy, “scholarly magic,” necromancy, etc.), the author simply states that the only wizardly kit available to PCs is that of the Scholarly (aka vanilla Vancian) mage. This seems like laziness to my eye, but who knows – maybe if I had spent hundreds of dollars on other 2e splatbooks I would know about Alchemist and Necromancer kits or magic variants that I could bolt on to the setting…

During the course of my Twilight: 1634 musings I decided that D&D was not the best system for the sort of setting I envisioned.  However…  As a creative exercise, what would I do were I to run a Thirty Years’ War-era swords & sorcery OD&D/White Box game or prepare a supplement for doing so?

  • The biggest change would be magic, which would undergo a major overhaul and emerge in a more ritualistic and decidedly non-Vancian form.  Some would argue that this is contrary to the spirit of D&D, but as far as the setting is concerned I don’t see any way around it.  Clerical magic would be limited to stuff like blessings and restorative spells.  Clerics could bless items (holy water, etc.) or weapons (temporary enchantment against an evil creature).  Clerics would have the Turn Undead ability as written.  Wizardly magic would be divided into Alchemy, Witchcraft, Necromancy, and Sorcery (summoning).  Alchemy would use my house rules (published in Knockspell #2).  The Witch’s grimoire would draw from Cleric, Druid, and Magic-user spell lists.  Necromancy and Sorcery would more closely resemble the magic found in Stormbringer or the Carcosa supplement.
  • Perhaps some additional rules for firearms – loading/firing mishaps, guns vs. armor modifications, etc.
  • Character classes are Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Scholar (replacing Wizard).  Each of these could be modified slightly according to the individual character’s background or concept.  No demihuman PCs.
  • The bestiary would include monsters from folk and fairy-tales, undead, demons, etc.

If I think of more, I’ll add them to the list.  I’m looking forward to reading through the rest of this supplement at my earliest opportunity…


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