Crypts and Things

OK the time has come to stop teasing you with tit bits about an upcoming “old school game”.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Wild Things of all ages I present:

What is this game about?
It’s about exploring the ruins of the dying world of Zarth. Fighting off the Others, alien monstrosities from outside of your reality. Making your mark on the world before it dives into the sun Nemesis.

In short its a Swords and Sorcery role playing game using the original edition of the world’s favourite role playing game.

What is the Swords and Wizardry system?
Crypts and Things uses the Swords and Wizardry system modified to better suit the Swords and Sorcery genre.
S&W is a ‘retroclone’ of the original edition of the worlds favorite rule playing game system. Its a simple ruleset which keeps rulings and dice rolls down to a minimum and encourages imaginative play on both side of the Crypt Keeper’s screen.
Specifically the game uses the Swords & Wizardry Core (2nd Printing) that is available in word doc format form the Swords & Wizardry website (

How is Crypts & Things different from Swords & Wizardry Core?

  • Fighter has optional fighting styles, to add more fun and to differentiate between fighter characters.
  • Adds the Barbarian character class based off the version of the class originally published in White Dwarf 2 in 1977.
  • Adds the Thief class.  This is a more martially inclined version of the Thief, inspired by the Grey Mouser from Fritz Leiber’s Lankamar stories.
  • Adds the Magician class, which combines the spell lists of the Magic-User and Cleric, and then separates them into White/Grey and Black magic spell lists.
  • Removes the Cleric and Magic-user Class
  • No Elves, Dwarfs or Halflings, Orcs, Goblins etc. Its all Serpent Men, Giant Apes, Primatives, creepy eldrich horrors all the way!
  • No Turning the Undead either as a class ability or spell.
  • Life events. This takes the form of  a simple table where characters roll a single D20 three times for starting characters to learn some of the events that occurred before they started adventuring and the benefits that they caused.

Rules systems

  • A simple skill system based off the Saving Throw number. Used for class skills (such as the thieves skills and barbarians abilities) and other skills that the character may have picked up along the way.
  • Sanity rules. Wisdom is used as a measure of mental stability. This system is used for both taking mental damage for witnessing horror and for magicians casting Black Magic
  • Altered damage rules. Hit points become a measure of exhaustion and fatigue – and are lost as a Magician casts spells. Constitution used as a measure of physical damage, and is lost once Hit points have been exhausted.

If some of this sounds familiar to you its because I’ve used Akrasia’s Sword & Sorcery House Rules as a basis of alot of the changes I’ve made to the rules.

Background and Setting
Crypts & Things is based more upon the Sword and Sorcery works of Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber and Robert E Howard, than the more traditional Tolkiensque fantasy of standard Swords & Wizardry core.  It comes with its own setting , the dying world of Zarth of which The Continent of Terror is briefly described.

So where I’m up to with it?
I’ve currently got a roughly thrown together ‘Player’s Book’ which has gone out to a select few for a peer review. I’m aiming to get the ‘Crypt Keeper’s Book’ done and dusted by the end of this month. This has the Guide to Zarth, The Compendium of Fiends (monsters inc 50 new ones) and a new Magic Items chapter (I’m re-working this pretty much from the ground up to reflect a different attitude to magic items which I’ll out line in a future blog post).

Then the game needs a pretty through playtest. I’ve made a lot of changes which on paper look cool, but in play may not work. Such is the nature of the beast.

Fingers crossed for a summer release 🙂  The game will be entirely OGL. There will be a free artless version of the Player’s book as a PDF, and paid Pdf & Print versions of the full game with art.  I’ve then got a series of adventure modules already lined up, so you should see a steady stream of support material from me after the game’s release.

So if you fancy helping play testing the game contact me at

12 thoughts on “Crypts and Things

  1. Very nice looking – added your blog to my list, and looking forward to more updates! This is really exciting, especially if this becomes the “British” version of S&W that takes root. That would be really interesting, since the games are clearly close enough to allow absolutely no-problem communication between gamers.

  2. Pingback: Crypts and Things

  3. This looks amazing. If you do for Old School what OpenQuest did for RuneQuest, this might be what finally gets me playing retroclones.

    Really looking forward to seeing this in print. I’ll be following closely.

  4. Newt,

    I thought I posted a comment on this the other day, but now I do not see where it showed up… oh, well. Take two!

    I just wanted to say I really like the updated cover design and logo. This is going to be very cool when you get it released!

  5. This sounds so awesome. A quick and easy way to use S&W for Lankhmar games with no ‘outside’ house rules docs? I’m in.

    I beg of you to format it in digest size. That way it’s not only easily printed out at home, but also POD in both the American 6×9 and the rough equivalent for you folks over the pond (A5, I believe?), in both soft and hard covers via Lulu.

    Looking forward to more info!

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