Monday, August 1, 2016

S&W WhiteBox House Rules (1): Attributes

Today is the first in a series of posts over the next couple of weeks detailing the house rules which I use for Swords & Wizardy: WhiteBox. Some of these rules hacks are commonly used, others not so much, some are lifted or modified from S&W Core or Complete. I'm not sure how many are truly unique, probably none. :-)

Today I deal with attributes. Cheers!

ATTRIBUTE GENERATION
1. Roll 3d6, in order of Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma.
2. Pick your class as you see fit based on the rolls. Available classes: Cleric, Fighter, Wizard.
3. Determine your attribute modifiers according to Table 1: Universal Attribute Modifiers.

Attribute Modifiers Note: I add a -2 and +2 modifier at the bottom and top ends of the score range, and the -1 and +1 modifiers kick in at 8 and 13 respectively.

Table 1: Universal Attribute Modifiers

Score
Modifier
3
-2 penalty
4-8
-1 penalty
9-12
None
13-17
+1 bonus
18
+2 bonus

Swap Prime Attribute: If the Prime Attribute you roll is terrible for the type of character class you want to play—you roll a 6 Strength for your fighter, for example—you may swap the low Prime Attribute with one other score. Thus, if you rolled 14 for your fighter's Wisdom, you could swap the 6 and 14, winding up with 14 Strength and 6 Wisdom instead. This is the only change you may make to your character's attribute scores.

ATTRIBUTE DESCRIPTIONS
The six attributes and their most important game rule effects are described below. Whenever you see the words “low” or “high” applied to an attribute in this section—low means a score of 8 or less, and high means a score of 13 or higher. Refer above to Table 1: Universal Attribute Modifiers for attribute bonuses and penalties.

Attribute Description Notes: Topics such as insanity, reactions, loyalty, and system shock saving throws will be dealt with in future posts.

STRENGTH
  • All characters with low Strength take a penalty to melee attack and damage rolls. 
  • Fighters only gain a bonus to melee attack and damage rolls for high Strength. 
  • Fighters only gain a bonus to damage rolls made with muscle-powered missile weapons—such as slings, bows, thrown daggers, spears—for high Strength.
  • All characters have a Carry Modifier based on their Strength score. This affects how much weight a character can carry before slowing down. Those with a Strength score of 3-5 have a -20 pound modifier; Strength 6-8 have a -10 pound modifier; Strength 9-12 have no modifier; Strength 13-15 have a +10 pound modifier; Strength 16-17 have a +20 pound modifier; and those with Strength 18 have a +30 pound modifier.
  • Strength is the Prime Attribute for fighters. Fighters with high Strength gain a 5% bonus on XP earned.

INTELLIGENCE
  • All characters use their Intelligence score to determine their literacy and known languages. Characters with low Intelligence are illiterate and speak only their native languages. Characters with 10 or higher Intelligence are literate, and each point their Intelligence is above 10, they know one extra language.
  • For wizards only, high Intelligence gains them one extra 1st level spell known in their spellbook (not to cast each day), and a penalty to the saving throws required to overcome their spells.
  • Intelligence is the Prime Attribute for wizards. Wizards with high Intelligence gain a 5% bonus on XP earned.

WISDOM
  • High Wisdom gains all characters a bonus to saving throws against mental attacks (including spells such as Charm PersonConfusion or Feeblemind) and Insanity (typically caused by horrific monsters). Low Wisdom does the opposite (penalty to these saving throws).
  • For clerics only, high Wisdom gains them one extra 1st level spell to cast each day, and a penalty to the saving throws required to overcome their spells.
  • All characters with high Wisdom gain a 5% bonus to XP earned. 
  • Wisdom is the Prime Attribute for clerics. Clerics with high Wisdom gain an additional 5% bonus on XP earned.

DEXTERITY
  • High Dexterity gains all characters a bonus to attack rolls with missile weapons.  Low Dexterity does the opposite (penalty to such attacks).
  • Low and high Dexterity modifies the Armor Class (AC) of all characters, making it easier or harder to attack them. High Dexterity makes AC 1 or 2 points better, low Dexterity makes AC 1 or 2 points worse. 
  • High Dexterity gains all characters a bonus to saving throws against dodgeable spells (such as Fireball and Lightning Bolt) and magical attacks (like dragon breath). Low Dexterity does the opposite (penalty to these saving throws).
  • Dexterity resolves any ties in the combat round when combatants act at the same time—the combatant with higher Dexterity score goes first.

CONSTITUTION
  • All characters with high Constitution gain bonus Hit Points (HP) on each Hit Die (HD) when they gain a new level in their class. 
  • High Constitution gains all characters a bonus to “system shock” saving throws (to survive being turned into stone by a basilisk or medusa, for example). Low Constitution does the opposite (penalty to system shock saving throws).

CHARISMA
  • All characters use their Charisma score to see how many “special hirelings” they can acquire. These include NPCs with classes and any monsters tricked, charmed, or otherwise brought into the character’s service. They do not include “basic hirelings” like guards, beast trainers, torchbearers, sages, servants, and so forth (these are limited only by a character’s wealth).
  • Charisma modifies the Loyalty of all types of hirelings—basic and special—as well as their Morale when fighting in combat.
  • All characters use their Reaction Modifier to affect the initial reactions of monsters and NPCs to them.
  • All characters with 13 or higher Charisma gain a 5% bonus on XP earned.

Table 2: Charisma
Score
Maximum Number of Special Hirelings
Reaction Modifier
Loyalty/Morale Modifier
3-4
1
+2
-2
5-6
2
+1
-2
7-8
3
+1
-1
9-12
4
0
0
13-15
5
-1
+1
16-17
6
-1
+2
18
7
-2
+2