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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
by Charles T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 20:17:56

Night Shift is inspired by shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Forever Knight. This latest incarnation of the Quickstart Rules has pretty much everything you need to get a feel for the setting and the mechanics. Long time RPGers should find the mechanics comfortably familiar as they are rooted in the game mechanics of the world's most famous fantasy RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 17:30:22

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit By Jason Vey is a very well put together OSR starter kit. This kit has everything you need as a DM to start a beer & pentzel one shot adventure or even transfer into a fully fleshed out campaign. This kit teaches you the entire Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg system. What I like about the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit is that it treats the game as not only a viable system but a system that can be used quickly, effectively, and gives just enough of a taste to get the player's PC's involved in the supernatural action. Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg is a highly supported game & it works very well on its OSR merits and does so with surprising speed. The writers & designers continue to really support the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg and the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit is the first in a series of tools so that let's you get up to speed with this fantastic system. Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit gives you all of the tools, system, and whole cloth rpg system to get up & running today. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want more OSR goodness? Please subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
by Roberto M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 17:09:43

An imaginative old-school take on modern horror, recommender



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
by Marvin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 15:21:17

NIGHT SHIFT is an old school game with old school mechanics so, if you have played the original fantasy game from 1974 or pretty much any of the major clones, you pretty much know how to play. The rules are written in a conversational tone which explains with great clarity. The rules require use of standard polyhedral dice sets. It's a lot of fun for folks who are looking at running an "urban fantasy" style game to emulate a lot of my favorite books and tv shows. Character options include families of witches, monster slayers, and the like.

The Quick Start Kit is designed to get you started with the game without a lot of the mechanics to slow you down. It comes with some basic information about the classes and how to play, along with a short adventure and a stack of pregen characters. This means that you can be up and playing pretty quickly. It gives a player a good view for what kind of stuff can be found in the main rulebook, and as a free (pay what you want) product it's great value as well. :-) If you bought the earlier edition of this product it had cover art a lot like the core rulebook and a different module. This version has spiffy artwork and has been cleaned up somewhat.

Beware that this game can be addictive. After buying NIGHT SHIFT I went on to buy the Companion book and the "Faustan Dilemma" module. :-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit
by Aaron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2022 07:44:53

Night Shift is a wonderful old-school RPG, perfect for anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy/Horror in the vein of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Charmed, The Dresden Files, etc.

It's a game that lets you play the people who stand up to the things that go bump in the night, and have a chance at making a difference.

This quick start kit is a perfect introduction to the game, and is a great way for a GM who owns the core rule book to get their players to sit down and start playing. It's well worth checking out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
by Marvin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2020 12:13:46

I was a part of the kickstart for NIGHT SHIFT so I have had both the PDF and paper copies of the game for quite a while now. I wanted to give some impressions and some sort of review of the game.

First, the physical product. The book is actually not at all the size I expected. It’s larger than my OD&D pamphlets but not a full-size 8,5x11” size, either. It is a hardback and I think it’s 7x9”, which reminds me of Adventure! or maybe some of the Unisystem books like All Flesh Must Be Eaten (I think those were a mid-sized product). The binding seems pretty sturdy to me; I don’t know all of the publishing terms but it looks sewn from the edge view. The cover art is solid, I think, and has modern-day folks with swords and such inside what could be a castle or a chapel. Evokes for me a feel of darkness and mystery, which I assume is the intent. The font of the book is a nice and clear one, and I like the simple B&W artwork inside the book. I was a little concerned about the darkness and contrast of the art when I looked at the PDF, but in the hardback the art is all easy to see. (A similar effect in the DCC RPG rulebook, where I thought it might be hard to see but in the finished product it’s fine.) Tables are well formatted and easy to read.

Next, the topic. I have been searching for a long time to find a modern-day RPG that has the right feel to it. Call of Cthulhu is well done overall, but I prefer a d20 style system to percentile rolls and characters in CoC seem to be designed for despair and doom instead of upbeat creature-whuppin. The World of Darkness product line seemed too angsty for me (I had at one point the original and the GURPS versions and eventually the d20 Monte Cook’s WoD and none of them quite had the right feel.) The Buffy and Angel product lines are pretty solid, but for whatever reason my group likes something more D&D-like and those didn’t quite check the right boxes, either. FATE offers some options, but I don’t really enjoy FATE. My best choice up to this point has been Amazing Adventures, which comes in C&C or 5E flavors. What I wanted was a game where I could run Dresden Files and blend it with Charmed or other similar storylines, and I wanted something that was sort of D&D-like so my players could acclimate quickly to the rules and start playing right away.

The book. Night Shift is just under 300 pages of content, which to me is a great page-count. Too many pages and you get a giant tome that doesn’t work well at the table, too few pages and it’s a pamphlet. There are rules for a half-dozen class types (chosen one, psychic, save, survivor, theosophist, veteran, and witch). There are rules for supernatural or monster characters such as vampires and demons and werewolves. There are some neat rules for fate points so that characters can influence the action somewhat. There are rules for madness if I want to throw a Cthulhu type thing at my players. There are some neat GM chapters designed to make one think about campaign or adventure style. There are ideas on what types of secret societies might be hidden in the world. I feel like the one book is pretty much self contained and doesn’t string a buyer along for monster books or extras like that. (If these kinds of things come out later on I will probably buy them, but I don’t feel like I would NEED them in order to play a solid campaign.)

The OGRES game system. I have to confess that I’m not 100% sure which parts of the game mechanic are specifically OGRES, or if the whole game counts. What I see mechanically is the use of the same base stats that can be found in most “old school” style RPGs. The stat bonuses start off very B/X in flavor, but there are additional modifiers from the same stats that apply to specific types of checks. Familiar, yet expanded. There are classes that fit a modern-era game instead of a fantasy-era, and they seem to fit the major options that one would expect in a modern supernatural game. Combat is pretty “old school” in style with characters trying to overcome Armor Class as many other RPGs of this style do, and it seems like one could run combat simple and straightforward or add in some options for those who like their systems more complex. There are saving throws. Monster stat-blocks focus on stuff like AC, move, HD and are pretty short and sweet. Basically, if a person is familiar with the standard D&D-style games (various editions of D&D, C&C, AA, S&W, and so on) that person will see a lot of comfortable similarities in rules and can pick up the game quickly.

The best parts. So a lot of this stuff can be found in other games. What’s the best part about Night Shift? Well, I’ve already mentioned several things that I like, but here are a couple more: [1] The “fate points” mechanic. I liked a similar thing in Jason’s Amazing Adventures RPG but this seems more expanded and developed that his earlier rules. I look at this sort of like “inspiration” in 5E but with more options. [2] Appendix A. There is a look into “Arnesonian” combat and how Night Shift can be played with really old school rules. There are also thoughts on converting the game to an OD&D or B/X style of play. I really liked reading those parts.

Bottom line – I like Night Shift a heck of a lot more than I dislike it. I feel that it oozes atmosphere, mechanically runs smoothly with “old school” rules, and seems to be the best rules set I have found yet that fits the “modern supernatural” genre that I have found yet.

Just my two cents.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
by Abraham F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2020 21:58:02

The OGRE System is elegant and easy to follow and is well worth looking at by itself, the fact that there was a lot of thought into the entire setting as well which makes it even better.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2013 17:47:43

Full Disclosure: I recieved a complimentary copy of this product for review purposes.

While this product was released long before Eldritch Witchery, this product feels like a B/X version of the material presented in the previously mentioned supplement. That doesn't make it a bad supplement, though, by any stretch of the imagination. Having already read EW, I can see that Brannan's previous work also had similar sensibilities.

This is more than just a class book, it's really a campaign supplement that presents a single new class with multipule options, allowing an enterprising referee to pick and choose what aspects of the material they want to apply to their campaign. The level of detail and sense of grounding in real-world history gives the material a gravity and believability not often found in role-playing game supplements - especially fantasy gaming supplements. The Witch is fantasy that never gets serious, but nor too does it get pretentious or self-important.

In addition to a detailed, multi-dimensional class, The Witch also provides an extensive collection of monsters and magical items. This not only gives the sourcebook more usable content, but having these extras helps give the Witch class a stronger presence into an existing campaign world. By having hints of the witch through these devices and devils, the introduction of the witch to an existing campaign never feels like its falling out of the sky or being introduced out of the blue.

The Witch is one of the most extensive, detailed, and well written OSR supplements I've seen in a long, long time and I'd highly recommend it to B/X or retro-clone game. Even if you never use the class, the extras on top of that make it more than worth the price of admission.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
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Spellcraft & Swordplay: Eldritch Witchery
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/21/2013 16:29:40

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this product for free.

Brannan's Eldritch Witchery is more than I expected. What I initially expected to be an inflated 200+ page supplement on a class has turned out to be far more. Brannan's work and passion for the history and culture of witchcraft in a history sense and a respect for that in the translation to table-top gaming is obvious from the beginning.

Yes, Eldritch Witchery is, at its core a "class" book - but its also something far more. The author presents us with more than just some charts, stats, and a premise to tie it all together. Witches and Warlocks are presented here in stunning detail. This gives them a sense of gravity and presence in whatever campaign setting in which they are implemented. He gives the reader more than a new class. He provides a new culture, a new aspect, and indeed a new view on magic for use in a campaign.

The core of the book are the Witch and Warlock class - both of which are presented in descriptive detail. Each includes multipule variants on the original concept, allowing the referee of a game a kind of ala carte freedom. They can include as many or as few of these variants as is appropriate to their own campaign.

Brannan also provides a completely collection of spells for these new spellcasters, always keeping an earthy, grounded tone with his material. It feels like fantasy, but never over-the-top or silly. There's always a grounding in history that can be sensed and that prevents the options presented from being considered frivolous.

The new creatures and monsters presented continue this tie to real-world history and mythology, maintaining the sense of mystery and fear that surround the historic reactions to witchcraft. These are monsters that lay hidden in the woods, rarely glimpse upon by mortal eyes but often warded against by wary peasants.

The magic items section of the book does address traditional items, even ones that are now regarded as hokey or silly - like the witch's broomstick. Still the author establishes such a respect for the class and the historic background that it never comes off as so.

I think a key aspect to maintaining this tone in the material is the art presented in the material. A lot of it appears to be historic wood burnt art or tapestry art, all in black and white. It constantly (but subtley) reminds the reader that witches and warlocks are part of the world and have been for a very, very long time.

In the end, $5.00 for a 208 page supplement that will bring new classes, new spells, new monsters, and new magic items is already a bargain. But with the presence and power offered in Eldritch Witchery, you get more than that. The material here feels like it belongs in a fantasy role-playing game, creating a culture of spellcasters that is both believable and to be respected. I'd highly, highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking to bring a more earthy, traditional, and darker tone to their old school fantasy gaming table.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spellcraft & Swordplay: Eldritch Witchery
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The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
by Jay S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2013 18:59:27

The level of detail and options available are fantastic. We are using parts of this to create a new base Witch PC class. This has been one of the best supplements to our ongoing campaign of 30 plus years of playing D&D. TYVM!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
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The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
by Fabio M. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2013 14:12:58

A book full of option and ideas that give real life to the Witch as a character class with unusual respect to the historical sources



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2012 21:09:15

When I downloaded the PDF, I was expecting a fairly short book detailing how to run a witch in basic dungeons and dragons. What I got was a 120 page campaign book detailing how to adjust a typical fantasy world to incorporate the witch character class.

The Witch character class is a blend of magic-user and cleric with a number of additional elements that make it something that stands out in its own way. On top of the basic class features, Witches pick traditions (like wizard specialties or clerics’ deities) which focus their development through the levels, and can also choose to be a part of a coven.

There are 6 traditions available to the witch character:

Aquarians - readers of the celestial bodies Classical - pretty much the usual stereotypes Family - mother to daughter type witches Faerie - witches that consort with various fay beings Maleficia - those that deal with demons, devils and otherworldly beings Eclectic - those without a tradition and are picking it up as they go

Spells are of course a large aspect of witchcraft, and the 54 pages devoted to the topic are extensive. Everything from cantrips (0-level spells) to 8th level spells and rituals are covered, as well as a small section on witch spellcraft theory.

Covens give the witch access to a small group of NPCs who can assist with training, provide safety, information, backup, and additional help with ritual castings. This section of the book also goes over the various items traditional to witches, and their uses in-game.

Moving beyond the PC witch, there are also 21 new monsters offered, and numerous witch specific magic items and artifacts.

Overall I'm really impressed. I haven't yet read every word (I skipped a lot of the spells)but I can see just how much flavor adding the Witch class to a campaign will bring. If you have any interest in any of the stuff above, it's well worth your time (and money) to go and pick up a copy for yourself.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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The Witch: A sourcebook for Basic Edition fantasy games
by Bradley P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2012 04:44:33

There are several things I look for in a character class supplement , and this guide easily meets these requirement 1-Does it add something I could not?
This book is extremely well researched. The author seems to have read every book on witchcraft and synthesized them into the game. This means that not only is there a good rich background, but it's engrossing enough to just read on its own.
2-Does the class add something unique to the game? When I used to to let a PC play a witch before , I tried to make it a combination of druid and magic users. This book not only adds a good set of talents and spells, but they are truly different. The Witch is neither a combat class nor a support class but a true utility class. She has a range of power that don't appear in the other classes. One point of praise here is that the spells she has tend to be "scenario" spells. This character is at her best in a campaign with a good non-combat /role playing element. The best example of this is the numerous spells to detect/control fertility and affect luck. A cleaver GM could really use this class to move things along. 3-Do I read it and get ideas for how to use the supplement? Yes, very much so. I find my self wanting to play this class somewhere. 4-Does it have a meta game role/campaign material? The inclusion of a Witch in a party could be used in a good number of ways to change the tone of an adventure. It would work well in city or village campaigns, and anything that requires subterfuge.

If I had one criticism, it's that I think there could have been a section to give examples of how to use this class in a party, just because I could think of a million ways doesn't mean everyone will.

TL;DR--This is a great supplement, fun as source material or to include. Worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Spellcraft & Swordplay Core Rulebook
by Colin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2012 21:27:47

'Retroclones', or attempts to republish out-of-print versions of D&D with various nods to modern sensibilities and mechanics, have proven increasingly popular over the last few years. One of the more original takes on this is Elf Lair Games' "Spellcraft & Swordplay" (S&S).

The original 1974 D&D rules assumed one would use the wargame 'Chainmail' to resolve combats and introduced an alternate system involving a d20 for those who didn't own the game. S&S explores what would have happened if the 'alternate system' never took hold and D&D remained closer to its wargame ancestor.

Within these 175 pages you'll find everything you need to play divided into three sections:

Swordmen and Spellslingers Character creation starts off similarly to D&D, with six abilities rolled on 3d6. You then pick a race and class. Here we see the first major difference from most editions - all classes have d6 hit dice. A warrior, for example, starts with d6+3 HP while a wizard has d6-1.

We also see classes also get multiple attacks much faster than in most editions; A 3rd level warrior has three. This is a nod to the 1974 rules where a 3rd level fighting man fought as "3 men." Instead of getting improved to hit scores as one rises in level, they get more attacks. While at first glance this looks like a potential game breaker, it actually works quite well for instilling a gritty, fast paced pulp like atmosphere. Further, since (all else being equal) to hit scores never change, that means non-magical armor and weaponry is effective even at higher levels avoiding the sort of magic item inflation prevalent in D&D.

Spellcasters have to make a skill check (2d6+Int or Wis modifier) to cast a spell. Depending on the roll the spell may go off immediately, be delayed, or fizzle. If the spell does not fail it is not lost from memory, improving the potential effectiveness and versatility of spellcasters.

There are several 'elite paths' - subclasses available at 1st level (only) if you meet the prerequisites. These are Paladin and Ranger (off Warrior), Necromancer (Wizard), Druid (Priest) and Assassin (Thief).

Overall, this section is full of a lot of very interesting ideas. I wonder if the classes are precisely balanced - the assassin's instant kill ability in particular looks worrying - but one nice thing about rules lite systems like this is that it makes it very easy for the referee to customize.

Combat and Conflict Part two deals with actual gameplay. Non-combat tasks are resolved using a statistic check: 2d6 + Attribute + 1 per 3 levels + 1. The referee imposes any modifiers based on how difficult or easy the task is, and whether your character has a chance of knowing what he or she is doing based on class, race and background. Saving throws are handled similarly.

Combat begins by rolling for initiative. As written, initiative is incredibly powerful due to the number of attacks combattants can get. A good house rule is to split combat into two or more phases. For example, if I won initiative and had three attacks, I might attack twice, have my opponent counterattack, then launch my third.

Attacks are handled by rolling 2d6 and comparing it to a chart that cross-references weapon with armor class/type. A dagger only needs a 7+ to hit an unarmored man, but 13+ (good luck) against plate armor. Along with the benefits I mentioned earlier, this means carrying multiple weapons on your person makes sense. It's now a good idea to actually bring a knife to a knife fight rather than an unwieldy spear (9+ to hit). My issue here is some weapons (like said spear) consistently have high to hit rolls and are simply inferior weapons.

Following combat, S&S goes into great detail regarding naval warfare. This is actually in keeping with the 1974 rules, but like the '74 rules it's more than is necessary in a basic set. I might have reserved this for S&S's first supplement, 'Monstrous Mayhem.' S&S then discusses vision, blindness and diseases.

Overall I like this section. It streamlines quite a bit while maintaining Chainmail's combat system. As mentioned there might be individual issues with some of the weapons and other details, but easily customizable and not game breaking.

Monsters and Magic The last part begins with a chart listing various creatures and their stats and special abilities. This is followed by a key of how to read the chart, a comprehensive list of special abilities, and finally how to use these creatures in combat. I would have changed the order to discuss how to use the creatures first (since that tells me how well they fight), then the key, then the chart. Elsewhere I've read concerns that the special abilities aren't customized: A wyvern's darkvision, for example, is identical to a kraken's. That doesn't bother me, and if it did is easily changeable by an intelligent referee.

Following a page on monster creation and experience points, we now get into descriptions of the monsters themselves. Having the descriptions separate may feel odd to most D&D players, but is in accord with the 1974 rules.

Lastly we get to treasure, more specifically magic. Several items are described in detail. Lastly there are a few treasure charts.

The charts themselves are a little strange: You are supposed to roll 4d6 to determine what row to roll off of, and the range for coins goes from 5-22. The range elsewhere is even stranger, and I fear I don't understand the author's intent here. Unfortunately it isn't clear how to use the chart and I believe it may have been errataed for 'Monstrous Mayhem.'

The magic items may be where I have the greatest disagreement with the author: I believe they're overpowered - not for AD&D or later editions, and perhaps not even for D&D Basic, but for the 1974 rules. OD&D assumed very few if any modifiers to die rolls: +1 was typical for very high attributes. +2 was exceptional, and +3 might as well be an artifact. I can only guess at OD&D's intent, but I believe it was against dependence on magic.

S&S instead uses what became common practice of +5 weapons/armor being top of the line. In a system that uses 2d6 instead of 1d20 it's even more important to control these bonuses to maintain balance. Going into the math is probably not a good idea in a review: Suffice to say a +3 weapon in S&S is more powerful than it's +5 equivalent elsewhere.

Overall this was the weakest of the three parts, and I question magic item balance. As before, easily modifiable though I believe that is serious enough to warrant review.

Summary S&S packs quite a bit into its pages. It's a complete system that's quite playable as it stands. If you're still not certain, at least grab S&S's Basic Rules which take you to level 3 and gives you a solid look at what this game has to offer. There is one supplement (Monstrous Mayhem) available while a second (Eldritch Witchery) is in the works.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spellcraft & Swordplay Core Rulebook
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Spellcraft & Swordplay Core Rulebook
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/03/2011 22:29:38

(review originally posted at TenkarsTavern.com)

Ever have one of those situations, where something seems very familiar yet strange at the same time? Spellcraft & Swordplay is one of those situations for me.

It starts up like one of your usual OSR games, usual stats, 3-18, familiar classes... and then it takes me for a side trip when I realize everything is resolved using D6s. It's almost like melding Tunnels & Trolls with Original Dungeons & Dragons. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

The main change (there are others, but to me this is the biggest switch) is that, for the most part, an increase in combat ability comes from an increase in the number of attacks, not in an increase in chance to hit. The number you need to hit is dependent upon the weapon wielded and the armor worn, level has little to do with it. A strength bonus to hit is a mighty bonus in this game.

All in all it's a well written, well presented game. I found some small editing gaffs (at one point in the rules, it refers to 2 "elite paths", but the third path, Ranger, is in the book) but nothing major.

Looking for a D&D / OSR like game that can be played with the dice in your Risk or Monopoly box and little else? Spellcraft & Swordplay is what you are looking for.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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