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RPG Item: Swordsmen & Skeletons: Third Edition
Publisher: Dragon Trove LLC
Year: 2020
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
Product Code: 001
2 pages
Size: Letter
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From Publisher blurb:

OGL style heroic fantasy roleplaying game, streamlined down to a single piece of paper (two if you count the open game license and the attached play example). Swordsmen & Skeletons plays very similar to the oldest fantasy roleplaying systems, and is compatible with most games and supplements written in the 1980s and earlier.
Please note that, to this end, S&S is a complete rpg, requiring nothing more, though we do publish other products, also fitting on a single page.
However, when we say that S&S is complete, we mean it. It contains rules for everything needed to play an frpg through at least the ninth level: three character classes, four character races, equipment, rules for combat and noncombat actions, 42 spells, some two hundred magic items, treasure tables, encounter tables, and eighteen monsters with easy rules for modifying them into hundreds more.
Much of this is accomplished by clever minimizing, cross-referencing and default rules, but it is all there. We even manage to fit in a play example that, to quote one of our readers, "actually tells you how to play the game." I have never yet seen a rules-lawyering session (whether the game was being GMed by me or somebody else) that took longer than one minute to resolve. No joke.
Finally, of course, the price, and that fact that it can literally fit into a pocket sized chess set, allows for great OGL roleplaying wherever you go.
Considerable revamp has taken place in third edition SnS. Among the most important new rules:
Hosts: These represent monstrous ARMIES that can be placed on the battlefield or in the dungeon. Think in terms of the masses of goblins and trolls that ultimately chase the Fellowship out of Moria. Hosts are a convenient way to represent the "40-400 Goblins/Kobolds" or "30-300 Orcs" that could be encountered in original D&D without actually having to place hundreds of pieces on the map, or keep track of hit points for them. They are also a more effective way to represent the armies that appear in the field battles of A Swiflty Falling Empire.

Monster Sidekicks and Boon Companions: I had occasionally toyed ith the idea of coming up with rules for recruiting henchmen and hirelings in SnS, so that small parties or lone adventurers -and SnS is very good for solo play- could build up a stalwart warband.

But this really never sat well with me. After all, Samwise Gamgee, Moonglum, Hermione and Chewbaca didn't just get hired for 1d20 gold pieces at the local tavern, they had backstories and entered the action by means of the action itself.

Sounds to me like pretty much how you find a treasure.

So, the Boon Companion and now the Monster Sidekick have come into play, both entering the game in exactly this manner. You never know who you will get, or when you will get him, but he is bound to be faithful, capable, and have a few "gruff but loyal" quirks, just based on his type, and interaction with sidekicks and companions of different types. Have fun integrating these fellows into your games.

Monstrous Adventurers: Interestingly, the thief was NOT THE FOURTH CHARACTER CLASS ADDED INTO D&D. "WHAT?" you ask, "HAVE YOU GONE COMPLETELY MAD, SIR?" Well, that's debatable, but if you'll check out the original rules, Men & Magic, page 8, you'll find the following:

"Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as, let us say, a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee."

Now, that is arguably a throw-away, but it certainly does provide the basic structure to make a PC class out of any monster all.

So I've decided to systematize this in S&S, and thus to add somewhere between 36 and 172 more class/races to the game, by what I believe is a minimalistic but workable system.

So, you want to roleplay a dragon, wraith, harpy or leprechaun? Now you can, and with only a minimum of GM intervention.

Ofequal importance, players who want to extend SnS into the truly epic/gonzo levels now have their wish, with the addition of the Kyrthandrian Legendaries.

These are mythical characters (potential allied heroes and villains both) operating as always, under the SnS philosophy that minimum statistics added to tantalizing minimum descriptions set the GM's mind churning far better than do reams of paper with endless verbiage.

Vastly powerful elder monsters, clever and daring npcs, and even new spells -up to the 10th level- can now enrich the game, though only through adventuring.

Other modifications and additions also appear, such as the companion guard companies of Velkarian generals and admirals, the purchase of imperial offices, a system that allows Renown to be earned by those PCs who dare to take on Hosts single handed...

All of this and more await the adventurer who dares the twilight glory of Kyrthandria.

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