Campaign journals, reviews of TTRPG stuff, and musings on D&D.

Swords & Wizardry: White Box Editions

Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules is a retroclone of Original Dungeons & Dragons limited to the first three booklets: Book I: Men & Magic; Book II Monsters & Treasure; Book III: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. These are often called “little brown books” (lbb) or “white box edition” because they were three little brown books that were sometimes packed in a white box.

Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules by Matt Finch and Marv Breig streamline the original booklets, introduce a number of “quality of life” improvements, and present it all in one easily accessible book—without removing the DIY spirit of the original. “First print edition” was released at the dawn of OSR in 2008, “third print edition” in 2010, and now, newest “fourth print edition” in 2024. Due to its bare-bones nature, many, many in the OSR space have taken its framework and made their own games built on it. Such is the raw power of original rules!

Two questions I often see are:

Differences between Swords & Wizardry White Box and White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

The biggest differences between the 4th printing of Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules (WB) and 2.1 version of White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game (FMAG) are layout and order of information. FMAG, by Charlie Mason, is in essence reformatted and slightly modified version of 3rd printing of Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules.

Here is a list of differences:

I did not study monster entries, nor spell descriptions so it is possible there are some minor difference there as well.

Differences between Swords & Wizardry White Box and Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook (Revised)

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook (Revised) (SWCR) pulls in many rules from Original Dungeon & Dragons supplements: Supplement I: Greyhawk; Supplement II: Blackmoor; and Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry. It also includes some clarifications from The Strategic Review and early issues of the Dragon Magazine.

Compared to WB, SWCR has:

Like WB, it is all in one packed tome (just 144 pages!), streamlined and more accessible than the original medley. Matt went out of his way to offer many different ways to do things (e.g. different combat procedures, notes on multi-classing, and so on). To me, SWCR is a great toolbox for experienced Judges who have a good grasp of rules, rulings, and kind of game they want to run. It is chock full with options, while still having gaps that need to be filled in by every Judge. Novice Judges would be better served by WB, which has much less options.

Where to get these different editions

Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules (4th print edition)

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook (Revised)

White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

Swords & Wizardry White Box (previous editions)

Hosted by Smoldering Wizard with permission from Matt Finch.

More questions?

Just leave them in the comment below or email me.


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