One of the things I didn't mention was Swords & Wizardry not lining up well with everything I wanted.
Don't get me wrong; it's a good system. You can start playing a game in 15 minutes if you have even the most casual experience with D&D, and all the parts are well-fitted.
But it's missing a few things. Specifically, the things that bothered me the most were a lack of morale rules, reaction rules, and a lack of explicit support and guidelines for domain or hex-crawl play.
Those are both easy enough to get around. Higher-level play guides abound across the OSR and are largely agnostic about the exact system. And I could just steal ML scores off of a different version.
Ultimately, however, it got to be one of those roadblocks I was talking about. I wanted to go through the monster selection and add in ML scores in-line, rather than having to look them up or just wholesale use stats from somewhere else. I wanted to splice in rules for henchers/retainers/whatever. I wanted to do a few other things, and it added up to a bunch of work.
Add in that LL/BX is (are) probably the most popular system in the blogosphere, meaning you have a bunch of (admittedly low-effort) conversions if you want to use most things out there, like new classes or spell ideas or whatever, and there's a fair bit to be gained by switching over.
There were some things that were keeping me back. Primary among them were the level-system expansion from 10 to 20 levels, split saves, to-hit matrices and race as class. I'm over these, now.
I like 10 levels. It's nice and clean and doesn't bog down higher-level play. I might even keep it; PCs don't gain much by getting higher level. Or I might cut it off at 15. Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter; levels in the double digits rarely actually happen anyway. It's certainly the end-game, and I can treat it that way while still throwing you a sop for going out adventuring. Or you can retire.
Split saves are kind of a pain. They're a little silly, too, in that they don't necessarily match up well with categories that would be useful in play. That said, they're also a little attractive; there's something 'traditional' about the system. Plus, unlike with a unified save number, you won't forget you have a +2 against poison. At least, not usually.
Related to that is the fact that in LL/BX monster saves are written as 'F3' or 'C1' or whatever. This means I have to look it up on the table. That's not as big a deal as it felt at first, though; the tables are small and easy to read, and I can excise them instead of flipping through the book for them.
The big objection is Race As Class. This was a full-stop no for me for a good long while. Recently, however, I've been re-thinking things, and it doesn't seem that bad. The race/class system with multi-class elves and the like is a little clunky anyway. It's still a little weird, but I'm willing to give it a try and see how I like it.
- Switching over gives me a fairly large set of advantages with low cost. I can more easily use a broader range of material, and it obviates a good set of work I wanted to do to make S&W more to my liking
- Plus, I have the B/X books, so I can compare and decide in any given case. (I also have the LBBs, but S&W is much more different from those than LL is from B/X, and they're hard to read.)
- There are some obstacles that were previously keeping me from seriously considering LL, but I'm over them.
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