B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: Cover!

(C) Illustration Andrew Walter
What can I say? The full, psychedelic majesty of Andrew Walter, unleashed.

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: Almost Done!

The last few illustrations for the book are coming in! Pieces from Kyle Latino and Sean Poppe can be seen in the layout preview above.

This is always the most exciting part of a project for me, seeing it finally all coming together. The green squares that I use as image placeholders during layout being replaced with actual artwork.

This is going to be a really nice looking book. And a book that I've always wanted myself for use at the table. A 34 page, digest-size booklet containing just the B/X cleric and magic-user spells. And loads of artwork.

Publication planned for early February.

Dolmenwood: Where Can PCs Get What They Want?

Following on from my recent world-building article, which posed a series of questions on where different items and services can be acquired in a campaign setting, this post provides answers (or at least hints of answers) to those questions in the Dolmenwood setting.

Many of these things will be elaborated upon in future issues of Wormskin or in the in-development Dolmenwood Campaign Book.

People / beasts for hire:

  1. Hirelings: Castle Brackenwold, Prigwort, and Lankshorn are the most likely places.
  2. Torch-bearers / porters: Villagers in any settlement marked on the map may be willing.
  3. Mercenaries: Serious military hirelings can only be located in Castle Brackenwold.
  4. Sailors: River sailors congregate in Dreg and the docks at Fort Vulgar.
  5. Dogs (war / guard / hunting / etc): Castle Brackenwold or Prigwort.
  6. Mounts: Castle Brackenwold. There are no serious horse markets within Dolmenwood. (Farm animals and ponies are sold at the market in Prigwort.)
  7. Guides: Villagers in any settlement marked on the map may act as guides in their local area. Guides with a wider knowledge of the forest are best found in Prigwort or Castle Brackenwold.
  8. Other specialists (assassins, spies, blacksmiths, alchemists, etc): Generally, Castle Brackenwold is the place to look for such people. The most famed alchemist in Dolmenwood is the enigmatic Madame Thornwaif.
  9. Engineers and building crew: Castle Brackenwold or larger cities to the south.


  1. Gambling dens: The infamous gambling halls of Chateau Shantywood are supposedly the finest in Dolmenwood. Nearby Dreg also has all manner of gambling possibilities.
  2. Bars / pubs: Any settlement, but Prigwort is most renowned.
  3. Exclusive clubs: One establishment that is open to non-nobles (indeed, anyone who can pay the exorbitant membership fee) is the Sardineers Club, a heavily fortified and ensorcelled pleasure barge that plies the dubious waters of Lake Longmere.
  4. Ball rooms: Outside of village barn dances and private functions of the nobility, nothing is really found within Dolmenwood.
  5. Bath houses: The fairy bath house of the Hag-Queen Thorn-Rosy is the most fabled location. Otherwise, the Oaf in the Oast, in Prigwort, is popular.
  6. Brothels: Chateau Shantywood and Dreg offer all manner of possibilities.
  7. Guilds / orders / colleges / secret societies to join: The Thieves’ Guild of Castle Brackenwold (said to be somewhere in the catacombs beneath the city). The witches are open to accepting women of the right kind to their sect. The Church of the One True God is always open to those of a pious nature. The Royal College of Sorcery has a minor presence in Castle Brackenwold. (It is not normally possible for a PC to join the Drune, as membership is hereditary.)


  1. Herbs (wolfsbane, garlic): The Man of Gold apothecary in Lankshorn and Wyrmspittle the Herbalist in Prigwort sell all manner of common herbs.
  2. Potions: Both the Man of Gold apothecary in Lankshorn and Wyrmspittle the Herbalist in Prigwort both sell magical healing salves of minor degree. Madame Thornwaif may have such items for sale, if she can be located. Otherwise, consultation with a witch is your best bet.
  3. Items that grant bonuses against special attacks (poison, disease, paralysis, energy drain, etc): Both the Man of Gold apothecary in Lankshorn and Wyrmspittle the Herbalist in Prigwort both sell a small selection of such items.
  4. Alchemical / lab equipment for magic item creation: Some items could be bought or commissioned in Castle Brackenwold, but much would need to be imported from the south.
  5. Enchanted armour or weapons: Truly enchanted items are not commonly for sale.
  6. Fancy clothing: Brandybiles, in Prigwort, tailors the most fashionable attire in the region.
  7. Gems / jewellery: For high-end pieces, Spathewhat’s, in Castle Brackenwold, is the top choice. The Sea of Stars jeweller’s shop in Prigwort trades in les expensive items, especially unset gems.
  8. Customised clothes (sigils, insignias, etc): Brandybiles in Prigwort is the best bet for customised items.
  9. Weapons and armour sized for small characters: Armourers in Prigwort and Castle Brackenwold can be commissioned for such work. Specialist moss dwarf armour types can only be bought in (or ordered from) Orbswallow.
  10. Weapons and armour of exceptional make (that grant bonuses): The bladesmith in Lankshorn is said to craft the finest swords in the region.
  11. Customised weapons and armour (engraved, insignias, etc): Blacksmiths in any settlement could take on such work, but the bladesmith in Lankshorn is renowned as the finest choice.
  12. Land for sale: The whole forest of Dolmenwood is the property of the Duke. Leaseholds on plots in the vicinity of Prigwort, Odd, Dreg, and Meagre’s Reach can be bought from the Ducal Surveyors’ Guild in Castle Brackenwold. Land in the debated lands to the north of the forest can be acquired on a freehold basis.
  13. Booze / pipeweed / drugs: Prigwort is top choice for all kinds of alcohol. Pipeweed of average quality can be bought in most taverns throughout the wood (it is all imported from the south). Various psychedelics (including fungi) are sold by peddlers, witches, and (notoriously) the Man of Gold, in Lankshorn. The moss dwarf village of Orbswallow is renowned as producing the finest pipes in the region.
  14. Unusual equipment (telescopic poles, repeating crossbows, caltrops, etc): Military suppliers in Castle Brackenwold may be able to order specialist items of this kind. There is no “one stop shop” for this kind of stuff.
  15. Alchemical items (smoke bombs, acid, etc): The enigmatic Madame Thornwaif may be able to manufacture such items, if her laboratory deep in the woods can be located.
  16. Poisons: Dolmenwood is rife with poisonous fungi, which are sometimes sold on the black market. Wyrmspittle the Herbalist, in Prigwort, sometimes has such items. Witches are another possible source.


  1. Teachers / trainers: The most renowned members of various classes are as follows. They may be willing to teach PCs:
    • Warriors: Lord Borrid the Huntmaster (his lodge is in the south-west of the forest). Sir Waverly the Orange (unbested in any jousting tourney; dwells between Castle Brackenwold and Fort Vulgar).
    • Thieves: The Masterful Shydewicke (aka “the Shade”) is without a doubt the most famed thief in Dolmenwood, though his whereabouts is a mystery. The infamous undead highwayman Dewidort of Smerne could also be included in this category.
    • Magic-Users: Mostlemyre of Prigwort (specialist in meta-magic and dweomer-raveling), Merridwyn Scymes (vivimancer), the Lady Ygraine (illusion and fairy magic), Paronax the Enwisened of Blackeswell (dimensionalist). Professor Woglemain of the Royal College of Sorcery office in Castle Brackenwold. The High Priestesses of the witches and the Drune Aegis could also be included here, though they seldom have dealings with those outside of their respective sects.
    • Clerics: The Bishop of Brackenwold is the religious authority in the region. The famed Friar Baldry the Nonchalant wanders the paths of Dolmenwood. The Venerable Laurenne (a living saint) is known to come to Dolmenwood for special quests.
  2. Patrons / quest givers: The Bishop of Brackenwold may sponsor expeditions to rediscover or restore lost shrines. Mostlemyre of Prigwort may hire people to gather odd components for magical procedures. If one can get in the good books of a witch, she might pay for psychedelics or other magical components.
  3. New spells to learn: Most wizards undertake research on their own; spells are not commonly bought and sold. The wizards mentioned above in teachers/trainers may be open to swapping spells or scrolls.
  4. Magic item identification: Mostlemyre of Prigwort offers this service.
  5. Deciphering unknown languages: Philontimus the Wizened, resident in Odd, is a sage specialising in dead languages and ancient religion. Lord Malbleat is a recognised authority on foreign tongues.
  6. Maps: Overviews of the main roads, settlements, and geographical features can be bought in Castle Brackenwold. Detailed maps of Dolmenwood as a whole are not commonly available. Detailed maps of specific areas exist in libraries (Castle Brackenwold, Harrowmoor Keep).
  7. Knowledge about history: The libraries of Harrowmoor Keep are famed repositories of lore, and the Lady Harrowmoor a renowned expert. Philontimus the Wizened, of Odd, is famed for his knowledge of ancient religious practices.
  8. How to overcome unusual effects: Consultation with a witch or with Mostlemyre of Prigwort are the best options.
  9. Plant / fungus / monster identification: Madame Thornwaif is a renowned expert on the flora and fauna of Dolmenwood, along with their uses in alchemical brewing. The location of her residence is not common knowledge, however.
  10. Rumours: Any tavern in any settlement.
  11. True names: The Lords and Ladies of Fairy may possess such secrets, but would only betray them to mortals in exchange for outrageous gifts (or in times of extreme need). The Lady Ygraine is said to have the deepest knowledge among mortals of fairy-kind.


  1. Get a curse removed: Witches are famed for their powers to curse and uncurse.
  2. Get wounds healed: Witches are rumoured to possess arts of healing. Also see Potions, above. There are said to be a number of lost shrines in the forest with healing powers. (Clergy of the One True God are not generally clerics, and thus have no miraculous powers.)
  3. Specialised healing (diseases, blindness, etc): Witches are rumoured to possess arts of healing. There are also said to be a number of lost shrines in the forest with healing powers. (Clergy of the One True God are not generally clerics, and thus have no miraculous powers.)
  4. Resurrection: Is only known in religious mythology. It is not a service that one can buy.
  5. Auguries and divination: Witches.
  6. Get armour / weapons / other gear repaired: A blacksmith in any settlement can perform basic repairs.
  7. Sell valuable items at a good price: Castle Brackenwold and Prigwort are the best places to sell items, due to the number of potential buyers (merchants and/or specialist establishments).
  8. Sell highly unusual items: Shadwell and Furrougby Esquire, in Castle Brackenwold (specialist in art, antiquities, and curiosities), is a popular location among treasure hunters.
  9. Sell magic items: Selling items is difficult. One of the wizards of renown (see teachers, above) may be interested in specific items. Witches sometimes exchange magic items for services.
  10. Sell questionable loot without any questions asked: On a small scale, the taverns of Dreg are likely places to find fences. For larger items, the Thieves’ Guild in Castle Brackenwold is the best bet (if one can find them).
  11. Safely store money / treasure: Branches of the Emeraude Bank exist in Prigwort and Castle Brackenwold. For storage in personal property, the services of Greydobe, master locksmith and safesmith (Castle Brackenwold) may be acquired.
  12. Money changing: The Emeraude Bank provides this service (see safe money storage, above).
  13. Get tattoos: The Roost, in Dreg, is a seedy establishment, but has a talented tattooist.
  14. Teleportation: Not a commonly available service, but Mostlemyre of Prigwort would be a good starting point to ask.
  15. Magical warding of a building / location: A Guild of Enchanters operates in the region, providing such services. Their guildhouse in Castle Brackenwold can advise on the costs and contractuals.
  16. Raise attributes / recover lost attribute points: A witch may be able to heal lost points or provide a charm to temporarily increase attributes. Fairy magic is said to be able to permanently increase one’s natural aptitudes.

Return of the Vivimancer!

Exciting news! Twisted bio-research is back in fashion!

Yesterday's announcement from James Raggi (Lamentations of the Flame Princess):

LotFP has come to an agreement with Gavin Norman  (The Complete Vivimancer, Dolmenwood) to write a new supplement! 
The working title is "A Treatise on Biological and Chemical Manipulation For The Purpose of The Creation and Alteration of Living Creatures, Including Game Mechanics, For Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other Traditional Tabletop Role-Playing Games by Gavin Norman, Master of Science" 
It will be a brand new rules subsystem for OSR games, inspired by the likes of Frankenstein, Herbert West: Reanimator, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau, X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes, The Fly, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Jurassic Park, Weird Science, The Nutty Professor, Flubber, etc. 
Release date: Wheneverthehell. As usual.

Work on the rules is already under way.

Dolmenwood Campaign Book

Since my last post, nearly two months ago, on the subject of the Dolmenwood hardcover books, I've been reconsidering my approach. My original plan was to finish and publish the book of monsters first. My new plan is to first publish a "campaign book" -- that is, a book for referees that describes the setting and lays out the contents of every single hex on the map.

Advantages of finishing the campaign book first:

  • I think it's more fundamental to the setting than the book of monsters. The campaign book is what allows people to seriously run Dolmenwood games. The book of monsters does not have that same impact.
  • It should be significantly cheaper to produce. To publish the book of monsters to the quality I desire will be an expensive undertaking -- full colour illustrations of 100+ monsters do not come cheap! The campaign book, on the other hand, will not be so illustration heavy (or at least will not require a certain minimum number of pieces), hence a more sensible choice for the first hardcover.
Here's a very rough table of contents, showing my ideas, at this stage, as to what the book will contain:

  • Introduction
  • Dolmenwood
    • Themes
    • People
      • Mortal races
      • Fairy races
  • History
  • Culture
    • Religion
    • The river trade
    • Merchants
    • Languages
    • etc...
  • Referee's Gazetteer
    • The High Wold
    • Castle Brackenwold
    • Lake Longmere
    • The ley lines and nodals
    • The Witching Ring and the Summerstones
    • The Valley of Wise Beasts
    • etc...
  • Factions
    • Drune
    • Witches
    • Atanuwe, King of the Wood
    • The Church
      • Saints
    • The Duchy of Brackenwold
      • Knights
    • Goatlords of the High Wold
    • Fairy Lords and Ladies
      • The Cold Prince
  • Other Powers
    • Big Chook / Gheillough
    • Ygraine
  • Faction relationship chart
  • Campaigns
    • Hex crawl sandbox
    • The return of the Cold Prince
    • War!
  • Hex Descriptions

Now, I can't claim that this is "coming soon", by any means. It'll take a lot of writing to finish it off (especially the hex descriptions), and I have other projects ahead of this in the pipeline. My hope is to get it finished in 2018, though.

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells -- Layout Preview

I've got about half of the illustrations in for Cleric and Magic-User Spells now, so the planned February publication date is looking good.

I realised that I've not shared any previews of the book yet, so this post remedies that situation!

Here's an example spread (including an illustration of the spell disintegrate, by +Thomas Novosel).

A few points of note:

  • The bolded saving throws really call out which spells (and under which circumstances) allow a save.
  • The text of most spells (excluding those whose descriptions are really short) is broken down into bullet points, for quick parsing.
  • Reversed spells are called out under their own sub-heading.
  • Differences in the range / duration of reversed spells are noted up front.
  • The traditional but somewhat vague "Range: 0" has been replaced by more helpful descriptions.

What Do PCs Want?

I've recently been putting a bit of high-level thought into the Dolmenwood setting, asking myself whether there are any important things that are, thus far, entirely missing from the setting or from the campaign map. Writing up hex descriptions for Wormskin is very much a "zoomed in" task, where one's thought is on a small local region and a cluster of interesting landmarks within it. Working in that way, it's easy to lose track of the larger picture, so I wanted to zoom out and look at things more broadly.

One way of looking at this, I thought, would be to come up with a list of "things that adventurers want to do in a campaign world", and make sure all (or most) of those things can be found on the Dolmenwood map. To that end, I made a post on google+ to brainstorm the list. There was a great response and (as I'd suspected) a lot of ideas that I hadn't thought of myself.

In this post, I compile the results, divided into categories. The lists can be used by anyone setting up or developing a campaign world, as a means of making sure a set of common bases is covered. Of course, not all of these things will exist in every campaign setting. For example, in Dolmenwood, I don't envisage there being any easily available means of resurrection available to PCs.

Also, I'm sure the lists are not complete and could be extended in many different directions. Hopefully he most common things are covered, though.


Hired Help and Hench-Beasts
People and animals for hire / purchase.
  • Hirelings.
  • Torch-bearers / porters.
  • Mercenaries.
  • Sailors.
  • Dogs (war / guard / hunting / etc).
  • Mounts.
  • Guides.
  • Other specialists (assassins, spies, blacksmiths, alchemists, etc).
  • Engineers and building crew.
Where one can do specific activities for fun or profit.
  • Gambling dens.
  • Bars / pubs.
  • Exclusive clubs.
  • Ball rooms.
  • Bath houses.
  • Brothels.
  • Guilds / orders / colleges / secret societies to join.
Things for sale. (Standard equipment and arms are assumed and thus not mentioned in the list.)
  • Herbs (wolfsbane, garlic).
  • Potions.
  • Items that grant bonuses against special attacks (poison, disease, paralysis, energy drain, etc).
  • Alchemical / lab equipment for magic item creation.
  • Spell components (if used).
  • Enchanted armour or weapons.
  • Fancy clothing.
  • Gems / jewllery.
  • Customised clothes (sigils, insignias, etc).
  • Weapons and armour sized for small characters.
  • Weapons and armour of exceptional make (that grant bonuses).
  • Customised weapons and armour (engraved, insignias, etc).
  • Land for sale.
  • Booze / pipeweed / drugs.
  • Unusual equipment (telescopic poles, repeating crossbows, caltrops, etc).
  • Alchemical items (smoke bombs, acid, etc).
  • Poisons.

Information that is beyond the skills of player characters to easily achieve themselves. Often provided by sages, libraries, magic-users, witches, oracles, etc.

  • Teachers / trainers.
  • Patrons / quest givers.
  • New spells to learn.
  • Magic item identification.
  • Deciphering unknown languages.
  • Maps.
  • Knowledge about history.
  • Lore about specific people, places, items, beasts, etc.
  • How to overcome unusual effects.
  • Plant / fungus / monster identification.
  • Rumours.
  • True names.

Things that adventurers commonly want someone else to do for them.

  • Get a curse removed.
  • Get wounds healed.
  • Specialised healing (diseases, blindness, etc).
  • Resurrection.
  • Auguries and divination.
  • Get armour / weapons / other gear repaired.
  • Sell valuable items at a good price.
  • Sell highly unusual items.
  • Sell magic items.
  • Sell questionable loot without any questions asked.
  • Safely store money / treasure.
  • Money changing.
  • Get tattoos.
  • Teleportation.
  • Magical warding of a building / location.
  • Raise attributes / recover lost attribute points.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the brainstorming!

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells -- Foreword

Illustration by Luka Rejec

As part of the final stages of preparing the next book in the B/X Essentials line, I just finished writing the foreword. I always enjoy this part of the process; it's a sign that the writing of a book is really finished, and is a nice chance to include some notes on my intentions and experiences developing it.

Here's what I've written about Cleric and Magic-User Spells:


This book is, primarily, an aid for players of the standard spell-casting classes: clerics, elves, and magic-users (as presented in B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment). The descriptions of the spells available to these classes are undoubtedly the most common thing players of magic-using characters find themselves referring to during play. This book—consisting solely of spell descriptions, separated from the clutter of other rules—is thus an eminently useful gaming aid.

Aside from its usefulness to players of the standard spell-casting classes, the descriptions of standard spells are essential for the referee. Many monsters are able to cast cleric or magic-user spells, and numerous magic items replicate or reproduce the effects of these spells.

In writing this book, I have continued to place heavy focus on the usability of the text during play. To this end, in contrast to the usual “block of text” style of spell presentation, I have broken down each spell’s description into logical chunks:

  • Different rules aspects of a spell are broken out into bullet points for quick reference.
  • If a spell has multiple possible uses, these are broken out and numbered. (For example, the humble light spell has three separate usages: conjuring light, blinding a creature, and dispelling darkness.)

Thus, the presentation of spells in this book is somewhat different (and I hope easier to reference!) than what you will find in the original Basic/Expert books or indeed in other gaming books. In addition to this approach to organising spell descriptions, I made the following usability enhancements:

  • All uses of spells that allow a saving throw are highlighted with bold text.
  • Spell ranges of 0 or 0’ (which are applied somewhat inconsistently in the Basic/Expert rules) are replaced with a clear verbal description. (e.g. “Range: The caster”, instead of “Range: 0”.)
  • Likewise, spells with touch range have the additional clarification that a spell caster may cast them upon him- or herself.
  • I have added a description for the mythical detect invisible spell, famously missing from the Basic rules (an error that was, curiously, not corrected in the Expert rules!).

It is important to note, however, that I have not attempted to clarify all ambiguities in the spell descriptions. The relatively minimal descriptions of the Basic/Expert spells sometimes lead to areas of uncertainty, where the effects or limitations of a spell are not thoroughly specified. This is regarded as a charming feature of the rule set and an encouragement for the referee to make a ruling as to how such spells work in his or her campaign. I have been careful to not resolve such uncertainties, except in rare cases where an actual contradiction was present.

One prominent area of unclarity is worth discussing specifically: a number of spells have effects that depend on the caster maintaining concentration. No strict definition of the requirements for concentrating are given in the Basic/Expert rules, thus some degree of referee interpretation is required. One spell­—conjure elemental—mentions that the caster may not engage in combat or cast other spells while concentrating. The referee may wish to apply these stipulations to other spells that require concentration.

Once more, it is my hope that this book will play some small part in the furtherance of this timeless and beloved game and prove useful as a reference for those already familiar with its charms.

Gavin Norman, Winter 2017, Berlin.

Dolmenwood / B/X: Hunter Class

Contemplating character classes in Dolmenwood, I've been going back and forth on whether to introduce any sub-classes. On the one hand, I love the simplicity of the core B/X classes and their flexibility in representing a broad range of archetypes. On the other hand, there are certainly some Dolmenwood-specific archetypes that would be nice to call out explicitly. The most obvious examples are: witches, knights, friars, and some kind of woodsman or hunter.

I've considered the possibility of making "prestige classes" (to use the modern terminology) for some of these character types. A knight, for example, could work nicely that way: a fighter, at some point in his or her career, swears an oath of fealty and gains some different class abilities / restrictions as a result.

Other archetypes seem to really just work better as proper classes, though.

Here's one that manifested today. (Thanks to Jeff Sparks for his blog post that inspired some of my initial thoughts on this character class.)

Ability Scores: Minimum CON 9, minimum WIS 9
Prime Requisite: DEX
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 14
Allowed Armour: Leather, shields
Allowed Weapons: Any
Languages: Alignment language, Woldish

Hunters are humans who are at home in the wilds of the forest, being experts at stealth, tracking, and combat.

Class Abilities
Animal companions: Once per level (including at 1st level, before the character reaches 2nd level), a hunter may attempt to forge a connection with an animal. The hunter must approach the animal in a peaceful manner, and the referee must make a reaction roll (with a +1 bonus and any normal modifiers from the character’s CHA). If the result is 8 or greater, the animal becomes the hunter’s companion. Animal companions understand basic commands from the hunter (even if their species would not normally do so) and will fight to defend the hunter, never checking morale. Both wild and domestic animals may be approached in this way, but the creature may not have greater Hit Dice than the hunter. Animal companions are counted as retainers, thus the hunter’s CHA score limits how many the character may have.

Combat: Hunters can use any type of weapon, but may only wear leather armour, due to their need for stealth. They may use shields.

Foraging and hunting: A hunter’s knowledge of animal behaviour and the wilds increases his or her chance of finding food. A party that includes a hunter has a 2-in-6 chance of success when foraging and a 5-in-6 chance of encountering prey when hunting.

Hiding: With sufficient cover in the wilderness, a hunter has a 5-in-6 chance of going unnoticed when hiding. The character may also attempt to move while remaining hidden, but this requires a DEX check.

Identify fungi: A hunter has a 1-in-6 chance of being able to identify fungi (see Wormskin issue one).

Missile attack bonus: Hunters’ keen coordination grants them +1 on any missile attacks. Successful missile attacks against surprised creatures also inflict +2 damage.

Surprise: When successfully hiding, a hunter’s chance of surprising other creatures is increased by 2-in-6. (This means that most creatures -- normally surprised on 2-in-6 -- are now surprised on 4-in-6.)

Tracking: Hunters know how to read the subtle signs left by a creature’s passage through the natural environment. Under favourable conditions, a hunter can find and follow tracks without fail. More difficult conditions (e.g. if the tracks are old, cover hard ground, or are actively being concealed) require an INT check.

Trophies: After hunting down (i.e. tracking, ambushing, or chasing) and slaying a creature, a hunter may take a trophy from it (e.g. a stag’s horns, the claw of a wyrm, etc). If the hunter either keeps the trophy on his or her person or mounts it in his or her home, it acts as a charm, granting the hunter a +1 bonus to all attack rolls against other creatures of the same type and a +1 bonus to saving throws against their special attacks.

Wayfinding: A party that includes a hunter has a reduced chance of getting lost in forests, mountains, or marshes. Instead of rolling a d6 to check whether the party gets lost each day, the referee should roll a d12. (The range of results on which the party gets lost remains the same, e.g. a 2-in-12 chance in forests.)

Reaching 9th Level
Upon reaching 9th level, a hunter may establish a lodge in the wilderness. 2d4 hunters of 1st level will find their way to the lodge to serve the character.

Level Progression Chart

Saving Throws
Work in Progress...
  • As with the Dolmenwood elf class that I posted recently, this class is (so far) entirely un-playtested.
  • All feedback is most welcome!

B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment Print Editions

  • This second book lays out the standard classes of adventurer and the ways in which characters can spend their hard-earned treasure, including: arms, adventuring gear, mounts, sea vessels, mercenaries, specialists, and (eventually!) castles and strongholds.
  • Beautifully illustrated by seven high-level old-school artists. Precisely laid out for ease of reference, minimising page flipping.
  • Premium print edition: Staple bound, so it lays flat at the table. Produced with the premium printing process, for beautiful, crisp text and images.
  • Standard print edition: Perfect bound edition.
  • PDF: Fully linked table of contents, index of tables, and internal cross-references.

Fun with numbers: Will B/X Essentials have a higher page count than B/X?

There's a thread about the first B/X Essentials book at Dragonsfoot. A couple of people in the thread (or maybe it was just one, I forget) were grumbling about the page count of my books being higher than the original B/X books.

Can this be?

The dumb answer to the question is: yes, the total page count will be higher.

But it's a deceptive question and the wrong one to be asking. Simply comparing page count isn't a useful metric, as the books are different sizes -- B/X Essentials is printed at 6" x 9", whereas B/X has much larger US Letter pages (8.5" x 11"). It's clearly possible to fit much more on a Letter sized page than it is on a 6" x 9" page.

I was mulling this over earlier and decided to do some calculations, in order to get some real data, rather than just guesswork. So:

  • B/X comes to 128 pages at 8.5" x 11". That makes for a total page surface area of 11,968 square inches.
  • A single 6" x 9" page is 54 square inches.
  • That means 221.6 pages of that size would have the same surface area as the 128 Letter pages of B/X.
  • The books that I've laid out so far have the following page counts: 34 (Core Rules), 44 (Classes and Equipment), 34 (Cleric and Magic-User Spells), for a current total of 112 pages.
  • That leaves me 109 pages for the last two books (4: Monsters; 5: Adventures and Treasures).
  • As the print format I'm going for (staple-bound) has a maximum of 48 pages, the complete B/X Essentials line will, by definition, come in at most at 208 pages (112 + 48 + 48), for a total of 11,232 square inches of page surface area.
  • Thus, in the name of mathematics: take that, page count naysayers! :D

B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment: Illustrated PDF Out Now!

I am delighted to announce the publication of B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment!

This is the second book in the B/X Essentials series, and contains the rules for the standard seven character classes (cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief) and equipment from weapons, armour, and ten foot poles all the way up to mounts, sea vessels, and castles!


I shall be starting the print setup process forthwith! Print editions (and the print / PDF bundle) expected to go live in the next two weeks.

Note: unlike with the previous book in this series, people who buy the PDF now will not receive a discount coupon for the print / PDF bundle. This is due to limitations of the OBS coupons system. If you want the print / PDF bundle, please be patient. It should be out in a couple of weeks.

The guiding principles of this series are:
  • Basic and Expert rules seamlessly combined.
  • Streamlined presentation optimised for ease of reference during play.
  • Meticulously researched; a guaranteed 100% accurate rendition of the classic rules of yesteryear.
  • Carefully clarified, ironing out ambiguities in the original rules.
(See here for more details on B/X Essentials, including an FAQ.)