Monthly Archives: May, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Contest Winner

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation DayI feel really bad, I said I’d announce the winner of the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Contest on May 10, and while I chose the winner, I didn’t go public with it right away.

I had two entries, Todd Colstrom’s Dazzling Duelist, and Fabio Milito Pagliara’s Kung Fu.

It honestly was difficult to choose between them. Fabio’s had the benefit of simplicity of application, in that each lesson had specific and easily managed effects, and his approach of applying the martial arts rules from the classic Oriental Adventures is remarkably effective and extensible. A broad range of martial arts schools can be generated from this framework quickly and easily. Admittedly, we never got around to figuring out how someone studying two overlapping martial arts would work, but I suspect it’s something of an edge case anyway — deep mastery in two schools get prohibitively expensive.

Todd’s is not quite as easily adjudicated, but isn’t too bad because the lesson benefits are expressed using standard mechanisms. However, it covers a broader range of effects and offers more combat options in play.

Ultimately, I had to go with Todd’s Dazzling Duelist. Fabio’s Kung Fu was good, and the framework suggested potentially very useful for constructing more; I really appreciate the thought that went into the School he submitted. However, as much as the Kung Fu presented is mechanically useful, I have to admit that the Dazzling Duelist had me immediately picturing how it might look in play. For me, that’s very important.

I’m almost glad Fabio didn’t dip into some of the funkier maneuvers in Oriental Adventures. That would have made it really hard.

Old School: Kung Fu

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation DayFabio Milito Pagliara has also provided an Old School for the contest, this one based on material from AD&D 1e Oriental Adventures.

Thinking about it this could be a perfect way for many things, among others martial arts, I would take lead from Oriental Adventure AD&D 1st edition (this is an old school post after all) and bend it to the concept presented here :)

I have toned it down a little and put only “easy” to rule maneveurs (no choking holds/locking parry ecc)

Kung Fu (Hard-Soft style)

Kung Fu is an ancient martial arts learned in dojo, monastery and from traveling masters. Renowed in the area are the Dojo of Master Fei-Lon (in the big city, double the cost, need to convince the master himself to be a worthy student), on the mountain nearby there is the isolated Monastery of Shang-Ki a lesser deity of the zone (LN, fight honoraubly, perfect yourself, protect the weak) where student will be accepted if the swear to follow the teaching of Shang-Ki. A renowed if strange teacher is the (in)famous Jack Lee a peerless master (Fighter 11th + all 10 lesson of this school) but with a strange curse (must get drunk each day before sunset) so while he is an incomparable fighter it’s quite complex to follow him… to be accepted as his student you must drink with him….


  1. My body is a weapon: you can combat without weapons whit no penalty, your attack (kick, punch , knee) do 1d6 damage
  2. defense: in combat you have AC 8 [11]
  3. expertise of attack: you can do 3/2 kung fu attack each round
  4. expertise of defense: you have AC 7 [12]
  5. mastery of attack: you can do 2/1 attack
  6. mastery of defense: you have AC 6 [13]
  7. Iron Fist (attack does 1d8 damage)
  8. Flying Kick (need a running start only attack does 3d6 damage. if attack fail fall prone)
  9. Iron Skin AC 5 [14]
  10. Missile deflection (make save to deflect missiles – arrows, bolt, sling stone ecc)


Simple, straightforward to apply, what’s not to like? May be taken by fighters (warrior-monks), clerics (sohei?), magic-users (this might be unusual, but I admit I like the idea of a mid-level wizard having a 1d8 punch).

Old School: Dazzling Duelist

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation DayTodd Colstrom provided this entry into the Old School contest.

Dazzling Duelist

The Dazzling Duelist uses elaborate moves and showmanship to confuse and defeat his opponent. One must apprentice with a master to learn this art, and finding one can be difficult. They often work as fencing instructors in mundane academies or for royal families and will only pass on their specialized knowledge when they find a pupil worthy of it. The character must be proficient with a rapier and a dagger to receive this training.


  1. Quick Strike: The student learns to use finesse and speed to fight. When using a rapier or dagger, the student may now use their Dexterity in place of Strength to determine to-hit bonus.
  2. Flourish: The student learns to use elaborate moves to confuse opponents during an attack (-1 on next attack roll). Can be used once on each opponent per combat.
  3. Nimble: The student may ignore 10 feet of difficult or cluttered terrain when moving in combat.
  4. Quick Parry: The student gets a +1 bonus to armor class when using a rapier or dagger.
  5. Impressive Flourish: Similar to Flourish except it causes the student’s opponent to lose their next action.
  6. Defensive Stance: The student may not make any attacks that round, but gains +4 to armor class (in addition to the +1 for Quick Parry).
  7. Arrow Parry: The student may deflect one small projectile (arrow, dart, etc.) per round.
  8. Acrobatic: As nimble, but the student ignores up to 20 feet of difficult terrain in combat.
  9. Quick Blade: After a successful attack, the student may make a second attack roll at -4.
  10. Grand Display: Similar to Flourish except the student causes all opponents able to see him to lose their next action. Can only be used once per combat.


Overall I quite like it. I might make a couple of small changes (replace “Impressive Flourish” with “Riposte: when an opponent misses you because of your Quick Parry or Defensive Stance, you can make a free attack against that opponent”, and perhaps have Grand Display cause opponents to become shaken instead of unable to act for a round), but that’s more a matter of taste than anything. I could use this as written.