In 1974, Gary Gygax (1938-2008) and Dave Arneson (1947-2009) wrote the world’s first fantasy role-playing game, a simple and very flexible set of rules that launched an entirely new genre of gaming. In 1976, the first supplement to these rules was published, with Rob Kuntz as Mr. Gygax’s co-author, along with three other supplements. We call these rules the “Original Game.”
What you are reading is an unofficial, “restated” version of the rules of the Original Game, created using the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License. It is not an exact reproduction, mainly for legal reasons; but in the 1970s, no group of gamers played precisely the same version of the Original Game anyway. The ‘70s was a decade of freaky improvisation, weird fantasy, and rebellion. And that’s Swords & Wizardry. If that’s how you roll, all the rest is just details.
The Swords & Wizardry rules are short compared to the multi-paged rule-libraries required to play most modern role-playing games, yet this game contains within itself all the seeds and soul of mythic fantasy, the building blocks of vast complexity, the kindling of wonder. The Original Game is so powerful because it is encapsulated in a small formula, like a genie kept imprisoned in the small compass of an unremarkable lamp. Take this framework, and then imagine the hell out of it!