Dungeons. Dragons. Graph paper. Funny dice.

2011 Jul 14 11:24 AM

Torch & Sword Beta 1

My 0e/LBB retro-clone Torch & Sword is nearly complete. Since I’ll be taking a little break from it to work on my new campaign, I decided to release this beta version (PDF, LaTeX source files).

In a few months, I’ll give it a final edit and add one or two bits and bobs, but it’s now pretty close to a complete implementation of the original rules. I also added some art.

Torch & Sword cover preview

Torch & Sword monsters preview

Torch & Sword combat preview

Torch & Sword index preview


James, July 14, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Cool!!! From my quick glance, it looks sharp. And it looks like you’ve packed a hell of a lot of info into 79 pages!

R.W. Chandler, July 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Looking forward to reading over this. It’s obvious you put a lot of effort into the project just looking at the preview here in the post.

Paul, July 14, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Thanks! I’m shooting for a minimal framework with a terse style. There are few Gygaxian prose flourishes here, I’m afraid.

Jensan, July 14, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I agree with both James and R. W., really good work!

I like the clean and minimalistic approach.

Aberrant Hive Mind, July 14, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Nice! Excellent layout, digging the appendix. Are there any rules changes to the original beyond the appendix?

Paul, July 14, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Are there any rules changes to the original beyond the appendix?

I tried to isolate rules additions to the appendix.

Jim, July 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Very cool stuff. Will give it a more thorough read soon. Thanks!

Anonymous, July 14, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Well done Paul, looks great. And I look forward to having a better look at T&S.

ze bulette, July 15, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Whoa, you’ve been busy! Looks great man.

Paul, July 15, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Thanks. It’s coming along.

DHBoggs, July 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM

What the… How is it that I just learned of this today- literally while randomly looking through a blog roll list? Anyway you’ve made a really well laid out and beautifully illustrated retroclone of the 3lbb’s. Really awsome, and looks really close to the source. For combat, I like how you combined FC with the target 20 system - I did basically the same thing as an “alternate” combat system in the Champions of Zed retroclone. Great Stuff Paul.

Paul, July 27, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Thanks! Nice to see you here. I bought Fight On! 12 five minutes ago, and had just started reading ZED article when you left your comment. I’m eager to see the whole book.

To be honest, I haven’t been using FC at the table. My group has settled into S&W’s AAC system, and I find it plays well despite my initial hesitance about it.

Brad, October 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Technical question: Are you writing in LaTex directly or are you converting to LaTex from something? If the latter, what?

Paul, October 25, 2011 at 11:15 AM

I write LaTeX directly in Vim.

Anyone curious about LaTeX but not comfortable with a text editor and raw markup might take a look at Lyx, a word-processor-like LaTeX GUI.

Another options would be to do the bulk of the writing in a simple format like markdown, then convert to LaTeX using pandoc. I have considered going this route myself.

Brad, October 25, 2011 at 8:57 PM

I write my own stuff in org-mode on emacs and export it to LaTex, but that is becoming a bit too limiting. I was thinking of moving over to just writing the tex files directly. Your tex files are a helpful tool. I like the landscape layout. Thanks for posting them.

Dreamscape Design, March 31, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Excellent work so far, I’m looking forward to seeing the final product! Are you planning to include anything from the supplements? I like your approach of keeping any changes to the appendices, I like simulacrums to stick as closely as possible to the original gameplay (that was my goal for Blueholme). And the screen-sized format is a good idea - I know I look at stuff more on screens than in print these days.

Paul, March 31, 2013 at 11:07 AM

It only covers the three LBB’s.

I haven’t touched this project in a long time. “LBB clone” is a well-served niche at this point. It was a very educational experience for me.

At some point, I’ll do one more editing pass on this, tighten up the formatting, and quietly stick on my publications page at

Brendan, March 31, 2013 at 11:24 AM


(For some reason, this post didn’t show up in my feed reader; I only noticed it because I saw a share on Google Plus.)

Brendan, March 31, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Also, I’d be greatly interested in seeing a 1-up digest version of this (better for reading on tablets).

Joseph Bloch, March 31, 2013 at 4:43 PM

What’s the argument for using this rather than, say, Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry?

Paul, March 31, 2013 at 5:39 PM

LL and S&W are probably better choices. Torch & Sword has two possible advantages: it’s extremely terse, and it makes an effort to preserve the ambiguities and lacunae of the LBB’s. Also, all the art is public domain.

Paul, March 31, 2013 at 5:41 PM

(This is an old post, so comments only appear after I approve them.)

Dreamscape Design, March 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

I think that’s why this serves a niche that none of the other clones scratch as yet. It’s a great little package for the electronic age - a lot of people I see at play (and work) now come to the table armed with a tablet. It makes occasions where things can’t proceed because some document or other is missing much less likely.

Mark Strus, April 1, 2013 at 12:15 AM

I really like what you did here. Nice neat little package with all the necessities. I’m wondering though, did the original box include rules for aerial combat? I haven’t seen the white box in years and don’t remember it.

Paul, April 1, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Yes, the original game includes rules for aerial combat based on Mike Carr’s Fight in the Skies WWI game.

Chris, April 6, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Just a suggestion: the character creation quick steps makes it seem as if a PC of a given race can be any class. It says, “Choose a race,” and then the next line is “Pick a class”. But then the next page makes it clear that dwarves, elves and halflings are classes unto themselves, so to speak. You might want to re-word the instructions in the quick steps. Otherwise, great looking rule set!

Gallowglacht, April 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

This is really good. I especially like the inclusion of splintered shields and love the thief class and carousing experience.

Catacomb librarian, April 28, 2017 at 6:55 AM

Where can i buy a print version?

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