House Rules

Use Swords & Wizardry Core Rules with the following house rules.


Armor AC Movement
Naked 10 180′
Shield only 11 180′
Leather armor 12 120′
Leather & shield 13 120′
Chain mail 14 90′
Chain & shield 15 90′
Plate mail 16 60′
Plate & shield 17 60′
+Encumbered 30′





Multi-class fighters, such as elf fighter/magic-users, do not gain the above benefits. Although fighter/magic-users cast spells while wearing armor, they deal only d6 damage and always attack with the bonus of their non-fighter class.


Spell Lvl Potion/Scroll Cost
1 100 gp
2 200 gp
3 400 gp
4 800 gp
5 1,600 gp
6 3,200 gp
7 6,400 gp
8 12,800 gp
9 25,600 gp


Evasion and pursuit

Death and dismemberment

A character who would otherwise die recovers to 1 hp by sacrificing — player’s choice — a finger (once), eye, hand, arm, foot, or leg. Dismemberment incurs no specific mechanical penalty, but a character missing both hands or eyes will encounter significant practical challenges to a continued adventuring career.

Hireling, Experts, and Henchmen

Henchmen and hirelings work for the player characters, although they are non-player characters (NPC’s) controlled by the referee.

Hirelings are normal humans with a single hit die and no attack bonus — regular folks looking to pick up a gold piece or two as a porter or link-boy. They work for a fixed rate, do not share in treasure, and gain no experience. Commensurate with their wages, hirelings tolerate only limited risk. Employers bear the cost of any gear, weapons, and armor.

Like hirelings, experts do a particular short-term job for an agreed fee. Unlike unskilled or semi-skilled hirelings, experts earn their pay by domain knowledge or craft mastery. Experts include sages, animal trainers, and ship captains.

Henchmen have personal loyalty to a player character. They work for a half-share of found treasure. Accordingly, they have a character class, and earn experience.

Player Character Charisma Max. Henchmen Loyalty Score Modifier
3 1 -3
4–5 2 -2
6–8 3 -1
9–12 4 0
13–15 5 +1
16–17 6 +2
18 7 +3

Henchmen tolerate greater risks than hirelings (but not abuse). Each henchman has a loyalty score. Initially, the loyalty score equals d6+7, plus the player character’s charisma modifier.

A henchman’s loyalty score modifies morale checks.

The referee might bump up or down a loyalty score from time to time, depending on the player character’s long-term treatment of the henchman.

Henchman Loyalty Score Morale Check Modifier
3 or less Malcontent. Desertion or betrayal inevitable.
4–5 -2
6–8 -1
9–12 0
13–15 +1
16–17 +2
18+ Always stalwart. Morale never waivers.

A failed morale check due to an extreme situation or demand triggers an immediate loyalty score adjustment. A malcontent henchman might not return for the next delve, might run away immediately, or might even scheme against the player character — biding time until the best/worst opportunity for betrayal.


Player characters only run when the players decide they run. However, the sensitive nerves of henchman and hirelings, as well as monsters and non-player characters, sometimes fail in the face of adversity.

The referee decides when to check morale — perhaps after the first death, or sudden reversal in fortune.

The referee rolls 2d6 to test morale. A result of 6+ means they stay in the fight. The referee might apply a 1–2 point bonus or penalty to the morale roll, depending on circumstances. Remember to add the loyalty modifier when checking morale for henchmen.


  1. Surprise? Base chance of 1–2 in 6. Roll for both sides.
  2. Encounter distance (if not dictated by environment) is the sum of surprise rolls × 10′.
  3. Anyone surprised stands frozen for a turn. Anyone not surprised declares an action:
  4. Check monster (re)action with any situational modifiers
  5. Roll initiative (d6 per side)
  6. Repeat each turn as appropriate:
    1. Check morale of non-player characters, hirelings, monsters
    2. Missile fire
    3. Melee

Monster (Re)actions

Monster reactions may be modified by the situation, rumors about the player characters, bribes, player character charisma, allegiances or antipathies with other dungeon factions, etc.

2d6 Monster (Re)action
2–6 Hostile — immediate attack!
7–9 Uncertain, wait and see (possibly receptive to bribes), or ignore PC’s
10–12 Positive, possibly even helpful