Swords & Spells

I was kind of dreading this book a bit, expecting a lot of tedious miniatures rules that I’d mostly skip. However, even though there were some very dry bits, it turned out to be quite a quick read (unlike Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes).

Probably the most interesting parts of these older books are the Forewords and Introductions. They give a feel for what was going through the heads of the authors at the time and provide context to everything.

One thing that stands out about this book is the increasing level of polish. Like the increasing levels of design and layout exhibited by the Strategic Review and Dragon magazines as more issues were published. It’s clear to see the advancements in skill that Gygax, Tim Kask and TSR were gaining. Nicely laid out tables, new fonts, and some really good artwork by Dave Sutherland.

I like the detailed morale system with different levels of failure and rules for things like how other friendly groups may increase or decrease the status of another group. Also how units such as commanders or elite troops will embolden the regulars.

Other than that, I’m not going to go into any detail about the rules. They seem reasonably good for whatever my opinion is worth. Basically a nice progression from Chainmail.

Date Information

The Acaeum reckons July but I gather that’s based on the date at the end of the Foreword – July 22. So it’s more likely it was actually published in August. The July issue of Strategic Preview (#5) only mentions GD&H. It’s not till SP#6 in September that we get a mention that it’s available. Likewise Dragon #2 in August doesn’t mention it but there’s an ad in Dragon #3 in October. Enworld says August. DriveThruRPG says August. Finally, the copyright registration date is August. And I’m placing it after Dragon #2.