Friday, August 12, 2016

Sword Peddler's Sword & Backpack - mini review

A while back, the Tinkerage attempted an XD20-style hack of the minimalist d20 RPG Sword and Backpack.

The Sword Peddler has, without a doubt, done a much more elegant and concise job.

For the purposes of a review, the Sword Peddler's Sword & Backpack rules can be summarized as:

  • To do anything, roll higher than a target number (or your opponent) on a d20.
  • If the roll relates directly to your job, add 5 to your roll.
  • A PC can take up to 5 "hits" – failed rolls – in combat. NPCs and Monsters can take more or fewer "hits" or "rounds" to be defeated.
There's more color and guidance than this, but that's as minimalist and flexible as an RPG can be, while providing a systematic framework for play. 


  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'm messing around with a one-page pocketbook version (a la Microlite) with the vague intention of giving it out for International Game @ Your Library Day in November, with the addition of your "Rough Chances" table for a little more structure when it comes to deciding what number should be rolled.

  2. Definitely a good idea to use something like "Rough Chances" to add grades of difficulty to S&B. I also had the idea of giving some "tough" opponents a small bonus of their own on the opposed roll. I hope you come up with something good for Game @ Your Library Day.

  3. Right now I'm using your And Play as the basis for a one-page pocket book, converting the Rough Chances table to D6. I suspect it could be converted to Sword/Play by just using the original table and changing HP from "strikes" to "stamina;" otherwise they're essentially the same game.

  4. Why not instead of adding v=five to the roll you subtract 5 from the difficulty and there s no math to slow down the game.