S&W Solo: City of Spires (Session 0)

Reminder: You can link directly to any of my posted solo sessions from the Campaign Logs page.

I don’t know if it’s a good idea to create a second campaign while my Pits and Perils solo campaign is still ongoing, but I’m going to give it a shot since I’m itching to try out a multi-character delve into a randomly generated dungeon.


Theme-wise, I’m aiming to explore a sprawling, forgotten undercity in the vein of Tekumel’s Jakalla, inspired by Dyson Logo’s awesome My Private Jakalla maps (although I won’t be using premade maps). In essence, this will mean an almost infinitely large, flattened dungeon with numerous exits to a thriving city (the City of Spires, whose founding and true name were lost before history began) above. I hope for the campaign to feature primarily dungeon game play but feature some above ground political adventuring, job seeking, etc.

Game System

For rules I’ll be using Swords and Wizardry due to the easy of creating characters. I’ll be rolling standard Cleric, Fighting Man, and Magic users as well as my own implementation of a bare-bones thief class that is easier to run than the one included in later systems. PCs will start with max (adjusted for CON) HP at first level, and then will reroll HP each level after that. If the HD roll is less that the current HP, they will gain 1 HP.

Stat Bonuses: All characters with ST/DX high enough will receive bonus to-hit or to-AC (max +1 for non-fighters). I figure this represents intrinsic advantages to being fast and strong. In a fight between two equally untrained guys, the stronger and faster one will win.

Weapon Damage: All weapons deal d6 damage. Characters have the following options:

Weapon and Shield: +1 AC (cleric and fighting man only)

Dual wield: +1 to-hit (fighting man only)

Two-handed: +1 to damage (cleric and fighting man only)

Skill checks: I may add a skill check system for S&W, which basically functions as: roll a d20 and add a difficulty modifier. If the result is less than or equal to the character’s relevant stat, they succeed. If the skill is related to their class, they can add their level to their stat. I.e., a level 3 magic user with 16 INT would have to roll 19 or less to succeed in a difficulty 0 “lore” test.

Encumbrance: I will be using Pits and Perils’s awesome encumbrance rules. You can carry ten times, not including the armor you are wearing. Particularly large items may take an extra slot (like a chest or carried suit of armor). You can carry up to 1000 coins. Anything more than this and you start taking penalties to movement. This abstractly represents all of the gear you can fit in a backpack, in pouches, etc.

Oracles: I will be using Mythic, the Game Master’s Apprentice deck, and possibly other oracles like a tarot deck in order to run the GM side of the game. I haven’t decided whether to use a dungeon generator or to simply use Mythic to explore. I may just use something like Four Against Darkness to draw the maps and published rules from various OSR sources to stock it.

Party Size

I will be role playing as a single PC and will use some GM judgment and some Mythic to determine the behavior of the other characters, although NPCs that gain a class will all be generally motivated to explore and profit, the way a group of real PCs would be (ie., they will not be subject to the same checks an NPC hireling is–at least I don’t think they will be).


Alindor, Lawful Male Cleric
13 09 07 12 15 10 15
Level 1 (0/1500 xp +10% bonus)
HP: 5/5     AC: 15
Weapon(s) | To-hit | Damage
-Mace         +1       d6
Armor: Chain and shield
-Spell Casting (1|0)
-Turn undead
-+2 save vs poison/paralysis
1) Bedroll
2) Rations (7)
3) Waterskin
Purse: 15 gp 8 sp

I believe that Alindor will become my “main” PC. I usually like to play magic-users when gaming solo, but I think the RP opportunities for a cleric in a highly religious city-state may be high. Plus, the armor and healing should provide me some survivability even though a cleric is a front-line fighter.

I think that’s enough for now–I’m going to start by throwing Alindor into the City of Spires and see what shakes out.

6 thoughts on “S&W Solo: City of Spires (Session 0)

  1. I’m looking forward to reading these sessions as a sprawling dungeon beneath a city is one of my favourite adventuring themes.

    How are you going to construct the dungeon randomly during play? I’ve used two methods to construct a random graph paper dungeon.

    I’ve used the Dungeon Generator Version 4.1 from the Tabletop Diversions blog, where you construct a dungeon using a pack of playing cards. Each card represents a different feature of the dungeon’s construction. For example, if you draw a Four of Diamonds then you draw a straight corridor in d8 number of squares. See my “Vorin’s Labyrinth” adventures. This method would produce a more sprawling dungeon.

    I’ve also used Schweig’s Themed Dungeon Generator where you fill in a template which consists of tables for corridors, chambers, special areas, traps, treasure and encounters, and then roll on these tables during play. See “The Dungeon of Gevdrin’s Tower” sessions. I’d recommend Schweig’s Themed Dungeon Generator if your looking to generate a smaller dungeon with more specific encounters and even goals. You could use it to generate a particular area of the megadungeon.

    1. Thanks for the tips! I hadn’t thought it totally through all the way yet. For my first set I was planning on using Four Against Darkness’s geomorphs for the layout, but I’ll check out your adventures to see if those other ones give a map closer to what I’m looking for!

      I think I’ll just use the LL or B/X rules to stock the dungeon.

    2. After looking at the TTD generator, I’m thinking I may use that for the majority of the dungeon design. However, your mention of the Schweig’s themed generator has intrigued me–one thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how I could create the so-called “Saturday Night Specials” that were, apparently, an important part of the early Jakalla dungeon delves.

      Setting aside sections of the dungeon as ruins or temple complexes or whatever with different generation rules might be a neat way to create areas with a different feel.

  2. Also I think it’s a good idea to have two or more campaigns running at the same time. I’ve currently got three solo campaigns running, including one that I haven’t played since March of last year. If one campaign isn’t inspiring you at the time then you can go onto another one until you’re interested in it again.

    1. I’m going to give it a shot! We’ll see how it goes; if one of them gets just totally abandoned I may try to make an effort to at least reach a reasonable stopping point before switching in the future.

      1. A good way to approach it. I don’t know what to do with my Labyrinth Lord campaign (the one that includes the Dungeon of Gevdrin’s Tower). Originally I was planning to have the party explore every single hex on the map. But now there are more games that I’m interested in and I want to move away from Labyrinth Lord and play more rules-lite games. I think I might just send a first level party into the wilderness and have the random encounter tables include some very powerful monsters.

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