Sword Arms and Spellbook Brains

Sword Arms and Spellbook Brains

Each player has a character, that character is an adventurer, a collector of magical treasures. A hero with a hoard of treasures so large that their individual strength and power is defined by powers contained in enchanted boots and wizard hats.


To create a character do the following:

  1. Make up a name and choose whether you are a wizard or a hero.
  2. Roll 2d6 for each of your attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma). The higher you roll, the better you are in that attribute.
  3. To determine how many Hit Points a character has, roll 2d6+4.
  4. Each character has 6 equipment slots, each of these equipment slots can only be filled by magic items. Each of your magic items can be selected from a magic item list in your favorite fantasy role-playing game, or you can come up with each magic item as you need to do something. The limitations for magic items are endless, but they must have specific powers, invisibility boots are great, bottles full of wishes won’t work.
  5. For each magic item assign it to a tier, the tier that it is on is equal to the the modifier used for attribute checks when using a magic item. Each character can have the following items for each tier:


Tier 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Number of items 1 1 2 2

Magic Items

You can also just choose items off this list (player chooses what tier each item is):

  • Mini Mimic: A mimic on a necklace, rip it off and toss it onto the ground to have it grow to a full size mimic as your familiar.
  • Unipig the Man: A pet pig who can speak and mystify humanoids with its wild dancing. It can also talk.
  • Tenta-Boot: A single left foot boot that has a sticky tentacle which can stretch and move around on the wearers command.
  • 5 Eye Gauntlet: A glove which shoots lasers, a different laser for each of the five finger tips eyes.
  • Memory Hat: A hat which when activated can record the voice of a monster or character (its loudness, tone, manner, etc), the user may utter a sentence using a voice that was recorded. Once that sentence is uttered, the voice is no longer able to be used unless attained again.

Or items from the Assorted Equipment Art zine (free in PDF here).


  • Attribute checks: If performing an action without the aid of a magic item, roll 1d6+5 versus applicable attribute, roll under to succeed. Rolling over causes failure, in combat this means damage. If you are using a magic item, roll 1d6+(item’s tier) versus applicable attribute, roll under to succeed.
  • Attack rolls: If attacking another character or monster, roll 1d6+(5 if using a non magical weapon, the item’s tier if magical) versus the targets Dexterity. Rolling under the targets dexterity results in a successful attack, a failed attack results in the attacker taking damage, this is how monsters make attacks.
  • Damage: damage done by characters is the margin of success for the attack roll. Damage cannot be done by a character unless it involves a magic item being used. Monsters have magical defenses which cannot be countered without a magic item!
  • Death: a character dies when it has no hit points left, but if someone has a magic item that can resurrect characters…


  • Monster Attacks: monsters make attacks when a character fails an attack, in these attacks monsters do damage equal to a monsters tier+margin of failure. Monsters can do attacks on their own as well, but for those attacks they must roll 1d6+(monster tier {ranges from 1st to 5th}) versus their targets Dex. The damage a monster does with this attack is equal to margin of success.
  • Making Monsters: use monsters from your favorite D&D or OSR book, give each one a set of attributes, trying to make them go from 1-12 for each one. Just eyeball it.

Example Monsters

  1. Goblin: a man who has an allergic reaction to emerald encrusted collar jewelry, but the jewelry is either locked onto their neck or they have gotten too large to fast to take off the jewelry. Their fingernails and fingertips no longer are there as they have tried to pick at the collar, they have fine bones for claws. HD: 1 DMG: d6


  • Turns: each character and monster when in combat has 1 turn for a round and go in order according to initiative (2d6, highest to lowest).
  • Movement: characters move 20 ft. in one turn, attacks must be made within range specified by magic item or that makes the best sense. It should be pretty obvious if you are close enough. Same goes for regular weaponry.
  • Healing: Characters can heal using magic items that have healing powers or by taking a short rest (returns 5 HP for a 4 hour break).
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