[Gnomish Embassy] Blackmoor 1974 Style

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[Gnomish Embassy] Blackmoor 1974 Style

Post by Havard »

Over at the Gnomish Embassy Blog, my friend Brian has made a list of his variant rules for OD&D that he is using for his Blackmoor Campaign:
Gnomish Embassy wrote: Blackmoor: 1974 Style (Part 1)

So, now we come to the apex of Blackmoor Week as today is Dave Arneson's birthday. In celebration I'd like to combine a great campaign like Blackmoor with one of my favorite systems: 1974 Style by Stan Shinn. I hold it up as one of the greats of rules-light gaming. It has the familiarity of d20 system, it is easy to pick up, and it is strong enough that you can bolt on this and that without breaking the main focus. You can get a copy at this link.


A few deviations from the core material which serve as MY house rules.

1) I deviate from the core rules Saving Throws. Opting instead to use the single Saving Throw system from Swords and Wizardry (can be found here). The original rules have you roll a d20+level vs. 10. Instead you roll a straight d20 vs. the Saving Throw number of your class. GM's are encouraged to assign a Saving Throws based roughly on the similar classes. For instance, if you play a Fighter, use the Fighter Saving Throw. If you play a Ninja look at the Thief or Fighter and decide which one to stick with and so forth.

2) I use the skill rules found in 1974 Style. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read the pdf.

Advantage = rolling 2d20 and taking the better of the two.

Disadvantage = rolling 2d20 and taking the worst of the two.


Human Groups include: Thonian, Peshwah, High Thonian, Half-Elf (human dominate traits)

Brief: Humans represent the most wide spread of the races in the North. A great number include the fair skinned High Thonians, the light skin Thonians, and the tan skin Peshwah of the Plains of Hak. They each share the following traits.

Normal Vision

Extra Effort (1/day): Humans combine grit, perseverance, and luck to help them overcome obstacles. Once per day a Human character can roll with the Advantage (roll 2d20 and take the better of the two rolls).

Skill Bonus: Humans get an extra skill point to put where they choose. This should be customized to their ethic group. High Thonians are courtly types who are not as common in the North while Peshwah are a rugged group of horse riders.

Saving Throw Adjustments: +1 save to a category of the GM or Player's choice.


Brief: Dwarves are a short, stocky race that dwell in the mountain and hill fortresses spread across the North. Their most famous holding is the Regency of the Mines around Mount Uberstar. They have the following Traits.


Combatant (Orc, Goblin; 1/day): Dwarves are well trained in combat against their historic foe: Orc-kind. This includes Orcs and Goblinoids. They gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls to members of these species. Once per day they roll with the Advantage in an attack roll against Orcs or Goblins.

Saving Throw Adjustments: +1 Save vs. Disease, Poison, & Magic

Skill Bonus: +1 Climb

Subgroups include: Cumasti and Westryn Elves, Half-Elf (Elf-dominate traits)

Brief: Elves are a nearly ageless race of humanoids that are dying out through attrition and past betrayal. The two great tribes of the Elves. The relatively numerous Cumasti, and the isolationist pocket of the Westryn have been separated both geographically and by a magical curse known as the "Black Curse". The rules have them share the same mechanics, even if they are at odds. Elves have the following traits:

Low Light Vision

Keen Senses (1/day): Gain +1 Notice skill. Once per day an Elf can make a Notice or Perception roll with an automatic Advantage.

Immunities: Immune to magical sleep and paralyzation.


Brief: Distant cousins to Dwarves. Gnomes are a craftsman folk who dwell in Dwarven lands as fast friends and natural allies. Gnomes not only design technology for they and Dwarves to build they also fancy themselves as the land's finest jewelcrafters and alchemists. They provide the Dwarves with a valuable component: Arcane support for Dwarven field armies. Gnomes have the following traits:

Low Light Vision

Small: +1 AC and +1 Attack vs. man-size or larger creatures. They may also gain GM assigned bonuses to checks such as Stealth. Small creatures are a Disadvantage (roll 2d20 and take the lesser of the two rolls) when making checks involving great Strength. Such as dragging a boulder or lifting a heavy wagon wheel.

Cantrip (1/day): Gnomes have a natural magical energy that they can use to generate some kind of effect. This spell can never cause physical damage, but could produce effects that dazes an opponent for 1 round or create a floating light that is as bright as a lit lantern. Any effect the player describes that could adversely effect an opponent is resisted by a Saving Throw.

Skill Bonus: +1 Lore (sub-group of player / GM's choice. This could include History, Arcana, Herbology, Dungeoneering etc.)

Saving Throw Adjustments: +1 vs. Poison, Disease, & Illusions

Sub-Groups include: Halfling, Docrae

Brief: Halflings and Docrae are separated by their demeanor. Docrae, having suffered under the Afridhi, have lost their touch of humor and have become more serious as they fight to take back their homelands. General river dwelling Halfling still try to fill the air with good cheer and optimism. Both versions have the following traits:

Normal Vision

Small: +1 AC and +1 Attack vs. man-size or larger creatures. They may also gain GM assigned bonuses to checks such as Stealth. Small creatures are a Disadvantage (roll 2d20 and take the lesser of the two rolls) when making checks involving great Strength. Such as dragging a boulder or lifting a heavy wagon wheel.

Bravery (1/day): Once per day a Halfling can roll with Advantage when making a morale check or saving against fear. Despite their size, Halflings have a combination of determination and at times optimism that helps them overcome fear.

Skill Bonus: +1 Stealth

Saving Throw Adjustments: +1 vs. Fear, Projectile Traps, and Charm


Brief: Orcs have a history of being a rather chaotic race. They are also known for their conflicts with other inhabitants of the North. There are a few Orcs, however, who throw off the past grievances and join up with the other denizens of the North. Orcs have the following traits:


Strong (1/day): +1 to melee damage and to actions involving great Strength, such as moving heavy objects or breaking down a door. Once per day they sum up their great strength in a single, non-combat based, d20 Strength check.

Skill Bonus: +1 Survival

Saving Throw Adjustments: +1 vs Poisons & Diseases.
http://boddynock-te.blogspot.no/2016/10 ... l?spref=fb

This was all posted as part of Dave Arneson Day 2016.

What do you think of Brian's House Rules?


Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
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Re: [Gnomish Embassy] Blackmoor 1974 Style

Post by Boddynock »

Oh hey! One of my posts made it to the boards, neat!

Looking back I'd probably up all of the Saving Throw bonuses to +2 over +1's to give characters more of a sense that they can resist things. I'd also like to point out that 1974 Style isn't quite like OD&D. It has a lot of modern things such as ascending AC and the Advantage/Disadvantage system. You can download a free and legal copy here: https://searchersoftheunknown.files.wor ... -02-01.pdf
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Boddynock Stotch - 17th level Gnome Bard of Far Shore, Isle of Dread - Savage Tide Adventure Path

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