Thursday, June 9, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary White Box Arcana [Swords & Wizardry] By James M. Spahn From Gallant Knight Games

 "Magic-users are more than just fragile spell-slingers! With White Box Arcana you'll bring new options to your arcane apprentices and exceptional archmages! Inside this 32-page supplement you'll find all kinds of simple, yet exciting resources to your magic-user, including:

  • Latent Spellcasters: Now other classes can have a touch of the arcane!
  • Arcane Duels: Complete rules for wizard duels to decide who is master of the magic arts!
  • Stronghold Construction: Build a laboratory, design a library, or head-up a magical academy!
  • New Spells: Everything from binding familiars and creating magic items, to walking the planes of existence and breathing dragon fire! Over 30 new spells!
  • New Magic Items: Over 25 new magic items to add to your campaign!"


Wizards hold a special place within my heart from Arthurian literature's Merlin to Ditko's Doctor Strange. The Wizard has been & remains a favorite class of mine.. So when the opportunity came to grab a copy of White Box Arcana it was in my cart before the card had finished its approved signal. And the reason that magic users always appealed to me as a player. When the world was spinning out of control spells & the occult enabled a man to have control over their own small piece of reality. That has a lot of appeal to one small boy back in the Seventies and even today to a certain degree. 
White Box Arcana clocks in at thirty two pages of occult OSR power. We start off with latent spellcasters and the idea that perhaps Gilly the Fighter might have some occult talent within his brawn shoulders. If only he'd have trained with the wizard's guild. James M. Spahn writing is pretty crystal clear on this subclass of magic users; "While magic-users train for years (or even decades) to master the arcane arts, a rare few are born with a natural affinity for magic. These, known as the Latent Casters, find that magic flows their their veins and they are instinctively able to cast a select few magic-user spells. Though they will never learn the powerful enchantments of a formally trained magic-user, Latent Caster characters nevertheless find themselves able to call upon a few useful enchantments when caught in a pinch" The latent spell caster isn't going to burn down a campaign but does offer an interesting side note on wizards as an optional class that we've seen a thousand times in fantasy fiction paperbacks. 

And we get arcane  duels next and the system is easy to understand and work with. Again this isn't going to set the campaign world on fire maybe the other wizard involved. This system reminds me of classic Disney's The Sword in the Stone film with agreements, iniative, and there being both a martial & social aspect to it. 
Sanctums & Strongholds is a solid chapert that goes into Sanctums & Strongholds ;"With referee permission, a magic-user of 7th level or higher may choose to establish a stronghold. The magic-user selects one of three types of strongholds to construct, and may only have one stronghold at any time. The three strongholds choices are academy, laboratory, or library. Most often the physical location a stronghold is secluded so the magic-user can maintain their privacy. The stronghold itself is typically a tower, though keeps, hidden caverns, urban mansions, and other options may be available with referee permission. The type of stronghold a magicuser selects grants bonuses to certain activities." 
And this system is simple, easy, and quickly adaptable to your own OSR or old school games. Then we dive into magic spells for levels one through seven most of these are pretty solidly original spells. 
All in all I think that White Box Arcana [Swords & Wizardry] By James M. Spahn is well worth the price of admission & download. 

White Box Arcana [Swords & Wizardry] By James M. Spahn Is Available Righr Here 

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