It is 102 degrees in Seattle...the record highest temperature in recorded history, and us temperate natives are melting while Californian transplants prance about with happy smiles (actually, that's not true...everyone is bitching and who can blame us?).
I have some free time to write, and should be working on my B/X Companion, but instead find myself listlessly surfing other peoples' blogs. O the humanity! I did get three pages written up at lunch (the classes from Part 2...all complete), but there are only three or four spells left, and I need to start writing blurbs...not to mention figuring out the magic item lists (have a couple ideas...a new category of books, I think, either separate or part of the scrolls...and of course, plenty o weapons for those high level fighters to be on par with their spell-slinging buddies), AND the new mass combat rules.
I always enjoyed the simplicity of Mentzer's battle system (never did warm up to the AD&D2 version), but I kind of want something distinct. I find myself completely intrigued by two things I've never owned: Chainmail and Swords & Spells. Truly, I'd like to get my hands on BOTH for perusal, but if I HAD to make a choice, I think I'd really want to read the later work.
My understanding of Chainmail is that it is a rules set for a medieval wargame...with some magic and monsters thrown in. OD&D is based off it, and B/X is extremely close to OD&D, so it would seem the Chainmail rules would be the easiest to adapt to a mass combat system.
However, Swords & Spells was published AFTER the advent of OD&D...about 4 years by my reckoning (Gygax's campaign starting in 1972, right?). As an old wargamer who thence adapted his play style to OD&D, I would think that the 1976 Swords & Spells would have been the culmination of 4+ years of thought on how best to work OD&D in a mass combat fashion. And since B/X is extremely close to OD&D...well, you can see why I'm intrigued.
Of course, the reviews all pan it. Don't even like to consider it part of the OD&D canon. This also intrigues me, and not just because I am a contrarian at heart (thieves roll D4 damn it, not D6!). I just can't help but think there are some ideas to mine in the book...things that folks haven't looked at too hard because it interfered with their preferred style of play.
Dammit! I want a copy!
Since it doesn't look like I'm going to be very productive in the near future (too damn hot, plus I've got a plethora of projects around the house in preparation for the in-laws arrival), maybe I should just surf around and look for a copy...either on eBay or for download. Normally, I am NOT a proponent of illegal downloading, but if WotC has "locked the vault" well...what's a guy to do?
[By the way...finishing up the classes gave me a lot of ideas for how to run dominions which is going to be much of the Part 4: Adventure chapter (I think); I hope to make it both simpler, and more interesting than Mentzer's version...no offense, Frank...wish me luck!]