As you know, my love for D&D has been rekindled of late. Also obvious to readers is the fact that I am enamored of S&W. I got the pdf a few weeks ago, but was only recently able to get it printed. I'm one of those that doesn't enjoy full-scale reading on a computer monitor. So, I've only just starting perusing this little gem.
I should make it clear right now: this is not a review. I'm not shooting for a degree of objectivity with the goal of helping you make your purchasing decisions. These are just my thoughts. Carry on . . .
So far I've read the character classes and races. Remember all the stuff I said about three classes in a previous post? It's still partially true, but not as much as it was. There is something about the flavor text with each class that softened my perspective somewhat. The paladin's restrictions on companions' alignment still makes it more of an NPC class to me, I still think the monk is out of place, and druids and rangers aren't dungeoneering classes, in my opinion. Otherwise, I liked what I read.
Oh, and did I mention that Fighters rock? Of course I didn't. Well, they certainly do. Fighters are my favorite class (and I've played them all in 35 years of D&D), even though it is very disheartening to be the biggest badass fighter on the continent, decked out in the finest armor in generations, swinging a truly brutal weapon, and smacking the big bad monster for a max damage hit of 24 points, only to have a thief backstab it for 60 points. Or the magic-user hit it with a lucky 10d Fireball for 50 points.
Not so in Complete. For one thing, Fighters, and only Fighters, get combat bonuses for Strength. Fighters means only Fighters. Paladins and Rangers need not apply, not for this or any other Fighter-specific class feature. Features like multiple attacks (wherein the Fighter can make one attack per level if all foes are 1 HD or less), and Parry (where the Fighter gets a bonus to AC based on DEX, with a separate scheme from the normal stat bonus). There is also the aforementioned Fighter-centric bonuses to the "to-hit" and damage rolls, which apply (and stack with the DEX bonus) to missile weapon use. Ahhhh, Fighters with a bow can be played as formidable archers. At last.
I may port over my cleric rework from my Crucible house rules. I'm not a huge fan of the class, never have been, so I don't have much "respectful" nostalgia for the cleric of the LBBs (or their clones).
The races are pretty much what you would expect from the S&W take on the LBB races. Perfectly serviceable for a more-or-less vanilla sandbox (such as the original Judge's Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy, which I am salivating to use).
That's it for now. I'll post more perspectives as I continue reading. Any of my fellow gamers that have S&W Complete should feel free to comment with their perceptions on this edition of the S&W ruleset.