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SW-Appr-Day-LogoOne of the games I occasionally day-dream about when thinking about my early gaming days is the classic CRPG Wizardry. With Tenkar putting together Swords & Wizardry appreciation day, the name triggered those memories again.

SnWCoreOne of the classes I liked a lot in Wizardry was the Bishop. The bishop combined the spellcasting of the Priest and the Mage classes, along with the ability to identify magic items for the party. I have written up a version of the Theurge for Labyrinth Lord that will be appearing one day in the forthcoming Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts, but the one I’m putting together for Swords & Wizardry will try to hold closer to the Wizardry I version that I’m reminiscing.

The Bishop!

Bishops combine and blur the magics of magic-users and clerics. They are devout worshipers who are not granted spells through prayer, but who instead learn divine incantations and magics hinted at in liturgical texts. They are often in the roles of sages and liturgical experts, delving deeply into ancient texts searching for the gifts of magic.

Prime Attributes: Intelligence & Wisdome (13+ for +5% XP)
Hit Dice: 1d4/level (Gains 1 hp/level after 9th)
Armor / Shield Permitted: Leather only
Weapons Permitted: Blunt weapons only as a cleric


Bishops carry liturgical spell books, which hold the formulae and incantations for their spells written on their pages. A bishop can have any number of spells in their books, but can only memorize or prepare a certain number of spells at any time. Effectively they prepare and cast spells as a magic user, but use a special spell list of their own.


Further, the divine knowledge of magic that bishops possess allows them to use any magic user and cleric scrolls, even if the spell in question is not on their spell lists. They can also use all magic-user and clerical magic items.

Starting at level 1, Bishops have the ability to identify magic items, even mid-adventure. The Bishops identification chance is equal to his level plus his combined Intelligence and Wisdom bonuses. After spending one turn trying to identify a magic item (which requires handling the item, and thus possibly giving the bishop the penalties of any cursed items thus handled), the bishop rolls 1d20 and attempts to roll his identification chance or less. A natural 20 on the roll (or attempting to identify a powerful artifact) instills the bishop with supernatural fear that reduces his attack and damage rolls as well as his identification chance for the next 24 hours.