Friday, February 28, 2014

Sword and Sorcery notes part 5

This is not really rules, but in trying to define the nature of a sword and sorcery game, I keep going back to this article at the Black Gate. It is worth a read for anyone interested. I am grossly summarizing
his basic points.

1. The heroes are men of action. They act because, well, that's what they do. Now this may fall into the realm of any RPG as all the player character's are, by the act of adventuring, men of action. However, I will point out that they are propelled forward with their own agency. Nothing bids them go forward, no mystical power forces them onward, they go onward because that is who they are. No reluctant heroes. Mechanically, this can be encouraged by rewarding characers for taking bold action (scaling the sheer cliff, defying a lord, engaging in combat).

2. The characters are outsiders. They come from outside civilized society or are removed from it and even if growing up in it, remove themselves from it by a disregard for it. The outsider is not part of the social structure. He is not a thrall to some lord, he is not a priest obedient to an order, he is not a member of a guild, etc. This is really a player's choice on how to play a character but can be encouraged by class or skills sets or whatever.

3. The characters is not defined by any morality but that of his own making. Good and Evil exist but ore not far separated and the distinction is completely local. For the sword and sorcery hero, concern for this is what others labor with.

4. The scope is local. Sword and sorcery tales are local in nature, the gods and mystical forces are 'background noise' and have little or no impact on the tale or adventures to be had. There is no save the world episode for a sword and sorcery hero, maybe a save the wench from the rapacious designs of a group of guards.

Oh, yes there are S&S female heroes so my tenderizing of the above is laziness on my part.

Also, S&S is a broad category so their will be give and take on some of these things.

Anyway, with that in mind, I am going back to create a system of rewarding and encourages a Sword and Sorcery type game.


1 comment:

Timothy LeMaster said...

Check out Barbarians of Lemuria, it is a really good game for this kind of genre.