Role-Play Along The Sword's Edge
  • Role-Play Along The Sword's Edge

    Within four years, indie RPG creator Fraser Ronald has used Kickstarter to fund and deliver three Storyteller RPGs successfully and Swords Edge is his latest creation. With Swords Edge the emphasis is sharing the narrative. It prescribes to player determined narrative, the "don't ask the GM, tell the GM" theorem, and it has a number of interesting game play mechanics to assist with this type of gaming.

    Character creation with Swords Edge is a merge of the setting decided upon by the players and GM, with a streamlined number of options for players to customize their characters mechanically. Players create a Concept and Background for their characters; this is exactly as is, but there are points to distribute ranks for future die roll bonuses, which can be distributed here and/or elsewhere. Next players create a Faculty, which is a Quality that represents characterís natural aptitude. The Faculty may or may not be linked to Concept or Background. Characters with Swords Edge have three Traits (attributes or physical make-up of the character), Physique, Charisma and Cunning. As mentioned, players have six ranks (+2s) to distribute how they see fit, which can be used to bump Traits, Faculty, Background, or Concept. There is an option to for characters to take negative Qualities or Disadvantages; this is potentially balanced out with a Luck mechanic.

    The most interesting aspect of character creation will have mechanical interaction, but is based on narrative emphasis. Pivots provide opportunities for the GM and the player characters to work in narratives relevant to the story being shared. Pivots come in three varieties Goal, Quirk, and Style. When the player is able to work a Pivot into the story this provides an Advancement, which they can use for a situational bonus: a chance for some spotlight time, or character development.

    There isnít really a setting emphasis with Swords Edge. Instead, the book provides a basic outline for five varieties of genres: fantasy, pirate swashbuckling, western, special operations (modern/tactical combat), and science fiction. Nothing ground breaking in the setting material here, but it should get the GM and players going in the right direction.

    All Dice mechanics are resolved rolling 2d10 and tallying any modifiers (Qualities), which apply to the roll. If the player equals or exceeds the Target Number set by the GM, success is the result. Swords Edge includes a table guideline to assist the GM in rating Tests.

    I have both the PDF and print version of this product. The print version is a slim (about a quarter inch) perfect bound edition, A5-ish size and just less than 100 pages, including a character sheet for copy. The PDF includes a hyperlinked Table of Contents. The text is single column format. Art is a variable mix of photorealistic images, traditional black line illustration and vector based illustration. Admittedly some of these images are dynamic, some mundane.

    Overall, there are a couple things with Swords Edge that were interesting and should appeal to story gamers. The Pivot is an element with both mechanical and narrative emphasis. The GM should certainly be inclined to provide opportunities for the player characters to integrate into the game. As a role player there were also a couple of mechanical elements that would take convincing at my table. The primary one is that gameís methodology includes trait damage, as the primary mechanic for damage. Itís not that the system isnít well thought out; it just wouldnít have appeal at my (old school) table.

    If youíre looking for a story or narrative emphasized RPG, I donít think you can go wrong here.

    Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. Swords Edge was supplied by the publisher free of cost for the purpose of this review.

    ​contributed by Jeff Duncan
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