Sword’s Edge – What’s Different?

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21 March 2017, the Swords Edge Kickstarter will go live. The goal is $2,700 CAD to help pay for editing, indexing, printing, and to recoup the funds already spent getting the Ashcan out. Backers will have access to a very rudimentary system document that will give the basics of the rules, and backers of the Minion (PDF) level and above will receive a PDF of the Ashcan on the successful completion of the Kickstarter. PDFs and print copies will come later aiming for October 2017 for PDFs and then November 2017 for print.

I’ve already written a bit about the game and my plans for it, but on the cusp of this going live, I thought Id answer a few questions that might help you make a decision about backing the game.

1) What is Different?
So what has changed since the original Swords Edge came out? There are two parts to this answer: the system and the product.

The system has not changed dramatically so that if you have played it before, you aren’t learning a new game. However, access to Elements the extra Qualities that are tied to Traits has been reduced so that one cannot pile on multiple Elements without spending Luck. Further, Advancement has changed also, restricting the speed of increasing power and specifying what can be Advanced. Traits no longer can except in very specific circumstances.

This has made the system more balanced. Players must now be more careful in building their characters and GMs have a better idea of the strength of the PCs facing their challenges.

Pivots also work differently, being much looser and generally hit in scenes rather than in sessions. This has also changed the role of Advancement, which is still used to Advance Qualities, but now also works alongside Luck as a resource to provide advantages to PCs.

There have been some other, minor changes such as the TN for the various Ranks but these are key.

The product, however, is much different. The previous Swords Edge System was an afterthought an answer to those interested in the underlying system for Sword Noir and later Kiss My Axe. It received some editing, but wasn’t really a game in its own right. The new Sword’s Edge is a more robust creation. It has been purpose-built to be a standalone RPG book, and so it now includes a GM section and sections on how to use Sword’s Edge in a collection of genres. There is more art and a cover that differentiates it from Sword Noir.

Sword’s Edge is now the parent and Sword Noir and Kiss My Axe will be the children.

2) How does it compare to Nefertiti Overdrive?
Sword’s Edge and Nefertiti Overdrive are two very different beasts. That is not to say their systems are completely different. In both, characters are created through abstract Qualities that can be used in a variety of creative ways. However, where Nefertiti Overdrive is built so that the characters succeed and the real challenge is in telling an entertaining story with crazy action scenes, Sword’s Edge is more traditional in that its rules allow a GM to scale challenges so that they are easy for PCs or insanely daunting. Sword’s Edge has the narrative challenge of Nefertiti Overdriveas the underlying system still expects players to have a large amount of control while having a very different style ofmechanical challenges so that opponents and obstacles can be built to overwhelm the PCs unless they get great rolls or work together really well.

Sword’s Edge has more balance than Nefertiti Overdrive, but it still requires a group that is playing cooperatively rather than competitively.

3) How does it compare to Centurion
Like Nefertiti Overdrive and Sword’s Edge, Centurion uses Qualities to describe its character, but there the similarities end. The Centurion system designed for games involving Roman legionaries was built so that the players and GM required a strategy with each roll of the dice. This was intended as a link to the strategy and tactics required in a military campaign. The game could also be quite brutal as was life in the legions and this separates it from both Nefertiti Overdrive and Sword’s Edge.

The only part of Centurion that is mirrored in Sword’s Edge is the use of Qualities and some of the underlying design philosophy. Mechanically, they are quite different.

Maybe those answers create more questions. If you haven’t seen or played Nefertiti Overdrive or Centurion, I’ve probably created a lot more. Hopefully, whatever I’ve done, I’ve also piqued your curiosity regarding Sword’s Edge. In the end, it is a light system that favours a robust narrative, provides a framework for players to create focused and evocative characters, and allows the GM to spend most of their time facilitating story.

I’ll be announcing the start of the Kickstarter on G+ and then remind everyone that it is live here and on Twitter later in the evening. If you don’t back, please help me out by passing word along to those whom you believe would be interested. Getting the word out is as important as putting the dollars in.

And thank you all in advance for your support.

You can find out more about Sword’s Edge here.

You can find out more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and purchase a copy here.

You can find out more about Centurion: Legionaries of Rome here and purchase a copy here.

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