Sword Noir: Valuable Lessons

I learned two things at our Sword Noir game last night.

1. One must enunciate correctly. “Contact” sounds very much like “contract” in the right conditions.

2. While Sword Noir has a magic system, it is possible to do “low level” styles of magic without using the magic system.

Last night, we had both a pyromaniac alchemist and an engineer styled as an early 17th century MacGyver. We didn’t use the magic system. I was thinking about it, but passed on it, as the alchemist was a new player who had been away from RPGs for a bit, and while I tried to keep it simple, magic tends to add complexity to any game.

Thing was, given that in combat their intent was to incapacitate or kill their opponents, there was no need to do anything differently than if someone was using a weapon. Whether a character uses a knife, a sword, a flintlock, a spinning chandelier affixed with table legs or caustic powders, the effect was the same. So the characters simply used different Qualities with different narrative descriptions of the action. No problem.

The alchemist also whipped up a fantasy version of sodium amytal to aid in the questioning of prisoners. And why the fuck not? Everyone had fun and the characters got to be awesome.

I’m interested in seeing where this will go. I’ll let you know more after our next game.

Third lesson learned thrown in for free: I can totally run a game from one sheet of paper with an outline of the situation, 2 special locations, 3 plot points, and 5 narrative characters, as long as I have the whole of Everthorn to back me up. I’ll bet you can too. Using the information provided for Everthorn in Sword Noir, the Kheufer Scrolls, and Crossing the Millers, you’ve pretty much got a fair chunk of Everthorn outlined, if not described.

More on Sword Noir one-pagers to come.

You can find awesome Sword Noir stuff here.

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1 Comment

  1. Ok, so let me be the first to ask…

    Would it be to hard to ask for you to include an “real play” session of one of your Sword Noir games?

    I have to admit that, until now I’ve only been ….luke warm… to the idea of Sword Noir. No offense intended, I just didn’t have that itch to play…..after reading your recent posts I’ve started to gravitate to the idea. I’ve always been open minded to the system, it’s just hard to justify the “buy in” when I don’t have a gaming group. I have learned time and time again you have to first find a group, then suggest a change in rules/games. 99 out of 100 times that means find a D&D group (any flavor, be it 1st thru 4e), get in good with them, then propose a shift in rules/genre. More to the point, I need to be sold on the idea, before approaching others. I’ll point out what you said during the last podcast (at least I think it was you, I’ll have to go back and listen)…I paraphrase here: “It means so much when you can hear how the game was “intended” to be played by the designer vs. how john q public interprets the RAW.”–that sounds more like a Krysst comment, but I’ll figure that out later, the sentiment is the key.

    Anyway….congratulations on your endeavors as of late, and I’m glad the CON games went well for you. Just FYI, I’d be happy with a simple, un edited mp3 of a Sword Noir game session…just to help me see the rules/concepts in action.

    ::Stytch Out::

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