Sword Noir Second Edition Kickstarter

Are there those who only get their information on my work from this website? On that possibility, here’s your cue to go and back Sword Noir Second Edition on Kickstarter.

Sword Noir Second Edition is a clarification, update, and tightening of the existing rules rather than a wholesale change. If you own the original Sword Noir and it works great for you, you likely don’t need this version. If you own the current Sword’s Edge, you will see that Sword Noir 2E is very similar—Sword’s Edge was derived from Sword Noir, and with Sword’s Edge having had its update, I wanted to update Sword Noir to bring it back in line with the basic Sword’s Edge rules.

All Quiet On The . . Wait, No It Isn’t!

It may have been quiet in the internet-facing portion of Sword’s Edge Publishing, but there’s been lots of work behind the scenes. The files for the Sword’s Edge books are with the printers and I’m awaiting a proof. Once that has been approved, the final PDF will be available to Kickstarter backers and I’ll be in contact with Magpie Games to take care of the shipments.

Plans continue apace for the Patreon which will go live in September. Both “Lawless Heaven” and “Face ‘Splosion” are ready to go. The third release looks like it will be an adventure for Nefertiti Overdrive which bridges the period between “Rumours of War,” presented in the Nefertiti Overdrive Quickstart Rules and “Get Netiqret,” which was presented in Nefertiti Overdrive. December will see “Swords & Searchers,” a revision of “the Nor’Westers” as I believe a sword & sorcery setting will work better than early 19th century Canada. Swords & Searchers” will be a mini-campaign and depending on how many pages it encompasses, it might end up being two releases. It uses the Sword’s Edge rules.

At that point, I’ll be taking stock of the Patreon. I have two stories in the sword noir genre ready to go, and I may also be releasing the Wall RPG, depending on the backers and their preferences. I also have “Gang War,” a take on the Warriors – which was itself an update on Anabasis by Xenophon – using Sword’s Edge. I’m going to keep working on possible releases as I want to make sure the Patreon is stacked for at least a year. Once that first year is done, I’ll review and adjust accordingly.

So rest assured, I am busy working. I want to make sure I have a buffer of product for the Patreon just in case real life happens, as it always does.

Until the Patreon launches, if you haven’t picked up Sword’s Edge, the pre-order is open but will close once the books start shipping, so this is your chance to get it at Canadian rather than US prices.

You can find the Sword’s Edge pre-order page here.

Sword’s Edge Pre-Orders

In case you didn’t back Sword’s Edge through Kickstarter, the PDF is now available on pre-order. It is not exactly the final PDF and is considered an advanced preview. I won’t be sending anything to print for another week or so, and some changes might still be made. Once the print version is finalized around mid-August, a finalized PDF will be available and will be delivered through the pre-order site at Backerkit.

The PDF won’t be available anywhere else until well after print copies have shipped – hoping that most of the backers will have their print copies before non-backers have a chance to purchase – so the only way to get the PDF before October if you didn’t back the Kickstarter will be through pre-order.

It’s also important to note that the price for a PDF is in Canadian dollars while the final product will be sold in US dollars, and since the Canadian dollar is only about 80 cents US, you can save some money by buying early.

And I didn’t even mention the work being done for my Patreon. That’ll be coming in September.

Save up your pennies!

You can pre-order here.

Patreon-izing

As Sword’s Edge slowly moves towards completion and delivery to its backers, I have been using what time I have to get some other projects in order. Right now, both Lawless Heaven and Face ‘Splosion are ready to go. These are Sword’s Edge adventures designed for convention play, meaning they are one-shots with prepared characters, although they could be introductions into longer campaigns if so desired. Right now, I am working on the Nor’Westers, which may get a new name for its release, and is different than the other two releases in that it is a campaign, though one built of the truncated summaries I use to run adventures, which I tend to lump together as one-pagers.

Along with these three Sword’s Edge products, I have a Centurion and a Nefertiti Overdrive adventure that I could release, as well as a possible second campaign product (a covert special forces campaign set in modern Africa) that could be completed.

You may wonder about this flurry of activity. It is because I am intent on exploring another type of crowdfunding – Patreon. Unlike Kickstarter, Patreon is a subscription service in which one pays a specific amount per month or per release. My intent is to set mine to “per release” and to release adventures as well as some other items at a planned rate of once per month.

As it stands, I’ll have three months (possibly four) covered, and I intend to keep that buffer going – so I will always have some extra time in case there is a month in which I am unable to get a product completed. Each product will be around 20 pages. The idea is that they will be provided to backers of Patreon. Depending on the amount of money I am making on Patreon, the products may then be sold elsewhere or they may remain available only through Patreon. Along with adventures, I intend to offer game supplements – such as an Egyptian history and culture supplement for Nefertiti Overdrive and a Sword Noir supplement for the new version of Sword’s Edge – and fiction – I am toying with the idea of a serial novel along with speculative fiction short stories.

This will happen once Sword’s Edge reaches its backers as a PDF. I don’t want to put a date on that as all is going well and I don’t want to raise expectations only to then have to dash them.

I’ll be talking about this both at the SEP Google+ community and on Twitter.

I hope that you’ll be kind enough to support me on Patreon when the time comes. If you like what I do, it is a way to make sure I keep producing.

You can find the SEP G+ community here.

You can find me on Twitter here.

This Is How (What) We Do It

After having a fair break with minimal pressure following the success of the Sword’s Edge Kickstarter, with the payments in, project management has started. But that’s not all. There are a bunch of other projects on which I am working, and here’s a general overview of what I’m working on and what stage it’s at.

Sword’s Edge: So the text is off for editing, and I have both the indexer and the fulfillment locked in. Right now, I am finishing off the setup for BackerKit and once that is running, this will move to project management, which means long periods of monotony punctuated by spurts of effort.

Fiction Commission: I can’t say more until this happens, but I am updating a fiction commission that I had thought was done. That’s okay, because the reason for the revision is one I whole-heartedly support. It has kind of changed how certain characters should be impacting on the story, but it is totally manageable and I’m happy with how this is turning out.

More to follow when I can.

“Lawless Heaven”: This is going to happen. It is actually very close to being in presentable form. Unfortunately, I won’t have portraits for the pre-made characters, but I do have some art for the book and most of the text is written. I will be doing some tweaking with it before it is released, but it won’t actually hit the public until after Sword’s Edge is released as a PDF – which will likely be November 2017, a month after the Kickstarter backers get theirs.

“Face ‘Splosion”: Another Sword’s Edge adventure, this time a science-fiction high octane actioner heavily inspired by Borderlands and especially Borderlands 2. Like “Lawless Heaven,” this will be released after Sword’s Edge hits the public, but this requires more work. The adventure and pre-made characters are all ready, but I need to write the other text that will be included, like an introduction, an explanation of the genre, and a discussion of the intended setting in case this will become the intro to a wider adventure.

Head Crushers: Another role-playing game, but this one is at the intersection of Nefertiti Overdrive and Sword’s Edge. Its default is fantasy, and it was designed to replicate the Skull Kickers comic, which was itself based on RPG sessions. The writing on this one is done, but it’s going to sit on the backburner for now, though I have plans to release it.

The Wall: And yet another RPG, but this one far and away from anything I’ve done before. Rather than fast, high octane action, the Wall is much more about creating narrative scenes. Its subject – the difficulties of being a foreign occupier in an unfriendly city – screams for deep thinking and drama rather than hacking and slashing. The mechanics on this one are ready, but there is a lot of writing to get it ready to hit the public. The intention, though, is there.

“The Nor’Westers”: This is a Sword’s Edge campaign set along the North West Company’s fur trade route in Canada in 1810. This campaign is made up of short scenarios, and so needs to be fleshed out more with lots of supporting text. This will likely be the last of the Sword’s Edge supplements that will be put out as it needs the most work. This is very much a backburner project. Once Sword’s Edge is out, this will take a higher priority.

Sword Noir: I paused on the updates for this, my first RPG, but much of the mechanics revision is done. There is a lot more, though, because the included setting of Everthorn needs much more work than the SN mechanics do. For now, SN is going to follow Sword’s Edge, but with its own special differences. Everthorn, however, needs a very major overhaul in regards to characters, and I have considered releasing the mechanics separate from the setting.

Nefertiti Overdrive: The historical addendum to this game is growing, but I am still in the middle of research on the 25th Dynasty. This is scheduled to happen after Sword Noir is done, so likely not for a while. A cool part of this project is that I have an actual Egyptologist who has agreed to review my work. For those who wanted more history in their insane action, this should go a long way to scratching that itch.

Crowd-funding: One of the ways in which these projects might see fruition is through Patreon. I have been toying with the idea for a long time, and I think as a system it works better for me than Kickstarter. All of the projects listed could be Patreon projects – some of which might be released in components rather than a single work. I need to get enough in order that I will have a regular release schedule, so this is not something that will likely happen for a couple of months, but I think it makes sense. It is also a way to release my games and supplements in advance of Sword’s Edge hitting the public.

So, yeah, I’ve got a few things on my plate.

Whew!

Sword’s Edge Funded

It has happened.  RPG has funded. We didn’t hit the stretch goal of getting art for “Lawless Heaven,” but I’m not about to complain. Assembling the team to help get this out right now and updating the text before sending it to editing.

That’s pretty cool.

And there’ll be more information to come, as I’ll be using Backerkit to offer pre-orders.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Modern Sword’s Edge

This is the final in a selection of examples from different genres I’ve run using Sword’s Edge, which is presently in the middle of Kickstarting. Which you have, of course, backed. I mean, you’re reading this, which is about this game, and this game is awesome, so you’ve backed it. It’s only logical . . .

This time, let’s look at the present day.

The second game I am running right now with Sword’s Edge is a modern actioner in which the PCs are member of Canadian Special Operations Force Command who have been called into a central African nation due to the disappearance of a CANPER (Canadian Person) of political value. So far, it’s been mostly investigative, but fireworks have been promised and they will happen.

Hear that guys? Lock and load.

The rebel fighters, the official militia and the government paramilitary are all basically the same, and these are the minions our boys will be crossing as some or all of them attempt to impede the rescue of that CANPER.

Rapid Support Forces
(Basic minion) 8
Concept: Fake Tough, +2

They turned to a local fixer who had connections with most of the dominant cultures of the region, and she’s got them audiences with some bad people who nevertheless might be helpful. You’ll notice she’s not a standard Regular, and I find that sometimes one needs a Regular+ when the character isn’t necessarily expected to be boss (or Hero) level.

Amira Ishag
(Good regular) 17
Concept: Face, +2
Physique -2; Charisma +2; Cunning +2

Finally, the team has not yet started along the trail that will lead them to the CANPER, but one of the obstacles they will have to overcome is a notorious mercenary, someone who could challenge them when the bullets start to fly but isn’t too dangerous.

AKA Notorious Mercenary
(Average hero) 12
Concept: Merc, +4
Physique +4; Charisma +2; Cunning +0
Gunman (Phy) +4, Intimidation (Cha) +2

So those are a few modern NCs one might find in many of the world’s hotspots. There’s plenty more where that comes from as I have a few adventures I can publish once Sword’s Edge comes out.

Sword’s Edge in the North West

I have been posting examples of different genres using the Sword’s Edge rules both here and on the Kickstarter. You have backed the Kickstarter, right? Right?

So far, I’ve done a Roman alternate history and a fantasy example. This time, let’s look at a more recent historical period.

The Nor’Westers was a game I just finished with one of my home groups. The story is set in 1810 in Canada and focuses on an uprising along the fur trade route used by the North West Company. The PCs were trouble-shooters linked to Angus Shaw, one of the partners in the North West Company and brother-in-law to NWC head William McGillvray. After the kidnapping of the daughter of Alexander Turnbull and shooting of Turnbull, the PCs are sent to track down the kidnappers and free Turnbull’s daughter, which drops them right in the middle of the action.

“Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior” by Frances Anne Hopkins

The minion in this case is just one of the Thugs used by the uprising.

Ash’s Goons (Basic minion) 8
Concept: Shootist, +2

The regular is one of the townsfolk in Wrightsville (what became Gatineau, across the river from Canada’s capital of Ottawa) and an ally of the PCs, Ezekial Wright.

Ezekiel Wright (Good regular) 17
Concept: Businessman, +2
Physique -2, Charisma 0, Cunning +2

The hero is one of the first boss-fights the PCs faced, a quiet murderer who went by the name Tom River.

Tom River (Great hero) 23
Concept: Fiend, +4
Physique +2, Charisma 0, Cunning +4
Quiet Warning (Cha) +4; Hidden Blade (Cun) +2

Face ‘Splosion on a Sword’s Edge

The last posts included campaign scenarios with Swords Edge in an alternative history and then a straight fantasy setting. This time, let’s look at something closer to science fiction.

This is being cross-posted as an update to the Sword’s Edge Kickstarter, running until 20 April 2017.

Ive been sharing some of the genres in which Ive used Swords Edge, and these are generally outside, or at least different, from those provided in the text. This time, its kind of sci-fi, but really its a computer game adaptation.

One of the adventures Ive written for Swords Edge is a science fiction actioner. Ive been a fan of Borderlands for quite some time, as you may have noticed if you’ve read this blog for any length of time. I had developed a simple system to replicate the shoot em up style of play, but it didnt really work as I wanted. Swords Edge is one way of doing it, so here are some of the narrative characters I created to mess up PCs in Face Splosion.

Assault Bots (Average minion) 12
Concept: Killer-Bot, +2

The Assault Bots are the cannon-fodder, sent in to get blown up real good by the PCs. Theyre minions, so one shot is one kill, but at Average, they arent complete push-overs.

At another point, the PCs will need to crack a secure program, and instead of just having intrusion countermeasures electronic, the system has an actual AI providing the security.

AI (Good regular) 17
Concept: Digital Ninja, +2
Phy -2; Cha 0; Cun +2

At one point, the PCs face up to the underboss, a kind of boss fight but not the big boss. This is Helmut, the brain of the big bads bodyguard put into a robots body. Hes definitely tuned up to ruin someones day.

Helmut (Good Hero) 17
Concept: Cyborg Warbot, +4
Phy +4; Cha +2; Cun +0
Heavy Armour (Phy) +4, Rocket Launchers (Phy) +2

So those are three of the characters that the PCs on Anesidora will run into in my own little version of Borderlands.

You can find the Sword’s Edge Kickstarter here.

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

You can read about my obsession with Borderlands here.

My attempts are Borderlands RPGs are referenced here.

Fantasy on the Sword’s Edge

The last post was about a campaign scenario with Swords Edge in an alternative history setting. This time, let’s go straight fantasy.

This is being cross-posted as an update to the Sword’s Edge Kickstarter, running until 20 April 2017.

One of my ongoing games is a fantasy set in an alternate Korea in which the PCs are villagers in the far north, on the edge of civilization, whose village becomes the target of dark forces. Strange beings attack the village and carry off most of its inhabitants, and the PCs heroically seek to free their neighbours and confront the evil.

Im going to share the evil shaman narrative character and then two challenges the PCs faced. Challenges are built the same as narrative characters, its just that they are not individuals, they are obstacles. In this case, each success changed the narrative somehow. But first, the evil shaman.

Parnai (Good regular) 17
Concept: Sorcerer, +2
Physique -2; Charisma +0; Cunning +2
Command the Dead (Cun) +2; Eye of the Snake (Cun) +2

The sorcerer is a regular in order to leave him somewhat vulnerable he can survive three Stress before being removed from the scene but he is provided with Elements to represent his magic.

And the obstacles. Im going to include all the notes I made for each obstacle as well, to help give a better idea of how these run.

Tracking the Beast (average regular) 12
Concept: Path of the Wolf, +2
Physique+2; Charisma +0; Cunning-2

If not PCs have skills that can track the wolf, just have the players provide a narrative explanation for how they track it.

Success in “Tracking the Beast” reveals 1) What becomes obvious is that it was likely a wolf that took the child, though a wolf larger than any you have ever seen. 2) The wolf ran on four legs, not two, and it looks like it is dragging the child. 3) The wolf weighed around 400kg (880 lb) when it is rare for a wolf to weigh more than 55 kg

Path of Desolation (Poor regular) 5
Concept: Path in Darkness, +2
Physique+2; Charisma +0; Cunning-2

For each Success against the obstacle, the PCs learn one fact: 1) You easily discern the booted feet of soldiers the villagers all wear rope sandals or shoes, even in the winter (feet are bundled against the cold). 2) Although the tracks are not clear given the number of feet, you would guess there were maybe 25 or 30 soldiers and perhaps double that number of villagers. 3) They are moving at speed and the villagers are unlikely to keep this pace for long.

So there you have some examples of narrative characters for a fantasy campaign.