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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

A Sword & Sorcery Rules Light Role Playing Game with Old School Spirit
In ages past, great kingdoms covered the world. Now, their ruins dot the savage wilderness that encroaches the few decadent city-states of our current time. In this perilous world, brave adventurers bearing sharp swords and sinister spells look for glory, gold and forbidden knowledge.

What is Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells?

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is a rules-light, sword & sorcery, old school role playing game inspired by the original fantasy RPG and the Old School Renaissance movement as well as the stories by such authors as Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock. With this book, you and your friends will be able to play exciting adventures with bold barbarians, witty thieves and cunning sorcerers without worrying about complex rules and tiresome preparations.

ATTENTION! Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is not a Simulacrum of an older edition of the world’s most famous fantasy RPG! Although inspired by the original game and the OSR movement, the game was designed to be have its own unique system, more suitable to the Sword & Sorcery genre the author has in mind. The following author's work inspired the mechanics of this game: Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, David Black, Christian Mehrstam, John Cocking, Peter S. Williams, Joseph Goodman, Harley Stroh, Jason Morningstar, Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson, Simon Washbourne, Kevin Crawford, Sandy Petersen, Mike Manson, Jay Little, James M. Spahn, Ben Milton.

The World of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

Men and women, considered brave by few, desperate by some, and insane by most. They leave the fragile security of the City-States to enter the ancient ruins in search for treasure and secrets that are better left undisturbed.

The world if Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is an ancient one. Many civilizations have risen and fallen through the ages and not all of them were of men. Now what remains are their ruins and a few decadent City-States that live in the shadow of their former ancestors. The men and women of the current time are divided between many cultures, each with its own ambitions and rivalries.

The players’ characters are typical adventurers who seek glory, gold, ancient relics, power and other personal goals. They are not the stereotypical heroes who risk their live for the simply benefit of others. Many of their adventures put them face to face with weird things, terrible and fantastic, which are not as common place as in other fantasy genres. There are no elves in the forests. No dwarves in the mountains. Dragons and other monster are legendary creatures and, probably, unique. Sorcery is feared, respected and hated by most mortal men. The steel of his sword and the courage in his heart is all an adventurer needs to forge his destiny.

The Game System

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells was design to be a a very flexible and quick game system, with tools to generate story seeds to be used by the referee and players alike. Created to allow players to spend the least amount of time outside the actual gameplay as possible and to let them experience adventures in the style of the Sword & Sorcery tales it was inspired by, the game system has the following characteristics:

• A complete game within 48 pages. That means you can get it, read it and start playing within a few hours!

• Four basic Attributes on which all actions are based: Physique, Agility, Intellect and Willpower.

• An Archetype and Vocation system, giving complete freedom in character creation. You can be a barbarian, a knight, a ranger, a pirate, a mercenary, an assassin, a smuggler, a warlock, a druid or anything else you might want to be. There is not a definitive list of classes to limit your choices.

• A leveless spell system, allowing a spellcaster to cast any spell he can learn. The more powerful a spell is, the higher the risks of casting it though. The caster can try to cast the same spells many times, but each time he does it he is risking his body and soul. Magic is powerful but dangerous to use.

• Armor reduces the potential damage taken. It also can make you easier to hit, as the heavier suits restrict your movement.

• Characters have a Luck Die that help determine random effects in the game and allow them to cheat death.

• Simplified and intuitive encumbrance rules.

• Characters complications give the referee immediate resources to introduce story drive challenges.

• Abstract and streamlined combat and movement rules.

• There is no healing magic, making every combat more dangerous. The players need to evaluate each situation before resorting to pure violence.

• Magic items are rare, unique, powerful and always charge a price for its use.

• The game comes with an Adventure Idea Generator to help referees to come up with adventure ideas, hooks, NPCs, locations and many other things

The Book

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells rulebook has 48 pages, with everything you need to experience adventures in a savage and decadent world. It’s completely illustrated with hand picked images to inspire the reader, including many pieces draw by hand by the author. The cover art was made by the talented Annita Wright, a Brazilian illustrator.

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Reviews (11)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Angelo G August 16, 2017 2:29 am UTC
i take the promotion "for free" and i dont recive the key
Customer avatar
Crep S April 22, 2017 4:28 pm UTC
Eu sou br eu joguei isso na geek games 2017 e adorei
Customer avatar
Daniel K March 20, 2017 3:30 pm UTC
Just got the PWYW version before founding the brazillian version of the game and I have some doubts about running the game:
1st one: There's no indication about ammo and usage dice (for arrows, throwing weapons), I have my own idea on how to deal with it, but I'd like to know about the other options the community (and the game designer) could offer.
2nd one: Some of the basic adventuring gear itens are listed as per unit (like 5 chalks, 5 torches). Do you actually use it like this, or roll usage dice? If you use it as per unit, do each buy means one slot of encumbrance? If you use it as usage dice, which dice is the basic, do you raice one dice for extra unit, like, 5 torches means a d12)?
3rd one: About the improvement rolls, you roll for an attribute first, the for the prime attributes then. Can you roll for any attribute in the 1s roll, or does it have to be a non-prime attribute?
Customer avatar
Dorian Y January 19, 2017 4:19 pm UTC
Great system. I'm only making one mod for my games. When a player rolls to hit in combat I'm having them roll 2d20 one represents enemy aggression. If both come under the player stat the player gets everything they wanted in the attack. If the aggression die is over stat something bad happens. Anything from a depleted resource to taking damage DW style. Leave the player rolling everything.
Customer avatar
Wayne H January 09, 2017 3:55 pm UTC
You have your paperback book set as pay what you want. Might want to fix that.
Customer avatar
Diogo N January 10, 2017 12:55 pm UTC
Thanks for the heads up. I thought you could have the PDF as PWYW and a normally paid print version together. Apperently you cannot.

So i setup another product to be the PWYW product, since I had already gone through all the wait to set the print version.

Thanks for the help! :)
Customer avatar
Marcus B May 08, 2017 6:35 pm UTC
Are you sure, the Print is again PWYW? Couldn`t this potentially REALLY damage you?
Customer avatar
December 05, 2016 6:38 pm UTC
Just wanted to say I love the game and its presentation. I hope a hardcover print option will be available soon, but I plan to buy it in print either way.

Looking forward to having this book in my gaming library.
Customer avatar
Diogo N December 07, 2016 6:04 pm UTC
Thank you so much for the kind words. I am really glad you enjoyed it. As a 48 pages book, I think it will be a little short for a HC book, but the saddle stitch book looks really good! It's going live on another site soon! And with a discounted prince until 2017!
Customer avatar
James S December 05, 2016 6:11 pm UTC
Diogo I know I have said this already but, this is fantastic and I can't wait to run it. It's pretty amazing how complete of a rule set you managed to get into 50 pages and you capture the feeling of sword and sorcery really well. I did have one thing I that I noticed wasn't in there which was falling damage. I came up with my own ruling as a good Old school judge does but, I'm curious how you would do it. My ruling was the character suffers 1HD worth of damage per 10 feet. To make it extra rough it would 1hd for 10 3hd for 20 feet etc..
Customer avatar
Diogo N December 07, 2016 6:08 pm UTC
That's pretty much my idea. Maybe on a revision I should add that. Or, to make it simple, separete falling damage in abstract categories like a short, medium, long and fatal fall. Short would do 1d12, medium 3d12, long 6d12 and fatal, well, would be fatal!
Customer avatar
James S December 08, 2016 12:24 pm UTC
I like it! The short, medium and long are more consistent with the existing rules. I'll try it out. d12 seems rough. I'm all for that though. Were you thinking of creating a G+ community for this game? I would join if so. I've got a couple things I'm thinking of writing up that I'd like to eventually post. Once again thank you for this. The game has inspired my imagination.
Customer avatar
Diogo N December 09, 2016 2:58 pm UTC
Thanks man! That's what I was aiming for! I want to give enough stuff so the game has it's own fell, but not too much as people feel stuck with what's presented. I want it to inspire creations. I am prepering more stuff for it in the same form of presentations.

And I do have a community in the about it, I just do not know how to promote it! :) I am not sure I can link in here.
Customer avatar
James S December 09, 2016 6:44 pm UTC
Ok I'll search google plus I looked previously and didn't see it.
Customer avatar
Stuart B November 17, 2016 6:40 pm UTC
Lots of typos and mistranslations. Examples: resources are expanded (should be expended); there is a spell called Project Conscience (should be Consciousness). Poor choice of fonts for headings used throughout.
Customer avatar
Jay M November 17, 2016 8:33 pm UTC
Stuart B I would like to send you a copy of my USR Sword & Sorcery PDF rulebook. I would like to get a review compared to other Sword & Sorcery rules available here on RPGNow.
Customer avatar
Diogo N November 17, 2016 8:48 pm UTC
The book did go through revision, but apparently some mistakes were left. Those you pointed out were corrected. If you have anymore issues you would like to report, that would be helpful.

Thanks of taking the time to let me know.
Customer avatar
November 27, 2016 4:57 am UTC
Looks like the Rewards table on p. 46 repeats categories 1-3 twice instead of offering six like the other tables. That said, on first reading, I really like this ruleset.
Customer avatar
Diogo N November 30, 2016 2:02 am UTC
Fred, thanks for reporting this mistake. We are going to upload a new version of the book in early December with this and other small corrections in preparation for the print version.
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File Last Updated:
December 21, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on November 14, 2016.