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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
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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 (17)
Discussions (18)
Customer avatar
jeremy W September 06, 2020 10:08 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This rules set is great(possible my favorite). i have both this and the addendum. would love to have them in a nice hard cover version
Customer avatar
Max B June 03, 2020 4:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
SS&SS is one of the best RPG I’ve played as a GM/DM. My players love the simple system that takes imaginary gaming to the next level. Easy to learn and even faster to master, I highly recommend this book to anyone who love OSR without loads of tactical preparations. It takes some of the best simple elements of 'the dark eye' 1E, DCC & D&D 5E and adds unique simple twists to make it fresh without throwing off experienced players.
Great system for Online groups also. I am at my 4th game and my player keep praising the system. Great job Diogo! SS&SS is one of my fav rule system to use.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H June 04, 2020 1:41 am UTC
PURCHASER
Totally agreed. It's a great little system! I'm excited to see what he does with the 2nd edition. But I hope it stays small and portable like 1e. Maybe some more toolbox options in the back, perhaps a bit like 5TD?
Customer avatar
Max B July 02, 2020 6:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Good call. If there is a 2nd Edition is the works, I'm buying without any hesitation. :)
Customer avatar
Corey C May 09, 2020 2:56 pm UTC
Is there any chance of this game being expanded into one book like Solare Blades & Cosmic Spells? I would really like to have this and the Addendum in one print on demand book.
Customer avatar
Diogo N June 25, 2020 8:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Yep! Second edition will give the SB&CS treatment to SS&SS! Lots of tools, just d20s and d6s... And all original art!
Customer avatar
Corey C June 27, 2020 2:40 am UTC
Awesome! Any idea when we might see it made available?
Customer avatar
William B July 25, 2019 12:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Is there some general guidance for creating encounters? I'm aware of the whole "old school vs. 3.5" debate on whether encounter balance is necessary in games. While I am not seeking exact balance, it would be nice to have some general idea of what I can throw at an x level party without wiping them and ruining the gaming session. I know there is no "magic formula", and even systems like 3.5 that offer some guidance are not perfect in this regard, but at least it allows you to guesstimate.
Customer avatar
Scott N January 07, 2020 10:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have never done encounter balance in games, just like my historical battles with miniature games, no two sides are ever equal or balanced. I tell my players always tread carefully as I don't play favorites in rpg's, sometimes they get the drop and are superior, some times is tit-fer-tat and then others, usually the bosses that its deadly and they will need all their wits and abilities to overcome the baddies. IMHO.
Customer avatar
Daniel B January 17, 2020 1:55 am UTC
PURCHASER
This really depends on the type of encounters and creatures you are "throwing" at the player characters. If you keep using creatures that can only be harmed by magic, for example, and only one person has spells or an enchanted blade, you will want fewer creatures than more.

I use this formula, based on how challenging I think the creature will be.

Do not include creatures with more HD than the combined HD of the player characters -1 for ever 4 levels.

If the creature has more HD than the combined HD of the player characters, include 1 with a 50% chance of +1. (Possibly to be introduced later in the encounter.)
If the creature has more HD than the combined HD of the player characters and has some offensive or defensive abilities, include only 1 and see what happens. If the players get frustrated with either of these two encounters, tweak as needed.

If the creature has more HD than half of the combined HD of the player characters, include 1d3 with...See more
Customer avatar
Chris B June 16, 2019 7:43 am UTC
Both the PDF and physical book are set at PWYW - don't think you meant to do that for the physical item?
Customer avatar
Adrian K July 10, 2018 10:44 am UTC
PURCHASER
Nice game! Came across it thanks to Sacrebleu - have you thought of having an official compatibility license?
Customer avatar
Diogo N July 17, 2018 3:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I had a logo made once but It didn't look good. I gotta get my XXX on a chair and make a good one. And maybe post on the blog about making stuff for it?
Customer avatar
Adrian K July 18, 2018 9:41 am UTC
PURCHASER
Something like the logo from the cover, with "Compatible" underneath it in a suitable font, might do the trick. Also, you might want to add a link to your blog as your publisher link from here.
Customer avatar
Raymond W November 06, 2017 7:54 am UTC
PURCHASER
"The following author's work inspired the mechanics of this game:..."

I love the shout-outs! When you see that in the ad copy, you know it comes from a place of love.

I'm still reading my copy but I'm really enjoying it so far. I'll be sure to give a review when I'm done. This is (so far) great stuff.
Customer avatar
Nikolas C September 25, 2017 2:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Awesome work! I already had the portuguese version, but got english version to further support. Keep the great work Diogo.
Customer avatar
Gerald K September 13, 2017 2:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
Great game and perfect for an action quick and brutal Sword and Sorcery style setting. I just have one question. Maybe I'm missing the obvious and I'm just to thick to see it. But could you please give me an example of how armor reduction works? I can't seem to grasp the -1d and -2d for the light and heavy armors.
Customer avatar
Diogo N September 13, 2017 2:38 am UTC
PURCHASER
Suppose someone hits your character for 1d8 points of damage and you're wearing heavy armor. That's a -2d reduction, so the dice is reduced twice. 1d8>1d6>1d4. You would take only 1d4 points of damage.

Oh and thanks a lot for the kind words. I am glad you are enjoying it!
Customer avatar
Gerald K September 13, 2017 3:09 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for the quick reply. Now the whole think makes sense to me. Looking forward to running a game this weekend in a setting based on James Silk's Death Dealer series of novels and Frazetta's artwork. Again, thank you for the assistance and fast reply.
Customer avatar
Diogo N September 15, 2017 3:08 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for your interest, Gerald! I hope it goes well! Death Dealer series is awesome!
Customer avatar
Gerald K September 19, 2017 3:44 am UTC
PURCHASER
First game went really well. Characters were created and the party was formed and went through a quick 'trial by combat' situation. Everyone enjoyed it and was able to pick up the system quickly and smoothly.
Customer avatar
Garth D January 14, 2020 11:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
I've actually got a problem with the armor, because medium armor is strictly worse than light armor. Dropping one step on the dice chain is statistically equivalent to the flat -1 point that light armor grants (except at the d4->d3 step, which is only worth .5). Which means light armor grants the same effective damage reduction without the Agility limit...

(I'm going to substitute armor from The Black Hack 2e, I think).
Customer avatar
Daniel B January 17, 2020 2:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
Statistically, you're correct. But it can mean as much as a 2 point difference. d8 > d6 > d4. Which means that a character in medium armor won't have to worry about any hits of 7 to 8 damage when dealing with normal weapons in normal circumstances. Lightly armored characters can still take up to 7 damage from a normal weapon. The law of averages is of course, in your favor, but I think over time, there will be a strong feeling of difference between medium armor (-1d) and light armor (-1). -1d also feels like it counteracts a +1d bonus.
Customer avatar
Matthew S August 25, 2017 12:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Diogo - fantastic job! Quick question: does a Medium shield (for example) provide 2 Negative dice to every attack received or does it provide a Negative dice to the first two attacks received? The latter, I think, since there is no description of how multiple Negative dice would work, but the wording of the chart for shields implies the former. I'm assuming this is just a quirk of translating.
Customer avatar
Diogo N August 27, 2017 1:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Matthew!

The text says Negative Dice per Round, not per attack. So it's 2 attacks get a Negative Die tops. If your attacked more than 2 times, only two of them would get a Negative Die (not necessarily the first 2, you can choose).
Customer avatar
Angelo G August 16, 2017 2:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
i take the promotion "for free" and i dont recive the key
Customer avatar
Diogo N August 21, 2017 9:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
All you have to do is set the amount to ZERO and place it into the cart.
Customer avatar
Crep S April 22, 2017 4:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
Are you sure, the Print is again PWYW? Couldn`t this potentially REALLY damage you?
Customer avatar
Diogo N August 21, 2017 9:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I decided I just want people to know the game and play it. If they decide it's worth their coin, they can toss me a few dollars.

I hope they do. But I don't want money to stop people from playing my game.
Customer avatar
Laura A December 05, 2016 6:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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!
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Product Information
Platinum seller
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Pages
48
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OSP-001
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This title was added to our catalog on November 14, 2016.