A downloadable game

Sorcerers & Sellswords is a one-page game derived from John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings. The game’s flavor is weird fantasy - think Clark Ashton Smith, Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards, the early tales of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser, Thundarr the Barbarian, etc.

The world is full of dangers and mystery. A person’s safety and livelihood often depends on their wits or a strong arm. Sorcerous powers are available to those desperate or insane enough to use them.

Both S&SS and L&F are fantastic for pick-up games and one-shots. They can sustain short campaigns or even longer play for people who want episodic adventure and aren’t as concerned with things like consistency/simulation or leveling up. The play style is very much in the Powered-by-the-Apocalypse tradition (experience with Apocalypse WorldDungeon World, or another PbtA game helps), though the dice mechanic is different.

I've stretched the "one-page" definition a bit on the full-page version of the game. You only need the first page to play, but I have included a "lexicon" that can be printed on the back of the rules, as well as a page of blank character sheets. So it’s a one-page game, but the file has three pages. The PocketMod includes a character sheet but no lexicon.

StatusReleased
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(4)
AuthorRay Otus
GenreRole Playing
TagsDragons, dungeons, Fantasy, Magic

Download

Download
Pocket Mod Version 473 kB
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Full Version 337 kB

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Finally got this to the table - review and actual play posted on my blog! See here to check it out.

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Not sure if you read this Ray, but I have been messing around with some solo play of this game using the Recluse solo engine/oracle. I wondered if you had any ideas for how gaining an Insight might work in solo play, since there's no GM to question apart from yourself, and you're kind of doing that constantly in solo play anyway. The only thing I've thought of so far is to put a scenario or question that relates to something 'off camera' the PCs couldn't possibly ask or even be aware of to the oracle when an Insight is rolled, but it still doesn't feel entirely right.

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I do. I get notifications anyway. :) I don't really have any strong thoughts on solo play in general, but for insights I guess you have to - from the character's standpoint - think about what it would be useful to know. Then ask the question. Then maybe roll a d6. On a 1-3 you find out something that isn't particularly useful or good/bad. On a 4-5 you find out something useful, but it complicates the situation. On a 6 it's useful and makes everything easier. Example: You are fighting a creature and can't seem to hurt it. You get an insight though. On a 1-3 you might learn that it is a creature from a cold climate. On a 4-5 you might learn that it's hide is impervious to mundane weapons. On a 6 you might learn that it has an instinctual fear of fire. Remix the odds as they seem good to you. :)

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Cheers mate! I recognise the system isn't really designed for solo play, so I appreciate these thoughts. Great game!

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If you ever feel like riffing on it and putting out an edition with your own art ... well ... that would be bonkers-awesome. :)

Damn man, now you've got me thinking!! Into the brain cauldron...

BTW, I occasionally think about a new version of this game. I wouldn't change it much. I would likely add a stack of poker chips to represent "level" and introduce stunts - which would be sorcerous things you have done in the fiction before and for which you are automatically an expert. The levels would start at 3 and increase by 1, up to a max of 10 or 12. Each level would represent one "hurt" you could take before going out of action (not hit points at all, but rather fictional conditions representing harm).

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Trying to start another game of this over on Discord.

Thinking I'll present sorcery to the players as being more like "Lóa, ride me!" with the sorcerers being symbiotically possessed by the demons that do the magic, rather than "stuffy bearded guy in fancy robe with formulae."

I wonder, occasionally, why you link Sorcery to passionate action and Swords to calm precise action? Is that a "balance" thing? I grok it the other way ..

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The simple answer is I am working from my understanding of Sword & Sorcery fiction (pre D&D). Sorcery comes from a dark and wild place, not from an intellectual breakdown of alchemy, physics, leylines, etc. And while some people like to think swords are geared toward emotion, I would argue that's nonsense. Swordplay is physical and relies on training, expertise, and equipment. Yes, emotion plays a role. So if a barbarian raged, I would give them the "prepared" die on their attacks (if they successfully take a Sorcery action to pscyhe themselves up), but they would use the Swords die pole when executing attacks. I explain it some in a recent podcast: https://anchor.fm/plundergrounds/episodes/148-Sorcerers--Sellswords-with-Spikepi...

Cool beans. We're playing it as written over on Discord, and so far it makes sense "your" way.

We need to play this again sometime!

Yeah, we do. I still love this game. :)