Swords under the Sun — Blades in the Dark meets Dungeon World


itch.io link (will come live at March the 30th)

The Men prospered in the incandescence of the Sun above, as Her light kept horrendous Beasts, spawns of the Dark at bay.

But at one point in time, so long ago that even the oldest of immortal elves don’t remember it, things have changed. The Sun above stopped to warm and started to burn, Men and Beasts indiscriminately.

Whatever sin was committed, it was great and now you must suffer to repent it.

Or, at least, the Temple says so.

This is the game of faith. This is the game of dangers, struggles, darkness and corruption. This is the game of hope, heroism, self-sacrifice and friendship, forged in blood and fire.

Players take on roles of the heroes, risking their life at every turn to make sure that their world, or even the world at large lives to see another day.

I was always puzzled why there’s no fleshed out fantasy hack of BitD, so I’ve decided to make one, but since I’m a damn hipster, I couldn’t be satisfied with just sword and sorcery — so, inspired with my own experience of losing faith, I’ve decided to expand it into sword and sorcery and faith.

As of now, the game is 70 pages long (the only thing is missing is a monster manual, but I’m working on it), and was extensively internally playtested — and now I’m getting ready to launch a public playtest at 30.03.2021.

Stay tuned!

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Thanks for posting this. I’m looking forward to giving this a try!

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This sounds incredible, looking forward to checking it out!

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Oooh, excited to see this!

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Thanks to everyone! I really appreciate kind words (:

I’m finishing up last preparations – playtest evaluation forms, compiling changes from baseline BitD, all that jazz.

I’m really glad I’ve started talking about my game online, since now I have no way to chicken out haha

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Okay, now I can exhale, finally.
I need a drink.

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I registered just to tell you: I am looking forward to see your work :slight_smile: I was about to begin working on my own (more traditional) fantasy hack when I’ve ran into your post.

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It’s out. It’s PWYW. Grab it, play it, tell me what you think about it!

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Just snagged it. Not sure I’ll be able to start reading it until tomorrow, but really looking forward to it. Especially given that list of inspirations!

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Exciting! I popped on here to see if anyone had done a blades hack for DW as I am getting frustrated with those rules and wanted to try porting over to blades rules. And here this is :slight_smile:

Just downloaded and it’s a very interesting combination of DW and Blades.

Immedaiate reactions - the good

The action set looks good - that’s one I’d like to pay test to see how it holds up for urban, wilderness and delving adventures. I’m particularly impressed with the sorcerer as this is something of a departure from the Blades source. Another part I like is the specific darknesses that each playset has, making trauma more interesting.

Regardless of whether I play this directly or just take inspiration, it’s great to see some of my bug-bears with each system dealt with: Bonds work better for XP when expressed rather than resolved; harm is still severe and long-lasting, but mild harm goes away more easily; it’s possible to pick special abilities from other play-sets (though that will take away an important bardic ability if that gets added).

Another excellent addition that can be used with any FitD system is the work on NPCs. I recommend that every GM for Blades reads this section and how tier can be used to determine immediacy of effect - this is a great expansion of the idea of expert-enemies. It also builds iteratively, so is flexible to use on the fly or to build a complex enemy with depth. Really good work here.

Immediate Reaction - questions

So this has downtime actions like recover, supply etc., and there is space on the sheets for coin, but it looks like there is no such thing as Downtime vs. Score/action. The lack of “scores” makes sense in a DW-like setting, and restricting down-time actions to when they are in civilisation helps. What I wonder is if the lack on limits will means that all down-time actions get performed, stretching this part out as everyone gets healed, everyone finds peace? Probably one for a longer play-test.

Uncertain what happens in terms of coin. What amount of coin does the group get when finishing an adventure? I guess the range of 2-10 coin depending on size of adventure would make senes. However, if it’s not needed for adding down-time actions, is there a concept of stashing for later, or just get-money-buy-gear?

Rambling Thoughts - how I want to use this

The whole thing is infused with the faith narrative, which is both a strength and an issue for me, as I’m interested in whether it would be possible to use this for an existing DW adventure which I’m struggling with as I want the flexibility of the FitD action set over what I feel are more prescriptive DW moves. As such that would be missing the sun and dark parts of the setting. Sorry! I realise that these are integral to the theme of this piece, and I think these would be fascinating to explore, just not for my current campaign.

So thinking selfishly, what work do I need to do to make this closer to DW? Given my party I need to create a bard and druid. But more fundamentally, is it possible to get DW to work with BitD rules without the faith tensions between light and dark? The two issue I can see are:

  1. That the rules as written expect that life is struggle to keep head above… something. In Blades it is the stress of a life of crime. In Swords it is the doom of the encroaching dark. These feed into how trauma works, and the design of the characters. Possibly not a big issue as could be solved with adjusting the theme and colour - reverting back to the stress of delving into the dark parts of the work.
  2. Attune. This action verb assumes a spirit realm that overlaps ours and is a primary force in the world, able to effect it and infect us with possessing spirits. It’s possible one could keep it as attunement to the natural world, to some mystical force, or to the mind overlay.

But even if I don’t hack this about to make it work in this instance, I do love the idea of a campaign that focuses on discussions about faith. Like a lot of people I know, I lost my own faith in my teens, which seems not as traumatic as for those who question things after a long relationship with faith. Perhaps such themes will always be interesting to apostates like myself, but some of the rest experiences I’ve had with TTRPG has been when characters have to choose between opposing goals, and this looks like it highlights this.

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So this has downtime actions like recover, supply etc., and there is space on the sheets for coin, but it looks like there is no such thing as Downtime vs. Score/action. The lack of “scores” makes sense in a DW-like setting, and restricting down-time actions to when they are in civilisation helps. What I wonder is if the lack on limits will means that all down-time actions get performed, stretching this part out as everyone gets healed, everyone finds peace? Probably one for a longer play-test.

The main limiting factor on downtime, is, well, time. In my experience, players tend to not take downtime, instead of taking too much – after all, an evil Sorcerer-King isn’t going to wait for you.

Uncertain what happens in terms of coin. What amount of coin does the group get when finishing an adventure? I guess the range of 2-10 coin depending on size of adventure would make senes. However, if it’s not needed for adding down-time actions, is there a concept of stashing for later, or just get-money-buy-gear?

At this point, coins work on “figure it out” basis. A reference sheet with service prices, costs of retaining hirelings, etc. is under work, but it’s kinda low in my priority list.

Attune. This action verb assumes a spirit realm that overlaps ours and is a primary force in the world, able to effect it and infect us with possessing spirits. It’s possible one could keep it as attunement to the natural world, to some mystical force, or to the mind overlay.

My suggestion would be to get rid of a “magic” action entirely – it’s not like in DW there’s any form of raw magic available to everyone.

Maybe split Observe into Recon and Investigate, or Charm into Consort and Sway, or replace Attune with “Recall lore” (though that’s something I personally didn’t want).

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Thanks so much for your thoughts on my questions.

Where do you want nitpicking feedback like spelling, grammar etc, or are you going to do a proof-read sweep after the beta is concluded?