Song of Swords: The Historical-Fantasy Tabletop RPG With Gritty Tactical Combat

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After four years in development and a highly successful Kickstarter, the Song of Swords tabletop RPG has launched! RPG players looking to run and play campaigns based on historical realism, highly tactical combat, fierce and dangerous magic, and where characters live with the constant peril of death, should immediately get into the Song of Swords RPG.

The Song of Swords RPG combines our 15th century historical reality with variable low, high, or epic fantasy levels to create the exact type of campaign you want to play in. It further sets itself apart from standard RPG fare by having a progression system based on your character’s goals (not XP), using a d10 dice pool (and only using d10s), and by not having hit points for characters and creatures.

With its’ solid historically-based setting, SoS could easily be set in some area during our real life past, such as the medieval era. However, the game does have its own realm, called the Tattered Realm. The main continent, Vosca, is home to the regions of Alandi, Clachland, Dace, Gali, Illegon, Karthack, Kaselreich, Svitgard, and Thanemarch. Within and throughout these regions, players will encounter multiple gameplay layers, including familiar and unfamiliar historical and fantasy elements, and even some dark Lovecraftian aspects.

The races making up those regions of Vosca include such classics as humans, dwarves, and goblins. SoS also includes elves, known as the Din, who exist in three sub-races (Ohanedin, Burdinadin, and Zells), each with their own “Focus”, the link to their immortality.

SoS’s magic system consists of three schools: Pyromancy, Sorcery, and Thaumaturgy. Pyromancers handle the arcane arts of flame and life, sorcerers harness natural and innate magical energies, and thaumaturgists tap into otherworldly forces to shape reality to their will. However, magic users in SoS and rare, and magic is not as abundant as in other RPGs, such as Dungeons & Dragons.

The fundamental and dominant force in SoS is its gritty, tactical melee combat system. The developers spent hundreds of hours on this aspect alone, as evidenced by page after page of item and stat charts and tables for weapons, armor, proficiencies, maneuvers, talents, and wounds. Here’s a prime indicator of just how deep and lethal the combat system is: there’s an entire chapter section for “Prosthetics”, which includes your basic ‘peg leg’ attachments, and on up to ones powered by the heat of your character’s body. And without using magic!

I must admit that my first thought at seeing the Song of Swords name was that someone had finally made an RPG based on the “SWORDS” books by one of my favorite fantasy authors, Fred Saberhagen. Alas, seems I’ll have to continue waiting for that one. But after researching this SoS, I am both highly impressed and eagerly looking forward to seeing the game fully published, and hopefully getting to play it. As a lifelong martial artist, soldier, and military historian, SoS seems as if it was tailor-made for me, and gamers like me.

Of course, you should check out SoS for yourself, and see if it’s of interest to you. Start with the Song of Swords official website, where you’ll find descriptions on combat, lore, the world of the Tattered Realm and its regions, and the playable races. Be sure to click into the Blog section for a deeper look into SoS world and character lore.

The SoS Kickstarter page has a lot of detail about what the published game will look like, including the manuals, the NPC Army Deck, adventure modules, and the beautiful art found throughout all those.

The Tim Kearney half of the Tabletop Terrors RPG team (sans his brother James) recorded an interview with the SoS dev team (Opaque Industries), which includes Zachary Irwin, Taylor Davis, and James Lacombe. During the 46-minute “ Song of Swords is Rad” video, the dev team discuss SoS in detail, covering the extensive combat system, and describing the roleplaying, magic, lore, and historical realism in the game.

Song of Swords currently has a scheduled release date of Feb 2018. But, if you don’t want to wait until then to start playing, then download the free Song of Swords beta rules and get started right away. Note that the beta rules do not include the magic system, but does have everything else needed to get into this outstanding RPG.

Are you looking for a historically-based, deeply tactical, and combat-intensive RPG such as Song of Swords? Are you currently playing Song of Swords or other such RPG? Share your tales with us in the Comments section below!

Image Credits: Opaque Industries

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