Swords Without Master at Chicago Gameday 41
Dain Lybarger facilitated a game of Swords Without Master for me, Willow Palecek, Shari Corey, and Tim Jensen this past Saturday at Gameday 41. I’d ever played before, not really read the rules (yes, I am one of those patron’s of Eppy’s who has yet to find time to read SWoM; sue me).
I created a rogue called Dove, with a named sword and backstory about murderous soldiering and such. Dain started us off using what I think was an introductory scenario from the rules; the opening scene had the four of us clinging to a high tower during the Carnival of Dreams.
I really enjoyed the vent, but it was sort of rough going. SWoM reminded me a lot of games like Polaris and even Blood Red Sands, which are very ritualistic and benefit from both mastery and spontaneity; you really need to be “on” the whole time you’re playing this game. I enjoyed it, but definitely feel like I need to review the rules and play a few more times to really get it.
Our adventure became very “wahoo”, which I don’t know is entirely the intent. I said to Dain that I’d have liked some sort of “getting on the same page” pre-game phase to help us establish more cohesive fiction later on.
Willow also made an interesting point about how you don’t always have agency in the game, as anyone can narrate things your rogue does or experiences. For her, that was a deal-breaker. For me, I’m on the fence. I think it could be very cool, but I also don’t know if I’d choose it over something a little more traditional w/r/t who gets to say what about “my guy”.
Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun. I look forward to trying it again.