Category Archives: News & Reviews

Kickstarter: Shadow, Sword & Spell


Shadow, Sword & Spell by Rogue Games is a game very dear to me. I still have fond memories of the game Zachary Houghton ran for us at GenCon 2010. Originally Richard Iorio II, the owner of Rogue Games, had planned to run the game for us, but unfortunately a very nasty cold stopped him from actually doing so. Shadow, Sword and Spell is – even in its 1st edition – a very easy to learn and to play sword & sorcery RPG with some interesting mechanics. The new mechanics which will power the 2nd edition of this fine game have been revised and now work better than ever. A Kickstarter project to fund the 2nd edition has just been started and at the moment of this writing has already reached more than a fifth of the goal of $5000.

For full disclosure I have to tell you that I worked with Richard on a couple of projects. I did nothing major, just some proofreading for several of his books, but this should be mentioned especially when I try to convince people to back his Kickstarter project. I also consider him a friend.

So, why should you invest some of your hard-earned money into this Kickstarter? For one Shadow, Sword & Spell is a great game which – in my opinion – is not as well-known as it should be. As I said before, the changes to the rules make the game even better. There will also be new artwork – which looks absolutely awesome by the way – and a completely new layout.


Did I mention that everything from the 1st edition’s Basic and Expert books will be combined into the new 2nd edition rulebook? For a pledge of just $10 you not only support this project but you’ll also get a PDF, ePub, or Kindle copy of the game including all of the funded stretch goals. If you are willing to invest more, you can get a softcover or hardcover version of the rules.

What I really like about the Shadow, Sword & Spell Kickstarter is that it has a reasonable goal of $5000 and is not going crazy with pledge levels and stretch goals. I have seen too many Kickstarter projects fail because the goals where to high or the stretch goals could never be fulfilled.

In my opinion Shadow, Sword & Spell is a game which should be in any gamer’s library, especially if said gamer has a soft spot for the swords & sorcery genre. If you haven’t checked out the game yet, you should definitely give the Kickstarter project a look, or get the 1st edition from your local store or via DriveThruRPG!

Caves of Qud


Yes, this is first and foremost a pen & paper roleplaying games blog, but sometimes I just need to sneak in a post about related topics. Today I want to talk about Caves of Qud, a very intriguing roguelike computer RPG, which I was interested in for quite some time now.


Roguelikes are games which are similar in gameplay to the original Rogue, which is – in a nutshell – an old-school dungeon crawl simulator. If you are familiar with the first editions of D&D you know what to expect: the game is quite lethal, there are countless monsters which are out to kill you, there are deep dungeons and countless treasures. Even though computers are now capable of almost lifelike graphics and sound, the classic roguelike genre with minimal graphics and turn-based action is still alive and well.

One of the more recent games in this particular genre is “Caves of Qud”, which is a game with a lot of depth and an intriguing world. The world presented in the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s no radioactive wasteland like in many other games of the genre, but it reminds me more of Monte Cook’s Numenera. You can either play a mutated human (and there are a lot of cool mutations to choose from) or a member of the true kin (which are – I guess – unmutated humans).

At the surface CoQ looks like any other roguelike, but after a couple minutes of play you realize that there’s more to it. One cool aspect is a very detailed skill system, which allows you to develop your character in any way you want. Currently I am playing a mutated human with the ability to regrow lost limbs and to suck the life force out of enemies who also happens to be a gunslinger. Just recently I acquired enough skill points to buy the Akimbo skill, which allows me to wield two pistols at once! I have started exploring some caves to the north of the starting village and already I have stumbled upon countless wondrous animals and plants.

There is a quest system and I already had a couple of interesting conversations with NPCs. It seems Caves of Qud is not just killing monsters and taking their stuff, but there’s also a story for you to follow. I have just started delving deeper into the game, so I can’t tell you that much about this aspect of the game though. But what I know is that the game is extremely addicting. I actually had to force myself to go to bed last night and that’s even though several of my characters died horrible (but unheroic) deaths. Being killed by some kind of snail is not the best way to go…

If you are looking for an exciting game with an interesting world and some old-school charm, you definitely should give Caves of Qud a try. It’s available on Steam for about €10 or you local equivalent. At the moment it’s on sale, so you get 10% off.

P.S.: There’s also a free version (which uses ASCII characters instead of graphical tiles). You can download it from here.

Sons of Arcadia: an RPG made in Puerto Rico!


Gaming is alive and well in Puerto Rico! I’m not just saying that because of my involvement in Puerto Rico Role Players, but because I meet GMs and players every day, hear of new groups forming, there are various stores catering to gamers, many with a heavy emphasis on CCGs and miniature games, and two actively supporting RPGs, The Gaming Pit in the Metro Area of the island and Paladin Book and Games in Isabela in the north-west. I need to do a series on the various stores in the island, that’s been percolating in my mind for some time now… But I digress!

There are also at least two tabletop role-playing games I know of being developed locally. One I’ve been aware of for some time because two close friends of mine have been working on it for over two years, so I’ve been privy to the development and evolution of the rules. I’ll share more news on that game when they are ready to make it public. However I recently learned of another tabletop RPG about to be published in the next few days, Sons of Arcadia! To the best of my knowledge this will be the first published Puerto Rican tabletop RPG, I’m excited and wanted to learn more…

After some initial contact over social media with the writer this interview came about. I had a conversation via e-mail with Peter A. Mojica, a young man from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, who is getting ready to publish his role-playing game Sons of Arcadia. Thank you Peter for agreeing to this interview! Continue reading Sons of Arcadia: an RPG made in Puerto Rico!