Sword & Scoundrel is a role-playing game about passion, violence, and general skullduggery. It’s a medieval morality play masquerading as an HBO character drama, a player-driven blood opera about larger than life characters and painfully human stories. It’s an exploration of personal conflicts and intimate stakes, about the forces that drive us and the price we pay for their pursuit. It’s a game about hard choices and difficult questions, where we play to find out who we are when it matters most: what are you willing to fight for? What are you willing to die for? What will you sacrifice for what you believe?

The System

A modular toolkit. Sword & Scoundrel is a dice pool game built on common six-sided dice, each die counting as either a hit or miss against a number of hits required to succeed. The core mechanics resolve around a simple conflict system that allows most situations to be resolved with a single roll. Optional dramatic conflict systems allow you to zoom in on the blow-by-blow detail for situations, creating a game-within-a-game emphasizing player choice and strategy. The system is meant to support you with detail when and where you want it, while getting out of your way when you don’t. 


Passions drive play forward. Passions are player-nominated motivations that are both the focus of play and the primary reward mechanism. PCs fight harder for what they care about: in pursuing your PCs passions, they grow as a strategic resource, granting you bonus dice to the conflicts that follow. As passions grow, they can be spent back down to purchase permanent improvements to your PCs abilities. Campaigns are built around your passions from the start, emphasizing player-driven play in a way that few games can match. 


In the court of last resort, violence is king. Combat is an evocative, cinematic experience based heavily on the study of historical swordplay. Success is as much based on player skill and strategy as your character’s statistics. Damage is taken as wounds with both mechanical and narrative weight, drawn from historical accounts and real-world medical text. Combined with loving attention to detail in both armament and technique, violent conflicts are quick and bloody affairs where clever play trumps big numbers and the first solid blow often decides the fight.


The most effective blow is the they don’t see coming. In a game where rushing headlong into every fight is a death sentence, the rules offer robust support for conflict in other domains. Sorcery, stealth, and intrigue rules combine with faction play to allow for cloak and dagger games of political power. Combined with a full-throated social conflict system based on long-term social positioning and the right word at the right time can cut as deeply as any blade.

Get the Beta | Find Out More