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Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

Add Print $19.99

Add PDF $6.99

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You hail from a world awash in conflict, danger, and threats. You might be a thief due to your knack for picking the pockets of rich merchants in Gravinia while evading the blades of the competition. You might be a raider selling your sword to the highest bidder and fight for any or all as long as the silver flows. You might even hail from mysterious Cal’athar and have an affinity for arcane forces, using them to work spells outside the realm of Man.

Written by Richard Iorio II (Colonial Gothic) powered by 12°, Shadow, Sword & Spell has everything you need to run games inspired by the greatest pulp writers of our time.

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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Captures the essence of pulp fantasy

****( )

I bought "Shadow, Sword & Spell" on a bit of a pay day whim, with no real intention of playing it (yes I'm one of those geeks who just likes reading different rules and settings) but have been really, really pleasantly surprised; so-much-so in fact, that I now fully intend giving it a go. The system is lite-ish; I’d probably go a bit lighter for a pulp setting but it manages to be pretty comprehensive whilst keeping things simple, which alone is no mean feat. What really shines out above all else with this product is a deep love of the genre, which it shamelessly plunders left, right and centre with joyous abandon. There’s super simplified echoes of early editions of Runequest in the character creation mixed with bat-winged tenticular horrors from between worlds, cities of thieves and strong sword arms for sale. Very good and alluring pulp fantasy.

Pulp Fantasy with a Great System


Shadow, Sword & Spell is a blend of pulp action and fantasy mechanics, or simply put pulp fantasy. The action centers around the characters and the individual encounters they experience rather than experiencing a grand quest to save the world. The pulp aspects of the game blend bits of adventure, horror, and Earthly experiences while the fantasy aspects bring in ideals of magic and unearthly creatures. Rogue Games has learned and grown throughout their core releases with Shadow, Sword & Spell displaying a definite maturing of publication quality and core mechanic explanations.

The setting has many adventuring possibilities filled with great investigations, dynamic encounters, believable characters, and plenty of thieving and character growth. The 12° system developed by Rogue Games truly comes to life in these colorful but possibly excruciating battles which can find the adventuring party either coming out on top or limping off wounded and insane. With so many possibilities, it’s a great break from the typically found epic fantasy settings and systems.


Overall I really like the deviation from standard epic fantasy into something more gritty and focusing on individual characters and the encounters they experience. The Basic book contains enough information for players and GMs to get involved in the setting while leaving plenty of room for those wishing to expand their gaming experience with the follow-on core rulebook.


Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Rogue Games has demonstrated a definite maturing of their ability to provide quality products not only in description but also presentation. They continue to produce high-quality publications with an emphasis on usability and easy understanding. The improvements to mechanics explanations, examples, and illustrations should prove that these products will continue to get better and better with each subsequent release.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
I find the 12° to be much simpler and easier to use than other fantasy-based systems and it truly shines within the framework of Shadow, Sword & Spell. The implementation of these mechanics should provide quality gaming experiences with quick and easy play. The incorporation of social mechanics provides more options for those who want more role-playing experiences while easily being removed without detrimental effects to those who wish for more combat style experiences.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
Rogue Games continues to produce games that deviate from many of the typically found settings currently published providing new options for many gaming groups. Instead of simply changing the same settings with new mechanics, Rogue Games provides a whole new gaming experience that many may find a desired change from their current games. This setting is very conducive to different styles of gaming improving it’s re-playability and offering new opportunities even within similar adventures or campaigns.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Shadow, Sword & Spell does a fantastic job of bringing to life a pulp fictional writing experience on your tabletop. The exclusion of the heroic feel means PCs can be as cruel or lawful as they like without deviating from the ideals of how the system is supposed to feel. Gift Certificates
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