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Author Topic: (tabletop RPG) Thirsty Sword Lesbians  (Read 14134 times)


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(tabletop RPG) Thirsty Sword Lesbians
« on: 30 Apr 2021, 01:46 »

Back when it had a Kickstarter, I backed "Thirsty Sword Lesbians". It's built on the Powered by the Apocalypse engine, and it's about magical lesbians who fight patriarchy and oppression with swords, have a lot of feelings, flirt and romance. The main conflicts in the game are internal - each character archetype has a central conflict that provides the motivation to go forward. The game itself is about fighting with swords, but it's explicitly stated that de-escalation and conflict resultion via non-violent means is a big part of the game. So, a sword fight may very well end (and is often MEANT to end) in kissing, some villains may be flirted with, seduced and/or redeemed, and the characters' journey is mainly in finding out how to balance their inner turmoil, discover themselves, and become better, happier, more "together" people.

So that's an ambitious goal for a tabletop game.

With games like this, there's always a risk the game will use the basic mechanics of the core game they're based on, in a stale and unimaginative way, and tack on a few mechanics kinda-sorta fitting the theme.

I'm happy to say this is not the case. The game's *very* well built from the very basic mechanics and beyond. Every element fits well with every other one, the rules really emphasise what matters in the game, and I am extremely impressed by the attention to detail in design.

The game is also purposely made to be safe, inclusive and promote dialogue and empathy at the table, not from just the characters, but the players. And this, too, it does very well.

Not being a lesbian myself, obviously I can't know for sure if the main target audience will like the game, but this bi guy at least is extremely impressed. I *really* wants to run/play the game. I've run quite a few tabletop games over the past 20 years, and I've read even more games. This one is honestly one of the better things I've read. It just WORKS from the design standpoint. And the rulebook is just plain hilarious (in an intentional way) in places.

The inspirations are clear (reading the Playbooks, I kept thinking things like "this character archetype is basically Catra" or "this game couldn't be more Sailor Moon, could it?"), but in the best way possible. Heck, the game is so good that I figure I *have* to watch Utena finally, just to have more inpsirations for running/playing Thirsty Sword Lesbians. But the game is also its own thing and I don't think it NEEDS the players to know any particular piece of fiction.

This is and awesome game, from what I understand it will be more widely available from Evil Hat Productions in June of this year, so really check it out if it sounds appealing.

Oh, and also - the writing/design team, from what I've read, is extremely queer and extremely diverse in terms of gender identity/expression, cultural background, race/ethnicity and beyond. The Kickstarter page strongly suggests that this was important before work on the game even started, as they wanted to incorporate as many perspectives as possible. So that's pretty amazing, too.

EDIT: this is a lightly-edited bunch of posts from Mastodon, hopefully expanded enough to not read as such. More specific thoughts later, if there's any interest from other forumites.
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