A dark November has come and gone absent Swords Without Master and the wolves are at the door. They are hungry and clamoring and fear not winter’s cold. And all I have to offer is scraps and the promise that spring’s thaw will inevitably come.
Swords is not yet done, and I won’t be so foolish as to apply a third deadline to this project. But I’ve not come to this post empty-handed. This game may be subject to the ebb and flow of my own tumultuous life, but it has not suffered for the thrashing. It grows.
In lieu of an actual release date, I’ll be making weekly updates on Mondays letting you know where the game is and give you a glimpse of its many facets.
Swords is a project unlike any I’ve embarked upon before. I’m doing all sorts of grown-up things with it–figuring out a budget, buying art and hiring an editor. These are all rather lofty methods I’m not entirely used to, but I think the game deserves it. Such things, however, take time and money, and since Dig a Thousand Holes is a legion of one, they depend on my own personal time and money. That makes it all very hard to predict.
Right this week I’m working on putting together a draft of the second chapter (“The City of Fire & Coin”) that I’ll soon release as a free PDF on this very site. This is an introductory adventure that teaches you how to play the game from the get-go.
Until then, I’ll leave you with this brief glimpse of the city itself . . .
The City lies under an unforgiving sun at the crux of those well worn paths that lead bright caravans overladen with spices, silks, and far treasures from the searing eastern deserts. To the south, the hungry Old Kingdoms spew merchants and envoys into the city. It’s hard, high walls repel invaders from the north and west time and again.
Within, the metropolis teems. Peddlars, whores and thieves ply their nefarious trades among the throngs. The chaotic tangle of streets is home to slave and noble alike. Scattered bazaars of all manner offer goods mundane, exotic and improbable.
Above, troops of spear and sword wielding monkeys control the rooftops, waging wars among themselves. Below, the elite city guard prowl the wealthier neighborhoods on tiger back, protecting the Overlord and those in his favor while turning a blind eye to the violence of the slums and the workings of the criminal guilds. Beneath, dark and vast catacombs hide the least savory denizens from the harsh light of day.
This is the City of Opportunity, the City of Misfortune, the City at the Center of the World, the City of Fire & Coin.
If you have any burning questions about the game (that aren’t about when it’s coming out), I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments below.