As a somewhat fanatic enthusiast of old, verbose pulp-fantasy stories I have always wanted to play a game that emphasizes the tropes of the genre properly. Recently I have had few short stories to work on this genre so naturally I procrastinated by searching a pulp fantasy game to play.
Ended up buying Swords without Master from a friend's suggestion and what a rush it was. A game that seemed to dip strongly into the very heart of the genre.
Organized a game soonish with three players. The players were seasoned story-game -veterans, yet not very much into pulp fantasy genre. No matter, I constructed a loose setting of a vast desert kingdom with a dictatorial "God-Sultan" that pretty much ruled over the whole continent, and then Laputa-inspired "Heavenly Atlantis", an ancient city in the clouds that was frantically sought after by the Sultan.
Characters were a sex priestess, darkish young swordsman with a gloomy song of a siren and a scorpion assassin who resembled a gym ball. Very pulpish and clear-cut characters. Players didn't stop there, but rather created connections between the world and their characters. The priestess followed a sect that worshipped a second sun (and yeah, the player wrote the sun on her character sheet to stop the GM from messing with it, not that I would have as the idea was brilliant). The cult was also oppressed by the ruler, so that tied her directly into the premise of the story I had in mind. Others worked in similar fashion, creating a vivid picture and broadening the world on their part. Game itself worked very well and created an astoundishing tale of swashbucklery, sexually oriented magic and ruined civilizations that ran its course in two gaming sessions.
I am looking forward to playing this game again soon as it differs mechanically so much from story games I have played before, and works in a genre I am very much into. Our combined efforts created such a sweet situation, I'll probably write a scenario based on it into my own entropy-game.
There are few things that didn't work out so well. Firstly, the game doesn't address the issue of "adventuring party" at all, but rather trusts the players to grasp the idea from traditional roleplaying. I think it could be worth a word or two to address how to construct this in against a pulp fantasy background. We managed well, but this is because I had very experienced players.
Secondly, we seemed to roll a lot of morals-results and it became increasingly difficult to address them into abstract lessons. This might be just a fluke of dice as the probability to get such a result is 1/6. Still, it was bit cumbersome.
Thirdly, we didn't quite grasp the meaning of the motifs in the first session. We catched up in the second and did quite well, but I can easily see a situation where the game hangs up if players forget the elements in the heat of things. This is something, I think needs practice and would probably go a lot smoother in the second run.
Are there any other players of this game in here? I would surely like to hear your experiences with it.