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Monday, January 22, 2018

Clan & Hammer - What We're Going For - Flavor and Family

Its not secret that I was a backer of Mike Nystul's Axes & Anvils Kickstarter, which promised a Dwarven RPG and delivered one of the more famous earlier Kickstarter implosions and failures. This was one that took a long time to die.

Still, the core idea - an RPG focused on Dwarves, has been an idea that's kicked around for a bit in my head. So, when +James Spahn challenged me last year to write one using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules I started to sketch it out.

Now I'm actively working on it. Not just classes, but setting and what the setting means. Because this is a dwarven RPG and its going to have to tackle things like dwarven culture, the importance of clan, family and honor. Without magic users or clerics in the culture, where do magic items come from? What is with the obsession with gold and gems? The historical rivalry with goblins and the distaste of eleven culture?

By asking questions, we find answers.

The best answer I've found so far? +james spahn ;)

James has offered to be not only my sounding board but my collaborator. We've done such before (SWCL comes to mind) and we find we are generally on the same wavelength, even if we get there with different methods and from different directions. That, and my respect for James goes beyond mere words. Needless to say, I'm stoked.

So, as we dig into the classes (James may take the lead on some and I others, but the end results will be "we") a question came to us:

Where DO dwarven magic items come from? This lead to the importance of clan and how the two are inseparable. Magic swords with bonuses to hit and damage might be crafted by the surface dwellers, but Balik, Son of Gorin has an axe that slew the Green Beard Goblins' Chieftain. Gulbrand has been in Balik's clan for generations and now he wields it with honor.

Little things like this.

Now, while Clan & Hammer will build off of and be 100% compatible with SWCL (and other S&W flavors) it will be a stand alone game. Classes will be more verbose in their description. There will be more "crunch & fluff" than is typical to SWCL. If its successful, and by that I mean we finish the project with a thirst for more, halflings and elves can't be too far behind...

Alright, enough about the process. I need to get back to the writing. As many of you know, when I go through these steps, a post a portion of the progress here at The Tavern for comments and feedback. That will continue. No reason to change what works :)

Oh, almost forgot. Playing with two different fonts for the title. Any preference?


  1. Replies
    1. also, its nice to see dwarfs getting some love, so thank you for that

  2. Noah here. Top font, for sure. Very excited about this project!

  3. Top font definitely. Much more legible.

  4. I also vote Top Font. Clearer font FTW!

  5. I would back this. I vote for the top font.

    I too was a big loser on the Axes & Anvils deal...about $350 down the toilet :(

  6. Top font, without a doubt.

    Will you also be including the clan rules that A&A was going to feature? That to me was its cool defining element. Without it, it's just the Book of Dwarves.

    1. James and I discussed this. Clans are what makes dwarves special. Its both their strength and in some ways their weakness.

      We've already pitched ideas back and forth including an ancestral chart during character generation. Half the title is "clan" after all ;)

  7. Top Font

    And, we've always played it that Dwarven magic items are "Spontaneous"; they happen when one small dwarf, prays to the god of the Hammer and Forge as he prepares for a last stand against the demons of the depths. He fights a lone, holding action and his god answers his prayers, lending power and speed to his blows. The dwarf dies a legend, one against a thousand or more. But when his axe is recovered, it's no longer just an ordinary axe...

  8. Top font for mountain dwarves. Bottom font for steampunk dwarves.

  9. Unless you are thinking of doing a film-noir 1920's version of dwarves (which would be interesting), I'd go with the top font.

  10. I'm going against the grain. Bottom font.

    *Just kidding. Top font definately!*

  11. I love the idea for this!

    I prefer the top font.

  12. Very cool idea.. I will also echo every one else and say top font is definitely the best. I'm looking forward to some more updates about the progress of this. Keep us up to date!