One of the highlights for me in terms of not going to GenCon this year was reading the blog reports by zacharythefirst, located on his RPG Blog II site. Zachary Houghton provided some remarkable glimpses into the GenCon experience this year, as he does every year, on that blog, and one of his neatest finds was a new fantasy roleplaying game, Shadow, Sword & Spell, published by Rogue Games.
To put it succinctly, Shadow, Sword & Spell is a humanistic pulp fantasy roleplaying game, one that places an emphasis on humans and in which there are few if any non-human races, that is based on the pulp fantasy works of the 1930s through 1960s. Inspired by the works of Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, H.P. Lovecraft, L. Sprague de Camp, Jack Vance, and modern writers such as Michael Scott Rohan, Joel Rosenberg, and Tanith Lee, Shadow, Sword & Spell is a roleplaying game that uses a simple set of mechanics, called the 120 system, for task resolution that offers a world of conflict, danger, and threats. The more I read about the game, and after sending off a set of questions to the co-author of the game, Richard Iorio II, the more interested and intrigued by the game I became, and thus inspired.
While I am very content running the Desolation post-apocalytic fantasy rpg, one of the things that I am looking to run is a more mainstream fantasy roleplaying game that has simple, easy-to-learn and easy to play, mechanics, but a sensibility and game design to it that is nice to work with and intuitively lets me, as Gamemaster, create the fantasy world that I want within the tropes of the genre and the style of the game. Shadow, Sword & Spell offers me all of this, and more.
The game is pretty recent to the rpg market, having made its debut at GenCon Indy 2010, and is suffering from teething pains somewhat due to the fact that the folks at Rogue Games didn't expect the game to do as well and be as popular as it's been since it came out. That's been due in large part to zacharythefirst's hyping the game, but the game really is a solid fantasy rpg that offers a lot of great stuff to roleplayers both old and new alike.
You can check out Zachary's RPG.net review of the game, and see for yourself.
In the meantime, I'm pretty happy that I've found Shadow, Sword & Spell and want to thank zacharythefirst for bringing it to my attention.