I always find it interesting when two classic genres are blended together. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but one that really works for me is Matt Forbeck’s Shotguns & Sorcery series.
Described by Forbeck as Lord of the Rings combined with Raymond Chandler, Shotguns & Sorcery pairs wand-wielding private investigators with shotgun-toting orcs in a rough-and-tumble noir fantasy setting. Call it whatever you want—fantasy noir, flintlock fantasy, gumshoes & goblins—the books are a lot of fun to read.
Prior to being a series of short novels Forbeck wrote as part of his ambitious 12 for ’12 project (where he wrote a novel a month in 2012), he had developed Shotguns & Sorcery as a role playing game—until that plan got derailed by the imminent arrival of quadruplets (news that would derail most anything).
But now, thanks to Jeremy Mohler and a team of dedicated game designers at Outland Entertainment, you’ll soon be able to immerse yourself in the dark and gritty world of hardboiled fantasy with the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG—you can even help bring it to life with the just-launched Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter.
The game, like the novels, is set in Dragon City, a great walled fortress in the center of a wasteland, ruled by the Dragon Emperor. The denizens of Dragon City are protected from a horde of ravaging zombies (commanded by the mysterious Ruler of the Dead) that endlessly try to penetrate the city’s walls.
This means venturing outside the safety of the Great Circle is a dangerous proposition, but there’s a fortune to be made out there for those brave or foolish enough to try. Trouble is, such an undertaking is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal. But trying to earn some honest coin inside the walls without attracting the attention of the Imperial Dragon Guard, getting in over your head down in Goblintown, or running afoul of the Dwarven gangs isn’t all that easy, either.
Shotguns & Sorcery is being built on the Cypher System, the game engine behind popular games The Strange and Numenera from Monte Cook Games (John Booth describes how the Cypher System works in his GenCon 2014 RPG recap post here on Geekdad).
Forbeck himself will be writing the bulk of the core rulebook, which is planned to weigh in at a hefty 300 pages, and Mohler will be doing all of the artwork, including 20 full-color pages.
The Kickstarter includes all the usual rewards, such as a PDF and hardcopy editions of the core rulebook, as well as digital editions of Forbeck’s books that inspired the game (available to all backers at all levels in all major ebook formats), Kickstarter-only editions of the core rulebook, a special Art of Shotguns & Sorcery book, and opportunities for original editions of Mohler’s artwork (including you as a Shotguns & Sorcery character). Plus there are special, retailer-specific rewards as well.
The team is committed to a goal of having a limited release by GenCon 2015 (which begins on July 30, 2015) and has plans for additional supplemental adventures, so if you like your goblins with a little gunpowder and your orcs with a little ordnance, then don’t miss the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter. It’s already off to a great start—with only 42 days to go (as of this writing), the campaign has passed the half-way point.
And, just to give you a taste of what can happen to your characters in the dark, magically ill-lit alleys of Dragon City, Forbeck is offering Goblintown Justice, the first book in the series for free on his website.