A downloadable RPG supplement

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What is this?

Sorcery is a Sword Without a Hilt is a magic system for OSRish games. It contains 40 level-less spells and dozens of magical catastrophes. The spells are flexible, with variable effects depending on how much "juice" the sorcerer gives them. 

Each spell is designed to feel like a weird, useful tool. At the same time, there are no spells that solve the essential problems of dungeon crawling.

Magic feels magical

Sorcerers use components to cast spells. These components are your eye of gnat, tongue of dog, toe of bat variety. Pulling out a pickled, rune-covered tongue and placing it into the mouth of a corpse to cast Speak with Dead inherently makes the sorcerer seem more magical and weird. Additionally, this system makes magic fit into a basic inventory management system. How many spells you have available equals how many pack slots you've dedicated to components. 

Additionally, the spell descriptions are somewhat terse. They do not have the precise legalism that certain systems have. The GM has a good amount of leeway to interpret the spells as they're cast, creating a sense of manageable mystery. 

Magic is a strange Swiss-army knife

With magic, an adventuring party should be able to solve problems in a dramatically different way than without it. A thief can unlock a door and eavesdrop at the threshold. A sorcerer can cast Portable Hole onto the door and peer through it. One is subtle and one is obvious. Both have their drawbacks and advantages. 

Magic doesn't solve the essential dungeon problems

At the same time, magic can't solve all of your problems. There are no spells that solve the essential challenges of the dungeon: light, hunger, exhaustion. There are no spells that provide darkvision, conjure food and water, fly, disarm traps, etc. 

What game system is this for?

This supplement is the magic chapter from the forthcoming His Majesty the Worm. However, with a little work, you can use these spells in any old-school role-playing game. A conversion guide is included at the end of the book. 

Wait, what's His Majesty the Worm?

His Majesty the Worm is a fantasy dungeon crawling game that is currently in development. It attempts to make the boring parts of dungeon crawls (mapping, resource management, food and water, light, interparty conflict) actually fun and central to game play. 

Any revenue gathered from this PWYW supplement will be funneled to paying cool artists good money for His Majesty the Worm. If this sort of thing sounds cool, please throw in a few dollars to help fund the game! 

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(41 total ratings)
AuthorRise Up Comus
GenreRole Playing
TagsMagic, Tabletop role-playing game


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Sorcery is a Sword Without a Hilt.pdf 717 kB


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This is really cool!

A couple questions/comments

Maleficence of the wastes p says pupils become golden like a wolf. Do you mean irises?

For the goat legs maleficence, goat legs aren't precisely backwards from human legs. The equivalent of the knee is just really high up and the hocks (apparent backward knee) is really the heel. It seems even better to describe it this way, but idk if you want to.

For mlfcnce of the weird 2, what do you mean by 'idols of jungian manifestation?'


For the most part, those are just good edits instead of questions. Thanks!

For "idols of Jungian manifestations," I would probably describe it like this as a GM:

"Have you ever seen those stone age Venus statues? OK, picture those--and hand prints, and phalluses, and crude statues of aurochs, and eyes--being built by invisible hands out of the stuff that's in the room. So, little pebbles, and the chest you broke earlier, and the potsherds I described--they're all being assembled by invisible hands into these abstract, cave man like images. What do you do?"

Very clever and I adore the components mechanic!