Find out the latest news and releases for Shadow of the Demon Lord and Godless from Schwalb Entertainment.

Shadow of the Weird Wizard

I never had doubts about carrying the path system forward into Weird Wizard from Shadow of the Demon Lord. Let’s take a closer look at how they work.

Shadow of the Weird Wizard represents the sum of my experience designing for three editions of Dungeons & Dragons, one edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and all that I have learned from creating other games under my company’s banner. We’re crowdfunding it in June, so find out more about the system here!

The Genesis of the Game

Anyone who’s been following me for the last few years probably knows that I’ve been tinkering with a family-friendly version of Shadow of the Demon Lord. Work began on this not long after the Demon Lord clawed its way out of my head and at first, I had planned to go the easy route: scrub out all the dick and fart and poop jokes, drop in a new setting, clean up the rules in a few places, and then push go. But what would have been the point, really? You can play Shadow of the Demon Lord without it being fantasy Evil Dead or something far more serious and darker. I put the tone on a dial on purpose so you can crank it up to Kult levels of nasty or down to the point that you’d almost expect to find happy halflings chewing on pipes, singing songs, and following Stormcrow along the road to adventure.

Add to this that I built the system to deliver horror. The game was supposed to be hard. Adventures challenge your characters and death happens. Can you imagine a version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in which everyone survives and has a laugh after unmasking Leatherface? Demon Lord can accommodate groups who want more Scooby Doo than Hellraiser, but that all takes a fair bit of Game Master involvement.

The Road Ahead

Making the next cool game was not going to be as simple as a bit of spit and polish. It was going to take a fundamental redesign of the underlying math and a rebuild of everything to match. That’s a lot of work, yes, but surely it shouldn’t have taken this long, right? Right. I shopped this game around to audiences at conventions over the last few years in one form or other. It’s been called Shadow of the Witch King, Free Companies of Four Towers, Shadow of the Mad Wizard: and there have been an untold number of tweaks and changes to nudge this product closer to the finish line. During this time, I have released another game, continued to support Demon Lord, and enjoyed all the curve balls life has had to throw my way. But I have made progress. Am I done yet? Not quite. But I’m close.

I still need to deal with expert and master paths, and run them through testing. Some of you will get to help with that. Others will have to wait. Sorry. I’m not Wizards of the Coast or Paizo. But I’ll be showing off stuff here in the coming weeks and months and you’ll have a chance to participate in the discussion on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Discord, and wherever else you say glowing things about me to strangers in the internets’ tubes.

The World of the Wizard

This is already longer than it should be, so let me give you a snapshot of what the setting’s like and then we’ll move on with other posts about specific aspects of the game. The changes I made and the reasons for those changes.

  1. Civilization has grown and fallen at least twice before. The first place it fell is a faraway place known as the Devastation. It’s a place of nightmare, fire, and death. Don’t go there. The second place is the Old Country, which was dominated by the Great Kingdom. Unfortunately, the Lord Commander of the Paladins murdered the Pontifex of the High One, burned the Cathedral of Hope, and ended the royal line. These actions plunged the kingdom into a civil war that’s still raging. Not the best place to hang your hat.
  2. People flee the Old Country in droves, seeking refuge in a place known as the Lands of the Weird Wizard, a mysterious, eccentric, bearded fellow whose reckless use of magic has made these New Lands rather strange and mysterious. It’s not an ideal place to rebuild, but it’s the best hope anyone has. Best of all, the Weird Wizard hasn’t been seen for years and is thought to have withdrawn to the Clockwork City, which rises from a blasted, shattered plane, under a sky that burns and in which drift chunks of rock crawling with weird things. 
  3. Your characters are among the refugees looking to start again having escaped the troubles in the Old Country. You likely begin in the Borderlands, a stretch of territory that forms a band between the Old Country and new and set out on expeditions into the unknown to blaze a trail for settlers. You might battle strange monsters, explore old ruins of faerie cities, broker peace with orc tribes, find treasure, and, maybe, eventually, become renowned enough that you can carve out places for yourselves to rule.

That’s it for now. More to come. Hail!

Shadow of the Demon Lord - revised edition cover

Shadow of the Demon Lord Core Book: List of Revisions

Shadow of the Demon Lord - revised edition cover

As many of you probably know, we took Shadow of the Demon Lord back to print and used the chance to hammer down a few nails that had gotten loose. While you can enjoy the game without updated the book, many of you have asked for a list of changes so they can be current on the rules. Well, here you go. Thanks so much for your continued support and keep on fighting the Demon Lord!

SDL_Revised Changes

Occult Philosophy | A Sourcebook for Shadow of the Demon Lord RPGIf you haven’t yet heard, I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign in November (the 12th) to crowdsource the production for a new and sexy supplement for Shadow of the Demon Lord. So far, I’ve been able to produce a slew of high-quality digital products that shine lights on various ancestries and spots on the map, reveal details about terrifying creatures, to say nothing of the many adventures available for the game. However, Occult Philosophy is a different sort of beast.

What is It?

Clocking in at around 192 pages with about 800 spells, a dozen or so critters, plus twenty to thirty paths, it’s the biggest release for the game since Shadowcame out around three years ago. A book of this size has a pile of expenses, including art, editing, proofing, layout, and graphic design. And, if the campaign does well enough, we’ll do an off-set print run too.

Q&A

I’m going to make up a few general questions and answer them. In future installments, I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of the book.

Eight hundred spells? Have they been tested?

Yes. I ran a limited playtest with tons of respondents who took the spells out for a spin in their games. From the feedback along with the testers’ insights, I adjusted the design to ensure that they fit the game and work well alongside other spells.

Do spells cover ranks 0 to 5? Do they go higher?

Yep! One of my earliest goals for this book was to reveal magic’s true extent in the setting. Each tradition receives expansions to the basic rank 0 to 5 spells, but also includes a pair of rank 6 spells along with one of each for ranks 7 through 10.

Do we get any new traditions?

For sure. I included one new tradition to bring the tradition count up to 42 (the most important number of all). Madness joins the other traditions, offering ways for you to harness your Insanity and weave it into magic to produce spectacular effects. There’s an Elder Gods vibe to these spells too, and, as a result, raises a few new questions about the game’s cosmology.

How about paths?

Of course! We’re including some guidance for playing characters beyond level 10 (building on the method described in Forbidden Rules). I’m also including a slew of expert and master paths. Expert paths, as usual, ground characters in the setting but also speak to specific traditions or pairs of traditions. Master paths offer alternative takes to mastering the various forms of magic, while also offering options to players who concern themselves with the methods of casting—implements for example.

What about relics and enchanted objects?

I had planned to include a chapter on each, but I ran out of room. I have a product in mind called The Vault of the Demon Lord, which includes new options for enchanted objects, relics, and trinkets. This book gets unlocked as a stretch goal.

What’s your favorite spell in Occult Philosophy?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’m pretty partial to them all. Here’s a cool one from the Battle tradition.

God of War                                                Battle Utility 10

Duration 8 hours

Magical power flows into you, transforming you into a god of war. You become bigger, stronger, and far more menacing. Your eyes glow with malice and blood paints your body. Any creature that can see you when you transform must get a success on a Will challenge roll with 3 banes or gain 1d3 Insanity. Until the spell ends, gain the following benefits:

  • You gain a +50 bonus to Health
  • You cannot gain Insanity
  • You make attack rolls with 3 boons
  • Your attacks with weapons deal 5d6 extra damage
  • You impose 3 banes on the attack rolls made by creatures against you
  • At the end of each round, each creature you choose within your reach takes 3d6 damage

Aftereffect You must make a Will challenge roll with 5 banes. On a failure, you gain 3d6 Insanity and take a –1d6 penalty to Power that lasts for 1 week and 1 day. If you would go mad as a result of this Insanity gain, you suffer Battle Madness (see Shadow, page 118) as normal, but the madness ends only on a roll of a 6 and you take 2d6 damage at the end of each round until the madness ends.