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New Treasures: Fraser Ronald’s Sword Noir

Sunday, June 19th, 2011 | Posted by John ONeill

forsimplecoinFraser Ronald is an author who will be familiar to readers of Black Gate 15. His story “A Pound of Dead Flesh” is a terrific sword-and-sorcery action piece, featuring two legionnaires who become involved in a plot to cheat a necromancer — a plot that very quickly goes very wrong.

Two of the hallmarks of Fraser’s writing are his gift for worldbuilding, and his clear love of sophisticated action tales in the noir genre. Both of these have served him well in his next projects: For Simple Coin, a collection of four tales of “Sword Noir,” and a compact, complete role-playing game called simply Sword Noir:

Hardboiled sword & sorcery – it’s Conan seeking for the Maltese Falcon, it’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in The Big Sleep, set in Lankhmar, it’s hardboiled crime fiction in the worlds of sword & sorcery.

Inspired by mashing up the novels and stories of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Robert E Howard, and Fritz Leiber, Sword Noir: A Role-Playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery is a new RPG from Sword’s Edge Publishing. In it, characters’ morals are shifting at best and absent at worst. The atmosphere is dark and hope is frail or completely absent. Violence is deadly and fast. Trust is the most valued of commodities – life is the cheapest. Grim leaders weave labyrinthine plots which entangle innocents. Magic exists and can be powerful, but it takes extreme dedication to learn, extorts a horrible price, and is slow to conjure.

Now is the time for your characters to walk down mean streets, drenched in rain, hidden in fog, and unravel mysteries, murders, and villainy.

sword-noirSword Noir is available today from Sword’s Edge Publishing or RPGNow in PDF format for just $4.99, and in print for $10.73. It is a 6″ x 9″ softcover book with black & white interiors — including maps — running 104 pages.

For Simple Coin is 90 pages, and collects three short stories which originally appeared in AtFantasy, Forgotten Worlds, and On Spec, as well as one story original to this collection.  These tales perfectly illustrate the appealing mix of dark fantasy and noir detective fiction that Fraser has perfected.

If you’re a fan of the hard-boiled fantasy of Alex’s Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse novels or Glen Cook’s Garrett, P.I., you’ll want to check these out.

For Simple Coin is $1.99 in PDF, or $6.99 for the print version.  It is available through RPGNow. Cover art is by Paul Slinger.

6 Comments »

  1. Thanks so much for all the kind words, John. Appearing in BLACK GATE is honestly a high point in my writing career. Getting a kind notice of my other work and my SWORD NOIR game is defintely another.

    Comment by FraserRonald - June 20, 2011 11:24 am

  2. You’re entirely welcome Fraser. I’ve really been enjoying my copies of FOR SIMPLE COIN and SWORD NOIR.

    Comment by John ONeill - June 23, 2011 1:29 pm

  3. […] characters of sword & sorcery. That’s what I’d call Sword Noir, and that’s what I called the role-playing game I just published, subtitled A Role-playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Sword Noir: A Role-playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery - July 17, 2011 5:50 pm

  4. […] summer I played around with Fraser Ronald’s RPG Sword Noir, a fun new game of hardboiled crime fiction in the worlds of […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » New Treasures: Kiss My Axe: Thirteen Warriors and an Angel of Death - January 26, 2012 3:03 am

  5. […] games, and then quickly returned to its slumber. This last year, from April 2011( when it released Sword Noir) to January 2012 (when it released the adventure Suffer the Witch), SEP did things a little […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » The Return of SEP - April 30, 2012 1:39 am

  6. […] Sword Noir worked out because I knew everyone with whom I worked. I knew my friends wouldn’t let me down. Unfortunately, Ed Northcott, who did the art for Sword Noir (and was an industry professional long before working on my game) had quit as a freelance artist. A friend’s wife introduced me to an artist of her acquaintance who wanted to get into the RPG industry. I saw his portfolio, and we made a deal. He would have accepted much less, but I wanted to pay the standard referenced by Steve Jackson Games – trying to be a professional over here. […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Kissing My Axe - March 28, 2013 10:27 am


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