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ZiMo23 Interview: Marren MacAdam

Lordsworn is a GMless game centering on a group of soldiers returning home after war.

Q: Easy question first: Give us the elevator pitch of your project. Tell us about it in two sentences or less.

A: LORDSWORN is a 1-4 player GMless TTRPG where players will take on the role of a group of Lordsworns, broken, fragile soldiers who swore themselves to a (now dead) God and are returning home as the world ends! Your God is dead, you only have each other now.

Q: Is this your first ZineMonth project or have you done it before? If it's your first, talk a bit about what inspired you to give it a shot this year. If you've done it before, what's something you've learned from previous crowdfunding projects that you may be doing differently this time, or, if you're not doing anything differently, talk a bit about your previous projects.

A: This is actually my second ZiMo Project! Last year I Itch Funded The Teapot: Fully Steeped, to get some lovely art (done by the same artist working on the Lordsworn with me!) for the game. It reached its goal, however, I'll be honest, I struggled a bit personally after the campaign, so it took me far too long to get finished. I'd hate to be so cliche, but I've learned a lot more discipline and (oddly) kindness towards myself with projects, and I'm hoping to carry that into my current funding project for LORDSWORN. LORDSWORN will be using Kickstarter and will be working towards funding cover art, interior art, and a physical print of the game. It'll be a lot more work than last year, but I definitely feel up to the task with far more experience now.

Q: Finally, tell us something about your current project that really excites you but the average backer may not be aware of. Maybe a twist to an old trope, a new way of presenting something, or maybe just something you've never tried before that you're using this as an opportunity to try out.

A: Hmmm, I think I'll give two: the inspiration for the name and controlling multiple PCs as a player. I hadn't realized it until I announced the game, but I've had a few folks on Twitter ask if LORDSWORN was related to/hack of Ironsworn... Which, it's not, in the slightest actually haha. The name Lordsworn comes from some Elden Ring weapons, the Lordsworn Greatsword and Lordsworn Straightsword. These weapons are wielded by the undying soldiers who remained loyal to the various demigods, which was the catalyst that kicked off the entire idea for the game! The idea of these small, "insignificant" and nameless soldiers who were still seemingly loyal to a decaying series of demigods was... fascinating kindling. It started as a placeholder title and just never came up with anything that encapsulated the feeling better.

The second idea was the "bold" approach I tried with LORDSWORN, namely, that players would take responsibility for multiple characters. This was a key aspect from the very beginning of the game's conception -- I really wanted to challenge players to care and RP through very, very different types of archetypes in one sitting. It can be a challenge, but also quite fun, to go from playing a bumbling Innocent Greenhorn in one scene and suddenly having to play your haughty Noble Knight in the next! Folks in the playtests also enjoyed crafting multiple characters (cause who doesn't like making characters?!) that they'd get to play out as. I think it's the forever GM in me, but I really wanted to share that joy of making (essentially) various NPCs that others would get to interact with, but... as player characters!

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