Sep 09


Author Interview: S. Andrew Swann, “Sword of the Slayer”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Your first game for us was Welcome to Moreytown, which was based in a world you’d already written about in your novels. What was challenging for you in writing Sword of the Slayer in a new setting?

I think the most challenging thing was avoiding being too wordy. This genre is one in which it’s easy to fall down a hole of descriptive prose that would probably quite annoying for anyone clicking through pages of text to get to the next choice. Keeping things concise while still serving the genre could be a hard balance to strike.

Have you written much fantasy in this direction?

About a third of what I’ve written has been some sort of fantasy or other. I’ve done light humorous fantasy with my Dragon series, and I’ve done dark fantasy with medieval werewolves and the Teutonic Knights (Wolfbreed and Wolf’s Cross). This is, however, the first straight-up sword & sorcery work I’ve written.

What parts did you most enjoy writing? NPCs? Monsters? The Sword? Fight scenes?

I really enjoyed writing the gods, especially since I was writing four poles on a moral axis that’s not the old D&D good/evil law/chaos dichotomies. The sword was also fun to write, as it definitely has its own opinions about what’s going on and how the PC should be dealing with it.

I’m pretty sure the sword is the first talking inanimate object we’ve had that’s also a major character in the game. That must have been interesting to think through as you were working on parts where it’s interacting with the player. It’s kind of like an evil or at least morally compromised Jiminy Cricket. 

The really interesting thing about the sword is that it’s a major character that has very limited agency. After all, it’s a sword. It might be magic, but it can only do anything if someone is wielding it. So having it as an active participant in events is a bit of a challenge. Also, at times, it is a rather ambiguous ally to the PC. Sure, it wants the PC to make it through this, but that’s because it has its own agenda and the PC is the easiest means to that end.

Sword of the Slayer feels like one story about Targas Adur. Is it a setting you see yourself returning to?

Possibly. I don’t have any immediate plans in that direction, but it’s a place I could easily return to if I wanted.

What are you working on now?

I’ve been hired on to a big exciting project that I can’t really talk about yet. I can say it’s a new novel and I’m just polishing up the outline now.

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