‘Thirsty Sword Lesbians’ role-playing game blows past Kickstarter goals

What do you get when you give thirsty lesbians swords? A bombshell of a Kickstarter fully funded in just three hours. Meet Thirsty Sword Lesbians, a new role-playing game as easy to play as it is LGBTQ-inclusive.

Thirsty Sword Lesbians is a tabletop role-playing game published by Evil Hat Productions, illustrated by Kanesha Bryant, and developed by Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney April Kit Walsh. The game, which “celebrates the love, power, and existence of queer people—specifically queer people with swords and a lot of feelings,” mixes the Powered by the Apocalypse engine’s accessible role-playing mechanics with story-driven gameplay.

Players choose between nine queer-coded archetypes, from “Beast” to “Nature Witch,” and create their own original character. From there, players jump into a pre-made scenario or develop their own as they embrace “melodramatic and queer stories” all about “relationship triangles, mystery, intrigue, relationship anarchy, celebration, and revolution,” among other attributes.

“In this game, you will solve problems with wit, empathy, and style, fight when something is worth fighting for, and redeem (or seduce) at least a few of your adversaries,” the game’s Kickstarter notes. “You’re part of a community that embodies important ideals and you’ll strive to protect it and make your world better.”

Thirsty Sword Lesbians is designed to be relatively modifiable, so while the game “fundamentally assumes that the [player] characters crave connection,” player characters don’t actually have to seek each other out sexually or romantically. Thirst can be purely platonic. Swords and lesbians are also optional offerings, as players can switch these out with all sorts of weapons, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

“We’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t have to play a lesbian. The game plays with themes that are common for all sorts of people who are marginalized on the basis of gender and sexuality, as well as feelings that go beyond the queer experience,” the Kickstarter notes. “If you want to play thirsty sword cishets, we’re not going to stop you—just don’t be surprised if the game turns them queer.”

Whether you’re thirsty for sword lesbians or gun-toting bisexuals, Thirsty Sword Lesbians seems to have struck a chord with queer tabletop role-playing fans. One day after Thirsty Sword Lesbians launched on Kickstarter, the game earned over $53,000 across more than 1,500 backers. Given the title’s stretch goals top out at $64,000, Thirsty Sword Lesbians looks set to blow past its stretch goals and then some in just days.

“April here, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude! This beautiful book is going to be a reality, thanks to you! I’ve been working on this game for over two years and it has come a long way,” Walsh wrote on Oct. 13. “Between [itch.io] supporters, Evil Hat, playtesters, contributing authors, and now you, it’s been a group effort and a journey that I treasure, one that’s helped me grow as a game designer and brought together an amazing team.”

Thirsty Sword Lesbians is available for backing now on Kickstarter. By pledging $10 or more, backers receive immediate access to the game’s prototype PDF, which was previously available on itch.io. The game requires three to six players and lasts approximately two to four hours per session.

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*First Published: Oct 14, 2020, 2:48 pm

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot’s Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.

Ana Valens

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