Gentle people from all around, gather here! You will commence a game of bravery, and fear! A game of valiant damsels and knights, which shall last many a night.
The Sword and the Loves is a story game for 3-5 players to tell stories inspired by Arthurian legends.
Each player controls a major character in a storyline filled with virtues, beliefs, love, and desire. Players take turns driving a part of their character’s story towards a point of destiny, while other players interact with and influence that story.
The Sword and the Loves has two famous parents: the chivalric romances written by Chrétien de Troyes and Archipelago III by Matthijs Holter.
The general mood owes much to the works of the French poet, while the rules belong to Matthijs’ game, though there are with some changes to make the game closer to the characteristics of chivalric literature. Furthermore, some rules would not have existed without Love in the Time of Seið by Matthijs Holter and Jason Morningstar.

Why This Is Not a Fantasy Game

The game takes (and ludically needs) inspiration from “chivalric” literature: a vast body of narrative poems produced in western Europe during the Middle Ages. We are far from reserving the game to an unlikely circle of scholars, yet we want to emphasise that chivalric literature and the fantasy genre are not the same.
Chivalric literature is an authentic chronicle of the described universes, whereas fantasy literature distorts any historical setting under the lens of authorial nostalgia. Briefly, we could say that chivalric literature embraces four thematic branches: courtly life, war, love, and the wondrous.
“Courtly life” encompasses both official loyalties and spontaneous allegiances within the feudal system: from the lord to the vassal, from the knight to the greengrocer; even in intrigue, in deceit or in disagreement, courtly societies always refer to that system of values, as a foundation of their sociopolitical order.
The theme of war also refers to the courtly system; narratively, warfare plots in chivalric poems interweave an (expected) epic register with a macabre vein, which is also a dominant theme in feudal lyric poetry: the obsession and the fear of death, also filtered in some way from a political reading, in the deepest sense of the term. It looks at men as in a crowd of fragile beings in the face of the inevitable and the inscrutable—powerful kings or valiant paladins, it doesn’t matter.
Talking about love, the vision offered to us by the chivalric literature, is somewhat “phantasmal,” emphatic in describing loving rapture and melancholy—even erotic, in the nuances—of the waiting lover. The description of the first meeting with the lady is also meaningful, like a whisper that is neither sad nor joyful (Provençals used ab-joy to describe the soul of the nightingale in love). The stories provide a multiplicitous vision of the woman as a creature that rises above the man, now in the most positive sense, now as a cold and shy entity. An entity that can, only by refusing, annihilate an existence and also send astray the more vigorous minds and hearts. Reflecting these themes, Jean De Meung wrote: «[...] when I want to give me the pleasure of kissing and embracing her, I find my friend stiff as a pole, and so cold that when I touch her, she cools my mouth.»
The “servant” knight converses more with the image of the woman and with her mental phantom than with her person, in a complex and evocative theatre of mirrors. Another significant trope is power as a barrier to love. In fact, such power is given both as an external obstacle—that is a third element, an intrusion among the lovers—and an inner or psychological hurdle when one or both of the lovers hesitate in front of the tumult between civil obligations and pleasure of the company.
The inclusion of the wondrous, is displayed through non-human entities (wizards, dragons, sprites, fairies, and ogres) in a narration of travels and wanderings. They are on a search for something magical that is, as a matter of fact, the allegory of the research to find ourselves—such something could be the Holy Grail, a sword belonging to a hero, or any object that does not have only "magical" powers but also a place in history and tradition, Christian or not.
The breadth of the tradition of chivalric literature is such that we cannot synthesize it here. One of the goals of our initiative is to get people excited about this genre, as well as to stimulate the curiosity about those books that talk to humanity about the only great truth. After endless winters and without the stain or the corruption of time, that truth remains: the wretched and sweet human condition, hate, and love.
The Scot Banquo, devoted as much as unaware squire, begs the Periwinkle Knight: «I beseech you, my lord, do not go! Do you not know it was foretold no man born of a woman shall leave the cursed tower of Maulagel alive?» «Get out of my way!» answers the sire brave in his heart, chest of unspeakable secrets.