Review: Rogue Games – Threats (Shadow, Sword & Spell)

Threats is a supplement for the pulp fantasy Shadow, Sword & Spell (powered by the 12° system) written by Richard Iorio II and Timothy Eccles and published by Rogue Games.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Threats is a bestiary, albeit a very well-organized one with lots of illustrations and interesting creatures to throw at your players. Between its covers lies a collection of adversaries of all types for use in any Shadow, Sword & Spell game. While Shadow, Sword & Spell is a pulp fantasy game, Threats does not confine itself to standard pulp fantasy adversaries and instead provides enough options to flavor your game in any fashion you desire, such as adding additional horror, maybe a little chaotic flavor, or journey to the center of the earth where prehistoric creatures remain. The beauty of this bestiary is that it doesn’t confine itself to one aspect of the game; in a single offering, the GM can pick and choose what flavor they want to add to their adventures and campaigns to truly create their interpretation of humanistic pulp fantasy.


New Creature Traits contains a listing of new traits used on the adversaries throughout Threats. Each trait has a cost used in conjunction with the creature creation rules from the Expert rulebook.

Creatures presents a number of fantasy and horrific beasts to add to your game including griffins and rocs.

Animals presents a number of natural creatures that can be found virtually anywhere including alligators and rhinos.

Insects & Plants presents a number of unnatural insects and plants including giant ants and sentient trees.

Devil & Demons brings a little more chaos to the game by adding devils and demons including named beings and warriors.

Unique Monsters presents “big bad” styled adversaries, better suited as the final showdown.

Adversaries is a piece that discusses the Bakers Guild and all parties involved. This is not just an adversary but a group of adversaries and lots of plot hooks.


Bestiaries are always a good addition to a game system or setting. They add options in terms of adversaries while generating plot hooks by providing a being that creates conflict or tension within the adventure or campaign. What would be the point of venturing into a tomb if it was empty? What lies inside is what’s important, what they look like can only add to their purpose and how they become part of the game. With Threats, the types of adversaries is quite varying providing any number of plot hooks that vary in their flavor (from pulp to fantasy and horror to chaos). By providing the GM with so many different adversaries can lead to the simple question of why. Why does this demon walk the land? Why are we encountering a wooly mammoth? Instant plot hooks for the PCs to explore.


Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Overall, Threats is a great-looking book. There is a plethora of illustrations covering the different adversaries and each entry is extremely easy to read and well-laid out. The only problem, and it’s a big one, is that the table of contents is for a different book and there is no index or quick reference. When using this book on-the-spot during game sessions, it would be easier to find the right adversary with a quick look-up table. However, this is a minor issue and does not detract from the overall quality of the book.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Threats covers the gambit of adversary types in Shadow, Sword & Spell and utilizes the mechanics for creatures, along with some new ones, in excellent ways to represent that. A great example of this is that a creature with Albinism gains Fear -2, albeit with a lower Toughness. These types of connections between characteristics and mechanics creates a good synergy among the available adversaries by giving those characteristics some purpose.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
The value of Threats is two-fold: provide quick adversaries for GMs and provide plot hooks through the use of those adversaries. If you’re looking for great ideas for your adventures or campaigns, Threats is an excellent utility. Just grab a creature and answer the question of why are they there. You can generate an entire game session from one adversary.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Threats is a great addition to the GMs library of Shadow, Sword & Spell books (players shouldn’t prevent themselves from looking). You can never have a shortage of ready-made adversaries, especially ones that are fleshed out so well. In addition, this book provides options for adding different elements to your game.

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