What is Lair of Sword and Sorcery?  What is the spirit of Kartharka?

If you can imagine it spray painted on the side of a van, its Kartharka.

If you can put it on the front of any Heavy Metal album cover it's Kartharka.

If you cast it in pewter and glued a marble to it and sold it at a flea market it's Kartharka.

If you can draw it proudly on your notebook cover in math class it's Kartharka.

If you'd wear it on a patch on your jacket it's Kartharka.

Kartharka is metal, steel, gold and iron, Kartharka is mystery, doom and high adventure.

For My Blood Reavers (loyal fans of LoSS)

Lair of Sword & Sorcery launched in late 2014, yeah it's been that long.

Since then, so many people have: downloaded, bought printed copies, reviewed and otherwise been super fans of the game.

In 2016, the second edition of the rules, Core Redux, were realeased.

Collecting all the main rules and revising, expanding and solidifying the game in it's final form.

More expansions on the core were added with issue 6 of LoSS magazine and charts for converting LoSS material to standard OSR rulesets was added with issue 7.

The support and love that the entire gaming community has shown for this plucky little game has been fantastic. 

There is so much more to come, so all you Blood Reavers, whose patience has been infinite, welcome to the forever home of Lair of Sword & Sorcery!


And in 2019 LoSS moved on up and of the Spooky Room and over to Precis Intermedia. I hope that you will all continue to love and support the game and all it's fun with it's new owners. Check it out over at


What is Lair of Sword and Sorcery?

Lair of Sword and Sorcery is at it's heart a game of Sword and Sorcery (obvious right?)

This means that for the most part your characters will be men, and for the most part you will be fighting other men (or women, you get the idea).

Monsters are an important part of the game but you must learn to rethink what you think of as monsters in Role playing games.

Lions, tigers, and bears are all viable monsters and make great enemies for the players.  If the big bad guy at the end has two Orc guards then you're playing generic fantasy. If he has two tigers and they're wearing gold masks, and the room is all smoky from the incense burning in that big brazier in the middle, and the bad guy is sitting in a big throne playing a harp that controls the tigers? That's the world of Kartharka.

But what of Sorcery?

Sorcery in Lair very different from Magic in other games.  Not everyone is wandering around with magic swords, gulping magic potions and buying and trading magic rings and carpets on every corner.

Magic is rare and terrible in the world of Kartharka and most that encounter it soon wish they hadn't.

A player is not going to find a "+2" magic sword.  They may find a sword that bursts into flames when they touch it burning their arm off, or a terrible amulet lying in a sorcerers tomb that turns them into a flesh less skeleton that wanders the earth stealing children to feed to the crocodile god.

Sorcery is evil, difficult, risky and full of ways to get yourself killed.

But it is powerful, powerful beyond any human understanding, and such is it's lure.

Sorcery involves long tortuous rituals and terrible rites, promises to foul demons and complicated formulas that must be completed exactly or the sorcerer will die.  They do not simply point a finger and say a magic word.  They can do that too but it comes at an awful price.

What is the Game about?

Kartharka is not generic Fantasy!

Lair of Sword and Sorcery is not a "retroclone",
It is not a throwback game, it is not a reworking of a current system, nor is it made to be "compatible" with any current system. It is it's own creation.

As a game master (Demon Lord in the language of Kartharka) you can use anything you want from anywhere.  See an adventure you like? Rip out everything you want, make some stats up on the fly and run it is Lair of Sword and Sorcery.  You don't need a compatibility chart, or special balancing calculations, just make it all up and throw it at the players.

Slavish worshiping of Game Balance is the death of creativity,
As long as there is trust between the Demon Lord and the players all can have fun no matter what the enemies.  It is this lack of trust which has lead to so much Rule bloat in other systems endlessly adding rules and reprinting edited rulebooks in the quest for perfect balance.

As for the Demon Lord, be worthy of that trust.  Let the players make real choices about what happens, if they want to do something then damn well let them try, if they want to steer the world to bow to their whims then good, that is what heroes are meant to do.

The players and the Demon Lord are both there to create a world, not to heap the characters in treasure and let them always win, or to be so overbearing that they must run from every encounter and are doomed to scrape and save just to make enough to keep their characters fed.
This game is meant to be played with friends, friends who trust each other and who want to have fun together.

But enough rambling, What is Lair of Sword and Sorcery, and it's game world Kartharka all about?

The rules are meant to be just enough of a framework for everyone to have a good time.  A lot of the time you'll be making everything up as you go along but there should be just enough of a framework that all can feel that any decisions are at least fair to the spirit of adventure.

Lair is very much a do it yourself system but fear not, there is nothing out there yet to compare yourself too. Want to make up your own monsters, go ahead, your crudely drawn monster on a piece of construction paper isn't going to look any worse than ours when we're playing. Want to make a miniature for that monster? Or for one from the books? Go ahead.

If you want to cut the head off a tiger and glue to the body of a dinosaur and throw it down on the board don't worry, there are no official Lair of sword and sorcery miniatures so it'll look no worse than the players miniatures raided from Lego sets or from play sets grabbed at the dollar store.

What is important is that what you are representing is cool itself. A dinosaur with a tiger head? Awesome! You can use the stats for a dinosaur or the tiger, or both, or a whole new set.  The players will have to figure out how the heck their going to kill that thing and they'll have fun doing it, especially when you try to figure out exactly what it's roar sounds like.

The main Tenet is, do it yourself, make it awesome.

Try to avoid using "real" gaming materials as much as possible, it can be extremely limiting to what you do in the game if you feel locked in to whatever is available. That being said there is a lot of neat stuff out there and if you like it then use it.

When making your own stuff fight the urge to labor over it for hours, just get it done and on the table. I would way rather play every week with cool new items, rooms, backgrounds and monsters then once a month with perfectly detailed and rendered materials on the board.

But if you want to spend more time on it then go ahead, it's a fun part of Lair.