Thirsty Sword Lesbians
Two people fighting, or maybe flirting?

Thirsty Sword Lesbians SRD

Playing the Game

The game begins as soon as you gather with your friends and are ready to bring your imaginary world to life. Some groups find it helpful to use a ritual to signal that the group’s focus is moving to the game, such as lighting a candle, starting some background music, or summarizing what happened in a previous session.

The goal of this game is for everyone to have a good time; the following principles help make this happen.

Player's Agenda

Everyone at the table contributes to the story and the shared experience of playing the game, and shares the responsibility of making that experience a positive one.

Bring the Action

This is not a game of elaborate planning and strategy. Follow your heart, dive headlong into danger, and be larger than life.

Feel Deeply and Powerfully and Often

The game invites you to feel the deep emotional conflict of your PC and care about the other characters in the game. This is a game about feeling things and forging relationships. Consider sharing your character’s inner feelings so that the other players at the table can play into those feelings. For instance, if your character has the Frightened Condition and could use Emotional Support, they’re more likely to get that support if you tell the other players what your character is feeling. Likewise, foster an environment where your fellow players feel safe exploring intense feelings and potentially difficult topics. (Safety and Consent, page 11).

Be Excited about the Other PCs and Shared Stories

You are all amazing badass queers. Make room and set up opportunities for the other PCs to shine as well. Thirsty Sword Lesbians is a game about relationships; think about how to create interesting and dramatic dynamics between the PCs. Make sure to give other players a chance to think and make decisions on their own for their contributions to the story.

Stand for Justice and Liberation

Many problems faced by thirsty sword lesbians can be solved by talking or flirting, but not all. Not everyone is redeemable, and when emotions flare and blades clash, you may find that your opponent is too set in their ways, too comfortable with injustice, or is just unrepentant. The PCs aren’t perfect paragons of virtue—they can be gay disasters, they can be flawed people—but at the very least their story arc should see them growing to stand for admirable principles.

Flirts and Zingers

You do not have to be witty or good at flirting in real life to play a character with those skills or to emulate those things through roleplay. The keys are collaboration and communication.

If you’re not sure what kind of romantic approach would be welcome with another character, you can simply ask their player, gossip about them in character, or try to Figure Them Out using the game mechanics.

This isn’t a game where the players are at odds, even if characters may be in conflict at times. Generally, you’ll want the other players to know enough about your character to know how to approach them. You might drop hints or tell them outright. This kind of communication can take some of the guesswork out of flirting—which is not to say that guessing wrong can’t be a ton of fun.

The same applies when you’re trying to come up with a verbal barb that will sting the other character: if you know what they care about, what their sensitivities are, it’ll be easier to get under their skin with your comment.

If you really want your character to have a brilliant, spontaneous retort, and nothing springs to mind, you can always call on the wisdom of the table. Each character can be superhumanly witty—as witty as the entire group of players put together.

Finally, not every character in Thirsty Sword Lesbians is good with words. Shy and awkward sword lesbians find love, too.

A Few Flirting Ideas

(only some of these are good ideas in real life)

  • Show interest in their sword
  • Offer to share food or drink
  • Invite them closer
  • Meet their eyes, then blush and look away
  • Meet their eyes with a fiery gaze
  • Pretend to be married to each other as part of a cover story
  • Tilt up their chin with the point of your sword
  • Show genuine care for their well-being and goals
  • Share an embarrassing story or picture
  • Discover there’s Only One Bed
  • Toss your hair in slow motion—flower petals encouraged
  • Wipe a smudge of engine oil from their cheek
  • Stay up all night talking about your traumas
  • Do crimes together
  • Bring them flowers or the heads of their enemies
  • Ask them to help you try on clothes—or take them off
  • Dance and invite them to join you
  • Suplex a boulder and show off your muscles
  • Tear a strip from your clothes to bind their wounds
  • Highlight your scent, the sound of your voice, the way you move
  • Offer to show them your favorite hot spring

To tell dramatic and meaningful stories, everyone involved needs to know that they are safe to do so. The game invites you to get invested in the characters, have complicated and potentially vulnerable feelings, and explore queer identities that are frequently targets for abuse in broader society.

Thirsty Sword Lesbians helps you create a safe environment for emotional roleplay in several different ways, though ultimately the words written here can’t substitute for approaching one another with empathy and caring.

First, the game is structured so that you the player always get to choose the actions of your character. The mechanics may tell you that an event has distressed the character, or that they believe a lie, or face some other circumstance, but the game never dictates what your PC must do. Instead, mechanics provide incentives and temptations, leaving the decision to the player.

Second, the game mechanics are always available if you find yourself in an emotional roleplaying moment and need some distance from embodying your character’s feelings. If you want to be flirting but playing out the conversation feels like too much, you can always suggest that it’s a good time to roll the Entice move and break character to use the mechanics.

Finally, the game encourages the use of specific safety tools (page 13) to build the themes of the game together, check in on one another, or veto problematic elements of the narrative or the experience of play. By introducing safety tools at the start and keeping a reminder of them in the play area, you remind one another that your well-being is what’s important. You also reduce the social barrier to expressing discomfort if the game takes a turn that could make someone uncomfortable. At the end of each session, all PCs gain an XP if anyone used a safety tool during the session. This can be as simple as checking in to see if everyone is comfortable or if anyone needs to take a break to refill their drink or go to the bathroom.

No Fascists or Bigots Allowed

To play Thirsty Sword Lesbians, you must:

  • Support racial liberation, intersectional feminism, and queer liberation
  • Respect transgender people, nonbinary people, intersex people, and women
  • Respect racialized people; respect Black, Indigenous, mixed-race people, and other people of color
  • Respect sex workers
  • Respect disabled people
  • Respect immigrants
  • Respect lesbians and other people with queer sexualities
  • Respect people experiencing poverty or homelessness
  • Respect neurodivergent people, such as those on the autism spectrum
  • Respect fat people and people of all body types
  • Not demand that anyone educate you about their marginalizations

If you don’t agree, fix your heart before sharing a table with other people.

If you do agree but you’re struggling with self-loathing over any aspect of your identity, that’s understandable. We’re taught to hate ourselves in so many ways. Come on in and let’s celebrate the existence and joy of people like us.

Safety Tools

The safety techniques presented here have been chosen to emphasize direct communication, flexibility, and simplicity so that they are not forgotten. Everyone has different needs and preferences around safety and communication. Choose tools that work for your group.

If these safety practices aren’t the right mix for your group, there are many other options. The TTRPG Safety Toolkit by Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk is a good place to start, available at

The Palette

Before the first session, create a palette of concepts that you want to include and concepts that you don’t want in the game. Do this together, as a group, to get on the same page about what excites you all. Make sure there’s a way for people to add to the list anonymously if desired (through the GM, for instance, or by editing a shared document or passing around a piece of paper). Describe what excites you about the setting so that the other players (including the GM) can highlight those aspects. Describe what elements of the genre you don’t want to include, for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be a sensitive or triggering topic for you to list it as an unwanted element. Maybe you’re simply bored of dragons and want to tell a story focused on other elements. Maybe you don’t want laser swords because it’s too hard to tilt up the chin of an opponent with a blade of pure energy.

You can also use the palette to keep track of elements that players wish to exclude for reasons of safety, sometimes called lines and veils—“lines” if the content is excluded entirely from the fiction and “veils” if it’s okay to include “off-screen” but not as a focus.

You can modify or add to the palette at any time. People aren’t going to write down every single thing they don’t want in advance; be considerate about introducing elements that might be objectionable.

The Check-In Card

A lightweight and flexible safety practice is simply to check in on one another, and a visual aid such as a check mark drawn on an index card can help remind the players to do this. If you notice that another player seems uncomfortable, or that the subject matter is straying close to a sensitive topic, or if it’s simply been a long time since the group took a break, you can always check in. Pausing play for a moment can help make space for people to express their needs or simply to reaffirm that they’re having a good time. It can also be a good practice to check in before introducing a heavy topic, even when no one has thought to express a line or veil around that topic in advance.

The X Card

The X Card is similar to lines and veils, but it’s a shorthand used in the moment. Keep a reminder on the table, such as an index card with an X drawn on it. Anyone can invoke the X Card by tapping the card, making an X with their forearms, or simply saying so, to remove an element from the game. Don’t haggle, argue, or belittle the person expressing their needs, and don’t ask them to justify it. You may need to rewind to an earlier part of the story and re-do a scene without the problematic element.

If you are X-ing something, you may find it useful to express it as a line or veil or state a condition that would make it okay. The precise terminology is not important. For example:

  • Line: No anti-trans bigotry in the story
  • Veil: Anti-trans bigotry can be a feature of the patriarchal society in the setting, but I don’t want to deal with it directly
  • Condition: I’m okay with having anti-trans bigotry depicted, as long as the bigot is clearly a villain and as long as they’re not allowed to win

If the scope of the boundary is unclear, respectfully seek to clarify it. This may mean asking a simple clarification at the table or taking a break and inviting the person to talk one-on-one. Be clear that the person does not need to justify their boundary; the goal is to understand what they’re asking for so that you can honor it.

A simple clarification at the table can be less traumatizing than being pulled aside. The support of the table can be important, and no one should be pressured to interact one-on-one with someone who has just upset them. It’s important for all players to know where the boundaries are, and they may have their own needs around the X-ed subject matter such that they need a more restrictive boundary. It’s common for content that bothers one person to bother others at the table, as well. Of course, this is not an invitation to chip away at a boundary, only to express additional safety needs.

The X Card encourages the direct expression of a boundary, and normalizes the expectation that others will respect the boundary. It’s easy to remember and well-known. Some weaknesses of the X Card are that social pressure against expressing needs can be very strong even with the tool in play, and the X can feel like a blunt instrument. People experiencing difficulty with the content may freeze up or discount their feelings. And some expressions of the X Card emphasize moving on quickly and pretending the X-ed content never occurred, which may not be a good resolution depending on the needs of those at the table. Additionally, “X Card” is a term used by different people to mean different things; make sure your players are on the same page about how to use the tool in your game.