Settings and Adventures
The setting and premise of your game of Thirsty Sword Lesbians may be very different from someone else’s game. The system is intentionally flexible. What matters are the feelings and relationships between the characters, and those can occur in a wide range of settings.
Take the premise of any story with swords and run it with Thirsty Sword Lesbians, and you’ll get a slashfic-style version of the original, meaning more melodrama, more kissing, and more queerness. If you’ve ever shouted at a show to “make it gay, you cowards”—this game is here to help. Are you a fan of samurai dramas?Highlander? Wxi novels and films? Arthurian legend? Lightsaber duels? Any of these can be the touchstones for a game of Thirsty Sword Lesbians.
This is not to say that you can uncritically import settings that marginalize queer identities, but the framework of the game will help you analyze and critique them. In much of the media celebrated under racist patriarchy, authorities are going to be Toxic Powers. You may need to invent the community that nurtures the PCs within the setting you have chosen.
Of course, we have a long tradition of transforming mass media to tell our stories.
This chapter includes settings you can use for your story and specific scenario ideas to get your adventure started. Visit SwordLesbians.com for additional settings and adventures!
The Worldbuilding Worksheet (page 222) includes prompts to build a scenario from scratch, but you can also start with a pre-written scenario or with a brief pitch for a scenario you’d like to flesh out together.
One trick for coming up with creative ideas and avoiding tired tropes is to reject your first few ideas. If you’re brainstorming as a group, it’s best to instruct each participant to do this for themselves, rather than shooting down the first few ideas to be voiced.
The Worldbuilding Worksheet can be overkill for a game that will only last a single session. The GM should feel free to do more worldbuilding and planning and present their scenario to the players, particularly in a one-shot game.
The following settings are tailor-made for thirsty sword lesbians to dive into heroics and angst:
In a far-off galaxy, sword lesbians of the Haven rocket through the stars to make contact with new societies, to render aid where it is welcome, and to oppose the conquering Legion of the Void Empress. Oppose the Empire and seek out community on a galactic scale. The Starcross Galaxy is a space opera that reimagines pulp sci-fi to celebrate queer love and power!
In a coffee shop on the border between two worlds, sword lesbians sip hot beverages, fight gentrification, and guard the precious Foxhole Woods from deadly cishet incursions. Lesbeans Coffeehouse balances high fantasy sensibility with stories set in the metropolis of your choice, with a focus on celebrating the magic of cozy queer love.
In a world that never sees the sun, neon lights cut through hearts and souls of revolutionaries! In pouring rain, light cycles race through narrow alleys, chasing down fragile hope. Can we honor fallen comrades and tear down the Mega-Corp? Will we free Neon City 2099 from greed and corruption? When avatars are activated and systems of power are hacked, neon swords come to life!
Sword lesbians of The Three Orders of Ardor are sex workers and exotic dancers who are also holy warriors. They wear their battle scars with pride, and clothing removal is their metaphor for safe vulnerability. Sex work has not only been legalized, but is considered a sacred profession.
Down a glass of champagne, steal a zeppelin, and turn up the heat in an after-hours club while you swap poetry and dissidence as a member of Les Violettes Dangereuses, a group of revolutionary artists who give new meaning to “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
In Yuisa Revolution, you live in a utopia where everyone can be who they are and no one is anyone’s boss. The island of Yuisa is a collective of refugees and Indigenous. You all must protect your home from colonial and imperial forces using your charm, your wit, and your sword. Oh yeah, and you also have the world’s first airship, so that will help too. The monsters are your friends, the states are your enemies, and you’ve got a buttload of radical sapphic love on your side.