SWORDLANDSis a medieval/fantasy game of strategy, diplomacy and warfare. It's Play-by-Email, meaning that Players "make moves" by communicating with the game master and receiving results via email. Each TURN of play is a week long, representing one month in the game world ... In six weeks of play, six months will pass for the inhabitants of SWORDLANDS.
As a Player King, or Queen, you'll manage your treasury, command the military, and conduct political and diplomatic affairs through a council of Ministers and Advisers whom you appoint. You'll deal with other Player rulers and with the NPC inhabitants of the world - generals, nobles, adventurers, your own Royal relatives and other personages who may or may not act in your interests. Loyalty is an important factor and your decisions will effect the devotion of your subjects. As well, events will occur over which you have no control. How you deal with them may decide the fate of the realm (and your own hold on the throne).
Every kingdom is unique, with its own strengths and weakness and its own set of challenges. Each is detailed, with a culture and history that will come into play. Like any ruler, you can't choose what Royal line you're born into (though as a Player, you do choose your kingdom). You'll inherent all the assets and problems left by your predecessors. Squabbling nobles and disloyal generals are as common as fawning courtiers, and a truly devoted servant is worth his weight in gold crowns. The burden of authority may sit heavy on your shoulders. You'll have the good of the kingdom to consider, as well as your own place in history. Benevolent statesman, tyrant or conquerer - how you rule is up to you.
Thrown into the mix are magic and myth. Powerful Wizards roam the world, dragons survive in the wilds, ancient evils still exist and occasionally arise. The power of the gods - Old and New - may be called upon.
And, there will be war. Other rulers will be working to improve the fortunes of their realms and conflicts are bound to happen. As ruler, you'll be forced to deal with historical disputes and the decisions of the those who ruled before you. Kingdoms will seek to expand and yours may just be in the way. A poorly defended realm is ripe for conquest, by other rulers or savage enemies ... and when a ruler can no longer squeeze gold from his or her own subjects, raid and pillage is always an option.
There is no point-based win or lose in SWORDLANDS. The game will run indefinitely. The map of the world will change as borders shift and kingdoms rise and fall. Players may come and go as rulers lose power or fall in battle. Of course, it's essential to have an heir to carry on the Royal line and a union between Royal Families is an important tool of statecraft. But be careful. Joining your House to a rival's can give him or her a claim on your throne.