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Fanfic / A Sword Without A Hilt

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In a world where magic has all but guttered to ashes, becoming the fare of charlatans, petty conjurers, and ragged illusionists, a mighty change is stirring. From small and fragile sparks a great blaze will be reborn and men will again look in wonder awe and terror at those who would dare to call on secret powers. Heroes and fiends, champions and monsters, soon all will walk under the light of common day once more.
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A Sword Without A Hilt is a roleplaying Quest by the author Dragon Paradox, posing the question what would happen to the world of Planetos if magic did not slowly return, but came back in force. The quest is a crossover with D&D 3.5 and expands upon the many allusions and shout outs found in the backstory of the source material. Devils and Demons begin to enter the world, using artifacts left behind by the Valyrian Freehold or exploiting the many gaps in the knowledge left behind by them to ensnare mortals. Meanwhile, the Illithid begin to stir in their fortresses under the seas and the many relics they left behind on the world regain their fell power.

The quest follows the actions of Viserys Targaryen in this rapidly changing world, starting right after the death of his last protector Willem Darry. Awakening his power as a dragon-blooded sorcerer, he sets out to find a safe home for his sister and himself in the seedy parts of Braavos, always fearing assassins sent by Robert Baratheon to strike at them while they are defenseless. He dreams to reclaim the Iron Throne, but it will be a long way indeed from Braavos gutters to the Red Keep.

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The quest has been going since March 2016 and updates multiple times per day, thus having amassed over 2 million words by now, eclipsing even the length of the source material. Around its core players, a distinct community has emerged over the years, which is much more cooperative then player-bases of many other quests and sometimes referred to as Proto-Tribe by the players themselves.


A Sword Without A Hilt provides examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them:
    • While Viserys himself is still pretty young, his sister Dany has quite often taken up leadership roles since the age of 7.
    • Many other cast members are still in their early teens, but rarely does anyone consider it odd when they are put in charge of some task or another.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: As a D&D Crossover, Adamantine blades come up quite often. Though they are usually not used as weapons, but as lockpick substitute, as they can slice through even an iron door with ease.
  • Apocalypse Cult:
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    • The vampire Daario created a Zombie Apocalypse in the name of the Moon Pale Maiden, one of the leaders of the omnicidal Daemons.
    • The Listener in Mantarys, seeking to start a demonic invasion.
    • Yet more Daemon cultists were found hiding in the catacombs beneath Tyrosh.
    • Minor Demon and Devil cults seem rather common as the party keeps stumbling over them all over Westeros.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Later on, Viserys gets the sword Dark Sister from Bloodraven
  • Artifact of Doom: Far too many for comfort, since pretty much every minor artifact tainted by Fiends or Aberrations can become the core of a full on invasion, but the most notable ones are:
    • The Driftwood Crown, which can cause massive storms at the price of sapping the user's sanity and exposing him to whispers from the Far Realm
    • The Whispering Gate, which is a gateway to the Abyss which in itself is not sentient, but the Demons on the other side can easily corrupt anyone who approaches is
  • Ascended Extra: A few major characters started as random NPC's and many more got later on bigger and more important roles.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Both the Free Folk and the Dothraki work like this and Viserys isn't shy to back up his words with force.
  • Blood Lust: So far, all sentient weapons encountered exhibited a great desire to at least be used in battle, if not outright stating a desire for blood.
  • Blood Magic: In the quest canon, blood is a measure of power and thus a lot of magic requires it or can use it as a power source.
    • Viserys can improve the power of some of his spells by adding a bit of his own blood to the spell.
    • Many items found over the course of the quest required a certain amount of blood before becoming usable or to empower them.
    • Reforging Valyrian Steel requires blood, which is unsurprising since it Requires Devil blood as a main ingredient to actually make in the first place
    • The Day of Blood ritual, by which Viserys has grown a good number of Heart Trees
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Ser Richard once wondered if he is protecting Viserys from the world or the other way around.
  • Boom Town: Sorcerers Deepnote , which is growing so fast that it's nearly constantly busy building new homes for the arrivals.
  • Captive Audience: Due to having insane charisma and much magic to boost his already enormous social skills, Viserys can easily captivate huge audiences with his speeches. Unlike his brother Rheagar though, he is hopeless in everything relating to music.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Happened quite often in the early days of the quest until better means became available.
  • Cool Sword: Quite a few characters have them.
    • Viserys - Dark Sister
    • Richard - Oathkeeper
    • Waymar - Purity
  • Sentient Weapon: Both Oathkeeper and Dark Sister have minds of their own, although they aren't chatty.
  • Deader Than Dead: As Outsiders don't truly die when slain away from their home-plane and resurrection of mortals is simple in D&D, the players have poured a lot of effort into figuring out methods to enforce this trope on everyone they want permanently gone.
  • Deal with the Devil: A lot of people have made pacts with various brands of fiends for power.
    • The Listener in Mantarys pacted with the Abyss to open the Whispering Gate and let a demonic army through.
    • A recurring minor character in Volantis had thought she made a pact with a Celestial, but instead was ensnared by a Devil. She later managed to free herself from that deal.
    • Inverted by Viserys who won the right to recruit Devils by beating an Aspect of Mammon.
    • The magisters of the Elephant faction in Volantis made a pact with Demons to kill their opponents, the Tigers, subjugate the mages of the Mysterium and put the slave soldiers back into their place.
  • Demonic Possession: A staple of the forces of Baator and the Abyss.
  • Door Stopper: And if 2 million words are not enough for you, you can read the thousands of pages of discussion in between.
  • The Dreaded: Viserys reputation in many places is less then stellar.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In the beginning of the quest, Ser Richard often drank regularly when he was off duty, since magic and the general insanity around Viserys taxed him rather badly.
  • For Science!: Quite a few times Viserys did rather insane things to just see what happens.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Viserys started out among the ranks of a thieves guild in Braavos and went on to become one of the most feared persons in the whole world. And beyond.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Early on, the party bought a belt on a market stall that contained some magical power, but didn't seem that big a deal. Turns out it was the last link of a primordial snake deity to the world.
  • I Have Many Names: Aside from a lot of aliases used under various disguises, Viserys has gotten a tremendous amount of epithets bestowed upon him from all over the world.
  • The Legions of Hell: One of the recurring antagonist forces are the servants of Mammon, one of the Archdukes of Baator.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The main party alone consists of 12 members, followed by dozens of supporting characters and hundreds of contacts across the world.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Alter Fortune, which is one of the most used spells of the entire quest.
  • Magic Knight: Waymar Royce and to a lesser extent Richard Lonmouth
  • Magic Is Evil: What the Faith of the Seven fervently believes. Considering the environment in which the Andals formed their culture, it wasn't an entirely unreasonable assumption.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: While D&D's hit points mechanics make this trope rather common, Richard still manages to go above and beyond. At one point he had his throat torn out by a high-ranking Devil and instead of collapsing or at least retreating, he calmly beheaded his enemy in a single stroke.
  • Malicious Slander: Spread vigorously against Viserys by his enemies, most notably Tywin Lannister and probably the Citadel.
  • Mind Probe: Pretty much anyone with access to mid-level D&D spells can do this, thus it's pretty common on all sides.
  • Money Fetish: True to his draconic ancestry, has great appreciation for large sums of money.
  • No Sense of Direction: In the early days of the quest, Viserys constantly managed to get lost pretty much everywhere. Though this stopped entirely after making a magic compass to address this issue.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Between regular Planetosi intrigue, shapeshifters, possessions and the constant threat using divinations, the players have honed their sense of paranoia to a razors edge.
  • Rousing Speech: Happening so often that it has become a joke both in the thread and in the story itself that Viserys can't stand before a crowd without delivering one of them.
  • The Magic Comes Back: The inherent premise of the quest, except instead of canon ASOIAF's low fantasy, it's been turned Up to Eleven. The result has been ... spectacular.
  • Trophy Room: Viserys has collected and turned the corpses of various dangerous monsters he's killed into trophies.
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