A downloadable SWORDDREAM

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"What if knights didn't slay dragons and instead helped them with their emotional issues?"

That was the thought that spawned Songbirds, and it aims to carry forward the idea of combating those intangible things that we struggle with on a daily basis. I know I've wanted to punch my anxiety in the face on numerous occasions. Well, now we can. Together.

This game has:

  • 32 unique classes that you won't find in other games
  • Choose a genre to show your characters aesthetic
  • Hearts that you can trade to form bonds and relationships 
  • Stress mechanics that take over for health/damage
  • And a basic contest system that uses ALL dice in a standard dice set

Not to mention that the book is 100 pages (50-odd spreads), and the ENTIRE back half of the book is dedicated to giving you tools to run the game! It includes

  • Principles and Tips
  • Methods for creating villages
  • NPC generation with the unique "Three Things" system
  • Creating adventures using songs
  • and a simple Opponent generation system that allows you to focus on language over crunch

This is a game for fans of classic anime, cartoons, action, adventure, and all flavors of heroics. You will make an entire unique character every single time you start a campaign, and explore personal areas that are meant to challenge your character specifically.

Some kind words--

"This is breathtaking work! I just read the whole thing cover to cover. This game is basically Ghibli / Dianna Wynne Jones meets Nobilis; I can definitely see people in my circle showing up to give this a try at least for a one-shot."

Will add more if they come : )


CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(42 total ratings)
TagsAnime, ghibli, OSR, songdream, sworddream, tag, Tabletop role-playing game


Buy Now$10.00 USD or more

In order to download this SWORDDREAM you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Songbirds pdf 5 MB
Songbirds pdf (spreads) 5 MB
Songbird - original soundtrack 906 MB

Physical Book Preorder

Support this SWORDDREAM at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Physical Book Preorder

We're doing a 25 book print run of Songbirds! It'll be a full color soft cover that can ship anywhere in the U.S. I do not currently have a distributor for overseas, but if you're interested in getting a copy and you are out of the U.S. throw $10 on there and we can get it to you.

If you're a retailer, reach out to me on twitter @thebestpupper and we can work something out.

The run will be ordered in August, so you'll get your book in September at the latest!

Development log


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I got this system in the bundle for racial justice and finally had a chance to run it recently. I've so far run 2 one-shots with a third planned, and everyone's loved it!

The anomalies are so unique and all my players have found more than one that really excited them. The other tables (equipment, how we met, anima, extra) are also fantastically creative and fun. Another major draw is the way you create basements. Using an album as inspiration is such a brilliant idea, and probably the most fun i've ever had planning a session. The rules are also quite easy to get your head round and I like the simplicity of using types of dice for stats, and how the healing mechanic promotes teamwork.

All in all, I love the premise, I love the design, and I would definitely recommend this system to any GM.

My only criticism is that the rulebook doesn't explain much about the world and how it works, but you can always make it up yourself or do what I did and find the authors threads about it on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/DnDBehindTheScreen/comments/aljvr8/endsville_a_primer_t...


i just started a western marches style campaign/world with this system as a base and honestly i'm already really in love with it! the character creation alone has lead to so many great conversations and i really can't wait to see what directions it takes us in. very glad to have found this!


I want to check out this westmarch

Hearts mechanic, spread 9.  When you get a heart, does that mean you have one more heart to give?

That would interact weirdly with:

"To get out of it you must share a secret or give them your heart as well."

They give you a heart, you heal up 10, you give them a heart, you're
now ±0 hearts and up 10 Stress.

I get that the "they give you a heart" part is the difficult part, but
then you can easily get out of it.

I like the game, just tryna wrap my head around how this mechanic works.♥

The heart is a metaphorical thing. I can't run your game for you, but if I were running the game you couldn't just say "I give them my heart", it doesn't work like that. But if someone is willing to have that sort of scene and devote time to that bond, then I think that's worth it. 

Absolutely, that sounds fantastic and is definitely the thing I'm most excited about with this game! Just wondering to what extent they then can do the same with another character. Not to be mono-normative, just wondering about the mechanical ramifications of the setup because it seems slightly weird either way.


As long as people are willing to create the scenes and act out the part of giving someone their heart, then It's alright by me. If they wanna sit there and pass hearts back and forth for two hours, well then that's fine.

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Hey this is really cool. There are some truly unique ideas on display, the layout is rad as hell, and the OST is perfect.

This is a great read even if you don't plan to use the game system, it actually has some meat to its rules you can bite into.

If you end up releasing additional content for this, I'd love to see one or two more pages of Anomalies to choose from. Or guidelines to create your own.


Me and some friends are running this! Can't wait, very interesting system! Tho I was wondering, Stranger mentions smfn with your characters name- do you mean the Nom de Guerre, or the true name? Or does that not matter?

You could take it either way. I was thinking nom de guerre but feel free to put more weight on the True Name. : )


I'd like to plug this into Goodreads just so I can remember when I read it. The PDF doesn't seem to have a credits section with the author or layout person's names or other publication information?

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author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19956845.John_Battle

layout person: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19956845.John_Battle

other publication information: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19956845.John_Battle

Yeah, I did it all so didn't really feel the need to have credits. 


lol. Thanks!


hi! this game looks like tons of fun, but im playing online with some other friends and we're not sure how to get around the dice stacking aspect of the game. do you have any suggestions?

Off the top of my head, something fun could be to have each person go around and tell a little story about the trip. Each person can add something they thought was beautiful, or strange, or even dangerous.  There won't be much complications, but it could be great to just take the time to relax. 

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Probably I found some errata

If you give up your Action to help a friend 
out with a task, the friend can add YOUR Stat 
to their contest roll as well. 
Some opposition can only be beaten with 
More than one person can give up their 
action to help a friend. The Stat dice of all 
involvved << REMOVE A "V" are added together when this 

Also, I'd love to give you some feedback, in the following posts. 


To get a random anomaly:
Roll d4 for page, d8 for anomaly
Drop a dice on the page and see what it hits
The person to your right picks your anomaly

I'd put that this way:

To get a random anomaly:
- Roll d4 for page, d8 for anomaly,
- Drop a dice on the page and see what it hits, or
- The person to your right picks your anomaly.


Thanks! The current PDF will *not* be the one that goes to prints. Edits have been made to spelling and grammar over the last couple months and we're gonna get those swapped out soon. 

On the Table "we know each other":

We both dated the 
same **girl** for a while 
but she ghosted us. 

Imho you could try to put down those inputs using more neutral genders, so they become more "universal" and adaptable.

What if the PCs are girls? They dated the same... girl? What if they are a Scarecrow and a Sin!?

Curious about the "Nom de guerre". Why this french term? I see you used War Name around the book. Why keep just this foreign locution? Also, aside War Name, you could use Nickname.

You use often "Daring Dice", but from what I can understand, there's a single "Daring Die". Am I wrong?

Can you remove (recover from) a Descent? It seems you can't. 
Can you remove (recover from) a Injury? It seems you can (from the description, but there are no rules about that).

Also, you gave "Fixing a Hole" as rule to relief the Stress, but no indications about the aforementioned Injuries (or Descent, it's unclear if it's a unrecoverable kind of condition).
Still, in the "Fixing a Hole" Table, I probably understand what the Wealth and Stress columns means (I'm rich, so I spend d6 Wealth, so I can recover d10 Stress); however, I can't understand what "Slots" column is, let alon the "War" column.

This is justa a couple of personal considerations:
- "Everything is Stress", and that's good (Fate, Cortex and other systems use this kind of structure), but then you have Descents, Breakpoints, and you need to have additional book-keeping 'cause every 5 physical Stress losses, you need to also gain a Injury (also, that occupy a single slot, or just a part of it, like a skill?). 
- Another "oddity": with your chainmail Armor you can stop stress from "being ashamed from the King that won a conflict while taunting you"... Mmm... I'd say a chainmail should stop only physical Stress sources. A side note about that, this way you could have some kind of "soul armor" (for example a Beloved Memento) that can stop only psycological Stress sources. (BitD armors work this way, for example).


Having previously downloaded the soundtrack, I'm very much in love with it. Is there a reason "one hundred ninety thousand miles per second" didn't make it onto either of the soundtracks, or am I just a dumbass who couldn't find it?  :D

I trimmed it down for the spotify release. There were a lot of songs cut from the original idea of the album lol I had like 34 to begin with.


Well count me interested in hearing the rest of it if you consider putting it  on. one hundred ninety thousand miles per second is insanely good; easily one of my favourite tracks from any artist last year

That's really awesome to hear. <3 It's rare for the music to get noticed. 

i would love to play this with my friends but some of them dont speak english very well, are there translated versions or would you accept fan translations and add them into the mix for the rest?

Yes! Fan translations are welcome and I'd put them up so others could use them too.






this is amazing. i'm just over halfway through reading this and im so ready to share and play this with my friends. it feels like a more complex yet simple version of dnd, which we already play. (albeit a simplified version because we're all noobs and we play the way thats fun for us!)  can't wait to introduce my friends to it, i feel like i can't stress that enough.


Wholesome. Holistic, even – composing baddies is colorful, fun and feels simply productive, making adventures is as meditative and whimsical as making a mixtape (because it is!), and everyone (from recipes to towns to storms to players) can share the same character sheet design and feel like its a perfect fit for their mechanical needs.

i have errata for you! How might i send it?


I love the class concepts! I always find they add so much flavour and depth


How different is this game from the version reviewed here?


It's majorly updated. It runs on its own system now instead of being based off of Into the Odd and expands on a lot of the ideas that were just fledgling back then. Plus the layout is really cute.


Not only is the game wonderful, the included soundtrack is a jam. A whole jar full of jam. This is something special.