Song of Shadows and Dust (SSD) is inspired by the breakdown in civic order which plagued the great cities of the Mediterranean in the first century BC such as Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem or Alexandria. In Rome the long-running feud between the optimates (conservatives) and the populares (popular party) was punctuated with street brawls, bloodshed and assassinations, erupting numerous times into open civil war. In the great metropolises of the East, rival claimants intrigued for royal titles, instigating popular uprisings against their brothers and cousins while recruiting foreign auxiliaries to aid in the oppression of their own people. Although these rules are flavoured by such a setting, they are perfectly appropriate for any pre-modern urban setting from Babylon to Bruges.
SSD seeks to reflect the gritty reality of urban violence and civil disruptions while preserving the keep-it-simple, play-as-you-want, no-book-keeping-required spirit of the original rules system. Also included are rules for playing short campaigns where the consequences of running away from a fight or taking a nasty blow to the head are likely to come back to haunt you.
All the rules needed to play the game will be provided in the book, however, as the rules and points values are compatible with both Song of Blades and Heroes and Song of Arthur and Merlin players can expand them using the other rulebooks or their supplements as sources of ideas, scenarios and additional special rules - after all, the seedy underbelly of society must have existed just as much in Camelot as it did in Rome.
Players control factions on the tabletop of between five and ten models each. The table itself is covered with buildings to create an urban setting and also includes a wide variety of different civilians. The players are given objectives such as stealing a particularly valuable item, assassinating an enemy leader, rescuing a captured comrade or avoiding the local militia/police whilst having to foil the objectives of their opponents. Faction members can be anything imaginable in this sort of environment - from Roman senators or Arab sheikhs, to beautiful courtesans, blind prophets, zealous priests, gladiators, drunks, common henchmen, street urchins or assassins and so on.
SSD has been written and is now in the process of intensive playtesting.