Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Order of the Sword and Dice

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

The above quote is generally attributed to the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, although there is no direct evidence that he ever actually said it. Regardless, it is a hugely powerful line, and one that has followed me my whole life.

I was raised on the tales of fantastical heroes like Gawain, Aragorn, and Spider-Man. Heroes who fought against evil monsters to save lives, free the oppressed and protect the powerless. It was my childhood desire to be a hero like them that first drove me into fantasy gaming, first as a role-player and later as a wargamer. I wanted to be the hero that smashed down the walls of the tyrant's castle and freed the captive people. In fact, even today, when I play an occasional solo wargame, it usually includes a clear good vs. evil set-up, and I have even been known to cheat a little to ensure that the good guys win.

As I've gotten older, wiser, and more self-aware, it has become clear to me that I will probably never be on the front line of the fight against evil. I don't posses that kind of strength or courage. Yet, the quote stays with me.

A few years ago, I had an idea to found my own knightly order, The Order of the Sword and Dice. It would be a collection of wargamers, role-players, and other dice-flingers, who felt like I did, who wanted to change the world for the better but weren't quite sure how. Together, I thought, we could raise money for organizations that really are on the front-lines tackling problems like refugees, human-trafficking, and disaster relief. I even got as far as getting my friend, the noted historical artist, Peter Dennis to paint up a heraldry for the order, which can be seen above.

As I was getting it all organized, I shared the idea with a few people. Some were supportive, but a few others thought the idea was 'silly' or even 'dangerous'. Sadly, these comments were enough to dishearten me, and I ended up putting the whole thing away. In fact, I was convinced to do nothing.

Well a few more years have passed, and my world has changed. The birth of my daughter has caused a huge shift in how I perceive life and the things that I value. I have come to realize that even if it is silly, The Order of the Sword and Dice is important to me. It is there as a reminder to do something, to try and be the good man I want to be. If it is dangerous, it is only dangerous in the way that any call to action can have unpredictable results.

Thanks to the publication of Frostgrave, I currently have a bit of a 'voice' in the gaming community. That may or may not last, but while it exists, I would like to try to use it to do some good. And so, today, I am officially founding The Order of the Sword and Dice. Later today, I will start its first campaign, a campaign to raise £500 for Save the Children to aid their work during the current Syrian refugee crisis. To start the campaign, I will be posting up a new Frostgrave scenario on my blog. I will ask that anyone who plays the scenario, prints it out, or otherwise adds it to their collection of Frostgrave material, to please kindly donate at least £1 to Save the Children through a MyDonate page that I have set up.

If you join in this campaign, you can consider yourself a member of The Order of the Sword and Dice, or not, as you choose. Either way, I hope you will help out, and maybe we can all be heroes, at least in some small way.


  1. Hi Joe,

    I think this is a great idea. I'll be making my donation this evening, then with your permission, I'll be displaying your badge with pride on the headers of my blog and Facebook page. I'll also start asking people for donations to your cause in return for using the house rules and scenarios I've developed.

    Good luck dude


  2. That would be great, Jimmi. The more people we can get helping out, the better!

  3. No worries fella,

    I've put up a static page all about it on my blog here:


  4. Touché.

    My humble donation was sent a few minutes ago. I will display the heraldy on my blog as well.
    Great idea and beautiful initiative.

  5. Gi would love to become a member of The Order of the Sword and Dice

  6. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to help. I just got back from Istanbul a few months ago, and Syrian refugees are on every street corner. Most of the Turks I talked to weren't happy about it, but at least Turkey is letting them in.