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The Paragon Blade is a head-to-head fantasy RPG for just two people from Trail of Cthulhu maker

Powered by One-2-One version of GUMSHOE system.

Trail of Cthulhu, The Yellow King and Cthulhu Confidential publisher Pelgrane Press has revealed a new fantasy RPG that plays with just two people: The Paragon Blade.

The Paragon Blade is built on a new version of GUMSHOE One-2-One, a spin-off from the original investigation-focused gameplay system that powers roleplaying games including Trail of Cthulhu (pictured), Swords of the Serpentine and Night’s Black Agents.

In GUMSHOE, players spend points from skill pools in various abilities to amplify their character’s base knowledge - meaning they discover any basic clues their character would have knowledge of without rolling, but can spend their limited points to gain more information. Any tests for actions such as combat or more strenuous activities are resolved using a single six-sided die.

One-2-One adjusts GUMSHOE’s d6-powered gameplay to suit two people - one GM and one player - in a head-to-head format. The two-player system has previously been used in horror RPG Cthulhu Confidential and Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops - a spin-off from the vampire spy thriller game.

Cover image for YouTube video

In The Paragon Blade, one player takes on the role of a hero questing across a fantasy land, accompanied by a companion and in possession of a powerful artefact. The GM controls the evil forces they encounter along the way.

The Paragon Blade is described by Pelgrane as “evok[ing] classic tales of swords and sorcery”, combining the mystery elements commonly suited to the GUMSHOE system with magic and fantasy.

The upcoming RPG apparently “retunes, rebuilds and reenvisions” the One-2-One engine, and is suitable for playing online using virtual tabletops, with the rulebook supporting the creation of custom heroes and quests.

The game is currently being playtested, with sign-ups available on Pelgrane’s website until the end of October. The playtest version of the RPG includes three pre-made heroes and quests: a barbarian seeking to undo a curse, a magic-user keeping her outlawed powers a secret while investigating a mysterious island and a thief’s heist to steal a deadly plague before it’s unleashed by cultists.

A release date for The Paragon Blade is yet to be announced.

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Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.