From the back of the book:
You hail from a world awash in conflict, danger, and threats. You might be a thief due to your knack for picking the pockets of rich merchants in Gravinia while evading the blades of the competition. You might be a raider selling your sword to the highest bidder and fight for any or all as long as the silver flows. You might even hail from mysterious Cal’athar and have an affinity for arcane forces, using them to work spells outside the realm of Man.
In Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic, you create a character embarking on an adventuring career. Some event or desire, drives you to thumb your nose at your lot in life and seek out a destiny of your choosing. Society holds no bounds for you and you choose the life you want to live. Why should the only wealthy be wealthy? Why should only the baron own his own land? You want that - and more - and by Azathoth’s Radiance, you will!
In Basic, your character adventures and grows, becoming not only stronger, but more influential. Over time, a character can acquire not only wealth but power. Your influence and fame enables you to command armies, rule a kingdom, influence society - but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Basic gets you to this point, if you survive it...