Sword World 2.0

Oh, /tg/, just when I thought I could quit you.

There’s been a thread on 4chan for the past couple days where someone got a copy of the 3 core rulebooks for Sword World 2.0.  I was a bit surprised when very few trolls or 40k fans saged the thread, and eventually the OP scanned the first book for people to translate.

I left my copies back in America, but I guess I can talk a little bit about what I know and think about the game.

I should probably start off by saying that I’ve never played Sword World.  I read through the first rulebook and gave the other 2 a quick thumb through.  I also bought a supplement that included a new class and lots of gorgeous art, and I was really excited about it for a while last year.  It was about that time that I discovered Shinobigami and it was quickly forgotten, however.  I spoke to some Japanese gamers at a convention a month or two ago about the game, and I was sort of surprised to hear them say that the game is popular mostly among new and/or young players of TRPGs.  It’s too simplistic for experienced gamers, who prefer Arianrod for their fantasy gaming.  But it’s still one of the bigger sellers in Japan nonetheless.  There is a lot of support for the game, with lots of books full of fluff and scenarios for GMs to use.  It is also famous in the west for being the home of the island of Lodoss, though I don’t think they’ve put out a Lodoss supplement for this current edition.

The game uses the typical Japanese 2d6 resolution system: roll 2d6, meet or beat the target number to succeed.  That’s pretty much the entire game, just each class either allows a character to make certain skill rolls, or gives them bonuses or allows them to use certain items.

I was really excited about the game for a few reasons.  The classes are really interesting, with fairy tamers, magitech gunners, motorcycle riders, and gem crafters (a la world of warcraft, ahem).  I really liked the way that characters are created, too, which is always a big thing for me.  Basically, there are 2 types of classes, A-type and B-type.  A-type classes are mostly the ‘action’ classes: swordsmen, shooters, grapplers, magic users, etc.  These are the classes that will be doing damage and the cool things like magic, etc.  They cost something like 750 xp per level.  The B-type classes are the ‘support’ classes; they are things like scouts, rangers, bards, etc.  Basically, they are the skill-using classes and they cost significantly less, like 500 points.  They typically don’t add much to your combat capability, but if you don’t have any of them, you won’t be doing much in the way of skills.  Characters start off with 1500 points or something (don’t have my books on me, sorry), so basically you can get one A-type and 1 B-type, or 2 A-types, or 3 B-types, or something like that.  From what I recall, the way that classes work is similar to the SRS system that Tenka Ryouran uses.  Oh yeah, the races are a little different than straight up fantasy, too–basically they’ve made it a little more Final Fantasy.  Plus the core books are like $10 each.

What I don’t like about it: the (core) books are like 98% text.  It’s harsh on the eyes and doesn’t really make me want to read through the dense Japanese.  It’s a simplistic game–I know you can have lots of fun with simple systems, but it seems like they’re aiming for a younger audience.  It’s also a little too generic fantasy.  There’s no reason to go through the trouble and translate the book if you want to just play a fantasy game.  And if you were really going to, I’d probably translate Arianrod first.  And have you seen the original Lodoss lately?  I tried watching it again last year and it was hard for me to sit through.  It’s the most derivative, cookie cutter fantasy story; not the type of world that I am excited about playing in anymore.  (but man, when I was a kid it was such an epic story, heh)

But don’t think that I’m just trying to bash on the game.  I think that there are some good things about it–especially the cool classes–and it’s cool to see /tg/ actually giving a shit about Japanese TRPGs.  It’ll be interesting to see how their project turns out.

Man, I can’t wait til I get time to write about my session with the Kamen Rider TRPG, Masquerade Style.  It’ll have to be another time, I’m afraid…

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~ by mattgsanchez on April 18, 2011.

One Response to “Sword World 2.0”

  1. I hope this ends in something useful. At least something playable.

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