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Tabletop Game / Sword World RPG

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The cover of the 2.0 edition of Sword World RPG.
Sword World RPG is a Tabletop RPG created and published by Group SNE. It is one of the most popular fantasy tabletop games in Japan, having sold over 10 million copies of its rulebooks, Light Novels, and replays.

Sword World has had multiple editions, the first of which was published in 1989; the system was originally spun off from an earlier TTRPG created as an RPG supplement to the popular replays of Record of Lodoss War, called Lodoss RPG and initially had little to do with it otherwise until Lodoss Island was retroactively added into the world of this game too. Initially, the setting was a world called Forcelia, which in addition to implementing Lodoss Island from the previously mentioned Lodoss, also contains the continent of Alecrast from Rune Soldier Louie and the continent of Crystania from Legend of Crystania.

The second edition of Sword World was published in 2008, with a revised 2.5 edition in 2012; it updated the setting to the world of Raxia, a world made by sentient swords, and introduced several new races and classes to the game system.

Sword World 2.0 and 2.5 are currently being translated into English by a group of fans on Reddit. The subreddit for the fan translation can be found Here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adventure Guild: Sword World might be the Trope Codifier for this in Japanese High Fantasy media. Your PCs are assumed by default to be part of one, unless you're playing Barbarous PCs in a Barbarous controlled territory through 2.0's Barbarous Tales supplement. The Outlaw Building Book from 2.5 also introduces rules for making Humanoid or Barbarous player characters who aren't part of a guild, called "Outlaws" or "Vagabonds" in the English translation.
  • After the End: The time period that 2.X is set during is exactly 300 years after the great Magitech Civillzation that had previously ruled over Raxia was destroyed by the Barbarous in an event called the Diabolic Triumph, with the humanoids still working on getting back on their feet and adventurers salvaging what magitech they can from the ruins.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted with the Barbarous, who, while coming from a brutal, war-like survival of the fittest culture that values strength above all else and having been created specifically by their god to oppose the humanoids, are capable of being good and living peacefully alongside the humanoids if they so choose.
    • Daemons, on the other hand, play this straight. They do appear to be sentient, but there's nothing in the lore that paints them as even remotely sympathetic. They only ever cause destruction and chaos whenever they invade Raxia, and while the Warlock class does allow a PC to summon and control them, this control is tenuous at best and they will absolutely wreck havoc if they manage to slip the leash. Warlocks are considered inherently unreliable and untrustworthy both for this reason and also because Warlocks have a habit of turning evil due to their summoned daemons being a potentially corrupting influence on them. Notably, the majority of NPCs introduced in the rulebooks and supplements who are warlocks are antagonists.
  • The Almighty Dollar: Gammel, the God of Money, was the inventor of the first currency before ascending to godhood and believes that wealth should be shared and not hoarded. The official universally used currency of Raxia is named after him.
    • There's also Meigal, the God of Fraud, worshipped by thieves, con artists and counterfeiters. His holy symbol is itself a counterfeit version of Gammel's. It looks exactly the same save an easily missable minor detail, so priests of Meigal often pretend to be priests of Gammel.
  • Born Lucky: Humans' racial ability in 2.X, Sword's Grace/Change Fate gives the player the ability to flip their dice roll to the number opposite of the one it landed on, allowing them to change a 1 to a 6 (Sword World only uses 2d6s).
  • Canon Welding: The original Forcelia setting combined the settings of Record of Lodoss War, Rune Soldier Louie and Legend of Crystania.
  • Came Back Wrong: In 2.X, it's possible to resurrect a dead party member, but not only does it require a fee of 10,000G, but resurrecting the dead in Raxia causes soulscars, which can alter the behavior and appearance of the person drastically depending on dice rolls, the amount of days it took before they were revived and the number of scars they had previously. A humanoid can only take on a total of four soulscars. If they end up with a fifth one, they'll instead come back as a Revenant. Rune-folk are the only exception to this, being robots, so instead they lose an entire years worth of their memories. Due to these factors, and the fact that Adventurer's Guilds are more than happy to foot the bill for any adventurers who might want to try resurrecting their guildmates, it's typically only adventurers that even bother to partake in resurrection services. For Barbarous, who already have a lot of soulscars to begin with, it's basically out of the question.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Pico Tabbits are a small breed of Tabbit who have very high pitched voices capable of carrying over long distances which they can use to communicate with each other using a unique language called Pico Speak. This is intended to help them warn each other of potential threats. Other species can learn to understand Pico Speak, but only Pico Tabbits can speak it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The Abyssborn from 2.5 are humans who were somehow either conceived or born in a Shallow Abyss. This results in a select part of their body, of the player's choosing, being discolored dark purple as a result of the "Abyssal Curse" which will deeply unsettle anyone who sees it, but grant bonuses depending on the specific body part. If it's one of their arms, it grants a bonus to melee damage, their torso grants a bonus to defense and if it's the sclera of one eye then they gain a bonus to accuracy and don't lose depth perception even if they keep that eye closed all the time or covered with an eyepatch.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Mist Castle Campaign Book from 2.0. The setting, the City of Mist on Razeldawn continent, is a city under Barbarous rule where the small population of humanoids living there are either slaves forced to serve Barbarous masters while wearing magical collars that will kill them at their master's command or if they escape beyond the city walls or vagabonds struggling to survive while being treated as livestock to be hunted for food or pleasure at any moment. The PCs are either a small group of these vagabonds who've lived in the city their whole lives and have resolved to escape to a better life or a group of adventurers who were either specially hired to infiltrate the city or were unlucky enough to be captured by Barbarous soldiers and sold into slavery here, but lucky enough to be bought by one of three NPCs sympathetic enough to your plight to help you escape. Either way, the goal of the campaign is to either escape or try to discover the city's secrets and, if you're lucky enough, take out the city's current ruler, Yahakkazesh, the Jade Basilisk. It's one of the darkest campaign books in the entire game, and definitely not for beginning players.
  • Death by Childbirth: One of the reasons Nightmares are discriminated against is because they're born with horns on their heads which greatly increases the chances of their human, elven or dwarven mothers falling victim to this. Nightmares with Lildraken mothers are the only exception because they lay eggs rather than giving birth, and if anything the horns make it easier for them to break out of their shells when they hatch. This is one of the reasons why Lildraken Nightmares face the least amount of discrimination from their own people, aside from Lildraken not seeming to care about humanoids having soulscars as much as the other races do in general. Arcane Relic reveals that Soleil and Shadows can also give birth to Nightmare children and while Shadows also fall victim to this problem, Soleil don't thanks to being far more durable than most other humanoids and having the ability to rapidly heal wounds through exposure to sunlight.
  • Deity of Human Origin: The gods of Raxia in 2.X are all former mortals who were granted godhood either by the Swords of Genesis or by older gods who chose to raise them up to godhood for various reasons. It's even possible for the PCs themselves to become gods.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: The "Land of Adventurers" Granzale from 2.5, which is a City-State built on top of the largest Sword Labyrinth in Raxia (actually a bunch of smaller labyrinths that got tangled up with each other, plus one big one that no one has yet been able to get to the bottom of) and has the largest number of adventurer's guilds in one city. Adventurers from all over come to seek their fortune there and there's one guild that focuses on training newbie adventurers and also runs an Amusement Park made from an abandoned smaller labyrinth meant to encourage children to take an interest in the Adventurer's life by simulating the experience of Dungeon Crawling in a safe controlled manner.
    • Raxia as a whole has some elements of this, although adventurers mainly make money from taking quests and collecting magical shards of mana, called "sword shards" due to the Genesis Sword Cardia being the source of mana and their resemblance to shards of metal, from slain monsters and selling them to the Adventurer's guilds to be used to power the Swords of Protection, magitech swords that generate a protective barrier around the towns and settlements that have them to protect them from monsters and Barbarous attacks.
  • Dungeon Shop: The giant Sword Labyrinth that Granzale is built on top of has a few of these scattered through out it due to how big it is. These were set up by the merchants' guild to keep adventurers supplied on long expeditions. Sometimes adventurers are tasked with delivering supplies to these shops.
  • Empathic Weapon: The world of Raxia was created by three divine swords of unknown origins called the Swords of Genesis, Lumiere, Iginis, and Cardia, who wanted to create people who could wield them. There's rumored to be a fourth Genesis Sword called Fortuna, but no one is sure if it really exists. During the Divine Civilization Period and the Ancient Magic Civilization, many weaker copies of these swords were created and were eventually lost, only to be found again later over the centuries by various heroes. These swords have the ability to create Sword Labyirinths, winding trap filled dungeons with them at the center, in order to test the worthiness of potential new wielders (So basically this setting's version of a Dungeon Core). Notably, Cardia is said to be the source of all magic in Raxia, having become the mana that permeates the world after shattering itself due to not wanting to participate in the war between Lumiere's wielder, The Divine Ancestor Lyphos, and Ignis's wielder, the War God Dalkherm.
  • Fantastic Drug: In Start Guide Granzle in 2.5, one of the sample scenarios is the Granzle City Guard hiring a group of adventurers to investigate a dangerous new drug called "Night Eyes" that's become popular among adventurers in the city. Night Eyes is a vial of liquid that when drank has an effect that is equivalent to three hours of sleep and gives darkvision for three hours, which is why it's become popular with adventurers due to it allowing them to be active longer and more easily explore dungeons, but it's also highly addictive and causes soulscars the more it's used.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • There's a lot of it between the humanoid races and the Barbarous, mainly thanks to their extremely volatile history. Considering Barbarous were created in the first place by Dalkherm to act as his soldiers in the War of the Gods, the two sides have been at war on and off for millennia since then, and they often either eat humanoids or drink their blood, it's understandable why many humanoids don't trust them, but this can often extend to anyone who has soulscars like a Barbarous, most notably Nightmares, who are humanoids born with soulscars. Still, there are some Barbarous who would rather try to live peacefully with humanoids rather than fight or eat them and this can often lead to tense situations. This is especially true after 2.0 released Barbarous Tales and Barbarous Book, which introduced playable Barbarous races who can potentially become adventurers themselves. These Barbarous have the option of taking humanoid forms to hide their identity, but can also try to earn the humanoids' trust through openly helping humanoid PCs complete quests and help people, the same as Nightmare PCs
    • Also of note is the Lykants, who used to be discriminated against and enslaved back during the time of the Ancient Magic Civilization, but this is no longer the case as of the present time, at least for the most part. It wasn't really helped by how there's also a completely separate Barbarous Lycanthrope species around, which they would often get mistaken for. This has led to a long standing rivalry between the two races, with the lykants blaming them for the discrimination they used to and sometimes still do face.
    • There's also a bit of this among the Barbarous themselves towards other Barbarous races that are considered weaker. Kobolds, who are short dog people in this setting, are the weakest barbarous race and are treated as low level mooks who are subservient to everyone else. This leads to them frequently being abused by other barbarous. Some of them choose to leave and live among humanoids for this reason and they tend to be more easily accepted by the humanoids than other barbarous due to how weak and subservient they are and because even the humanoids are aware of how the other barbarous treat them.
    • Another example of barbarous discriminating against other barbarous is the Weaklings, who are essentially the barbarous counterpart to Nightmares, being children born to any of the barbarous races (though the ones available as PCs come from Basilisks, Mermen, Garuda and Minotaurs) who look more humanoid than their parents and are considerably weaker than them, having fewer soulscars. Like the kobolds, they tend to get mistreated for being weak and often get it even worse than the kobolds. Many don't even survive past the age of 10. This also tends to lead them to running away to live among humanoids.
    • The Outlaw Building Book introduces another variety of humanoid born with soulscars called Alves, which stick out due to having black sclera and have the ability to drain mana from other non-alf humanoids, which they have to do at least once a week to survive. Naturally they're also often discriminated against, but their need to drain mana from humanoids means they can't completely separate themselves from humanoid society.
    • Abyssborn, being humans born in or at least conceived in Shallow Abysses are often reviled, with some believing that they are part daemon and have daemon-like minds, though this doesn't really seem to be the case. Sometimes their parents will basically force them to spend their entire childhoods inside of the Shallow Abyss they were born in, which often leads to them being even more odd. They can usually avoid detection through hiding whatever part of their body is marked by the "Abyssal Curse," but people tend to instinctively recoil from them if they ever do see the cursed bodypart.
  • Fantastic Rank System: In Raxia, adventurers can earn ranks based on the amount of quests they've completed, as is often the case in these types of settings. In this case, the ranks are named after weapons, with the three highest being the "Sword of Genesis" 1-3 Star Ranks. These ranks affect their reputation and how everyone around them treats them. There's also a set of Negative Ranks for Adventurers who've committed crimes or violated the Unwritten Rules of being an adventurer one too many times.
  • Functional Magic: All versions of the game heavily feature magic and magic-based classes. There are several different schools of magic: in the original game, there are Sorcery, Spirit magic, Divine magic, Dark magic, and Dragon magic (the last two only being accessible by evil non-player characters). The 2.0 version of the game adds Faerie magic and Magitech, but drops Dark and Dragon magic.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The gods in 2.X basically require people to worship them in order to maintain their divinity. This is part of what distinguishes the three different categories of gods that exist in the setting. Ancient Gods are the gods that awoke in the Divine Civilization and have been around for so long that everyone knows who they are and worships them, so they don't need to work to maintain their followings, which is for the best given how inactive they are these days. Major Gods are a bit less well known, usually only being known and worshipped on a single continent, and haven't been around for as long, but their worship is still widespread enough that they also don't need to put in too much work to maintain it. Minor Gods are, usually, the youngest and newest gods and are usually only known locally to certain regions of their home continents and for this reason they are the gods most likely to make physical appearances among mortals, so that they can perform miracles and gain more worshippers since their relative newness and lack of worship compared to the other two categories requires a lot more maintenance on their part. These things also tend to have an affect on the magical power of priests who follow them. They can still use divine magic outside of areas that worship their gods, but the effect won't be as strong, which encourages PCs who find themselves in a place that doesn't worship the god they follow to build a shrine for them there, if there's time for it.
  • Happily Married: The Sun God Tidan and the Moon Goddess Sien in 2.X, with Tidan's devotion to his wife being so famous that he's also considered the God of Marriage and weddings are traditionally held in his temples. Tidan is the second oldest of the Ancient Gods to be granted divinity by Lumiere after Lyphos due to being his best friend, but Tidan personally granted it to his wife so that they could stay together. On the other hand, some of Tidan's followers insist that the sun god actually had many lovers among the other ancient gods at one point, with even his own best friend Lyphos among them, but it's left ambiguous whether this was before or after he married Sien or if it's even true.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The elves used to live alongside the other humanoid races just fine until the Magitech Civilization came about, at which point they withdrew and became isolationist due to mistrusting Magitech and disliking how the older forms of magic were being left by the wayside because of it. They're still pretty reclusive even after the Diabolic Triumph, but some Elves have started to come out of hiding and rejoin the other races in recent years.
  • Human Subspecies: In 2.X many, though not all, of the Standard Fantasy Races of the setting are an off-shoot of humans in some way. Some, like the Elves, the Soleil, and possibly the Dwarves, were created by the gods. The Barbarous as a whole were created by evil god Dalkherm to be his soldiers against Lyphos. The Valkeries are only ever born to human parents, and Nightmares can similarly be born to humans, but also Elves, Dwarves and Lilldraken. The Newmen are enhanced humans who have stronger magic potential in exchange for being much frailer than a normal human. Tiens were created by artificially synthesizing humans with a now extinct species of divine beast. The origins of the other races are unknown however.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Crimenos Grassrunners have sticky fingers and have been known to take whatever they feel like taking. Alisha Grassrunners also like to collect treasures, but they won't take anything they know belongs to someone else because they know stealing is wrong.
  • Living Statue: Sentians, a race from 2.0, are statues brought to life by the gods to carry out special tasks for them. They can take whatever form the statue they were created from was carved into and only remain active until their divine mission is complete, which can take a very long time depending on the task. There have apparently been times where they seemingly remain active even after completing their mission however, though no one is sure if that's really the case or if the god had more for them to do. Either way, they don't really die so much as go dormant until their god needs them again.
  • The Maker: The Three (Or Four) Swords of Genesis, who created Raxia in 2.X. Word of God is that this was a deliberate decision in order to make the game's name relevant to the setting.
  • The Magocracy: The Ancient Magic Civilization in Raxia 3000 years ago was ruled over by Wizard Kings who maintained their power by only allowing the elite of their society to learn magic. This society ended when one of these Wizard Kings accidentally opened a portal to The Abyss during his experiments, allowing Daemons to enter Raxia and ravage the land.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The primary conflict in Raxia, the setting of 2.0 and 2.5 is between the humanoid races who follow the Sword of Creation and Harmony, Lumiere, and the Barbarous, the monster races created by Ignis, the Sword of Destruction and Freedom.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies are beings of pure magic that are essentially Elemental Spirits representing, Fire, Earth, Water/Ice, Wind, Light and Dark. The Fairy Tamer class can contract with them and summon them lend their power to them using special gemstones called Fairy Gems, but they can only actively use four fairy gems at a time in battle. Other than that, fairies are incorporeal and can't interact with the physical world. Runefolk also can't see them and therefore can't become Fairy Tamers. They also have a somewhat limited intelligence and their own unique language that Fairy Tamers are required to learn to be able to communicate with them. The only exception to this are Fey, who are fairies who for one reason or another have managed to gain a corporeal form and are about as smart as anyone else if a bit flighty. Most Fey tend to become Fairy Tamers themselves due to being especially adept in this class, and they aren't good for physical combat at all anyway.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Abyss and the Daemons who come from it. No one really knows that much about them. All anyone does know is that at some point during the Ancient Magic Civilization, the Wizard Kings that ruled that era discovered the Abyss and started summoning and trying to control the daemons, then one of those Wizard Kings accidentally opened a huge portal to the Abyss one day, leading to the Magic Civilization's destruction, and Raxia has been having to deal with the fallout ever since, including smaller portals called Shallow Abysses opening periodically in random places and needing to be closed by adventurers to stop the daemons that pour out from terrorizing nearby settlements.
  • Precursors: There are three civilizations that predate the current one in Raxia; The oldest are the "Little People," the first humans who were the first to come into contact with the Swords of Genesis, and from which Lyphos and the other Ancient Gods rose from the ranks of, becoming their leaders and founding the Divine Civilization. The only kind of "Lost Technology" they left behind were the oldest and most powerful of the magic swords copied from the Swords of Genesis. Next were the Wizard Kings of the Anicent Magic Civilization. The most recent one was the Magitech Civilization, which only fell 300 years ago, yet despite this, while the people of Raxia still know how to use the Magitech of their forefathers, they've already lost the knowledge of how to invent more, so the unusually short timeframe doesn't mean a whole lot.
    • Meanwhile Forceilia had the Kingdom of Kastuul, also called the Ancient Kingdom, which was ruled over by powerful magic users called Runemasters, who achieved all manner of feats that are considered impossible by modern magic users, until their civilization was destroyed by their own magics running out of their control.
  • Rabbit Magician: The Tabbits are said to be especially talented mages and many of them wander from place to place as scholars studying all forms of magic, but for some reason they can't hear the voices of the gods and become Priests. Some Tabbits believe that this is because they are reborn from the souls of those who betrayed the gods, but there's no real evidence of this.
  • Rapid Aging: Meria are rather unsual compared to other races when it comes to how they age. One variety ages slowly, reaching maturity at age 20 before living to be 300 years old, while the other is this trope, aging from child to adult in the span of six months, then only living to the age of 10 years old. Neither variety age physically past adulthood aside from long lived Meria gaining wrinkles that resmble the bark of a tree at around 200. This is because long lived Meria are meant to mirror trees (and even become trees when they die) while short lived Meria are meant to mirror flowers, and wilt like dying flowers shortly before death.
  • Reincarnation: Raxia's cosmology is a fusion of Buddhism and Norse Mythology. The strongest and greatest heroes are recruited to fight in Lyphos's army after they die, while everyone else goes through a reincarnation cycle until they also become worthy to join them. Those who have soulscars are also made to go through the cycle until their impurities are gone, regardless of how strong they were in life, which is implied to be how Nightmares happen. It's believed that Valkyries are the souls of those who had proved themselves worthy in a pervious life, but chose to be reincarnated again anyway for whatever reason.
  • Standard Fantasy Races: Sword World has your standard Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits (called Grass Runners in the setting). The 2.0 setting, Raxia, introduces the Tabbits (a race of diminutive rabbit people), Rune-folk (a race of Magitech androids inclined towards serving others), Nightmares (humanoids born with soulscars, who are marked by having horns, unnatural skin and hair colors and the ability to assume a powered up alternate form), Shadows (secretive grey skinned humanoids with a Third Eye on their foreheads who excel at stealth), Newmen (genetically altered humans that are physically frail but magically powerful who can recall memories from their past lives), Valkyries (an Always Female race born from humans who can sprout wings made of light from their backs and ankles and are believed to be blessed by the gods), and Lilldraken (dragon-men who like to trade with other races). 2.5 introduced Lykants (Little Bit Beastly werecreatures who can shapeshift into more monstorous forms based on a variety of large predatory mammals), Meria (plant people who look human aside from the flowers growing out of parts of their bodies), Leprechauns (small humanoids with huge furry ears and the ability to turn invisible), and Tiens (Artificially created Super Soldiers created to fight daemons).
  • Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting: The original game is one of the Trope Codifiers alongside the anime it was spawned from and Dragon Quest. Raxia of 2.X fits many of the more modern conventions of the trope, at least as of the time 2.0 was released.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Barbarous PCs who try to become adventurers and fight alongside humanoids.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Grassrunners are the only race that can't use magic naturally, needing to rely on Mako Stones instead. They're also more naturally resistant to magic effects than other races and can even completely shrug off magic attacks or status effects with a high enough Willpower roll.