Sword World RPG
Sword World RPG (ソード・ワールドRPG Sōdo Wārudo Āru Pī Jī?) is a Japanese role-playing game created by Group SNE. 10 million copies of the related books including rulebooks, novels and replays have been sold.
The current edition, known as the "Sword World 2.0", was published in 2008, but the original was published in 1989, so many Japanese RPG gamers recognize it as the most famous role-playing game with a long history.
Sword World 2.0
Sword World 2.0 cover
|Designer(s)||Kei Kitazawa, Group SNE|
|Publication date||April 2008|
The newest edition Sword World 2.0 (SW2.0 for short) was released in April 2008. It has a new campaign setting named Raxia. There are 15 classes (Bard, Conjurer, Enhancer, Fairy Tamer, Fencer, Fighter, Grappler, Magi-tech, Priest, Ranger, Rider, Sage, Scout, Shooter and Sorcerer) and 8 races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Rune-folk, Tabbit, Nightmare, Lilldraken and GrassRunner) in the rulebooks #1-3. It uses only two 6-sided dice as with previous editions.
- Original races in Raxia
- Tabbit - A bipedal rabbit race who are travelling around the world.
- Rune-folk - An artificial humanoid race who have a desire to serve the other races by instinct.
- Nightmare - They are mutants of other races and are born with the gift of both fighting and magic. However, because it is believed that their souls are distorted and polluted, Nightmares are looked askance.
- Lilldraken - A race of bipedal dragon-folk who like commerce and peddlery.
- GrassRunner - A diminutive race similar to a hobbit and halfling. They are curious and hilarious fairy folk dwelling in the grass. GrassRunners have a lack of affinity for mana, they mostly can't use magic. Instead, they have an immunity to magic.
|Designer(s)||Ryo Mizuno, Miyuki Kiyomatsu, Group SNE|
|Publication date||1989 (1st edition)
1996 Complete edition
Sword World's world, Forcelia, includes Lodoss Island (of Record of Lodoss War) and Crystania continent (of Legend of Crystania). However, the largest continent, Alecrast (often featured in Louie the Rune Soldier) is the main setting. Forcelia is ordinary fantasy world influenced heavily by games such as Dungeons & Dragons and RuneQuest. For instance, the GrassRunner race is similar to D&D's Halfling and several magic systems (spirit magic, sorcery and divine magic) is similar to RuneQuest's.
Sword World RPG's classes are called ginou (技能 lit. skill?). Each ginou has packaged a number of skills. It is considered as a hybrid system between class system and skill system, so it is often called class-skill system.
There are 8 classes (Bard, Fighter, Priest, Ranger, Sage, Shaman, Sorcerer and Thief) for Player Characters and 2 classes (Dark Priest and Dragon Priest) for only NPCs. 5 major races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Half-Elf and GrassRunner) can become PCs.
The game uses only two 6-sided dice, as other polyhedral dice aren't common in Japan. 2d6 dice roll is translated into a more wide range of random numbers by using a Rating table. The Rating table is used for damage roll, damage reduction roll and such. An excerpt of the Rating table follows.
|2d6 / Key number||0||5||10||15||20||50|
Key number is equal to weapon/armor's requirement strength, or power of spell. Heavier weapon/armor is stronger.
Magic systems in Forcelia
All magic systems in Forcelia are called mahougo (魔法語 lit. magic language, magic tongue?) based upon belief in the power of words. Each magic system has a proper language system as follow, and the language has magic power in itself.
|Magic system||class (ginou)||language name||system's name|
|Sorcery||sorcerer||kodaigo (古代語 lit. ancient language?)||High Ancient|
|Spirit magic||shaman||seireigo (精霊語 lit. spirit language?)||Silent Spirit|
|Divine magic||priest||shinseigo (神聖語 lit. holy language?)||Holy Pray|
|Dark magic||dark priest||ankokugo (暗黒語 lit. dark language?)||Demon Scream|
|Dragon magic||dragon priest||ryūgo (竜語 lit. dragon language?)||Dragon Lore|
|Common magic||-||kyoutsūgo (共通語 lit. common language?)||Common magic|
|Bard's songs||bard||juka (呪歌 lit. magic songs?)||-|
Group SNE pioneered a new book genre called replay. Replays are RPG session logs arranged for reading, similar in style to light novels. The first replay, Record of Lodoss War, is a replay of Dungeons & Dragons. From that time, replays became popular in Japan, and not only with RPG gamers. Several characters and parties in replays are as popular as characters of anime (for example, the beautiful female elf Deedlit in Record of Lodoss War, who was played by the male science fiction novelist Hiroshi Yamamoto). Sword World replays are popular, too: 43 books of Sword World replays were published as of July 2007.
There have been three role-playing video games released by T&E Soft officially based on Sword World. These were Sword World PC for the NEC PC-9801 in 1992, Sword World SFC for the Super Famicom in 1993, and Sword World SFC 2: Inishie no Kyojin Densetsu for the Super Famicom in 1994. These were multiplayer video games and early attempts at recreating an open-ended, table-top role-playing experience on video game platforms, being set in the same world of Forcelia and implementing the same rules and scenarios as Sword World.
In 2009, Sword World 2.0 was released for the Nintendo DS handheld game console as a role-playing visual novel adventure game that attempts to simulate the full experience of playing a tabletop RPG. The game features branching plot paths and multiple endings, as well as virtual dice rolls that partially determine the events, character parameters, and enemy encounters.
- Official Website of Sword World 2.0[dead link] (Japanese)
- Official Website of Sword World RPG (previous editions)[dead link] (Japanese)
- "RPG FAQ from Japan". Retrieved 2006-07-27.
- "Sword World 2.0 Tokushū". Monthly Dragon Magazine: 82. April 2008.
- Every character can use common magic (weaker cantrip of High Ancient sorcery) by the use of commercial magic devices and the chant of the keyword in common language.
- songs with lyrics in the ancient language of High Ancient sorcery.
- Sword World RPG related work (Translation), Group SNE
- Kamada Shigeaki, レトロゲーム配信サイトと配信タイトルのピックアップ紹介記事「懐かし (Retro) (Translation), 4Gamer.net
- Spencer (May 12, 2009). "Tabletalk RPG, Sword World 2.0, Transformed Into A DS Book". Siliconera. Retrieved 2011-05-15.