Sword World 2.0: Big Things come in Small Packages
  • The actual making of a character is pretty cool, and again a little outside of the imadoki style of "pick some classes, and that determines everything" (not *bad* at all, just a little different, and definitely a nod to the old school). You have a combination of randomness, choice and more randomness.

    You pick the race you want to play. Each race has a 2-12 chart you roll on to determine (for that race) your starting class, bascailly your "lifepath": What you did before you decided to become an adventurer. The rules say you can also simply choose what you want, which is good. This lifepath gives you one free level of a particular class, it gives you some starting XP to buy other classes, and finally it tells you your starting "core abilities" of Skill, Body and Heart/Mind (I'll just say Heart).

    For example, if I pick a Dwarf and roll a 5 or 6 (or simply choose that column), I used to be a Knight. My pick class is Fighter at level 1. My abilities are Skill 4, Body 11, Heart 5, and I have 2000xp to spend on other classes. If I were to have picked (or rolled) Rifleman, I'd have a starting class of Shooter, Have S8/B8/H6, and 2500xp. It's kinda cool that these tables are focused for each race, and different between races: The human Soldier starts out with Fighter 1, slightly different attribute set of S6/B10/H4, and 2000xp.

    Each race grants an additional special ability as well, specific to that race.

    After that comes Random Attribute Roll time. This is cool, how it mixes a bit of choice and randomness together. You have these three... best way to describe them is "proto-attributes" labeled A-F, which you roll for based on race. Humans roll 2d6 for each. Others may have abilities ranging from 1d to 2d+6. From there, you find your abilities by combining the letter with one of the core attributes: Your combat rating is equal to Skill plus the "A" attribute. Muscle is equal to Body plus the "C" attribute. Hit points/Life is the total of Body plus the "D" attribute. Rather clever.
    If you want to reroll your attributes, you can with the GM's permission, but you have to reroll *all* of them, not just the Low One.

    After that comes a combination of:
    Choosing additional classes/levels
    Write down class abilities/spells (no need to "choose" starting spells, you simply have all of them at the level you are, there are only 2-3 spells per level)
    Choosing starting languages
    Picking starting gear
    Picking one special combat power.

    Re "combat power": kinda like a feat in D&D 3e, but there's only about 16 of them. Very focused. Everything from "lower critical hit number by one" to "never critically fumble and hit a friend with a missile weapon" to "get additional defense ability in combat". It's actually rather hard to choose one, since most of them are actually useful, and not "a laundry list of abilities where you'd be stupid to NOT take the 2-3 "good" ones". If you're stuck, they give a recommendation for each class. Some have two recs, like the Shooter: "Do you want to shoot two guns at once? Pick X; Do you want to always be able to fire into a combat area? Pick Y". The simple "question" nature of the recommendations are nice.

    At that point, you're pretty much ready to go.

    Simple, pure, streamlined, but not totally "fast". Looking at the above, it looks like you can crank out characters in 2 minutes. Well, you probably could given the recommendations and the like. However, there's enough choice involved, and solid choice, that you can get stuck trying to make some choices (in a good way), increasing character generation to 10 minutes or so.

    More, and my Tabbit Gunner, later...
  • Just got my SW2.0 rulebooks. I've only glanced over them so far, but I would like to point out that while most of the material in the second and third books are for progressively higher-level play, some of it is more general. The second book adds two races: the Lildraken dragon-people, and the Grassrunner halfling-equivalents. There is also a rather disappointing page on cross-race characters which basically says to pick one of the parent races and go with it. It also adds two category B classes: the self-buffing Enhancer, and the Bard. The third book adds one category B class: the Rider, which is geared towards mounted combat. Amusingly enough, the mount list not only includes the standard array of mundane and fantastic creatures, but also magitech motorcycles.

    My impression of the setting is that it is a fairly standard fantasy setting, with a history of advanced civilizations being destroyed to provide adventurers with convenient monster-infested ruins and long-lost treasures. To a certain extent I feel that the Runefolk and magitech are pushing the genre boundaries a bit too far in the science-fiction or steampunk direction, but this seems to be an increasingly common trend in modern gaming.

    I do like how the system mechanics appear to work, and the giant table for producing a more interesting spread of numbers out of 2d6 rolls is an impressive workaround for a lack of polyhedral dice.
  • After continued study of the rules, SW2.0 appears to function much more like a skill-based system than my initial impression, given the class naming. Rather than classes, they feel like skills or sets of related skills that just happen to be bought with experience points. Fighter, for example, covers accuracy, damage, and evasion in melee combat, while Ranger covers a variety of wilderness survival skills but no combat at all. In a more traditional class-based system, one might expect a Priest class to at least be able to hit the enemy with a stick if he runs out of magic, but in SW2.0 "Priest" only covers casting holy magic, and a player who wants a backup option will have to take levels in a combat class. This, to my mind, is exactly how a skill-based system works. A few elements of the system are calculated from the "adventurer level" of the character, which is the highest level he has in a single class, but the vast majority are based solely on the relevant stat + level of the class with the ability being used.

    The end result is a system where player character growth is a steady progression of small improvements, rather than drastic increases all-around at extended intervals. At the end of every game session the characters gain experience points, even if they have failed to achieve the primary goal, and one stat is improved (chosen from two randomly-selected stats). I rather like how this works. Sort of an "Even if you don't win, you learn from your mistakes" kind of thing.

    On a completely different note, I like the way resurrection is made an option for player characters while discouraging its use by non-adventurers:
    The act of breaking the natural cycle of life and death introduces impurities into the soul, which have disturbing physiological manifestations (Nightmare characters are born with impurities). Depending on the accumulated level of impurity, this can range from minor physical deformation to coming back as a ravening undead. An acceptable risk for a player character, but prohibitively undesirable for even rich and powerful NPCs.
  • I picked up SW 2.0 a few weeks back. I'd actually picked up the original and 2 source books just after I got to Japan in September (for psudo nostalgia purposes), and jumped on 2.0 when I saw the price.

    My Japanese still isn't up to part (I don't think at least), and I'm currently too distracted by school to try and read/translate anything. Hopefully next year. I'd love to learn more about the game though (and maybe even get in a game or two).

    My initial feedback, based on a few flip throughs. The book looks easy to read. As opposed to the original, which is almost indistinguishable from a novel, 2.0 looks like a gaming book. The use of headers and diagrams (as well as images) makes the book very easy to follow. I really get the feeling that I could just grab it, start reading, and have a very easy time learning how to play.

    I also LOVE the small format of these Japanese gaming books (also seen GURPS and several other games in this small size). Every gamer has probably gotten shorter hauling large format books around. This is not the case with SW and similar books. I could easily though the book (and others) into a small bag, toss in a few sets of dice and any other accessories I need, and pack the light load to my game. This is something I just couldn't do back in Canada, where most games come in Hard Cover, several hundred page volumes with at least a half dozen essential sourcebooks. The size of SW is very gamer and space friendly.
  • I finally broke down and bought this ('cause, hey, 900 yen), and have been making characters non-stop for hours - that's usually a sign that a game has grabbed me to some extent or another. Generic fantasy with some interesting new races, a neat way of doing classes, and a tidy-looking resolution mechanic? Yes, please! I also agree with everyone about the format - I love that I can stow the book in my shoulder bag and read it on the bus without having to stick my elbow in the guy beside me.

    As for kirisame's comments about class vs. skill, that's pretty much how I'm seeing it as well. I'd probably go so far as to translate "fighter", "fencer" and so on as Abilities or Skills (but man, there are a lot of terms floating around in the game that could be translated as "skill") rather than Classes.
  • Okay, I have no idea why I spent so much money importing SW2.0 books, but I may as well write about them since I've got them. I've only glanced over them so this isn't going to be in great detail. Annoyingly, they're all in the larger Japanese B5 size, so they're not nearly as convenient as the main books.

    Rules supplements: Alchemist Works, Barbarous Tales
    The majority of the pages in these books are occupied by comprehensive listings of data that had previously been split across the three primary rulebooks, which makes me feel like I spent a lot of money on reprintings of stuff I already had. Alchemist Works covers items and equipment, while Barbarous Tales cover monsters. There is a small amount of player material in each: Alchemist Works has a new Alchemist class(B) who generates effects by using consumable cards harvested from monsters, and Barbarous Tales has player races for Drake, Dark Troll, Lamia, Lycanthrope, and Kobold. Alchemist Works also has short discussions of each of the classes and dieties from the main books, as well as a list of possible civilian skills and manufacturing rules for creating items from monster drops. Barbarous Tales also has a half-dozen sample arranged combat situations with small maps and random monster tables.

    Randomly-generated campaigns: Mist Castle, Fairy Garden, Eternal Empire
    Flowcharts and random tables everywhere. I believe them when they say you can play these things without a DM, there are so many tables and instructions. Even the map layouts seem to be predefined sections randomly arranged on a grid. The tables appear to scale for small and large parties of varying strengths. Mist Castle takes place in a monster-controlled coastal city, while Fairy Garden and Eternal Empire both involve exploring the remnants of ancient civilizations. The districts of Mist Castle and the arrangement of the Fairy Garden are randomly selected from a list, while Eternal Empire instead has small maps for each set of ruins and lets the party upgrade the town they're based in as they progress. Feels a bit like someone was playing too much Monster Hunter before writing that one.

    Tour guides: Luferia, Lios
    These books describe the Luferia and Lios regions of the SW2.0 setting, primarily through the use of adventures set in the area. Each book has a description of the region at the front, followed by a variety of npcs, then a few large adventures and a selection of adventure outlines and hooks for further use.
  • Sweet. From what you can get out of the books, how would you qualify them on the "Must Buy" scale for folks interested in SW?
  • Oh, the official SW2.0 blog says the revised rulebook 1 and August supplement will also have a new Shadow player race; dark-skinned, three-eyed people suited for physical combat.
  • Huh, looking forward to that!
  • Oops, completely wasn't paying attention and another regional supplement is out; time to order Player's Handbook: Zaltz Natural History.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion