Sword World 2.5: An Overview, Part Five

Sword World 2.5

(Fifth of its name in my janky series of Sword World 2.5 articles, dissembling upon the English version by the Sword World Translation Project. Download their translationjoin their Discord, or peruse their sub-Reddit. Your life, and theirs, do not depend upon in it any way.)


“I think that enemy got … the point!”

Look, we get it. Sometimes the sorcerer has to go to his stupid sister’s wedding, or your best fighter finally wheedled a date out of that girl in Class 2-A, or maybe you have a party of clumsy numbskulls who want to plunder the Razor-Filled Labyrinth of Mirrors and Tripwires and could use a hand. Where will you scare up another player at this time of night?

With Fellows, you don’t have to.

Fellows turns PCs into simplified, semi-autonomous NPCs that the party can use even if the player isn’t around. They also let you introduce helper characters into your own game, and send your own characters out into the world to be NPCs in other games around the world.

To make a Fellow, you must first create the Universe a PC. Then grab a Fellow sheet and fill in the character’s basic information: name, race, gender, age, Adventurer Level, classes, languages known, and MP.

Nothing unusual so far …

Next, choose four actions which you consider either the most useful, or most iconic, actions that your character might perform. They don’t all have to be combat actions, and the rules suggest that they probably shouldn’t be, lest playgroups think your character is a dull, one-note combat monster.

In Saffron’s case, I’m thinking of an interesting spread of her class talents, like a couple of Fairy Tamer spells, something Ranger-y like noticing things are amiss in the forest, and maybe her Bard spellsong.

Once per combat turn, or whenever the party thinks the Fellow’s skills would be useful, someone can roll 1d and check the action list to see what the Fellow tries to do. If it’s nonsensical or dumb, the Fellow instead does nothing of consequence that turn.

The “Result” column is the presumptive skill check roll for that action. Add that number to the Fellow’s skill and enter the total in the Value column. The GM will compare this Value to the difficulty of the action and tell the party if it succeeded.

Example: Your character has a big sword and you want to create an action for him smacking someone with it. The character’s Accuracy with the sword is +5. You put the action in the second row, which has 8 in the Result column. That gives the action a Value of 8 + 5, or 13. The Fellow will now automatically hit any enemy with an Evasion of 12 or less.

Generally you’ll want to put your most effective skills in the bottom two rows for the higher Results, with the understanding that those rows will be rolled less often.

If an action has a target, the party chooses the target after the roll. The party can also cancel an action if it’s not really needed, like if the Fellow rolls to heal someone who’s only slightly banged up.

To make your Fellow even more convenient to use, you should include the Effect of the roll (if there is one) in the last column. Continuing the big sword example, you’d include the weapon’s Power, Extra Damage, and Crit values, plus any other effects from either the weapon itself or any combat feats that you want to apply.

Best of all is the Dialogue column. Whenever the Fellow succeeds with an action, this is a little quip that the character says aloud. Every. Single. Time. This will make the Fellow either a charming temporary team mascot, or the most annoying being to ever exist. Probably both. Hopefully both.

“Wolves hunt in packs, Arisen.”

And now, finally, we can write our Fellow’s Introduction, a one- or two-liner that your character would say to an adventuring group at their initial meeting. If a GM grabs your Fellow sheet off the internet, the Introduction is what they’ll use to help sell your character to the group. The example Fellow in the book, a fighter/scout named Wolfe, has this Introduction: “I’m a hot-blooded guy who loves a good adventure. Nice to meet you!” I mean, like, yes, hello, Action Man, come hit things with us, let’s go.

The Introduction is both a brilliant way to encapsulate your character for new groups, and extremely Japanese. I half-expected the rules to tell the Fellow to bow while presenting their business card with both hands.

Hajime mashite

You might notice that our Fellow has no HP, armor, or equipment. That’s because a Fellow can never be harmed. They’re never targeted by enemies, and any calamity that affects the entire party somehow misses them by miraculous circumstance. In the event of a TPK, the Fellow is assumed to survive and return to civilization.

But immortality has its price: a Fellow must always be in the same area as one of the PCs (so no sending them down a deep dark hole to report back what they find) and can take no action* except what’s on their action chart. They will flatly refuse to do anything that takes advantage of their meta-invulnerability. Any consumables they use (healing herbs, potions, etc., but not ammo) must be provided by the party. They can’t be captured by enemies without their PC companion, and vice versa.

* They can perform other small actions if their companion PC does it too; the example given is crouching behind some rocks. But they can’t do anything unique.

After a group finishes a session with a Fellow, the rules encourage them to provide an after-action report back to the player. The book goes to great lengths to urge them to make their feedback positive, because they and we all know what people are like on the internet. It’s a fine sentiment but also has a bit of a CYA feel.

Nice try, grandpa

Players can also ask that their Fellow receive a share of in-game loot or XP. It’s entirely up to your GM to decide whether any percentage of that translates back to your campaign, but it can be a nice little bonus.

There’s no official Fellow repository mentioned in the books. Even a scan of the publisher’s website doesn’t find any mention of them. There are a couple of Japanese-language fansites with Fellow databases, though, and probably more on the handful of SW2.5 message boards. For English speakers, the Sword World Translation Project’s Discord has a Fellows channel with several entries already.

A Fellow is a way to offer more muscle and/or skills to a party when needed, plus a role-playing prompt, plus a way to feel like you’re contributing to the larger community. I enjoy this concept a lot, as you might expect considering how long I’ve gone on about it. It’s quick, simple, and a bit silly. Just how I like ‘em.

Next time: Guilds and Monsters

Part 1: Intro to Sword World/Thumbnail History of Raxia
Part 2: Races and Classes
Part 3: Combat
Part 4: Gods and Spells
Part 5: Fellows
Part 6: Guilds and Monsters
Part 7: Conclusion

Comments are closed.