Sword World 2.5: An Overview, Part Two

Sword World 2.5

(Second in my dumb series of Sword World 2.5 articles based on the efforts of the Sword World Translation Project, which has nothing to do with me besides my voracious appetite for their work. Download their translation here, join their Discord there, or peruse their sub-Reddit over yonder.)

Monsters, Dungeons, and Even More Swords

A wild Dungeon approaches! Command?

Swords of Protection: These nth-generation copies of Lumiere give off long-range emanations which cause pain and paralysis in soulscarred creatures; the more scarred their souls, the worse the pain.

Any town with a Sword of Protection is kept mostly safe from Barbarous incursions. Swords of Protection also make any PC with several soulscars (for instance, a resurrected character) feel anywhere from vaguely unwelcome to bleeding eyeballs.

Swords of Protection slowly lose power over time. To keep them running, the town must use sword shards, small chunks of metal which sometimes appear out of the corpses of powerful boss monsters. This creates an ongoing bounty situation, as towns will pay for shards to keep their people safe, making it lucrative for adventurers to hunt monsters. (But it’s okay! They’re evil!)

Adventurers can also turn in sword shards for free, which helps increase their Reputations. In the game, Reputation is another type of currency, which gives characters access to unique items and perks that money alone can’t buy.

Sword Labyrinths: Even though magic swords have a desire to be wielded, they don’t want just any schmoe to swing them around willy-nilly. So the more powerful ones will transform the area around them, creating underground structures with twisting corridors and traps to test anyone who dares try to reach them. Many will summon nearby monsters to populate their ersatz dungeons. If an adventurer manages to make it to the bottom, only then will the sword deem them worthy.

Highly magical swords, left alone for a long time, can create gigantic dungeons dozens of levels deep. Often whole towns will spring up near the entrances of these dungeons to support parties of adventurers competing to get to the prize first.

Shallow Abysses: Even though the main Abyss is contained behind the Wall, swirls and eddies from that disaster still wander the continent of Alfleim, occasionally settling in one place as a Shallow Abyss.

Shallow Abysses are basically open-air sword dungeons without the sword. They alter the surroundings until the characters find themselves someplace totally nonsensical and have no recourse but to fight or puzzle their way to the core. The concept is reminiscent of a witch labyrinth from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. If a Shallow Abyss is allowed to exist for too long, it will even begin summoning daemons who will screw with the heads of anyone trapped inside.

Once you’re in, the only way out is to find the core. The core of a Shallow Abyss is a chunk of darkness shaped like a sword (naturally). If the PCs touch it, a portal opens that allows them to escape. A solved Abyss will soon collapse into interdimensional space, with the PCs still inside if they don’t get a move on.

The Races of Raxia

Hey, Tab-biiit!

This is Runefolk erasure and I won't stand for it
This is Runefolk erasure and I won’t stand for it

Human: Your standard “good at everything, not amazing at any one thing” RPG human. Their special ability is Change Fate: once per day, any time you roll 2d6, you can flip both your dice over and take the numbers on the opposite side. So a 1 becomes a 6, a 2 becomes a 5, etc. You have to flip both dice, though.

Elf: Tall, willowy, dexterous, magically inclined. They have thin pointed ears. Their special abilities are Darkvision and Gentle Water: they can move underwater without penalty and can hold their breath underwater for an hour. They also get a bonus against disease and poison.

Dwarf: Short, stocky, bearded. They have metallic-sheen hair in a variety of colors. Special abilities are Darkvision and Flame Body: immunity to fire and fire-based attacks. Like, completely. You can’t even set anything they carry on fire unless they allow it.

Tabbit: Now things get interesting. Tabbits are short, furry rabbit-people (think the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland). Awkward of body, but very intelligent and good at magic. Their special ability is Sixth Sense, a bonus to Danger Sense checks equal to their level. Tabbits claim that their origin dates back to the whims of a dead god; whatever the truth of the matter is, they can’t take the Priest class.

Runefolk: Quasi-artificial humanoids decanted fully grown from technomagical clone vats. Created during the Magitech Civilization as servants, but have their own culture nowadays. Very good at Magitech. Special abilities are Darkvision and HP Conversion, allowing them to trade HP for MP once per day. Runefolk can’t perceive spirits, so they can’t take the Priest or Fairy Tamer classes.

Nightmare: Humans, elves, dwarves, or lildraken born with soulscars. This makes them feared and shunned by polite society, though they’re no more evil than anyone else. Nightmares are pale, with small horns and/or odd markings on their bodies. Their special ability is Alternate Form: any time they wish, they can embrace their Nightmare-ness, ignore magical penalties for armor, and cast spells without verbal or somatic components. In this form their skin turns chalk white and their horns grow more pronounced. Either form is weak to silver weapons and various elemental damage types, depending on their parentage.

Lykant: Lykants (or sometimes “Lykans,” inconsistently) are humanoids with fur, tails, and animal ears. You knew they had to be in here somewhere. The original indigenous people of Alfleim. Their special ability is Beast Form, which turns their head entirely into an animal’s and strengthens their muscles. While in this form, they also have Darkvision and can’t speak any language but Lykant.

Lildraken: Dragonborn with wings and no breath weapon. Count as “humanoids” because Lumiere said so during the god war. Special abilities include Scaly Hide, Tail Whip, and Wings of the Wind, which gives them one minute of flight per day.

Grassrunner: Store-brand halflings, with a little kender thrown in. May not actually be from Raxia; first appeared right around the time the Abyss opened. Bit sus if you ask me. Special abilities are Mana Interference (don’t have MP at all, and spells cast on them can be completely negated with a Willpower check) and Natural Communication (ability to read the local vibe from plants). They have no explicit class restrictions, but magic classes would require a steady supply of mako stones.

Meria: Plant people. Leaves and/or flowers grow out of their heads or shoulders. Divided between short-lived flower-based and long-lived tree-based varieties. Good at fairy magic. Their special ability is Thriving Life: Meria don’t need to sleep, but every sunrise they heal 20% of their HP and all of their MP, just like, ping!

Tien: Larger-than-usual humanoids with gemstones in their heads and chests. Created during the Magic Civilization by magically fusing humans with daemons. Tiens live about 50 years, but can enter indefinite suspended animation, making them able to function over millennia. Their ability is Intercommunication: they can communicate with anyone within 10 meters even if they don’t have a language in common.

Leprechaun: Short, and the males have beards, but that’s where the similarities end from what you’re picturing. Leprechauns have huge furry ears and live underground, often in ruins of the Magitech Civilization. They have Darkvision, can equip more magical items than usual, and can turn invisible at will.

There are no half-elves etc. on Raxia. Any two humanoid races gettin’ it on will have children fully one type or the other, essentially at random. Tabbits, Lildraken, Meria, etc. can’t cross-breed with other humanoids. Runefolk can’t breed at all (though they are still, ahem, fully functional).


No. Class. (laugh track)

Classes in SW2.5 are more like skill packages, bought with XP. None of them are a be-all end-all, and characters are generally expected to have multiple classes as a matter of course. As characters gain XP, they spend them to increase levels in their existing classes, or buy new classes at level 1.

“Adventurer Level” is the highest class level a character has. Someone with Fighter 1, Scout 3 is Adventurer Level 3, for instance.

Classes are classified as “major” or “minor.” Major classes generally have more utility, and consequently cost more XP, than minor classes. You can make a character with only minor classes but you might have gaps in your effectiveness.

Classes are further split into Warrior-type, Wizard-type, and Other-type.


Fighter: I hit it with my axe (and can wield any weapon, wear any armor, and use any shield). Major class.

Grappler: Punchy-kicky, good at fighting multiple targets. The automatic Chain Attack feat is particularly nice if you want to just wail on a guy. Major class.

Fencer: Finesse fighters specializing in light weapons. Have a higher chance to inflict crits, making them potential one-shot powerhouses. Minor class.

Marksman: Ranged attackers, be it with bow or gun. Good for backrow characters, awful up close. Minor class.


Sorcerer: Master of Truespeech Magic, the sort of magic most familiar to D&D players. More damage output than other magic types. Major class.

Conjurer: Spiritualism Magic user. Has summoning and minion-creating shticks, including the ability to animate dolls and spy through them. Freaky. Major class.

Priest: Your basic Divine Magic class. Heal, keep monsters at bay, turn undead, that kind of thing. Utility is highly changeable depending on which god you worship. Major class.

Artificer: Magitech superuser, transforming magispheres into fun things like rocket boots and manabikes. Also able to fire guns with magic bullets. Major class.

Fairy Tamer: Uses magical gems to summon tiny spirits. Magical middle-men, in other words. Fairy magic is subdivided into multiple types (earth, fire, light, dark, etc.). Major class.


Scout: All the sneaking and trap-finding skills of a D&D rogue for a fraction of the cost. Scouts are the only class with the ability to increase your side’s Initiative roll. Minor class.

Ranger: Partial overlap with Scout, mostly in outdoor areas, but with added herbalism and first aid skills. Minor class.

Sage: Know-it-all. Has the extremely useful ability to identify the weak points of any monsters you’re fighting. For that alone, you should have at least one character with Sage in your party. It’s not even funny. Minor class.

Enhancer: Channels the magic in their bodies to enhance their physical abilities. Combine with the Grappler class to become Goku. Minor class.

Bard: Singer of spellsongs, which have minor ongoing effects, but also accrue different types of Rhythm which you expend to create spell-like Finales. Bards can have their pets sing along to increase the effect. Bit complicated but unique. Minor class.

Rider: Allows stunts and specialized fighting skills while on horseback or manabike. Jockeys can also ride exotic mounts and rent mounts from riding guilds. Minor class.

Alchemist: Breaks elemental essences down into easy-to-carry material cards, then recombines them using a portable alchemy kit to create new items or effects. Minor class.

Every time you advance a level in a Wizard-type class, you instantly learn every spell at that level. No pesky spell books or learning rolls. On the downside, there are only around four spells per level. But by the time you’re level 3-4, you’ll have plenty of options and it only gets better from there.

Casting spells costs Magic Points (MP), so your real limitation is the size of your magical gas tank. You can augment this with mako stones, which have their own small store of MP. If you totally drain a mako stone, it shatters.

Some Other-type classes (Bard, Enhancer, Rider, Alchemist) get one new “thing” per level. Bards get Spellsongs or Finales, Enhancers get Techniques, Riders get Stunts, and Alchemists get Evocations. Scouts, Rangers, and Sages get nothing except higher bonuses to skill checks. (Which is plenty, TBH.)

Next time: Can love bloom on the battlefield? (answer: no)

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