Originally published at: http://zho.berka.com/2012/05/17/sword-worlds--
What has Mongoose done to the Sword Worlds? Do I need this book? These are the questions that I will try to answer here.
The cover of the book is quite cool, but it doesn’t look like the soldiers in the image are Sword Worlders at all.
Interior art is not bad either. I just feel it is too much Viking themed, and not really showing the hi-tec spacefaring culture that I wanted to see. The deckplans are fine and the 3D rendering of the Jarl is ok. It can be seen in colour at Biomass Art.
There are a few contradictions in the introduction of the book. Are the Sword Worlds a dangerous place or a popular place to visit? Are there no physical differences from original Solomani or is the average male weight 105 kg, and the females pregnant for 10 months? Then there is also (a likely) bug in the naming rules, since the female surname possessive form is missing, but not the male possessive form.
How did the come up with the Army Ranking table? I don’t think that matches any Scandinavian army.
There are 3 new careers. The first one is the Aesirist Church. This isn’t something that I like. It is too Viking themed. I will not use it in MTU. The next one is The Patrol. From old JTAS #18. This is a good idea to include. The third is Jäger Command. I think it should really be part of Marines or Army, as special forces.
The origin of sagamaal and the vocabulary makes some sense. Currency and exchange rate was a good thing to include. History is a bit messed up. It’s interesting but doesn’t match the previous publications.
In the Worlds chapter, the world listing of the subsector is missing the worlds outside the Sword Worlds. The atmosphere of Enos is explained in the same way as in the GURPS SW module. (To keep Traveller fun, these things should be ignored so that the referee can deal with in a different way.) Mithril matches the old adventure Mission on Mithril.
The equipment list is nice, but there are some items that are just too Viking themed. There is a nice selection of ships. Some parts of the encounter tables are fine, and the animal are interesting. The miniphants has been changed. They are not the same miniphants as in JTAS #16.
There are some proofreading errors (as usual). There are some extra-large apostrophes. There is a reference to a class III starport. (That is what a type C starport is called in GURPS.) There are some talk about the border worlds (that shouldn’t exist in 1105). I get an error message in the end of the pdf. Please Mongoose, do a better job!
So, I think that parts of the book is good, and other parts are not so good. You can buy it for the good parts. Maybe you like the other parts as well. The alternative would be to use JTAS #18 and read Space Viking for free, and form your own opinion about the Sword Worlds.
[3 of 5 Stars!]