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TRAVELLER | Science Fiction Adventure in the Far Future

An historical Sword Worlds campaign setting

"Oliver sent que a mort est ferut; tient Halteclere, dunt li acer fut bruns, tiert Marganices sur l'elme a or, agut, e flurse e cristaus en acraventet jus; trenchet la teste d'ici qu'as denz menuz, brandist sun colp, si l'ad mort abatut. . . ."

("Oliver feels that he is hurt to death; he grasps his sword Hauteclaire the keen of edge, smites Marganice on his high golden helm, shearing away the flowers and crystal gems, down to the teeth clean splits him through the head, shakes loose the blade and flings him down and dead. . . .")

La Chanson de Roland (translation by Dorothy L. Sayers)

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The Cleaved Helm blazon of the Sword World Haulteclere
(Image by Thomas "Lorc" Tamblyn)

The Space Viking Era

The Space Viking Era is an unofficial, historical "Official—or Original—Traveller Universe" (OTU) campaign setting for Traveller®, set among the Sword Worlds of the 2nd Century pre-Imperial.  This is the period of the Sacnoth Dominate when the Sword Worlders are expanding into interstellar space and is most akin to the setting of H. Beam Piper's Terro-human Future History novel Space Viking, an inspiration for Traveller's original Sword Worlds.

The Sword Worlds are a collection of planetary systems in what is designated as the Sword Worlds subsector in the "Classic Traveller" campaign setting and usually in subsequent "Third Imperium" campaign settings too.  The Sword Worlds share a common Old Terran cultural heritage, a tradition of fierce local autonomy, and sometimes a central interstellar government.  Most of the Sword Worlds were originally named for Old Terran mythical or fictional swords or other archaic hand-to-hand weapons.  Sworld Worlds society extends to a majority but not all of the systems in the subsector and at times has included a few systems beyond the subsector.  In the late Classic Traveller era the central government, based at Gram, was known to outsiders as the Sword Worlds Confederation.

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The Red Wyrm blazon of the Sword World Gram
(Image by Thomas "Lorc" Tamblyn)

History of the Space Vikings

Sword Worlds history began with the settlement of Gram at the dawn of the Fourth Century, Pre-Imperial, by exiles / refugees / colonists fleeing the Old Earth Union on Terra.  Within just a few years the "First Colonies"—Joyeuse, Colada, Tizon and Hrunting—were settled in an effort to pre-empt the potential for Darrian expansion into the Sword Worlds subsector.

Another century passed before the "New Colonies"—Tyrfing, Sacnoth, Hofud, Durendal, Dyrnwyn and Excalibur—were settled.  In this period limited contact was established with the Zhodani and the Darrians.

With time, Sacnoth began to challenge the historical leadership of Gram.  In the closing decades of the Third Century, Pre-Imperial, Beater, Sting, Biter, Orcrist, Anduril and Narsil were settled from Sacnoth.  In the early years of the Second Century, Pre-Imperial, Gram settled Isenfang (Margesi), Haulteclere (Mjolnir) and Morglay (Gungnir).

Soon Sacnoth and Gram were at war.  Sacnoth emerged victorious and established the Sacnoth Dominate, claiming suzerainty over all of the Sword Worlds and reaching into Tanoose (Vilis), Ginnungagap (Lanth), Sepireld (Lunion), Pilgrim (District 268), and Diadem (Glisten) subsectors

(An older version).

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The Black Bull blazon of the Sword World Sacnoth
(Original image served by Ugens Horoskop)

Library Data

General information about the Sword Worlds and the Space Viking era.

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The Irresitible Wave blazon of the Sword World Tizon
(Image by Thomas "Lorc" Tamblyn)

Source Materials

Canonical and other sources of information about the Sword Worlds (and an older version).

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The Shattered Sword blazon of the Sword World Narsil
(Image by Thomas "Lorc" Tamblyn)

Related Links

Links to related information about the Sword Worlds and the Space Viking era (and an older version).

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"The Sword Worlders" (detail) by David Deitrick (from Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #18)

Traveller's Sword Worlds

The Sword Worlds first appeared in GDW's Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches (1979).

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Nemesis blazonry
(Space Viking detail by Michael Whelan)

The Original Sword-Worlds

Science-fiction writer H. Beam Piper wrote about the Sword-Worlds more than two decades before they appeared in Traveller® in his stories "Ministry of Disturbance" (first published in Astounding in 1958) and "A Slave is a Slave" (first published in Analog in 1962) and his novel Space Viking (first serialized in Analog in 1962-63).  These yarns are part of Piper's Terro-human Future History series.  Piper's Sword-Worlds were settled by refugees from a civil war that plagued the first Terran interstellar civilization (called the Terran Federation), and Space Vikings from the Sword-Worlds raided the remnants of the "Old Federation" during the Long Night that followed its collapse.  Eventually, the Sword-Worlds were conquered by the new Galactic Empire that arose from the remnants of the Old Federation.  Sound familiar? ☺

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