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"The Sword Worlds are a loose confederation of worlds all colonized in the same era (400-200 PI).  Through the centuries, their relationship has varied from fledgling empires to scattered trading pacts, but the worlds have always retained their affinity for each other."
Traveller Supplement 3: The Spinward Marches

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The Sword Worlds

Image - Sword Worlder

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

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.

Sword Worlds history began with the discovery and settlement of the world Gram at the dawn of the Fourth Century, Pre-Imperial, by settlers fleeing strife in the Old Earth Union on Terra.  Subsequent settlement from Gram spread across most of worlds of the subsector (and on occasion to nearby worlds beyond the subsector).  Sword World history has been tumultuous with control of the Sword Worlds shifting from one faction to another, usually led by Gram or Sacnoth, and often interspersed with periods of rule by several independent factions.  Contact with the Darrians to spinward and with the Zhodani and the Imperium led to several Frontier Wars in which the Sword Worlds allied with the Zhodani against the Imperium and its Darrian allies.  In the mid-Eighth Century the Sword Worlds Confederation was established which has ruled the Sword Worlds through the Third and Fourth Frontier Wars and into the Classic era, the longest period of interstellar rule by any Sword Worlds government.

The Original Sword-Worlds

Image - Space Viking (excerpt) by Michael Whelan

Nemesis blazonry
(Space Viking detail by Michael Whelan)

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 Science Fiction in 1958) and "A Slave is a Slave" (first published in Analog Science Fiction—Science Fact in 1962) and in his epic novel Space Viking (first serialized in Analog in 1962-63).

These yarns are part of Piper's classic Terro-human Future History science-fiction 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 which arose from the remnants of the Old Federation.

The Cleaved Helm

Image - Cleaved Helm

The Cleaved Helm blazon of Haulteclere
(Image by Thomas Tamblyn)

The Cleaved Helm 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.

"Besides [the capital] Ny Kalmar, the most important city on [Gram] is probably Faellesborg.  Though home to less than a million people, Faellesborg is the capital of the Sword Worlds Confederation—a new city barely 150 years old, constructed specifically for this purpose."
Sword Worlds: The Day After Ragnarok

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