Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive: Behind the Screen

Our deep dive into the Japanese Dark Souls TRPG continues with a look at the GM portion of the book. Part one covered the first half of the book, which focuses on player content. I’ve done my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, but I do show the data of the first enemy encountered in the tutorial scenario. The remaining three sections we’ll look at today are Scenarios, Enemies, and Charts and Sheets. After that there’s a quick look at the bonus GM screen.

Scenario Section

The scenario section begins with helpful advice for the GM and an overview of both solo and multi play. It continues with an overview of how scenarios work, mapping, treasure, and the ominous malevolence sheet. Continue reading Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive: Behind the Screen

Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive

We’ll begin our deep dive into the Dark Souls TRPG by looking at the player-focused first half of the book. Part two will cover the game master focused latter half. Designed by Hironori Katou and
published by Group SNE, Dark Souls TRPG is a book that has been sitting in my blog backlog since it was published. It’s a crunchy, class and level based system that seeks to evoke the feeling Dark Souls III, while also avoiding what would be tedious in an analog game. As with many Japanese TRPGs, it only uses six sided dice. Continue reading Dark Souls TRPG Deep Dive

Hands on Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror

Over the holidays I finally had a chance to play Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror. I had high expectations for it being an accessible TRPG to play with my wife, but it didn’t quite work as well as I had hoped. It’s a good game, it just wasn’t a good fit for us.

NoviNovi TRPG: The Horror Box

For background, my wife’s experience with TRPGs is playing a game of Magicalogia and seeing me play games of D&D and FFG Star Wars. We’ve watched a number of zombie shows and movies together, so I thought the horror theme would be a better hook than fantasy. To my surprise, she was more engaged with Magicalogia, Continue reading Hands on Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror

Role & Roll TRPG Catalog

Role & Roll TRPG Catalog 2020 Cover

Today we’ll take a look at a Role & Roll TRPG catalog from 2020. A catalog? From last year? While it may sound dull on the surface, I find it interesting how a publisher classifies and presents their games.

Role & Roll is one of the major TRPG publishers in Japan, and is part of ArcLight, a major analog game company that runs Game Market. In addition to the magazine of the same name, Role & Roll publishes a variety of TRPG related books. The Role & Roll game shop in Akihabara is their physical storefront. Continue reading Role & Roll TRPG Catalog

TRPG Book Sizes

A variety of Japanese TRPGs stacked to show relative sizes. The only hardcover is the D&D 5e Player's Handbook.
The only hardcover in this image is the D&D Player’s Handbook.

The most common size for American TRPGs is 8.5″x11″, but that size is rare in Japan. In fact, it’s only really used for translated editions of western games. Instead, a variety of smaller paperback sizes are the norm here. So being a bit of a bibliophile, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the formats and pricing of TRPGs in Japan. Continue reading TRPG Book Sizes

Giant Robots and Relationships

A new TRPG Kousai-no-Revulture (光砕のリヴァルチャー) was just published and immediately caught my eye. Created by the same group as Silver Sword Stellar Knights (銀剣のステラナイツ), it’s a game of giant robots and relationships! One of the unique things about this game is that it’s a two player TRPG. Not just playable with two people, but the mechanics themselves are built around the relationship of the Chevalier (pilot of the Revulture robot) and their Fiancee (the navigator and game master).

Continue reading Giant Robots and Relationships

Sanity in the Taisho Era

Being one of the most popular TRPGs in Japan, Call of Cthulhu has a plethora of official and unofficial supplements. Given its popularity, it’s about time we take a look at one of them. Entitled Our Lady of Kanzashi (かんざしの聖母【マリア】) it is a scenario book for Call of Cthulhu.

Front and back covers

Containing three scenarios ranging between 1924 and 1950, its cover channels the Taisho and early Showa era aesthetic. Kanzashi, which the girl on the right is holding and involves the third scenario, is an ornate hairpin that comes in a variety of styles.

We’ll take a brief detour and discuss the aesthetic of the cover and the period it references. The first scenario takes place in 1924, two years before the end of Taisho, and the last scenario in 1928, two years after the end. Continue reading Sanity in the Taisho Era

RPG Dragon Magazine

Following the look at Warlock magazine, we’ll go back to August 1994 and take a look at volume 2 of RPG Dragon (RPGドラゴン). Released as a bimonthly supplementary magazine to the monthly Dragon Magazine (ドラゴンマガジン), it sold for 800 yen at the time. I ordered it from Suruga-ya along with another magazine with a supplement about Magicalogia. Based on the insert advertising RPG Dragon, the main magazine sold for 600 Yen.

What caught my eye, was the list of games it focused on: Sword World, Battletech and Mechwarrior, Shadowrun, Monster Maker, Dragon Half, and Paradise Fleet, among others.

RPG Dragon No. 2 Cover

The page direction follows the traditional style of right to left, while modern game magazines are usually left to right. There’s a lot of content, and the order of it tends to be mixed, so rather than showcase in page order, I’ll list it by category. Continue reading RPG Dragon Magazine

Warlock Magazine

I wrote about Japanese TRPG magazines a few years ago, with deeper looks at Role & Roll and Game Mastering Magazine. At the time I didn’t have a copy of Warlock magazine, but I picked up volume five and wanted to introduce it here.

Warlock vol.5 and the bonus scenario

Group SNE publishes Warlock magazine, which primarily focuses on Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Tunnels and Trolls. I don’t play either game, but picked up this issue because of its special on Pugmire. Looking at some of the reviews on Amazon, I’m not alone in this. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Continue reading Warlock Magazine

Dragon Castle

Tokyo Game Market booth listing for Dragon Castle
Tokyo Game Market booth listing

I was immediately drawn to the listing for Dragon Castle TRPG as I flipped through the Game Market catalog. The old school feeling by the design and mechanics is something I really dig.

Being but a few pages, Dragon Castle was a very quick read. The rules, monsters, and character sheet are just three pages on card stock. Included looseleaf in the package is a thin cardboard battle sheet to track position during combat, a double sided FAQ sheet, and finally a card stock single page adventure.

Contents of the basic rules for Dragon Castle
Contents of the basic rules for Dragon Castle

It’s a well thought out way of packaging the beginner rules. The scenario is detached from the rules, making it easy for the DM to reference. Additional monsters are also included, and the Continue reading Dragon Castle