Publisher Kadokawa recently announced the rebirth of the Dragon Novels imprint for novelizations of table-talk role playing games. In addition to releasing five novels on Feb 5th, Kadokawa is also attempting to build a community. As part of that, they’re opening up the Sword World universe for writers to set their stories in, and hint at future worlds also being opened to third party stories. Call of Cthulhu is one of the TRPGs that has a novel in the first release, but they also mention Meikyuu Kingdom and future systems receiving novels. Rounding out the announcement is a contest that will take place on the online novel site Kakuyomu.
What makes this particularly interesting to me is it’s a distinct return to novels, rather than replays, which have long been the dominate literature for TRPGs in Japan. Additionally, the focus on digital as well as paper content seems progressive. Hat tip to ChuoDori on Twitter for first putting me onto this.
Kamigakari (神我狩) is a TRPG set in modern Japan that mixes anime action with Japanese folklore and then turns it up to 11. The Kickstarter for an official English translation was funded in just 55 hours and has already met its first stretch goal of including translator notes.
With the Kickstarter by Serpent Sea Games funded in just 55 hours, Kamigakari is now getting an official English translation! The Kickstarter runs until the end of November, so there’s still time to get in on some god hunting action.
Kamigakari: God Hunters (神我狩) is a Japanese TRPG about beings with supernatural powers protecting an unsuspecting world from the false gods. It draws on Japanese folklore, mixing it with a heavy dose of anime action for very cool results. Check out the Kickstarter description for more details.
Today we’ll take a look at Dracurouge, a TRPG set in an Everdark country. With the evil sun vanquished, vampire knights are now the protectors of the people.
First of all, the artwork and the ambience it creates is absolutely amazing. The style it affects through language is very immersive, but it also makes it a much harder read than most other TRPGs for me. It goes out of its way to use obscure kanji and words. The majority of the book is black and white, but the first few pages have full color illustrations. Continue reading Dracurouge
Following up on our look at Japanese TRPG magazines and then Game Mastery Magazine, we’ll next look at Role and Roll magazine. The issue I have at hand is volume 140 published in June 2016. Weighing in at 138 pages and A4 in size, there’s quite a bit of content for 1,200 Yen (~$12 USD). The majority of the content is black and white, but a few ads are in full color.
Role and Roll is published by Arclight and has been in print since 2003. It covers a variety of games, and while primarily focused on TRPGs, it also has some board game coverage as well. If you’re interested in what the very first issue was like, Continue reading Role and Roll Magazine
Last time we took a general look at analog game magazines in Japan, but this time we’ll dig into Game Mastery Magazine. Game Mastery Magazine is published by Group SNE and focuses on their various games. Published in March, volume 3 focuses on the history of Sword World and takes a peak at what is coming this summer with version 2.5. In addition to its Sword World coverage, it’s packed with articles about various TRPGs and board games. A4 in size, it is 162 pages and sells for 1,800 yen (roughly $18). Printed mostly in black and white, there are several full color sections. It’s available at local game shops as well as Amazon Japan
A question I often hear is, “what TRPGs are popular in Japan?” I recently saw a flyer for a large TRPG convention, and thought it’d be interesting to look at the games being played.
Before we jump into the specifics, “convention” can mean anything from a small monthly event with a table or two to large events with dozens of tables. They also range from general TRPG conventions to single-system-only conventions, where only one game system is played (e.g. Sword World only).
Moving from the US to Japan was a chance to shed a lot of material possessions and start fresh. One thing I do regret getting rid of is some of my old AD&D 2nd edition books. I recently decided to pick up a few of the books again and was surprised to discover some Japanese editions at my local gaming shop.
It seems appropriate that the first Japanese RPG I write about was also one of the first made in Japanー Sword World (ソード・ワールド). Sword World first caught my eye a few years ago, but I never had a chance to play it until I mentioned my interest to a friend and he offered to run a session.
My friend hadn’t played it in a long time, so he graciously picked up the Sword World 2.0 Starter Set (Japanese) and gathered together four additional players. We ran through the entire box set in an afternoon at a games play space in Ikebukuro called Naruneko House (Japanese).