A Potpourri of TRPGs

A friend’s daughter is an avid TRPG player and offered to run a session of Magicalogia for my wife and I. I’m working on a detailed post about that game, but in the meanwhile, I thought it’d be interesting to look at some of the games she’s been playing:

Call of Cthulhu, Shinobigami, Magikarogia (hers, the new collected edition), Monotone Museum, Magikarogia (mine, the older edition), Kill Death Business, and Insane.

Clockwise from top left:

  • Call of Cthulhu – the classic and ever popular
  • Shinobigami – modern day ninjas
  • Magicalogia – (hers, the new collected edition) – mages fighting to save the world
  • Monotone Museum – fairy tale fantasy
  • Magicalogia (mine, the older edition)
  • Kill Death Business – hellish assassins on a TV show in Hell
  • Insane – multi-genre horror

Not making it in the above Continue reading A Potpourri of TRPGs

Infinit Region – Understanding D&D in English

I’ve recently been enjoying Infinit Region, a blog about learning English through D&D. Started in 2011, the first post was about the author’s purchase of the Madness at Gardmore Abbey for 4e. In subsequent posts, the author focuses primarily on their experience learning English through their love of D&D, providing examples and advice for how to do so.

Discussing the "Acolyte" background and one of the table entries from the PHB
Discussing the “Acolyte” background in D&D 5e.

It’s both interesting and inspiring to see their approach. As someone who enjoys learning Japanese through analog games, it’s very much relatable as well. The two points raised in Understanding D&D in English echoes my experience as well. To paraphrase what they wrote: Continue reading Infinit Region – Understanding D&D in English

The Once and Future Dragon Novels

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.

A Bit of History

Record of Lodoss War novels
Record of Lodoss War novels by Ryou Mizuno and illustrated by Yutaka Izubuchi by a different Kadokawa imprint

Before we look at the new offerings, let’s make a brief stop in the late eighties and early nineties, the golden age of TRPGs in Japan. The novelization of Record of Lodoss War was published Continue reading The Once and Future Dragon Novels

Interview with Amy Veeres

Kamigakari: God Hunters coverAmy Veeres of Serpent Sea Games and project manager of the Kamigakari: God Hunters English translation was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

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.

The Project

Scott: How did the project first come to life?

Amy: A friend was planning on running Kamigakari for my group. While reading the original fan translation, I said to myself, “This game sounds great, Continue reading Interview with Amy Veeres

Kamigakari Kickstarter

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.

Cover of Kamigakari: God Hunters
Cover of Kamigakari: God Hunters

Mechanically speaking, its uses what it calls a “dice control system.” Continue reading Kamigakari Kickstarter

Dracurouge

Cover of Dracurouge, vampire knights before the red moon

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

Role and Roll Magazine

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

Game Mastery Magazine and Sword World

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

Continue reading Game Mastery Magazine and Sword World

Games at Hama-con

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).

Continue reading Games at Hama-con