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
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
I had my eye on the “NoviNovi” TRPG games for a while before finally picking up “The Horror” edition at Tokyo Game Market. Created and illustrated by Takashi Konno, the original version that was self-published by the creator was a fantasy setting. It was picked up by Arclight Games and both horror and steampunk versions have been released. The subtitle explains the meaning behind the name: NOVIce NOVIce Table talk Role-Playing Game the HORROR. It’s a self-contained and easy to play TRPG that only takes thirty to sixty minutes, with everything you need to play in the box. No paper or pencils required. Continue reading Novi Novi TRPG: The Horror
I recently found out about the RPG Pugmire and that it’s being localized to Japanese by Group SNE, the makers of Sword World. Not being familiar with Pugmire, I started looking for more info and stumbled upon tweets by its translator Yuli Bethe. There’s a number of interesting tweets, but one I found particularly interesting was a discussion about how to translate the word “lover” into Japanese. This probably seems like a straightforward thing to translate, but it’s deceptively complicated and really illustrates the problems translators face.
For those of you, like me, who hadn’t heard of Pugmire, it’s an RPG that adapts 5e’s SRD to a world of uplifted dogs. Humans have long since vanished, but dogs and other animals have inherited the world.
Now why would translating “lover” be potentially problematic in that setting? In Japanese, the most common ways of writing “lover” (such as 恋人) include the character for “human” (人). That’s all well and good except the fact that in Pugmire humans are extinct and it’s a world of animals.
The following is a rough translation Continue reading For the Love of Uplifted Dogs
I wanted to try Magicalogia (マギカロギア) for quite a while and finally had the chance to play thanks to a friend’s daughter who ran a game for my wife and I. It was a game of many firsts– while it was the first time for me playing Magicalogia, it as my wife’s first time playing a TRPG at all. We were originally going to do a two person game, but the scenario in question worked better for two players plus the game master, so my wife volunteered to join in.
After briefly scanning the scenario book “Tasogare”, the GM decided on the “Call” scenario. Tasogare is a collection of scenarios, some of which have been published in other sources and some that are new. One thing that impressed me with the book was being able to run the scenario, including character generation, without having preparing beforehand. Also, the guide to the scenarios breaks down the number of players, their level, Continue reading Hands on Magicalogia
Magicalogia: The Grimoire Wars RPG (マギカロギア：魔道書対戦RPG) is a TRPG written by Toichiro Kawashima, illustrated by Torizo, and published by Adventure Planning Service. It is the fourth entry in the Dice Fiction series, which includes Shinobigami. Following the formula this series is known for, the first half of the book consists of a replay while the second half is the rules. To give a feel of what it’s like to read, I’ll follow the same general order and summarize the interesting bits. Continue reading Magicalogia – The Great Book War