I’ve been totally impressed with the Doujin TRPG Catalog 2023 (同人TRPGカタログ2023) edited by Suguru Cioya. It’s a follow up to the previous catalog (同人TRPGカタログ201X) published in 2020. That version contained 175 entries, while the new edition has expanded to 283! Well, 246 are in the main book, and another 37 are in a separate book dedicated to derivative works whose relation to copyright may be questionable. While both are available in print, the latter is also freely available on Booth.
As a kid I adored the Torneko story arc and running a shop in Dragon Quest IV, so when I saw the indie TRPG Hakke Gogyou Shou (八卦五行商) and its beautiful cover, I was immediately intrigued. A slim fourteen black and white pages with a glossy cover, it’s a game of merchants peddling their wares in an ancient China inspired fantasy.
The name itself is composed of three words: Eight Trigrams Divination (八卦), Five Elements (五行), and Merchant (商), with the shapes behind the title corresponding to the concepts. Not being very familiar with them and the book assuming some familiarity, a bit of research helped with reading. Continue reading Foretelling the Elements of Trade
I stumbled upon a simple solo journaling game with an interesting mechanic while researching TRPG ebooks. Called Message on the Palm (てのひらの伝言), its premise is awakening to find a palm-sized visitor outside your window. What that visitor is depends on the last digit of your previous Tweet. In fact, this is the only randomizerーeach tweet references the ID of the previous one to customize the prompt from a list of options.
Templates are provided for each tweet to serve as a guide. Most tweets have a single template, but the fifth has two options: one for if the visitor is invited in and one if the visitor is driven away. Continue reading Message on the Palm
The last few years have seen a proliferation of digital editions of TRPG books and related tools in Japan. While many books are still physical only, there’s a growing number of both indie and commercial games with digital editions available.
While several sites focus on games and fan made content, many that originally focused on digital comics have extended their selection to include TRPGs. The sites focused on gaming products tend to have more categorization and filtering specific to games. They also usually provide the content as PDFs and/or zip files of contents instead of EPUBs with DRM or browser/app based viewing.
There are a lot of options, but I usually start my search at Booth and Conos, and then branch out to other services if they don’t have the content I’m looking for. Many publishers list on multiple sites, and while the pricing is uniform, their offerings will sometimes differ.
In terms of pricing, physical and digital editions of commercial games are often the same price or only a slight discount provided. As an example, the Japanese edition of Cyberpunk RED costs ¥7,200 for either physical or digital, while the English edition costs $60 for physical and $30 for digital. Indie games often have a bit of a discount. The indie game Praise for Angels, for example, costs ¥1,800 for the PDF and ¥2,900 for the print edition. Some services provide point systems, often with sales that increase the points received for a purchase while leaving the purchase price unchanged.
A word of warning for those hoping to use built in dictionaries: from what I’ve seen, text is not selectable in most rulebooks except those sold as PDFs. Replays formatted like a novel that I’ve read on Kindle have had selectable text and the dictionary worked, but I haven’t tested replays on other services. PDFs generally don’t have this problem, though sometimes text selection can be odd. Continue reading TRPG Digital Delve
World’s End Journey (終末紀行RPG) is a rules light indie TRPG about two travelers, human and robot, surviving in a world that has ended. The text from a promo image sums it up as, “No school. No society. No food. No bullets. No anything. With partner.” Using a d6 pool for resolution, it focuses on generating stories using roll or choose charts (ROC) .
Both the free 16-page and paid 40-page PDFs are A4 landscape with a three column layout. Primarily in black and white with a few images, the sample characters are illustrated in full color. The sections are clearly labeled and handy reference numbers are provided to make navigation even easier.
The setting is loosely defined with several core principals: mankind is long extinct; no other humans nor robots are around; there are no resources left, with only remnants from the past being repurposed; and the world is dangerous: in addition to the harsh landscape, mutants and drones pose a threat. The journey itself is one of survival. There’s enough guidance to set the mood, while the details are left to the GM and players to weave together. The exact year is undefined, and there both realistic (eg machine-guns) and far-future (eg laser guns) items available, but as we’ll see later, the items are about expressing the character and don’t have mechanical benefits. Continue reading World’s End Journey
After spending so much time with the Japanese Dark Souls TRPG (part one and part two), I wanted to give its tutorial scenario a try. The following are my play through notes with my impressions at the end. I played with real playing cards and dice, but marked up a PDF version of the character sheet on my tablet. Now, it goes without saying, but this post containsspoilers for the solo Dark Souls TRPG tutorial scenario.
The scenario is intended for a single player, and I ended up playing it solo. To make it more interesting for me, I did not read the scenario beforehand. Instead, I played through while reading it for the first time, and did my best to not read ahead. Continue reading Dark Souls TRPG Solo Play Report
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.
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
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.
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
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.