RPG Encyclopedia: Japanese

ALSHARD (アルシャード)
1st ed by Jun'ichi Inoue (2002) F.E.A.R.
fortissimo ed (2005) F.E.A.R.
A Japanese-language fantasy RPG, set in a humorous fantasy world named Midgard inhabited by figures from Norse mythology (like Odin or Thor), though most of the gods died in Ragnarok. It is a mixed fantasy world with guns, motorcycles, robots, androids, airships, tanks, or other mechanical gadgets. The player characters are called Questers, and possess a crystal (called Shard) of ancient gods that grants divine powers. The Questers seek an ideal world Asgard. They are opposed by various evils, including a theocracy, the Wahres Reich (German for the Authentic Empire), who worship a god of machinery known as "Deus Ex Machina".
Blade of Arcana
1st ed by Taro Suzubuki (1999) F.E.A.R.
2nd ed (2001)
A Japanese-language mythic fantasy RPG. It includes a special tarot deck with the basic rules.
1st ed (unknown) unknown
A Japanese-language historical RPG, set in the Edo period. It is based on various TV samurai dramas. This is a fairly stable period, so adventures are about fighting crime and solving mysteries rather than war. It uses a dice-pool system: roll (skill) d20's where each die over the difficulty is 1 success. Character creation is point-bought attributes and choice of two packages: surface profession (omote) and real profession (ura).
DragonArms: Bahamut Howling
1st ed (1999) F.E.A.R.
A Japanese-language science fantasy RPG, set on a fantasy world shattered by a monster invasion. A dragon-like ancient craft (Bahamut) is discovered and used as a mobile battle platform. The PCs are young mecha pilots in training, with battle interrupting their school classes.
Hokago Kaiki Club
1st ed (unknown) Hobby Japan
Roughly: "Twilight Zone in School". A Japanese-language RPG in the genre of "Gakuen-mono" (school genre), about schoolkids who deal with ghosts and other supernatural beings. The rules are a variant of Basic Roleplaying.
1st ed (unknown) Suzaku Games
A Japanese-language universal RPG system. It's vaguely similar to Big Eyes, Small Mouth, actually, except the 3 attributes are Body, Mental and Technique. There are about 8 skills that are written on the included character sheet, and they include winners like "Booze", "Cooking", and "Love-Related".
Maid RPG
1st ed by Ryo Kamiya (2004) Sunset Games
"which you love" ed (2005) Sunset Games
1st English ed by Ryo Kamiya, Ewen Cluney (2008) Kuroneko Designs
A humorous Japanese-language RPG about women cleaning the house of a master where wacky events occur. There is no physical combat system, but there is a conflict system where the loser accumulates Stress points. When a maid has greater Stress than her Spirit rating, she has a Stress Explosion. Maids also gain points of Favor from the master, which can be used to boost rolls, reduce Stress, to raise attributes, or invoke random events. There are three charts of random events for Outer Space, Modern, and Fantasy -- including many game-changing events. There are two supplements: Koi Suru Maid RPG and Yume Miru Maid RPG. Koi Soru Maid RPG has an introduction and errata, rules for playing a head maid or butler, rules for generating a master, tables for designing a mansion, rules for "romance and enticement," comforting (to reduce someone else's Stress), costume changes (a table of 36 alternate costumes, each with a Favor cost and special rules), items (in a D666 table of 216 of them!), and a total of 13 different random event tables. Yume Miru Maid RPG is mostly a scenario collection, but it also has rules for complexes and apprentices, tables for two new settings (Old West and Old Edo), a second table of costume changes (including plugsuits, Gundam uniforms, and hero suits), and a weather table.
Meikyu Kingdom (迷宮キングダム)
1st ed by Touichirou Kawashima (2004) Adventure Planning Service Hobby Base
Miekyu Kingdom (lit. "Labyrinth Kingdom") is a Japanese fantasy role-playing game. The player characters, called Landmakers, are members of a tiny kingdom's royal court: king, knights, viziers, oracles, ninjas, and servants. A magical force called "Dungeon Hazard" made the whole world (mountains, rivers, plains, etc.) into dungeons. Landmakers explore and conquer dungeons for their kingdom. The English title, "Make you kingdom!!", is broken English, but has a double-meaning because it is pronounced similarly to the Japanese title ''Meikyu Kingdom''. It's setting is cynically tongue-in-cheek. For example, it includes a "vorpal bunny" drawn from the computer game Wizardry's famous monster (itself based on Monte Python and the Holy Grail), but its illustration is a bunny girl.
1st ed (unknown) unknown
A Japanese-language fantasy RPG, set in mythic China (Oka). Roughly translated: "Immortals of the Middle Kingdom". The PC's are immortals who fight various monsters and demons. Character creation is random-roll attributes and class-based special abilities.
Ryuu Tama Natural Fantasy RPG (りゅうたま)
1st ed by Tokuhiro Okada (2007) Tabletalk Cafe Daydream Jive Ltd
A Japanese-language fantasy RPG whose title means "Dragon Egg". It is billed as a "natural fantasy" game, meaning roughly it is more positive and less violent. Character classes include Minstrels, Merchants, Hunters, Healers, Farmers, Artisans, and Nobles.
Sangokushi Engi
1st ed (unknown) Koei
A Japanese-language RPG meaning 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms Role-play'. It is set in China during the fall of the Han dynasty, based on the traditional Chinese epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The system is based on comparing attribute + skill + 2d6 vs difficulty. Character creation is class-based (Warrior, Spy, Scholar, Merchant, or Heroine), with class modifying attributes and providing certain special abilities.
1st ed (unknown) Suzaku Games
A Japanese-language fantasy-genre RPG.
Sword World RPG (ソード・ワールドRPG)
1st ed by Yasuda Hitoshi (1989) Group SNE
A popular Japanese-language traditional fantasy RPG. A supplement series by Ryo Mizuno was published for adapting the anime series "Record of Lodoss War" to the system.
Tenra Bansho
1st ed by Junichi Inoue (1997) F.E.A.R.
Zero ed (2000)
A Japanese-language science fantasy RPG, set on a distant planet in the far future called "Tenra". The title is a play on the phrase "Shinrabansho", which means "Everything in Earth and Heaven", or "All of Nature". Humans were exiled there centuries ago, and developed a feudal culture similar to Sengoku era Japan -- though with advanced technology and magic. It includes samurai, cyborg footsoldiers, taoist demon-summoning wizards, medicine men with colonies of useful insects inside their bodies, and magically-enhanced mecha powered by innocent children. It uses a d6-based system, and includes hero points ("Aiki Chits") which are earned by good role-playing and spent on improving abilities, strengthening Fates, or increasing die rolls.
Terra the Gunslinger
1st ed by Junichi Inoue (2001) F.E.A.R.
A Japanese-language modern fantasy RPG set in the Wild West.
Tokyo NOVA
1st ed by Taro Suzubuki (1993) F.E.A.R.
Tokyo NOVA: The Revolution ed (1998)
A Japanese-language cyberpunk action RPG with playing-card-based mechanics similar to Castle Falkenstein. There are 22 character archetypes based on the major arcana of the tarot. You choose a combination of three to make your character. The first archetype is your public identity or profession, the second is your true nature, and the third is your hobby or sideline. Archetypes include Politicians (Karisma), Bodyguards (Kabuto), Biker (Kaze-J), Seducer (Manikin), Corporate Executive (Exek), Street Samurai (Katana), and more. Your choice of archetypes determines your four stats: Reason, Passion (emotional manipulation and charisma), Life (physical prowess), and Mundane (influence, money, and connections). Resolution is by playing a card from your hand of 3-4 cards and adding your stat number versus difficulty number (from 2 to 30). You also have a skill level from 0 (unskilled = zero suits) to 4 (all suits). You may also draw a card from the deck rather than playing from your hand, but there is then a chance that you will fumble upon failure. The present edition is "Tokyo NOVA: the Revolution," with a supplement ("Grand X Cross") in the works. There is also a related play-by-mail game on the magazine "Discovery."
Wares Blades
1st ed (unknown) unknown
A Japanese-language science fantasy RPG, featuring magical mecha robots.
Yuuyake Koyake
1st ed by Ryo Kamiya (2006) Sunset Games
A modern-day fantasy RPG where the player characters are henge - magical animals with able take on human form. Adventures focus on helping ordinary people in a town in rural Japan. Character creation starts with picking one of six character types, each with their own special abilities: fox, raccoon dog, cat, dog, rabbit, or bird. Resolution uses a diceless system based on point spending. Each character has a Connection stats (from 1 to 5) to the town and to each other PC. At the start of each scene, a character gets points of Wonder equal to total connections to them, and points of Feelings equal to total connections from others. Wonder is spent on special powers, Feelings to boost attributes, and both can be spent on transforming.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Mon Jul 2 09:15:53 2018