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The Year 2006
2006 is upon us. There was a thread on RPG.net asking “What RPG products are you looking forward to in 2006?” Maybe I just don’t keep up on upcoming releases enough, but for both tabletop and video games there aren’t that many titles I’m really anticipating. For tabletop RPGs the list goes:

  1. Tenra Bansho Zero
  2. BESM Third Edition
  3. Anima Beyond Fantasy

And of the three, Tenra is the only one I’m strongly interested in playing. I just don’t have the kind of group where running a game as crunch-tacular as Anima seems to be is practical. We’ve been using Fudge for long while now, and our next game is going to use Truth & Justice.

What I’m looking forward to in 2006 (which is next week, come to think about it) has more to do with actually getting my own stuff up and running. I’m in the process of writing two different games, which will need plenty of playtesting (especially Thrash 2.0). I also have a habit of buying RPGs more as reading material than for actual play, when I really ought to be getting more experience with different kinds of games. And I have a considerable variety of games in my collection now, in part thanks to all the stuff I keep hearing about on RPG.net and the Forge. At some point I want to try out otaNe, OVA, Primetime Adventures, Cat, InSpectres, etc, and I have a few ideas for original settings (anime vampires, gonzo steampunk fantasy, etc.).

RPGs as Creative Writing
Working on Tokyo Heroes has been an interesting experience creatively. I write fiction and poetry too (and I’ve dabbled in creative nonfiction too), and the more I got into literary fiction the more it affected my writing style. I used to write in a very linear fashion, starting with Chapter 1 and going on until the story ended. It wasn’t until I started writing short stories that I really got away from that, and my writing benefited. Nekomimi Land, the novella I’m still revising, took that a step further because even more so than before I was discovering what the story was about as I went along. There are a lot of elements that are very important to the story in its current state that I hadn’t the faintest idea would be in it when I started. I discovered them from reading other books, from digging into my own words, and entirely too often from random little epiphanies that happened while I was trying to sleep.

Tokyo Heroes hasn’t been anywhere near that intense to work on, but it has been a constantly changing creature, and there are a lot of important concepts in the game as it’s written right now that I never dreamed of before. I first concieved of the game in my hotel room at GenCon SoCal 2004 (just over a year ago), and it doesn’t look much like my early attempts at putting a game together. It looks a lot better. The process of experimentation and discovery is probably what’s making the game that much more fun to work on — which would explain why for the past few weeks I’ve been working on TH and neglecting Thrash.

Of course, part of what makes TH fun to work on is just that it gives me an excuse to watch lots of sentai and magical girl shows. Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch didn’t really do it for me, but I’m enjoying Tokyo Mew Mew more than I probably should. I also got caught up on Dekaranger, and started in on Magical Canan. I still seldom get through an episode without thinking up some new something-or-other for the game. Most recently it was the idea that instead of attacking you can “worry” an opponent, using your attack ability to harass them and keep them busy while doing minimal damage — something bad guys like to do to magical girls all the time.

The campaign seeds are proving to be a lot of fun too. For example:

Souzou Sentai Imagiranger
Keisuke is a young boy who feels crushed by his mundane, pointless existence. His life is overwhelmed by silence and boredom; his parents are always away at work, he has no siblings, and no one at school really likes him. What keeps him going is something inside his head, a place very much like the world he lives in, except that there he’s the Red Ranger, and along with his four allies he fights the forces of evil.

But maybe there’s more to it than just daydreams. There’s this new girl at school who seems like she might actually want to talk to him, and on the same day she transferred in a new Ranger–a female, Silver Ranger–invaded his daydreams all of a sudden.

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