Magical Burst 4th Draft

“All you have to do is make a pact with me.”

Magical girls get to wield magic powers, to fight to protect the people they care about. You’ve seen it in your favorite anime shows again and again, and when a real talking bunny came to you it seemed like a great idea. But somehow those shows never mentioned the cost. They don’t talk about how keeping a secret eats you up inside. About how some magical girls get killed fighting monsters. About how magic can have consequences.

Magical Burst is a role-playing game about a different kind of magical girls.

Players: Recommended for 1 Game Master and 2-5 Players, Age 16+
Play Time: One or more sessions of 3-5 hours
Materials Required: Paper, pencils, six-sided dice, and pawns or miniatures


It took far too long, but the fourth draft of Magical Burst is here. Seriously. It’s happening. This in turn is a step towards finalizing and publishing the game, which will hopefully take a lot less than the 3 years it took to go from the 3rd draft to the 4th. In the time since I started working on Magical Burst, Madoka Magica ended and then got a trio of movies, Sailor Moon is making a major comeback, and I got Channel A and Golden Sky Stories published. Magical Burst has evolved considerably as a game, but it’s much closer to being the game I want it to be, a hybrid of my eccentric gaming and aesthetic influences, and generally something no one but me would’ve made.

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The biggest change is the implementation of a tactical combat system inspired by Meikyuu Kingdom with bits of D&D4e and a few other games. It’s still serves the same fundamental purpose of generating Overcharge to fuel the story, but it’s a more detailed system, and it in turn involves a considerable number of character trait selections and such. Although the fundamental concepts are about where I want them, it’s in the nature of such things that there’s a whole lot that will need to be examined and tested. Also, a friend of mine is working on an online character generator thing, so that will be exciting and coming soon.

This version is not completely there yet, but it is a functional game that I’m going to be developing more as I playtest and get feedback and such. There will be future versions, but they’ll be 4.1 and so on rather than a “5th Draft.” I’ve done some playtesting, but there’s still a lot more to do before the game is fully ready. I want to further refine the youma rules, and I’m wondering if the rules for Fallout and for setting up relationships need some more work. Still, the things I’m happy with outnumber the things I’m unhappy with. In any case, here are the PDFs:

Magical Burst 4.0 Rules
Character Sheet
Reference Sheets
Battlefield Map

If you have something to say or share about Magical Burst, feel free to comment here or to join the Magical Burst Google+ community.

Also check out Magical Fury, a smaller cousin game with a different take on dark magical girl stories.

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22 thoughts on “Magical Burst 4th Draft

  1. Really enjoyed reading that! I do have a rules question in regards to the Link action Priestesses can do. Would it be possible to make the primary link an ally, and a secondary link an enemy, or vice versa, so you could either pass damage you receive on to an enemy or gain the benefit of whatever buffs they are using? Also, would the Burst fallout be able to be passed on through the link? Say, for example, the primary suffers a Fury burst, and you want to pass that on to the secondary.

    1. Thanks! :3

      I’m not sure if I was clear enough in the text, but Link is limited to pairings of either two allies or two enemies, and can’t be used for one of each. I hadn’t thought about the possibility of Fallout effects going through a Link, but I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t.

      1. It was pretty clear, but I just wanted to make 100% certain that that was the case. Thanks for the response!

  2. While this is probably far off, is Len (who’s work I love) doing all the illustrations/comics for the final product or will there be a call for submissions?

    1. It will depend a lot on Len’s availability and rates (which I haven’t even started talking to him about) and how much money we have to work with for producing the book, but I am definitely interested in looking at other possible artists, for Magical Burst as well as other future projects.

  3. Finally! Thanks, I’m super excited for this – believe it or not, currently Magical Burst is my 2nd most played pen-and-paper RPG, as well as the system that powered the longest running – and one of the best – games I ever played (the same one that gave birth to Burstnary runic code :-)

  4. Wow, this is awesome! A huge improvement to version 3. I really like the instant/random char creation. Overall, it feels like a well-rounded system now. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! Needless to say it’s going to be getting some more refinements, but I’m a lot happier with it now. The random tables started off as kind of a side thing, but they became a lot more central as I realized that some people really wanted to use them to make weird characters, and a lot of people find them extremely helpful as a source of ideas even if they don’t actually roll on them. Also, not unlike with Maid RPG chargen, they can make a fun activity in and of themselves.

      1. Definitely. I actually discovered Maid RPG via the random character generator that /tg/ made. I still like going there sometimes to see what sort of things it’ll spit out for me. Random or semi-random generation is great for fun ideas and playing things that you might not think of otherwise or are outside of your comfort zone, and I’m glad to see that it got refined for this release.

  5. A couple of small things I noticed in the Advancement section:

    In Tier 1 you it lists that you can get +1 Determination. I assume you mean tenacity.

    The chart lists Finishing Attack as Tier III but the description lists it as Tier II

    1. Good catch. The change to 3 tiers was kind of last-minute. :P Finishing attacks should be tier 3, and yes, Tenacity is the correct name. I’ll be sure to fix it in the next update. Thanks!

  6. I thought you might be interested to know that I linked this to a friend who is both a roleplayer and a huge magical girl fan, and she loves it. To the point that she (along with my brother) insisted that I run a game, despite no GMing experience, and proceeded to randomly generate a character and added a bunch of her own random tables to create a family and personality for them. She’s even in the process of sketching out her character (https://www.dropbox.com/s/47dd9sbp67whsxw/Setsuna.jpg)! With any luck our first session will go well.

  7. Admittedly I have only skimmed the new Draft yet, but I really like what I’ve seen so far.
    But I’m afraid I also have to point out a little mistake:
    The Pendulum under “Nightmare Features” reads:
    ” It starts in position 5, and at the end of each round moves up one position, until it reaches position 5, and then it will start back towards position 1, and so on. ”

    It starts at 5 and moves until it reaches 5? That seems… weird ;)
    But I’m really not sure right now, if it’s supposed to start at 1, then move to 5 and then back to 1 – or if it’s supposed to start at 5, move to 1 and back to 5.

    Also I think the battlemap could be a little better explained. It’s first mentioned on page 6 and then again during the Talents-Section. But it only get explained at page 42 (and stuff like “do I need to be on the same field as the Youma to hit it with my sniper rifle?” is only found under Combat Moves, while I haven’t found out yet what happens when I move onto a field that has an Youma on it. Does it get something like an Attack of Opportunity?).
    Maybe add a short paragraph in the beginning that just goes “Melee-Attack: on same field. Ranged-Attack: 2 fields between. Every weapon can do Melee and Ranged attacks – because magic” ;)

    Also last:
    Is “dead” under “Wounds” really necessary? I mean – just in case I forgot that my character died last round? Is that really something someone needs to write down on his or her character-sheet?! Or do you plan to add a section about zombies in the future?! ;)
    (Mh… reviving fallen magical girls as zombies WOULD make for a cool Youma-power…)

    But yeah, other than that I really like the system and I’ll try it out with some of my friends. But first I have to eradicate everything that sounds like something taken from Wedding Peach. (Sorry, I just hate that fandom with a passion XD )
    (And as soon as I have made up stuff for the Transformation-Item-Random-Table that all of my male friends demanded. For a bunch of guys they sure don’t want to have the same bracelets as the other magical girls. And the girls I showed the system too wanted musical instruments as a weapon-table. No, they did not want to think of a musical weapon themselves – they wanted a random table to role on. Life is hard XD )

  8. Man! This game! I don’t even like the genre, but I would LOVE to play this game!

    Congratulations, dude!

  9. Just discovered this via RPG.net threads. Read through 3rd and part of 4th. Both interesting, though personally I prefer the core of 3rd; 4e D&D combat and related complexity is counter to my interest. Glad the older edition is around.

    What’s the licensing? OGL or Creative Commons, or proprietary and planning to sell?

    1. The results of the playtest left me feeling I need to sit down and rethink several things about the system. When I will be able to sort that out remains to be seen. When I finally do, the plan is to have both a commercial version and a free version (similar to Anima Prime’s approach).

  10. Hey, so I’ve got a tabletop group and we’re going to be playing this pretty soon! Love every bit of this (I have been infatuated with the concept magical girls as long as I can remember, and pen-and-paper games are incredible). I have a quick question, though: in the reference sheet pdf with all the talents, a few talents are listed before “[Specialization] Magical Talents” and aren’t even on the regular manual. If we pick that specialization for our magical girl, do we automatically gain those talents?

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