Category Archives: random

Yaruki Zero Podcast #3½: Slime Story Reading


This is a special “bonus” podcast with a reading of the prologue of Slime Story: The Legend of Doug, a novel set in the same world as the Slime Story RPG I’ve been working on. The main character is an average teenage monster hunter named Doug, and in this chapter an ordinary monster hunting run becomes one of his most memorable ever when he runs into Rita, Los Banos’ #1 monster hunter and host of the Monster Show video blog.

If you want to read some more of the story, I’ve posted up a draft of Chapter 1: Saying Yes on DeviantArt.

Yaruki Zero Podcast #3½ (17 minutes, 59 seconds)

Next Time
For the next episode, Andy Kitkowski and I will be sitting down to talk about Japanese tabletop RPGs in general. Please comment if there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear us talk about.


Every now and then I come up with a character that really strikes a chord and becomes something of an obsession. Octavia, my D&D character (a human warlord and Cormyr noblewoman, currently has the Invulnerable Coat of Arnd) is one of those. Hence, I commissioned a plush of her:

Octavia Plush by Squisherific

Update: The Octavia plush arrived in person; unveiling photos here.

Update 2: Here’s Adam’s artwork of her, which happened to arrive on the same day as the plushie!

Kurumi Project: Part 1

(Artwork by vmat on DeviantArt)

You may or may not be aware that I have this mascot character named Kurumi. She’s a 19-year-old bunny girl with pink hair. I’m that much of an otaku. Anyway, I’ve decided to do a series of posts where I try to do write-ups of her in as many different game systems as possible. This time around I’m starting with the obvious stuff, though it will get steadily more strange and contrived as I go along.

Cute Bunny Girl (3)
Warm and Caring (3)
Mysterious Power (3)
Lucky Shots [][][]

Maid RPG
Kurumi Hayashi (Age 19)
Maid Types: Sexy Heroine
Maid Colors: Uniform: Blue, Eyes: Purple, Hair: Pink, Ears: White
Attributes: Athletics 2, Affection 3, Skill 1, Cunning 2, Luck 2, Will 2
Maid Special Qualities: Bunny Girl, Nymphomaniac
Maid Weapon: Broom
Maid Roots: Love
Stress Explosion: Spoiled Child
Maid Power: Windows of the Soul

Yuuyake Koyake
Kurumi Hayashi
True Form: Rabbit
Attributes: Animal 1, Henge 3, Adult 2, Child 2
Base Powers: Cute, Mochi Pounding, Lop-Eared, Help Me, I Dunno, Moonlight
Additional Powers: Friendship
Weaknesses: Loneliness

I have pink hair –> I like pink things in general –> Especially strawberry ice cream

I’m a bunny girl –> I have some kind of special power –> A scientist in the future altered my DNA before I was born –> Someone has to save the future

Raspberry Heaven
Quirks: Busty, Cute, Softy

Changeling: The Dreaming
Court: Seelie
Legacies: Panderer/Pandora
Seeming: Wilder
Kith: Pooka (Rabbit)

Physical: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3
Social: Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 4
Mental: Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 2

Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Dodge 2, Empathy 4, Persuasion 3
Skills: Crafts 2, Drive 2, Etiquette 1, Leadership 1, Performance 3, Stealth 3, Survival 1
Knowledges: Computer 1, Enigmas 2, Greymayre 1, Linguistics 1

Backgrounds: Dreamers 3, Remembrance 2
Arts: Chicanery 1, Primal 1, Wayfare 1
Realms: Actor 2, Prop 2, Scene 1
Merits and Flaws: Acute Sense (Hearing), Changeling’s Eyes
Tempers: Glamour 5, Willpower 5, Banality 3
Ravaging/Musing Threshold: Create Hope

Dee and Dee Fore

I don’t go on therpgsite basically because between and Story Games I’m already wasting more than enough of my life on RPG forums. By a lot. Stuart in SG linked to this thread, where people mostly bitch about D&D4e. Personally, everything I’ve heard about 4e makes it sound like it’s moving more towards something I might actually actively want to play. Some of the responses on the thread make me want to play it just to spite them. (But then, I usually feel that way about people who can’t make a point without profanity). But mostly it’ll come down to whether or not one of my friends wants to run the game.

Another Celebrity Gamer: Kagami Yoshimizu

Something completely random: I’ve become a huge fan of Lucky Star, so along with the now 5 manga volumes I picked up the “Lucky Star Public Guide Book,” a guide to the manga (and other associated stuff) for hardcore fans in a manga format, similar to Love Hina 0. In the back there’s an interview with him. It turns out that he got into TRPGs in middle school (when he was enjoying the Lodoss novels and accidentally bought a replay), and started playing them more seriously in high school. All this got mentioned in the interview because when it came time to put together a 4-koma manga he was having a hard time coming up with characters, so he opened up his RPG scrapbook and pulled out some of his characters. It doesn’t mention what TRPGs in particular they came from, though it shows very tight pictures of the character sketches from the character sheets and three of the four have a box for “運命” (unmei/fate) underneath. The interview doesn’t really get into much detail about his TRPG habits, and whether he still plays or has since given it up a la Stephen Colbert. Still, especially in light of the fact that his manga is one of the key inspirations for a game I’m working on, I found it interesting.

So. Things.

Ugh. So, I wasn’t able to participate in GameChef even to help out with feedback, and I’m almost certainly not going to get any further with Moonsick in time for it to be considered for Push. School has been kind of intense and stressful lately, and my creative mojo tank is running dangerously low. Spring break is taking too long to arrive (seriously; it’s two weeks later than at the college one of my friends goes to), and Summer vacation can’t come soon enough. Hopefully then I’ll be able to get some shit done. Of course, it doesn’t help that GameChef, like NaNoWriMo, comes at kind of a lousy time for anyone who’s in college (“Should I work on this game/novel, or be ready for midterms?”). If either one was during the Summer, I’d have more free time for them than I’d know what to do with. But then it’d probably manage to be a lousy time for everyone who’s actually got a real job. I may try to make July my own personal NaNoWriMo, but then the moment I try to do something like that I usually get inundated with freelance work.

So, apart from struggling mightily to concentrate on studying (I should be studying for my midterm rather than writing this) I haven’t been doing a whole lot. I’m starting up an anime-inspired dimension-hopping campaign using OVA (“Divine Machine”) and we’re going to resume and conclude our stalled Truth & Justice campaign as well. More on those when something actually happens, which probably won’t be for another two weeks.

I got a copy of the original Japanese version of Tenra Bansho Zero in the mail the other day, and I haven’t had time to do more than skim it, but (1) damn does it look awesome, and (2) now I understand entirely too well why it’s taking Andy so long to get it out in English.

That’s all for now. go away.

Edit: One more thing: Tokyo Heroes Actual Play.


Fear the Roach
My friends and I played The Shab-al-Hiri Roach last night, and once it got going it was really incredible, though we only got through the first two events (that’s what happens when we play on a weeknight). We very quickly had a bunch of backstabbing and subplots going, which seems to be right where it should’ve been. The cards were great at helping give people cues for their scenes, and the assignment of NPCs to players worked wonderfully.

Now I’m buzzing with ideas for how to mess with things to make my anime RPG project more interesting. I’ve been getting caught up on Bleach lately, and some of this stuff feels like it would be a good fit for how some anime is set up.

The other thing is that while searching to see if anyone had linked to this blog (thanks Guy and Fillip!) I came across a thread from the TRPG board on 2-channel (probably the single biggest BBS/forum in Japan). Since it’s over 1,000 posts, I haven’t read it all, but apparently my blog posts about Japanese RPGs became a side-discussion for a while. It has stuff like “How does this gaijin know about Maid RPG and Yuuyake Koyake? LOL” (Most of the really weird games I own I discovered through the internet, lately that’s been mainly via Story Games; in this particular case it’s specifically Andy K’s fault). There was even someone who thought I must be a Japanese guy living in the U.S. and fluent in English (I’m definitely caucasian, though I also know Japanese and work as a translator). Unlike when I had this blog on, WordPress doesn’t display a bio anywhere that I know of. At least it looks like I’m not totally screwing things up when it comes to trying to make generalizations about the hobby in Japan.


Hikikomori: Reviewed In Hungarian

So, I was trying out Google Blog Search, and I came across, of all things, a review of my 24 Hour RPG, Hikikomori, in Hungarian (here). I was very curious, but I couldn’t find an online translator thingy that would actually work, but as it turns out I have an acquaintance who’s Hungarian, and he was kind enough to translate. The review is surprisingly thorough, and probably more generous than I would’ve been.

Continue reading Hikikomori: Reviewed In Hungarian

Here we are!

Yay! My first new post on WordPress! I’m still working on getting acquainted with the interface and whatnot. Anyway.

In case you’re wondering “yaruki zero” is Japanese (やる気ゼロ) for “no motivation.” It’s an “extreme in-joke” (meaning I’m the only one who really gets it and finds it funny); when I and some other students were forced to do a skit for a Japanese class, after the ordeal was over I was thinking, “Well, that’s what happens when you have a group made of up people who didn’t want to do this in the first place. We’re ‘Team Yaruki Zero!'” Like my Go Play keychain, it’s also a reminder to myself to actually do stuff.

My package from Amazon Japan came in the main on Thursday, so I now have shiny new copies of Ru/Li/Lu/Ra, Alshard ff, and the bunko version of Arianrhod. I will post about these more when I’ve had a chance to really read them. At the moment I’ve been distracted by the manga I ordered along with them (new volumes of Genshiken, Yotsubato! and Rozen Maiden), plus I want to finish reading Gary Alan Fine’s book Shared Fantasy, which is a sociological study of RPGs from 1983, before I have to return it to the library.

Although the setting of Alshard looks fantastic, the underlying system is very, very similar to Beast Bind and Arianrhod (and part of why I picked up Ru/Li/Lu/Ra was just to make sure I picked up something not from FEAR). Interestingly, FEAR has taken the basic rules from Alshard (specifically the version from Alshard GAIA) and created what appears to be an open system, called (heh) the “Standard RPG System” (SRS for short). I’ll have to sit down and read/translate it, and see just how much they allow people to do with it. I’m wondering if they’d be amenable to an English translation to it, especially since it would be perfect for some of my more mainstream RPG project ideas (notably Ether Star and Catgirl: The Storytelling Game).

I also got the newest issue of Role&Roll, Japan’s main RPG magazine, and was inspired to post about it on Story Games herehere. Admittedly in posting it I was sort of crossing my fingers and hoping, but I was still (pleasantly) surprised when Tad Kelson posted saying he was going to try to put together an indie gaming mag.

I’m also hard at work on my anime RPG project (I still don’t know what to call it; I’m using “Anime Dreams” as a placeholder). I have a small notebook I use to write down stuff when I’m away from my computer, and I’ve literally filled up about 40 pages just with ideas for this game. Right now I’m mainly working on the conflict resolution rules — which will be at the heart of the whole thing — and it’s taking a heck of a lot of work. I keep catching myself staring off into space on the train and thinking really hard about it. I’m exceedingly happy with how this is turning out so far, but how well the conflict resolution rules work is going to be the main test of how good a game it turns out to be. I’ll be posting more about the gritty details soon, when I’ve got my tentative version a bit more straight in my head. At the moment it’s looking like the game will be diceless and resource-based, which in turn means I ought to go look at Yuuyake Koyake again.