Tag Archives: Yuuyake Koyake

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

TRPG Book Report: Doko ni Demo Aru Fushigi

Doko ni Demo Aru Fushigi

With so many TRPG books to go through, I’ve decided to start posting about the various books I’ve got as I go along. First up is Doko ni Demo Aru Fushigi. This is a 50-page doujinshi produced as a collaboration between Tsugihagi Honbo and Majo no Kai. Tsugihagi is Ryo Kamiya’s circle, and responsible for Yuuyake Koyake. Majo no Kai, headed up by “South,” published a print edition of Witch Quest, a free TRPG available as text files. Witch Quest and Yuuyake Koyake are both heart-warming “everyday magic” games, so it was natural for the two circles to collaborate on something. However, the notion of doing so came right when Kamiya was hard at work on Mononoke Koyake, so if they were going to do such a project, it needed to be one that wouldn’t place undue burden on either party. This book is the result. They met online, played a session of each of their games, and had a lengthy dialogue about everyday magic in general, and the book has a transcript of the discussion, sandwiched between two replays. It’s not the most impressive RPG book out there, but for me it was definitely worth the 500 yen.
Continue reading TRPG Book Report: Doko ni Demo Aru Fushigi

Maid RPG Update: GenCon Indy 2008

I am so out of it right now, and very relieved that I’m done with conventions for the summer. ^_^;

This year’s GenCon was the launch of Maid RPG. We shared a booth with Khepera Publishing and Aetherial Forge, so the booth’s main offerings were Hellas, Ninja Burger, and Maid RPG. Three very different games, but all of them are awesome. Also, Jerry Grayson is a really awesome guy, and hanging out with him, Andy, Renee, Mike, and everyone else at the booth helped make the con for me.

Selling Maid RPG was one of the more amusing things I’ve done in a while. People would walk by the booth, eye it, and as soon as they started to comprehend what they were looking at, they would either be drawn closer like a magnet, or be repulsed like one. The word of mouth and internet buzz apparently paid off, because as this small press/indie stuff goes, it sold like hotcakes. We had a grand total of 70 copies to sell, and they were gone by the end of Saturday. I wish we could’ve had more, but we’ll hopefully have the online orders up and running soon enough, and Andy didn’t have to carry any home.

I ran two scheduled Maid RPG events. One was a purely random game where the Master turned out to be the son of Satan (Special Qualities: Demon, Evil Emperor, Family Hate, in a Post-Apocalyptic world). It was a very random game that sort of hilariously shambled along. Then on Saturday I went to run the Maidenrangers scenario I had so diligently prepared for, and found that I was running it for a familiar bunch of guys from Kentucky who proved that perverting the situation in Maid RPG does not require any random events if you’re determined enough. It was seriously amazing. And one of the tape-recorded everything. Be afraid.

Another cool thing about this project is just that I got to meet a bunch of RPG designers and other people big in the hobby. Several indie game designers stopped by the booth, as well as a good number of podcasters and whatnot. I lost count of how many people came by with Adept Press exhibitor badges (i.e., people who were part of the IPR booth), and I was routinely bumping into people whose names I know from online and from indie games. I also got to chat a little bit with Christopher Clark of Inner City Games, and when I went by the Arc Dream Publishing booth for a copy of Wild Talents they congratulated me on the game and were going on about how jazzed they were about it.

All in all, I’m extremely happy about how things turned out for us at the con. Admittedly I now need to stay home and curl up into a ball for a day or two, but it was easily the best convention experience I’ve had this summer, and for that matter in quite a while. Our friends from Kentucky want me to come again next year, but I really have no goddamn clue where my life will be at next year. If Maid RPG 120% or an English version of Yuuyake Koyake, or something else of mine comes to fruition I could well wind up feeling obligated to do that, but who knows. Andy will definitely be there with Tenra Bansho Zero and Maid RPG for sale, and if my finances permit that’d be enough of an excuse to come to help out.

Up Next For Maid RPG
As happy as I am to have Maid RPG out into the world, I’ve already spotted a few errors. We’ll have to put together an errata file in the very near future, and try to fix as much as possible in time for the next printing. We did as much as we could, but we also wound up giving ourselves tight deadlines for GenCon. If you have a copy and you catch something, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re kind of new to this whole “being an RPG publisher” thing, so I have to ask for you patience. The next one will be better.

There’s also the matter of doing the layouts and PDFs for the remaining scenarios that didn’t get into the book, and getting the full website up and running. I don’t know when that’s all going to happen, but it’s definitely on the to-do list.

I’ll be poking at my own original material too, and I intend to give all of it a decent amount of playtesting. However for the time being life is hectic, and I have no idea when I’ll really be able to commit the time needed to it.

One thing I am definitely going to do in the near future is put together a packet of all the stuff for my expanded version of the Maidenrangers scenario, complete with pregens, character sheets, etc. If the scenario sounds neat to you, I’d suggest waiting until I get this stuff ready, since I have a few important additions based on having two runs through it under my belt now.

I didn’t take that many pictures, but here’s what I did get. Mike (the Ninja Burger Mike) took some pictures of things I missed, including this unbelievably cute girl wearing bunny ears and holding a copy of Maid.

Non-Maid RPG stuff after the cut.
Continue reading Maid RPG Update: GenCon Indy 2008

Mononoke Koyake: First Impressions

The stuff I ordered from Sunset Games came in the mail the other day. I’m going to write much more extensively about them some time in the future, and I’m thinking of writing thorough reviews of the Japanese RPGs I own when I have the time.

Mononoke Koyake is a supplement for Yuuyake Koyake that adds a new class of characters: mononoke. Where henge are animals with mysterious powers, mononoke are beings who are wholly made of the mysterious. The book consists of the rules for the five types of mononoke, some story/dialogue section to better introduce stuff, and two scenarios. Unlike with henge, each type of mononoke has the potential for several different variations, though in game terms these are a matter of flavor text.

The five types of mononoke are:

  • Michinoke: These are supernatural creatures that in myths appear to frighten or attack people on roads. I hadn’t thought about it before, but Japanese myth contains an awful lot of these. The signature character is Onbu, who in her base form looks like a hairball with arms and a massive lolling tongue, but others include a faceless person, that thing that’s an umbrella with a single leg sticking out, etc.
  • Oni: These ogres/demons are relatively straightforward, and they’re depicted as being aggressive to the point where they’re pushing the limits of what the game would allow. Variations include thunder gods, hags, hanya, etc.
  • Kappa: Kappa are a weird kind of monster to begin with, though here their defining trait is being water creatures. The variations include all kinds of beings that live in the water, including mermaids.
  • Visitor: Visitors are perhaps the most interesting and flexible character type. The signature character is Repushi, a cute little alien, but the variations listed in the book include time travelers, magicians, snow women, and even Santa Claus. Most of their Powers and Weaknesses have to do with them being far from home.
  • Ghost: Japan has a long tradition of ghost stories, and here ghosts can include classic lost souls, skeletons, vampires, cursed dolls, etc.

I still need to read through it more, but overall this seems to be a fairly straightforward, well-constructed supplement that (being only 56 pages) does what it does and finishes quickly. The new character types are probably trickier to handle (the text recommends playing the game with henge for a while before you try out mononoke), but they also seem like they would open up even more potential for creativity in character concepts.

I also got Aitsu wa Classmate!, a game about an idealized, zany manga high school lifestyle. It’s a fairly dense 176 pages, so it’ll take me a while longer to digest.


Although it goes without saying that S. John Ross is a living fountain of awesome, today I stumbled across the Adventures of Darcy Dare paper miniatures font. The art is done in that kickass illustration style that’s used by lots of industry pros, yet aside from the Esurance commercials hasn’t gotten anywhere near the mainstream exposure it deserves. Some time I seriously want to run a game based around the general feel of Darcy Dare, and have each player pick out a character from the font to represent their character.

Also, since I had more money in my PayPal account than I realized, I decided to order some more things from Sunset Games. I’m finally getting Mononoke Koyake, the sourcebook for Yuuyake Koyake that adds kappas, aliens, ghosts, oni, and michinoke (I’m not sure what those are either). Also, I ordered Aitsu wa Classmate! (“That’s My Classmate!”), a newer game (by an entirely different designer) about high school wackiness. Finally, I’m also getting the newest issue of A Local Paper, Sunset Games’ little in-house magazine thingy. Past issues have included convention reports, mini-RPGs, scenarios, etc., though I’m getting the newest issue which has a Yuuyake Koyake replay with designer commentary, and a Maid RPG scenario.

Things I Learned From Japanese TRPGs

I’ll get into stuff for my anime RPG project hardcore soon, but first:

I’ve always been interested in how things are reinterpreted for different cultures, and in studying to become a translator I’ve wound up exploring many of the cultural differences that can be seen in Japan. RPGs in particular seem to develop substantially different subcultures in different countries, particularly when there’s a strong language barrier. Japan is relatively isolated in terms of language, and also has a sort of culture of reading and publication. From what I’ve heard there are many countries, especially those with many English-speakers (such as Finland) where American RPGs dominate the market, if sometimes in very different patterns from here depending on what it released and catches on. While a Japanese version of D&D are available, the Western games that have caught on there are ones like GURPS that were more thoroughly localized. Group SNE’s GURPS has crazy manga art, and they’ve produced some original settings and such.

As far as I can tell, the titan of the (very small) RPG industry in Japan is a company called Far East Amusement Research, or F.E.A.R. I now own three of their games: Beast Bind: New Testament, Arianrhod, and Alshard ff. These games are for the most part aimed squarely at otaku. They have lavish manga-style art, and crazy, exciting settings meant to appeal to fans of anime and video games. They vary a bit, but F.E.A.R.’s in particular tend to have fairly simple rules. Characters are created by putting together a 2-3 different templates (classes, races, or in the case of Beast Bind, “Bloods”) which determine attributes and provide a selection of special abilities to choose from. Assign 3-5 extra attribute points, calculate a couple of secondary values, and you’re pretty much done. Character creation is very quick, and results in characters painted in broad strokes, with lots of cool powers. To speed things up even more, these games also have “quickstart” character creation, where you take a mostly completed template, add a couple points, give them a name, and you’re pretty much done. DeadLands, and most of the various Unisystem games have done this, but not quite as effectively.

What makes these games interesting is how they’re presented. I talked about this a bit before (back when I first got Beast Bind: New Testament), but Japanese TRPGs are often written with the assumption that many people will be picking up the books (thanks in part to their shiny, attractive covers) and trying to play them without having ever met someone else who plays RPGs before. This is a major contrast to the American RPG hobby subculture, where it’s largely assumed that people should learn RPGs from other people who play them.

Replays – transcripts of game sessions – are the most readily noticeable consequence of this. Not all, but most TRPG books have at least one replay included, even the 32-page Maid RPG core rulebook. They’re also to be found on the internet, and doujinshi circles and even publishers put them out as small books. In the absence of a “mentor,” these can provide an effective example of how a game flows. Still, they also appear to have become a form of entertainment in themselves, enjoyed by people in the hobby both as reading material and something to create. The Ru/Li/Lu/Ra rulebook has a photograph of a game in progress in the introduction – something I’ve never seen in any RPG from any country before – and among the nerdy Japanese guys, drinks, poker chips, rulebooks, character sheets, dice, and so on, there’s a tape recorder. This penchant for recording also manifests in several RPGs having “session sheets.” These are forms included for the game, similar to character sheets, used to note down things like experience points for each character.

There is also a much greater emphasis on “scenarios.” The American RPG scene used to thrive on published adventure modules, but now even D&D seems to have relatively few of these, and many RPGs have no support of this kind available at all. Japanese RPGs seem to take scenarios very seriously, and while there are some rulebooks that don’t have any replays in them, I’ve yet to see one that didn’t have at least two scenarios in the back. Most games have a relatively tight premise, which no doubt makes it easier to write and use scenarios, but it’s also that these games are not aimed at long-term play, at least not in the American sense of a D&D campaign that goes on for multiple years. Alshard ff actually lists “Campaign Play” as an option in a sidebar, rather than as part of the list of gameplay formats (one-shots, pick-up play., casual play, etc.) in the main text. Some games don’t seem to even be particularly concerned with having continuing characters in the first place. The majority of the scenarios for Maid RPG are set up in completely different worlds from each other, and demand creating new characters.

Another thing that the F.E.A.R. games in particular do is make a very concerted effort to convey in the text how a game session should flow, from the GM devising (or selecting) a scenario, to the game itself, to cleaning up after, to suggesting going to a café or some such afterwards to talk about the game. Along the way, the rulebooks often have simple diagrams/flowcharts to help explain the games’ workings. While some of these are for things like clarifying the combat rules, there’s also some that cover the basic flow of the game. In page 120 of Alshard ff there’s two diagrams representing gamers sitting around a table. One shows the GM at the far end of the table with arrows going from the players to the center of the table, and larger arrow going from the center to the GM; it has a big X next to it, indicating this is wrong. The other shows the GM seated in the middle, with a double ended arrow between each player and the GM; this one has a circle, showing that it’s correct. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it in an American RPG. Also, the first diagram calls to mind what I’ve heard about old-school D&D players having a “party caller” who announces what the PCs are doing most of the time.

There isn’t an “indie scene” in RPGs in Japan the way there is in the U.S. (and other countries where people are into the same websites), but in some ways the categories have to be drawn differently in the first place. Japan has a massive doujinshi scene, where fans produce various works, some original but many derived from anime, manga, games, etc., and sell them at conventions. For example, I’ve seen a website for a circle that had produced doujins like “GURPS Cardcaptor Sakura” and “GURPS Galaxy Angel.” The scale on which these are sold is no doubt comparable to some indie games, but the “creator ownership” aspect isn’t a concern, and would be rather tenuous for something based off of a popular anime in the first place.

There are however some smaller TRPG publishers out there, though it’s hard to say whether they represent Japan’s equivalent of indie or the mid-tier publishing that’s become scarce to absent in the American RPG industry. I lucked out in that Sunset Games was willing to let me use Paypal to order Maid RPG and Yuuyake Koyake, two very unique games, both by Sakaya Kamiya. Neither is quite like any RPG I’ve seen, Japanese or otherwise.

Maid RPG takes the otaku maid fetish and uses it as the basis for what amounts of an anime version of Toon. Like Toon – only more so – it embraces randomness as a path to comedy. Characters are almost completely random, and tend to have odd traits glommed into them for no good reason. Hence when we played the other day my character was a pure lolita catgirl with blonde hair, an eyepatch, and a revolver, whose family broke up and who was enslaved by the master. In my opinion the single most brilliant thing about this game is that players can spend points to trigger random events.

Yuuyake Koyake (which means “Sunset”) has “Heartwarming Role-Playing” as its subtitle. It’s a diceless game about henge – animals with minor magical powers that take on human form. They live on the edge of a town in rural Japan, and the game is about them generally being friends and helping out the people of the town. Forming connections to people is a vital part of the game, and necessary for characters to get the points they need to use special powers or boost their attributes enough to accomplish especially hard tasks. It also has the single best use of controlled writing voice I’ve ever seen in an RPG rulebook; the entire time it feels like your grandma is reading it to you.

Japanese RPGs!

After hearing what Andy K had to say about Maid RPG and Yuuyake Koyake, two RPGs put out by a small Japanese publisher called Sunset Games, I decided I really, really wanted to pick them up. Since they’re not listed on Amazon Japan or anything (unlike the stuff from, say, Enterbrain and F.E.A.R.), I wound up trying to email them directly about it. Shortly thereafter I got a reply, in English no less (even though I’d emailed them in Japanese…) asking if PayPal was okay.

So, today I got them in the mail. It’ll take a while for me to read through them (though the base rulebook of the Maid RPG is only 32 pages), but they both look really neat, and not just in terms of the nice artwork.

Maid RPG in some ways feels like it’s the otaku world’s answer to Paranoia, in that in the game the player characters are maids and the GM is their Master. Especially if you include the two supplements, it takes the concept and runs with it headlong into every genre and genre trope imaginable, and maids can range from a cute girl-next-door to a combat android. Character creation is mostly random, I think to reinforce the game’s general atmosphere (“Let’s roll… Looks like you’ll have blue hair!” “But I don’t like blue!” “Too bad! Blue hair it is!”). It uses many, many tables to bring all kinds of crazy anime stuff into the game.

Yuuyake Koyake feels a bit more artsy, and as I understand it is about girls who straddle the line between human and animal, childhood and adulthood. Even the character sheet is adorable.

More on these as I read through them. ^_^