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    Default Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    So, as the title says, I'm thinking of running a shonen anime-style game at some point. Most likely PbP and probably using FATE as the system, unless somebody can think of something that would work better.

    As to the meat of the thread, I'm trying to think of important features of the game that will make people think "yeah, this is definitely shonen." What I have so far:

    • Actions should be more likely to happen the more awesome they are
    • New Powers as the Plot Demands and some occasional Shonen Upgrades
    • The Power of Friendship should factor heavily in the game
    • Combat should be able to be resolved in a non-lethal manner without anyone explicitly intending it to be so


    So, if you could help me come up with more, that would be appreciated.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    I've heard of one called Big Eyes, Small Mouth that specifically emulates anime, to the point of listing damage for whenever you get angry and your hair bursts into flame.
    I don't know anything about the system itself, though.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Well, I hear tell that Tenra Bansho Zero, the translation, will be out in not too long. It's a Japanese RPG that is, effectively, a shounen-RPG-in-a-box. I don't know for sure when it'll be out, though.

    FATE would do admirably, just tweak a few things...

    Don't use Fate Points as written. Instead, use Awesome Points like in Old School Hack. Players award them to one another when the players do awesome stuff. Awesome Points can then be spent for bonuses.

    Awesome Points come from a bowl on the table, and the GM feeds more points into the pool as a price to pay for screwing over the characters, such as bringing a nasty enemy in...or putting them in a ridiculously tight spot.
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    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    Don't use Fate Points as written. Instead, use Awesome Points like in Old School Hack. Players award them to one another when the players do awesome stuff. Awesome Points can then be spent for bonuses.

    Awesome Points come from a bowl on the table, and the GM feeds more points into the pool as a price to pay for screwing over the characters, such as bringing a nasty enemy in...or putting them in a ridiculously tight spot.
    So basically Fate points, but awarded to the group as a whole and distributed as they see fit? It's an interesting idea, though I don't know how well it will work with PbP, which is what I am most likely going to be using.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadzar View Post
    So basically Fate points, but awarded to the group as a whole and distributed as they see fit? It's an interesting idea, though I don't know how well it will work with PbP, which is what I am most likely going to be using.
    Sorta but not quite. Awesome Points (stolen from Old School Hack) are awarded by one player to another. The GM doesn't award them. So, they're sorta sitting in a pool, and when someone does something awesome, you can take a point from that pool and give it to that person. They can then burn it later for a bonus.

    Though, you're right, PBP might make it challenging.

    For shounen anime, you could also change the flavor of compels. Instead of compelling Aspects to make a player suffer a setback, compel an Aspect to raise the stakes of the fight: the consequences of loss are even more bitter now, but in exchange, they're getting fueled with more Fate Points.

    The normal Fate Point economy fuels characters through bounce-backs: they take setbacks and then fire back later. Adopting the above change should ideally change it to an escalation economy: they keep going and going and going, making the scope and the potential fallout of the fight bigger and badder, until they burn all their Fate Points to succeed.

    Power of Friendship would be easy enough, too: just allow players to invoke their teammates' Aspects. You might even have them all draw from a communal Team Pool, if they're willing enough to work together.
    Last edited by CarpeGuitarrem; 2012-10-19 at 12:07 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    At least some character types should get MORE powerful the more beat-up they are, not less.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Don't forget blue hair. You gotta have blue hair.

    Also, at least 75% of the game has to be characters powering up.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post

    Also, at least 75% of the game has to be characters powering up.
    Heh. Actually, this isn't a staple of a lot of shounen. Fullmetal Alchemist and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann spring to mind immediately. Powering-up happens in sync with actions, there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    Also, at least 75% of the game has to be characters powering up.
    That's really just DBZ, actually.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Might I suggest looking at Hunter x Hunter for a magic system?

    Outside of being the deepest and most diverse of series characterized as shounen, it's the most useful outside of combat. The significance of determination and self-imposed limitations allows for a player to get that power upgrade at their own expense. It also implicitly allows for emotions to equal asskicking.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Weirdly - now, hear me out before you dismiss me - I think Dogs in the Vineyard might have the most Shounen Fighting esque conflict mechanics out there.

    Specifically, the Escalation and Fallout rules are perfect. Every conflict starts out in a mild, warm-up phase. Wins and losses at this stage don't do a lot to the characters involved, they inflict very little Fallout, but they can still steer the narrative in one direction or another.

    If one party doesn't like their loss in the warm-up phase, they can shout "Fine, time to get serious!" and throw in a huge fist-full of new dice that puts them back into the conflict and negates their opponent's victory. A new set of punches and parries and dodges ensues. But, fighting at this level is more risky, and inflicts more Fallout.

    Then, if the loser of that phase doesn't like their outcome, they can shout "Sure, I was fighting seriously. But now- it's time to show you my true power!" and throw in another huge fist-full of dice that flings the conflict into disarray again. Fallout is super serious here, so no one is going to take it this far unless they really care about what's at stake.

    And then, if the loser of the third phase doesn't like their outcome, they can go into the fourth and final phase, shout "Congratulations! No one has ever seen my true true power!" and throw one last fist-full of dice at the conflict for one final chance, risking terrible consequences for all involved.

    Sure, in Dogs, these phases are Talking, Physical, Fighting, and Shooting. You talk, and then you escalate to a physical altercation, they you escalate to inflicting serious bodily harm, and then you escalate to stuffing a gun into their face, but it's the exact same thing as Warm Up, Serious, True Power, Final Form.

    Oh, and Fallout? As you get beaten up, you take Fallout. Which are both lasting consequences on your character, and also the game's progression mechanic.

    You progress by getting the snot beaten out of you. Winning handily gets you very little, whereas winning at near-death or even losing at near-death gets you lots of stuff. Seems very Shounen Fighting to me. Why do you think they always save the super technique for the very end?
    Last edited by Xefas; 2012-10-19 at 02:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    Might I suggest looking at Hunter x Hunter for a magic system?

    Outside of being the deepest and most diverse of series characterized as shounen, it's the most useful outside of combat. The significance of determination and self-imposed limitations allows for a player to get that power upgrade at their own expense. It also implicitly allows for emotions to equal asskicking.
    This, so much this.

    And now that I know Tenra Bansho Zero exists, I can't wait for it to be released
    Last edited by ThiagoMartell; 2012-10-19 at 02:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    Weirdly - now, hear me out before you dismiss me - I think Dogs in the Vineyard might have the most Shounen Fighting esque conflict mechanics out there.
    *snip*
    *jaw drops*

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    And now that I know Tenra Bansho Zero exists, I can't wait for it to be released
    I really hope it releases in full soon, so that I can point people to it when I recommend it. I've had the pre-release PDF from the Kickstarter, and all I can say is....this thing is amazing. It's gooshy storytelling over-the-top goodness.
    Last edited by CarpeGuitarrem; 2012-10-19 at 09:43 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    It really depends on what kind of shonen you want and more importantly, what power-level you want.

    If you want sports series shonen or shonen like Claymore or Vinland Saga (before it turned seinen), Savage Worlds is your pick.

    if you want game more akin to Bleach, Naruto or One Piece, you should pick up D&D 3.5 and go Gestalt or even tristalt - one side is Tome of Battle, another is something psionic/magical/divine third is whatever you feels like.

    If you want shonen like Slayers, again, pick 3.5 or even better, Pathfinder, which has better Monks, Ninjas and Samurais.

    If you want more powered games, if you want to go all Devilman, S-CRYEd, Dragon Ball Z, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure or Asura's Wrath, pick up Mutants & Materminds or Exalted.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Mutants and Masterminds seems ideal for a One Piece-styled game, and Exalted is pretty much already Gurren-Lagann-meets-D&D, so there's those.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Well, I don't have much idea of what the game would be like, other than that the players should be wandering around and competing with other people to be able to be called the best at whatever they do; sort of like Pokemon without the Pokemon. So they would be training and fighting (or maybe competing in a non-violent manner) and maybe saving the world occasionally as a side note, though not as a general rule.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I really hope it releases in full soon, so that I can point people to it when I recommend it. I've had the pre-release PDF from the Kickstarter, and all I can say is....this thing is amazing. It's gooshy storytelling over-the-top goodness.
    Is the Kickstarter still up? I can't access it until Monday and I really want one of those

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Tenra Bansho Zero isn't shonen-style. It's every 90s anime, all put together into one huge clusterf***. Which doesn't really work well for anything but itself.

    BESM is a dedicated anime system... but the problem is, its mechanics are not really that good. Whatever BESM can do, Mutants and Masterminds can do better. Pick up Mecha and Manga while you're at it. Some of its things are pretty broken, but the shonen-centric martial arts chapter fortunately is not.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    BESM is a dedicated anime system... but the problem is, its mechanics are not really that good. Whatever BESM can do, Mutants and Masterminds can do better. Pick up Mecha and Manga while you're at it. Some of its things are pretty broken, but the shonen-centric martial arts chapter fortunately is not.
    This, so much this. Tri-Stat by itself is simple and broken and knows so, having one saving grace in that. BESM d20 on the other hand is just a pile of garbage.
    Mecha and Manga is pretty good.
    Thrash 2.0 is focused on fighting games, but the cooperative narrative part is based on shounen manga. There are two brazilian games that could be useful (Anime RPG and 3D&T) but both are only available in portuguese and Anime RPG is so bad it's horrible.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    I wanted to do a One Piece campaign in 3.5 before. I still think it could work if you basically say that there is no such thing as magic in your campaign setting, and all people basically use maneuvers like people from the Tome of Battle.

    The moves would of course have to be homebrewed, as would be the devil fruit powers(the devil fruit would of course be completely random). The devil fruit would basically add one extra school of moves, but would make the use sink like a rock. Since none of my friends ever watched the anime, they would basically be the Strawhat pirates going from island to island and battling various enemies. Alas, real life took the opportunity to ever put this into motion, plus the magic items and stuff would be the hardest probably too pull off.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Legends of the Wulin is intended for Wuxia-style kungfu, but one of the designers has been running a very longstanding Shonen Fight Anime set of campaigns using it (and its predecessor, Weapons of the Gods). So that might be worth a look. (You can find the surviving campaign logs on RPG.net - unfortunately, the forums that had the older logs are dead and gone.)
    Last edited by Arbane; 2012-10-20 at 03:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    I think Anima: Beyond Fantasy would make an excellent system for a Shounen-style game. A lot of room to form a superpower roulette-type system for your players, while being more toned down than Exalted or M&M generally.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Shonen anime? You mean like "Touch"? Well I suppose the main requirements will be two characters who are brothers our best friends, one of whom is hard working and professional, the other naturally athletic but lazy (though there's a reason he defers to "little brother"). And of course a girl who acts as a team manager, and whose ability is basically to encourage and comfort the brothers (yeah, she's basically a bard).

    The real trick will be finding a system that emulates baseball games. That's really a neglected area of rpgs.

    Anyway, baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis...that's pretty much it for shonen anime, except for some late-night TV weirdness directed at otakus. But nobody pays attention to that...
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Under normal conditions, I would suggest Anima Prime - it focuses on the direct conflicts, it has powerups, powers, and all sorts of Shonen stuff, and it generally works. However, Dogs in the Vineyard is simply a better system for Shonen Anime. Xefas's idea was simply brilliant, and it must be used.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    I don't think power-ups are even that prominent in shounen anymore. The best shounen manga around (Hunter x Hunter, One Piece) lacks it completely and others downplay it (Fairy Tail). Xefa's idea is still awesome, though.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    I don't think power-ups are even that prominent in shounen anymore. The best shounen manga around (Hunter x Hunter, One Piece) lacks it completely and others downplay it (Fairy Tail). Xefa's idea is still awesome, though.
    However, people taking successively larger risks, and successively more desperate actions - that would be a part of Shonen. It's a part of the sports series, it's a part of the more violent stuff, so on and so forth. Dogs in the Vineyard handles that perfectly.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    However, people taking successively larger risks, and successively more desperate actions - that would be a part of Shonen. It's a part of the sports series, it's a part of the more violent stuff, so on and so forth. Dogs in the Vineyard handles that perfectly.
    That's why I said Xefa's idea was still awesome, yeah.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    I'm going to get up on a little soap box here, as this is an issue that has irked me for quite some time.

    People often refer to Anime as a genre, which I really really don't like. At it's simplest, Anime is simply the Japanese word for animation or cartoons, and at it's most specific, Anime is an art style. While there are several notable tropes that run through many Anime shows, those are mostly just Japanese cultural artifacts and not really the earmarks of a genre.

    Anime runs over the entire spectrum of genres. In no way is Ghost in the Shell in the same genre as say Bleach, and Ninja Scroll doesn't even belong in the same realm as Cardcaptor Sakura. Yet they all get lumped under the broad title of "Anime", which does them disservice. I don't lump Schindler's List in the same category as Duck Soup because they're both black and white movies.

    IMO, any RPG based around being "Anime" style is crippling themselves right from the get go, because they are focusing on a genre that doesn't exist. Instead figure out what shows you want to base the RPG on, and figure out the core engagement of those shows, why do you like them. You can't pick the art style because RPG's are not about art but characters, plot, and imagination.

    And to preempt a counter argument, I know OP said Shonen style Anime game. That's almost as meaningless a title. Once again, Shonen at it's loosest means anything targeted at the young male age group, and at it's most specific means anything similar to what Shonen Jump has even put out, and you'll have trouble convincing me that Rurouni Kenshin and Yu-Gi-Oh! are in the same genre and are similar enough to have a single game system cover them both.

    In short, figure out what you're trying to get out of the game, what type of emotions you're trying to convey, and don't lump a ton of genres out there into one.

    Anyways, getting off of my soap box, I'd suggest looking at 7th Sea and Legend of the Five Rings. L5R is the best samurai game system I've ever seen, it's a little brutal at times, but it's good to look at anyways. 7th Sea is a pirate-esq themed game where drama is the name of the game, characters are basically immune to death unless intentionally killed, and you get rewarded for being awesome. Want to know the kicker, they are virtually the same game system with minor changes. Great material to study for any would be game designer, as there is a lot to learn about design in those two works.
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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    People often refer to Anime as a genre, which I really really don't like. At it's simplest, Anime is simply the Japanese word for animation or cartoons, and at it's most specific, Anime is an art style. While there are several notable tropes that run through many Anime shows, those are mostly just Japanese cultural artifacts and not really the earmarks of a genre.
    Anime is not a genre, it's a media. Shounen anime, however, is a genre. That's what everyone is talking about. There are actually several similarities between Yugi and Kenshin as characters. They are both brains over brawn types and they both have superpowered evil sides, for example. The story structure between both manga is also surprisingly similar - a few small arcs to introduce characters followed by a radical shift in storytelling as a saga begins.
    These series are more similar than, say, Dragonlance is to Song of Ice and Fire. And those are quite obviously in the same genre.

    However, when the OP mentions shounen anime he is obviously talking about fighting-focused shounen anime.
    Last edited by ThiagoMartell; 2012-10-22 at 04:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Creating a Shonen Anime-Style Game

    Anyways, getting off of my soap box, I'd suggest looking at 7th Sea and Legend of the Five Rings.
    NO

    People who try to play Legend of the Five Rings like an anime are hated and mocked by all other players because they screw up the climate the system is for. This isn't a game you should play when all you know about feudal Japan comes from anime.

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