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Anime for 5e

Introduction

In the myriad realms of imagination, there are many dungeons to explore, dragons to tame, and paths to find. The rules here help you unlock the realms of fantasy to experience them all.

These rules bring a Point-based balance to the standard offerings, and then layers a wide selection of new races, classes, skills, features, powers, game mechanics, and combat options on top of this foundation. What you hold in your hands is the beginning of a journey, so hold on tight as we welcome you to your next great fantasy adventure.

The rules presented here hopefully allow all of your anime and manga-themed adventures, which builds upon the core rules, and then layers a wide selection of new races, classes, skills, features, powers, game mechanics, and combat options on top of this foundation.

Role-Playing Game Manifesto

Follow the rules. Or don’t. Always strive towards maximizing inclusion, diversity, and sensitivity. You can’t be playing wrong when creating enjoyment for the entire group. Should dice rolls conflict with great story development, the story always wins. Moving beyond the rules with creativity and innovation is encouraged. Your interpretation of the game rules is as official as the designer’s intent. Role-playing intensity increases with honest and respectful communication. Trust is an essential ingredient for an amazing game experience.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth

Anime” is the accepted term for animation from Japan. It has garnered much more respect in its native country than North American cartoons have in Canada and the United States. One reason for the popularity of anime is its diverse subject matter, ranging from fantasy and science fiction to romantic comedy and horror. While North American cartoons tend to be written for younger audiences (with a few exceptions), anime includes many shows aimed explicitly at teenagers or older viewers, and this in turn permits more sophisticated storylines and a wider array of genres.

Another factor in the appeal of anime is the ongoing multi-episode story arcs that are a common feature of many live-action TV dramas. A show can tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end rather than simply present a series of disconnected episodes that lurch onward until cancellation. Science fiction and fantasy fare very well in anime. Freed from the budgetary constraints imposed by the high cost of live-action special effects, coupled with a willingness to tackle stories that appeal to older viewers, many shows bring fantastic visions to vivid life. Alien invasions, world-shaking sorcery, transforming robots, super-powered heroes, demonic monsters, obsessively detailed military hardware, and realistic depictions of life in space are all a part of anime. Characters in such shows are often larger than life: angst-ridden, utterly clueless, burning for revenge, or hopelessly in love.

Manga” can simply be defined as comics from Japan, though the offerings are once again much more accepted and widespread than their Western counterparts, with millions of issues sold each week. With ongoing plot lines, engaging characters, and a vast diversity of settings, genres, and topics, manga has gained popularity in North America over the years. With manga achieving mainstream respectability, bookstore shelves often have a separate manga section, sometimes with hundreds of titles available for purchase.

’Anime/Fantasy’ Gaming

Watching anime movies or reading a manga series doesn’t quite provide the immersive experience that some people crave. These inspired individuals don’t just want to passively watch fantasy anime – they want to live it and experience it and be consumed by it. Even playing anime-themed video games doesn’t provide the creative outlet whereby players can live the adventures of their favorite anime characters. An anime and manga role-playing game – just like the one you’re reading – fills this dramatic need perfectly.

What is a Role-Playing Game?

For many people, a role-playing game (RPG) is the logical evolution of the games we used to play as children: “House”, “Cops and Robbers”, and “Superheroes”. A rule system assists in settling conflicts and resolving actions, often with the use of a random generator (dice, cards, etc.) to add an unpredictable element to the game. A game typically involves a handful of players (2-10) and one person to act as the gamemaster (GM) – alternatively known as game master, storyteller, referee, keeper, director, moderator, or by numerous other titles. The players tell the GM what their anime alter-egos would like to do, and the GM describes the results of their actions. The GM is also responsible for creating the plot and the setting for the game adventures and works closely with the players to keep the game interesting and fun for all.

In these rules, players assume the roles of fantasy anime characters. The game system helps players assign some strengths and weaknesses to their characters using numbers to indicate relative ability. The remaining elements of a character’s background, family, knowledge, hobbies, and interests are not covered by the rules and are described by each player according to their choice of character personality.

As a player, you control your character’s actions in the game. They can be likened to one of the major characters in an anime movie or series, working through the unexpected twists and turns of the plot with the help of other major characters (i.e. personalities controlled by the other players). Your character’s actions can greatly affect the outcome of the adventure, but you must keep in mind that every action has a consequence that could be revisited upon your character in a future game session. Role-playing is a group effort, and positive interactions between your character and those of the other players are vital to everyone’s enjoyment of the game.

As a GM, your contribution will be much greater than that from any one player. You must establish the setting, conflicts, and plot of the adventure, as well as all the non-player characters (NPCs) your group of players will meet during the game. Additionally, you must be able to project your imagination to the players by describing in vivid detail the world in which they live. Then, after all that, your game plot must remain sufficiently flexible to allow the characters’ actions to make a definite impact on the adventure. A plot that is too rigid may leave players feeling their characters have lost the free will to affect their own destinies. Should you assume the role of GM, you must possess creativity, good judgment, and the ability to improvise in unexpected situations. It takes extra time and effort, but the reward of a well-played adventure is certainly worth it.

Each role-playing adventure or episode will require one or two game sessions, each several hours in length. A number of episodes using the same characters can be linked together to form an anime campaign. Campaigns require more commitment from everyone involved, but watching the characters grow as the greater plot unfolds makes the extra effort worthwhile. The most engaging campaigns can last years or even decades, but keeping a campaign running for several months to a few years is a significant accomplishment given the busy schedules we find ourselves living.

What Do You Want in an Rpg?

If you ask a dozen gamers what is the most important aspect of a role-playing adventure, you’ll likely hear a dozen different answers. Diversity in role-playing is one of the hobby’s strengths, though establishing a common ground for your game’s focus is essential to help meet everyone’s expectations.

This game was designed to create exciting anime and manga fantasy adventures, accommodating nearly any setting, time period, and player power ranking. The rules are straightforward to use and thus do not include an overwhelming amount of specific detail. In particular, the task resolution and combat system is designed be compatible with the core rules, yet customized to capture the fast-moving nature of anime and manga action. This system’s commonality with “the world’s most popular role-playing game” makes it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced players. Nevertheless, the role-playing interactions between the GM and the players, as well as between the players themselves, are the primary focus of these rules. To this end, the core mechanisms of the game are merely a tool to accomplish this goal.

Exploring these Rules Options

The rules here contain everything you need to start creating and playing anime and manga-styled adventures. It works as an excellent expansion and companion to other as well, offering a unique perspective on traditional fantasy tabletop gaming.

Objectives

Since these rules were created as a hybrid approach between the traditional fantasy settings and dramatic anime and manga adventures, our role-playing game design focused on several distinct objectives.

Provide Effects-based Rules For 5e

The core game is a powers-based system – character abilities are prescribed as stemming from a particular power sources such as magical ability, racial heritage, or class training. Conversely, the rules here introduces an effects-based system to the game. This means that the game rules provides the effects or outcome of an Attribute, and the players and GM define the specific application of those effects. For example, a character might achieve the capabilities of Flight using: wings, magic, anti-gravity fields, psionics, force of will, reality-warping techniques, thermal riding, or many other methods. Similarly, a Weapon inflicts damage that could take the form of a near-infinite number of sources, such as physical trauma, fire, electricity, cold, acid, mental, poison, etc. Adding an effects-based lens to character abilities in 5E provides a new and dynamic perspective to the game.

Offer Point-Based Character Options

Traditional core races and classes acquire specific benefits as they gain Experience Points and progress through character Levels. Some benefits offer a meager selection of options from which to choose, though the range is tightly controlled. Conversely, these rules layers a Point-based system of benefits and hindrances on top of the core foundation that give characters exceptional diversity regarding their special abilities, talents, and flaws. Points provide balance between characters of different Races and classes, and empower the players to direct the creation and growth of their fantasy alter egos in exciting directions with unique combinations. Constructing characters from Points unshackles the players’ imaginations to progress beyond the Level-based approach to character advancement.

Explore Rule Alternatives

The core 5e rules provide a solid rules foundation for playing and running fantasy Rpg adventures. these rules expand on this ruleset by providing alternatives and options to enhance gameplay. A few of the new rules options you’ll find in here include discussions concerning: called shots, tactical actions, combined attacks, critical hits and failures, wound difficulty penalties, and much more. Use what you like, modify ideas as appropriate for your gaming group, and discard what you don’t like.

Not Just Fantasy – Anime Fantasy!

Although these rules can be integrated with any standard high-fantasy campaign, the races, classes, options, and new rules present a game that evokes the best in fantasy anime and manga series. The artwork sets a strong visual tone, of course, and this book features some spectacular pieces by extremely talented illustrators. Also, some story and character elements that are common in anime and manga – but are not as common in Tolkien-esque high-fantasy settings – provide additional flavor, such as pet monster duels (the Monster Training Attribute), characters that attract a swarm of admirers (Magnet Defect), and more. Finally, these rules provide excellent guidance for playing campaigns to help you create an evocative anime-style flavor in your adventures.

Purposefully Omitted

Of course, it’s impossible to replicate the incredibly vast amount of information from all other 5E game books in this single volume. The rules here present a complete game unto itself, though there are aspects that were intentionally omitted.

Details core Races and Classes

This game provides a Point-based re-balancing of the standard core races (i.e. dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.) and classes (i.e. cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard, etc.) for use in your adventures, but does not reproduce the information readily available in the core rules. Instead, this book details the new Race and Class options.

Spells and Magic System

The core rules includes a robust magic system with hundreds of spells that works well for their included Races and Classes. these rules explores an alternative system for magical and paranormal effects (see Dynamic Powers Attribute) that can be used on its own or integrated with the existing core spells. Consequently, these rules do not include any spells details.

Minor Rule Details

This game’s action and combat rules provides the essential information for undertaking role-playing adventures. There are hundreds of rules and detailed minutiae not reproduced from the core rules, since they are not critical to the core elements of running anime adventures. This includes such sections as controlling a mount, underwater combat, spellcasting elements, map/grid-based combat, and more. Of course, gaming groups are welcome to integrate these materials into your adventures as desired. Since these rules approach role-playing as a narrative framework for storytelling – rather than a tactical combat game – much of these small additional details are left to the discretion of the GM and players.

Campaign Setting and In- Depth World Building

The core rules provides exceptional advice about building fantasy worlds and creating campaign settings. Much of what is written also applies to any 5E game, and thus those sections are not repeated here.

Magical Items and Monsters

This game includes a modest selection of companions, monsters, objects, and weapons that GMs can integrate into their games directly, or use for inspiration to create their own. The core rules contain plenty of additional entries that easily integrate with standard 5E campaigns.

Navigating The Rules

Whether you’re a d20 RPG veteran or new to d20 role-playing, knowing where to start can be daunting. We have organized the the rules to align with the information you need to know to get started. As you progress through this guide, refer to the terms in the index if you are unfamiliar with a game term.

Character Basics outlines the essentials you need as your gaming group start their journey to adventure. The GM will need to determine the characters’ starting Level, which will set benchmarks to consider as you progress through character creation. During the all-important session zero, players will work collectively on their characters’ framework, including their strengths, weaknesses, and background details. This is where you’ll be introduced to the concept of Point-based creation, where every character feature – whether a base capability, magical talent, paranormal power, learned skill, innate trait, or specific flaw – is assigned a Point value. Points are not used in the core rules, so this may be a new aspect to your game. Once you read the brief section about game mechanics structure, you’ll move onto statting out your character.

Ability Scores come first. Once you generate these values and assign them to the six Abilities, it will help you focus on the two most important components of your character: their race and their class. Both Ability Scores and Race assignments require you to assign Points from your pool of Discretionary Points awarded by the GM, while your choice of Class outlines its character benefits. You can select from options exclusive to these rules, or with GM permission, you can use any core race or class.

Next, you can acquire various features and benefits for your character, called Attributes, by allocating any remaining Discretionary Points. Each Class Level also indicates the Attributes your character unlocks, which are cumulative with the Ranks you have assigned with Points. Some Attributes can be customized with modifiers, or you can use them as they are written instead. If you assign Defects to your character, you’ll gain some extra Points to spend on even more Ability Score values or Attribute Ranks.

Recording Game Info

In the Downloads section, you’ll find a simple character sheet on which you can record your character information. Document your character’s important game stats as you progress through, including Ability Scores and modifiers, Experience Points, Race, Class, Levels, Proficiency Bonus and Proficiencies, Hit Dice and Hit Points, features, Attributes, and Defects.

With character creation finished, the rest of these rules focuses on gameplay and adventuring.

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Anime 5E: Big Eyes, Small Mouth d20 Fantasy Role-Playing Copyright 2021, Dyskami Publishing Company. Author Mark MacKinnon