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Voros

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This is a pretty cool video with Andy Kitkowksi, who has translated a number of Japanese RPGs into English, about the RPG scene in Japan.


Some quick take aways:

- It's kinda cool that CoC is the most popular RPG in Japan (discussed around 2:40).

- So Sword World is the most popular fantasy RPG, bigger than D&D, it would be cool to get a translation of that.

- I had heard of Replay light novels before but not seen one, interesting that there is a market for such things although no odder than the growing popularity of actual play videos and podcasts I guess.

I believe I found an example of the CoC transcriptions of a actual play session into video that Kitowski discusses, if you're wondering what they're like:

 
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Dirk Remmecke

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A few years ago I met Andy K in Tokyo when I was there on a business trip. Gave me a tour of his favourite game stores, introduced me to the Village/Vanguard book store chain.
Fond memories.

Some quick take aways:

- It's kinda cool that CoC is the most popular RPG in Japan (discussed around 2:40).

Is there a country in this world where CoC isn't the most popular RPG?
(One in that RPGs are known and played, that is.)

It is everybody's second most favourite RPG, so it probably has more active players than D&D. Worked in the UK in that Arcane magazine readers poll in the 90s.

- So Sword World is the most popular fantasy RPG, bigger than D&D, it would be cool to get a translation of that.

Don't expect that much. Visually the books are very bland, almost art-less, and tiny (smaller than US manga translations). I don't expect them to work outside of Japan, without changes in layout and presentation.

The game itself is not really that different from Western fare, class-and-level based with mandatory multiclassing, 2d6 + stat vs. difficulty.
The main difference is the format (small paperbacks) and price (dirt cheap).

- I had heard of Replay light novels before but not seen one, interesting that there is a market for such things although no odder than the growing popularity of actual play videos and podcasts I guess.

Replays are really, really huge. They fill whole shelves in game stores, and they outnumber modules/supplements for their respective source games by far.
There are even replays for translated games, such as WotC D&D, or GURPS.
Replays in Tokyo Game Store.jpg
 

EmperorNorton

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Is there a country in this world where CoC isn't the most popular RPG?
(One in that RPGs are known and played, that is.)

It is everybody's second most favourite RPG, so it probably has more active players than D&D. Worked in the UK in that Arcane magazine readers poll in the 90s.

This has not been my experience at all in the US. While CoC is usually a known game, I'd still put it way behind D&D in active players. Throughout the 90s I'd also put it clearly behind WoD.

And honestly, I hardly even hear about CoC anymore. I mean, there are a lot of people doing cthulhu inspired stuff, but I don't know anyone actually running CoC.
 

Ladybird

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I've got most of the books that he's translated, and it's interesting getting an eye on a different gaming culture. I'd really like a Sword World translation, even if it is just a generic fantasy RPG.

One day I should run Ryuutama.
 

Ladybird

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It's interesting reading about replays, and how they're so much ahead of us in that sort of thing; ten years ago, Penny Arcade were just starting that up.

Good discussion of women in RPG's at the end.

The discussion of price points and book sizes is really interesting, and something you see come up as an issue in western circles as well, it's something people say about Paladium games as a selling point for example. But for small-book "big" brands, you've got... what, Pathfinder pocket edition, Fate, and... is that about it, nowadays?
 

yabaziou

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Is Sword Word the system which was used to run the original campaign for the Record of Lodoss War ? I might be mistaken since I have read on the Internet that basic D&D was first used and TSR, which was approach for some translation of this in English, was not interested so the creator ended created is own.
 

Voros

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Is Sword Word the system which was used to run the original campaign for the Record of Lodoss War ? I might be mistaken since I have read on the Internet that basic D&D was first used and TSR, which was approach for some translation of this in English, was not interested so the creator ended created is own.

Record of Lodoss War was orginally played with D&D. It later got its own RPG game in Japan based on a variation of Sword World.
 

Voros

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This has not been my experience at all in the US. While CoC is usually a known game, I'd still put it way behind D&D in active players. Throughout the 90s I'd also put it clearly behind WoD.

And honestly, I hardly even hear about CoC anymore. I mean, there are a lot of people doing cthulhu inspired stuff, but I don't know anyone actually running CoC.

I agree that in North America CoC runs a far second to D&D but I find it still quite a popular system and played regularly. I also find that when introduced to newer players they really dig it. I think the core system remains light enough that it plays well. I like Trail of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Dark but still prefer using CoC most of the time.
 

Ladybird

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I agree that in North America CoC runs a far second to D&D but I find it still quite a popular system and played regularly. I also find that when introduced to newer players they really dig it. I think the core system remains light enough that it plays well. I like Trail of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Dark but still prefer using CoC most of the time.
It's a very good game for one-shots, and the percentages system is nice and simple, without much in the way of fiddly mechanics; what you see is what you need to know.
 

AsenRG

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Is there a country in this world where CoC isn't the most popular RPG?
(One in that RPGs are known and played, that is.)
Only backwards places:smile:!

It is everybody's second most favourite RPG, so it probably has more active players than D&D. Worked in the UK in that Arcane magazine readers poll in the 90s.
I hope you're right:wink:!

Replays are really, really huge. They fill whole shelves in game stores, and they outnumber modules/supplements for their respective source games by far.
There are even replays for translated games, such as WotC D&D, or GURPS.
View attachment 4145
When are we going to see that in the USA, too? (Though admittedly, there's already quite a few fantasy books that are replays masquerading as litterature).
 

AsenRG

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And honestly, I hardly even hear about CoC anymore. I mean, there are a lot of people doing cthulhu inspired stuff, but I don't know anyone actually running CoC.
I actually started a thread about it a week ago or so.
 

Dumarest

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Haven't been able to look at your video links.

What's a "replay" in this context?
 

Voros

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I actually started a thread about it a week ago or so.

Yeah I played a bunch of CoC one shots with my wife and a few friends last year too. Many of them dug it more than D&D.
 

Voros

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Haven't been able to look at your video links.

What's a "replay" in this context?

They are books that are essentially edited transcriptions of ttrpg sessions.
 

Ladybird

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When are we going to see that in the USA, too? (Though admittedly, there's already quite a few fantasy books that are replays masquerading as litterature).
Critical Role, Acquisitions Inc, et al; you also get write-ups of games on forums. I doubt there would be a commercial market for book versions, but maybe...
 
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AsenRG

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Yeah I played a bunch of CoC one shots with my wife and a few friends last year too. Many of them dug it more than D&D.
It's small wonder they did:evil:.

Critical Role, Acquisitions Inc, et al; you also get write-ups of games on forums. I doubt there would be a commercial market for book versions, but maybe...
Drizzt, Vlad Taltos, Riftwar saga...:smile:
I'm not sure about book versions which openly state the mechanics, either:wink:.
 

Dirk Remmecke

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For Japanese publishers replays are not only a lucrative product type, they are an important support product for every RPG line. They are also staples in Japanese gaming magazines. The leading RPG mag Role & Roll usually has two replay articles every issue (often one for Sword World, one for another game), in addition to the usual fare (feature articles, game reviews, short adventures).

The fact that they are popular to this day has something to do with their history - they are deeply rooted in Japanese RPG culture. I don't think that this kind of product could fly elsewehere, especially in today's YouTube climate.

Replays are a Japanese phenomenon that I would like to explore more.

Normally, the typical "game excerpts" that are used as examples in beginner RPGs bore me to tears but for some reason I would love to try a long, paperback length replay. (I avidly followed the Dungeon Girls writeups on Storygames.com and I was very sad when they ended. Those were not replays but probably the closest that we got, describing both the in-game happenings as well as player's rolls and out-of-game reactions.)

I would die to read to original replays of Lodoss War (that appeared in instalments in the magazine Computique), as well es the later novelization.

Lodoss War was originally played with D&D. (A few years ago I read the rumor that it could have been Tunnels & Trolls but I asked Ryo Mizuno when he visited Berlin last fall and he debunked that rumor. It was D&D.)
At one point I saw a bad scan of Japanese Mentzer red box D&D character sheets of Ghim and Eto (the dwarf and the cleric from Lodoss War) but that page has vanished from the net.

The original Lodoss War RPG wasn't a variant of Sword World. It was its own system that reminded me of a very very simplified mix of MERP and RQ. Every character had 6 typical attributes (rolled with 3d6 as in D&D/RQ). There were 4 archetypical races and 7 classes. Every character had the same 5 percentile skills which were more like secondary attributes and took the value of one or two attributes, and added a class bonus. For instance, Attack skill was STR+DEX+30 (for a fighter, or +5 for a wizard). Combat was Attack skill minus Defense skill and was checked with d100 (roll under). Damage was D&D-style (polyhedral as per weapon) with ablative armour. Spells used spell points, and every character (even fighters) had them, but I don't know what spells they were allowed to cast.
It surely was a functional system but I remember some weirdness in the attribute bonuses of the races (the fluff text not matching the bonuses or something).

Later Sword World was created, with Lodoss (and the bigger continent that was the setting of the anime Rune Soldier) becoming the official setting. (That ended when SW 2.0 appeared.)
 

soltakss

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It's kinda cool that CoC is the most popular RPG in Japan (discussed around 2:40).

Talking to Chaosium people at recent Conventions, Japanese Call of Cthulhu takes the rules and scenarios, translates them into Japanese, completely replace the artwork and send nice cheques back to Chaoisum. Apparently the artwork is stunning and very Japanese, lots of tentacles and very different to conventional Call of Cthulhu artwork. Must be doing the right things, though, as Call of Cthulhu is, apparently, insanely popular in Japan.
 

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CoC has resurged in recent years thanks to the fantastic 7th Edition. It's very interesting though how big it's gotten in Japan and how quickly it's gotten that big. I hear Lovecraft's fiction in general is gaining traction very quickly there, and now CoC's their best-selling TTRPG.
 

Dirk Remmecke

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Tunnels & Trolls is also popular in Japan - so popular that it has its own print magazine!
MED-BOOK-009119.jpg


Flying Buffalo recently translated content from the first three issues (including the full quickstart rules) and bundled it into a magazine-sized (but sadly not magazine-priced and magazine-distributed) supplement.
Unfortunately they didn't translate the one thing that is unique to Japanese RPGs - a sample replay...

But what's interesting is that one of the two group adventures uses a map style that I have first encountered in Meikyuu Kingdom: The dungeon is not mapped as a physical, at-scale location but as a highly abstracted flowchart.
 

Voros

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Tunnels & Trolls is also popular in Japan - so popular that it has its own print magazine!
MED-BOOK-009119.jpg


Flying Buffalo recently translated content from the first three issues (including the full quickstart rules) and bundled it into a magazine-sized (but sadly not magazine-priced and magazine-distributed) supplement.
Unfortunately they didn't translate the one thing that is unique to Japanese RPGs - a sample replay...

But what's interesting is that one of the two group adventures uses a map style that I have first encountered in Meikyuu Kingdom: The dungeon is not mapped as a physical, at-scale location but as a highly abstracted flowchart.

There are a few 2e adventures that use an abstract flowchart instead of a map, one interesting example is in the underrated Dungeon of Death which is mostly a mapped dungeon but uses the flowchart to represent a maze section.
 

Johnny Blade

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I recently had the opportunity to read and try Double Cross in a oneshot and I quite like both the system and the setting. I think it would deserve It's own thread but in short It's an highschool superheroes game with a good meaty yet unobtrusive metaplot to mine for ideas, interesting factions and an equally interesting premise.
 

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2 i have alway had interest in where tokyo nova and the shin megami tensai rpg my self.
 

Voros

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The Don't Stop Thinking YT fellow also did this one on China. Yet again CoC is apparently the biggest ttrpg in China although it is apparently a simplified BRP. And RPGs are pretty marginal from the sounds of it.

Who knows, the future may belong to CoC.

Note around 12:09 where they discuss possible government censorship around words like 'thief.'

 
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Lessa

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Voros Voros , do you know anything about the Saikoro Fiction series of games? I've heard they are short-lenght PvP focused games that make great success over there.

One of these is Shinobigami, a modern day ninja battle where each player is a ninja from a different clan with distinct powers (jutsu?) trying to sabotage it's rivals. It's being translated from jap by Andy Kitkowsky as per KS.

I've heard of another, "Kill Death Business" , where players are supposedly participants in a reality show and must kill each other or something, which sounded crazy as f*ck.

Those premises remind me a lot of the kind of western "frenemies" games that I like (Monsterhearts, Undying, etc). If you know more about those, lemme know!
 

AsenRG

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The Don't Stop Thinking YT fellow also did this one on China. Yet again CoC is apparently the biggest ttrpg in China although it is apparently a simplified BRP. And RPGs are pretty marginal from the sounds of it.

Who knows, the future may belong to CoC.
I'm actually not surprised at all:smile:.
 

Voros

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Voros Voros , do you know anything about the Saikoro Fiction series of games? I've heard they are short-lenght PvP focused games that make great success over there.

One of these is Shinobigami, a modern day ninja battle where each player is a ninja from a different clan with distinct powers (jutsu?) trying to sabotage it's rivals. It's being translated from jap by Andy Kitkowsky as per KS.

I've heard of another, "Kill Death Business" , where players are supposedly participants in a reality show and must kill each other or something, which sounded crazy as f*ck.

Those premises remind me a lot of the kind of western "frenemies" games that I like (Monsterhearts, Undying, etc). If you know more about those, lemme know!

I don’t know about those but Kill Death Business sounds like it could be a blast.
 

Doc Sammy

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Reading about RPG Replays gives me an idea....

We should write our own RPG Replays and post them on this forum!

Or at least have a sub-forum for replays, campaign journals, and RPG fan fiction.
 

AsenRG

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Reading about RPG Replays gives me an idea....

We should write our own RPG Replays and post them on this forum!

Or at least have a sub-forum for replays, campaign journals, and RPG fan fiction.
You mean, like an Actual Play/After Actions Report forum?
 
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