Friday, January 7, 2011

Open Friday: Non-English RPGs

Yesterday, I received a copy of the Brazilian old school RPG, Old Dragon, in the mail, about which I'll be talking once I've had a chance to look at it more carefully (and look is all I'll be able to do, since I can't read Portuguese). That reminded me of a point often discussed in the comments to many posts, namely that the roleplaying hobby is much larger than its English-language part. I'm personally most familiar with French RPGs (since it's a language I can read), being very fond of the historical game Miles Christi, for example.

There are undoubtedly a vast number of other games I've never even heard of, let alone had the chance to read. So, for today's Open Friday, post about interesting and unusual roleplaying games in languages other than English. I'd prefer to hear about original non-English RPGs rather than licensed translations of existing game, but, if there's something particularly noteworthy about a translated edition, that's fair game too.

54 comments:

  1. I'd like to mention Dungeonslayers, you reviewed an older edition English translation at my request. But the new edition is being highly reviewed as the best German RPG and it's free too.

    Website here: http://dungeonslayers.de/

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  2. You know (or you may not) from my comments and blog that I am all over Japanese tabletop RPGs. Meikyuu Kingdom, Yuuyake Koyake, Wares Blade, Meta Head, Sworld World, Alshard and so many more.

    Check out http://www.j-rpg.com/talk/

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  3. In the first version of the German game das Schwarze Auge, if a character wanted to cast a spell the player had to say the correct magic words.

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  4. The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge) is a german RPG first published in 1984. It was the most successful role-playing game on the German market, leaving all contenders behind in terms of sales (even D&D). In France, it earned some success by being published in a « Chose your own adventure » books you could find at the general store. The character was called “hero” (in the “protagonist of a story” sense).and was defined by five “qualities”: courage (Mut), cleverness (Klugheit), charisma (Charisma), agility (Gewandheit) and might (Körperkraft) determined by 7 + 1D6 (8–13). The player can choose five different character types (classes): adventurer, warrior, dwarf, elf and mage. All characters can be adventurers; there are attributes conditions to access the other types (e.g. a warrior must have at least 12 in courage and in strength). Actions were resolved with D- and D20,
    My second favorite rules was the spell casting system: each spell had a faux-latin formula (CLAUDIBUS CLAVISTIBOR!). To cast the spell, the player had to speak the formula without peeking on his character sheet.
    My first favorite rule: dwarf characters were able to “smell” the presence of hidden gold or treasures and the player and referee could engage in a game of “warmer, colder” to find it.
    An English version of the 4th edition exists in English, but it is very different from the first edition, with lots and lots of classes and a convoluted skill system who would pit Danjerous Journeys to shame (and dwarves cannot smell gold anymore!)

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  5. @ anarchist: damn, you have beaten me on the DE!

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  6. In portuguese we have Tagmar, the first brazilian RPG (launched at the begin of the 90’s): a classic fantasy world with a system that reminds a little of Marvel Super Heroes (from TSR), albeit with some innovations, like an abstract Hit Point system over the game's traditional lethal wound system. These hit points are called ‘Heroic Factor’ (or ‘Conan Factor’, as most brazilians fondly call it) and have a dramatic nature. Tagmar today is available on the Internet as an open game (Tagmar 2).
    The most original RPG here is ‘Desafio dos Bandeirantes’ (‘Challenge of the Bandeirantes’). ‘Bandeirantes’ were the brazilian trailblazers, members of the ‘Bandeiras’, explorer and slavers groups responsible for discovering and charting the wilderness of South America (and what is today Brazil). The RPG is based on more romantic notion of the ‘bandeirantes’ (they’re an excellent excuse for adventurer parties) and details a mythic version of Brazil called ‘Terra de Santa Cruz’ (Land of the Holy Cross, one of the titles given to the New World by portuguese sailors) and includes local (and european) legends. The game system was a total mess, taking the worst aspects of BRP and mixing it with a race and class system. The setting was excellent and there’re still lots of fans here waiting for a revised edition.
    There’re other national RPGs, like the BRP stepchildren ‘Arkanun’ and ‘Trevas’; ‘Era do Caos’ , a modern game based on urban horror and local legends; the generic system OPERA; among others…
    English RPGs (translated) were always the majority: specially D&D/d20 and World of Darkness.

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  7. Noteworthy about German translations:

    The first professionally published RPGs were all translated/written by the same guy: Ulrich Kiesow. First he translated Tunnels & Trolls, followed by (Mentzer) Dungeons & Dragons. The D&D translation he did with publisher A in mind, but publisher B placed a higher bid for the license, so he sold his work to the winner. Then publisher A asked Kiesow if he could design an original game in the same vein, and Das Schwarze Auge was born, which is still the most successful RPG in Germany.
    (The funny spell rules anarchist mentioned above were "remnants" from the T&T connection. An English retroclone of DSA1 can be found here: The All-Seeing Eye.)

    The most noteworthy original game from Germany is (IMO) PP&P.

    In the 90s there was a small beer & pretzel RPG called, Plüsch, Power & Plunder ("plush, power & plunder"), in which the characters were dolls, teddy bears or similar toys which suddenly became sentient.
    For a brief time it was everybody's most favourite "second system". The first adventure module, "Big Shop Tango", was widely played and known, in an almost "Keep on the Borderland"-kind of way. The plot was simple: The animals awoke in a shop window and wreaked havoc in a closed shopping mall, while they tried to escape the guard and his vicious dog.

    (Now that I think of it, it would make a nice Toy Story RPG...)

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  8. Kult. Sweden's seminal contribution to modern horror RPGs. It basically filled the (virtually absent, save for Cthulu NOW[80's -90's Update for Call of Cthulu])niche of contemporary psychological/body horror games. It predates 2nd Edition of Chill, updating that game to the modern day. Noted for exploring the depths of social alienation in the modern world, the terror of demonic possession, and the indifference of an uncaring universal creator(the Demiurge; not seen much in RPGs to this point).

    There was of course, the inevitable controversy over the games themes, accompanied by headline news of a few people losing their minds and committing suicide/killing someone. Like D&D's Satanic Panic on a much smaller scale, 'cuz it's Sweden, ya know...

    Good luck finding any edition of this game cheap. Which is too bad. It's very atmospheric and gripping, and the mechanics are half-way decent and accessible.If you get a chance to peruse it, you can perhaps understand why it was often considered to be the only competitor to Call of Cthulu in the Horror RPG field.

    An aside: its parent company, Target Games, created the BRP-inspired Mutant game(totally Old School), which 'mutated' into Mutant Chronicles in North America(and elsewhere, I see), with its blitz of RPGs, Video Games, Novels, Board Games, etc...

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  9. A strange trend in German gaming around the turn of the century was a fascination with post apocalyptic themes: DeGenesis (two very different editions), Endland, and Engel.

    The most notable one was Maddrax because it had a very peculiar format and distribution: Based on a weekly pulp novel series, it was bundled and shrinkwrapped with issue 200 and sold at almost every newsstand in Germany - one adventure novel and a (flimsy, magazine style) 64pp rule booklet for a price comparable to a regular monthly Marvel comic book.
    Settembrini has a more detailed overview.

    While the effort was there it didn't make a splash. It was planned that future novels should include stats for the NPCs and monsters (of that issue), plus the occasional map, turning the novel into an adventure module. But that never happened, and interest died.

    (While the first three games were high on mood and influenced by story games Maddrax was a very functional, traditional, 3d6-based, old school game with medium crunch.)

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  10. There are about a zillion French games I would talk about there. In Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas, that became In Nomine in the US, is about twenty times less politically correct than its US counterpart, but I suppose you know about that one.

    Recently, a very impressive piece is La Brigade Chimérique, a game adapted from the comic-book series set in an alt-1930s drawing on the wealth of – now unknown – superheroes of French popular culture (Judex, Fantômas, Le Nyctalope, Félifax, etc.).

    I'd almost flaunt my own sci-fi game Tigres Volants, but it's not the most popular or even original game ever.

    One great place to start looking for French (and other) games is the Guide du Rôliste Galactique web encyclopedia (www.roliste.com),

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  11. There is the French Lyonesse RPG which is based on Jack Vance's novels. I've never seen it but heard it was very good.

    Then there is Dragon Warriors which was written in British. :)

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  12. About Sweden, one game I game across recently is the very weird, tongue in cheek "Operation Fallen Reich", written in English: not-so-heroes of the British Empire against eldritch horrors of the Third Reich.

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  13. @Rudd: the Lyonesse RPG is very hard to find now; it was published by a Geneva-based company that folded soon after that. Sales had not been that great.

    Disclaimer: I wrote a little bit of stuff in that one.

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  14. also, we had some (5 or 6) brazilian history themed "mini-gurps" (a rules light version of gurps.http://www.devir.com.br/rpg/mgurps.php

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  15. Being one of the authors, I'm very happy to discover you like Miles Christi, James :)

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  16. Well, technically it's a translation, but it seemed as if when Shadowrun was dying a death the Germans kept it alive with a constant stream of new material, very little of which got translated into English.

    They seem to be doing the same with Call of Cthulhu.

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  17. Dzikie Pola from Poland. I've always been interested in the Rzeczpospolita in the 17th Century.

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  18. @kelvingreen:
    German Gamer's Support:
    The German gamers are impressive, aren't they? They first came to my attention when the Shadowrun Berlin sourcebook was published based on their contributions. This was actually during the game's heyday. Glad they didn't stop supporting it!

    Cthulu/BRP:
    Luckily, Call of Cthulu and BRP are getting more product from Chaosium(monograms and full-fledged company books) and love from the fans lately. Fan created material was a welcome addition to the gaming table during the drought. Other games should be so lucky. Hopefully, times will stay good for Chaosium!

    Shadowrun:
    Seems to always be teetering on the edge of going out of print the last 10 years, doesn't it? Hopefully someone can get the line in hand.


    Oh, and I forgot to mention Sweden's D&D-esque Fantasy Game Drakar och Demoner(Dragons and Demons), DoD, if you will. Originally by Target Games(Äventyrsspel[Adventure Games])It's an Old School game based on BRP. Hilariously, it only added levels in 2006! And then promptly provided addenda to strip this mechanism out on their forums! Love to see a good translation of this.

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  19. @kelvingreen:
    The same is/was true for Hawkmoon in France (at Oriflam), and there was even an original adventure module (and an unofficial sourcebook) for Warhammer FRP (First Edition) in France.

    Backstab, the French edition of the English magazine Arcane, continued after the demise of its counterpart.

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  20. A french rival of Pendragon:

    http://addsecondaedizione.blogspot.com/2010/10/legendes-de-la-table-ronde.html

    i scanned some images from my electronic copy, as you can see.

    those who can read french language and want to know more about the game, just drop a comment on my blog and i'll be willing to help you :)

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  21. I am not sure that Chaosium is receiving any love for its current support for Call of Cthulhu, since the only consistency in its output is its inconsistency in terms of quality and content. There are a few titles amongst the Monographs, but only a very few. In the English language version of the game, the best material is coming from publishers other than Chaosium and for licensed versions of the game.

    So those of us who love the game and want to see great books in English really do upon the fantastic looking books from France and Germany with envy. Envy and wonder why Chaosium is not translating these books and not publishing books that look as good.

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  22. FanPro did publish an English language version of Das Schwarze Auge in 2002. The basic rules for The Dark Eye was based on the Fourth Edition of the rules and was supported by a scenario and a sourcebook, though if the scourcebook was ever released, I never saw it. Anyway, the game was never really supported and I do not think that anyone really played it.

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  23. White Wolf published Engel back when we had the craze for post-apocalyptic RPGs and settings. The book was a work of art, but its choice of the d20 System for its rules was unwise and the setting never got the support it deserved in English.

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  24. @ALias

    I have a boxed set of the first edition of Magna Verits/In Nomine Satanis, and it is a very different creature to the translated version published by SJG. We managed to play a game of it for a year with only a Collins English/French dictionary to help us. Fortunately d6 is the same in any language.

    Just to let people know, one of our favourite pieces of artwork in it is a demon teeing up to knock over a carjack, only the carjack has a car above it and a person beneath it.

    I also have a copy of Legendes Celtique. That game managed to capture the essence of Celtic society and package it up as a game. It was another game we played for a year with the assistance of our dictionary.

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  25. I had a look through a copy of Lyonesse when Pelgrane Press was publishing The Dying Earth RPG. Our French language expert said that its content was quite strong, and that was after you considered the artwork which had more nipple piercings than the reviled Book of Erotic Fantasy.

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  26. I have a copy of Operation Fallen Reich to review. It looks like an old architectural magazine, and has a character generation system that involves a board and counters!

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  27. Nephilim by Multisim. The French version has a totally different feel than the translated version (not to mention being far better supported and having much better sales), especially since the later supplements that Chaosium put out travelled in a rather different direction (both in terms of actual rules and the fundamental nature of the game). And the 3rd edition is quite different. I always felt sad that Multisim's computer game division collapsed the company (especially since it meant that there would be no more Agone either).

    Speaking of which In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas are also much better than the SJG's In Nomine, which takes itself far too seriously. [Watch Ma vie est un enfer for a good idea how the original game actually played. Or just watch it and enjoy a fun film.]

    The Metropolis Games translation of Kult was very faithful to the original Äventyrsspel edition (as far as I could tell, not being particularly fluent in Swedish). But it's a horror game that can make you uncomfortable just in reading the rule book in bright daylight. Serious psychology there. I wanted to run one adventure because it played on one players psychological insecurities so well. [I didn't, because it did.]

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  28. There are two French language RPGs that I would still like to see translated. Polaris is a post-apocalyptic RPG set underwater that had plenty of support and really evocative covers.

    Bloodlust can be best described as Conan meets Elric. It is a set in ancient times in a land that looks suspiciously like a pre-freeze Antarctica across which mighty warriors stride the land wielding great weapons that fell from the sky. The catch is that the player characters are not the warriors but the weapons, each passing from wielder to wielder as one dies and another is found.

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  29. Another peculiarity of non-English games (or rather, markets) is this:

    Foreign countries are kind of blessed because they have more of everything. Everything that is available in an American game store (or web store, or Amazon) is available in most other markets as well, because so many gamers are used to reading English.

    But on top of that they have their own stuff – adventures, (inofficial) support material for English language games, fully supported game systems, etc.
    In the mid 80s/early 90s wie couldn’t find space in our game store for all the magazines that we carried: Dragon, White Dwarf, Imagine, Game Master International, White Wolf, Pyramid, Adventurer, Warlock, Red Giant, Tortured Souls!, Space Gamer, Valkyrie, (granted, some of them were not existing in parallel) plus our ZauberZeit, WunderWelten, Spielwelt, Gildenbrief, Windgeflüster, Simufant, Drache, Fantasywelt,…

    (And this extends to other media as well – movies, TV, music, literature, newspapers…)

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  30. Unfortunately, the first German rpg, Midgard, doesn't get very much love from German gamers. Soon overtaken by the already mentioned DSA, Midgard was - and still is - shunned for its allegedly cumbersome rules as well as for its default setting - even though I only assume the latter. Midgard IS quite rules-heavy but by no means bloated (like DSA4 or D&D 3.X). Rather, it can be thought of as a German version of Rolemaster, having rules which, for example, differentiate between a character's appearance and his/her charisma. My assumption concerning the default setting is purely subjective, but the shiny, heroic Aventurien of DSA seems to appeal to much more players than a rather sober - some may call it dry - low fantasy setting which leans quite closely - and detailed, at that - to actual earthly cultures. My impression is that Midgard has remained far too geeky (rules-wise and setting-wise) to be rewarded with economic sucess.

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  31. The history of RPGs in Spain is a weird one: most people I know played Rolemaster, Star Wars, James Bond or Runequest before D&D od CoC. Anyway, there were a lot of interesting native RPGs here.
    The grandfather of all of them was the beloved Aquelarre, a TRULLY gritty and dark game of folkloric fantasy set in medieval Spain.
    Analaya was sword and planet game, set in the dying world of Arcturus, with overtones of Barsoom, Athas and Tchai.
    I remember also a lot of Science-Fiction games that I, unfortunately, didn't play (I was in teenager fantasy mood): Exo, Fuerza Delta (both space opera), Atlantis (post-apoc), Jurasia (time travel).
    I played a lot Mutantes en la Sombra (Mutants in the Darkness), a techno-thriller/spy/low-powered superhero game.
    Ragnarok was a very profesional game of horror and investigation, sort of a contemporany Call of Cthulhu, (we regard it as a "serious" game, played only by our older brothers and forbidden to the "kids").
    Oráculo (Oracle) was a mythical game set in ancient Greece: its only supplement was a sourcebook for Plato's Atlantis.

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  32. Hello, there is an Italian rpg named "Lex Arcana" about an empire that never fall. Mostly due to the use of magic.

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  33. > Unfortunately, the first German rpg, Midgard, doesn't get very much love from German gamers. Soon overtaken by the already mentioned DSA, Midgard was - and still is - shunned for its allegedly cumbersome rules as well as for its default setting - even though I only assume the latter.

    Agreed. Suffering the curse of Tékumel somewhat; for reasons almost as historical, and twice over to boot given the reworking of the setting. Somewhat a pity that; even more so with the language "barrier" resulting in very little understanding of overall gaming history vs. just the English-language portion thereof.

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  34. @ mondbuchstaben

    Maddrox looks awesome! Very Gamma World/Mutant Future/Thundarr. I have found two pdf versions that you can still download and I've been running bits through Google translate.

    Both are in german but there are lots of inspiring images and maps. I believe the two pdfs are; the final printed (reloaded) version, and the original, longer, draft. Here are the direct links for anyone interested:

    http://www.maddrax.de/mx-rpg_online.pdf

    http://www.maddrax.de/rpg/MaddraxRPG.pdf

    There are a lot of games on this thread sound really intriguing.

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  35. I've always been intrigued by the Japanese rpg Sword World.

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  36. The italian rpg "I cavalieri del tempio" a fanta-historical game in which the players are knights templar bound to bring on "the great plan". I'm afraid it was never translated though

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  37. Out of curiosity, how popular are rpg's or war games (i.e. mini's) in other countries? Are they as niche as they are here? have they always been or did they experience the same Hesoidian epochs that James has enumerated.

    I've always wondered this, specifically in reference to j-rpg's. Gaming seems to be such a perfect otaku hobby: the obsessive minutia of game worlds, the supplementary appeal to the collector (who must have everything), the mahou & high adventure. Did they achieve any measurable popularity or were they strangled in the crib by their vigorous sibling (born shortly after), the video game?

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  38. Although the JRPG talk website largely focuses on recent JTRPGs like YuyakeKoyake and Maid, Japan had some interesting D&D inspired games back in the late 80s\early 90s. I have both the Basic and Expert rules of the Lodoss RPG, both pocket-sized with beautiful art and rules reminiscent of Chaosium tweaked in D&D's direction. I also have the three companions, all over-sized (i.e. normal North American RPG book size)and brimming with gorgeous art, humorous articles and gaming advice, and terribly written adventures.

    Then there's the Dragon Half RPG, based on the D&D-inspired comedy manga and anime of the same name, where characters are ALWAYS of mixed monster and human parentage, advance in both Hero Levels and Gag Levels, and have a Gag Skill that always fails spectacularly when they try to use it. Pocket-sized again, brimming with humor and art from the manga. The system is a boiled down (and IMHO much better) version of the Sword World RPG.

    As for Sword World, it IS the Japanese D&D. Huge back in the day, cramming the old book stores with replays, supplements, and adventures. Unfortunately, it is such a number cruncher I doubt it'll start any OSR out here.

    That's not to mention the 'replays', or session reports written down as a novel. Very popular out here, and the book stores are brimming with them. Old Lodoss ones even have the Tunnels & Trolls stats for characters in them.

    More recently, Arian Road (spelling) is a new D&Desque RPG with that cutesy, big head anime art. It's rules, however, reflect computer RPGs more, with unlockable kewl powerz on cards, and all traps, spells, and monsters are statted so that cards can be printed up and used. I think it is still more true to its roots than 4E, however.

    The big dofference I find between J-D&D and the D&D I remember is that there is a lot more gaming and DMing advice and humour in Japanese materials. Whereas back in the day in North America people too their fantasy waaaay too seriously (thanks, Tolkien), from the start Japanese saw the absurdity in subterranean monster flatblocks with inhabitants crammed cheek to cheek. Advice was also few and far between back in the 80s and 90s I remember, something the OSR helps compensate for nowadays. Reading Airian Road's advice section, with notes on properly cleaning up the session venue, thanking everybody, being considerate, etc shows how far the Japanese are ahead of the English-speaking ganers in this respect.

    Not to mention the Japan-only D&Dish GURPS setting, Lunar (I have the Monster book and the Gazeteer), Creguian (Japanese Traveller, sort of...), Dungeon Quest, etc etc...

    I am seriously thinking of starting a Grognardia-inspired about J-TRPGs...

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  39. Wow, I remember Creguian!

    I also remember, have read or have played...

    Sword World, Sword World 2.0, Record of the Lodoss War, Legend of Crystania (One of Japan's all time most popular RPGs - Group SNE), Al Shard and its variations (Al Shard is like a Norse influenced Exalted - F.E.A.R.), Arianrhod (Very MMORPG like but unlike another game, it embraces it and doesn't pretend not to - Very popular in Japan - F.E.A.R./Game Field), Road to Lords (Odd mix of Western and Asian, Low Fantasy - Publisher Unknown (I forget)), Glorious Saga (Brutal Sword & Sorcery - Publisher Unknown (again, I forget)), Monster Maker (Wizards are mainly Summoners...reminds me of a medieval setting Pokemon - Publisher Unknown), Blade of Arcana (Very interesting! Game uses D20 and Major Arcana Tarot Cards - Theme deals with Strong Monotheism Church and medieval Europe feel - F.E.A.R./Game Field).

    Science Fiction: Space Opera Heroes (SF/Comedy or at least light hearted - Publisher Unknown), Star Ocean (Based on the Video Game - Square Enix Publishing), Paradise Fleet (Awesome Plot! Mix Battlestar Galactica and Voyager and Get Better Than Both! - Fujimi Dragon), Star Legend (Hard SF/Space Opera mix - F.E.A.R./Enterbrain), MetalHead (Mix Near Future Space Opera, Mecha and Cyberpunk - I own this game and love it - Hobby Japan) Mobile Racer Championship (Mecha meets Speed Racer - Weirdly cool - Spin off of Metal Head - Hobby Japan).

    Near Future/Modern/Action-Horror: Gundog, Gundog Zero (Modern Military - Arclight), Double Cross (Classified as Superhero but more Supernatural - F.E.A.R./Game Field), Ghosthunter (Modern Paranormal - F.E.A.R.), Angel Gear (Modern Mecha vs Biblical Armageddon - Very Evangelion - F.E.A.R.) Troubled Aliens (May be translated as The Trouble With Aliens - A cool comedy RPG that mixes Men in Black with a sitcom feel and action/adventure - Publisher Unknown but I think its Arclight).

    I do loves me some TRPG.

    Japanese Game Battle for the Beautiful Heart Are GO! :)

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  40. I went to a Japanese TRPG convention once in the nineties and was struck by two things:

    1) It was mostly girls

    2) They were ALL playing the same module at different tables. "Char's Counterattack" for the Gundam RPG (which I also have - full size book). They were competing to see who could do it 'better'.

    Don't forget the Magius System, which was both a universal and rules lite system (3 stats, Body, Mind, and Spirit I think) that was put out in the 90s and supplemented with books for different anime titles. There were the Slayers books, the Silent Mobius book, and the Evangelion sourcebooks (3 or 4 - one was a BIG sized NERV sourcebbok), plus others. The Evangelion is he only one that looked any good, as the rest were underdeveloped ruleswise. The Evangelion version split the game into Headquarter Decisons and Mecha Combat phases, and how you performed in the first affected what options you'd have in the second. Also, with the NERV book you had colour cut outs and cards that turned the game into a tactical sim. I sent my whole collection to an Evangelion freak back in Canada a few years ago.

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  41. A game that I have been trying to hunt down is the French RPG C.O.P.S. It has a nice post apocalyptic look to it, and it takes place in my home town of Los Angeles.

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  42. There are some hungarian RPG-s as well:
    Our very first RPG was Harc és Varázslat (Fight & Sorcery). Only the core game was released, and it was unfortunately not a big success, but its nevertheless one of my favorites. It used ten sided dice, and it was based on a percentile system. In feel it was similar to 1st ed AD&D, but simpler.
    The most famous and successful RPG in Hungary is M.A.G.U.S. This fantasy system is still alive, and it had already many editions. Its popularity in Hungary in is similar to the popularity of Das Schwarze Auge in Germany.
    Other hungarian RPG-s:
    Armageddon 2093 Mars: a cyberpunk game
    AUVRON: fantasy game
    Requiem: fantasy game
    Gallia: humorous game in the world of Asterix and Obelix
    Coyote: wild west rpg
    Unfortunately only M.A.G.U.S. survived, the other RPG-s are all out of print.
    Some people play "Kard & Mágia" from Gábor Lux, which was released as a free PDF. This enjoys some popularity hear in Hungary, especially since the old school renaissance, and could be describes as an easier version of D&D 3.0.

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  43. @Christian: C.O.P.S is not exactly post-apocalyptic. It's a near-future (2035) game where you play law enforcement officers in an independent California, ripe with gang warfare and hostile Jesusland-style USA.

    The game was first published with Asmodée but has been re-released by Oriflam very recently, you should be able to find it fairly easily through Web shops.

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  44. @Tedankhamen said: They were ALL playing the same module at different tables. "Char's Counterattack" for the Gundam RPG (which I also have - full size book). They were competing to see who could do it 'better'.

    This isn't so unusual. Tournament adventures were a fairly standard part of the convention scene down here in the 70's and 80's. They are lots of fun, but require you to have a large pool of reliable gamemasters on tap to run them. Especially the post tournament awards, questions, and debrief session.

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  45. I confirm what liza says about D&D not being the entry game to anyone in Spain, back in the '80s. RuneQuest was king then, along Call of Cthulhu.

    Also, I can a few more titles to her list:

    - Far West: self explanatory, kind of "Old School", by the way.

    - Superheroes, Inc.: supers the spanish way.

    - Comandos de Guerra: WWII special ops with the same system as already mentioned Exo.

    - El Capitán Alatriste: Captain Alatriste, our already world famous 17th century character.

    - Almogàvers: writen in Catalan language about an historical mercenary company from the north of Catalonia who fought in the Mediterranean in the 13th and 14th centuries.

    - Tirant lo Blanc, joc de rol de cavalleria medieval: also in Catalan language, based in a famous literary work of the 15th century, a book of chivalry, published in Valencia.

    And I know there are even more that we forget...

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  46. JRPG grognardia-like site would be awesome

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  47. Velaran has already covered several of the Swedish big RPGs. During the 80's this market was huge (albeit on a smaller scale than the US, since Sweden is a bit smaller as a country with 8 million people).

    Biggest of these were Drakar och Demoner. A fantasy game that was at first a straight translation of Chaosium's Basic Fantasy, but then took on a life of its own. This accounts for the biggest difference in RPG philosophy between the US and Scandinavia: here level-based systems are considered generally bad, and skill-based systems are generally considered superior.

    This was followed by Mutant, a Gamma World rip-off using a BRP-derived rules system.

    A few editions of these followed, and Drakar och Demoner became the base line for fantasy roleplaying in Scandinavia. Everything D&D was in the US, DoD was for us. Culturally and commercially.

    Some other noteworthy mentions are Kult, as above, Mutant Chronicles which was a multimedia push to challenge Games Workshop and their WH40k line. Although Mutant Chronicles was conceived for the US market, we who worked on it at first were mostly Swedish.

    As the RPG market sagged, a small outfit released a game called Eon, a standard fantasy roleplaying game with a fairly complex system that managed to somewhat revive (or maybe reanimate) the hobby. It was notable for its insistence on being "realistic fantasy" which generated quite a lot of discussion.

    IMO one of the best is Western, a wild west game. Superbly researched, an intricate and very complex combat and skill system and featuring the shot clock decades before KenzerCo called their Aces and Eights mechanic an innovation.

    Recent additions are Operation Fallen Reich, which I don't know much about, but which is beautiful and Coriolis, a sci-fi game that is as beautiful as any RPG book you have ever seen.

    As I mentioned earlier, for us BRP is the yard stick, and that game's design informs everything that is designed here, either if it is inspired by it or if it is a reaction against it.

    Of note is that one of the biggest advantages the early games had was being in native languages and having toy store distribution. I myself don't believe that the system itself had much to do with it, and slate the success of those early games up as being the right idea at the right time, combined with good business sense.

    /M

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  48. Being one of the authors, I'm very happy to discover you like Miles Christi, James :)

    I had no idea you were one of the designers! Yes, I adore Miles Christi. It's a good example of how I prefer historical RPGs to be written. I only own the rulebook, which was hard enough to obtain, but it's a thing of beauty.

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  49. Dzikie Pola from Poland. I've always been interested in the Rzeczpospolita in the 17th Century.

    Oh yes! I'd seen pictures of this game and wished I could obtain a copy. Of course, no one in my family has spoken or read Polish since my great-grandparents' day ...

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  50. Nephilim by Multisim.

    I could never find copies of the original French game and, since I knew I'd never get the chance to play it, I never pursued the matter too assiduously. But it's a game I was very interested in, as I'd heard it was much different than the version Chaosium published, particularly in terms of its feel.

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  51. The first French RPGs were published around 1983-1984.

    There was L'Ultime Epreuve (Ultimate Trial), which was inspired by Runequest. Characters had the usual standard abilities like in BRP but "skills" were all derived from the abilities without any choice. There was also a goal : the heroes of Lynaïs were supposed to find a way to reach the Last Challenge, the Gate to free the Lords of Balance who had been trapped by the Lords of Entropy. All the "races" were humans but were very similar to the D&D races (e.g. forest men instead of Elves, mountain men instead of Dwarves, plus the mysterious Monolith Men, mystics who lived on menhirs).

    Légendes celtiques was one of the most complex RPGs (except for Aftermath). The basic system was simple (a little like Daredevils or Bushido) but it took forever to create a character (at least two hours).

    Empire galactique was the first French SF RPG. It was very similar to Traveller but it used Character Classes and levels: Military, Priest (= Psi), Trader, Navyborg.

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  52. Would that Google Translate worked properly. When I tried to throw another Portuguese game in there, it translated 3 pages. :(

    Of course, I could learn more languages, but the time involved is far more than negligible. I already know English, German and Latin, with a few phrases in French and Spanish.

    I played the crpg based on Das Schwarze Auge, Drakensang -- and the game seemed fun.

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  53. @Raybourn:
    just to point that "Lex Arcana" is an italian RPG set in Ancient Rome (that might be the "empire that never fall" you are talking about). It's a sort of "Sword and Sandals simulator" :-)

    Thumbs up for the JRPG grognardia-like website!

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  54. Why just limit the putative new website to JRPGs? I'd love to see games of all nationalities represented! There's a whole world out there, people.

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