tisdag 13 september 2016

Review Time: A look at the Ryuutama tabletop RPG.


Today I wanted to share with you my first impressions of having played the english translation of an originally japanese tabletop RPG called Ryuutama. It was translated into English in 2014 by Kotodama Heavy Industries.

So, what IS Ryuutama anyway?

First, I think we will start with a short description of the game itself. It describes itself as a 'natural fantasy' RPG, and I find that to be a very good description. It feels very natural when you play it, and also because it seems to focus itself more on the pastoral aspects of what is, essentially, a standard Japanese fantasy world.

As a player, you play as an ordinary, mundane inhabitant of the world, and you get to give a lot of input into building the world as well. This can be done before you start playing, or during play itself. It is a kind of shared story-telling, which I quite like, but which I know is not for everyone. It works very well in Ryuutama though, so I would recommend people to try it out. The system itself is also fairly easy to learn and very 'user-friendly'.

The players play the role of 'Travellers', traveling the world of Ryuutama on long journeys, and their adventures in turn feed the dragons of the world. Yes, there are dragons, and they feed on stories. In short, there were the four dragons of the seasons - Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. They created the seven dragons of weather, which in their turn created the 13 dragons of earth. These dragons are responsible for everything that exists in the world. In the game, if you are a magic-user, you will learn magic pertaining to one of the Seasons, as well as Incantation spells. Though the spells tend to focus more on helping your character and his friends overcome obstacles, and be more 'out-of-combat' spells, there are healing and combat-oriented spells in there as well. There isn't much combat focus in the game however, unless you absolutely want there to be of course. Instead the game focuses more on travelling and exploration. It even makes the players manage their resources as they travel, or they could get into trouble quickly.

The mechanics of the game really seem to fit well with the world, which is nice. One mechanic that I like is the "Fumble Point" rule. Whenever a character in the group throws a fumble on his or her dice, everyone in the group gets what is called a "Fumble Point", which they can then use later to enhance another roll, thus increasing their chance of success on that particular roll. It works on the principle that because a member of the traveling group screwed up badly, that character and their friends will now have a chance later on to succeed on another roll where they might otherwise not have succeeded.

There aren't classes such as "warrior", "wizard" or "rogue" in Ryuutama. Instead you can play as a: minstrel, merchant, hunter, healer, farmer, artisan or noble. In short, you are playing as ordinary citizens of the world who come together to travel, driven by an intense wanderlust.

One other thing I feel like I should mention is the art. It is plentiful in the book. It is bright and cheery, and really well-made.

First impressions

My first impressions of playing Ryuutama is that it is a very user-friendly system - easy to learn and to use. It strikes me as a game that could work well as an introductory system to first-time players. The game focuses on story-telling so you will have ample opportunity to tell your character's story in the game. If you enjoy telling stories, if you enjoy taking an active part in building the world that your character is in, and if you don't mind a game where combat isn't necessarily an every-session thing, then you will probably like Ryuutama. It is easy to learn, and easy to play.

In my experience it is fun to play, and many laughs have been had in my group so far. 

I would definitely recommed it. :)

So, where can I find it?

That's easy! :) You can find it at kotohi.com, or over at drivethrurpg.com.

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