|This chapter will describe the basic workings of the FARPS game
system and some ideas about how to implement certain aspects
of anime into games. In order to play, you'll essentially need
paper for character sheets (or print outs of the character sheet
that's seperate from this file), some pens & paper, and at
least three six-sided dice (3d6). Or if you're playing FARPS
online via a computer, you could use a dice rolling program
such as windice to handle dice rolls.
Much like american television and movies, Anime has its own unique genres that make it what it is. The below is a collection of descriptions for some of the more common genres of anime. There are many (many) others, but these are the types of anime that this game system is aimed at covering.
Feudal Japan: As the name would suggest, this time period takes place during Japan's feudal age before the arrival of westerners in japan during the 18th or so century.
Examples: The Hakkenden, Dagger of Kamui, Undead Yoma
High Fantasy: A genre based on many literary masterpieces such as the Lord of the Rings, a high fantasy game would take place in a world where knights slay dragons for the honor of princesses and evil magicians wreak havok on the land. Anime has made
Examples: Slayers, Record of Lodoss War, Dragon Pink, and Dragon Half
Magical Girls: Loved by some, hated by others; the magical girl genre always involves a group of cute female characters (usually young) with special magic powers out to stop the forces of evil. Magical girl anime moreso than many other genres revolves around love and the drama such relationships tend to create.
Examples: Sailor Moon, Magical Knight Rayearth, Demon Hunter Yohko
Mecha Anime: This anime genre has grown around the use of huge mechanical robots otherwise known as "mecha". Ranging from small suits of powered armor to kilometers tall super dimensional fortresses, mecha have been one of the popular and widely recognized forms of anime throughout the world. You'll find FARPS' mecha rules in appendix one: Mecha and Vehicles Rules.
Examples: Robotech, Macross, Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Voltron, Patlabor
Occult Anime: Dark and spooky, anime of this genre may posess elements of other anime genres but involves supernatural powers at work. These include (but are not limited to) monsters, demons, magic, psychics, and undead of all shapes and sizes. Aside from dealing with the supernatural, occult anime tends be much more violent than other genres presented here.
Examples: 3x3 Eyes, X\1999, Blueseed, Vampire princess Miyu,
Romantic Comedy: The romantic comedy is based around a group of high school students and all the chaos that errupts from the sticky web of relationships. Anime of this type usually defy all rational thought and physics. The characters themselves are usually martial artists, aliens, Letchers, or (god forbid) normal high school students.
Examples: Ranma 1\2, Tenchi Muyo!, El Hazard, Urusei Yatsura, Futaba-change
Spontaneous Mayhem: A variation of the romantic comedy, this genre is what I use to describe the chaos common to anime such as Project A-ko and All purpose cat girl Nuku-Nuku. Like romantic comedies, they toss reality out the window but spontaneous mayhem anime goes beyond that with bionic cat girls and super strong school girls who do more damage to everything around them than anything else.
Examples: Project A-ko, All Purpose Cat-Girl Nuku-Nuku
Before we go any further, as the gamemaster (the guy that runs the game), you will want to decide on what level of "anime-ness" that you want in your games. We'll call this "the Animeter". There are three levels on the Animeter: Extreme, Normal, and low. For the most part, the level will have an impact on how powerful characers are, how much reality plays a part in the game, and how badly they wreck mecha.
Extreme: This is the level that the majority of FARPS was written in mind for. A campaign of this level would mirror such anime series as Ranma 1\2, Tenchi Muyo, Project A-ko, and so on. In these cases, reality is thrown out the window and totally forgotten. This is the realm of super powered martial artists, over-powered alien babes, and mecha thrashing school girls. Attacks that normally would do killing damage only inflict stun damage not to mention that most characters heals very quickly. Characters do not die! They get thrashed, beaten, tortured, but they'll recover (eventually). 99% of all anime gags can and should be used at all times. Real guns (shotguns and such) tend not to be around much, replaced by hi-tech laser blasters. If they are, totally utterly disregard any need for ammunition. The only time the characters will ever run out is if they botch a gun shot.
Normal: This level is somewhere in-between the road of the two extremes. It is where most anime of the magical girl, occult, and fighting game genres fit in such as Sailor Moon, Devil Hunter Yohko, Magical Knight Rayearth, Blueseed, and 3x3 Eyes. There are the two seperate damage types: Stun and Kill. Stun damage will only cause superficial damage that if the character's HP is reduced to zero they'll be knocked unconcious. Killing damae can cut through the victim's body and if their HP is reduced to zero they will be nearly dead. Mecha are also harder for players to destroy (only energy blasts, energy weapons, or super strong characters can cause any real damage). On the flip side, mecha cause double damage against plush normal people. The Anime gags sometimes happen but not as many are used (the angry female strike and sub-orbital knockout are included among the casualties).
Low: This is the point where anime gags have no influence and the reality level is almost (but not quite) near real levels. Some examples of this level of anime in action include the likes of most feudal japanese anime such as the Hakkenden and the Dagger of Kamui and darker anime titles such as X\1999, Akira, or Guyver that often involve graphic violence. The key difference from normal and low animeter games will be the extended time require to heal damage and how much damage characters can inflict. Since the game itself was written with the extreme and normal levels in mind, it is uncertain how well the game will react with a heavy dose of realism.
In some of the sillier anime series, there are a number of wierd gags that can happen at any time. We'll detail six of these gags- The angry female strike, Collateral Damage, Hammerspace, odd facial expression, nosebleeds, and Sub-orbital knockouts. Most of these are for use during the story and not during combat (save for collateral damage and possible the angry female strike). It might also help to have a copy of the "Anime Laws of Physics", which explains a large number of other common anime gags. You can get it online at:
The Angry Female Strike: One of the most bizzarre effects that pop up in anime is the "angry female strike". This quasi-manuever can used by any female that becomes _extremely_ pissed off at their specific love interest in whatever form they see fit with a visible aura build-up (the most obvious sign of the strike about to happen. Blue is usually the most common aura color but others may be use if the GM wishes). Large mallets, chairs, tables, and otherwise heavy blunt objects being the norm. Some character may also use different techniques, such as electricution or other focus manuevers. This is more of a story effect than a combat manuever but the GM may allow it to be used if there's a good reason. Say, for instance, the male character is teasing the girl while sparring or in the middle of a fight.
Collatoral Damage: When two anime thrash characters (or more) go head to head, there's a chance one will dodge out the way. When this happens, something winds up getting destroyed in the process. This includes walls, areas of concrete, parked vehicles, trees, extras in the background, ect. It's a good idea to remember the area around the scene. Some famous characters are known for picking up telephone poles or other heavy objects and tossing them at their opponent. Project A-ko and All natural cat-girl Nuku Nuku are infamous for their uses of extensive collateral damage. In the first Project A-ko movie, A-ko and B-ko all but level their school after B-ko unviels her new bikini power armor.
Hammerspace: a common element of Rumiko Takahashi's romantic comedies (Ranma 1\2 and Ursei Yatsura, specifically), Hammerspace is the unofficial explanation of where angry girls pull out large mallets from seemingly nowhere just as they perform the "angry female strike". This dimension exist seperately from all physical law and allows people to store an unlimited number of objects that may be 'recalled' at anytime they seem fit. Apparently, only non-living matter (weaponry and other junk) can be stored in hammerspace. How this exactly works into FARPS is uncertain. It's possible to have a specific advantage or manuever for controlling hammerspace or simply leave it as a story concept. Some martial art styles, particularly the art of hidden weapons, are capable of true mastery over hammerspace to the point where they can hide huge arsenals of weaponry in their robes. A variation of hammerspace, sub-space, is an occassional plot toy in the Tenchi Muyo! series. Through use of sub-space, the series' resident mad scientist Washuu has been known to construct whole rooms in sub-space that connect to various doorways in Tenchi's house. The best two examples include the bathroom and Washuu's lab. The house's bathroom, when opened by a woman, will lead to a luxurious hot springs but while it appears as a regular bathroom to any male. Then there's Washuu's lab which is connected to what should be a closet in the living room. There's no telling how big the lab is, but it seems immense- possibly bigger than the Masaki home itself.
Odd Facial Expressions: More common in Manga than anime (maybe), some characters are known to pull off extremely bizzarre expressions depending on what emotion they are suffering from at that time that defy all forms of physics. Some examples include the eye bulge (suprise- when the characters eyes double in size), 'the big sweatdrop' (uneasiness- often marked by a large sweatdrop appearing behind the character's head), and the dreaded 'fire hydrant wail' (when characters cry large amounts of water. Also known as the full Soun Tendo Wail (TM)). The mouth of most anime characters are very flexible- The louder they speak (or scream), the bigger their mouth becomes. This seems to be connected to age, as the younger the character the larger their mouths become when screaming. Then again, this could due to children being innately obnoxious.
Nosebleeds: a gag that pops up whenever a virgin male teenager gets a glimse of nude female flesh or a female in a suggestive pose or clothing (panty shots or lingerie count). In such instances the male has a nosebleed for no reason. Nosebleeds may also happen if the male is thinking naughty sexual thoughts or having a naughty day dream. In any FARPS game set at extreme on the animeter, There is a base 80 minus their charisma stat% chance the character will spout a nosebleed. Those with the frequent nosebleed disadvantage from chapter three can even black out from the lack of blood. ^_^
The Sub-orbital Knockout: A well-known gag used in Ranma 1\2, If a character sustains an attack that does more than their stamina stat times 2, they are flung into the lower stratosphere by the power of the attack. The character doesn't take any extra damage when they re-enter orbit, but they are temporarily out of the game while in flight (usually until the next scene unless they are important). GMs may want to use this as a story gag like the Angry Female Strike rather than make it a factor in combat situations.
Sometimes there's always a chance to succeed or fail at any given task. To resolve this, FARPS uses a dice roll to decide the outcome. In order to succeed at any particular task, the character involved must roll a 3d6. Each character, when created, have certain stats (also known as attributes, ability scores, or characteristics) and skills (a talent the character has learned or practiced). Skills are rated from 6 to 18 while stats can go as high as 20. When a character attempts to perform a skill, they have to roll below their skill rating to succeed. Stats act as a modifier for skills, offering a bonus (or penalty) depending on how high the rating of said stat is to the dice roll. Bonuses subtract from the dice roll while penalties add to it.
Example: Hiro is climbing up a mountain. He has an Muscles stat of 14 (-2 bonus) and an athletics skill of 14. Since it's just a normal mountain with nothing hindering his moving up the mountain, the GM decides that there won't be any difficulty modifiers. If Hiro can score lower than a 16 (16-2=14) on on his 3d6 roll, then he'll have no trouble climbing up to the top of the mountain. If he fails...
Of course, it's not always easy to climb up a mountain. You have to consider the surface being climbed, the weather, and so on. Thus, we have difficulty modifiers.
Difficulty Modifier Easy -1 Normal +0 Hard +1 Difficult +2 Really diff. +4 Start prayin' +6
There is also one other kind of roll, although it's not all that different- it's called an "opposed roll". It is often used when two characters go head-to-head. The only difference is both characters roll seperately with the character getting the lower roll wins. This is often used to determine the success of attacks.
Sometimes, you'll wind up rolling one of the two extremes on a 1d10- either a 1 or a 10. When that happens, you have rolled either a botch (1) or a critical success (10). The effects of both ultimately are up to the GM. A botch is an extremely bad automatic failure. Not only do you fail the roll, you really screw up badly. For instance, in the climbing example used earlier Hiro might slip and have to make another test but with a penalty due to hurting his arm in the slip. The effects should be enough that the character will be extremely hampered, embarrassed, or put in danger for the next round but not enough that they could be killed just because of a lousy dice roll. Critical successes are similar but work the opposite way around- they're automatic successes that come with something extra. In combat, this usually means the attack does 1.5 times as much damage as it was supposed to do. In non-combat situations, the results vary heavily. Anything that takes a long amount of time to perform can be done by half the normal amount of time it would take. Hiro, for instance, might have found some better ledges to climb up on and can get to the top faster.
FARPS uses plenty of different terms for its game system just like that of any other pen & paper RPG system. This glossary includes a listing of all the various terms that will be thrown around in the later chapters.
Agility (AGI): One of the six basic stats. This stat governs the character ability to move fast and react to danger. It is often used for any physical attack or where manual dexterity is important.
Animeter: A scale used to measure the reality levels of a campaign and how much they are effected by the various quirks common to many anime series.
Armor: This 'stat' is dependant on the quality of the character's armor. By wearing heavy protective armor, the amount of damage they sustain by an enemy attack is decreased by the character's armor rating.
Character Points (CP): A pool of points that is used to buy skills and equipment during character creation.
Charisma (CHA): One of the six basic stats. The character's overall social charm, appearance, and sexual appeal to the opposite sex.
Difficulty Number (DN): The number that the player must roll higher than in order to succeed.
Experience Points (XP): After each adventure, each players is rewarded with a certain number of experience point. By spending these, the play may increase the ratings of their stats, skills, powers, or buy new equipment.
Hit Points (HP): A secondary stat, Hit Points govern how much damage a character may take before losing conciousness. At 0 HP, they're out cold.
Intelligence (INT): One of the six basic stats. The character's overall IQ, smarts, and ability to notice things around them. A must for any would-be mad scientists.
Power: A generic term that refers to supernatural powers as a whole- be they magic, psionics, super powers, or something else.
Power Points (PP): A secondary stat calculated as 5 x willpower. Each time a character uses one of their powers- be it energy blasts or telepathy- it requires the expenditure of Power Points. When a character cannot meet the required amount of PPs, they cannot use that power until they rest.
Reaction (REA): A secondary stat calculated from Agility + Intelligence\2. The Reaction stat is used to figure out who will gain initative first in a combat situation by rolling 1d10 + reaction. Whoever gets the highest initative goes first.
Skill: A special ability that signifies practice and talent when stuck in a certain situation. Skills act as bonuses to dice rolls to increase the character's chance of success when required.
Stamina (STA): One of the six basic stats. The character's ability to take damage and live it as well as the strength of their immune system to resist foreign substances like poisons and diseases.
Stat: A rating all characters have them rate their strength, agility, stamina, intelligence, willpower, and charisma.
Strength (STR): One of the six basic stats. The character's raw physical ability. Strength determines how much damage a character do with a physical attack or how much weight they could lift. Advanced lifting rules (how much a character can lift and how much it hurts to smacked by really heavy objects) will be included in the combat chapter later on.
Willpower (WP): One of the six basic stats. The overall power of the character's spirit. Willpower is often used in instances where the character is being seduced or manipulated. For any would-be magician or psychic, it also represents how strong they are with their given powers.