Anthropos Games, the fine folk who created the Early Dark RPG have just released the first glimpse of their upcoming anime-inspired RPG, Mazaki no Fantaji in the form of a free to download Quickstart file that you can grab from DriveThruRPG.
I’ve downloaded the file and I’m going through it at the moment to see what it’s about. According to the file the mechanics are simple in theory, but are robust enough to be able to simulate and encourage anime-style play. AS for what that means, I’m coming from the point of view that anime-inspired RPGs ought to be cinematic, with high-flying feats and crazy stunts mixed with a lot of melodrama.
At first glance the look and feel reminds me a bit of Avatar: the Last Airbender, which is always a good thing. The setting, called the Nopo Continent, is given a quick sketch in the Quickstart, highlighting three major peoples of the setting: the Emishi farmers, the bureaucratic state of Guanxi, and the invading Andhuran raiders, masters of the strange flying technology inherent to the setting.
From there the quickstart moves on towards a discussion of Combat Tiles, which are the heart of Mazaki no Fantaji’s mechanics. There are four tiles in the system: Characters, Obstacles, Themes and Conditions.
- Character Tiles are essentially character sheets, which are used by Player Characters, Villains and recurring monsters.
- Obstacle Tiles represent the various challenges in the game, from traps, obstacles, monsters and hazards of the scene.
- Theme Tiles are an emotional cue, that dictate the mood of a Scene. When player characters are encouraged to take actions that are aligned to the Theme of the Scene.
- Condition Tiles represent ad hoc situations that arise in a scene that can serve as snares that can take away from a character’s momentum in a Scene. Likewise players may use Conditions to do the same to their opponents.
These four tiles all interact with an in-game resource known as Drama. Mazaki no Fantaji is a game that works with the conceit that the Characters and Obstacles utilize Drama by playing to their traits and the relevant Themes of a scene to generate Drama or a Condition.
Drama is then spent on “attacks” which are actions that spend Drama in order to apply Damage or a Condition to a target.
Conditions are important in this regard as they can be used to sap an opponent of their Drama Tokens, which in turn make their attacks weaker or less capable.
I have to admit that the system for Mazaki no Fantaji is pretty interesting. The idea of working on adding complications first before firing off all accumulated Drama to deal damage resembles the combat system used in Final Fantasy Dissidia, and I think it has strong potential.
One other thing to note is that the system is applicable to both social and physical combat. I can set a scene with the players running up against a shrewd mastermind in a court scene with various social Obstacles and Themes as easily as regular combat and it will still work.
There’s a lot of promise to Mazaki no Fantaji, and while I feel that the Quickstart could use a little more setting information. Definitely looking forward to seeing the full version.
If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, the FREE Mazaki no Fantaji Quickstart is available on DriveThruRPG:
If you like what you see and want to see it come to life, do support their Kickstarter campaign over at: