[OVA: the Anime RPG] OVERWATCH: Hanzo and Genji

And we’re also back with more OVA conversions of Overwatch characters! Today we’re looking at the Shimada brothers, Hanzo and Genji.



Real Name: Hanzo Shimada
Age: 38
Nationality: Japanese
Occupation: Mercenary, Assassin
Base of Operations: Hanamura, Japan (formerly)
Affiliation: Shimada Clan

Agile +2
Gear +3
– Storm Bow Attack +3 (Ranged +0)
– Scatter Arrow Attack +3 (Ranged +0, Multiple Targets +10)
– Sonic Arrow Sixth Sense +3 (Ranged +0, Continued Effect +10, Activation -10)
– Dragonstrike Attack +3 (Ranged +0, Area Effect +10, Armor Piercing +5, Effective +5, Activation -10, Elaborate Gestures -5)
Iron-Willed +2
Knowledge:  Yakuza +2
Perceptive +2
Quick +2

Arrogant +1
Code of Conduct +2 Honor
Infamous +2 Master Assassin
Loner +2
Obsession +2 Redemption for killing Genji Shimada
Outcast +2 Walked away from Shimada Crime Family
Rival: +2 Genji Shimada



Real Name: Genji Shimada
Nationality: Japanese
Occupation: Adventurer
Base of Operations: Shambali Monastery, Nepal
Affiliation: Shimada Clan (formerly), Overwatch (formerly)

Agile +2
Attack +3
– Fan of Blades Attack +3 (Ranged +0)
– Swift Strike Attack +3 (Weapon -5)
– Deflect Attack +3 (Weapon -5, Trap +5)
– Dragonblade Attack +3 (Armor Piercing +5, Effective +5, Elaborate Gestures -5, Weapon -5)
Barrier +2 (Triggered by Deflect Attack)
Flight +2 (Unique Weakness: Only for double-jump)
Iron-Willed +2
Perceptive +2
Quick +2

Bizarre Appearance +2 Cyborg Ninja
Code of Conduct +2 Overwatch Mission / Vision +2
Code of Conduct +1 Shambali Philosophy
Obsession +2 Redeeming Hanzo
Wanted +2 Shimada Clan
Wanted +2 Talon
Rival +2 Hanzo

I was a little worried about designing their powers given that their Ultimates were supposed to be stronger than the usual powers. Thankfully the “Effective” Ability Perk covers that. Genji’s deflect is also a bit difficult to mimic and I ended up setting it up as a weird combo: a Trap attack that requires an action to set, and then triggers simultaneously with a Barrier to represent the absorption and reflection of the attack back to the shooter.

[OVA: the Anime RPG] OVERWATCH: Winston


Welcome back! I’m still trying to get my head around character creation for OVA, so today we’re looking at another character from Overwatch, Winston the Scientist!

Real Name: Winston
Age: 29
Occupation: Scientist, Adventurer
Base of Operations: Horizon Lunar Colony (formerly), Watchpoint: Gibraltar
Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

Gear +2 (Jump Pack)
– Agile +2
– Flight (Unique: Limited to Jumps / Must land at end of movement -5) +2
Focus +2

Attack +3
– Tesla Gun +3 (Ranged 0, Weapon -5)

Barrier +3
Inventor +3
Transformation +3
– Strong +3
– Tough +3

Awkward Size (Gorilla) +2
Bizarre Appearance (Gorilla) +2
Code of Conduct: Overwatch Mission / Vision +2
Focus: Barrier Projector +2
Obsession: Restore Overwatch +2
Transformation Trigger (Insults) +2
Wanted: Talon +2

Putting Winston together was a little trickier than Tracer was. I’m slowly coming to learn how to use the “container” abilities like Transform and Gear which give you a separate pool of points to spend at the cost of making them all vulnerable to destruction or dependent on the same trigger to kick off.

It’s a lot like a simpler version of HERO, honestly and a part of me is happy at the idea of being able to build stuff like this again.

Now who to build next, any suggestions? Two down, nineteen left to go!

If you’re curious to check out the system behind it, OVA is available in PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $15.00

[OVA: the Anime RPG] OVERWATCH: Tracer


Hey everyone! Out of a dare, I’m not putting together a one-shot or an RPG session set in the world of Blizzard Entertainment’s new IP: Overwatch.

As to be expected form Blizzard, the lore and backstory of Overwatch is fully realized, and this opens up quite the opportunity to run games in it from a Tabletop RPG perspective. Given the fact that Overwatch’s characters range from soldiers, to scientists to oddities, it seems that a Superhero or Generic RPG would be a good choice.

Seeing that I’m working on this as just a one-shot, I’ve opted to use the excellent OVA: the Anime Roleplaying Game from Wise Turtle Publishing. It’s a neat game with simple enough mechanics, but have options broad enough to pull off all of the game’s characters. Today I’ve put together a character sheet for Overwatch’s “mascot” character, Tracer.

Code Name: Tracer
Real Name: Lena Oxton
Age: 26
Nationality: English
Occupation: Adventurer
Base of Operations: London, England
Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

Agile +2
Attack +3
– Pulse Pistols (Ranged: +0)
– Pulse Bomb (AoE +10, Ammo: 1 Shot -15)
Evasive +3
Teleport +3 (Self-Only)
Pilot +2
Quick +3

Bizarre Appearance +1 (Chronal Accelerator Harness)
Code of Conduct +2 (Overwatch Mission / Vision)
Focus +3: Chronal Accelerator Harness
Focus +2: Weapon Pulse Pistols
Overconfident +1
Rival: Widowmaker +2
Wanted +2 (Talon)

Health 40
Endurance 40

If you’re curious to check out the system behind it, OVA is available in PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $15.00

[Let’s Study OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game] Part 3: Game Master’s Section & Review

In keeping with the beginner-friendly nature of the game, the Game Master’s section starts off by defining the role of the Game Master in an RPG before moving on to the advice. It’s a simple section but useful in grounding new players with the concept and what they’re supposed to do with this game if they’re GMing.

What follows next is advice on making an Adventure, with a focus on key points of the story, and a few neat little practical points of GMing advice such as not outright revealing the source of the problem, and leaving it to the players to discover it for themselves. Again, this might be common sense to more experienced GMs, but it’s valuable for new GMs to have this kind of advice.

NPCs are also handled here, along with a Threat Value calculation for balancing encounters. It’s an interesting system to use, just to make sure that the player characters have a fighting chance since it’s easy for a GM to go overboard when building bad guys.

The last part handles running the game, with sage advice from the author on how to handle plots, adding things that will make people care about their characters and pacing. Finally, experience point gain and advancement is also explained here.

Sample NPCs are also provided at the end of the book, mostly villains that you can just drop into any game you’re running. It’s handy for GMs as a reference as well of what kind of villains can be put into the game as well.


OVA: the Anime Role-Playing Game is a solid beginner-level RPG that has enough flexibility to handle wacky ideas from the anime crowd, while retaining enough crunch to feel like enough of a “game” to satisfy the average rpg gamer.

The system is easy to learn, and feels very quick to implement. The customizability of the characters is a big plus, and the system manages to handle all the bizarre situations of anime gaming without breaking a sweat.

With a clean layout, pleasing artwork, and a host of sample characters to work with OVA is a polished work that feels very professional and worth every dollar. Definitely a must by and a great gateway game to use in Anime and Gaming Conventions to get new players into the hobby.

[Let’s Study OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game] Part 1: Introduction and Character creation

Today we’re kicking off the Let’s Study series for OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game by Clay Gardner. As always we’ll be studying the game chapter by chapter, taking the time to figure out character creation, and maybe think of a campaign or two for it in the process.


OVA is clearly meant to be a beginner’s game. It starts off with a quick discussion on Anime, as well as roleplaying games. Given the target market of the product, this is a reasonable way to start off, as anime fans might not be familiar with RPGs outside of console games, and RPG fans might not be too familiar with the anime genre.

The role of the player and the GM is also described here, as well as a quick description of tabletop RPGs as an activity. With that out of the way, Clay provides a quick sample of play to help cement the concepts introduced in the chapter. Overall it’s a no-nonsense chapter that works to convey the information in as quick and easy a way possible.

Character Creation

Being a generic Anime RPG, OVA needs to have the kind of flexibility to manage multiple genres in a single ruleset. There’s a promise of being a rules light system, so I”m curious as to how extensive Character Creation is for OVA.

Character creation in OVA is divided into the following steps:

  • Step 0: Discussion
  • Step 1: Concept
  • Step 2: Abilities
  • Step 3: The Weaknesses
  • Step 4: Health and Endurance
  • Step 5: Finishing Touches


This “Step” is really more about talking as a group to come up with a solid idea of what the game is about and what characters would make sense in the context of the game. I’m glad that this was called out as it’s an “obvious” step that tends to be forgotten. I’ve been in more than a few games where an anime game was pitched and we got characters that made no sense when put together.

For the purposes of this article, I figure that I’d like to make a character for a “Samurai in Space!” sort of game. Spaceships + Katana + Honor and all that.


Before actually putting pen to paper, it’s always a good idea to work with a concept first. Given the idea for Samurai in Space, I figure I’ll go for a Ronin cyber-sellsword, dishonored and roaming the space lanes selling his skill with his katana in exchange for money.

The Abilities

Abilities are a catch-all term for facets that define the character. A character’s Abilities are rated from +1 (average) to +5 (superheroic.) Most Abilities are rated at +1 or +2, with +3 and higher being much more rare. +5 is considered to be very rare and barring certain campaign types, starting characters shouldn’t begin with any Abilities at that rating.

Given the sheer number of genres to cover, the Abilities List for OVA is pretty big, covering everything from “Agile” to “Time Freeze.” I won’t be able to cover all of them here, but let’s see what will fit our sample character.

So, going over the Abilities list, I’ve chosen the following for our Space Ronin:

Armored +2 – Reduce Damage Multiplier of any incoming attack by 1 per level.
Attack +3 – Increase Damage Multiplier by 1 per level.
Quick +2 – Add Quick to Defense Rolls, Dodging, Running, Driving, Initiative and other challenges that require speed and reflexes.

Right, so while this seems a little generic, you can further refine Abilities by applying Perks and Flaws to them.

Perks and Flaws are essentially modifiers that are attached to Abilities to further customize them. Perks add functionality at an increased Endurance Cost. Flaws mitigate this by reducing Endurance Costs in activating the abilities.

Let’s try using these on the Attack Ability. For Space Ronin, I figure it would be neat if he had some sort of super-sharp sword. Because of that I’m adding on the Armor Piercing perk, which increases the Endurance Cost by +5. To help offset this, I’m getting the Weapon perk, which represents that the attack is actually his sword, which offsets it by -5, bringing the balance to zero.


The other half of the equation in OVA are Weaknesses. These are essentially anti-abilities. They also define your character by the things that they’re not good at, or suffer a disadvantage from.

For the sake of balance, the default mechanics of OVA prefer to go for cancelling out all Weaknesses with Abilities to come up with a result of 0 if you add them all up. Given that I have 7 points in Abilities, I’ll need an equal number of Weaknesses.

Hatred: The Cosmic Shogunate 2 – Due to his history, our Space Ronin has a deep hatred for the Cosmic Shogunate. He’s barely able to keep himself in check, and will most likely get in trouble if kept in the presence of any of the Shogunate’s people for too long.
Infamy 2 – Being a Ronin makes him pretty disliked in the Shogunate, and many want our Space Ronin dead.
Outcast 3 – Not only is he wanted by the authorities, people largely treat our Space Ronin as little more than a common bandit (which to be fair, he is)

Health and Endurance

Starting characters begin with a Health and Endurance Score of 40 to begin with, unless they take further Abilities or Weaknesses the modify this value.

Finishing Touches

This is essentially where you customize the character by filling in the details like appearance, names, and motivations.

I think I do need to call out that the Attack Ability isn’t just one attack. The rules allow for making a suite of attack, all of which have the same Damage Multiplier, but may be different based off the Perks and weaknesses applied.

For example, our Space-Ronin has one attack right now that is defined as an armor-piercing sword attack. I can further add more attacks to the character, each one all having a Damage Multiplier of x3, but representing different kinds of attacks. I could have one be a martial arts strike that requires complicated gestures, for example, or any number of other Perks and Flaws.

Character creation in OVA is very simple, and easy enough to understand. Each Ability and Weakness is a self-contained rule, and is generic enough to fit multiple genres. Given that I’ve not read the book ahead of this, I already put a character together in less than 30 minutes. That’s fast, and admittedly pretty fun given the crazy options in the book.

Tomorrow we’ll take a peek at the Basic Mechanics of OVA and see how they’ll resolve combat. If I have enough time I might throw in a sample combat breakdown as well featuring our little Space Ronin from this article.

Coming up next on Let’s Study OVA the Anime Role-Playing Game

ova logo

Next week we’ll be moving away from the gray morals and super powers of AMP: Year One and heading off to an entirely different direction: Japan.

Well, sort of. Starting Monday we’ll be taking a look at OVA the Anime Role-Playing Game written by Clay Gardner. Being an older anime enthusiast, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a modern Anime RPG in my library so when I saw this on Kickstarter, I decided to back it.

I’ve been a fan of Anime since high school, but right now I’ve been pretty much out of the loop. That said I do find the aesthetic amusing and I wonder if OVA will be the RPG that really gets the feel across.

Most other Anime games have been generic RPGs in the sense that they should be able to handle almost anything. Given all the cross-genre stuff from most anime, this is pretty much a necessity. I’ve heard that OVA is pretty light as far as rules go, so it should be interesting to see how it works.

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