May 25, 2009 2
OK here’s that bonus piece of anime/RPG ephemera I mentioned. This was something that got printed in Dragon Magazine #155, cover date March 1990. It was a letter from Gregg Sharp who is presumably this guy and also writer of Ranma 1/2 fanfic when that was what anime fandom did. ALL THE TIME.
Most campaigns that I have seen fall into the eclectic category, pulling in ideas from a number of sources. With appropriate changes and the mixing of ideas from various sources, this is perfectly reasonable. A source of ideas available at SF conventions (at the coasts at least) has largely been neglected, which is a pity since a visual medium helps game play.
This is the anime (or Japanimation or Japanese animation) room, where a number of films and series are being subtitled in English by fan groups here in the States. Not all are translated, but there is usually a translator in the room to explain the more difficult sequences. Here are a few anime movies that are likely to be shown at
conventions, with notes on useful, game-related material they contain:
Totoro of the Neighborhood: This one has three kinds of non-undead ghosts and a druid ceremony.
Lupin III: Some of the nastiest traps, hidden clues, and bizarre treasures that an adventurer could find are found in this one.
Urusei Yatsura: This one contains particularly nasty curses, bizarre supernatural creatures, a few magical items, and the sorts of problems that result when a genielike creature tries to be helpful (but whose competence is not all that she thinks it is). Plotlines can be found herein for R. Talsorian’s TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE game.
City Hunter: Though the plotlines are more in the line of a TOP SECRET/S.I. campaign, some are adaptable to AD&D game settings.
Supernatural Beast City: This movie is usually shown after midnight, as it is not family fare. Look for bizarre monsters and spells.
Dragonball: With four movies and two TV series, this has quite a few usable plotlines. The magic spheres in the title are a natural for a long-term plotline in AD&D games, as are a number of the spells, magical items, martial-arts techniques, and NPCs.
Saint Saeya: This one contains hundreds of new spells, magical items, and NPCs, with advice on “How to Kill Waldorf.” The series involves such things as the Greek gods and the Ring of the Nibelung, things with which many AD&D game players are familiar.
Dagger of Kamui: A few subtitled versions are out now, because a “kidsvid” professional translation altered the plotline beyond recognition. Look for hints on the campaign use of ninja and magical weapons.
Yoma: This deals with the earth spider, ninja, magical weapons, and “spawn of the earth spider.” The plotline is suitable for AD&D Oriental Adventures campaigns as is.
Ranma ½: Some really creative curses that could force role-playing can be found. Since this is a parody of martial-arts movies in series form, some bizarre martial-arts styles and weapons result.
Dragon Century 1 and 2: A new kind of dragon is introduced with good supporting lore. Really nasty demonic-style monsters are also included. Where can I get a miniature of Carmine?
Miroku: This contains new spells oriented toward the Oriental Adventures approach, a really nice magic sword, and an adventure suitable for the new AD&D SPELLJAMMER set of rules.
Mellowlink, Dougram, Orguss, Macross, Mobile Suit Gundam, War In The Pocket, Dangaioh, Patlabor Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Aura Battler Dunbine, Dragon’s Heaven: All of these movies or series have giant robot designs usable with FASA’s BATTLETECH® games; in fact, many have suspicious similarities to BATTLETECH game Mechs.
Demon Wind Kejiro: Would you believe magical swords made of wood? New spells, mainly nature-oriented, are also featured.
Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, E. E. Doc Smith’s Lensman: Both give some interesting ship and gadget designs, some of which could easily be placed in GDW’s TRAVELLER® or TSR’s STAR FRONTIERS® setting.
Dirty Pair: The troubleshooters could be placed in any setting with appropriate changes, though the essence of both Kei and Yuri should remain unchanged.
Yotoden (trans. “Legend of Magic Sword”): The entire series of three videos can be used as a set of adventures for AD&D Oriental Adventures games without changes, or with only minor changes as a “mainline” AD&D game. The saga has a number of magical weapons, gruesome monsters, interesting NPCs, and spells. Some of the spells used in the videos correspond to existing AD&D game spells, such as Ryoan’s use of a dispel evil spell in the first installment
What is hilarious is that this fairly innocuous letter still managed to get at least two responses, both complaining that he seemed to be suggesting the mecha shows mentioned stole from BattleTech (the “suspicious” comment could equally apply to BattleTech). The second even moaned that these weren’t the most common shows that got screened sci-fi conventions and that he should have mentioned Macross, Megazone 23 Parts 1, 2 and 3 (was this shown a lot at US cons in the late 80s/early 90s?) and of course Bubblegum Crisis. It wouldn’t be a rabid 1991 anime fan without BGC!