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Monday, September 24, 2012

Afro Samurai - which rpg?

I really, really like the Afro Samurai anime movies. In each, an unarmored warrior using a katana takes on guys with chains, swords, bows, rocket launchers, and even mini-guns. And he wins. His toughest opponents are also sword-fighters, of course.

In any case, I haven't been able to figure out the "perfect" game for running this. It would have to have fast combat, and while people die quick, the heroes generally get beat up but win. And quite possibly are completely healthy only one day after getting shot to hell (though they usually are wounded and staggering, but still able to defeat any challenger).

Hero would work, but it's way too cumbersome. I suspect just about any supers game would work, in all reality, but none really jump out at me. Gurps might work, if the damage and combat systems were tweaked for cinematic results. BESM and OVA would work, though neither really is a perfect fit. I'm guessing there exists some game that would require very little work to get this right, but I'm not sure what it would be.


Big McStrongmuscle said...

This probably undoes all my old-school street cred, but I actually ran a 4e D&D game like this for a couple years. I had to invent or adapt most of the enemies, and tweak the rules a little, but believe it or not, the system actually works pretty well for this nonstop-action animesque sort of thing. Assuming you don't care about realism, but for this genre, you probably don't want to.

You use lots and lots of Minions, call the rival-of-the-week warriors Elites, relabel all the dragons and giants as laser attack choppers or warmechs or whatever, and use the DMG monster design tables to work out rocket launchers and things. Solo monsters mostly get used for things like mammoth walking tanks and war blimps with superweapons. The real key that made it work, though was a basic house rule to speed up the fights: All enemies do double damage to players, but have half hp themselves. You can double the power of healing surges if you're nice, but it isn't vital.

Main pro is colorful, cartoonish combat and extremely quick resolution once everyone was in the game. The oft-bemoaned powers system actually was useful here for allowing crazy anime sword powers while still paring them down to a choice you could quickly make in your head.

Main con is the amount of prep time and math needed to make characters. You could probably totally chop the skill and feat subsystems in favor of something like the SIEGE engine if you wanted to speed that up.

GrayPumpkin said...

Maybe Savage Worlds? It can do cinematic. I have not played it in forever but the Feng Shui RPG might also work.

Anonymous said...

Savage Worlds dude. The Afro Samurai setting screams Savage Worlds all the way.

You might want to create your own setting rule for heroes to heal faster, but other than that, I think everything you'd want for this is in the core rules. Personally, I'd use Arcane Background (Superpowers) to emulate Afro's bad-ass combat abilities, but there's several ways to do that.

Steve Miller said...

BESM seems like a good way to go, as would the D6 System.

I also think ROLF! from my own NUELOW Games (yeah... Self-Serving Thy Name is Steve) might work, but it really isn't intended for anything but one-offs... although I know of at least one case where it's been used for a campaign.

Dan said...

Hmm, I never thought of 4e for this. I guess it could work.

Savage Worlds is a good idea. It can be a bit wonky to me, but it is well suited to cinematic games.

BESM could work, but that's no real surprise. I'm just not really loving the system anymore.

I'll look into Nuelow. It never hurts to check out a new gaming company (especially by a good writer).

Anonymous said...

What about Risus or Rifts? Two ends of a spectrum there, with Risus you just have your cliches and you roll and stuff happens. Rifts has all the rules for all the stuff you mentioned.

Why use a rule system? It sounds like you just want to play through a story, so why not a deck of cards? Or everyone rolls 2d6, high roll wins? If it's all cinematic and the heroes win and heal up right away, and katana>rockets, why use rules at all?

Dan said...

I like rpg's. They are their own form of entertainment, and much more interesting than "telling stories". If you can't really understand that, I'm not sure why you are reading this blog.