トラベラー “Traveller” (1984) is the first of the many Japanese TRPGs to be translated from English. The translator in this case is Hitoshi Yasuda who used the 1983 Starter Edition as the source. The interior illustrations of the English version are preserved in the JV, but for box lid art Hobby Japan turned to Naoyuki Kato, who puts the GDW illustrators to shame I think.

My introduction to Traveller was via the 1977 box set, and frankly, after reading the rules I had no idea how to run an adventure. The Starter Edition seemingly acknowledges the problem by including two introductory adventures: “Mission to Mithril” and “Shadows”, both of which had been published previously as halves of digest-sized double adventures.

In Mission to Mithril, the need for ship repairs compels the players to do reconnaissance for a government functionary who is the lone inhabitant on the ice planet Mithril. The adventure is a hex crawl with a 7 phase procedure for exploring the planet. The map is drawn on an icosahedral net, allowing the players to travel over the poles if they desire.

In Shadows the players are stuck on a planet again. This time they must infiltrate a pyramid and disable an energy cannon so they can take off without getting shot down. Which makes the adventure a dungeon crawl this time.

Box contents:
• Rules booklet, letter sized perfect bound softcover 98 pp.
• Charts and Tables, letter sized saddled stitched softcover 24 pp.
• The Spinward Marches, 17″ x 22″ map
• Mission to Mithril / Shadows, letter sized saddle stitched booklet 24 pp.
• Mission to Mithril player handout, letter sized sheet
• Shadows player handout, letter sized sheet
• Mithril / Pyramids map, letter sized sheet

He’s a Classmate!

Yesterday I acquired a novelty called あいつはクラスメート! “He’s a Classmate!” (2007). I was amused to see that if I “undress” the book by taking off the dust jacket, the girls on the cover become en déshabillé as well.

In this game you play a student at Himenogawa High School. If you are unaware of what a Japanese high school is like, consult any recent slice of life anime. Your character’s class can be hero, heroine, cultural club member, athlete, or student council member. You also choose a subclass from one of bookworm, otaku, celebrity, “hot blood”, upperclassman, underclassman, or delinquent. Looking at the first page of your character sheet, you see a box for HP, so combat must be a possibility.

The rulebook contains a sample session (albeit a slightly artificial one IMO). In it a character offers to prepare a bento box lunch for her upperclassman. The GM asks the player to make a skill check to see how well it turns out. She refers to her cooking skill on the 2nd page of her character sheet, rolls 2d10, and since both are below her skill level she discovers that her bento box is a huge success.

The character sheet contains a personal data section with height, weight (female characters always put question mark here it seems), size (which for females is bust-waist-hip measurements in cm), birthdate, zodiac sign, blood type, hobby, club affiliations, and pocket money. Anyway, if you want to run some romantic storylines when you get together with the guys on game night, this might be the game for you.

B5 perfect bound softcover with dust jacket, 176 pp.

Comptiq Magazine: June 1986

Once upon a time there was a periodical that included serialized manga, reviews of the latest computer games, BASIC program listings, centerfolds of young Japanese women, and articles on tabletop RPG, all in a single issue. It was called コンプティーク “Comptiq” magazine, and what you see is the cover of the June 1986 issue. In truth Comptiq is still in print, but the modern magazine no longer has the objectively perfect balance of content it had in the Showa era.

The first tabletop content contributor was Yukihiro Kuroda (aka Kuro-chan). His monthly “RPG Lectures” began appearing in January of 1986. In the June 1986 issue he explains the differences between goblins, orcs, and kobolds, and he also has a bit to say about green slimes, black puddings, and ochre jellies.

The June 1986 issue was an RPG special edition with extensive coverage of computer RPGs, possibly motivated by the recent release of Dragon Quest for the Famicon. One feature is a two page spread with the family tree of computer RPGs as of 1986. Wizardry and Ultima are the roots of the tree and some 20 games are named as descendants.

B5 perfect bound magazine 204 pp.

Wizardry RPG

ウィザードリィ “Wizardry” (1988) is a tabletop RPG box set published by ASCII Corporation, who had earlier localized the computer game ” Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” for the Japanese market, releasing a popular port for the Famicon in 1987. The pen-and-paper version of the game was developed by Group SNE and Yohei Sawaki is credited as the designer.

The pen-and-paper game is a faithful adaption of the computer game. The playable races are human, elf, dwarf, gnome, and hobbit and the classes are fighter, mage, priest, thief, samurai, lord, ninja, and bishop. Characters have HP and AC and they advanced starting at first level. When a character attacks, the player rolls percentile dice to see if a hit is made. The ability scores are strength, IQ, piety, vitality, agility, and luck. The 1st level mage spells are “dunapic” which gives the caster’s coordinates and depth underground, “halito”, a 1d8 damage fireball, “katino”, a sleep spell, and “mogref” which lowers caster’s AC by 2.

Box contents:
• basic rulebook, A4 saddle-stitched 76 pp.
• “Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” scenario book, A4 saddle-stitched 32 pp.
• “Bride of the Black Crystal” booklet, A4 saddle-stitched 16 pp.
• “Sponsored by Voltac” booklet, A4 saddle-stitched 12 pp.
• fighting sheet, card stock A3 folded
• 2 player mats, A3 folded
• master mat, A3 folded
• monster sheet, cardstock A4
• 2 fighting sheets, card stock A4
• “use of a Wizardry scenario” sheet, A4
• 6 character sheets, A4
• 2 graph paper sheets, A3 folded
• dice: 2d20, 1d8, 2d6