RPG Fantasy Encyclopedia

RPG 幻想辞典 “RPG Fantasy Encyclopedia” (1986) is the first Japanese RPG product to be published in book format and distributed in book stores. It is an introduction to fantasy role playing, written by Arai Hayakawa and published by Softbank Publications, with a complete game in back. The dust cover is translucent—the tower you see in the distance on the cover is actually printed on the book itself.

The 2nd chapter briefly describes Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest, and Tunnels & Trolls. At the time only the first had been translated into Japanese. The 3rd chapter recommends Arthurian Romance and “The Lord of the Rings” as background literature for the readers, who are anticipated to be unfamiliar with Western fantasy.

The “Monster Manual” is the 10th and longest chapter. 186 monsters, not counting subtypes, are described and illustrated, though there are no stat blocks. The selection of monsters is close to the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual, adding the Broo and Jack-o-Bear from RuneQuest and a creature, armed with sword and whip, called a “Barlog” [sic].

The game is in the 12th and final chapter. Character generation commences by rolling 2d6 five times to determine strength, intelligence, dexterity, constitution, and luck. One chooses a class from fighter, thief, priest, or mage and gets some ability score bonuses and penalties. For combat, one rolls 2d6, adds attacker weapon class, and subtracts defender armor class to see if a hit is made—a 6 or higher is needed—with damage determined by how much one goes over. The thief has three skills: find trap, remove trap, and search. There are lists of equipment and magical items, 30 spells, and stat blocks for 54 monsters. There is even a scenario called “The Red Crown” with 12 rooms, culminating with a minotaur.

A5 perfect bound book with dust cover, 288 pp.

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