Dungeons & Dragons: Expert Playing Guide 1

Shinwa’s エキスパートプレイングガイド1 “Expert Playing Guide 1” (1988) is a color-coordinated accompaniment to their translation of the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Rules. If you liked the anime girl from the basic supplement—the one in breastplate and with a ribbon in her hair—well, she returns and appears in most of the interior illustrations of the expert guide.

There is a sample scenario called さまよえる塔 “Wandering Tower”. It takes the party into a barony where they can visit the local tavern and make a roll on what might be the first original rumor table in Japanese. The scenario features a black tower which somehow roams the countryside releasing goblins and ogres. If the party manages to locate the entrance to the dungeon, they might find and free several of the baron’s men-at-arms chained to a giant wheel which is used to rotate a magic crystal which projects the image of a black tower. Mystery solved! And if they go deeper in the dungeon the party will encounter a white dragon who prefers to talk with adventurers a bit before deciding whether to eat them.

B5 saddle stitched magazine 48 pp.

Dungeons & Dragons: Elves of Alfheim

Of the 38 items from the classic Dungeons & Dragons line that Shinwa translated, the hardest one for a collector to track down is surely ア ルフハイムのエルフ (The Elves of Alfheim).

Interest in it might be due to the Japanese version being packaged in a box, albeit a single
piece one with flaps that will tear if you’re not careful. The JV preserves the artwork from the English version which is all credited to Stephen Fabian, although there is clearly a piece by David
C. Sutherland III in there. In the EV pp. 45-52 of the booklet are set off in green and entitled “What Everyone Knows About Alfheim”; in the JV these are conveniently a separate handout. The JV adds a player map and five floor tiles. On a somber note, there was only a single printing dated November 1991 of the JV and I think it turned out to be the last thing Shinwa ever published. At least with their choice of gazetteer they went out making a strong statement on the elf vs. dwarf debate.

Box contents:

  • letter sized saddle stitched booklet 88 pp.
  • letter sized saddle stitched booklet 8 pp.
  • map 32″x21″
  • map 21″x16″
  • 5 floor tiles

Dungeons & Dragons: Basic Beginner’s Guide

The inaugural item in my exhibit of Japanese TRPG is Shinwa’s ベーシックビギナーズガイド Basic Beginner’s Guide (1987).

Shinwa was the first translator of Dungeons & Dragons into Japanese and the BBG was meant to accompany their translation of the red box. It’s an example of a book format popular in Japan called “mooks” which are basically undated magazines kept on the shelf for longer than a month. One of the worthier articles IMO is a sample scenario called 邪教の寺院 “Temple of the Cult” in which a merchant whose daughter is abducted by goblins pleads with the party to rescue her. Regardless of how long it takes them to make it to room 10, they will arrive just in time to prevent her sacrifice! The interior artwork has emotional energy and seems like something that could have inspired Goblin Slayer.

B5 saddle stitched magazine 48 pp.