Anime Characters in the Realm of Role Playing

Tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) provide an exciting avenue for fans to immerse themselves in the worlds of their favorite anime series. By assuming the role of pre-established anime characters, players can explore and expand upon these beloved personalities in unique and thrilling ways. In this guide, we will delve into the process of creating and playing a pre-established anime character in a TTRPG setting. We will also highlight some valuable online tools to aid in character research, enabling you to fully embody the essence of your chosen character.

I. Understanding the Anime Character

Before delving into the mechanics of TTRPGs, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the chosen anime character. Watch the series they originate from, read manga adaptations, and research their backstory and personality traits. Pay attention to their motivations, relationships, strengths, weaknesses, and any notable character development arcs. This knowledge will serve as the foundation for bringing them to life within the tabletop game. Have a notepad handy while you are watching the anime and jot down any notes about the character that you feel would help you bring the character to life when playing. Also, remember that although you want to try to keep the character as much in-character as possible, this is going to become your character, so feel free to improvise some additional quirks that will make the character that much more interesting to play, and these quirks may enforce other aspects of the character you’re essentially intimating.

II. Choosing the Appropriate TTRPG System

Different TTRPG systems offer unique mechanics and settings, so it’s essential to select a system that aligns with the anime’s genre and themes. Look for systems that prioritize narrative-driven experiences or ones with rule-sets that allow for cinematic combat and character growth. Systems like “Fate Core,” “Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM),” or “Dungeons and Dragons” often work well for anime-inspired campaigns. I’ve chosen to list these three systems as examples to show the difference in complexity, beginning with the Fate Core system, as the most rules-lite system, the system uses a concept of Aspects, that can be used to define everything from character attributes, setting and scenery conditions, as well as any other fact that has been pre-established. Big Eyes, Small Mouth is a highly flexible system that only uses 2d6 (two six-sided dice) and a Game Master (GM) determined threshold to determine success or failure. Finally while not specifically an anime-centric game system, Dungeons and Dragons is a widely recognized game systems that can be heavily customized to reproduce an anime styled game setting. If you’d like some ideas for some game systems to try for an awesome anime feel, The Anime Brigade Community Forum has a nice selection of role playing game systems to choose from that have been written specifically for the anime style.

III. Translating the Character into Game Mechanics

Adapting a pre-established anime character to a TTRPG system requires translating their traits and abilities into game mechanics. Familiarize yourself with the chosen system’s character creation rules and determine how to represent the character’s strengths, skills, and unique powers. Consider customizing existing classes or creating new ones that match the character’s abilities. Be sure to communicate with the Game Master about the creation of anything new or customized. One thing to be cautious of is creating an overpowered character! This can be an inherent feature of anime characters because the style of anime is essentially exaggeration. When translating the character to paper, this is a problem because often times, when you start out playing a role playing game, your paper character is of low level, yet in the anime, the character may in fact be very powerful. Remember, that typically in the anime, the character has already been experiencing many adventures in a relatively quick time, so when translating the character to paper keep in mind that you will soon be leveling your character up in power in short order.

IV. Character Research Tools

Online tools can greatly assist in character research, providing resources to delve deeper into an anime character’s lore and personality. Here are some valuable tools to aid your research process:

  1. Anime Databases: Websites like MyAnimeList, AniList, or Anime-Planet provide comprehensive information about anime series, characters, and related media. These platforms often include character profiles, summaries, and user-generated discussions.
  2. Wikis and Fandom Websites: Explore fan-run wikis and fandom websites dedicated to specific anime series. These platforms gather extensive information, trivia, and analysis about characters, story-lines, and settings.
  3. Social Media Communities: Engage with online communities such as Reddit, Discord, or dedicated Facebook groups focused on the chosen anime series. These communities often foster discussions, analysis, and fan theories that can enrich your understanding of the character.
  4. Official Websites and Interviews: Visit official websites of the anime series or the studios behind them. They may provide behind-the-scenes insights, interviews with creators, and additional character details that can enhance your portrayal.

V. Role-Playing the Character

Playing a pre-established anime character comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. To truly embody the character, focus on capturing their essence, mannerisms, speech patterns, and unique quirks. Stay true to their established personality while allowing room for character growth and interaction with other player characters and the game world. One idea would be to brainstorm a list of character goals that your character might have either in the original show, or to sit down with the Game Master and create a road map of achievements that your character will attempt to achieve while in-play. My personal experience of game sessions have been comical to say the least. Strange, weird, and absolutely hilarious are conditions to be prepared for. The Japanese enjoy exploring story-lines and plot twists that may be not-totally-popular, so to speak, but as a group of role players, you should dive head first and have fun exploring these topics. This is where having an open-minded group of players is essential! However, if somebody in the group expresses difficulty with a particular situation or topic, it’s best to place the game on hold, have an honest, open discussion about any particular issues, and then resume the game-play in the agreed upon strategy based on the conversations.

Creating and playing a pre-established anime character in a tabletop role-playing game can be an immensely rewarding experience. By immersing yourself in the character’s lore, selecting an appropriate TTRPG system, translating their traits into game mechanics, and utilizing online research tools, you can bring these beloved characters to life on your gaming table. Remember, the true joy lies in embracing the character’s spirit and allowing their story to unfold within the collaborative world of the TTRPG.

About Kaitlyn Kokoro 5 Articles
I've been interested in anime and table top role playing since 2002 and have written several fan-fictions using the character Fate Testarossa from the series Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Skuld from Oh! My Goddess, and Princess Ayeka from Tenchi Universe.

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