Monday, June 29, 2009

A Book By Its Cover

So readers, I'm asking for your input once again, but this time on a more specific issue. As detailed in a previous post I've changed OVA's size from the traditional RPG standby 6" x 9" to the A5 format more common to various Japanese oriented publications. I'm wondering how far I should take this...

Essentially, I'm considering a dust jacket. If you do any amount of importing Japanese books or, at least, have seen a copy of such translated volumes as "How to Draw Manga," you've probably noticed a Japanese penchant for printing even paperback books with a dust jacket. The dust jacket features full color art, but underneath the actual cover is usually printed in a monochrome color. Sometimes this "hidden" cover features small comic strips, secret artwork, or other nifty things. So my question to you all is this: Would such a thing be a clever nod to OVA's roots in Japanese media? Or would it just be an obnoxious addition that's difficult to deal with at the table?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

Besides new rules, the Revised book also rounds out the cast of sample characters with a few new faces. This guy here is one of them, and he's for all of you monster battling fans out there. (You know who you are). Yuu's write-up is true to form: He can give his monster companion commands, but the more powerful ones can only performed after he has built up his Level in a unique Ability: Trust.

If that's not fit for Saturday Morning romps, then I don't know what is! But Yuu's quest has more serious tones. Not only is his chronically ill sister missing, no one seems to remember she ever existed. He only hopes that with his newfound friend, he can uncover the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stand and Deliver!

One of the most intrinsic parts of many characters is how they make things go boom. Anime is nothing if not rife with powerful heroes wielding magnificent weaponry, displaying fantastic martial arts, or otherwise decimating the landscape. The original OVA represented this through three completely separate Abilities – Weapon, Martial Arts, and Power Move – and none of these are handled in the same way. Weapon applies the game's perks in a manner completely different from Power Move, and Martial Arts forbids them entirely. To make things worse, I still see people from time to time using Power Move in completely oddball fashions. OVA Revised fixes this pretty simply.

By getting rid of all of them.

Yes, you heard right. In their place is the new Attack Ability. Attack is delightfully simple. Give it a Level, add that level to your Damage, and you're done. You don't have to do anything further. In the game, you can describe this in any number of ways. Energy blasts, roundhouse kicks, thrown furniture, it doesn't really matter. Damage is always the same.

This works great for quickly created goons and other badguys, or with newbie players, but leaves a little to be desired for most of us. If you want more detail, the Perks and Flaws are still here, and this time around, they always work the same way. Define a suite of specifically defined attacks, and then add Perks and Flaws. Perks always add to the Endurance cost, and Flaws always reduce it. It's sort of like Power Move used to work, only now there's not that pesky minimum Endurance Cost or the confusing Damage progression table.

The sheer versatility this allows is extensive. Instead of simply giving a character Martial Arts, he can now have a plethora of moves that achieve different things. A character can have a saber, a chi-strike, and a fireball attack without having to go through the drudgery of buying three separate Abilities and learning three different ways to handle Perks and Flaws.

And that's the basics of it. Something I still wrestle with is the name, though. I just know people are going to try to add Attack to their Attack Roll, which should never be done. But yet, try as I might, no other word is as all-encompassing as "Attack." It works for everything from guns to rapiers to waves of fire. Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Shou here is all about attacking. He'll start a conflict for no reason other than it seemed like great fun at the time. And to him, it is.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Anime Gaming

One of OVA's greatest strengths is the diverse ways in which rules can be applied. With this diversity, however, comes the price of ambiguity. It's good and well that a given rule can be applied in many ways, but that fails to help if you cannot figure out how to represent a particular idea with it. To guide you on the way, the text is now sprinkled with new Expanded Notes boxes. Instead of explicitly clarifying rules or giving examples of the rules in action, they supply specific ways of how the rules could be used. Next to Scale, an expanded notes box gives tips on how to apply Scale to a mecha campaign. Transformation gives several wildly divergent applications of the Ability to cover everything from henshin transformations to power armors. And an extended description of the Attack Ability describes exactly how to create offensive techniques ranging martial arts, firearms, and energy blasts.

Wait, Attack Ability? What's that you say? You'll have to find out next week!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Reader Roundtable

We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you The Reader Roundtable!

Essentially, I'm asking for you, dear readers, to post comments to this entry. What kind of comments? Whatever is on your mind! Thought of something you'd like to see in a revised OVA game? Or maybe you thought of something you would not ? Or did you just want to stop by, say you like everything so far, but have nothing to contribute? This is your chance to help shape the new edition of OVA, and all comments are welcome.

Still here? Having trouble thinking of something? Well, take a gander at this short collection of quandaries and see if any of them match something buried in your subconscious.

1) Was there anything in OVA you had difficulty understanding or wished there were more examples of?
2) Did you ever make a character and couldn't find an Ability or Weakness you needed? How about a rule to handle a certain situation?
3) Any of the sample characters you found particularly entertaining...or boring?
4) Do you have a favorite anime you wish were better represented? If so, what?

Look forward to hearing from all of you! Those of you more content to lurk can expect a new update next Monday.