Monday, November 9, 2009

OVA Replay

While perhaps not as robust as its Western counterparts, Japan's RPG scene has been plugging along for quite a few decades now. Arguably the most unique aspect of their version of the hobby is the replay. Right next to the latest translated American RPG and a new indie offering, you'll find volumes of them. But what are they?

A replay is much like it sounds, a written record of a gaming group's adventures. They read like a play, but are complete with player commentary and even character-generation sessions. They're the rough equivalent of our RPG novel lines and often serve as an introduction to curious Japanese would-be gamers.

You may be more familiar with them than you think. Ever seen Record of Lodoss War? While parallels to D&D are easy to make, it may surprise you to know that Lodoss was actually a series of serialized replays. Depending on which version of the story you listen to, it actually was a (heavily homebrewed) Dungeons and Dragons campaign!

That's all well and good, but what does it have to do with OVA? Well if replays are such a gateway to gaming in Japan, I see no reason to let them have a monopoly on the concept. I hope to do this with a quarterly ezine called - appropriately enough - Replay. While there will be news and letter columns too, the crux of the publication will be a rotating selection of replays from gaming groups just like yours!

Of course, this requires gaming groups willing to do it. Taking a tape recorder (or a stenographer) to the table may be a turnoff to some players, and since this will be a free, or at least bargain, publication, there's not much room for paying gamers for their time.

So what do you guys think? Does the idea of following RPG adventures every few months sound exciting? What would it take for you to contribute? Is fame, glory, and perhaps art of your group's characters enough incentive?

I leave it to you, readers!