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Steven Siddall
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There is no better tagline than "Killing Dimension Action"!
There is no better tagline than "Killing Dimension Action"!

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So, a Japanese RPG I don't see talked about much is Kamigakari (the linked picture is the scan I made of the front cover of the core book.) I recently acquired this game due solely to the cool art on the front cover, and was pleasantly surprised by the mechanics. If you're familiar with the F.E.A.R. Standard RPG System, it's like that, but sleeker and sexier (in my opinion.)

Kamigakari is described as a "classical romance-style story" set in the modern day, where superhumans known as "Kamigakari" fight the false gods, "Aramitama." I'm unfortunately not good enough to translate more of the setting material, but from what I can glean from pictures and guesswork, it feels like the modern day is not exactly Earth. While the guy on the front cover is clearly wielding firearms, and there's even a "Digital Sorcerer" class in the book, the game feels a bit like a what-if sort of scenario. Hopefully soon I can post more details on it.

What really makes me like it, however, are the mechanics, which thankfully I can read to some extent. Like SRS, you're set to roll 2d6 and add some kind of stat to it to get your total. You have base attributes, and then combat stats. Combat is divided into turns, with each turn being separated into phases, which more or less correlate to the much-beloved Setup Process/Initiative Process/Cleanup Process of SRS.

The place where Kamigakari separates itself, however, is in the Spiritual Power (霊力) mechanic. At the start of each scene, or at the start of every round in combat, you roll 4d6. Then, you take those dice, and set them aside, keeping their faces as rolled. So if you roll 2, 3, 5, 5, that's what you have. From then on, any roll you make, you may freely decide to swap one or more Spiritual Power dice in for dice you've rolled. Mind you, I do mean swap.

Let's say you roll to climb up a wall. You need to meet or beat a score of 12 to succeed. Your attribute is 4. You roll a 5 and a 2. All together, you've got a total of 11. Not good enough. But, your Spiritual Power pool from before is 2, 3, 5, 5. You can make the decision to swap out that 3, so you count as having rolled 5 and 3, giving you a total of 12. You succeed! And then, of course, your Spiritual Power pool now looks like 2, 2, 5, 5.

But that's not the only use for Spiritual Power. Skills in this game have a Cost (コスト) and that cost is not paid for by MP or something, but rather from your Spiritual Power pool. If a skill has (Cost: 4) that means one of your Spiritual Power dice needs to be a 4. Exactly a 4. If a skill has (Cost: 4, 4) then you need two dice that are value 4. Simple enough, right? Other costs might be Evens, Odds, Doubles, or Steps (1,2 / 2,3 / 3,4 / etc).

Skills in this game are like other SRS skills. Timing, Range, all that stuff. But unlike other SRS games, most of the "Timing" data is not, say, 'Major Action', but rather 'Attack'. Most things seem to be buffing abilities that enhance what you're going to be doing. Other skills are Constant skills, and many of them fiddle with the Cost of other skills. For instance, the Arc Slayer class's auto-skill allows them to raise their Damage Rate +1 with Timing: Attack. This skill has a cost of 4, 4. A later skill from Arc Slayer changes that skill's cost to 'Doubles'. Other examples of skills are a skill Humans have that allows them to, every round, change any one of their Spiritual Power dice +1 or -1.

Characters are made up of a few choices. The first is Race. The core book contains Sealed God (封神), Dark Demon (夜魔), Magi (魔術師), Hanyou (半妖), and Human. I know other books contain things like Cyborg and Maribito. Once you've made your racial choice, you need to select either Warrior, Average, or Mage, which determines your starting attribute spread. Warrior means you're more physically inclined, Mage means you're more magically inclined, and Average balances the two. Of course, that's different for each race--a Sealed God Warrior-type is different, stat-wise, from a Human Warrior-type. Racial choice also gets you access to a spread of racial-specific skills, and items.

Once past that, you select two classes. In the core book, these are things like, Arc Slayer, Dragon Carrier, Elder Mage, Elemental Adept, Digital Sorcerer, Dark Hunter. Each class has a specific focus (Arc Slayer is all about the attacking, Dragon Carrier is kind of a tanky class, etc), but on top of that, each class has a Type A, and a Type B, and as you might guess, you need to select which Type of that class you are. Typically, Type A is 'offensive' and Type B is 'defensive'. Since you pick two classes, it's typically best to have Type A is something and Type B in something else, but there's nothing stopping you from having two Type A's, or two Type B's, with the sole exception being if you double up on the same class (then you need to be Type A and Type B of that class!)

Items in the game are designed ala carte. Err, at least for weapons anyway. You pick an "appearance" for the weapon, like let's say, One Handed Blade, or Two-Handed Axe. This gives some base capabilities such as a damage mod (and things like the One-Handed Blade say they can be thrown.) After that, you can add "additional effects" onto the weapon to suit your taste.

More information than that, I'm not quite able to discern at the moment. Other than, of course, that combat runs based on a grid, like D&D 4E (all ranges from skills are giving in # of squares.) This is basically my brief knowledge after giving it a glance through. My Japanese isn't amazing, but I do hope that soon enough I can translate this! Gotta get that other thing done first, though...
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