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A Requiem for Rogues

Innovative Roleplaying Games are something we really love to look at, and right now, running on Kickstarter for the until the 10th September is one such RPG: Picaresque Roman.
This is a narrative-drive authentic anime roleplaying game from Japan. It’s all about rogues in a big city, teeming with violence, betrayal and of course money.
Inspired by the likes of the seminal Yakuza and Persona video game series, and brought to you by LionWing Publishing (a localization company who focus on bringing Japanese tabletop games to Western audiences).
Take 1 GM (Games Master),
4-5 Players,
Mix in some simple rules and the roll of a 2d6 and you have the RPG in a nutshell.

However, there’s a distinction with Picaresque Roman, it’s what the Japanese refer to as a Table-Talk RPG.
Want to know more, there’s a free pdf draft sample here.

What’s a Table-Talk RPG?

Used in the Japanese roleplaying game scene, the term table-talk (TRPG, TTRPG, table-talk) replaces the traditional Western idea we’ve come to know and love. These table-talk roleplaying games are distinguished from the likes of Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Worlds, Vampire: the Masquerade and so on by their simple rulesets (usually 2d6 based systems) and concise design.
One-shot sessions, quick play, reusable characters for future one-off adventures.
You’re likely to see shorter rulebooks, and supplements, giving the games a bite-sized nature.

What’s all this about?

You play in the City, a city with no rules, no law to speak of, and a whole bunch of backstabbing, sneaky, charming, rogues like yourself. The picare, the rogue amongst rogues! The City is your ultimate playground and the poor VIP who rolls into that hunting space, drunk on life, and sporting more money than sense is your mark (target).
Only one snag, there’s at least 4 other rogues looking to fleece this particular VIP and you’ve got to get there first!
The game’s played with one Gamesmaster (GM) and 4-5 other people, using the very simple 2d6 ruleset and a quick streamlined system for character generation. Perfect for people who don’t have much time to play, and to get the ball rolling.
Once you have that player character (PC) you’re going to compete with other players, form alliances, truces, break that trust and more to earn the highest amount of influence you can for the session – because in this RPG, you want to win, you NEED to win.
That’s being a picare!
There is one little wrinkle however.
Just a tiny one.
One of the player characters is a traitor, so this is like taking Yakuza/Persona and throwing in a bit of social deduction ala the Werewolf style game. If you can’t work out who that traitor is, you might just find all that hard work, all that influence gone, stolen in seconds by the sneaky traitor in your ranks.

Tell me a bit more?

Your City, the CITY, is a PG-13 place and deals with mature themes – but beyond the City, once you’re in, there’s the picare, and that’s where things get interesting!
You make your own rogue in the game from several steps.
Main Gig: This is one of five selections: Yakuza, Info Broker, Swindler, Gambler. Each one comes with its own unique list of skills, and instructions on how to assign their stats.
Side Gig: This is what you used to do or might still do as a bit of hustle in the City. Side gigs give you a stat boost, as well as their own unique skill. There are 21 of these, and they allow for a lot of flexibility.
Stats: Violence, Insight, Charm, Luck, and Capital. Checks are done by rolling 2d6 and adding a stat. Capital is the only stat you don’t roll, because it’s used to raise the total of any other roll you make – just like they say, “Money is power.”
Skills: There’s lots of interesting skills, and many of them are used to influence other players and get info on them.

The Campaign

LionWing want to bring this game to the West, and we lack a lot of games like this. They’re being faithful to the original design, including the whole manga style, black and white, larger printing dimensions (7.1” x 10.1”) and for the cost of slightly more to print they want to remain as close to the original as possible.
For the English release though, there’s new stuff.

  • New art for the English Language release
  • New fresh layouts
  • Hardcover rulebook
  • More information on the world
  • Longer book length

For more information, the backer levels and so on, drop by the Kickstarter page here and if it’s something you’re interested in, feel like supporting, you have some time left.

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