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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, '14, 8:01 pm 

Okay folks. I know that there are only about two or three of you who are tabletop gamers out there on the forum, but I felt this was big enough to take a look at. Basically, on some tabletop RPG forum sites, people will take an detailed look at RPG books to comment, examine, and generally give other people a more informed take on what's available in certain products. I wouldn't exactly call it a review, as that's far more difficult to do with tabletop games- all tabletop RPGs are multiplayer, and so the game experience may vary wildly and is certainly outside the purview of the ESRB.

So, what a Ryuutama is.

Ryuutama: The Natural Fantasy RPG, is a Japanese Tabletop Roleplaying Game centered around travel in a fantasy world. The game was created by Atsuhiro Okada, the founder of Tabletop Cafe Daydream, the first cafe in Japan dedicated to providing a spot for tabletop boardgamers and roleplayers. It's part of a genre of RPG which isn't especially well-represented in the Western Market, called honobono which roughly translates to things like "heartwarming" or "feelgood" or some other things that I can't recall right at this very moment- the game was described to me as "Hayao Miyazaki's Oregon Trail". I figured this book would be one worth talking about because unlike video games, Tabletop RPG books are only rarely localized due to the fact that tabletop gaming is a much smaller hobby than video gaming, and so there are very few companies that have anything that might be considered a large staff. The translation, promotion, and localization of this game was handled by only two people, Andy Kitowski and Matt Sanchez. It's basically what it would be like if the only localizations of video games were fan translations.

The Kickstarter was a pretty large success, and as a backer, I have received access to the text translation, and I recently received what the translators call the "Death Star 2" version of the final PDF of the game.- it has most of the proper elements, but it's still a bit of a mess and incomplete in a couple of places, but everything essential is there, making it a "fully armed and operational battlestation... of fun!" This look will be based on that copy. So, let's begin with the introductory stuff.

Getting Started

The first thing- This is a pretty lovely book, even though some of the elements go a bit outside the art borders.

All right, first off we get a bit of introduction to the idea of RPGs- and one thing that tends to separate Japanese Tabletop games from Western ones is the point of reference they use. While TRPGs written hereabouts tend to use fiction as their basic reference point for describing TRPGs, Japanese games tend to use computer or video RPGs as the reference point. Here he uses it as a jumping off point to explain that the players are fully responsible for character actions and dialogue, and that much of what makes TRPGs different is the ability to act outside the box. Fair enough.

Now, the game doesn't really include a full world or setting- that's up to the Game Master, but it does provide some central conceits that any Ryuutama world is built on. The first one is that once in every able person's life, they feel the compulsion to go on a journey. Whether it's for some personal or higher reason, or they just come down with a case of The Travels, there's a point where people just feel the need to get up and go. Everybody has either done it or knows about it, and so they don't treat it as strange, the traveler's home is even looked after and protected by the community while the traveler is away for the year or two that they're on the road. Some people, after they get back, even decide that they don't want to stop, and so spend the rest of their lives traveling. Of course, going it alone is hard, so most travelers go on the journey with at least a few other people. And bring a weapon, it can be a jungle out there.

The travels are actually part of the life cycle of the world, as the stories of these travels are collected by the Ryuujin, beings who generally appear as beautiful humans with draconic features, like wings and horns, but can take many other forms besides. These are the caretakers of the seasonal dragons who are the creators and maintainers of the world, and are fed by the essence of the travelogues collected by the Ryuujin. There's some division of labor here, as different kinds of stories are collected by different kinds of Ryuujin, color-coded for your convenience. The green Ryuujin cover stories of adventure and exploration, the blue Ryuujin cover stories of family and community, the red Ryuujin record stories of battle and valor, and the black Ryuujin cover stories of tragedy and intrigue.

This is kinda important, because not only is Ryuujin an alternate name for the GM, but they also fill a rather unusual role for this type of RPG- the Ryuujin is also the GM's official character in the game, but more on that later.

Beyond that are explanations of the sequence of play from the Player side of responsibilities and the GM side, accompanied by neat little comic illustrations on the opposite side, depicting the Ryuujin as just hiding in the bushes or whatever as he writes it all down. Okada generally refers to combat as a sometimes food which is fair considering the focus of the game- and there are probably practical reasons for players and the GM to think of it like that, as characters are just a bit closer to the three men in a tub than heroes of legend.

Beyond that is just the list of terminology, which includes illustrations of the dice used in the game and what everything means when the book refers to NPCs and whatnot. If you've played Dungeons and Dragons for any length of time, you're probably good for the dice you need, as it does make use of all the regulars. It does make a sidenote to describe the two kinds of four-sided dice, one type having the rolled number appear at the top and the other type having the rolled number appear near the base. It also includes a rather helpful reminder about the D4- "It hurts when you step on it, so be careful."

My gamer sense tells me that Okada is speaking from experience.

Next time- Character stuff.

Last edited by R-90-2 on Wed Aug 13, '14, 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, '14, 8:04 pm 
d4s are called caltrops for a reason, you know! =p (And they don't just hurt if you step on one, they really hurt.)

Also, is there finally an English version of Ryuutama out, or is it still getting worked on?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, '14, 9:07 pm 
Snorb wrote:d4s are called caltrops for a reason, you know! =p (And they don't just hurt if you step on one, they really hurt.)

Also, is there finally an English version of Ryuutama out, or is it still getting worked on?

Since I was a backer, I had the English text of the rules and such since last December, and what I'm reading from now is the preliminary version of the final English PDF. The final PDF should be available for all within the next couple of months.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, '14, 2:39 am 
"Bardic music is not a performance enhancing drug!"

So, character creation. Stats aren't rated by hard numbers, but rather by what die you roll when you need to use that stat for something. So a Strength of six means you roll 1D6 when you need to roll Strength, and any time you need to roll it's usually two dice, as you need to roll on two stats or just roll the same one twice. There are four stats, Strength, which is everything about buffness and toughness, Dexterity, which is about being nimble and sure-handed, Intelligence, which is about learning and other brain things, and Spirit, which is about focus and conviction. All four start at six, and you can choose to lower one to a lower die to raise another to a higher, or have two high and two low. Strength affects your starting max Hit Points and carrying capacity, and Spirit affects your starting MP bonus. MP are not magic points, they're Mental Points, and this is an important distinction because non-mages can do things with them.

(A note on die rolls- two ones is a fumble, which usually has bad effects, and rolling two sixes or max on both dice is a critical, which means auto-success and possibly some other benefit.)

Unlike many RPGs I've played, being a generalist isn't such a bad idea, stat-wise, as all four stats are guaranteed to be used over the course of a traveling day, and there are a number of classes that use at least three out of the four stats.

Each character also starts with a proficiency in one of the five weapon types. Weapons roll two dice for accuracy and one die for damage, and weapons don't have their own fixed damage number, you actually roll one of your stats for damage. Light blades have an accuracy bonus but a damage penalty, meaning they're the only weapon which can do zero damage- however, their damage is based off of intelligence. Swords are the most basic and standard weapon. The two-handed weapons do make you give up using a shield (which are actually pretty useful) in exchange for certain tradeoffs. Polearms have a damage bonus, Axes have a slight accuracy penalty, but are based completely on Strength, so it's easier to improve your fighting ability, and bows have a bigger accuracy penalty, but can attack anything on the battlefield. Weapon masteries you gain at character creation give you a free weapon of that type. Using weapons you're not proficient in doesn't carry any rolling penalties, but it does cost you a bit of HP each time you attack.

On to the classes. Each class has three special skills, and there are four basic classes, recommended for new players, and three advanced classes, recommended for people with more experience. It's not that the advanced classes are more powerful, but they're a bit trickier to use to their fullest.


Bards, dancers, whatever. These are your basic traveling artists who live by public performance and whatnot, and that has a few benefits. Since minstrels generally wander anyway, they get a bonus to all rolls relating to actually traveling. They also get the ability to call on their knowledge of old songs and legends to try to turn up any relevant information if they encounter something related to that on the road.

As far as their music goes, Minstrels are basically Mog from Final Fantasy 6: Each session, a Minstrel can learn a new song based on a terrain or weather they encountered in that session, and then they can use that music whenever they encounter the terrain or weather that they learned the song in. As it's strenuous, it costs a little HP to use. Normally, it gives a bonus to the next rolls of all other party members, on a Critical it gives a much larger bonus, and on a fumble it has a possibility of making other party members temporarily dumber (drop INT by one die size) for having experienced your awful, awful performance.


Capitalism, Ho! Merchants are the tradesmen who make sure that money and things get from one place or person to the other, and they are big on the art of making money and saving money. They have a bonus every time a negotiation roll is called for, on account of Merchants being sly devils, and since they're not going to carry all that junk themselves, they can also own three riding/pack animals without having to deal with maintenance instead of just one.

The big deal, about Merchants however, is their Trading ability, which allows them to roll when buying or selling items to see if they can reduce or increase the price, respectively- the higher the number, the greater the change in price, so having a Merchant can help make the most of the group's money.


There are two classes which are about living off of the land, and this is the more violent way. Hunters are all about finding monsters and animals, plus the things you do with them after they're dead. They can actually track monsters and get a damage bonus against any that they actually find. They can also strip dead monsters for parts, as most monsters usually have something useful that can be pulled from them- though the tougher the monster, the harder it is.

Of course, hunters can actually find food, and the amount they find is based on how much they succeed by. On a Critical, all of the food they find is Delicious (which actually means something), and on a fumble they've found a way to get themselves a lingering injury which takes some of the DEX out of their step for a little while. It's worth noting that the Hunter's abilities roll against the terrain, so the difficulty of Hunter tasks depends on where you are more than what you're up against.


Doctor, Physician, Medicine Man, the Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it for your anatomy. Doctors can use herbs they find plus some of the party's water in order to restore HP to a character, but doing this in battle has a reduced effect, because you're making the concoction in a real big hurry. They can also temporarily nullify the effects of lingering status effects as well as reduce their severity, making it easier for a character to recover from them.

Of course, herbs don't come out of nowhere, so Healers can go searching for them before travel starts for the day. Herbs found this way spoil after a day, but there are ways to preserve them for longer. Success means you find one, a Critical means you find three, and a Fumble means you picked the wrong plant, bub, and are now filled with poison and feel somewhat woozy until that shakes out. The herbs available vary greatly depending on where you pick them, and many have effects on their own outside of being used for healing.

Those are the four basic classes, now for the advanced classes.


This is the less violent way of living off the land (usually), and hey, who would've thought that people who are used to physical activity and her good with animals would be useful on long trips? Farmers get a boost to carrying capacity and Condition rolls, which makes it easier for them to shrug off injuries, illnesses, and other lingering effects. They can also handle more animals than normal, like the Merchant.

Now, the advanced classes tend to have quirks, and the Farmer is no exception. The Farmer has no set 3rd skill, but instead has an ability called Side Job, which represents what they do for money in the off-season. In effect, they can fill their third skill slot with an active, rolled skill from any other class in the game. This also means that Farmers have the most flexibility in where they assign their stats, as their rolled skill can be variable. The price for this is that the skill is performed at a slight penalty, compared to when it's used by a native member of that class.


These are the crafters. the shoemakers, the blacksmiths, the whatever all else the builds the things. Because they know a thing or two about materials, this class can also strip monsters for parts. They can also fix broken and damaged things, at a cost of a percentage of the item's original price, and the difficulty is dependent on how expensive the item is- good luck fixing that Fabergé egg, chief.

Of course, for a higher percentage of the end cost, crafters can make things from scratch, but they can only choose one category of things to make. They can also be chefs, which works a bit differently, but can still provide some interesting results, like turning normal rations into Delicious food. Because of all this, however, a savvy crafter combined with a Merchant is pretty much a license to print money, and I'm sure that was intentional.


So, what can a noble lord or lady or knight or princess contribute to hard travel? Oh, right, they're educated. They know how to make a good impression in high society unlike the proles and serfs (though a farmer just might surprise), and they also have their own knowledge skill- while the Minstrel draws theirs from the old songs and legends, the Noble draws from the long hours of hard tutoring they invariably endure.

Of course, this being the fantasy world that it is, Nobles can also pick an additional weapon proficiency with either the Sword, Bow, or Polearms, and if they double up on something they already have, they get a to-hit bonus instead of getting another free weapon. Of course, the upshot of all this is that the Noble really has no directly applicable on-the-road skills whatsoever- the focus is on dealing with people in towns and settlements. Nobles also don't get more starting cash- they probably could only sneak so much out of the family vault or squeeze so much out of their parents.


Note how I said there was spellcasting, and none of the above classes is Wizard? Well, that's because those sorts of specializations are covered by the three subtypes, which a character chooses one of at creation.

Attack characters gain a non-trivial max HP boost, and additional weapon proficiency, and a damage bonus.

Technical characters gain even more carrying capacity, an initiative bonus (which is actually even better than it sounds) and gaina high bonus when using MP to boost rolls.

Magic characters gain a non-trivial MP boost and the ability- you guessed it- to use spells.

Once the nitty gritty has been taken care of, there's the extra flavor bits:

Your character's Personal Item is something that they have a strong bond with but has no actual gameplay effect. It might be related to their past, profession, or even to why they've set out on the trip in the first place.

The Image Color is one that's strongly associated with your character. Either what they choose to wear or the character's favorite color, or whatever. The game playfully suggests getting a dice set whose color matches the one associated with your character.

And then there's the usual name/age/gender/whatever. That's just flavor because people can choose to go on the Journey at any stage in their life, so long as they're able-bodied enough to actually travel.

Even though I did do a lengthy writeup, it's actually pretty quick to make the actual character in this game- I don't have as much experience with this system as others, but I can still do it without even consulting the book.

Next up: Shopping and stuff.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, '14, 3:03 am 
Well, I'm glad bards are actually more useful in Ryuutama than they are in standard D&D! ('Cause, y'know, D&D bards have this sudden habit of dying.)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, '14, 6:25 pm 
Snorb wrote:Well, I'm glad bards are actually more useful in Ryuutama than they are in standard D&D! ('Cause, y'know, D&D bards have this sudden habit of dying.)

Well, it kinda helps that a lot of the things that are attached to classes in D&D and other games just aren't in Ryuutama- here classes are just the skills, rather than skills and hit points and fighting ability and weapon proficiency and spellcasting and whatever all else.

Anyway: Shopping.

The initial shopping trip in Ryuutama is actually much more of a communal rather than individual exercise, as not everyone can afford everything they need for the trip. As starting weapons are free, that is taken out of the equation, but as armor and such is pretty costly and out of practical reach for starting players, the first shopping session in the game should really be focused on picking up the really long-term necessities for the trip, like containers, pack animals, tents, and whatnot.

Of course, there is also the importance of carrying stuff, and I will have to say this- Ryuutama is the only game I've ever enforced encumbrance in, as it's far, far easier. Rather than having to add up all the individual weights and whatnot, characters have their carrying capacity listed in the amount of inventory spaces they have, and all items are classified as one of three sizes. Small items take up one space, Medium items take up three spaces, and large things take up five. Unconscious party members take up five spaces. Which is apparently something Okada is quick to inform his players about.

Containers like backpacks and chests and barrels and whatnot take up a certain number of spaces, but can hold more spaces than they take up, usually around double. The chest holds triple, but inflicts penalties if it's carried by a human, so pack animals are pretty much inevitable if you want to lug around everything you'll need for the trip. Also, much to the consternation of Rob Liefeld, characters are only allowed one pouch.

Now items can have modifiers that affect the price up or down. Quality modifiers are multipliers, while magical properties are fixed costs. There are a number of quality modifiers that basically have no effects other than in roleplay. Cute and Beautiful on the upwards side, Gross, Smelly (the smell never goes away, ever), and Uncool on the downwards side. There are a number of effects on the quality end, such as some item bonuses, increased or decreased durability, even inventory space adjustment. There are only a few magical properties, such as walking items you don't have to carry, shining items that give off light like a torch, and the most expensive magical enhancement of all- a +1 item.

First off, though, there's facilities, which are basically services you can pay for while in towns, cities, and other settlements. Food, Inns, item repair, the post office and shipping, as well as things like the laundry, the baths, the news, and even some reasonably accurate weather prediction. Some do have restrictions based on the size of the settlement, so you can't walk into a backwoods farming town and expect a royal hotel suite (quality of food and lodgings does have game effects). There are also trade goods and other regional specialties, which basically exist to be bought and sold by the merchant. They aren't specified, as they will vary by settlement, so they're grouped into three types: small (spices, small crafts, jewels), medium (fruits, vegetables, etc.) and Large (furniture and other similar craftwork).

So, there are weapons and armor. We've already covered weapons, and armor in this game reduces damage rather than makes it more difficult for enemies to score a hit you. In fact there are penalties for heavier armor to your ability to evade attacks, and also penalties to the movement part of the travel day. And don't sleep in heavy armor. Bad juju. Shields work in very interesting ways that are actually best saved for when I get to how combat works. Anyway, considering how much other travel stuff you have to buy, and the relatively high cost of armor, it's something best left to be bought later. Besides, you folks shouldn't really be looking for fights anyways (doesn't mean they won't happen, but best not to take too many chances).

Then there's travel gear, which covers hats, shoes, capes/cloaks, and staff, which a player may only equip one of each at any given time. These give bonuses against weather and terrain, and the rule of thumb is that hats and capes give bonuses for dealing with weather, and shoes and staves are for dealing with terrain.

Then there are animals, and there are two real types. Riding animals, which give bonuses to movement over relatively easy terrain normally, and pack animals, which are there to carry all your junk. They both come in normal and large. Large Pack animals can carry much more stuff, and large riding animals can carry four people instead of one. The actual nature of what animals these are is, of course, left to the GM. There are no wagons in the core book, so you'll have to hold off on duplicating your Oregon Trail misadventures until the first supplement is out. Animals can also be modified like equipment, to be more loyal, plus riding animals can be trained at a high cost to confer their bonus on any terrain.

And then we get to the miscellany- anything else that you might need for the trip, like the all-important rations and waterskins, sleeping bags and various kinds of tents (one of the NPCs in the campaign I ran had an uncool tent. It's distinctive, he says). and all of the various other things that one might need or want for the road, such a rope, torches, tools, utensils and such. Don't forget the soap and washing set, because being able to banish your dirty laundry to be cleaned in the Land of the Laundry Knights is a mid-level spell, not a low-level one.

To make some of this shopping easier, the game also provides "kits", for both individuals and the party, which are basically bundles of goods and necessities with the costs and carrying requirements already figured for the players. It's a really good time saver that I wish more games would pick up on.

This is where herbs, and where they are found are plus their effects when used as not part of the Healer's treatments. A lot of them do have enhancing effects on magic, like, allies being caught in the area of the user's attack spell taking no damage. Herbs can only ever be found not bought.

The real time-saver, stuff-wise, are what the designer calls the "picnic rules", which gives everyone and the party appropriate kits and turns off food and water tracking. Basically, the tradeoff is that you can start playing as soon as everyone has a character ready to go and that the players don't have to worry about the basic necessities like food and water, but it also means that players don't really get a choice of what they would have spent their initial money on, as they get no starting cash.

Next time: Magic.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, '14, 2:55 am 
So, now that I'm done boring you with Stuff, it's time for Magic.

The magic is divided into two types, and Magic-type characters have access to both. The first is incantation magic, which are spells learned and cast from books. Magic-type characters do get a spellbook (which is required in order to cast this kind of magic), and can learn a certain number of spells each level. When they reach a certain level, they can learn mid-level spells, and then high-level spells when the reach the proper threshold. The second type is seasonal magic, which is magic that people can just do, if they have the gift for it. Magic-type characters automatically get all of the spells from one season, but the casting of mid- and high-level spells is still restricted by the character's level. The seasonal spell lists are a good bit shorter than the incantation spell list.

Beyond that, there are two general types of spells: Normal and Ritual. Normal spells can be cast pretty much instantly, but ritual spells require an hour to cast. If the ritual is interrupted, no MP are lost, but the caster must start over from the beginning. Ritual magics do tend to have long durations and more powerful effects. All magic requires a roll, but all you have to do is not fumble.

Since it would take me forever to get into the individual spells, it should probably come as no surprise that the Ryuutama spell list tends to be rather heavily slanted towards utility and environment spells rather than battle spells. There's no magic on the list that's really on the "get out of combat free" level that you might find in some other games. The combat spells that are there are also more heavily slanted to defense and other modifications rather than direct damage.

This doesn't mean that there aren't spells that dungeon-delvers might be familiar with, but they have their own ways of working. There is a Haste spell but it gives the recipient a severe lingering Injury after the duration is up, and there is a Wish spell, but it does work differently- each player secretly gives a wish to the GM, and the GM secretly decides which one will be granted in the session. But- "If all of the players write truly terrible wishes, the GM may discard all of them." Oh, you.

The seasonal magics are rather tightly themed, and based not just on weather but other activities, festivals and notions about the season, a few of which are a bit Japanese- understandable, considering the game's country of origin. Still, based on my own experiences, Fall is when you make things into jam- there's a spell for making anything edible into preserves that'll last on the road, so enjoy your beef jam.

It's a fine piece of magic system- there's plenty there to help out with the various challenges of the game, but nothing there that really negates the challenges of overland travel- your party is still going to lump it no matter what.

Next up: The nuts and bolts of overland travel, and whether or not you can die of dysentery.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, '14, 4:50 am 
I like Ryuutama's wish spell better than D&D's wish spell, only because D&D's wish spell is somewhere between "rules lawyer this so I get exactly what I want while the DM minimally screws me over."

What happens when a Ryuutama DM looks at the players' respective wishes and tells the group "Y'all are crap just like your wishes?"

PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, '14, 7:47 pm 
Snorb wrote:
What happens when a Ryuutama DM looks at the players' respective wishes and tells the group "Y'all are crap just like your wishes?"

Well, on re-read, apparently the GM is supposed to secretly decides to discard all og the wishes if all of them are terrible, so the players don't really know until after the session whether or not any of the other players' wishes were granted. Wishes aren't something you announce, it's a secret gimme ballot.

And really, Ryuutama isn't a game you play through clenched teeth. At least not if you want to play well, anyways.

Before we move on to the mechanics of travel, though:

Things that I forgot about in the character chapter:

"If you have time to write so much about your impending doom, you have time to run."

Ryuutama encourages the players in the game to take up roles in the party in order to maintain a smoother game experience. The game does suggest four possible roles for a player to take.

The Leader is supposed to keep discussions from getting out of hand, and is also in charge of keeping track of turn order and initiative during combat.

The player who takes on the job of Mapper keeps the map sheet up to date, and also has their character roll the direction check on each day's travel. the player with the highest INT character should be the one to do this, as the direction check is a pure INT roll.

The Quartermaster is in charge of keeping track of the party's total food and water, as well as buying up those sorts of supplies in settlements.

The Diary Keeper is responsible for keeping track of the events that have occurred in each session, so that no one is fuzzy on the continuity of the whole thing. The game also suggest that this be written in-character, and that the job be passed around to end up with a more interesting account at the end.

Next up is leveling up. The vast, enormous majority of XP gained in Ryuutama is gained through traveling, with travel XP for a session determined by the most difficult piece of ground that was covered. The monster XP is comparatively tiny, as it's based on the single highest level monster defeated rather than the number of monsters defeated in the session. To give one an idea of the disparity between travel XP and monster XP, for a level 1 character to move to level 2, they have to either A.) Do a day's travel over just anything without finding some way of getting themselves killed, or B.) Kill, say a Lich, which is probably out of their league. The level cap is 10.

At each level, a character gains a few points to distribute between HP and MP, a bump in carrying capacity, and at least one other benefit. There are stat boosts at every even level, they gain immunity o a status ailment of their choice, a couple of bonuses applicable to travel through a terrain or weather of their choice. In the middle levels is where some dramatic changes can happen. A character can choose to take on another class's skill set in addition to their current set, or just boost the skills they already have, plus they can take on an additional subtype, or just double the bonuses of their current subtype. This means that characters who double up on Magic can learn more spells per level and gain another Season's worth of magic.

At the level cap, there is an addition- the party can choose to stake it all and go on a Legendary Journey, though what that exactly entails for the players is something left up to the GM's ideas on what counts. Maybe there are more details on that in other books, I just don't know.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, '14, 6:53 pm 
Okay, this brings us to the mechanics of travel.

All rolls other than combat damage are done with two dice, one from each of two stats, or just the same stat rolled twice. Getting two sixes or maxing out both dice results in a critical, which is an automatic success that may have other benefits depending on what the character is doing. Two 1s is a Fumble, an automatic failure that always has other nasty consequences as well, including damaging any item that was used in the roll. However, when one character fumbles, the entire party gains a Fumble Point, to be used later.

Fumble Points are used in Concentration which gives a boost to die rolls. Concentration can also be invoked if a character uses half of their current MP. All of that rounds down, and going down to 0 MP means a character goes unconscious after the action is done. There are a few prohibitions for Concentration, like you can't boost damage. Technical Type characters get a higher bonus when using Concentration in general.

This all brings us to the major rolls of the travel day. The first is condition, which is basically how fit your character is when it comes to travel that day. Sometimes you wake up fine, sometimes you can barely drag yourself out of the sleeping bag. This roll can be modified upwards by many things, like delicious food, spells, exceptional lodgings in town, and so on, while it is modified downwards by things like starvation, poor food, sleeping in squalor, and no sleep at all. Your condition is also the amount of negative hit points you have that lie between being knocked out of battle and death. A high enough roll means that you actually get to boost one of your stats by one die size, while fumbling it means you gain an unwanted addition to your character: a status ailment. If a character ever ends up with a condition of zero, they die.

Status ailments are the various lingering maladies that one can acquire on the road, such as disease, injuries, a case of the stupids, and heartbreak. These tend to reduce one or more stats by one die size, so while you can't die of dysentery, it will make it easier for other things to make you perish. In addition, each status ailment a character has managed to acquire also has a number that indicates its severity, which is how difficult it is for a character to recover from the problem. If a day's condition roll exceeds the severity of the ailment, then the character recovers.

The rest of the checks involve the actual travel part of the travels, and the difficulty for those is based on the current terrain and modified upwards depending on how nasty the weather is. Each of the thirteen terrain types is organized into five grades of difficulty, but high mountains actually occupy an entire class of difficulty on their own, and even higher level characters would find it to be difficult ground to cover, and even grasslands can become moderately treacherous in the middle of a particularly nasty blizzard. A successful day's travel will generally cover one whole square on the game's map sheet.

The first check made against the terrain is the travel check, which determines whether or not your character managed to get through the day's travel without finding some way to get themselves hurt. Each character rolls this individually, criticals mean that the travel was so awesome they get a bonus to next day's condition, failure means they lose half their current HP, and fumbling means they lose 3/4ths. Travel damage probably won't kill you on its own, but you don't want to have fallen face first onto a rock just before the giant enemy crab comes calling.

The next part is the direction check, which is done only by the mapper, though another character may assist. This determines how well your characters were able to go in generally the correct direction. Criticals mean you find your way no matter what ridiculous stuff happens, Failure means the distance traveled is cut in half, and a Fumble means you went around in a big circle and made no progress. This should go to the character with the highest INT, to reduce the chance of mishaps- even the book outright recommends this.

The last check, also made by one person who can be aided, is the camping check, which is to determine if the party was able to find a decent place to put down for the night, and not having tents and such will impose penalties on this. Critical success means that everything is restored to full and a condition bonus is gained for the next day, success means a character's current HP is doubled up to max and that they get all MP back, failure means only a small amount of HP and MP come back and a fumble means you get nothing.

While these things are resolved by rolls, the book strenuously urges the GM and players not to leave it at that for the day's travel- leaving it just at rolls is a quick path to boredom and discontent, so the GM and the Players should work together to make up how, exactly the PCs managed to fail or succeed and what they may have encountered along the way. The book does provide rather lengthy play examples to give some thoughts on this. Another thing that does aid the GM is that the game is built on the assumption of old Japanese travel stories, where towns and villages and whatnot tend to be only two, maybe three days apart, so GMs aren't forced to come up with that sort of thing for weeks of travel at a stretch.

After this, the game goes into full on fluff mode, describing and wonderfully illustrating the various types of dragons associated with the terrain and weather. The general note is that in Ryuutama, dragons are creatures associated to and tied to nature and the land, and none of them are angry jerks who make it their mission to burn down someone's house. Most of them are actually pretty chill, and, at their worst, they just don't really care all that much about what people do. They don't live in caves, and they don't have treasure, and they don't kidnap princesses, so just don't worry too much about them.

Next up: Combat.

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