We have a story to tell...
It begins in a large forest, with tree-covered mountains, and hills sprawling as far as the eye can see. A group of four is seen walking down the side of a cliff with an Ox pulling a cart full of supplies. Suddenly one of them, a young boy in overalls, falls off the trail and rolls down a hill. While trying to pick himself up, he realizes his knee is causing him some pain. One of the travelers, an older woman in a white cloak, races after him, checking on his condition. However, it seems the boys cries have alerted a small group of wolves, who look rather angry that the group has crossed into the wolves' territory. Seeing this, a scholarly-looking man pulls out a tome from his backpack and a hardened woman with leather belts pulls out her sword, rushing to the front to stop the pack from harming the rest of the party.
But the question is, how will this story end?
Ryuutama is a Japanese Tabletop Roleplaying Game created as a response to the Dungeons & Dragons boom once the game hit the region. Also referred to as "The Natural Fantasy RPG", the game has a heavy focus on travel, character conditions, friendship, and adventure. Most experience that characters receive isnt about taking down monsters, but for getting across harsh terrain and finding new towns and locations. Classes are also not just Barbarians, Paladins and Thieves, they are Merchants, Healers, and Nobles who travel together with a similar goal in mind.
Because of this, as well as the gamebook's art style, many Tabletop fans would call Ryuutama "Miyazaki's attempt at recreating Dungeons and Dragons."
Of course, thats not the only thing you can do with this game. Probably the most well-known mechanic of this game is the inclusion of a required GMPC known as a Ryuujin, a race of demigod dragons who are tasked to bring stories of commoners to a greater dragon and feed it these tales until they are ready to leave. The more stories the Ryuujin gather, the more powerful their dragon becomes, and said Ryuujin gains benefits from being in multiple campaigns by gaining more abilities. Each Ryuujin type has their own powers, abilities, and story types they excel at. If your story is a very simple yet long trip across the nation, use the green Ryuujin, or if your story is about a brewing war on the verge of ignition, use the red Ryuujin.
The game was released as a Japan and never received an English translation until 2014 where a team started a Kickstarter to translate the book. Official PDF and Physical copies were released in 2015.
Tropes for the Game Include:
- Animorphism: A Ryuujin can take the form of a single small animal of their choosing, from a field mouse to a wolf. They also get a quadrupedal dragon form as they level up.
- The Bard: The minstrel class
- Basilisk and Cockatrice: Both. A cockatrice's attack will cause an injury on any player it hits, because it turns a part of their body to stone. Basilisks will turn people entirely to stone unless they have some form of eye protection.
- Breakable Weapons: All items have HP equal to their size, but items only take damage when players roll fails and at the GM's discretion.
- Cat Folk: Koneko goblins are fun loving pranksters who cause mischief and appear everywhere. The 2014 holiday supplement gives rules for them as a playable race.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Typical Ryuujin races and their campaign themes follow this pattern. Note that Ryuujin personalities are not dictated by this chart. A black Ryuujin can be kind and empathetic just as much as a Blue Ryuujin can be chaotic and insane.
- Midori-Ryuu [Green Ryuujin] campaigns are about adventure and exploration.
- Ao-Ryyu [Blue Ryuujin] campaigns are about human friendship and relationship
- Kurenai-Ryuu [Red Ryuujin] campaigns are about battle and competition.
- Kuro-Ryuu [Black Ryuujin] campaigns are about tragedies and betrayals.
- Combat Medic: The player, if they choose the Attack Type and the Healer class.
- Dragons Are Divine: The origin of the world involves four great dragons creating the seasons and another seven creating the weather. The dragons are also why villages have their people go on pilgrimages.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The petrified fossil monster is heavily implied to be a dinosaur that's been revived as a fossil.
- Kaiju: The Ghost Beast is a giant monster said to level mountains and cause dragons to flee when it attacks. Mechanically, its attacks hit all players and any failed rolls count as critical hits.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Animals with the "Loyal" trait are this, never leaving their owner's side.
- Made of Indestructium: Items made from orichalcum can't be broken
- Magic Compass: The incantation magic Arrow Compass creates one to help direct the players.
- The Magic Touch: There are a few spells that give a magic touch, such as Tastegood Taste lets the caster change the taste of food for an hour, but it will rot after that hour.
- Mithril: Items made of Mythril are lighter, smaller and automatically have very high durability
- Our Dragons Are Different: While most of the dragons are shown as quadrupedal and large beings similar to western dragons, some humans statues within the book show Ryuujin as bipedal dragons.
- Rapid Hair Growth: A spring magic spell allows the caster to style their hair any way they want.
- Spell Book: While not required to use magic, most mages keep a spell book handy for quick reference for incantation magic.
- Supernatural Fear Inducer: Red Demons are so terrifying that anyone that encounters them immediately suffer the Shock status effect, reducing all of the person's stats.
- Swordfish Sabre: A hunter or artisan can take a defeated Zordfish and turn it into a "smelly, gross sword."
- Weapon of Choice: Every player gets a mastered weapon, which is a weapon they're used to and don't tire themselves out using. Attack types and the Nobel class get an extra mastered weapon each.
- Utility Magic: Several spells are used for mundane tasks, such as applying makeup and styling hair, causing food to taste good and one spell even summons a group of knights to do your laundry for you.