Note: Play Manga d20 is based on, and therefore depends on, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules. With that said, this site is linked extensively to d20pfsrd.com, the premier online rules reference for the rules for that game.
In this roleplaying game resource, we explore anime and its many different genres. To do that, we use The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game 1st edition, balanced against a point-system wherein every race, class, and character option can be summarized and played equally. Each section presented here details an aspect of the game, how it fits into the realm of anime and manga, and how to build characters around that aspect using a combination of traditional gameplay and the point-based system.
What are Anime and Manga?
Anime, or Japanese animation, is a style of cartoon popularized by sweeping stories with larger-than-life characters, some of whom are just trying to get through their day without running into a rival or crazed monster. Manga, which came first, are the comic-book-like stories on which most anime is based (however loosely).
Even the seemingly normal characters in an anime or manga can turn out to be a brave hero, a dastardly villain, or some other important piece of the story’s plot, at times out of nowhere. Characters in these stories find real progression as they sometimes literally transform from who they started out as into the man, woman, or sentient slime they were always meant to be. Along with their friends, they’ll challenge enemies big and small, collect important pieces to a puzzle, or capture other creatures in some way and battle them to achieve their goals.
But manga and anime isn’t just about the characters’ hyperbolic representation. In many stories, even their equipment gets an extreme makeover. Giant, flying robots battle with even more powerful aliens who might be a threat until more robots show up to help, often by combining with the first. These machines could be living creatures all their own, or they could be piloted by the characters to show how the bond they share can overcome any threat.
We have worked hard to tackle each of these aspects throughout Play Manga d20. In doing so, we open the platform to players and Gamemasters alike to build their own stories. Each of the races and classes presented here also include a little bit of backstory for why they might exist within an anime-focused game, but groups are encouraged to offer their own reasons and make them what they need to have the most fun. After all, modifying any aspect of a given race or class should be as easy as finding how many points something is worth and replacing it with an equal attribute (more on these later).
Play Manga d20 consists of 3 primary sections, each broken up into different sections.
The Races section includes the most common races found in anime and manga, as well as a summary of several other races who can be included should they fit a specific character idea or story.
- Androids: Robotic humanoids created for the purpose of helping other races with tasks not usually suited to living flesh. These characters can be as mechanical or emotional as they see fit.
- Catfolk: A classic staple of many anime stories, catfolk are known for their coy behavior and eccentric attitudes toward other races. Among their own kind, they’re more akin to modern humans or gnomes in ideology and lifestyle.
- Dhampir: Horror stories in manga hold dhampir as a staple race. Descended from vampires, these characters may rise up and fight their progenitors, or they could side with their sires to fight rival monsters.
- Hedoro: A more recent addition to the concept of anime and manga characters are the hedoro, or chemical slimes. Members of this race have been transformed by magic or science into the amorphous form they now possess.
- Rabbitfolk: Counter to the catfolk are rabbitfolk, whose outdoor living and means of adventure rivals traditional fantasy elves. They are known for their powerful hearing and acrobatic capabilities.
- Ratfolk: Ratfolk are experts at crafting and learning modern technology, adapting it to their needs on the fly. Agile and Intelligent, they can break into a computer as easily as a building.
- Turtlefolk: As the historians of the world, turtlefolk have spent generations documenting the highs and lows of society on its march toward the modern day. After a massive war with the denizens of the underground, they have adapted their methods and learned better ways to keep their hard work safe.
There are 15 new classes appropriate for a game set in an anime universe. While games will often pick a theme and stick to it using only some of these classes, they are all balanced with each other to offer the best compatibility during play. Classes introduced here include a combination of archetypes and class- specific options they can take advantage of as the game progresses.
- Adventurer: The adventurer is more than just a generic hero hired to stop some goblins, and as a member of this class, characters gain specific abilities that help them directly when it comes to surviving in the world against monstrous foes.
- Dynamic Sorcerer: Where fantasy sorcerers control magic through the power of their bloodlines, dynamic sorcerers bend the fabric of reality itself, with the potential to create any spell from the right components.
- Giant Robot: Giant robots treat their race as a model, and their progress is tracked by the upgrades and modifications they gain over time, including the ability to change their size at will, or transform into a different robotic form entirely.
- Gun Bunny: Firearms and explosives are the gun bunny’s bread and butter. A character who joins this class can expect to wield more powerful bombs and deadlier guns against just about any threat.
- Hot Rod: Hot rods are professional racecar drivers who may or may not act the hero when the call for one comes. Whether or not they’re sponsored by an organization or acting as a scrappy loner, these characters can achieve surprising results with or without their vehicles in a number of situations.
- Magical Hero: Many a good manga focuses on one or more normal kids who find and wield amazing power. With a strong mentor by their side, and often a magical artifact granting them special abilities and transformations, magical heroes face their enemies with a brave outlook and a need to protect their loved ones.
- Martial Artist: When portrayed through the lens of anime, martial artists have the strength and talent to fight off dangerous creatures, from undead to robots, with little more than their fists. While not inherently supernatural or magical, they practice techniques that can appear so.
- Mech Pilot: When giant beasts threaten cities and the world, mech pilots are called in to send them packing. The bond between a mech pilot and their giant mobile armor makes them the best choice for such battles. In situations where a gargantuan robot can’t help, they have a good number of skills to help them survive as well.
- Ninja: Anime ninjas are no mere assassins or sneaky thieves. They are organized warriors who protect their people through subterfuge and supernatural talents learned in specialized schools. When the going gets tough, they believe in themselves and their allies, and through perseverance find answers to some of the most challenging questions.
- Pet Monster Trainer: Magic in manga can appear in many different forms, and the pet monster trainer takes advantage of one of the more interesting choices. By capturing creatures and raising them, the pet monster trainer taps into their companions’ abilities to become the very best at what they do.
- Samurai: Adventuring samurai walk the land in spectacular armor, inspiring the commonfolk and evoking fear in their enemies. Brave warriors, they hold true to the bushido code while working toward their own goals.
- Sentai Member: The sentai member is natural addition to any team, not just other sentai members. Such are their gifts that they can adapt them to help whatever group they happen to be a part of at any time.
- Shapechanger: The ability to change one’s form into another creature with little more than concentration is something that several characters in anime learn to do to some degree. Those who commit to this learn different and more powerful forms over time.
- Student: Never underestimate the student in a manga. Years of education in their field not only makes these characters experts in that area, but also teaches them how to survive in a number of potentially life-threatening situations.
- Tech Genius: Tech geniuses are students with a stronger focus on robotics and technology. They take that knowledge and turn it into interesting and fun alternatives.
This site also breaks down each of the standard Pathfinder Roleplaying Game fantasy classes as well as the summoner. Each class is given a summary which balances it out against 300 points, at approximately 14 points per level (plus 20 points at 1st level to represent all of the things a 1st-level character gets). As with the anime classes, fantasy classes receive 1 or more archetypes that provide different ways of playing them within the setting.
Character Options & Attributes
This section begins with a look at character creation, how to play a game using point-based characters, and how to incorporate both point-based and traditional characters in the same game.
Next, it provides full details on all of the different attributes, character defects, and restrictions available, as well as their point totals, requirements, and other information. It also includes various feats both new and referenced by the races and classes.
There are several modern weapons and vehicles, along with upgrades that can be applied to either.
|Fantasy Race||Ability Score Bonus and Penalty||Point Total||Common Attributes; Defects|
|Aasimar/Angels||+2 Wis, +2 Cha||13||Darkvision, energy resistance, skill bonus, spell-like ability|
|Dwarves||+2 Con, +2 Wis, –2 Cha||11||Stonecunning, darkvision, defensive training, exceptional saves, hatred, skill bonus, slow and steady, stability, weapon proficiency|
|Elves||+2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Con||10||Low-light vision, magical adept, minor immunity, skill bonus, weapon proficiency|
|Gnomes||+2 Con, +2 Cha, –2 Str||10||Defensive training, exceptional saves, hatred, low-light vision, size (small), skill bonus, spell-like abilities, weapon proficiency|
|Goblins||+2 Dex, +2 Wis, –2 Cha||10||Darkvision, energy resistance, fast movement, size (small), skill bonus|
|Half-Elves||+2 to any 1 ability score||10||Bonus feat, linguist, low-light vision, minor immunity, multitalented, skill bonus|
|Half-Orcs||+2 to any 1 ability score||8||Darkvision, ferocity, skill bonus, weapon proficiency|
|Halflings||+2 Dex, +2 Cha, –2 Str||9||Exceptional saves, lucky, size (small), skill bonus, weapon proficiency|
|Humans||+2 to any 1 ability score||9||Flexible bonus feat, linguist, skilled|
|Ogre||+4 Str, +2 Con, –2 Int, –2 Cha||14||Darkvision, low-light vision, natural armor, reach, size (large)|
|Orcs||+4 Str, –2 Int, –2 Wis, –2 Cha||8||Darkvision, ferocity, weapon proficiency; light sensitivity|
|Tieflings/Devils||+2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Cha||13||Darkvision, energy resistance, inherent sorcery, skill bonus, spell-like abilities|
|Androids||+2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Cha||16||Constructed, darkvision, linguist, low-light vision, surge, skill bonus; logical|
|Catfolk||+2 Dex, +2 Cha, –2 Wis||9||Low-light vision, skill bonus, sprint, twice-saved|
|Dhampir||+2 Dex, +2 Cha, –2 Con||11||Darkvision, exceptional saves, linguist, low-light vision, skill bonus, spell-like ability; light sensitivity, negative affinity|
|Rabbitfolk||+2 Dex, +2 Wis, –2 Str||13||Burrow, jump, low-light vision, lucky, skill bonus, shared space|
|Ratfolk||+2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Str||9||Darkvision, size (small), skill bonus, shared space|
|Slimes||+4 Con, +2 Int, –2 Wis, –2 Cha||15||All-around vision, alternate form, amorphous, blindsense, grab, size (small), tentacles; slow and steady, unique defect|
|Turtlefolk||+2 Dex, +2 Wis||13||Natural swimmer, hold breath, reptilian, retract, shell armor; slow and steady|