Rikizou’s Kamigakari: God Hunters is a Japanese urban-fantasy table-top roleplaying game. The 2020 English-language edition was published by Serpent Sea Games.
Ever since the Japanese Synchronous Inferno1, malevolent beings known as Aramitama are invading our world in ever increasing numbers, corrupting mortals in a bid to bring about the apocalypse. Providentially, a handful of mortals, player characters included, are imbued with the attributes needed to hold back these supernatural menaces! These mortals can change the very laws of nature to fight evil!
(Sometimes they end up incinerated after altering reality once too often. Aw shucks.)
You may wonder why, if deals with the Aramitama invariably end poorly for the mortals involved, effort is not made to warn people about the Aramitama. This is because those in a position to make the call believe more people would be inspired to seek out Aramitama if they knew they existed than would be saved by the knowledge Aramitama can never be trusted.
I picked up this game mainly because I had heard Japanese games were forced to come up with innovative ways to use six-sided dice (d6s) (because the other polyhedrons were, for some reason, not available in Japan). The game didn’t disappoint: using axillary Spirit Pools effectively seems to require a fair amount of strategy. Which is one of the things that makes a game playable.
The game is rather pretty, although there is more fan service than I care for.
Character generation looks flexible, although the full system might be time-consuming (since permanent character death is a real possibility, that could be a drawback). Some of the game-mechanic vocabulary used is a bit counter-intuitive, but presumably players would eventually adjust. Play requires more focus on game mechanics than fans of story-telling games may like, but anyone who plays crunchier games should find the game straightforward.
Kamigakari: God Huntersis available here, although at present only in pdf.
Before one gets to the section detailing the rules, there are a number of lavish colour plates depicting various stock character archetypes. These are competently done in a manga style, although some players may be put off by the apparent requirement for all women to wear extremely short skirts. Also, the text on these pages has an artistic halo around the lettering that makes it next to impossible for me to read.
The true antagonists are Aramitama, demonic figures intent on destroying the world. But because their particular shtick is duping foolish mortals into spectacularly poor life-choices with wishes that always have some malevolent catch to them, the players can find themselves facing a wide range of foes.
An introduction to the concept of roleplaying, with an added glossary.
Chapter 1: Setting
A short guide to the game world. Since this edition is for Westerners, explaining up front a narrative background that draws on Japanese themes and works (background with which the readers may not be familiar) is a plus.
Chapter 2: Player Section
This covers character creation. There are two options:
- Customizable pre-generated templates, which on the one hand are not all that customizable, but on the other don’t require detailed familiarity with the rules.
- Designing a character from scratch, which offers a much wider range of customization at the cost of requiring a greater degree of familiarity with the rules. Designing from scratch will be more time-consuming than using the pre-gen templates.
There are only eight templates but the full chargen system seems pretty flexible. Amusingly, although it is not designed with this in mind, one could definitely use it to roleplay Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.
Chapter 3: Rules Section
The actual game mechanics. Dice used are all six-sided dice. I have heard but not verified that other polyhedrons are not easily acquired in Japan. Instead, designers opt for creative and cunning ways to use d6s. In this game, players can access an auxiliary pre-rolled dice pool. They have the option of swapping dice from that pool with the dice results of combat and skill checks. Deciding when it might be advantageous to do this seems to involve a fair amount of strategy.
Chapter 4: GM Section
Guidelines on how to run sessions, create NPC, and manage boss villains, among other things. The adventure philosophy seems to draw from video games: players generally encounter low-powered minions first, then work their way towards the mastermind behind the mooks.
THERE IS AN INDEX. THIS SHOULD NOT BE SOMETHING I NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE BUT IT IS.
As is so often true, this was a team effort. The full credits are:
Setting & System Design: Rikizou
Developers: Satoshi Sasamiya, Shuuji Hisami
Assistant Writers: Yoshiyuki Tagawa, Makotsu, Iyashi-Kei, Daisuke Okeda, Satoshi Sasamiya
Special Thanks: Takashi Moroboshi, Ukyou Kodachi
Cover Artist: Yoshinori Shizuma
Colour Opening Illustrations: Edoki, Yoshinori Shizuma, Masakazu Shingaki, Numato Tsuda, Takotto
Illustrators: Illustrators: Tsuda Numato, Edoki, Masakazu Shingaki, hilo-take
Interior Mapmaker: Interior Mapmaker: Yuuya Kobayashi
Interior Cartoonist: hilo-take
Interior Monster Illustrator: Takotto
Editors: Keiji Kariya, Tomoyuki Nomiya
Designer: Shin’ya Sasaki
English Language Translation Credits
Developer: Amy Veeres, Alan Loera
Translation: Ewen Cluney and other contributors
Editing: Char Boucher, Grant Chen, Rosalie Fox, Penny Newhook
Layout Design: Deanna Buhlman, Todd Crapper
Special Thanks: Cross, Jessica Frost, the Indie Game Developer Network, Andy Kitkowski, Lyrai, Rawk Lawbstar, Paul “Ettin” Matijevic, Mr. Rage, Stephen Lea Sheppard, Nobuaki Takerube, Geoff Thew, AND YOU!
Kamigakari: God Huntersand Serpent Sea Games logos by Vincent Ang
1: Part of the backstory for the game: many sudden, destructive fires occurring in concert across Japan.