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Rappy’s RPG Reviews: Naruto d20-Scrolls of Knowledge Part 2

14 Mar

Chapters 10

The good news: We only have 7 more chapters to go after this. The bad news: this chapter is huge. It deals with powers called techniques, and starts out by showing us their types. There are four main types, based on the four disciplines (see the last review), with their own subtypes (such as phantasm for genjutsu and sealing for ninjutsu). There are also power techniques under non-discipline titles (Hijutsu, Kinjutsu, and Hachimon Tonkou). There are also rules presented for Learn checks to master, tutor, or create techniques as well. The techniques themselves are…well, to be honest, they’re almost like spells. Some differences exist, such as having to make a Perform check to cast them and paying cost from your chakra pool, but you can still tell what they started out as. Some of the “epic level techniques” such as Akahigi – Hyakki no Souen (a technique that summons a swarm of war puppets) are cluttered in their text, but this is an overall solid system that ranges from elemental powers to Asshou! (a technique that increases damage against a fallen foe…and yes, it really does have an exclamation mark as part of the name). This chapter goes from page 169 to page 566. This alone makes up the brunt of the book, so expect a lot of variety to use.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 deals with bloodlines. These grant special qualities and sometimes have occupations with them as well; for instance, the byakugan and sharingan are present. There are also templates present, such as the Bearer of Shukaku, which provide powers of their own. There’s also a few templates for bloodline-related creatures, such as the awakened and ninja-trained Nin Animal. These are interesting but potentially imbalancing bloodlines, to be honest. A smart GM would find it best to limit the use of these bloodlines as fodder for the players rather than the NPC heroes.

Chapters 12 and 13

Chapters 12 and 13 are the bestiary and “enemies and allies” section for the campaign setting. In addition to generic NPCs such as law enforcement, there is a list of Naruto d20 stats for popular non-“main trio” characters from the manga and anime, such as Might Guy (Strong Hero 3/Taijutsu Master 10/Ninja Scout 4). The creatures themselves are varied, from the chakra pool-leeching undead known as the chakra wraith and Gamabunta the titanic sword-wielding frog. There are also stats for the one-tailed tanuki and nine-tailed fox. Rules for creature summoning are also gone over a second time.

Chapters 14 and 15

Chapter 14 is an adventure hooks section. Enough said. This brings us to chapter 15, which is the big deal here: epic-level d20 Modern. Oh yeah, they went there. This chapter presents epic level variants of all the base classes, who can gain epic talents. These include both epic versions of normal feats as well as completely new talents only available to epic heroes. For instance, the Epic Smart hero can gain a talent called Polygot, which allows them to speak all languages. There are also epic-level advanced classes. I’m…not really so sure I like the way they presented this. The epic level heroes are nice, but I feel they would have better benefited from just sticking to the epic-level advanced classes and such rather than having epic levels of the base class long after a hero has left them.

Chapters 16 and 17

Chapter 16 is a guide to magic items and the like. The major item here is the puppet creation rules, which allow you to know all the ins and outs of creating a puppet. They’re quite similar to the robotics rules from d20 Future, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Finally, there’s chapter 17, the Gamemaster’s Section. There’s a large section on village creation, rules on bounty hunting and the pay it entails, and mundane people in the world of ninja. It’s a great tool for anyone who isn’t that familiar with the Narutoverse and needs some help.

Art

The art, where it is, is nice and clean black and white line imagery. My favorite is for the Strong Hero, a brute carrying two spiked chains slung over his shoulder.

Final Thoughts

I can, in all honesty, say that even a person with minimal to no knowledge of Naruto could safely play a game in its universe out of this book. Why they would want to I have no idea, but you get the point. The rules are clean and easy to understand and they are quite fun and cinematic for a shounen-style of game play. However! Yeah, there’s that catch. There are drawbacks. One is that this supplement could have really benefited from being split into two volumes rather than one. A lot of the chapters can bog you down fast if you aren’t prepared for a lot of reading, which makes gameplay slow to get to. Similarly, the rules for epic-level base classes make little sense in a game where base classes only get up to 10th level and epic-level is 21+. Overall fairly well-made for a free fanbase supplement, but it could have been better used in two volumes and with just epic-level advanced classes, and the brand name tie sort of bogs it down I’d rank it as...7/10 for an overall supplement, but 8/10 for anyone who is already familiar with Naruto’s workings.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2009 in RPG Reviews

 

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