Grid Size: 79W x 38H
Design Area: 5.50″ x 2.57″ (77 x 36 stitches)
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Normally I use this space to talk about the source material, but today I can’t focus on Kirby because I just finished a game of Tenra Bansho Zero. Now I understand that hearing someone talk about their RPG session is like listening to someone tell you about their dream, but I’m going to do it anyway. Tenra Bansho is an anime style tabletop RPG based on Kabuki theater of all things. I made my own character but the other three guys I was with chose to play characters premade for the scenario. The book gives you plot points to hit, so it’s kind of linear, but it was never a problem. We played the scenario where you have to get a princess to a neighboring kingdom to get married and form an alliance. Along the way, we had an epic airship battle (which we lost) and a run in with some bandits (to whom we surrendered). Now that I think about it, we weren’t the best at fighting, but luckily Tenra has flexible diplomacy options. Since we decided to give up all our valuables without a fuss, the bandits decided to help us out later, something that wouldn’t have happened if we had, you know, murdered them all.
The best part was when we finally got to our destination and found the castle under siege by frankly a tiny army of only 2000. We chose to handle this situation a little differently. I was playing as an Annelidist, a class of humans who house bugs in their bodies a la Shino from Naruto. The first thing I thought was to use one of my creatures to take control of a dead body and sneak into camp with another player in disguise. We proceeded to march into a captain’s tent, kill him before he could call for help, and take over his body. Then I used the captain to seed dissent within the ranks. Our ninja disguised himself as a lieutenant and sabotaged their supplies and when they called for more supplies, we interrupted them and poisoned the food so that all the soldiers got dysentery. We managed to severely weaken an entire army enough that they didn’t bother us during the final fight at all. Now, I asked the GM later what the book said we were supposed to do when we initially found the army, and she said that we could have called for reinforcements, tried to sneak into the castle, or try attacking the army directly. Nah, our plan was better.
All in all, I really like Tenra Bansho Zero. The set up appealed to my style of play and allowed for more player interactions and character development than a lot of other games I’ve played. I like how it’s pick up and play and you don’t have to make your own character if you don’t want to. The dice system allows for some really dramatic moments and is easy to get a hang of. There’s plenty of lore for each class, and tons of variety without being overwhelming. I’m looking forward to playing again.