Anima: Beyond Fantasy
In those times the World had another name. But everyone who knew it is gone.
Anima: Beyond Fantasy is a Role-Playing Game first published in Spain in 2005. It's a fantasy game of Sword and Sorcery with strong Anime influences. It's more rules-crunchy than rules-light, with emphasis in chi-abilities, magic, psychic powers and the like. It has been translated to English and French, the English version published by Fantasy Flight Games.
The intended setting for the game is Gaïa, who might, or might not, be a distant future Earth after a type 2 Apocalypse How caused by a Divide by Zero event. Its tone hovers between Seinen and Dark Shoujo Fantasy. Most of the art in the handbooks and signature characters are by Wen Yu-Li, giving it a very distinctive and gorgeous look.
Set in the same world are the miniatures game (Anima Tactics), and a (non-collectable) card game.
Character Sheet for relevant NPC's in the Setting here. A constant WIP.
The game mechanics are heaviliy influenced by the old Role Master system by ICE, including the bulk of character classes being mostly a mix of basic ones (as in, Warrior meets Mentalist), or specialized versions of the same role (like Thief/Spy/Assassin). Character attributes may be rolled (on a D10) or bought with a point allotment. Character classes are pretty much just skill cost templates, and much customization can be done (although maybe not smart); still, nothing prevents your vanilla Warrior guy (known as Weapon Master) from getting a few Psychic powers, if you feel like it. The game uses mostly D100 rolls for checks, except for the odd D10 roll where Character attributes are involved.
Skill ranks, secondary attributes (like Hit Points) and special combat tricks like Martial Arts or fighting techniques are bought with Development Points, D.P.s for short. Special advantages and training are bought with Background points. In fact, being a psychic or spellcaster is NOT a part of the class choice, but one of these advantages.
The system is level-based, with a possible "Apprentice level 0" and a (soft) level cap of 20. Levels add some inherent bonuses to skills and characteristics coming from the class, but mostly they give you extra D.P.s to spend.
Supernatural powers all have their particular mechanics:
- Ki Attacks are of the flashy, super-powered variety and come with a do-it-yourself rules that let players create their own techniques from scratch. Very flexible although slightly cumbersome, it gets expanded and streamlined in one of the Sourcebooks.
- The Magic system shows some of the Role Master roots, with Spell Points (called Zeon here) expenditures used to cast spells bought as a "list" with a common theme.
- Sharing the Zeon Applied Phlebotinum but nothing else are the Arcana Summoning rules, that evoke strongly Final Fantasy signature summonings; unlike previous powers, summoning is handled by a set of special skills that must be developed independently for Summoning, Binding, and Banishing.
- Psychic Powers are sort of the Jack-of-All-Trades of the Supernatural powers, lacking some of the raw power of the rest but not as resource dependent, and behaving more like a kind of skill than the other "pay for effect" powers without the "roll for everything" of Summoning.
- Last of the Supernatural powers is Elan, that indicates whether a character is "synchronized" to one of the game's deities. Anima lacks traditional "clerics": divine powers come from following principles sponsored by the gods, behave like odd skills and advantages rather than like spells, and have nothing to do with organized religions, actually (but that is another story for another time...).
Combat is fairly lethal. Thankfully, the myriad weapon tables used in Role Master are gone, although fast adding and substracting is still a plus. Fights between opponents a couple of levels apart are very uneven affairs; high level characters with supernatural powers can annihilate armies without breaking a sweat. Later Sourcebooks even feature rules for enviromental damage caused by Physical Gods duking it out and combats where time is stretched by the Rule of Cool.
In spite of this, it is suggested that the game should be played at a "low" power level, severely limiting the availability of Supernatural skills, yet other two power level settings are suggested, and the "high power level" one uses the default Supernatural mechanics and character creation on the rulebook.
- An Adventurer Is You
- Battle Aura: Appears whenever a large amount of Ki is accumulated.
- And with (the currently in Spanish only) Arcana Exxet your wizard can have one too!
- Black and White Magic: Plenty of Magic school "lists" to choose from.
- Character Customization
- Character Level
- Critical Failure
- Critical Hit
- Damage Typing: A few kinds of physical, elemental (classic types and Light/Dark) and mystical damage.
- Demihuman: Save for Sylvains, none of the traditional types.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Literally possible, with the right dominion tech.
- Experience Points
- Fan Service: Too many examples to count.
- Fantasy Character Classes: But the classes say only which areas are easier for you to learn. Nothing stops you from improving others.
- Game Master
- Game System: Anima: Beyond Fantasy uses its own system.
- Very reminiscent of Role Master, though.
- Gratuitous Spanish: The English translation of the game retains the use of Spanish demonyms for different nationalities ("Abelense", "Helenio", etc...), and contains a few missed words here and there.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Sort of. You can play a Nephilim, a member of a Demihuman species reborn as a human. Yep, Otherkins are a player choice in Anima.
- Improbable Weapon User: The Zodiac-named Ars Magna weapon schools from the Ki Sourcebook. Many are Shout Outs.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Averted—a katana is pretty much the same thing as a long sword, stat-wise. It has a bit less durability, but oddly has a bit more Presence (meaning that while it's more vulnerable to attacks that sunder weapons, it has a higher chance to resist a Zeonic spell that would turn it into a rubber chicken or thereabouts).
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Aversion. Warriors get very powerful, as do wizards and other classes.
- Only Warriors that keep a healthy investment in some kind of Supernatural Power.
- Point Buy: Every level you get some points to choose what to improve.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Also, Full-Contact Magic. Magic Knight and Kung Fu Wizard fully supported.
- Special Snowflake Syndrome: The sourcebooks for the supernatural powers include new subpowers half for this and half Rule of Cool.
Gaïa, the World Setting, contains examples of the following tropes
- Absolute Cleavage: A common fashion statement in Gaia apparently, along with Cleavage Window.
- Action Girl: Heaps of these.
- Anachronism Stew: Some elements of this, with the world itself a Renaissance type atmosphere, there are elements of pop idols, jazz, the blues, and even a popular sport which features a pro level league that would be familiar to our eyes. Some characters are portrayed wearing blue jean style shorts, as done by multiple artists.
- An Ice Person: Yuki Onna
- Ancient Conspiracy: So many... but there is one that is older than the current world. Imperium
- Artificial Limbs: Lorenzo and Alessa from Wissenschaft
- Archnemesis Dad: The Immortal Onerios to The Black Lion for eating most of his soul and leaving him for dead.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Yuri Olson, former Imperial General, now head of the Empress' Hand. The Colonel/Wilhelm of Les Jaeger. All of the Arbiters. Matthew Gaul, the former Lord of War.
- Badass Army: The Heaven's Order most certainly qualifies.
- BFG: Cordelia Rosalind's sniper rifle.
- BFS: Several, but Kronen's is noteworthy because it is actually gigantic longsword that belonged to an Oni he slew. Or the Aldebaran Lawgiver that acoording to the (currently in Spanish only) Prometheum Exxet weights 250 kilograms.
- Badass Crew: Any team in Anima Tactics automatically qualifies for this.
- Badass Normal: The backstory for Hinhgram. He was a Norse warrior whose Temporary Love Interest died; so he killed himself to challenge the goddess of Death to bring her back. And won. Hilarity ensued
- The Berserker: Maximo Ligori is most certainly this.
- Big Bad: Most games of Anima follow a simialer structure of big bads. First it starts by fighting monsters and/or The Azur Alliance. After that the new big bad becomes the Corrupt Church Holy Empire of Abel (who almost always start as allies before their true nature is revealed). After your now demigod like characters crush the Empire they soon discover the nature of the Powers in the shadow. With that The Imperium becomes the new and last big bad of the game and the characters usually take them out with the help of the supernatural races from Hell.
- Blessed with Suck: Vayl, who ages as a side-effect of his time stopping powers. He is in his 20's, he looks like he is in his 60's.
- Bodyguard Crush: A few exist within the setting.
- Church Militant: Any Inquisitor in the setting
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of Abel
- Cute Bruiser: Erika, a thirteen-year-old girl who wields a Big Freaking Hammer.
- Cursed with Awesome: The Black Lion, who is effectively immortal since he consumes the souls of anything he kills. Were does the cursed part come in? He must continue to kill to stay alive, or suffer a Fate Worse Than Death
- Dark Is Not Evil: several characters of the "Dark" alignment.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Filisnogos and Omega certainly qualify.
- Expy: Gaia features a significant number of these, which isn't particularly surprising considering the anime styled setting. Sometimes they're more than that.
- Faking the Dead: Yuri Olsen was forced to do this in order to lead the Empress's Hand in secrecy.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Vikings, 17th century Spain, 18th Century France and Italy, Scotireland, Ruritania and of course Far East, Qurac and African/Egyptian flavours too. And there is the fallen Ancient Grome empire, too
- Fashionable Asymmetry: A few, but Kujaku Hime is probably the worse offender.
- Feather Motif: On not few of Wen's images. Justified on those people who work for the Church of Abel (ie: the angel-like High Saint Elienai)
- Female Angel, Male Demon: The Maiden of Light and Lord of Darkness respectively.
- Femme Fatale: This is the entire schtick of the Sisters of Selene, an all-female group of master assassins who combine extreme beauty with very well-developed supernatural powers (and no small skill with their signature stilettos) to pretty much be the best Professional Killers in Gaïa.
- Final Boss: Filisnogos all the way, not only is it a Sealed Evil in a Can but it's also the strongest monster in the core book and it makes a perfect endgame fight. It tends to come into play because of revenge seeking enemies, usually the defeated members of Jurgand or The Empire after every enemy has been defeated by your characters.
- Five Races: Now most of them are supposedly extinct.
- Stout: The Jayan. Three-eyed giants, somewhat averse to magic.
- Fairy: Sylvains, Our Elves Are Different.
- Mundane: Humans. PCs default if they're not Nephilim.
- High Men: Duk'zharist, Our Elves Are Better. Used to be dark and driven, but of the Dark Is Not Evil variety.
- Cute: Daimah, the Petting Zoo People.
- Gambit Pileup: Is going to happen. Possibly underway already.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: Arguably inverted with the Azur Alliance and the Empire of Abel.
- Homage: The city of Terrasanta might be renamed to Racoon City in the future...
- Magitek: Very prominent in the setting, particularly any Lost Loggia or Wissenschaft equipment.
- The Masquerade: Several Masquerades going on, but the most prominent is the one held by Samael, the loose network of supernatural creatures and supposedly extinct races who banded together for protection.
- Ms. Fanservice: Celia, who has the most artwork of any single named character in Anima.
- Who is now going to be the star of the very first Anima video game.
- The Necrocracy: Hinghram is called King of Unlife for a reason, he runs a Type II but seen as Type I for those who know he's real
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Deadmoon and the rest of her crew are Pirate Ninjas, Deadmoon herself is a Pirate Ninja Warlock.
- The Machine are Psychic Cyborg Hive Minds
- One-Winged Angel: Omega.
- Also Lazarus.
- Path of Inspiration: The Church of Abel was purposedly modeled after Christianism. Old Testament version.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Cordelia Rosalind.
- Also, in some cases the stuff you gain for belonging to the high class (Nobility/High Nobility) includes lots of this. Even an Unlimited Wardrobe if you're a high noble from Gabriel.
- Shinigami: Shinigami Ayl and others of her kind.
- Shout-Out: Several, but Hiro is the living embodiment of every Sentai Show ever.
- Before its fall, the Ancient Grome Empire based his might on the Magitek and Lost Technology stored in 30 pieces of black metal, collectively known as the Lost Logia
- Among the Zodiac Weapon users, some can throw two-handed weapons as boomerangs, some use gunsabers, others hide dozens of weapons-on-chains in their sleeves and others use Whip Swords.
- Claire Adelheid, or Klara Heidi
- Lucanor Giovanni's Super Soldiers run on a special kind of blood they need to keep on living.
- The Stoic: Several
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Takanosuke's has this
- Donoban van Horsman may have this as well, if he turns out to be Lazarus.
- The Unfettered: Lucanor Giovanni.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Multiple people, specifically: Arkeid, Kyler, Feng Yi, Alessa, Lorenzo and Hiro.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Rah Sith and Eljared.
- Possibly Lucanor Giovanni
- World of Badass
- World's Strongest Man: Hard to say for sure, but Nemesis is the most likely candidate.