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Grant boons or bane to humans who beseech your monstrous aid in dark fairytale RPG Kedamono Opera

Beauty is in the eye of the legendary beast.

Promotional image from tabletop RPG Kedamono Opera
Image credit: Nagabe/LionWing

Japanese tabletop RPG Kedamono Opera will enjoy an English language, bringing its storytelling-forward game of living myths and the people desperate enough to see them out from Japan to a Western audience via an upcoming Backerkit campaign.

A joint project between Tokyo-based Arclight and US localisation company LionWing, Kedamono Opera sounds like the kind of narrative-focused tabletop RPGs that have spread like wildfire through the independent scene in the past few years. Sessions take place in a world where bestial and monstrous creatures known as kedamono lure hopeless people into striking deals for power in exchange for their souls.

Players will embody the kedamono, not the humans, and the collaborative story woven between them should apparently not focus on solving mortal problems, instead reveling in the beauty of tragedy. Designed for one game master and one or two other players, Kedamono Opera leaves the particulars of its world up to the groups. As long as there is a Dark Forest to lurk in, god-fearing humans to swindle and a “roughly Middle-Age Europe” serving as fairytale set dressing, the rest is gravy.

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Different types of kedamono represent classes in this RPG and function similar to playbooks in Powered by the Apocalypse-style titles. Whether they choose to play as an overprotective bear, cunning foxes, wise and predatory owls or even a shark, each boasts unique moves for resolving conflicts and interacting with both humans and other spirits. All classes have been illustrated by Nagabe, a manga author and illustrator known for The Girl from the Other Side and Tsugumomo, and shows both their true forms and the “person-shaped lure” used to converse with humanity.

A separate Portents system saddles players with preordained phrases that must come true by the end of the shared narrative. That’s not to say that players can’t attempt to weasel out of their fate by changing the circumstances or seeking even stronger and darker aid. These titles are often bestowed on a player when they fail a dice roll or deploy one of their skills at an inopportune moment.

Kedamono Opera will launch its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on July 16th, if the countdown on its Backerkit page can be trusted. LionWing has stayed busy with a number of recent projects that include bringing the Shin Megami Tensei video game series to the tabletop by localising its past releases, along with publishing 80s mech and magic RPG Wares Blade in English for the first time in 40 years.

Promotional image from tabletop RPG Kedamono Opera
Image credit: Nagabe/LionWing

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