A new tabletop RPG wants to bring to life the transformative adventures seen in ‘90s TV shows and anime such as Sailor Moon.
Magi-Knights is inspired by the ‘magical girl’ genre of anime popularised by the likes of Sailor Moon, in which teenage high-schoolers transform into evil-fighting superheroes.
As well as Sailor Moon and the magical girl genre, creators Derek Salgy and Kira Salgy have also taken cues from sentai TV series - a genre that sees a squad of heroes fighting evil-doers. Among the most famous sentai series are Power Rangers - an American successor to the Japanese series Super Sentai - with Sailor Moon’s group of Sailor Guardians sometimes also considered part of the popular genre.
In the upcoming RPG, players will control a group of students who join together to form a squadron of Magi-Knights tasked with protecting the City of Lapis. Each character will be able to control a different element to help them fight villains, from fire and water to air and even the void, as well as embodying a specific virtue - such as justice or wisdom - that further influences their abilities. Rather than having distinct classes like D&D, the class-less system allows characters to be customised as they acquire new skills and spells during play.
The characters will have the ability to wield magic chosen from a number of spell paths, as well as summoning their soul weapon and armour when they transform into their alter-ego. Say, for instance, a Moon Tiara thrown like a disc. Much like the stances taken by sentai squads, the group of characters can choose to adopt a variety of formations during battles, granting them extra advantages.
While they’re not fighting evil and solving mysteries by moonlight, the players will control their characters’ everyday lives in and around school, flipping between separate character sheets that represent their everyday persona and their magical alter-ego, as well as offering different abilities for their student and transformed selves.
At school, the characters will need to deal with studying, gossip and the need to form bonds with those around them, represented by specific links between players - each with their own gameplay effect - social points that grant further benefits and Court Cards of Fate, which relate to influential people in the character’s life. The growing bonds between the Magi-Knights will also allow them to pull off more powerful combination manoeuvres during combat and support each other with abilities.
The RPG’s game master - renamed as the magic keeper - additionally takes on the role of the Herald, a magical creature or supernatural human being that aims to unite and guide the Magi-Knights through their various encounters. Think Sailor Moon’s talking cat mentor Luna or Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s wish-granting Kyubey.
Threats appear at night in the form of Spectral Outsiders from the mysterious Realm of Elsewhere. These otherworldly beings will kidnap and use inhabitants of the world for their nefarious deeds - it’s up to the players’ group to foil their plans, as well as those of the Harbingers that control them. The combination of real-world drama and fantastical threats mean that players will need to avoid becoming corrupted and traumatised by their supernatural responsibilities, as well as managing to avoid facing burnout from day-to-day exhaustion and stress.
Reflecting its influences from episodic TV shows like Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, Magi-Knights breaks its play sessions into phases - each representing a day in the lives of the characters - that form episodes covering each individual adventure or mystery, which can then join together into longer story arcs and sagas across multiple sessions, similar to RPG campaigns.
Magi-Knights will launch a Kickstarter campaign for a physical rulebook and PDF on May 17th, ahead of a planned release in 2023. The hardback rulebook will cost $50, with the PDF priced at $20.
A playtest version of the game is already available for free, including an introductory adventure, An Echo from the Stars, that serves as the first part of an ongoing saga.