The Classes of Tenka Ryouran

These days when I take a break, I crack open my copy of Tenka Ryouran.  This is a game by F.E.A.R., the same people that put out another somewhat historically inaccurate game called Tenra Bansho/Tenra War.  I haven’t gotten too deep into the story, but it seems to take place sometime where the bakumatsu should be taking place, but it’s got demonic versions of Amakusa Shirou, Oda Nobunaga, and lots of shinsengumi running around.  It looks like it would be a fun world to play in.

Anytime I get my hands on a new game, I usually skip the world and story guides.  I ignore the rules for the most part, and after looking at all the pretty pictures, I go straight for the character creation bits.  To me, the character creation part of any game is a clear indicator of what the game is about.  The sorts of characters that are possible, the sorts of powers they can use, the power and range of attacks all expose the soul of the game.

I mean, if I told you that you could make a steambike-riding, mariachi-trumpet-wielding ninja in Tenra War, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to play it?

Tenka Ryouran is no different.  Like all SRS (Standard Role-playing System) games, characters are created in 2 ways:  Quick and Construction.  Quick characters are basically premade characters that you copy the stats for and add a name and a face.  Constructed characters are built from the ground up.  This is the exciting part.

Each character is built by choosing and combining 3 classes.  In the SRS games, multi-classing is the norm, and it allows for a wide variety of characters.  Classes include 4 Basic classes, which help characters focus on their role in the group, sub-classes such as ninjas, priests, etc., and occupational and racial classes.  A character may take multiple levels of the same class, as long as they start with 3 class levels.

These classes determine the starting stats, which are then all added together to give the character’s starting primary stats.  Then, lots of math is applied to find their secondary stats and combat stats.  Each class then gives certain bonuses to each combat stat.  In the end, a Ninja 2/Priest 1 character and a Ninja 1/Priest 2 character are quite different.

Each class then gets an Ougi, an ultimate technique that can be used once per session.  Depending on the class, a character may get 1 or 2 techniques per level, chosen from a big list.  In the end, you end up with a character very close to what you had imagined.  Though you can mix and match any classes you wish, it is highly recommended that a character have at least 1 level in a base class.

Here is a list and short description of each class in the core and supplemental books:

  • Seiryuu – The “Striker” class.  This class helps your character to do lots of damage to a single enemy with their attacks.
  • Suzaku – The “Executor” or controller class.  This class has techniques that make your attacks deal area damage or control the battlefield.
  • Byakko – The “Defender” class.  This class is all about protecting your companions.
  • Genbu – The “Leader” class.  This class has lots of abilities that inspire or command your companions.

The following are Subclasses.  Any combination of these may be taken:

  • Onmyouji – This class offers lots of techniques that use Yin and Yang magic.  Some skills deal extra elemental damage.
  • Kishinshuu – This class turns the character into a youkai-hunting werebeast.
  • Swordsman – Lots of sword techniques here.
  • Assassin – Lots of options for dealing lots of damage with 1 attack.  Combine with Seiryuu for best affect, I assume.
  • Shinto Priest – Denotes a sort of connection to the old gods that reside in and around Japan.  Lots of holy damage attacks and healing affects.
  • Tenka – This class makes a character charismatic and an epoch maker.  Rebel leaders and anyone who is the center of attention has lots of levels of this class.
  • Ninja – These characters know lots of mystical ninja techniques, great for infiltration and hiding.
  • Youkai Artist – Allows a character to draw mystical drawings that deal magic damage or summon creepy monsters.
  • Dutch Scholar – A character with levels in this class is knowledgeable about the various technologies that exist outside of Japan, including complex machinery.

The following are Social Classes.  Only 1 of these classes may be taken at a time, and denote the characters standing in society.  They are, of course, optional, but opens up some options for the character:

  • Foreigner – Denotes a character that has come from, or has a lineage from, a foreign country.
  • Warrior – Mercenaries and warriors from various wars.
  • Shinsengumi – The heavy-handed police force from historical bakumatsu era.

The following is a Racial class.  Only 1 of these may be taken at a time.  Characters that don’t take a racial class are human:

  • Youkai – Mystical creatures, of which there are several types: Azuki Arai, Kappa, Umbrella Monsters, etc., all of which may take human form at will.

There are 2 more expansions with even more classes, including Kyojin, giant god-machine things similar to edo-period Ultramen.  There’s also a class for people that live in Edo.  I’ll get to these in a later post.

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~ by mattgsanchez on April 5, 2011.

5 Responses to “The Classes of Tenka Ryouran”

  1. It’s curious that the 4 base classes are the same as the 4 roles of D&D 4th edition. When did this game came out?

    • Oh, it’s very clearly influenced by the 4E design. The game came out in March of 2010. In fact, the text uses the words Striker and defender. The cool part about this game, though, is that you can use these base classes to turn the other classes into (or at least influence) another ‘type’ of class. For example, the suzaku class has an ability that turns an attack into an area attack, etc.

  2. Hahah, this is what I always wanted to do with D&D4e, break down the roles into classes that are customizable.

    How is the gameplay in execution? Does it use D&D’s “act on turn, passive defenses” route?

    Also, is it like D&D where you unlock more abilities at higher levels? D&D 3.5’s multiclassing was a flustercluck though. How similar is this to that?

    Or does it go about it in some way that’s different enough from D&D?

    • Yeah, the way that classes are used in the SRS system is pretty interesting. I guess it’s sort of like racial paragon classes from DnD 3.5.

      I’ve yet to play the game, but from reading the rules, attackers roll, and if they succeed, the defender can roll a defense. The rolls are all decided with 2d6, adding stat bonuses and any bonuses from skills or weapons.

      The game is built with multi classing in mind. There aren’t any capstone abilities that I can see, like 3.5, and the basic classes are especially built to enhance the other classes. Basically for each level in a class, you can pick a couple of skills, which get stronger and become available as you level up. For example, the Kyoshin class, a class that allows you to become/control a giant robot, gives you 2 skills to start with: one that allows you to choose your giant’s form from a list, and one that either makes you control or become the robot. Then you get to pick 2 more skills. Other skills may give you a +1 to attacks while in robot form, and a related one at level 5 might boost it to a +3. The basics of the class don’t change; you pretty much just get stronger. I’d be tempted to say that once you make your character, the concept is fully formed, and there’s no waiting for any certain level before it gets useful, or any of that wackiness from 3.5.

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