Everyone agrees that role-playing is the best hobby in the world (if). And also that it is a complex activity to organize and implement. Video games, being simpler, have long diverted fans with RPGs and JRPGs, two approaches to the genre each having their own identity. If RPG adheres more to the traditional type of tabletop role-playing games like D&D, JRPG is more directed and narrative.
Fabula Ultima is a hefty rulebook for creating a typically Final Fantasy-esque, Star Ocean-esque, or your dreamed High Fantasy universe. To make a good JRPG, you need heroic characters, with an incredible story, and the ongoing scenario is always the main storyline: the group of adventurers constantly confronts their destiny. The usual tabletop RPG can be more down-to-earth, less grandiose. These differences are perfectly highlighted in Fabula Ultima.
It is not a gimmicky RPG riding on the genre’s popularity: the authors pay a true tribute and offer a real reflection as well as the tools to recreate these sensations as accurately as possible. Thus, without going into detail, the narration is often placed in the hands of the players, with the game master being invited to let them decide the consequences of their actions. Coincidences happen more often than expected… And the adventurers are heroes capable of extraordinary feats. The Fabula points are there to be spent in this sense and the GM will be confronted with players who will alter the story to their advantage.
On their side, the villains have Ultima points to survive, return, and gain power, like the good bosses they are. It’s not surprising to read that Fabula Ultima won the 2023 Ennies Gold Award, the RPG awards: it is an original work, deep, and faithful to its goal of translating the JRPG into a tabletop role-playing game. As often is the case with rules without specified universes, it will require even more work to start a game, in a world created from scratch or adapted from a known franchise. But that’s something fans are used to… Fabula Ultima is available in French at Ynnis Edition since January 10 for 39,90 euros, for the basic rules, bestiary, an introductory scenario, the usual package, you know… Stay tuned for the DLC… uh, the upcoming expansions.