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A cinematic Tabletop RPG inspired by the most gripping JRPGs and rowdy anime, using qualitative stats and a unique, tile-based system.

We want to print 1000 copies of Mazaki No Fantaji as a full-color hardcover book of about 240-280 pages. Admit it, gentle gamer: You want us to print those books too. 

This game is fresh and captivating. It resembles a genre of qualitative role-playing games out there already, but we promise it will strike you as resoundingly unique once you see it in action. Mazaki No Fantaji does justice to your favorite anime as well as those gorgeous Japanese role-playing video games (the ones that gripped you for dozens of hours and taught you that skipping cut scenes was a sin). 

Not your thing? The Mazaki engine easily fits a vast array of settings and genres, and we will even help you adapt the Powers/Abilities to your own world. Also, the system works PERFECTLY for new and young gamers. No joke: Calvin ran a hardly-stripped version of Mazaki with his four year-old niece and nine year-old nephew. They kicked his butt. 

Whether your group is simulationist, narrativist, or gamist; Mazaki will captivate. The Tile-based system is crazy versatile. And because you come up with the qualitative triggers, the game is precisely as funny, light, lewd, witty, or heady as your players are.

Pledge TODAY to get this game into the world with us! Choose whichever level suits your gaming needs and tickles your fancy, and then get your friends to do the same! Download the Quickstart from DriveThruRPG to start playing TODAY! It's easy. Your tabletop will never be the same again, fellow gamers. 

Mazaki No Fantaji started with a single question: How can we develop a role-playing game grounded on dramatic, cinematic stories, if the "story" is exactly what we, the creators, have no control over? As gamers know, it is the players who come up with the plots, the twists, the intrigue, the developments. We creators just build a world and an engine to interface with that world. What role can we play in the stories? 

Well, the first step was figuring out that a good story has NOTHING to do with the plot. Only a superficial understanding of stories reduces a good one to its plot. A good story has GOOD characters, GOOD conflicts, and GOOD themes. In other words, interesting characters, meaningful conflicts, and relevant themes. The plot is an emergent unfurling/entangling of those things. 

"So," we said to ourselves, "If we created a game that demanded interesting characters, meaningful conflicts, and relevant themes; we'd have a GOOD (i.e. dramatic, character-driven, fun, intense, deep) role-playing game." 

So we created that game. Enter Mazaki No Fantaji

Get the Quickstart of Mazaki No Fantaji from DriveThruRPG right now for FREE! It's already there, waiting for you! Check out the game and play it with your friends. But life moves fast, gentle gamers, so be sure to pledge TODAY!

Beta versions of two upcoming modules will be released one encounter at a time throughout this campaign. These will be made available for FREE on the Anthropos Games website. After the campaign, and after your feedback, we will release these modules for sale with illustrations and in proper, professional format. [[ Be sure to select at least the BIGGIE DIGITAL or STARTER PACK if you want to receive complimentary downloads of these fancy and finalized versions of the modules. ]] 

We always wanted a lightweight game that still offered depth for both creative and technical strategy. 

On any turn, your character can take a Move or make an Attack. Moves are rolls of a single die that either increase your hero's momentum or throw stumbling blocks in the way of your adversaries. You only "play to" one of your character's Traits or one of the scene's Themes when taking a Move. Attacks capitalize on built momentum and use multiple dice to cause damage or effect a major change in the situation. When Attacking, heroes "play to" as many Traits and Themes as they can to roll more dice! 

Combining theatrical creativity and calculated strategy, each turn is qualitative in nature but builds on the mechanical effects of previous turns. It's really the best of both worlds. 

That's it. Well, that's the gist anyway. You can start playing right now by downloading the Quickstart from DriveThruRPG. Check out the video below filmed by Ben McFarland at GenCon 2013 to see the game in action! 

Custom Ceramic Tokens: The game requires Tokens to keep track of rising Drama. Characters roll more dice on attacks after they've built momentum and energy through smaller moves. We are pressing proper 10.5 gram, ceramic Tokens. We had several sets printed for the initial launch of the public beta at A-Kon 2013, and they turned out a big hit. The new Tokens will feature a new design, and now the reverse side of each set will include the 10 Status Effects featured in Mazaki. Should your hero be Dazed or Staggered, for example, you just find the appropriate Token to note the Status directly on your Character Tile. These are cost effective, quality Tokens that are already a part of our development budget. Perfect gaming aids for the stylish GAMER in you! Why not use the same quality Tokens the creators use? 

Special Edition Module Booklet: We will be printing up a Special Edition Booklet containing both upcoming modules. This will be annotated throughout with more content and "liner notes" of sorts: extra intrigue, creator anecdotes, gaming tips, alternative enemies, behind-the-scenes intel, and other super secret stuff. Not yet sure how they will be printed (bound, stapled, or stitched), but we will make them cute and personal like any DELUXE collector's item. We will be printing up something like these for ourselves and our growing number of demo teams across the US. Why not get your own Special Edition goodies?

Vanity Artifact Tiles: We already have two quirky Vanity Tiles created by the designers of the game: Calvin's Lucky Cap and Jake's Brilliant Pocket Watch. These are slightly overpowered and/or silly artifacts that will work at conventions (and maybe around your home gaming tables) to add a little meta-content or humor to the game and to boost the power of convention pre-gens when Backers are present. These may be used as prizes at future conventions and the like, necessary for promoting the game. Why not get yours here and now?

VANITY Backers are invited to create their own powerful/silly artifacts that will be canonized in the same way. Those at the DELUXE Level will receive the complete set of 12 professionally printed, full-color Vanity Tiles on glossy cardstock.  

Low-Number Hardcover Editions: Most of the Mazaki No Fantaji books will ship directly from the printers, cutting down on the time it takes for you to receive the books and saving us the costs of repackaging by hand. These will not be numbered. However, Backers receiving two books (COMPLETE, CHARACTER, and VANITY Levels) will receive in addition to their direct-from-the-printer copy a low-numbered and autographed copy packaged and shipped with love from Austin, TX. The donated copy sent on behalf of the VANITY Backers will not be numbered, but will contain a special message to the organization receiving the charitable donation.

Each pledge level ensures the lowest numbers, with numbers within each level being assigned on a "first come, first served" basis. The very first person to become a VANITY or CON Backer will receive book #1, the first CHARACTER Backer #15, the first COMPLETE Backer #45, and so on.  

We're nobody famous. Just some folks from small towns. 

Calvin Johns - A doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been writing and designing role-playing games in his spare time for almost fifteen years, a hobby which culminated in the release of Early Dark in 2011. He is no stranger to long, extensive writing projects and is completing a dissertation on Alternate Reality Gaming and Affective Geographies. Calvin lights up a mean freestyle Frisbee.

Jake Stolhandske - A biophysics student at the University of Texas who has a crazy fast mathematical mind and a knack for coming up with Traits and Themes. He knows things, people. 

Rob Ware - A writer from Salt Lake City who just completed his MFA. He is an avid cyclist, an accomplished drinker, and a newcomer to the pleasures of pipe smoking. He lives with a heart on his sleeve and a light in his eye. Rob worked on Early Dark extensively behind the scenes, impacting the entire world and directly contributing some Edish and Neferatha sections of the Atlas. 

Christopher Heath - Artist and graphic designer Christopher Heath came to us from Oklahoma. His concepts and renderings make possible each character design and printed page. He is the only one of the core Anthropos Games crew to actually get paid. He tirelessly concepted all the cultures for Early Dark and got things organized with the 14 artists or so we ended up using. Good guy. His work on Mazaki so far has been stellar!

Artists - We've been working with AWESOME artists so far and hope to include another three or four to complete the project in a timely fashion. The more money we raise, the more goes straight to these folks. Ian Kazimer, Justin Kauffman, Jason Rumpff, Guido Kuip

The $16K is the bare minimum we need to print 1000 copies of a full-color Mazaki No Fantaji hardcover. We have very little wiggle room to offer fancy rewards before we reach that amount. The tokens, tiles, and booklets already being printed and included in this campaign are needed for us to play the game smoothly at cons and demos; along with purchasing art, those are necessary parts of our development budget outside this campaign. But we have some great ideas for further content that can only come to be if certain Stretch Goals are met:

[[ Should we reach the goal (and after all low-book numbers are assigned), we will be opening up a $199 DESIGNER PACK option that will allow you to participate in closed discussions, Skypes, forums, etc. on generating the extra content promised in each Stretch Goal. Our new forums are up for business! DESIGNER Backers will have a separate page of credit in the final book. ]]

The first Stretch Goal will include an Expansion of the World Map in two directions, encompassing the environs of two new Tomishi cities. While neither of these will rival the size or prominence of Mazaki City, they will change up the dynamic of the Nopo Continent dramatically. DESIGNER Backers welcome. This goal crams more maps, plot hooks, characters, and variety (20-40 pages) into the final book for EVERYONE!

The second planned stretch goal is for a Monster Deck of 21 fully-illustrated, reusable Tiles of common monsters that roam the Nopo Continent. We will include three monsters of each Element (Fire, Wood, Earth, Metal, Crystal, Sky, Water) to showcase the diversity of creatures. DESIGNER Backers will be invited to join in the design process and test new monsters before public releases. GAMERS and beyond will get the deck. 

Other expansions are on the table, including further details about the Andhuran and Guanxi cultures as well. We will talk with Backers about what they want after more players start experiencing the world of the game through the Modules. This may be core material included in the book or supplemental material suitable for independent PDF release. BIGGIE DIGITAL and beyond will receive the extra downloads. 

We would like to print an NPC Deck made up of the 30 characters created by our CHARACTER Backers. These will be cardstock Character Tiles with color illustrations on one side and stats on the other. We and the Backers will write descriptions and offer tips on how to use the NPCs in your own campaigns. GAMERS and above will receive the Tiles. 

Calvin wants to sell 411 copies of the Mazaki No Fantaji standard edition hardcover, the number that would reach our $16K goal through single sales alone. It's a psychological thing. This very personal Stretch Goal would unlock a completely original and exciting Kiddy Campaign Setting. Inspired by the newest generation of kids cartoons, we'd make a world of pure awesome-sauce (40+ pages) perfect for gamers young and young at heart. New powers. New artifacts. New art. This will be a PDF for future sale. All BIGGIE DIGITAL Backers and beyond get this. 

We are also running an Anime Club Contest throughout the campaign. Any anime club that has at least FIVE members pledge the HARDCOPY PACK or higher will be able to create content with us to be featured in upcoming modules and exclusive releases, either a monster or a locale. So, if you're in an anime club or know of one, get your friends to pledge here TODAY. 

We are continuing our Actual Play Giveaway: Any group that posts a useful video of an actual play session of Mazaki No Fantaji online will be up for some free T-shirts (while supplies last). 

We have heard that some folks hate having T-Shirts or Dice included as Rewards so we dropped them. Should the desire arise, however, we would love to design a T-shirt with a Theme written on it that could be used during play. And, seriously, with an order as small as 200, it is cheaper to custom print dice with Chessex than it is to buy them. We're not joking. So we'd be up to add those to GAMER Backers at certain Stretch Goals. 

Stay tuned for smaller challenges and prizes throughout the campaign. Calvin has been warned that filming an "Andhuran Drunk History" video is not off the table!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We funded the Early Dark Role-Playing Game in August of 2010. The PDFs were released in the summer of 2011, and the hardcovers were mailed in the spring of 2012. Mazaki No Fantaji is a much tighter product, and we hope to have everything to you by the summer of 2014.

We faced two main challenges getting Early Dark into your hands: (1) Dealing with the printer for several months of formatting, and (2) shipping and handling hell. After the campaign was funded, testing the game with y'all for a few months and editing the final version of the (gigantic) book were fun and fulfilling tasks that we expected would take up the majority of our time. Not so. Emailing back and forth with the printer to make minute changes to InDesign documents day after day (week after week) was a headache that pushed the delivery back almost a year. Finding the right packaging to mail a 3.7 lb. hardcover book safely took a SHOCKING amount of time and money.

Both of those hiccups will be avoided with Mazaki No Fantaji: (1) We HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE! Early Dark taught us a LOT! We are using a printer with a great track record of quality products and timely shipping, and we have created all of the documents and artwork from scratch with the printer's needs in mind. And (2) we are letting the printer handle order fulfillment. What this means: All you COMPLETE, CHARACTER, and VANITY Backers will get low-numbered books in pretty packages mailed directly from Calvin's apartment in balmy Austin, TX. Something to be excited about! But other hardcopies of Mazaki will ship directly from the printer. This means that standard editions will have no signatures or numbers or cute stickers. We want to be the ones sealing each book with a kiss, but that is just not feasible on this scale. We're sorry. But you will get your books 3-4 MONTHS earlier!! And everyone at GAMER Level and above will still get a cute goodie bag in the mail with your tokens and tiles and all that.

Our larger Rewards for Early Dark included roles in ongoing campaigns that took for granted long-term relationships with the Backers and players. While playing groups in Germany, Australia, Canada, and all over the United States were great to meet with and stay in touch with, we just haven't had enough groups registering on the website and sharing their games to sustain the HERO LEVEL Rewards from that campaign (WE'RE STILL TRYING!! And we have several Early Dark products that will be released for FREE in the upcoming months). We will develop several modules for Mazaki No Fantaji and try to engage with the players as much as possible, but we can't promise Backers roles in adventures outside the professional modules designed by us and the upper-level Backers.

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  • Pledge $9 or more
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    PATRON PACK - You get your name on pretty much the first page of the book with the rest of the groovy Backers, the CREDIT you all deserve. The project will only succeed if people just like you pledge to make it happen!

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    18 backers

    DIGITAL PACK - Yeah, you get your name in the book alright, but you also get the finished "Mazaki No Fantaji" PDF from DriveThruRPG. This full-color DIGITAL DOWNLOAD will be exactly the same as the printed hardcopy in content, but it will be as easily navigated and transported as your favorite bookmarked PDF documents.

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    BIGGIE DIGITAL PACK - This pack is for those who want more digital content but none of the physical stuff. It will include the full-color PDF of "Mazaki No Fantaji" and BOTH MODULES fully edited and formatted after public testing. [[ Select this pack for ALL DIGITAL content from Stretch Goals ]]

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    HARDCOPY PACK - In addition to your name appearing in the book and a PDF of the standard edition, you will receive the full-color, HARDCOVER "Mazaki No Fantaji" BOOK in all its gamey goodness. You have become. Welcome to a new world. [[ NOTE: This pack does NOT include the two modules ]]

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    STARTER PACK - Here you get your name in the book, the full PDF of "Mazaki No Fantaji" all bookmarked and pretty, your very own hardcover edition mailed direct to your door, plus the TWO MODULES as complimentary downloads from DriveThruRPG. This is a full starter set of solid content right here, folks.

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    GAMER PACK - You already get everything so far: Credit in the book, a final PDF from DriveThruRPG, the full-color hardcover edition, and the final and formatted PDFs of both modules being released alongside this campaign. But you're a gamer! You want mowr! Pledge this amount to get the most convenient add-on imaginable: our wicked set of 10 CUSTOM TOKENS. They will be the gaming equivalent of driving a '67 Mustang. Trust us. Plus, we'll add a deck of 20 printed CHARACTER TILES on cardstock. These will include alternate versions and Tiles customized for familiars, more powerful characters, bruisers, magic users, etc. Everything you need to play "Mazaki" straight outta the box and some extra style to boot! Game on. [[ Select this pack for ALL CONTENT from Stretch Goals ]]

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    DELUXE PACK - Everything so far isn't enough for you, is it? You have your name in the book, a PDF copy of "Mazaki No Fantaji," a full-color hardcopy mailed to your door, a set of ten custom tokens, alternate character tiles, and the revised and illustrated PDFs of the two modules from this campaign. But you're special, aren't you? You need more. Add to all that the SPECIAL EDITION BOOKLET of the two campaign modules that includes liner notes, expanded encounters, and secret lore from the creators. Your game will be more fun than everyone else's. Life is good. Plus, you get the complete set of 12 VANITY TILES on full-color glossy cardstock. These will make your heroes famous at every convention and demo for years to come. You ARE special. And you're welcome.

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    COMPLETE PACK - More? Okay. You get everything so far from the previous packs: Credit in the book, PDF copy, full-color "Mazaki No Fantaji" hardcover, 10 Tokens, alternate character tiles, two complimentary modules on PDF, the printed special edition booklet of the modules, and the set of printed Vanity Tiles. But that hasn't bled us dry just yet. You want all the things, and this pack will get them for you. Brace yourself: Pledge here to get a second copy of "Mazaki No Fantaji" in hardcover: The coveted, LOW-NUMBER COLLECTORS EDITION of the book signed, sealed, and delivered by us. Maybe we'll even spray it with perfume. Okay, probably not. Add to that chunk of gaming gold a complimentary digital download of THREE FORTHCOMING MODULES. We have three modules mapped out that will be released for sale on DriveThruRPG as the world progresses (one for each culture: Tomishi, Andhuran, and Guanxi). The entire planned narrative of the Nopo Continent is yours with our compliments. It's literally everything in the world (SO FAR)!

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    CHARACTER PACK - You are now "Mazaki No Fantaji" royalty. What else could you want?! What if a CHARACTER YOU DESIGN becomes featured in the game world as a major acting hero or villain? We'll work alongside you and our illustrators to design a character that can become part of the "Mazaki No Fantaji" visual identity, a recognizable and (in)famous player on the Nopo Continent. And, if you're gaming with your friends and growing that character, just keep us posted so we can keep everyone else posted. We will try to get at least two illustrations of the character in the book/modules and several references throughout. This makes you and us one. Feel it? We're one. Also, so you can brag about getting more in the mail than those lowly COMPLETE Backers, we'll include hardcopies of ALL EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from the cons and demos we run leading up to the release. Exclusive monsters, artifacts, tokens, encounters: Whatever we produce to run the game, we'll save you a copy and mail it up pretty.

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    ANIME CLUB PACK - Same as the CHARACTER PACK except you do not design only a single hero: You design a famous monster or crucial locale in the game. You're the anime experts, and we want you populating this game with the crazy creatures you love. This PACK allows your crew to put all the team together in one Pledge instead of spread out over four or five.

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    VANITY PACK - You have all of the stuff from above, plus a guaranteed lower-number book than any of those measly CHARACTER Backers. What else could you possibly want?! Leave us alone. There's just no pleasing you! Okay. Don't go. Let's see what we can do: You get to DESIGN A VANITY TILE that other backers will play with at conventions long into the distant and indefinite future. Is it something to do with the character you designed? Something unholy? Something downright silly? We will work with you and our illustrators to develop a solid artifact to be professionally printed and shipped to all DELUXE Backers and above. They will be playing with your creation. It's alive!! Also, we will DONATE A COPY of the standard "Mazaki No Fantaji" hardcover to an organization of your choice (public library, non-profit group, gaming store library, school, anime club, etc.). I mean, what would you do with a third copy anyway? Give it away! We'll make sure to add a note (I mean, you want credit, don't you?) Plus: YOUR FACE. We'll put YOUR FACE on YOUR CHARACTER in the books. Feeling vain? We are. We've already got our faces hidden in the game. You can do it too. But only if you pledge the VANITY Pack during this Kickstarter campaign.

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    RETAIL PACK - This is a way retailers can order 8 copies of "Mazaki No Fantaji" at about the same price you would receive from our distributor (probably less after shipping). We will only mail this to a bonafide, brick-and-mortar FLGS with a US address. What else do you get? Well, we'll include enough RETAIL-EXCLUSIVE Tiles to give customers in your area incentive to purchase from you. We'll also include you on a list of participating retailers directly on the website before people order so they know you are a local option. And we'll include some signage for your store or shelf. And, why not design a locale in Mazaki City as well? Work with us. Help us help you. Let's hug. [[ This PACK is outside the larger flow of escalating rewards ]]

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    A-KON 2014 PACK - This amounts to a COMPLETE PACK plus an afternoon or evening of gaming with your friends and the creators at A-Kon 2014. We will provide an exclusive module, refreshments, and gaming supplies at your favorite location for a private demo of new material that lets your group impact the shape of things to come. Your characters and feedback will become canon, and we can chat about including your ideas and likenesses in the release of the module being developed. At the end of the session, you keep the supplies, and we go on our merry ways. By the end it kinda becomes a CHARACTER/VANITY PACK, doesn't it?

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    GENCON 2014 PACK - This amounts to a COMPLETE PACK plus an afternoon or evening of gaming with your friends and the creators at GenCon 2014. We will provide an exclusive module, refreshments, and gaming supplies at your favorite location for a private demo of new material that lets your group impact the shape of things to come. Your characters and feedback will become canon, and we can chat about including your ideas and likenesses in the release of the module being developed. At the end of the session, you keep the supplies, and we go on our merry ways. By the end it kinda becomes a CHARACTER/VANITY PACK, doesn't it?

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Funding period

- (49 days)