Kamigakari: God Hunters is a tabletop role-playing game set in modern-day Japan that combines centuries of Japanese mythology with a modern-day setting and urban fantasy action. You play as a God Hunter, a being wielding supernatural strength, magical abilities, and reality-warping spiritual powers. Your mission is to protect an unsuspecting populace from evil beings known as Aramitama, and to prevent the supernatural from leaking into the public eye.
Originally, the game was released in Japan by Arclight Games on November 2013 as Legendary Arms RPG Kamigakari, to great popularity. In January 2017, a text-only fan translation appeared on the internet, exposing Kamigakari to the attention of English-speaking RPG fans world wide, and creating a thriving fanbase that continues to grow to this day!
Serpent Sea Games is a team of experienced RPG translation and development professionals, including the creator of the fan translation, who have licensed Kamigakari from the creators at Arclight Games for publication in English and want to bring the game officially to Western audiences.
But we need your help to bring this book into existence!
The world of Kamigakari features a distinctly seinen action anime and style to it. With crazy abilities and flashy powers, it's an over-the-top world where you can battle kaijus, giant robots, gods and demons all under the same umbrella. The system is designed to keep interactions as simple and intuitive as possible, for an easy pick-up-and-play. Kamigakari splits its play up into "scenes", which are short, episodic and will often split the focus onto individual players. It's a different experience compared to western systems that often assume the party is always together, which allows for more varied and engaging character focus and development.
So what is a God Hunter? A God Hunter is a person who, through one means or another, has gained supernatural powers by possessing a shard of a legendary weapon, relic, suit of armor, or maybe even the crystallized soul of a legendary hero. These powers can be anything from a master of the sword or magic, transforming hero, a living avatar of flame, or the ultimate hacker. Instead of a familiar class-based system, Kamigakari uses its own character generation called Styles, which lets you mix and match your power sets to create a gun-slinging samurai, a chainsaw-wielding magical girl, a hacker who codes his magic into existence, or a hunter who stalks his victims through the shadows.
And it's not just limited to your class: weapons and gear are utilized under the Arms system, a mechanic where a base weapon is upgraded over time by using materials or spending gold. Two basic swords, in the hands of two different god hunters, can end up very different weapons after extensive modification!
Does being a God Hunter mean that you hunt gods? Of course it does! With concepts rooted in Shintoism and traditional Japanese folklore, a God Hunter is tasked with tracking down dangerous beings known as Aramitama - a dark god that is born and grows in power by devouring the souls of its victims. Aramitama come in many forms - from recognizable Japanese icons like oni and tengu, mythical beings like the Pegasus or Griffin, to eldritch monstrosities made of gnashing teeth and glowing orbs. Upon defeating an Aramitama, God Hunters can use their remains to create stronger Regalia - magical weapons and equipment, in order to face even even more powerful Aramitama. It's not just a fun gameplay loop, either: These creatures threaten the sanctity of innocents and the world in their lust to reach their ultimate form, the Avatar of Ruin, a true god of destruction capable of ending the world. It's up to the God Hunters to prevent that!
Kamigakari utilizes the unique Numen Dice pool. Numen Dice are resource wherein you roll a set of dice and use it to pay for abilities or change the outcome of a roll. There's many ways change, swap and spend dice. Players must be careful how they manage their Numen Pool to both survive the battle and save the perfect set of Numen Dice to activate their ultimate abilities!
We'd like to support this game far into the future, and plan on translating and releasing supplements if financially viable. Arclight Games has also requested the creation of original content exclusive to the western release, but that can probably wait until we have a few expansion books finished, we're only mentioning it now in the interests of full transparency.
Our goal is to recreate the original Japanese book as closely as we can in English. It'll be 11 inches tall by 8.25 inches wide, as close to the original book's size as we can get in both offset print and print-on-demand formats. The cover and spine are going to be pretty thick for a softcover - this book will clock in at between 300 and 400 pages, and we don't want the poor thing tearing after just a couple reads. This book should last for years worth of adventures!
We're going to release a PDF copy of the game, with an option for Print-On-Demand, a faster and less limited route to getting a physical book in your hands. Finally, the offset print book, printed by the paper wizards at KrakenPrint will be stocked and shipped by our friends at IndiePressRevolution, and any leftovers in the print run will be sold there after backer rewards are fulfilled.
Where Your Money's Going
Here's how we plan to spend this money. Transparency, ho!
- Translation: $4,500
- Editing: $1,600
- Layout Design: $1,700
- Printing Books: $3,000
- Printing Wall Scrolls: $15 per unit (included in backer tier cost)
- Shipping to IndiePressRevolution: $500
Kickstarter Fees: $1,630
Emergency Funds: $2,000
Royalties for Print Run: $3,000
- Royalties for PDFs: $4.80 per unit (included in backer tier cost)
- Royalties for Wall Scroll: $2.40 per unit (included in backer tier cost)
The shipping fee in your pledges for physical orders covers Indie Press Revolution's cost in manpower and shipping to send your rewards from their warehouse to you. The shipping fee listed above represents the cost of sending the rewards from the manufacturers to IPR's warehouse. The emergency funds are for unexpected problems that may occur during production, such as a sudden cost increase from a manufacturer or something like that. If no such emergency arises, it will be distributed among the team, other than the project manager, as a pay bonus.
The actual Kamigakari book was written and developed by the following people and I would be remiss not to credit their hard work, which makes this project possible. They probably won't interact much in the KS, but they made the game, so they should get top billing!
Setting & System Design: Rikizo
Development: Shuji Hisami, Satoshi Sasamiya
Writing Assistance: Senko Tagawa, Makotsu, Yasashi-kei, Oktea Taif, Satoshi Sasamiya
As for the localization team (that's us), we have
- Amy Veeres: Project Manager. A writer for such RPGs as Chronicles of Darkness and Shadowrun. Amy's job is to manage everyone else and keep this nonsense straight.
- Noelle Siddall: In charge of translating the rules and other mechanical parts. Creator of multiple English fan translations, including Kamigakari itself! If you've been playing this game before now and you don't speak Japanese, you've got her to thank. She's also one of the writers for Lab Zero Games' Indivisible!
Ewen Cluney: One of the Japanese RPG translation OGs, Ewen is responsible for the English language versions of Maid RPG and Golden Sky Stories. He's handling the fiction and lore parts of the book, and they couldn't be in safer hands.
- Grant Chen: Grant is a Taiwanese-American game designer. He is one of Kamigakari's editors, and previously edited for Maid RPG, Golden Sky Stories, and Tenra Bansho Zero.
- C. Boucher - Editor of Golden Sky Stories, they specialize in Japanese RPG translations, and will be co-editing Kamigakari for us!
- Olivia Hill: Olivia Hill is an author, graphic designer, editor, and video game designer. She's contributed to numerous RPGs including but not limited to World of Darkness, Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Besides working on Kamigakari, she recently released a novel, ULTRA. Olivia will be making sure the English book layout is attractive and easy to digest, while still faithful to the original Japanese game.
At various tiers, you can get the following rewards for backing this project!
- A digital PDF copy of Kamigakari: God Hunters. This will not feature any DRM or watermarking.
- A print-on-demand code for Kamigakari: God Hunters. Usable through DriveThruRPG, this code will allow you to print an additional book at the cost of materials and bypass the part where I make money.
- An actual print copy of Kamigakari: God Hunters. This is an offset print book from a limited run.
- A Kamigakari: God Hunters Wall Scroll! This is a wall scroll featuring Yoshinori Shizuma's amazing cover art blown up into poster size so you can hang it on your wall, but in scroll form! The scroll will be 22 inches tall by 16 inches wide.
Originally, our plan was to not worry about stretch goals. Then we made $18,000 in 55 hours, and decided to reconsider. Here's what we have planned!
- At $20,000, we'll be able to make a Translator Notes collection that goes into detail on the Japanese folklore and culture that appear in Kamigakari: God Hunters, including an essay on the nature of Japanese RPGs and how they differ from their western counterparts (What's the deal with Appearance checks, for example?). This will be free for anyone that backs the Kickstarter or buys the book later on.
- At $27,000, the localization team will get their pay doubled. A dirty secret of the RPG industry is the vast majority of creatives are paid peanuts. This amount of money will allow much more reasonable compensation for everyone's hard work.
- If we hit $35,000 then we'll be able to produce the first expansion book, Requiem for the God-Soul. This book offers an extra system for dungeon crawling through Sanctums, the deadly lairs of Mononoke, as well as three new Ancestries (Dragon Lord, Divine Spirit, Legendary Soul), three new Styles (the punchtastic God Hand, the minion-summoning or riding Contractor, and the power word kill-slinging Divine Speaker), plus brand new items, Mononoke, a new pre-written adventure, and more world information. This will be a PDF and PoD-only release, addable in a new tier or through a post-campaign Backerkit poll. The Avatar of Ruin tier will have this added automatically. Despite what lower backer tiers said, this and further expansion books will not be included for free except in the + Expansion One and Complete tiers. I'm sorry. I decided the chance to include this content earlier than expected was worth it, and hope you understand.
- Should the impossible happen and we hit $45,000 we'll be able to produce the second expansion book, Machine God of Damocles. This book offers the unique Scene Template system, which allows the GM to automatically create new cases, or randomly produce all kinds of things for their own games, such as events, NPCs, and even what the boss enemy looks like and what they're after. It also offers plenty of new world information about how science and numen interacts, three new Ancestries (Cyborg, Demon-Eyed, and Traveler), loads of new gear, Mononoke, and more. This too will be a digital-only release that only Avatar of Ruin gets for free.
There will be updates as milestones are reached, the "usual" Kickstartarter update content, but in addition to that, every Friday evening, we'll post some special content of interest to fans of Kamigakari. The Friday update schedule is as follows:
- Friday, October 26: How we designed the Kamigakari: God Hunters logo, and the many iterations it took to reach the final.
- Friday, November 2: An essay by Noelle Siddal about how she came upon Kamigakari and the creation of the fan translation that inspired all this.
Friday, November 9: At 10:30 PM Eastern time, 7:30 Pacific, Twitch streamer Jessica Osborne
will stream a live Kamigakari: God Hunters play session, guest-starring our own Char Boucher! Here's a VoD link if you missed it! https://www.twitch.tv/videos/333893342
- Friday, November 16: An ebook release of Kamigakari: God Hunters' second chapter in its complete, unedited form
Friday, November 23: An interview with Rikizo, creator of Kamigakari! Throughout the kickstarter, backers may submit questions to ask Rikizo until November 14, in order to allow time to translate the questions and answers.
Risks and challenges
The key risk in translating and publishing Kamigakari is that it'll take a really long time to translate. Most Japanese RPG Kickstarters fall victim to this one. We've gotten around this by assembling a team that is familiar with Kamigakari already, not to mention one of them already did a functional translation of the game a couple years ago.
That doesn't prevent other delays, such as one of our partners suffering a setback, unexpected emergencies, or having underestimated how long it will take to do something. There's no easy way to fix this. We're working with a lot of reliable people and we've checked our math, but if something does go wrong, we'll do our best to keep all of our backers informed and regularly updated.
Lately, a couple recent high-profile Kickstarters have fallen victim to either severe scope creep, or improperly budgeting stretch goals that take over the whole project. This is something we've thought a lot about and especially want to avoid. We're dealing with this through smart budgeting, rewards that we can afford and are easy to make, and not bothering with stretch goals besides the translator notes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)