Monday, July 31, 2017

My Gaming Monomania

I tend to obsess about games. Really that's nothing new. 

My problem is, I kind of like obsessing. I like being so head-over-heels inspired by a game idea that I go out of my way to do research on it, create a custom character sheet, investigate multiple systems to find the best fit, and spend hours thinking about my approach to running it.

When I don't have a concept...when I'm not flat out jazzed about anything...well...I can obsess about that too. That part sucks let me tell you.

Luckily, it's usually just a matter of time before a spark appears, a flicker, and then the fuse is lit. What comes next? With any luck, a big BOOM.

Since you've all waited so patiently, here's my BOOM...

The Role Playing Game

My Hero Academia is a Japanese Anime, and Manga series written by Kohei Horikoshi, and illustrated by Hirofumi Neda (in the Manga). The Manga is being published by Shueisha, and serialized in Shonen Jump. The animation is by Studio Bones, and released by Madman Entertainment (in Japan), and Funimation (in the USA).

The series began in 2014, and still in production. The animated series was released in 2016, and is only in it's second season. A video game, a spin off Manga, and a number of other items such as models, action figures, art books, and more have been produced. Funko Pop has even released a set of their vinyl/bobble-head figures this month. 


The story revolves around a young boy named Izuku Midoriya, who was born without any superpowers in a world where roughly 80% of the population has some kind of 'Quirk', a metahuman mutation that gives them special abilities.

In this world, which is otherwise essentially our own in the near future, one of the most sought after, and beloved professions is Hero, acting, and serving the public much like the comic book superheroes of old.  Midoriya wants nothing more in life than to be one of these heroes, to help people, to save lives...but he is 'Quirkless' as noted, one of the shrinking minority born without supra-normal powers.

His life takes a turn for the better, and eventually the more complicated and dangerous, when the world's greatest superhero, All Might, scouts out the boy as possessing the heart, and spirit of a true hero. All Might's quirk, One for All, can be passed down from one wielder to the next, and so boy, nicknamed 'Deku' (basically 'useless'), starts his journey toward following in his mentor's footsteps.

Midoriya attends Ultra Academy High School (called UA High School for short), where he and a cast of strange and colorful characters all seek to learn the hero trade from pro-Heroes, including the totally badass Eraser Head, the mysterious, space-suited Thirteen, and even All Might himself!


There is a lot to like in My Hero Academia, but I will be honest and say that at first it didn't grab me. I thought it was OK, but a little too goofy in a way that turned me off to it. Also, although the Japanese do better takes on Western-style Superheroes than we do on Giant Robots, the first season of My Hero Academia seemed far too full of anime tropes to also pull off American comic book superhero tropes. 

My pal Dave convinced me to give it another try, and I am glad I did. The second season of the show is far superior. The writer's love, and understanding of Western comics really shines through. There is a reference to one of All Might's costumes being very 'Silver Age'. In a practice session at the school, two students pretend to be villains with a bomb, and two play the heroes trying to thwart their plans. One student remarks, "This is a very American scenario, don't you think?"

Mix a healthy dose of Manga/Anime style humor, heartbreak, and high powered action with some of the most superheroic superheroes since DC comics in the 1970s, and early 80s, and you've got a milieu that is right up my alley, and perfect for the group I am going to be gaming with.

Enter my homebrewed RPG - My Hero Academia: American Ultra!

Set against the backdrop of a superhero training academy in New York City, our campaign with focus on Heroes-in-Training in the United States, where things work a little bit differently than on the show.

I am really eager to see what the players come up with for Quirks. They can be really weird on occasion. I am also excited to introduce them to some ideas I have, which of course leads directly to the villains I am going to be presenting.

I will be discussing more about this project as the week goes on, so keep it tuned to Barking Alien for updates.

Lots of cool news coming in the next few days actually. For now, an attempt at sleep!

Go Beyond Heroes! PLUS ULTRA!!!

Barking Alien


  1. Sounds awesome! Glad you got your quirk back.

    Are you homebrewing this from scratch or are you mincing, dicing, and stewing some other systems together?

  2. It's a homebrew...of sorts.

    I discovered some Japanese indie/small press tabletop RPGs recently, including one that reminds me a little of Marvel Heroic, and one that's like Apocalypse World/Powered by the Apocalypse.

    Using the latter, American games to fill in the gaps I found trying to understand the former has result in an unholy hybrid of the most awesome kind.

    Details as they come about!