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Author Topic: Magical Girl DnD Setting (Sometimes you gotta feed your inner 6 Year Old Girl)  (Read 301 times)
Straight Outta Johto
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« on: April 17, 2018, 02:46:43 AM »

Especially if you're a guy.

But seriously, I just came back from a Madoka Magica binge a week ago or so, and I have three sisters who all love Sailor Moon. So I began digging into the "Mahou Shoujo" genre, and I found that the genre is surprisingly encompassing and dynamic. You have Knightly maidens, spellcasters, magical singers, etc, etc. Then I thought "You know the Dnd System is surprisingly capable of running a Magical Girl campaign! I wanna make a dungeon crawl where a bunch of young woman fight illithids with miniskirts and sparkle swords!"

Now my problem. What do i do for a setting?

Option #1: Make a modern setting where the magical girls are called forth to protect the world from extraplanar threats, such as Illithids, Aboleths, Demon invasions, etc, etc, etc.

Option #2: An Eberron campaign. Not even joking. Same basic premise as the above. But it's Eberron. More racial options, you don't have to fidget with the system too much to make it work out. Plus Eberron has a million possible places were the Magical Girls could come from. The Dragonmarks, Planar energies, Cosmic guardians, etc, etc.

Option #3: Take Cainsworth, and still make it a dark and dreary dieselpunk city with supernatural horrors and stuff, but the Magical Girls are called by the powers of light and goodness to combat the criminality and horrors in this city. Like if the Sailor Scouts were charged with protecting Gotham instead of Batman.
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2018, 06:54:17 PM »

LoA

You know the Dnd System is surprisingly capable of running a Magical Girl campaign!
I'm not sure if the things emphasized by D&D are really the kinds of things that are usually emphasized in the magical girl genre, so you may be running into some conceptual clashes here. Some examples:

- The six D&D stats don't include things like willpower, spirit, love, and other genre-important things. The D&D way of tying one's will to one's "Wisdom" doesn't really work well for an airhead like Usagi, and Charisma would probably be something of a god-stat. On the other hand, stats like Strength and Dexterity don't have a whole lot of meaning because magical girls are always supernaturally strong and nimble, and if they have greater abilities, it's usually due to greater strength of will or the power of love or something.

- Some stats and skills don't have a lot of relevance. There's usually the "smart one" (e.g., Mizuno Ami, Yukishiro Honoka) who might have a high Intelligence stat and a lot of knowledge skills, but that's more a character trait that one either has or not rather than something numeric. The same goes for (non-transformed) athletic prowess, social charm, and other abilities that magical girls tend to show; these tend to apply more when they aren't transformed. On the other hand, skills like Survival and Appraise just don't come up, and I don't even know how to approach Use Magic Device.

- Similarly, things like hit points and spell slots don't really have a lot of relevance to magical girls. Some powers may have to be activated by beating the enemy down or are only good once per transformation, but there's nothing like spell preparation. As for hit points, magical girls can generally take quite a beating, and they only really lose if they give up, which is more about mental fortitude than physical. And of course an inspiring speech from the team's leader about how she's never giving up can get the team back up to full health again.

- D&D combat doesn't really look anything like magical girl combat. D&D combat is pretty quick and brutal, usually ending with someone getting hit with a save-or-lose or just getting ganked with a power attack for a ton of damage. On the other hand, magical girl combat tends to build up, with frequent interruptions in which the hero or villain will monologue about their views or intentions and the other side obligingly listens attentively. The flow of lots of minor attacks leading to the super power beam of ultimate justice that ultimately brings the win is more like Exalted 3 than anything D&D does.

- On a related note, D&D style tactical positioning seems a lot less important for magical girls and might just be weighing the system down. Anything that causes them to get hit and not get thrown back 20 feet doesn't really feel right, battlefield control isn't really a thing (except for plot-device magical barriers) and D&D doesn't handle vertical movement well while magical girls are always jumping high into the air with superhuman grace.

- Magical girls are often all about their team attacks. The Precure Marble Screw comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples as well. D&D is kind of bad at this; the only thing that comes close are PF's teamwork feats and those are lackluster and not really the same thing. D&D is more about giving each player their individual turn and doesn't really handle these sorts of abilities.

LoA

What do i do for a setting?
Option #4: Magic Knight Rayearth-style, where there are a group of ordinary school-age girls who get pulled into the 'fantasy realm' in order to fight the evil there. They can be stuck there if you want to focus on the fantasy adventure (which is how MKR itself did it) or they can go back and forth if you want to do like a lot of other magical girl stories and give them normal teenage girl problems as well.


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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 09:18:17 PM »

sparkletwist

LoA

You know the Dnd System is surprisingly capable of running a Magical Girl campaign!
I'm not sure if the things emphasized by D&D are really the kinds of things that are usually emphasized in the magical girl genre, so you may be running into some conceptual clashes here. Some examples:

- The six D&D stats don't include things like willpower, spirit, love, and other genre-important things. The D&D way of tying one's will to one's "Wisdom" doesn't really work well for an airhead like Usagi, and Charisma would probably be something of a god-stat. On the other hand, stats like Strength and Dexterity don't have a whole lot of meaning because magical girls are always supernaturally strong and nimble, and if they have greater abilities, it's usually due to greater strength of will or the power of love or something.

- Some stats and skills don't have a lot of relevance. There's usually the "smart one" (e.g., Mizuno Ami, Yukishiro Honoka) who might have a high Intelligence stat and a lot of knowledge skills, but that's more a character trait that one either has or not rather than something numeric. The same goes for (non-transformed) athletic prowess, social charm, and other abilities that magical girls tend to show; these tend to apply more when they aren't transformed. On the other hand, skills like Survival and Appraise just don't come up, and I don't even know how to approach Use Magic Device.

- Similarly, things like hit points and spell slots don't really have a lot of relevance to magical girls. Some powers may have to be activated by beating the enemy down or are only good once per transformation, but there's nothing like spell preparation. As for hit points, magical girls can generally take quite a beating, and they only really lose if they give up, which is more about mental fortitude than physical. And of course an inspiring speech from the team's leader about how she's never giving up can get the team back up to full health again.

- D&D combat doesn't really look anything like magical girl combat. D&D combat is pretty quick and brutal, usually ending with someone getting hit with a save-or-lose or just getting ganked with a power attack for a ton of damage. On the other hand, magical girl combat tends to build up, with frequent interruptions in which the hero or villain will monologue about their views or intentions and the other side obligingly listens attentively. The flow of lots of minor attacks leading to the super power beam of ultimate justice that ultimately brings the win is more like Exalted 3 than anything D&D does.

- On a related note, D&D style tactical positioning seems a lot less important for magical girls and might just be weighing the system down. Anything that causes them to get hit and not get thrown back 20 feet doesn't really feel right, battlefield control isn't really a thing (except for plot-device magical barriers) and D&D doesn't handle vertical movement well while magical girls are always jumping high into the air with superhuman grace.

- Magical girls are often all about their team attacks. The Precure Marble Screw comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples as well. D&D is kind of bad at this; the only thing that comes close are PF's teamwork feats and those are lackluster and not really the same thing. D&D is more about giving each player their individual turn and doesn't really handle these sorts of abilities.

Sorry I should have clarified my intentions. If I wanted to run a pure, blue and true campaign based around Sentai styled Mahou Shoujo anime (Sailor Moon) I would just use FATE. The main inspiration was Princess: The Hopeful, a fan-made Worlds of Darkness supplement that added magical girls to the WoD universe. Obviously, watching Madoka Magica later after that cemented the idea of Magical Girls battling eldritch horrors theme I've got going on in my head. The main idea I've kind of latched onto is the idea of taking the Magical Girl genre, and translating it into a DnD setting.

sparkletwist

LoA

What do i do for a setting?
Option #4: Magic Knight Rayearth-style, where there are a group of ordinary school-age girls who get pulled into the 'fantasy realm' in order to fight the evil there. They can be stuck there if you want to focus on the fantasy adventure (which is how MKR itself did it) or they can go back and forth if you want to do like a lot of other magical girl stories and give them normal teenage girl problems as well.

The problem with MKR is that it's very Genre Kitchen Sinky. As above stated, my idea is to make a DnD setting with some Magical Girl flavor, but is still dnd at it's core. If i'm going to make MKR, than just using Eberron is probably better than making a fantasy world from scratch.
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 04:14:02 PM »

Although I think you *could* hack D&D to do something like this, I agree with sparkletwist that it's certainly not made for emulating the Magical Girl genre very well. If you're intent on doing 5th edition it might be worth hacking it a bunch to try and capture some of those Magical Girl elements. For example, for teamwork elements, group initiative is probably a good idea.

Honestly, I think Fate would work pretty well for this kind of game, and it might be a good excuse to try it out.

I like Option 3 a lot - Sailor Scouts in Gotham/Yharnam is a pretty cool idea.
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