I made another very exciting find and would like to introduce you to Kunai Academy. For fans of Naruto and Co. it offers a system that is ruleslite, but also allows you to create your own world.
Kunai Academy does not have a detailed setting of its own; rather it is inspired by ninja manga and anime, as well as cartoons. The ninja are naturally mystified and have superhuman abilities. You can tell very clearly that Naruto is a great inspiration. The players come from a common village and, in addition to their own character, create their own village through background questions.
Kunai Academy uses its own system, although at some points I had to think of Savage Worlds and Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA). Characters are created using playbooks that represent different archetypes, such as the cursed ninja, the genius or the altered ninja. Each archetype has a special ability; otherwise, all ninja have the same selection options. There are six attributes (Body, Spirit, Mind, Martial Arts, Elementals Arts, and Illusion Arts) and there are ranks that each correspond to a die. Rank C is d6, Rank B is d8, Rank A is d10 and Rank S is d12.
During tests, the two suitable attributes are selected (for many things there are already predetermined combinations) and the respective dice are used. The dice are considered individually and a result of four or less gives zero hits, 5-9 gives one hit and 10 and more gives two hits. A single hit is enough for a test, more hits mean greater success. If you have one or more advantages, then you add a corresponding number of D6s to the roll, which can also generate hits. In the case of disadvantages, D6 are also added, but for each disadvantage, the result of the highest roll result must be ignored.
Through planning, techniques or traits, players can create so-called edges. An edge (e.g. shadow clones) is given a value (usually from 1 to 3) and can be spent for rerolling, also to force opponents to reroll their dice. Opponents use something similar for their skills; these are called obstacles, also with a value. These obstacles, like the edges, create facts in fiction and can block certain things, prevent players from using certain techniques or attacks and the like. With hits, these obstacles can be reduced and removed.
For fights, the initiative is determined using cards. To do this, you take one colour from a standard deck. Interestingly, the initiative is redefined for each round. Certain actions make it possible to draw several cards and choose one. In addition to attacks (there are physical, elementary and verbal attacks, as well as illusion attacks), you can prepare edges, remove obstacles, collect energy, and use techniques. If you want to focus on a test, you can use a flashback once per fight and tell what gives you strength. Beside your actions, teamwork must of course not be missing and you can help your comrades with various options. At the end of a fight, you regenerate damage and energy, but a test is used to check whether you are sustainably influenced by emotions, which fits very well with the role model Naruto.
In order to decorate their own village and bring it to life, players get a background sheet each. By answering the questions on a topic, you get a great story and important information, such as who betrayed the village or who the special unit of the village is and how they operate.
Kunai Academy has 163 pages, is in English and is full-colour. I think both the layout and the general division of the book are very good. With eight archetypes and eight background themes, you get a good range of options. I like the section for the game master very much, because it provides very different antagonists and many possibilities to make fights exciting.
Who might be interested in Kunai Academy:
- Players and game masters who are fans of Naruto and Co.
- People who like worldbuilding
- Players who like fast-paced and cinematic combat
Who might not be interested in Kunai Academy:
- Players and game masters who are looking for a detailed implementation of Naruto
- People who need complex and extensive rules
- Players who don’t want to be part of worldbuilding