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File:Beyondfantasy1 3631.jpg

That's the only cover on the whole series not by Wen Yu-Li


In those times the World had another name. But everyone who knew it is gone.


Anima: Beyond Fantasy is a Role-Playing Game first published in Spain in 2005. It's a fantasy game of Sword and Sorcery with strong Anime influences. It's more rules-crunchy than rules-light, with emphasis in chi-abilities, magic, psychic powers and the like. It has been translated to English and French, the English version published by Fantasy Flight Games.

The intended setting for the game is Gaïa, who might, or might not, be a distant future Earth after a type 2 Apocalypse How caused by a Divide by Zero event. Its tone hovers between Seinen and Dark Shoujo Fantasy. Most of the art in the handbooks and signature characters are by Wen Yu-Li, giving it a very distinctive and gorgeous look.

Set in the same world are the miniatures game (Anima Tactics), and a (non-collectable) card game.

Character Sheet for relevant NPC's in the Setting here. A constant WIP.

The game mechanics are heaviliy influenced by the old Role Master system by ICE, including the bulk of character classes being mostly a mix of basic ones (as in, Warrior meets Mentalist), or specialized versions of the same role (like Thief/Spy/Assassin). Character attributes may be rolled (on a D10) or bought with a point allotment. Character classes are pretty much just skill cost templates, and much customization can be done (although maybe not smart); still, nothing prevents your vanilla Warrior guy (known as Weapon Master) from getting a few Psychic powers, if you feel like it. The game uses mostly D100 rolls for checks, except for the odd D10 roll where Character attributes are involved.

Skill ranks, secondary attributes (like Hit Points) and special combat tricks like Martial Arts or fighting techniques are bought with Development Points, D.P.s for short. Special advantages and training are bought with Background points. In fact, being a psychic or spellcaster is NOT a part of the class choice, but one of these advantages.

The system is level-based, with a possible "Apprentice level 0" and a (soft) level cap of 20. Levels add some inherent bonuses to skills and characteristics coming from the class, but mostly they give you extra D.P.s to spend.

Supernatural powers all have their particular mechanics:

  • Ki Attacks are of the flashy, super-powered variety and come with a do-it-yourself rules that let players create their own techniques from scratch. Very flexible although slightly cumbersome, it gets expanded and streamlined in one of the Sourcebooks.
  • The Magic system shows some of the Role Master roots, with Spell Points (called Zeon here) expenditures used to cast spells bought as a "list" with a common theme.
  • Sharing the Zeon Applied Phlebotinum but nothing else are the Arcana Summoning rules, that evoke strongly Final Fantasy signature summonings; unlike previous powers, summoning is handled by a set of special skills that must be developed independently for Summoning, Binding, and Banishing.
  • Psychic Powers are sort of the Jack-of-All-Trades of the Supernatural powers, lacking some of the raw power of the rest but not as resource dependent, and behaving more like a kind of skill than the other "pay for effect" powers without the "roll for everything" of Summoning.
  • Last of the Supernatural powers is Elan, that indicates whether a character is "synchronized" to one of the game's deities. Anima lacks traditional "clerics": divine powers come from following principles sponsored by the gods, behave like odd skills and advantages rather than like spells, and have nothing to do with organized religions, actually (but that is another story for another time...).

Combat is fairly lethal. Thankfully, the myriad weapon tables used in Role Master are gone, although fast adding and substracting is still a plus. Fights between opponents a couple of levels apart are very uneven affairs; high level characters with supernatural powers can annihilate armies without breaking a sweat. Later Sourcebooks even feature rules for enviromental damage caused by Physical Gods duking it out and combats where time is stretched by the Rule of Cool.

In spite of this, it is suggested that the game should be played at a "low" power level, severely limiting the availability of Supernatural skills, yet other two power level settings are suggested, and the "high power level" one uses the default Supernatural mechanics and character creation on the rulebook.

Tropes used in Anima: Beyond Fantasy include:

Gaïa, the World Setting, contains examples of the following tropes