A Look At The Fluff Of Anima: Beyond Fantasy
Anima: Beyond Fantasy is my favorite role-playing game. Why? Many reasons. Solid mechanics, a plethora of character options, dynamic combat, and most of all, one of the most detailed campaign worlds I have ever seen. The world of Gaia, detailed in the massive Gaia: Beyond Dreams vol. 1 (the only one of the books the size of the Core Rulebook) gives players a look at the Old Continent of Gaia. Not the whole world, admittedly, and I eagerly await news of volume two, but this is not a discredit to the game. If anything, it is praise. Gaia: Beyond Dreams shows us a world of epic fantasy, intrigue, and wonder. Step into any one of the many principalities/nations detailed within and you will find yourself thrown into a world that is both alien and familiar all at the same time.
Something that Anima does that I never would have thought I would like is they take elements of our own world, focusing heavily on Christianity, and gives it a new spin. Christianity is the prominent religion on Gaia, but it is far from the one we are familiar with. In Gaia, Christ was not named Jesus. He was called Abel. Heralded as the child of God, Abel and his Apostles waged war upon the supernatural evils that ran rampant throughout the Old Continent. That was until he was betrayed by one of his own, Judas, and crucified upon the walls of the capital city of Solomon. See what I mean about things being both alien and familiar? His remaining apostles then took vengeance upon Solomon and upon the ruins of the once great empire of corrupt sorcerers they built an empire: The Holy Empire of Abel, the dominant nation of the Old Continent.
Gaia: Beyond Dreams and Anima: Beyond Fantasy as a whole is filled with wondrous stories that your own characters may find themselves apart of. Maybe they will find themselves in the service of the Child Empress, Elizabetta, or manipulated by the cunning and horrifyingly intelligent Lucanor Giovanni, or the ruthless Matthew Gaul. Your characters might find themselves battling evil spirits and ruthless viking-like warriors in Goldar or battling against servants of shadow within a ruined temple of Nathaniel. The possibilities are endless and Anima has this wonderful way of making you eager for more.
More than the mechanics, it is the story of Anima that has drawn me to it more so than any other game. My characters have never felt so much a part of the world itself as they have with this game, and Gaia: Beyond Dreams is your guide to that world. Anima: Beyond Fantasy is still a relatively unknown game here in the United States. Its flavor is meant to capture a similar feel to our standard fantasy tales with elements reminiscent of games such as Final Fantasy VII or Dragon Quest. It is a marvelous game that I would recommend to any and all players/gamemasters interested in trying out something new.
Image Credit: Fantasy Flight Games