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The "Magical Soldier" Template

by C. Richard Davies

"My name is Tsukino Usagi. I'm sixteen years old and in the first year of high school. I'm a little bit clumsy and a bit of a crybaby. But I'm the soldier of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Really."

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon), final episode.

Basic presumptions

Magic exists (at normal mana levels), but Magery is uncommon and most people do not believe in magic. Hence it is unusual for people to learn spells. However, all over the world there are girls between the ages of ten and sixteen who have been gifted with just that ability from one source or another -- some remember past lives in a more magical age while others recieve tutoring from powerful benign entities. They are compelled to keep their identities secret for several reasons, from the traditional (fear of what their enemies will do to their friends and loved ones if their true identity is discovered) to the less traditional (embarassment about running around in a skimpy costume) to the much more honest (a genuine enjoyment of the deceit and trickery involved).

Oh, and there is one other difference: Japan is much less homogenous, both racially and culturally, then in our own world. Several theories have been suggested to account for this, including one dealing with Gojira, but nothing is known for certain. What this means for a campaign is that a character can have any hair colour (including very strange ones) and a Western name, despite being Japanese.

This template is intended to represent a fighting magical girl -- such as a member of the Sailor Scouts or Cutey Honey -- rather than a less martial character such as Hime-chan or even Card Captor Sakura. (Such characters can be built as powerful or well-equipped Apprentices.) The basic character is 15 years old. Any younger will not give any points for youth, but will require recalculating attributes because of the lower base levels for children. (Some GMs may waive that rule, owing to the extremely cinematic nature of this sort of game.) Reawakened allows the character to have access to magical spells and levels of skill in excess of the age limit.

Each character has a magical specialization, often but not always elemental in nature. (Remember that the elements in Asian tradition are Fire, Water, Metal, Wood and Earth, not the Fire, Water, Air and Earth of Western tradition.) However, certain magical abilities -- such as being able to take on many appearances and disguise their identities, and pooling strength for a major strike -- are common to all magical soldiers.

Magical Soldier (250 points)

Attributes: ST 11 [10], DX 13 [30], IQ 13 [30], HT 13 [30].

Advantages: Magery 6 [85], either Reawakened [10] or Unusual Background [10], and 45 points selected from Appearance [5, 15 or 25], Awareness [15], Blessed or Very Blessed [10 or 20], Charisma [5 per level], Combat Reflexes [15], Familiar, Luck or Extraordinary Luck [15 or 30], Pitiable [5] or Special Rapport [10].

Disadvantages: Secret Identity [-10], Sense of Duty (Humanity) [-15], Youth [-6] and -20 points selected from mental or emotional disadvantages common to teen-agers (such as Clueless [-10], Gluttony [-5], Klutz [-5 or -10], Low Self Image [-10], or Overconfidence [-10]).

Primary Skills: Acrobatics(P/H)DX+1[8]-14 and 8 points in Combat/Weapon skills such as Judo or Karate (both P/H), Magic Breath (P/E), Magic Jet (P/E), or Spell-Throwing (any) (P/E).

Secondary Skills: First-Aid(M/E)IQ[1]-13, Stealth(P/A)DX[2]-13.

Background Skills: Occultism(M/A)IQ-1[1]-12, Running(P/H;HT)HT[2]-12 and 4 points in Artistic, Hobby, Professional or Scientific skills appropriate to teenagers.

Spells: Include +6 bonus from Magery. Unless noted, one point was spent on each spell, giving base skill 17, 16 with VH.

Plus 14 points of specialized spells. For example:
  1. "Fire": Fire[14]: Create Fire, Essential Fire, Explosive Fireball, Extinguish Fire, Fireball, Fireproof, Flame Jet, Heat, Ignite Fire, Rain of Fire(**), Phantom Flame, Seek Fire(**) Shape Fire, Smoke.

  2. "Hope": Communication & Empathy[1]: Exorcism. Food[2]: Decay, Test Food. Healing[6]: Awaken, Cure Disease, Major Healing(VH), Minor Healing, Sterilize, Suspended Animation. Meta-spells[2]: Reflect, Ward. Mind Control[3]: Daze, Foolishness, Sleep.

  3. "Ice": Water[14]: Create Ice(**), Create Water, Fog, Freeze, Frost, Frostbite, Ice Dagger, Ice Slick, Ice Sphere, Ice Vision, Purify Water, Seek Water, Shape Water, Snowshoes.

  4. "Light": Light[14]: Bright Vision(**), Colors, Continual Light, Continual Sunlight(**), Dark Vision, Flash, Glow(**), Infravision, Light, Light Jet, See Invisible, Shape Light, Sunbolt (**), Sunlight (**).

  5. "Thunder": Air[9]: Clouds, Create Air, Destroy Air, Lightning, Purify Air, Rain, Shape Air, Whirlwind, Windstorm. Sound [1]: Thunderclap. Water[4]: Create Water, Destroy Water, Purify Water, Seek Water.
(**) From GURPS Grimoire.

Customization Notes

  1. The fatigue cost of maintaining an Perfect Illusion Disguise in combat can be crippling, while lesser Illusion Disguises won't hold up to battle at all. The GM might let the player trade 25 points of her Advantage budget for an enchanted Perfect Illusion Disguise broach or pen.

  2. Remember that the maximum skill level for an improvisational college skill is the lesser of 20 or (IQ+Magery). Spending most or all of the specialization points in a single college will get that maximum, but it can be more effective in the long run to spread things around.

  3. The Enemy disadvantage is not suggested, as it implies that the Enemy is trying to interfere in the character's life. In magical girl shows, what usually happens is the complete opposite. The character continually interferes in the adversary's schemes. While this might draw the malign attention of an Enemy eventually, characters do not recieve points for disadvantages acquired during play. (And a good thing, too, as most Enemies in magical girl shows, such as the Dark Kingdom of "Sailor Moon", would be -40 base point Enemies.)

[Credit is owed to John Biles ("Senshi: The Merchandising"), Austin Loomis ("Magickal Girl" template for "Mage: The Ascension") and Mark C. MacKinnon ("Sailor Moon Roleplaying Game and Resource Book") for inspiring some of the ideas in this article.]