This replay (in the original Japanese) can be freely downloaded from the official website.
A translation of this segment was previously made available by Yaruki Zero Games. I've borrowed some terminology from it, but I had enough bones to pick that I decided to provide an alternate translation. Pun intended.
Note that this replay was published almost three years before the rulebook was, and there are some differences between the game system as demonstrated here and as written in the rulebook. In particular:
Conversation Check bonuses from the Necromancer were awarded as additional dice, not modifiers
Many skills had different effects, particularly Aisha's Alice skills
Karma and Fragments of Memory were not mentioned, and Favor Points were awarded by Necromancer fiat
This game we shall weave together from tatters is a tale of the pitiable Dolls. They are not human, yet within them dwell human hearts. Humans stir upon this earth no longer, yet they do. In this world that was destroyed long ago, those who bear the shapes of humans walk the earth still.
The TRPG we at Tsugihagi Honbo are currently working on, "Nechronica: The Long, Long Epilogue," is a game set in a dead world in which everything has been destroyed and only walking corpses- the undead- still crawl upon the face of the earth.
Those who rule this ruined world, through envoys they have cursed to move, are the Necromancers.
No living thing remains, yet the Necromancers see to it that the dead walk the earth.
The player characters are unusual among the dead, for they are girls who have been given wills of their own- the Dolls.
Whether they are the playthings of the Necromancers, the culminations of their madness, or of their earnest wishes...
This the Dolls do not know.
In this world devoid of all but corpses such as them, as the Necromancers toy with them out of cruelty and madness, the Dolls struggle to free themselves from their curse.
The only thing they can depend upon is the chance that beyond their struggles, there may yet be hope.
Having 3 or 4 players is ideal, but today there were only two of them. While having more players increases everyone's options in battle and makes them exciting, having just a few sets a good pace for the drama. In this session, I think we were able to create some nice drama.
These are the main reason that the Dolls possess wills of their own. Fetters may be treasured objects, or powerful emotions they feel towards other Dolls. They are the source of the Dolls' will to live. As they experience conflict and tragedy, their Fetters may be damaged in the form of accumulating Madness Points.
Now, it is time to create the Dolls. On this day, two Dolls shall awaken...
"Though I look like a schoolgirl in uniform with short brown hair, I'm actually a half-machine, Armed-type doll. I'm pretty violent and really like cutting things up with my sword. With that in one hand and my bunny in the other, I'm ready for anything this world throws at me. When I'm fighting, my bunny gets soaked in blood and I have to wash it all the time, but I'm never going to let go of it."
"...Me? I... I'm an Enhanced-type doll made of a girl from some place that was called India. I have a lot of firepower, but I can't get used to killing things... I'm so timid it's the first thing anyone notices about me. Oh, this zombie crow? It's my pet. Though I guess it's all white because it got bleached by acid. That's the way this world goes..."
Embodiments of the gods of death, this class specializes in close combat. They focus on skills that are effective in close combat as well. Since Aisha is a long-range attacker, will her offensive ability suffer...?
If any of a Doll's Fetters are overwhelmed by Madness Points, that doll enters the state of Madness. The effect of Madness differs depending on the Fetter that was overwhelmed - for instance, in the case of "Attached", the Doll's Madness will be expressed by stalking their companions.
Madness Points represent damage inflicted upon Fetters. Each Fetter can absorb up to 3 Madness Points. If all of a Doll's Fetters are overwhelmed by Madness Points, their Heart will break and they will become a mere zombie like any other.
Nothing to Worry About
Normal dolls receive Madness Points every time they have to fight. However, Tomari's skill "Damaged Goods" indicated that her heart is partially destroyed, and she won't receive Madness Points from participating in battle. That's why no matter how many consecutive battles Tomari fights, her mental state won't suffer for it.
Not a bad guess.
Performing a check in Nechronica basically means rolling a single 10-sided die. Though there are conditions and Skills that can affect them, generally rolling a six or higher is a success. Thus, the default chance to succeed is fifty percent.
Certain rare exceptions aside, everyone in this game is undead. Well, there are also things such as mutated plants and insects.
It may seem sudden, but since this replay is a tutorial and needs to explain the combat system, we threw the characters into the ring right away. In truth, this is a bit early for a battle. Even the second chapter might be a bit early.
Naturally, you perform these the same way as you would any other Check.
Dolls of this position tend to be the most human-like of Dolls. They inspire their companions, and have skills which serve as tonics for this bloodthirsty world.
Time to roll the dice! But they were unmoved by Aisha's tears.
Battles take place upon a special sheet called the Battle Map. The Battle Map is divided into five areas, each one of which has a name. In order from the side the PCs begin on, they are "Eden", "Elysium", "Limbo", "Hades", and "Tartarus."
It's quite the advantage to have a lot of Action Points. Because Tomari doesn't have any Parts that give her extra Action Points, the other Tomaris have somewhat more of them than she does.
During combat, a single round doesn't correspond to a single action. As the countdown decreases to match the number of Action Points you have, you can perform action after action. These actions are known as Combat Maneuvers and include the use of Skills, Parts, and such. Once one decides to perform a Combat Maneuver, it costs them a certain amount of Action Points.
Two Points to the Arms
When one makes a Check to attack in battle, the result determines where the attack lands. Rolls of 7-10 correspond to specific locations, while on a 6 the one receiving the attack gets to choose where it hits. When an Undead takes damage to a location, it sunders Parts from that location. Of course, when that happens they can no longer use any Maneuvers, effects, etc. those parts provided.
Maneuvers listed as Interrupts can be used before Checks, taking damage, etc. They can do things like reduce damage or affect the result of a die roll. However, each Maneuver of this type can only be used once per round.
A Skill from the Thanatos class. This Maneuver can be used when attacking with a blade, and allows the user to roll two dice and choose the result they prefer. Naturally, this greatly increases the attack's likelihood of success.
The Katana and some other Armaments possess an additional effect. If the target of an attack from them fails a Check, all Parts in the targeted location are sundered. The Necromancer is likely to weep if this happens.
This is a Skill from the Baroque class, which is specialized towards Mutated-type Dolls. It is similar to "Death God", but can only be used to perform an attack with a Mutation.
A Basic Part. These grant an extra Action Point, so having them broken is quite the troubling development. However, to expedite the rules, the Action Point loss takes effect at the beginning of the next Round.
This is a Skill from the Requiem class, whose specialty is shooting. It causes a penalty to hit chance, but reduces the Action Point cost of the Maneuver, allowing many attacks in swift succession.
But the dice mercilessly rolled a 3.
Hand of Death
A Skill from the Requiem class. This allows them to perform an Attack Maneuver that can normally only be used on one's turn to act as an Interrupt. It's ideal for finishing off a injured enemy before they can make a final attack.
When the dice come up 1, it's a Critical Failure. During battle, if an Attack Check results in a Critical Failure, the attacker hits an ally in the same area! (If there aren't any allies in the same area, they hit themselves.)
She rolled a 1.
This roll failed too. Well, since she only had a 1/4 chance of success, it's unsurprising.
Yet she failed again.Now Armed Tomari has no Action Points left.
An Modification-type Enhancement. It indicates that the Doll's body is pretty sturdy due to being half metal. Or in game terms, grants a powerful defensive Maneuver.
Unfortunately, she had no way to hit Armed Tomari from her position. After that, Armed Tomari had one more chance to act. But in a cruel twist, she rolled a Critical Failure on her extra attack and shot herself in the Legs.
We Need to Fix Tomari-chan
When Enemy Undead are defeated, they leave behind various Parts depending on how strong they were. If one doesn't defeat enemies and win battles, their damaged Parts do not return to their original condition. Aisha wouldn't be able to fix Tomari using just the Parts that Mutated Tomari dropped.
Having an enemy never deal any damage at all would make any GM angry, not just a Necromancer.
These are given out to denote how pleased with his toys the Necromancer is. Basically, they're experience points. They can be used to remove Madness from player characters or to improve them.
Dolls can negate their rising Madness Points by being cheered up by their companions. But to do this, they must succeed at a Conversation Check. Depending on their roleplay, they may receive extra dice as a bonus. The number of Madness Points they can recover from is limited to the number of successes they roll.
Though the two of them received Favor Points, they decided not to use them right away.
The First Chapter Ends
A session of Nechronica reaches its close after a single combat and the depiction of that which comes before and after. If you have enough time, you can make them the length of a miniature campaign. This is ideal for online play.
Aisha succeeded at the Check, while Tomari failed.
Contrary to his hopes, she did succeed.
A huge room, similar to a warehouse. From the ceiling hang innumerable cages. Like birdcages... with people instead of birds. Each of those people are the same. Draped as if they had no bones, they mutter deliriously without end. A countless number of Tomaris...! Yet two cages, side by side, are open and lie empty.
Discrimination against Tomari-kind
Actually, it's nothing of the sort. It's a penalty Tomari received for failing the first Check. Aisha was led to imagine what horrors the room might hold while in the darkness, so she didn't take them as hard. Not that it wasn't nasty of the Necromancer to hit Tomari with enough Madness Points at once that she went mad right away.
This is the Madness associated with the Fetter 'Protective.' The Doll affected by it becomes unable to move away from her companion and must follow her if she moves. Since she has to be in the same position during the same Count, it's difficult for her to defend from the front or the rear.
A type of enemy undead. It represents an overwhelming horde of undead bodies. Since it would be tedious to represent a horde like this one by one, each point of damage is considered to annihilate several members of it. They don't have hit locations, so explosive, dismembering, and all other attacks gain extra effectiveness.
This is the absurd gun from the 2003 zombie film "Undead." It consists of several shotguns lined up next to each other, and looks to be the bane of zombies. It's in fact stupidly strong.
A type of enemy undead. They are undead soldiers. They do not have hit locations, but they still have a collection of Parts that give them stamina and skills. They are weak to dismembering and explosive attacks.
A Part usable only by enemy undead. Though the name is different, it's otherwise about the same as 'Cyborg', and grants a powerful defensive maneuver.
Dance of Death
A "coup de grace" Skill belonging to the Romanesque class. Just as Tomari said, it's a frightening ability that allows the attacker to choose which Parts they want to break.
These are both Modification-type Enhancements that grant powerful attack maneuvers.
Ball and Chain
An Armament. It doesn't do much damage, but on top having an attack range that extends to adjacent areas of the combat map, it has the special ability of lowering the target's Action Points.
A Skill from the Thanatos Class. It allows one to make an attack at the same time as an ally, with both of you gaining a bonus to the dice roll and damage. It's an excellent skill if there are many players, but is not as effective with just a few of them.
But the next Count is 2.All the PAPAs except A and B will act.
A Modification-type Enhancement. It's equipment installed in the legs that lets one jump. It allows one to perform a Movement Maneuver as an interrupt.
The final attack was four consecutive Gauntlets, all aimed at Tomari. But... One rolled a Critical Failure and hit an ally. Two of them just missed. And one of them somehow succeeded. But thanks to Tomari's defenses, she only lost her Fists to it.
A Skill that Alices have. It can be used to have a conversation as an Interrupt Maneuver during combat. Normally, this is not possible within combat, so it is a convenient ability. However, its Action Point cost is high.
Prior to this, the two fought a suitable group of undead soldiers in order to get some Parts. One would normally continue to the next session with any broken Parts remaining that way, but the two of them are now completely restored. That means Aisha has a stomach again.
Time for a Check. Tomari sees a cluster of buildings in the distance.
Aisha made another Check. She succeeded, and a memory suddenly returned to her...
The Session Memo
This is where important phrases and events from the Session are written down. It's the natural enemy of GMs who like to ad-lib. Make sure you know where things are going!
And so both their Madness Points are already back down to zero.
But they both failed. Thus, they wasted the rest of the day.
As did Aisha.
Sometimes the players catch on to what you're planning, but it's still vexing when they voice their suspicions.
Atop the rubble, glaring down at you with clouded eyes, is another doll just like Tomari.}}
And so the two of them receive Madness Points again.
Normally these are only possible to make with your allies, but the Necromancer may allow them after any example of great roleplaying in a session. Of course, exceptions like this shouldn't happen too often.
It was actually just a scrap of a note that had been torn by a bullet. Also, the enemies were making Checks in real time, and were intended to break in after their dice rolls added up to a set value.
In that business card case from a while ago, the two of them had found a note. They wondered for a while about whether to put it in. Once their enemies finished destroying the entrance, they would come storming inside... But the two of them realized what the password was.
This is all that's left of them. The genetic material, one after another, of those humans that still lived when they understood that humanity would soon be destroyed. Their eggs and sperm, to be precise. And in a corner, that of cats, dogs and livestock as well.
Remove them All
This isn't in the rules, but Aisha only had one Madness Point anyway. It would have been lacking in taste to have her make a Check.
This was the final battle of this replay. It was thrilling... I wish I could say that. I'd like to have really made the two Dolls take a beating.
Finding something to protect made the two of them even stronger!
A Thanatos Skill. It's a fearsome ability that allows the user to whirl around with her sword, changing any attack into an area attack.
Aisha's Undead Gun turned Limbo into a gun battery. After Tomari moved into Hades, she used her Maelstrom skill to attack all the enemies in the area, preventing them from advancing into Limbo.
And that wasn't the only problem. When enemy undead roll Critical Failures in succession, they can destroy their own allies. Also, Perfect Tomari was a long range Armed-type, so she was crucial to destroying the door. Since she wasn't even able to move out of Tartarus, nothing could get past the two.
This means that everyone in the session rolls the dice out in front of everyone. If they're careless, the characters could die at any time to a bad roll, so it's pretty thrilling.
This is a screen with game data and such written on it. The Necromancer can use it to hide his private notes and dice rolls. Some GMs like to make their rolls in secret so they can fudge them as necessary- for good or for evil.
Three Consecutive 1s
The chance of this happening is 1/1000. The dice were definitely on the PCs' side today.
Just so we're clear, every roll with this session is made with open dice. If the NC had rolled three ones in succession behind the Master Screen, it would have seemed like some kind of trick. The Dolls are taking out everything he throws at them with one all-out attack after another, and even Perfect Tomari was completely ignorable.
The enemies were about sixty in number. The majority of them were part of a Legion, so thirty of them got wiped out in no time. There was nothing the Necromancer could do.
A special Part that appeared only in this scenario. Of course, it's located in the torso. If a fertilized egg remains in it for ten sessions, it will give birth... maybe.
An Armament. It provides a convenient Maneuver that allows consecutive Dismemberment attacks to be made at random. It's also pretty darn cool-looking.
This was the greatest amount of time they stopped to think during the session. With this being a game about zombie girls, it's frankly pretty heartwarming to see the players thinking about it so hard.
Aisha picked up two test tubes. In one were eggs, and in the other sperm. After fertilizing the egg, she put it into her Womb.
Now both of them are with child. Before long, their feelings towards them will grow. They'll most likely have Fetters towards their children.
Children dwell within the Dolls made from girls' corpses. Whether they will be human, or corpses themselves... That we cannot know. We can only pray for the fortunes... of those children born after the end of the world.