BESM, short for “Big Eyes, Small Mouth”, is a table-top RPG created with the aim to capture the feel of anime and manga in its gameplay. If you’re looking for a generic anime game, BESM will probably serve you The editing is a bit above average for an RPG, and while there are. N. BESM: ThE aniME and Manga rpg. forEword. Big Eyes, Small Mouth was born in out of a desire to play anime adventures and from a lack of any similar.

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Please browse through our FAQ before posting. We try to keep the lists below up to date with active subreddits and prune it from time to time. The above image is licensed under GPL 2. Best version of BESM self. My partner has started playing in a 5e game I’m DMing and they are getting really into it, but they are primarily an anime person. They’ve expressed an interest in GMing and I mentioned that Big Eyes Small Mouth was a system designed to basically be an anime and they were really excited.

What’s the most fun version of BESM? I think Second Edition was the best. It clarified a lot of things from 1e, but is largely compatible. That said, it’s been out of print for a long time, and finding the material for a reasonable price may prove difficult. However, that’s also out of print. Any particular reason not to use 3rd Edition? That’s the edition I have and like a lot, though I have no exposure to the older ones.

Also, all the BESM books are up on DriveThru so there’s no worry about finding the materials at a reasonable price no matter what edition you pick. The BESM d20 version just didn’t really click with me is all, honestly.

It might be dpg better than I remember it. I only looked it over like once, when it came out, and I was probably feeling a little burned out on d20 at the time. So that’s entirely subjective. I just checked Amazon, and they were outrageous. Couple weeks late getting back to this, but I was referring to the 3rd edition using Tri-Stat, not the d20 edition. I’ve never looked too deep at the d20 edition, but it didn’t appeal.

It may have been because it was too close to 2e for me to bother changing over? But that was a rpv ago so who knows? It’s an easy-to-learn point buy system that’s also pretty easy to play, and besn you need are 2d6. I’m pretty sure the core book is available online for free somewhere too. Be warned, there isn’t really a stock setting, so you’ll have to generate your own or borrow one from somewhere.

I also own and have played 3rd edition, but I never quite grokked to it. There was a lot of crunch for what still felt like mechanically light system. But maybe I just never gave it a fair shake. What you see with BESM is a pogression from an extremly rules light game to a moderatly complex game with extrme levels of character detail.

Simply defined characters with vaguely defined powers. If you’re group is happy with imporvisations and making rulings on the spot than you can have a great game with it. Rg 1st bezm character can easily fit on a post-it note. Powers are more stringetly.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth – Wikipedia

Various suplements for 2nd edition added all sorts of subsystems for things like skills, and cusomised special attacks. Each of these has its own set of slightly different build rules. Meaning that you don’t really need the suplements. Guardians or Order’s foray into superhero gaming. This is the exact same system as used in 2nd edition, except prg it uses 2d10 instead of 2d6 for resolution and other things are adjusted accordingly.


It also pumps up the detail with which you define things to the extreme. This makes for much more ridgedly defined characters, and much larger character sheets.

Quite a few things which were seperate powers in 2nd edition, get replaced with a footnote of to get power X, take Power Y and apply the following customisations. The first 2 editions use a 2d6 vs attribute roll under mechanic. This has scaling issues in high powered games, pretty much once one of your attributes gets into double digits, things get kind of weird. This makes the system rpb open ended. While I haven’t played 1st or 3rd, based on my experiences with 2nd and the problems with it – which came down to people having a lot of trouble figuring out how to mechanically represent their character concept, I’d think that 1e is the version to go with.

It’s horribly unbalanced, offers very little in the way of GM tools, and does not serve its stated function well due to lack of focus. Too broad to be practical, in the same way “Modern” let down d20 Modern.

What do y’all want to do? I can guarantee there will be a more focused bes, that serves that role better. Gundam, One Piece, and Ouran High are generally best served by different games. BESM, at least both 2nd and 3rd editions, are perfectly fine systems. In a way, it’s a simpler version of GURPS – now where near as robust but it gets the job done without as much fuss.


However, it’s lack of focus is indeed a weak point, but also a strength, depending on a GM’s desired outcome. There are likely better systems to do what the OP is looking for, but without additional information, it’s hard to say what will work best. Making a system that caters to “anime” just rpt that you’re making a generic system that will run anything, because there’s nothing special about “anime”. Like you said, it isn’t bssm genre.

However, there’s a wide variety of systems that do similar things. The real question here is to figure out what kind of game you’re looking to run.

BESM may not be the strongest option for you although it is very generic, so it can cover a lot of bases decently. I found a copy of Tri-Stat DX that was pretty good. It’s basically BESM without that 12 limit. For the flavor, though, the first edition was best, but I also enjoyed BESM d20 for what it brought to the d20 rules set.

I grew up with BESM, so it’s always been near and dear to my heart. Somebody else pointed out the fact that 3e changed to a “roll over vs. But a lot 2e Revised scaled poorly once you started rising in power. I’ve never looked much at 3e, so I can’t comment on that.

It has no formal connection to BESM, but I would argue that it’s a sort of “spiritual successor” with a lot of the same feeling, but streamlined and cleaned up.


Easier to use and definitely more balanced in play. BESM isn’t really “anime” as such, it’s a generic system themed with anime-esque art and descriptions. Its rpb worst supported version but the best for doing everything with helpful sidebars on going lite on the rules and lots of content for those that want a little more crunch.


Honestly, I had the most fun with 1e. Its a small book and works dpg if the GM is not worried about balance and the players all trust each other. The roll-under nesm roll-over thing isn’t really that different, it’s just the difficulty is a penalty to the dice roll in roll-under and an inflating Target Number rgp roll over. Roll-under the GM generally tells the player the difficulty modifier then they do the math and tell the GM if they succeeded or not, where roll-over the generally player tells the GM what they rolled, the GM compares with the TN and tells the player if the succeeded or not.

The biggest difference is that in 2nd edition everything would scale up with higher ability levels. For example, higher levels of telepathy would allows you to use it on more targets simultaneously, and also increase the range.

In 3rd hesm, you can independently control the range and number of targets. But for reference, I think you made characters with 60 character points in 2nd and in 3rd, so there is a lot of bloat there. Almost all the crunch is in character creation though. The actual mechanics are almost identical between editions once all your abilities are down on paper. I do like the Beem Multiplier and Power Flux from 3rd edition, though. If you go with 2nd edition, I recommend a small house rule, where if a character succeeds on their defense roll, but by less than the attack succeeded, they take half damage instead of none.

The optional Trick-Shot rules also help with high defense values, but I found my way rgp easier. The game takes some GM oversight to make sure you have a balanced party, but I’ve never had much trouble. It’s pretty obvious when things are broken. Just make sure their attacks can’t do more than 30 damage without some sort of drawback, the don’t have more than 20 armor without some weakness or limitation, their attack combat value is max 9, and defense combat value is max 7. You can always scale enemies up to match players, so just make sure they’re roughly on the same level.

Abilities often scale in power exponentially but only increase in cost linearly. It can make for some really cool character concepts, but you need to make sure there are appropriate limitations.

You can pretty much allow ability up to level 2. Anything higher and you need to check what it does to make sure they can’t start teleporting people into the sun. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Log in or sign up in seconds.

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