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I'm looking for a system that would support a campaign in the world of Hunter × Hunter. In this world there are people who can harness a body's natural aura (Nen) for a variety of supernatural powers. Many of these people become Hunters. They work as sort of global bounty hunters, doing everything from hunting fantastic beasts to exploring ancient ruins.

The system I'm looking for should have the following features:

  • A wide range of possible character abilities that are powered by the same stamina/aura pool (Nen)
    • Ideally, there should be a way to design custom powers in addition to any powers included in the game.
    • These abilities should be mechanically different enough from each other that defending from a superpowered punch would probably not use the same skill/action as dealing with a lightning strike.
  • A fighting system where guessing your opponent's next move is important. This could involve both combatants putting in their move at the same time.
  • Power should scale from "Above-average Human" on the low end to "Able to assault a fortress solo" on the high end.
  • It would be preferable if the system included a good number of strange animals that could be used as enemies.
  • In the show, the supernatural abilities are split into several categories or aura types; an individual could only specialize in a single aura type. An in-game way to distinguish between different aura types would be nice, but not necessary.

As you can probably tell from my bullet points, I'm mostly after a combat system that feels similar to the show. To summarize, I'm looking for strategic, superpowered, martial arts combat; where outthinking your opponent can allow you to beat a stronger enemy.

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I'm a huge fan of the show and the manga, however I cannot think of a single system that would do everything you're looking for, well. I can make some distant suggestions that could be modded towards what you want.

Tenra Bansho Zero

TBZ is already an over-the-top anime game with a lot of specialized power categories. It is a thick book, however once you understand the system, it's relatively easy to build new powers or abilities. On the other hand, you'd be building LOTS of new powers and abilities, and the weird type of TBZ powers ("predict the future", etc.) might be a lot of specialized kludge work.

The other advantage is that the game does have room for the "emotional breakthrough" situation, which is core to the gameplay, however you may want to put a cap on it, as it shows up repeatedly in HxH that sometimes folks are just outmatched.

Sorcerer

Sorcerer is designed to do a lot of weird powers, relatively easily. The issue of restrictions is something Sorcerer expects core of gameplay in defining the powers to begin with - so if you are saying "My lightning only works after I've touched you" or whatever, that's right there. The "Special Damage" and "Protection" abilities basically let you generate weird powers galore ("this attack drains your energy over time using compounded interest") etc.

The big advantage you get in this is that being informed can lead to direct dice bonuses using the success-roll-over system. So all the situations where knowing that someone has to touch you, or they only have X reach, can lead directly to dice bonuses.

The Humanity Mechanic also works well in HxH, which mostly boils down to a dual Humanity definition: Compassion/Loyalty to others, and Self-Esteem. Gon is good on both, Killua is good on the Loyalty side, while various other characters or villains sit on different sides of it - the usual HxH formula is to show the villains doing monstrous terrible things, then being very loyal or having a compassionate side to a subgroup, which works well with spiraling down your Humanity then turning around to pump it back up.

If you pick up the Sex & Sorcery supplement, there's also rules for martial arts, which classifies actions into 5-6 categories, and you set up combos based on using those categories to define your character's fighting style.

Mouse Guard

Wait, follow with me here... You do get the combat tactical part, and the combat rules are generic enough that you can fit in nearly anything from giant Nen dragon blasts to punches to throwing rocks. It's also designed for small teams to work together as well.

Character traits sometimes help, sometimes hurt them and provide story drama (Gon's stubborn will to fight, Killua's caution, etc.). Mouse Guard is designed around a "mission" structure, so you need to put some consideration into how you will get that work, however when you look at HxH, it's mostly that Gon/Killua decide to do something together and it becomes their mission.

Mouse Guard doesn't have any specific rules for powers, though, which means you're custom making each of them. I'd probably treat most of them like weapons, and give stats accordingly.

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