With landmark entries such as Super Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter may have revolutionized the fighting game genre, but it may be surprising to hear that one of the franchise’s underground and overlooked titles was a tabletop RPG. Designed in 1994, Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game was released one year after Street Fighter 2, by White Wolf Inc.
In order to create Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game, White Wolf Inc. used its Storyteller System. While many tabletop RPG fans may not know the name of the system on their own, most will know the games that this system has influenced. Both Shadowrun and Vampire: The Masquerade took heavy inspiration from the Storyteller System, especially in how d10s are used to decide success rolls rather than the more traditional d6s.
It might seem like an odd decision to create a tabletop RPG based on a video game that wasn’t exactly known for its plot at the time, but there is definitely some reasoning there. The other major component of most tabletop RPGs, aside from the story, is combat. It does not seem like a bad idea to adopt a fighting game to a combat-focused TTRPG and, according to feedback, it was actually very enjoyable.
Those familiar with Shadowrun or Vampire: The Masquerade will probably understand the mechanics and gameplay of Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game. Characters have a pool of attributes that are based on physical, mental and social stats. It is fairly similar to playing other games that use the Storyteller System, by all accounts.
However, as players have the ability to assign everything from talents to personalities to martial arts techniques, this game seems to shine in the development of characters. There’s also a whole portion of the gamebook that contains both original creations and moves from the game. So, if players just want to make characters that hurl Hadoukens at each other, they absolutely can.
For players who just want to play as Ryu and Chun-Li, with each fighter from the first two games and their Super versions, the game manual has them covered with stat blocks (Vega, Sagat and M. Bison were included in a later expansion book). There are also detailed descriptions of their combat styles, along with the stat blocks of the characters. What the video games lacked in lore, the TTRPG made up for in content to really flesh out the fighting.
Of course, a tabletop RPG a few fighting game wouldn’t be much without combat, and that is another area where Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game shines. Along with being able to use points to assign various fighting moves to a character such as grapples and punches, players could use those same points to build a custom move for their favourite character. This matches how personalized and unique the Street Fighter characters are in their movesets.
The actual combat plays with each character picking a move, and the one going first with the highest speed. And any fighter with a move with higher speed could interrupt combat with their own moves, even when they’re not a part of the combat. This progresses will continue until there’s only one Road Warrior left standing. Combat here is way better and simpler than the most d10 system games, which makes it perfect for Street Fighter fans looking to urge into a tabletop RPG.
Now other than the fighter, this is often one the most ways in which Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game attempts to introduce lore into the first Street Fighter series. Certain aspects, like Shadaloo having a whole island and Blanka having survived a plane crash into the tropics, didn’t exactly persist with the franchise moving forward, on the other hand again, the draw of this technique is clearly the fast-paced and customizable combat. Though it’s out of print now, Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game may be a strange yet intriguing gem of a tabletop RPG, and one which will just be worth tracking down for Street Fighter fans.