Oni, Flavor, and Art of War

YUM! Flesh Eater!!

The kickstarter for our anime inspired setting for Savage Worlds is going well. I do want it to be more successful, but successful is where it’s at. The backers that have chipped in to make this dream one step closer are the best backers yet. Little do they know, Amora Game is working on a few extra goodies for them post funding. Like an action card deck and campaign map poster.

I digress: Today’s entry is to focus one type of Oni for Art of War.

XO (Shee-Oh)


Oni come in different forms, shapes and types. The most common Oni are those that take the shape of animals, either by an Ogre oni courting them to possess them in physical form, an angry demented spirit manifesting as an animal, or an Ogre oni having spawned through unnatural relations with a non-oni. These are referred to by Kui as XO (shee-oh), but the rest of the populace call them Oni X. Where “X” is the name or mutated animal form that it has taken. For example an Oni Scorpion is a larger version of a large scorpion.

XO share base physical traits that an observer can see with the proper eye. All XO appear slightly larger than their natural cousins. Some can be hyper-realistic in proportions, which can be stronger strength in a particular area of it’s body. If large or hyper-realistic all over, it can identify the XO as an elder.

Game Mechanic Trait: Flesh Eater

All Oni (name might be changed to Ogre, to neutralize cultural references), in Art of War  possess an trait called “flesh eater” that allows for an incapacitated or bound individual to be eaten. Resulting in the oni recovering wounds. This also causes serious injury to the individual.

  • Flesh Eater: Oni creatures heal wounds by consuming flesh. For every 2 lbs. of flesh eaten, an Oni recovers one wound or fatigue wound. This takes a full turn. At the end of the turn, the victim rolls once on the injury table.

This makes the artistically deadly and can make for some terrifying descriptions that the GM can use to set the seen of an Oni encounter. This is the simplest way to tack on the Oni subtype to a current creature on an existing animal.

Aged Oni Template:

For those that result in the hyper-realistic aspect to show age, should feel free to increase the size of the creature with the template: Aged.

Aged Oni have the following Special Qualities:

  • Size (+1): Oni this size are older and have out grown their cousin.
  • Superior: Oni that have lived this long have an awareness other animals do not. They have one die step higher than the animal counter part in Smarts, yet they are minor intelligence. They also have their Strength and Vigor increased by one step.

 

Well that’s it for this discussion and preview. Till next time

Tentacle Out!

 

Art of War & Anime inspired Games

By combining Anime, Films, & RPGs, I created Art of War.

Just past the 80% mark of the Art of War Kickstarter relaunch and we are almost to the final stretch. Just over $200 more till the original estimated goal is meet. As I take a Sunday to get caught up on a 20+ shows in queue from the Fall 2017 season to present I wanted to reflect on why this project is a heart project.

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The a core foundation idea behind Art of War is transcribing the elements of the classic Big Eyes, Small Mouth (3rd Edition) Anime Roleplaying Game into the Savage Worlds system. Much like the Savage Worlds Superpowers Companion, I wanted to create an Anime Companion. The thing that governs BESM is that it covers all Anime: Kaiju, giant Mecha, Sci-fi bounty hunters. While I do want to create an open Anime Companion for Savage Worlds still, I wanted to focus more on the fantasy or period pieces. While not the extreme tech-fantasy like Final Fantasy (which can be argued as a Sci-Fi), I wanted Samurai Champloo feel with more martial arts.

I also wanted to concentrate on the meshing of my favorite movie genres: Samurai Sagas (bushido) & Martial Art Epics (wuxia). To me, this is a combination of Japanese and Chinese “warlord eras”. Sengoku & Three Kingdoms. The perfect example of this mash up can be found in the movie: Heroes of the Eastmaxresdefault

fearless-katana

Or something along the lines of Jet Li’s Fearless. The one issue with these examples, and you must forgive me, is that they have a Chinese bent. They are Hong Kong action style films starring Chinese Actors, with one being specifically designed as a propaganda film. But it shows the premise of the CvJ genre I wanted to incorporate.

The difference between these ideas and what I have created is a inclusive environment compared to a versus environment. These two movie examples do recognize a joining of culture near the end of each film, but I wanted Art of War to have a completed narrative.

The world of Art of War is a combined influence of aspects inspired by these to beautiful and elegant cultures.

How does Anime and Films tie together?

By combining aspects of these three core basics: Anime, Films, & RPGs, I was able to play in a sandbox that would allow me to create a world that can use all three.

Take the new anime Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, the title alone screams Ecchi. Hmmm. Probably not the best example, but work with me on this.
Here you have the main protagonist, Kogarashi Fuyuzora, who could very well fit into our hungry-ghosting- hunting exorcist Trope we call a Kui.

Sagiri Ameno is a good example of our Shinobi Trope.

Yaya Fushiguro is an example of a Nekomimi race from our setting, probably a Hero Trope.

Nonko Arahabaki – well maybe an external focused Buxist (drinking being the “trappings” of her Trance ability) or a Youxia Trope. She could easily fall into a Hero trope. Now we do not have an Ogre race in this game… It makes me think that I should. Oni are an enemy to the Empire in my game, but maybe something in a future supplement.

Where are you going with this blog entry?

Well getting the ramblings all together, I’m trying to say you do not have to play the default setting for Art of War. The Tropes and Chi system found in the book can lend itself to any anime or martial arts inspired setting.

Tentacle Out!

Developer’s Journal 5: SW Powers = Techniques

1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly)

Holy Moly it’s almost the end of June. It’s been a bit crazy on the home front. Working through a lot of projects and this tentacle hasn’t had time to write Monday Manga or a Developer’s Journal.

So let’s do the Developer’s Journal since we just passed a Wednesday.

Expanding upon our last Journal , I have to transfer all the known powers from Savage Worlds to the Chi system. Which is pretty easy to do. 1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly).  Since SW players know what Trappings are, we look to design them differently. We go with the battle anime’s version of “Lazor Rocket 2000” or “Face Palm of Truth” as fun trappings to help set the mood.

I looked at naming conventions of Powers, which are now call Techniques. This might cause a ruckus in the area of game development of SW of “short and sweet” or “fast and furious”, but I wanted flavor than just generic bolt or burst powers. So we named Techniques after famous or legendary people, or after a “zodiac” animal of the world setting. Such as:

Crane Wing 
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 rounds (1/two rounds)
 Trappings: “Bare Palm Defense”, “Monkey Tail Swap”
 Those that push away swords with the palms of their hands, or samurai who practice two weapon style defense emulate a crane’s large wing span. This acts as the deflection power.

OR

Fang’s Draught
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 (1/two rounds)
 Range: Spirit
 Trappings: “Ex Remover”, “Poison Sting”, “Withering Touch”
 Alchemist Fang worked for one of the Imperial Families and had access to numerous resources for her studies. She also had an abusive husband who she started experimenting on. Fang’s husband was found days later in a living mummified state. Fang went on to remarry. This power acts as the lower trait power.

 

To keep in line with the Savage Worlds License you can’t reprint powers, but you can make reference to their source. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to reprint every power in the book. That cost time, money, AND page count. Like most third party references, you should always go back to the original source. This isn’t to say we haven’t come up with new powers Techniques, because we have. Like Clone and Fei’s Shout.

The Techniques give Art of War that little anime manga flavor bit to the setting, but also keeps the idea of fantastic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon running across bamboo limbs feel. The trappings are what make your home game personal vs that over there home game.

Developer’s Journal 4: World Setting Rules for SW

Setting Rules for an Asian Inspired SW

So some of my favorite rules are already implemented in the Savage Worlds explorer’s edition. Like Joker’s Wild and Blood & Guts. There is one that I like that was created by the folks over at Wine & Savages posted a fun setting rule that can be used for any martial arts / anime-manga style setting. They do a fun one called Comedy Backlash Comedy Backlash. (reprinted here for journal purpose)

New Setting Rule: Comedy Backlash
When a character utilizing Magic, Psionics, or Weird Science rolls poorly enough that backlash, brainburn, or a malfunction would normally be called for, the player (never the Game Master) can instead choose to suffer a Comedy Backlash effect. The hero is Shaken, but a second Shaken result cannot cause a Wound; instead, the player describes something embarrassing happening to the character.
Examples include:
  • The character accidentally destroys their own clothes, exposing themselves to onlookers.
  • Collateral damage from the attack causes debris to clonk the hero on the head.
  • The power explodes in the hero’s face, leaving cartoon scorch marks.
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero accidentally destroys another character’s clothes, exposing them to the original character’s bashful gaze. (The other hero does not suffer a Shaken result, but may wish to suddenly realize they’re naked after the fight is over.)
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero stumbles into a nearby ally, causing unintended intimate bodily contact and getting slapped for it.

With the above ^^ copy and pasted setting rule from them, I’ve developed a hindrance that could play well with the above. Rough draft for nose bleeds are below.

woooo

Nosebleed (major, minor)
Requirements: Novice
When being flirted with or having licentious thoughts most characters have blood rush to their cheeks, your character’s blood comes straight out their nose. Dirty thoughts, catching a risque glimpse of flesh or being placed in compromising situations, it’s fairly obvious when the character catches the slightest hint of the nude form.
As a minor hindrance your character’s nosebleed causes little to mild discomfort and results in a small trickle of blood running out of his nose. It’s more of an inconvenience and embarrassment in interactions.
When taken as a major hindrance the nosebleed turns lethal due to a fountain of blood loss. Your hero must make an unmodified Vigor check (beanies may be spent to reroll). On a fail, they fall unconscious after suffering 3 immediate fatigue and suffer one wound. One a success they suffer 1 wound due to intense blood loss and must take time to stop the bleeding. On a raise your hero only suffers from blood loss, 1 fatigue wound, and will need to take a minute to stop the bleeding.

With the 1st or 4th bullet point above, another player with the Nosebleed hindrance would play off each other very well.

A player who failed an activation of a Chi technique (my campaign setting powers) or who failed to activate a magic power suffer the effects of the 1st. Causing another player near by to suffer a minor Nosebleed adding to the anime comic relief of a glitch.

     Another setting rule I developed with inspiration stolen from HellFrost and Rippers is the our rule Way of Chi (draft)

Derived Stat:

Chi: 2 + ½ your Spirit die, modified accordingly.

What is Chi
Chi is the character’s inner capability to push themselves beyond the normal physical and mental limitations of the body. It’s a derived from the Spirit die. All characters can spend Chi to do many things. It’s their chance to will their destiny. A character can use it to re-roll their wild die,  increase their initiative, take an extra repeat action without suffering penalty.  It is sometimes used to fuel extraordinary powers that are called Chi Techniques. These techniques are explained later in this book. If a character’s Chi reaches zero a character suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi. Chi is explained further under the setting rules section of this book.

Way of Chi
Besides having the ability to power Chi Techniques for those that possess the ability, Chi can be used used by any Wild Card in the game. Chi is free to spend at any point on a Wild Card’s turn to perform one of the following actions:

  • Re-roll a Wild Die: A Wild Card can spend a Chi to re-roll a Wild Die at any point but only their Wild Die.
  •  Gain an Initiative Card: When initiative cards are dealt, a Chi point can be spent to gain an additional card. The hero decides which one to keep and discards the rest. Much like a Beanie is spent for re-rolling dice, a player can spend Chi to gain multiple cards. They can only keep one card as an initiative card.
  • Take a Repeat Action: A hero can spend a Chi point to repeat an action they just took, but suffer the multi-action penalty. They can spend 2 points to negate the penalty for multiple actions on the repeated action.

When a character’s Chi reaches zero they suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi to character’s Chi pool. The process of recovering Chi during a session is fairly simple. It requires the hero in game, to spend some time meditating. This meditation requires roughly an hour where the hero takes no other action except that of concentrating and centering themselves. If they take damage from any source or fall under an effects caused from of an outside source, they lose their focus and must start again. If distractions are avoided,  a successful Meditation roll, regains 1 Chi point, and on a raise they recover 2 points.

 

So that wraps up our (almost) month of silence since I got back from Japan. That blog of that is coming soon, as is the 4 draft reviews of Manga series I’ve finished.

Tentacle Out! ~TG

Friday Night Life:

So it is Saturday night here in Kyoto, and I’ve been here most of the week. I completely forgot to post Monday Manga, and have decided to wait till I get back. 

In the meantime I will say that I have not been lazy. Somethings: Climbed Mt. Inari, toured the Imperial Palace, and as awesome as those are, I can top it. This tentacle toured Toei Studio. Yes the animation studio that brings you One Piece and Dragonball was fantastic to visit. 

Shockingly cherry blossoms were in late bloom this year, leading to this tentacle to see them this visit. Since my last visit a couple of years, I had never been to Osaka. Tomorrow changes this. So far, this trip has taken me to Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto.

Never realized how much I missed this city. Well that’s all for this brief edition of the tentacle ramblings.

From Kyoto with Love

~TG

Monday Manga: Highschool of the Dead

zombie killing, minor fan service, and a fun time


Rating Summary

Art: 4 – Above Average

Story: 4 – Above Average

Dialogue and Development: 5 – Action, Fan service, Plot

Overall: 5 out of 5 –  I loved this series

*Contains Minor Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events of the manga. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading.

While it is odd timing this manga review was actually scheduled for next week, but we’ll throw this up now in honor of Daisuke Sato passing on March 22, 2017

Still here?

Let’s begin. I’ll try to keep spoilers and plot kills to minimum, but I will mention some of it. I mostly want to talk about the series as a whole. There are 7 volumes you can find, making up 29 chapters, or “acts” as they label them, in this series. You can find 2 omnibus volumes. This is the most commonly seen title on the shelf and it’s nice to have a consolidated book vs seven individual books (limited shelf space).

What is this manga about? Well the zombie apocalypse in modern Japan. The story follows Takashi Komuro, along with his childhood friend Rei Miyamoto as they navigate the troubles of the walking dead starting at their school.

Romance plot: Takashi and Rei, as kids, made a promise to marry each other when they get older. This causes a problem when Rei starts to date Hisashi. He is a friend of Takashi, and is the first “known” zombie we actually see get busted up by Takashi.

There is a point where he is turned into a zombie and begins to attack Rei. Takashi of steps in and handles Zombie Hisashi in front of Rei. This leads Rei to accuse him of jealousy and was the main reason he acted out. Takashi basically says, “we are being attacked by zombies, your being stupid”. At some point in the series they reconcile and Rei admits she loves Takashi and doesn’t want him with any other women. So that’s your love story in a nut shell.

Character Favorites: Saeko Busujima is the stand out supporting character. She is president of the kendo club and the primary close combatant. She handles the zombies with ease, until she upgrades to an actual katana later in the series. She is this tentacles favorite character for the fact that she has a Saekodichotomy of emotional development that the others don’t seem to go through. She is self aware in the fact that when she is in the rush of battle, she enjoys bashing in the heads of zombies and understands that it’s her nature to be a predator. This awareness bothers her to the point where she feels that she isn’t any difference from the zombies themselves. Mindless killers. There is a point in the story where she decides that it would be better for everyone if she was just one of them, and almost gives up. Of course with a pep talk from the protagonist, she eventually snaps out of it and realizes that she is not the mindless killer that she once thought she was.

The development of her character is just the stand out side story (IMHO) of the series.

Other characters are Saya, the rich daughter of a politician (who I initially thought was yakuza), and is the logical brain of the cast. She helps in deduction of the zombies and has the logistical mindset for ideas. She plays the big sister to an orphan child they group picks up along the way.

Kohta is your “NEET” of the group, if you have to label one. He is is the overweight kid that has a knack for guns. He is kind of the ranged character if you were to compare it to an RPG game. He of course has his own love interest for Saya. He is the hero that has always wanted to be a hero. Once his character gets up and running, he’s pretty sturdy and can jump into the alpha male mindset if need to.

HotD

Overall cast: The group is a solid (fun) overall cast that looks to stand together as they try to outrun the fall of mankind.

Zombie: I love the explanation of the zombies. This is the first real sense I have of zombies are blind but follow sound. It’s “discovered” in this series really well.

Final Thoughts:  I do love this manga series. I love the anime. I have not seen the OVA: Drifters of the Dead, but I’m sure it’s just as entertaining as the anime.

If you want zombie killing, minor fan service, and a fun time (sounds like a tinder profile), then give this one a shot (or baseball bat to the head).

Adam Savage did a Ted Talk about his love for Cosplay

While this isn’t an official scheduled blog entry, it’s more than worth sharing. As a plan my costume for this years Anime Cons and GenCon, I came across this Ted Talk done by Adam Savage on his love for doing cosplay. I felt it was worth a share.

Now to figure out which character from Samurai Champloo to do, Jin or Mugen this year for cons. Or maybe I should stick with the natural ginger theme and be Joui?