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?

Monday Manga: Fuuka Me or Fuuka Yuu

*Contains Spoilers*

Fuuka“Fuuka is a sequel to the 2004 manga Suzuka. The story follows Yuu Haruna, a loner and an avid Twitter user that made a promise with his childhood friend Koyuki Hinashi of starting a band. One night, on his way to buy dinner, he stops to take a photo to upload to Twitter. A strange high school girl named Fuuka Akitsuki accidentally bumps into him and mistakenly believes that Yuu is trying to take a photo of her panties, which causes her to smash his phone. Fuuka leaves behind a CD, which Yuu returns the following day. Appreciating Yuu’s personality, Fuuka starts a relationship with him, but this is complicated when Koyuki, now a popular idol, contacts Yuu on Twitter and invites him to attend her concert.”

~ Wikipedia

The following review is a hodgepodge of several thoughts on a review of the manga, Fuuka. TG didn’t get a chance to write this Sunday for Monday posting, till lunch on Monday. Therefore, it is an unedited stream of consciousness of being food starved. It’s a little messy.

Rating Summary

Art: 3 – Average

Story: 4 – Good

Dialogue and Development: 4 – Good

Overall: 4 out of 5

*Contains Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events in the manga in the 142 chapters currently out on Simulpub on CrunchyRoll.com manga section. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading. **Note: this only covers the Manga, not the recent season of the Anime**

Still here?

So from the above wiki entry you can see that this is going to be a common high school love triangle between Yuu, Koyuki, and Fuuka. While in some aspects this may be a little true it, it develops into a beautiful tragedy about the idea of love, fulfilling dreams (even if they don’t start out as your own), and moving forward in life.

So we start with Yuu Haruna who lives on the internet via his cell phone, with a specific focus on twitter. Yuu lives with his three sisters. Maya, who is the oldest and is the current mother of the house where they all rent. Hibiki is the second oldest sister that seems to lack cloths when on the page being condescending to Yuu. Then you have the young energy filled child Chitose, who has a touch of a serpent fang when she teases her older brother.

Let’s start with the opening scenes of the series. As you flip through the opening pages, there is our bumbling idiot (of course) the teenage boy named, Yuu consumed by his phone and playing on twitter while walking home. Within no time a young teenage female protagonist Atkitsuki Fuuka is seen leaping into the page with headphones on and music blaring. What do you know? The smack into each other with their material possessions flying everywhere. Fuuka accuses poor Yuu and being a pervert (are we surprised?) and taking an upskirt shot of the first (spoiler) heroine of the series. Of course she smashes the phone and runs off and leaving a CD behind. In his grief and embarrassment, Yuu picks it up with the intent to hopefully return it.
Yuu the pervert

Plot twist, it seems they go to the same school. This is where the intertwined friendship starts and a possible romance buds. They become friends and Fuuka helps crack Yuu’s shell of lack of social skills as the series progresses. We introduce Makoto Mikasa, Fuuka’s gay best friend, who seems to be the level head and silent logic of the group. Kazuya Nachi who wants Fuuka to join the track team and help lead them to victory (this plot never happens with good reason). He is the oldest and worrisome character of the bunk. Then we get Sara Iwami who comes off as a cold stoic female of the group and is actually a friend of Yuu’s (unknowingly) on twitter at first before meeting in real life.

So I’ve covered the beginning chapters  of character introductions and I’ll summarize the plot here. Fuuka is the lost soul who doesn’t know what she wants to do and Yuu is the fool who slowly grows into a person. Fuuka likes Yuu and he is confused in the beginning and figures they are just good friends. Yuu helps Fuuka decide what she wants to do in life and that is make music and be a singer. The group of four start a band, meet their idols who inspire them and just happen to be the most popular band in all of the past decade, the Hedgehogs.

Meanwhile the love triangle interest of Koyuki, who is a Teen Idol and a childhood friend of Yuu, makes waves in Yuu and Fuuka’s friendship to interrupt their budding relationship. Fuuka and Koyuki become friends and past secrets of love are spilled. Time goes on, all are friends, Koyuki declares her unrequited love for Yuu on a television show. Of course, Koyuki’s fans threaten Yuu and things get a bit rushed from there. So Yuu and the crew’s band are actually known and Fallen Moon, with their first concert at the student festival during the scandal. Things happen, Fallen Moon does a cool performance etc etc.

At some point the plot arc of the love triangle comes to a head, and Koyuki corners the two and asks Fuuka if she can still love Yuu while they love each other. It’s a hard blow to Fuuka and Yuu as the admit their feelings to each other and plan for it not affect the band. A cutie romance ensues and the band begins to attempt to make a name for themselves. On the eve of a big gig, Fuuka doesn’t appear. Why?
awwww

She’s hit by a freaking bus. Fuuka Akitsuki is dead.

Thoughts up to this point: Well that is the biggest freaking plot twist you do not see coming. It was shocking and angry when it happened. Thought it was the end of the manga, then you realize there are so many more chapters left.

More plot summary:  The tentacle is going to wrap this up as quickly as one can without talking the whole plot of the manga to you.

Grief becomes the theme of the story arc and how will Yuu and the rest deal with what went down. Well they decided to carry on and become the biggest band since the Hedgehogs, because that’s what Fuuka Akitsuki would want. They drop out of high school and focus on the band full time, going through the trials of tribulations of their first road tour and signing to a failing label ran by a former superstar producer.

Along the way you meet another bands like Le Bard, and the Rabbitz (which is a front for Koyuuki in disguise as she ends her idol career), along with assorted cast members as they try to make their way to the top.

So a key moment this tentacle hasn’t added yet during these stories is the entrance of Fuuka Aoi, a fellow singer who ran into Yuu as a street musician who is trying to make it big. They become friends and develop feelings for each other which is about where we leave off the current state, right before a big gig.

Lets rewind a second. During the push forward of Fallen Moon, Yuu and Aoi fates are intertwined from either the spirit of Fuuka Akitsuki or by the Hedgehogs themselves. A great stint sets up Aoi joining the band, where they change the name to Blue Wells. There is a little festival thrown by the Hedgehogs where they invite Fallen Moon and Aoi, along with other new up and coming artist to perform. The secret goal by the Hedgehogs is to see if the next great thing will show up. Little this, and little that, Fallen Moon performs a few of their songs with Aoi at a makeshift stage and draw everyone in the festival to them.

So that starts the chain of events where Fuuka Aoi and Yuu begin their love affair as they move forward as band mates. The authors treat us to a chapter where it seems Fuuka and Fuuka have met once during a summer vacation. Kind of lame, but you can see it coming. Major Spoiler: Fuuka’s dad was driving the truck that killed Fuuka.

So current state of chapter 142 is the band Blue Wells is missing Fuuka before a live gig. In the tangled web of miscommunication between her and Yuu, he rushes to find her.

Now you are mostly caught up from what this tentacle can remember of all 142 chapters.

Final Thoughts:

It’s pretty entertaining so far, and you get the classic high school love triangle serialization from the get go. That arc, in and of itself, develops over a progress story centered on Fuuka through the eyes of Yuu. Meeting friends following her dream of making music in a band with people she cares for.

Then much like the derailing of events that hit you like a bus (bad pun), the story switches the focus to angle on Yuu and the band as they progress forward with Aktsuki’s dream. But the catch is, it becomes their dream and their goals. They move forward.

While the manga does travel the length of Yuu becoming a person and growing, what isn’t covered here in this review is the break from Yuu and anyone named Fuuka. We gain character development of Mikasa and his family when he makes the choice to focus on the band and not follow in the family footsteps.

You get to see Sara grow in her social awkwardness but still maintain a life on social media that you see Yuu just drop. But Sara has always been able to put her phone down and live her life in a stoic like balance of her personality. She’s rude, crass and blunt to the point where she doesn’t know it. She’s one of my favorite characters. Even Kazuya has early growth when he decides not to focus on the track team and follow Fuuka down the path of music.

It’s these little plot points and side trips of story arc that drive the story forward. With regression for a part that is stretched a little too thin or just lame (see Fuuka meeting Fuuka chapter). I feel there is a bit of forced disconnectedness that didn’t need to be there. But so it is written, it has come to pass.

Blue Wells

Let’s sum it all up out of 5.

Art: 3 – Standard for this type of weekly manga. Nothing stands out as different from other music mangas.

Story: 4 – I have to say the story of the side arcs give this a boost from a 3 to a 4. Could be a 5 but the parts that felt forced deducted 1.

Dialogue and Development: 4 – There characters that this tentacle likes, hates, and could care less about. This tentacle is involved.

Overall: 3.6 round up to a 4

Tentacle Recommends 3 Anime (pt 1)

Old and New

KonoSuba

KonoSuba

“Following an untimely and embarrassing death, Kazuma Satō, a Japanese teenage shut-in, meets a goddess named Aqua, who offers to reincarnate him in a parallel world with MMORPG elements, where he can go on adventures and battle monsters.” – Wikipedia

Thoughts: The second season of KonoSuba started recently and it has taken off in a better format than the first season. It’s a light heart-ed comedy with the fantasy D&D/RPG elements and a touch of fan service. If you liked Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? you will get a kick out of this one. Yes you get your elements of “fan service”.

See you in space.

Cowboy Bebop

“In 2071, roughly fifty years after an accident with a hyperspace gateway made the Earth almost uninhabitable, humanity has colonized most of the rocky planets and moons of the Solar System. Amid a rising crime rate, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) set up a legalized contract system, in which registered bounty hunters (also referred to as “Cowboys”) chase criminals and bring them in alive in return for a reward.” – Wikipedia

Thoughts: Westerners first real taste of anime on the television (thank you Adult Swim). Cowboy Bebop is a classic tale of space opera bounty hunters trying to pay the bills. A classic, an oldie, and one you should take off your bucket list and see. Firefly and Killjoy fans, this is a predecessor.

(Special Mention: Space Dandy)

Tomoki is a perv.

Cowboy Bebop

Heaven’s Lost Property

“Tomoki Sakurai is a perverted teenage boy whose motto is “Peace and quiet are the best,” and often has dreams of meeting an angel. He finds it difficult to live in comfort when he has to put up with Sohara Mitsuki, his next-door neighbor with a killer karate chop; Eishiro Sugata, an eccentric pseudo-scientist bent on discovering the “New World”; and Mikako Satsukitane, their school’s sadistic student council president.” – Wikipedia

Thoughts: This is the anime, besides Bravo Girls, that reintroduced me into the game about two years ago. Yes it’s a harem comedy anime with a perverted teen male at the center of large buxom ladies. The heart of the story brings it home and even the OVA has a loose but direct tie in. Harem battle anime fans should at least give it 3 episodes to get into.

 

Until the next list: Happy Monday

~TG