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!

Art of War, “Savage Worlds Black”, and You. #savageworlds

Over on our kickstarter, a backer asked:

@Timothy asked: With Savage Worlds Black on the horizon, do you plan to do a rule update after its release?

A: We are slated for a print run of December this year. That is somewhat on purpose. Shane Hensley(creator of Savage Worlds) mentioned in a few places that Project “Savage Worlds Black” is scheduled to kickstart in the Fall of 2018, post GenCon.

We plan to have it incorporated into the book before we publish. We have that foot path already in place. We just need to pave over it, once the material is released.

In addition, using Flash Gordan as an example, since it already has material that has been confirmed will be in the next iteration. Such the Athletic skill. This new skill justified our need for a separate Acrobatic skill.

Some Chi Techniques might need to be revised, but we do anticipate that.

If by chance things do not line up the way they should but our ducks are in a row, we are ready to hit the print button. . . we will.

This means a conversion document will be released for free, in a printable PDF format for hard copy users. We plan to update the PDF versions to accommodate all that have purchased it.

OR if it is radically different, all backers will receive an additional “Savage Black” version of Art of War via PDF. Print backers will receive an “at cost” print-on-demand coupon.

I hope I answered your question on that one. If anyone has any others, ask away.

Art of War (pregen): An, Wolf of the Midnight Cranes #savageworlds

A Savage Worlds pregen for the South of the Wall adventure

A pregen for the South of the Wall adventure.

An, Wolf of the Midnight Crane
As an abandoned child found in the wilderness, An was taken in by a pack of outlandish Inumimi who worshiped the moon. An never knew he was different from the Inumimi. He hunted with them, rose through the pack and became one of the guardians of a decrepit temple dedicated to ceremonies when the moon hid from the sky.
Mistaken as the single abbot watching over the dwelling of the by travelers, An took to the assumed role with ease. He eventually made his home with in the temple, leaving his place within the pack.
Over the course of a summer, word spread from merchant to Buxist on pilgrimages of the revitalized temple and hospitality given to those that seek shelter. A Buxist known as Yun, approached An challenging him to the right of property of the temple. Yun belonged to the Order of the Midnight Crane, who previously held ownership of the grounds. An humbly backed down recognizing the proper ownership. Yun requested that An stay and attend to the people as he would attend to the temple.
An studied for many years, learning the traditions of BuXia. It was now his time to explore the world beyond the temple life and set a course of discovery beyond the plains of the Tiger lands.

Race: Umvee
Clan: n/a
Trope: Youxia
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6 (+1 when using staff) , Healing d6, Knowledge (Culture) d4, Knowledge (Kemonomimi) d6, Knowledge (ritual) d4, Meditation d6, Notice d6, Riding d4, Survival d6+2, Tracking d6+2, Throwing d4
Cha: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5 (6 with staff); Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Phobia (minor, agoraphobia), Vow (minor)
Edges: Linguist
Max Chi Pool: 5
Chi Techniques: Bestial Form (wolf),, Negate Chi
Gear: Travel Kit (bedroll, blanket, water skin, rope (10”), 7 rations), ceremonial books, fighting staff (Str+d4+2, Reach 1)
Special Abilities:
Conditioning: They ignore their first level penalty of Fatigue and treat their second level of Fatigue as a -1 penalty.
Defensive: Once per round, as a reaction to an incoming attack made against him, a youxia can spend a point of Chi and add +10 to his Parry.

Chi Technique
Bestial Form
Cost: 1
Duration: 1 hour
Trappings: bone necklace, drinking animal blood
A hero can spend 1 Chi Point to take the form of a single animal of his size or smaller, chosen at the time of learning this Technique. During the duration, the hero can shift form as a free action any number of times. While in this animal shape he retains his mental attributes, but takes on the physical attributes of the animal as well as any special abilities.

Negate Chi
Cost: 2
Range: Spirit
This Technique acts as the dispel power for Chi Techniques.

#miniatureterrain fun

One thing I have been playing with to stay motivated in writing has been playing with different RPG terrain. The one above is a tori gate from a company that does precut foam buildings.

Plast Craft Games.

This one will be the second building I bought from them. So far I like the concept. Price is above average or comparable.

Tomorrow I will preview more.

Relaunch for Art of War is July 19, 2018.

Mapping the San Empire #ArtofWar

Mapping attempt at the San Empire.

Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus has a unique overlay you can use to make classic Eastern Maps. And it is really kind of bad ass.  This overlay is part of the 2016 Annual called Empire of the Sun.

As with all Campaign Cartographer products, there is a bit of a learning curve and it helps to watch the youtube video tutorials out there. I have been using it for a couple of years in my home games and on a few products where maps where needed. I have found myself enjoying the mapping process and have spent hours pouring and sorting through map bits.

One of the biggest issues I am having is the scaling of maps symbols to the pleasing ascetic I want (hope) to accomplish. I want the traditional fantasy map with the traditional Eastern look. Many maps of this style tend to be exaggerating on the hillside landscape mimicking the view from afar. Or what I would like to aim for is something like this. This is the example they have for the Annual.

ca110-the-coast-at-jiabannan
Copyright: Profantasy

I really do love everything about this.

So inspired and in an attempt to save money, I need to do a map of the San Empire myself. And I have done my best to do so (See below).

San Empire

 

It’s a little crowded. The scaling of the map symbols is off. There are no roads to each village. But in an first attempt, I am getting to learn the overlay. Hopefully I can have a final rendered map soon. Back to the drawing board….or mapping.

~Tentacle Out!

Tai, the Scheming Shadow

Tai is a petty thief that likes to use his talents to scheme…

Arrrg!

It is hard to keep up with the world and finding time to do a blog. As you may have noticed I have not relaunched the kickstarter just yet. I want to finish the module named: Shadow of Stork Borough. Named so after the villain named Tai, the Scheming Shadow. Tai is a petty thief that likes to use his talents to scheme, but he is also a coward and a pacifist. The below is a pre-edit clip from the adventure that introduces Tai.

———————-

Tai is a wandering petty crook and disgraced shinobi of the minor Viper Clan. Several months ago while spending time in the seedier parts of the Empire, he overheard conversations about lost treasures of Four Corner. Lifting the maps from those that congregated to explore the ruins, Tai followed the trail to a mountain temple. Inside he found artifacts from the First Temple of Daji.

The original explorers knew of Tai’s greediness and allowed him to cut his way through the hazards, so they didn’t have to. From a distance, they watched Tai enter the monastery and waited for his exit. After several days, they entered the compound to find Tai waiting for them. Using his prior training with a little help from the Sacred Goblet, Tai was able to alter his image and make a grand escape.

Since then, he has used the disguising powers of the goblet to carve out a living by selling it to merchants and stealing it back. As he has done to Da and Riku. The one flaw in the plan Tai did not count on, is that the two merchants are stubborn and deeply competitive. Taking advantage the shops being closed, he returns to the scene of the crime to make off with a bigger score. As the Heavens have it (or by a curse of stealing Daji’s goblet) the night he shows up, is the same night the Wild Cards are executing Xiao’s plans.

Tai, the Scheming Shadow*
A middle aged bald human wears the outfit of a shinobi. Tai is opposed to fighting if at all possible. He leaves confrontation to his shadow clones.
Race: Human
Trope: Shinobi
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Acrobatics d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Investigation d6, Lockpicking d6, Meditation d6, Notice d6, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Survival d6
Cha: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy (minor), Pacifist (minor), Yellow
Edges: Thief, Extra Chi
Max Chi Pool: 7
Chi Techniques: Clone, Bamf
Gear: Grappling hook, Katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), Lockpick, Travel Kit (bedroll, blanket, water skin, rope (10”), 7 rations), Sacred Temple Goblet ($125)
Special Abilities:
Shadow Clone: For 1 Chi point, Tai can create a living shadow clone that last for 3 rounds.
Bamf: For 1 Chi point, Tai can use the teleport power. For every additional point spent at the time of activating this technique, he can reappear add an additional 10” away.

Shadow Clone (extra)

A physical manifestation of shadow in the shape and appearance of it’s master.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Special Abilities:
Fearless: Clones are immune to fear and Intimidation
——————

And there we have a sample of a “shinobi” trope for the game. A few game mechanics for the Chi Techniques: Clone & Bamf. A little character history, and a decent entry.

Until next time
~Tentacle Out!

More lessons learned from KS & Relaunch

Lessons Learned

The last two days I have been working through the budget of what can be cut, added and rearranged. I still need funds to guarantee I can pay for an editor or editors. That’s priority number one. I don’t need more art, but it I do want art to accent some areas of the book; mostly in the techniques chapter. I don’t like the map that was commissioned, which is why it wasn’t shown in an update. That needs reworking.

Some art for techniques & new map is a universal simple cost. Savage Worlds needs an editor. 5e needs an editor and a writer to flesh out mechanics for classes and archetypes.

Meanwhile looking at Kickstarter rewards can have a direct influence on how the project makes money to fund future budgets. A kickstarter has rewards that need to be covered and included in your funding goal. A PDF reward has no material cost, but should have a reasonable cost/value associated. Retail value for PDFs should be half or 3/4 the price of your physical reward. Money earned through a PDF reward does go straight to the project.

Physical rewards such as Books & Miniatures, have a physical cost that is directly deducted from the reward and should be listed with a margin above cost, close to shelf sales price. Most kickstarters will mark these rewards at shelf price, so they can count their profit as money to the project. Most books are marked up 4x production cost. So if you mark the book reward 3x production cost, but sale price is 4 or 5 times cost, backers tend to see it as a good discount. This does mean, you need to sell more physical reward pledge levels in this section to make it worth your wild. After you deduct your cost , the “profit” then goes straight to the project.

My initial goal was a cost margin spread across both versions of the book. If we keep half and make the next project focused for strictly on one version of the book, that covers cost and helps with more adventures and additional material resources. In addition, this gives time for the other version to catch up and finish development. Savage Worlds is finished, except for the editor. I think I have my next direction.

Trying something new

I have reworked my stretch goals and compared them to other kickstarters. I have also adjusted pledge levels to be a little more inciting. I want to try a short run campaign like I have seen others do in the past. They are exciting and at half price, it’s all or nothing. The goal will be to raise money for just an editor. It will be a 15-day campaign, and will will launch it on May 29. Art of War for Savage Worlds will have a goal of $1,000.00 or $1,250.00.