October Update: rebirth of the Umvee

We are the Alphas’ progeny of creation. We are the Umvee, Children of Shanghe.

Hey Everyone: I have been focused on finishing my Kickstarter for our Savage Worlds aka #SWADE campaign setting Art of War. Here are a few tidbits of information.

Shower Thoughts: It is interesting that while I was writing the Umvee, I had them scripted and 100% done. Then one morning while in the shower, they spoke to me. The Umvee were mostly rewritten and then revised as presented below. Instead of being just wild and feral lost kin to kemonomimi, they became something else: Children of the Moon. So with this in tow, inspiration was taken from the Chinese Goddess Chang’e and Changxi. While some scholars debate that they are one in the same.

I have altered the name a little to fit my campaign setting, paying homage from the sources, yet diverting it for religious respect (it might get changed back to one of them; some might view the change is disrespectful to the source material).

Children of Shanghe, Umvee

Those of the Kitsune Clan claim the lineage as the children of Daji. She was the Kitusne Goddess who walked among men and gave birth to the descendants of the Oda family blessing of divine bloodline to rule by. Kemonomimi are our cousins birthed by the celestial emotions of the Kami to keep our brethren, humankind from being alone in the world. Our heritage bares an older and deeper ancestry, beginning as witnesses to an age prior to a Kami crossing over to walk alongside us. We are as old as the orb in the night sky that shines above us. Shanghe, our Pale Mother bore us from her blue rays of light that shine upon the surface of our world. Porcelain skin blankets us as a reminder unchanged, symbolizing our place as the template for those that followed in our footsteps. As the roots of trees in the Wylds, our traditions grow as deep and it is here where our people made their home. We clung to these ancient ways, shepherding the souls of angry Kami, keeping balance of the the natural world as humans feel to the influence of others. We are the Alphas progeny of creation. We are the Umvee.

~Umeki, shaman of the Sunless Clan

With an oral history of their own, the Umvee tell of their existence as the true protectors of the natural world. They were birthed by the light of the moon to balance against human expansion and destruction of the Wylds, while the kemonomimi were born to be the servitors of human culture. This led to a division with their cousins who shunned tribal culture. The Umvee chose to steep themselves in wilderness folklore and primal tradition.

While their method may be crude, savage and seen as uncivilized, Umvee are well-structured societies with rich warrior ecologies, not unlike the three Clans. In the beginning, many chose to live by hunting, herding, and harvesting only the necessities. Refusing modern conveniences, they were seen as the ghost of the Wylds for centuries.

Humans stayed away from the western wylds and the Umvee only involved themselves with the rare interactions with kemonomimi who lived on the edge of the Hanxia Plains. West of the wylds the Umvee flourished with monoliths, simple cities, and grand temples unseen by human and kemonomimi eyes. Rolling hills and open fields allowed the moon children to prosper, negotiating trade relations with the Naga Nation, and establishing contact with the feral berzerker clans to the west. This would change near the end of the last Dynasty.

While the humans waged war against each other, the Umvee fought against the tide of devastation that began from the feral lands. As giants of fire and lightning descended upon the sacred lands, the moon children stood against dire wolves and fur covered rabid men. Standing as the only wall of defense between the hordes and the San Empire, over a third of Umvee culture would disappear from the pages of history. With great losses, only the direct intervention of a war manifestation of Shanghe was able to push the adversaries into retreating from which they came.

Race Umvee Female
Artist Sasha Turk © Amora Game, LLC

Then the Oni came. With half of the Umvee blinded from animalistic rage from invoking of beasital spirits against the berzerker wave were they able to survive. Once more the tribes of the moon children prevailed, but with the cost of losing Lunar, the war avatar of Shanghe.

Umvee families pulled away from ancestral lands traveling through the wilderness, only to arrive upon the doorstep of the Hanxia Plains. The Umvee immigration was welcomed by bordering kemonomimi villages. But tensions were weary at first, both sides hesitant with distrust until an official Imperial envoy arrived.

After initial trials and tribulations, agreements between the falling nation and budding Empire settled on the Silver Accord, giving rise to rapid growth and exchange of culture of disenfranchised cousins.

Some detest the Accords, hunting deep in the Wylds trying to reestablish homelands, while younger and curious generations have taken strongly to the new ideas. The youth wander towards major cities, acting as scouts, wilderness survivalist or guards to merchant caravans.

Umvee appear do not differ from humans of the Empire in terms of sizes and shapes, however they are a pale skinned hairless individuals, with a slight tapering at the top of the ear. Warriors and shamans of the Umvee (or the younger generation) support thick and elaborate tribal tattoos highlighting shades of black, purple, red, or blue. Adorning one’s body with piercings, tattoos, and to a lesser extent scarification, are ritual practice for Umvee. With every new major life event, it is common for one to don another accoutrements to their body. It is just as common for an Umvee to ignore this tradition and maintaining the pure blank canvas of skin.

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!