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.

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.

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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!

Art of War (pregen): Silent Bell

A #savageworlds pregen for the South of the Wall adventure.

A pregen for the South of the Wall adventure.

Silent Bell
Born in the destitute slums of a feudal lord along the eastern coast, the one known as the “Silent Bell” did what was possible to survive. Silent Bell was taken in by an orphanage at a young age, however being unable to speak since birth caused her social issues. Only being able to put up with so much teasing, “Bell” left the orphanage to find a life as a street urchin stealing what was needed to survive. Bell found shelter and comfort with other children and kemonomimi in dire straights. An Araiguma, Tum-Tum, took a liking to the small Bell and taught her the secrets of surviving.
She did very well for herself, living a carefree life doing what she wanted, while never being under the authority of anyone. Her arrogance was answered by a hawk-eyed fruit vendor, leading to a chase through the market square on a sunny afternoon. Finding refuge over a wall, Bell sought shelter in a near by building. Upon shutting the door, she turned to find a room filled with monks sitting quietly watching her. A knock would usher several monks guiding her through a garden to a back entrance.
A month went by as Bell found herself continuously drawn to the White Lotus Temple where monks tended gardens and blended into the background as parishioners paid homage to the shrine. She felt kinship to those that held a vow of silence and worked hard to repay them. Years after being indoctrinated, Silent Bell works as an advocate for the poor and looks to use her newly acquired land to open her own temple under the banner of the White Lotus.

Race: Human
Clan: n/a
Trope: Buxist (internal)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Acrobatics d8, Fighting d6, Knowledge (ceremony) d4, Knowledge (history) d6 Healing d6, Lockpicking d6, Meditation d6,  Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Streetwise d6
Cha: 0; Pace: 8; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Mute* (major), Vow (minor, poverty), Beyond the Borders* (minor)
Edges: Acrobat, Fleet-Footed
Max Chi Pool: 4
Chi Techniques: Clear Vision, Detect Inner Thoughts
Gear: Travel Kit (bedroll, blanket, water skin, rope (10”), 7 rations), 200 ki (money)
Special Abilities:
Trance: Spending a full turn, Buxist fall into a temporary trace where they roll a Meditation check. On a success they enter this trance for a number of rounds equal to half their Smarts die, or full Smarts die on a raise. Upon entering the trance their initiative card is always considered a Spade and they are able to ignore wound penalties until the trance ends. When the trance does end, a Buxist must spend a Chi point for each wound before incapacitation that was incurred or suffer an equal amount of Fatigue wounds. While in this trance, should a monk get to the point of incapacitation, they may spend a point of Chi to remain conscious for one additional turn.

Chi Technique
Detect Inner Thoughts
Cost: 1
This technique works as the mind reading power.

Clear Vision
Cost: 1/2/3
Duration: 3 rounds
For 1 chi point, the hero ignores any and all obscurement penalties (darkness, fog, blindness, invisibility, etc). Cover penalties for solid objects still apply as normal. The area that can be sensed is a small burst template focused on the hero.
For 2 points the character can extend this area of effect to a medium burst template and can sense all around him, negating all attackers’ Gang Up bonus against him.
For 3 points the character extends their senses to a number of allies equal to half their Notice die. They gain the senses as though they had spent 3 points so long as they remain in an area of a large template focused on the hero originating the power.

Hindrance
Beyond the Border
The hero suffers a -2 on all Common Knowledge and Notice rolls in situations recognizing ceremonies, events, honor, saving face, or analyzing styles of martial arts.

*denotes Hindrances to be found in Art of War

Art of War (pregen): Saeko

Saeko, Serpent Shinobi pregen for the South of the Wall adventure. (Savage Worlds)

PreGen for the Art of War (Savage Worlds)

A pregen for the South of the Wall adventure.

Saeko
Saeko was raised in the Serpent lands among the foothills of Mt. Rinzai. She lived a happy and productive youth, even coming from a loving home with two older brothers and a younger sister. She has never lived in a situation of strife and never had to struggle to survive, or go without. She has been blessed with height, a strong athletic build, and is well liked.
As a member of the White Scales Scorpion Temple, Saeko was sponsored by a Serpent Clan family and given clan honors. While attending school, she excelled in physical exams much to ire of her classmates. Gaining favor and special permissions, the others didn’t take to kindly to her presence. Those that tried to confront and challenge her, quickly learned that she was more than a match for them.
As fortune had it, and to the chagrin of the Serpent Clan, upon graduation she was given approval to join the volunteer forces on the condition to challenge her abilities. This was approved by the White Scales on the condition that she sends regular reports to the White Scales on the progress south of the wall.

Race: Inumimi
Clan: Serpent
Trope: Shinobi
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Acrobatics d6, Climbing d8, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d6, Lockpicking d6, Mediation d6, Notice d6, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Taunt d4, Tracking d6,
Cha: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 8 (1)
Hindrances: Arrogant, Coldblooded (minor), Enemy (minor), Loyal
Edges: Absorb, Dire Wolf Breed
Max Chi Pool: 5
Chi Techniques: Chi Attack (melee), Koi’s Teachings
Gear: Reinforced clothing (+1 Armor), Ninjato (Str+d6), backpack, beadroll, blanket, 10 candles, flint, grappling hook, rope (10′), signal whistle, 40 ki (money)
Special Abilities:
Guard Dogs: Inumimi gain  a +2 bonus on checks based on smell and hearing.
Bite: Str + d6 damage

Chi Technique
Chi Attack (Melee)
Cost: 1
Once per round by spending a point of chi be for an attack, the hero adds +1d6 to either the attack or damage roll.

Koi’s Teachings
Cost: 1
Duration: 3 rounds
Range: Touch
The hero selects one Wild Card or Extra. When the selected target incurs a wound or fatigue wound, the hero must forego his wild die on his next applicable roll to allow the target to receive a second soak roll, if the first one failed. The target must accept the roll of the second soak roll.

Art of War (pregen): Silver Fang

A pregen for the South of the Wall adventure. (Savage Worlds)

PreGen for the Art of War (Savage Worlds)

A pregen for the South of the Wall adventure.

Silver Fang
The nekomimi samurai known as Silver Fang began as a humble servant of the Lao Family. Silver spent his youth as an attendant to Xiao Lao as he attended his studies in the morning and practiced with sword tutoring in the afternoon. It was one of these tutors that was abusive in his teachings to young Master Xaio. Only when a training session finally went too far did Silver act on instinct.
Silver never knew what happened to the tutor, but Silver earned the additional name of Fang and was sent away from the Lao family to attend an elite sword school in the capital of the Tiger Clan territory. Silver Fang spent several years honing techniques and training in the ways of a solider. Upon his graduation, the Lao Family dismissed him as a servant and began to employ Silver Fang as a personal guard to Master Xaio.
After many years of services, Silver Fang was given leave of absence to find his own way in the world. Fang decided to answer the call and join the voluntary services.

Race: Nekomimi
Trope: Samurai
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Gambling d4, Intimidation d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Knowledge (Security) d6, Meditation d6, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d4
Cha: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 8 (3)
Hindrances: Curious, Internal Blockage (major), Loyal, Quirk (snoring)
Edges: Counterattack
Max Chi Pool: 2
Chi Techniques: Scorpion Sting
Gear: Samurai Full Plate (+3 Armor), Katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), Travel Kit (bedroll, blanket, water skin, rope (10′), 7 rations), 125 ki (money)
Special Abilities:
Lucky: Nekomimi draw one additional Benny per game session.
Stoic: If a samurai is a defender in a Test of Wills, he may use Meditation skill in place of Smarts or Spirit. They also receive a +2 on rolls to recover from the Shaken condition and to resist Fear effects.

Chi Technique
Scorpion Sting
Cost: 1
Range: Touch
The when the hero succeeds on a Touch Attack, the opponent must make a Vigor check or suffer paralysis for 1 round. A raise on the Touch Attack, the target suffers a -2 to the Vigor roll.