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Japanese Campaign Setting Help, please
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject: Japanese Campaign Setting Help, please Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Looking at my old Oriental Adventures book today, I decided to try and make a Japanese campaign setting that's actually good, and not tied to an established world/product.

only problem is... I don't know much about actual japanese folk lore and mythology. The depth of my knowledge, as far as what to include, is:
  • Samurai
  • Ninjas
  • Spirits
  • Ogres/Kitsune/Kappa/spirits
  • Honor!/Dishonor! (perhaps as an alternative to one or both alignment axis)
  • katanas/wakizashi/tanto/kusari-gama/tetsubo/etc.


seriously, that's about all I've got. Now, I decided to go with Tome, and the scaling magic weapons thing actually works really well for Japanese myth and the spirit of the warrior and all that... but...

what the hell else should be in a Japanese setting?

Any opinions on Musts, beyond what's above?
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, Ronin are a staple of the genre, though their actual prevalence varies by era. Monks and priests of various kinds as well.

I'd like a little more detail as to the setting you're trying to create. Something like Usagi Yojimbo's mythic Japan, which despite the fantastic elements is deeply rooted in historical feudal Japan? Or a setting which is influenced by Japanese myth, but intended to be its own thing?
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm looking more at having the trappings of japanese fantasy, while it's more it's own thing, kind of like how the usual D&D setting has the trappings of mideval europe, but is it's own milieu.

I just want it to make more sense.

so a high fantasy setting more influenced by Japanese myth than deeply rooted.

I'm working on races right now, there's technically no reason, as far as I know, that kitsune and yukki-onna can't be playable races from the start. The one I'm debating right now, however, is kappa.

strictly speaking, I don't think it'd be too unreasonable to have kappa be playable, but their big bowl-head weakness is... making me uncertain
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As one of the resident weeaboos on the Den, it depends on what part of history and what feeling you're going for; do you want to do typical Western style HONORAN KATANAN GAEMS, mythological horror, Benkei and Yoshitsune "one against a thousand" stories, Warring States INUYASHA~ KAGOME~ dung ages wandering, what?

I'm going to assume that when you say Japanese campaign setting, you mean Tokugawa Shogunate (Where most samurai flicks are), Sengoku (Warring States/clans everywhere), or Meiji Restoration (Foreigners and Rurouni Kenshin). The Heian Period is also an option, it's Bronze Agey and has significant Chinese influence and supernatural depth.

Japanese folklore is big old bucket of crazy and depending on how deep/shallow you want to go with players being figures from folklore or merely interacting with them, you could either be playing Ghostbusters or Touhou and would have to set up the system accordingly.

Also, Honor/Dishonor in the way it usually gets parsed is only a big deal with the Meiji Period, and is largely a construct of the samurai becoming The Man, in a bureaucratic sense. Honor in the times usually used for samurai action shit is more the concept of Giri, or duty. If you were a samurai, it was your duty to be ready to die pretty much, and you used whatever was in your power to do so. Bushido codes were the same as duelist codes more or less; a construct of fighting for style over fighting to kill.
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ok, here's what I want, tell me if this bull as far as anything even vaguely accurate to japan goes:

group of racial-mishmash wanderers going around righting/committing wrongs, being badass, carrying named weapons and beating the shit out of "monsters" (ie, team green)

is there any way of doing fantasy weeaboo like that?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Racial mishmash? Do you mean, Japanese and non-Japanese, or human and non-human? if you mean human and non-human, OK, you're getting something a bit Journey to the West style. In fact, honestly, I would suggest not drawing on solely Japanese myths, with your setup here, and instead drawing on Chinese myth in general. Japan's mythological basis is so heavily influenced by it that no one will notice if you pull both in at once for a bit. To the point that the modern anime depicts humongous weapons and Chi powers first debuted in Chinese wuxia epics. So, there's my recommendation. Make a fictional country which is as much a mishmash as Japan is.

In general, for "purely" Japanese stories, you wind up getting a lot more human characters, and there is a lot less sense of wandering. It's more like European folktales compared to China's almost Greek-like heroic struggles of semi-divine characters. There certainly are more impressive myths, but in general, that is the impression I have gotten from my study of Japanese myth.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That could work.

Japan had period(s) where it was a patchwork of feudal states where there wasn't a government as much as a bunch of nobles who formed and broke alliances in wars and power plays with each other.

So that backdrop gives the PCs an excuse to come from disparate backgrounds and also to run into a lot of weird stuff as they wander.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ah, if you want to just have crazy weeaboo wandering adventures, I'd make it sort of a Gintama's post-Heian period; just throw in every vaguely Asian bit you can, from China, India, Korea, hell, even Russia. You want to make a fantasy kitchen sink with weeaboo trappings, not a straight up feudal Japan game. I respect that.

So, you would probably want to play the major races as great houses, and your average group of players would be something like this, but with more dudes.
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

yeah, I meant racial mishmash of human and non-humans, the pan-asian thing seems to work, I guess, and gives me a bit more flexibility for creatures.

rough draft of something I'm considering, given how prevalent human forms are amongst spirits:

Spirit
  • d6 HD
  • 3/4 Base Attack
  • Good Reflex and Will saves
  • 4+Int skill points
    Traits
  • Low light vision
  • Proficient with all weapons and armour in stat block
  • Humanoid Form: If the spirit is not already human in shape, it can take a humanoid form as a full round action. It may decide the specifics of the complete appearance of this form each time they take a humanoid form. There will generally be some kind of "tell" by which they can be recognized as a spirit, but usually this is relatively easily hidden when necessary.
  • Spirits eat, sleep and breath. Usually a spirit will have a particular fondness for one kind of food or another, dictated by type.


Sample:

Kitsune
Small Spirit

Hit Die 1d8
Init +4
Speed 40 ft.
Armour Class (+4 Dex, +1 size)
Base Attack/Grapple +0/-4
Attack Bite +0m (1d4)
Full Attack Bite +0m (1d4)
Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft.
Special Attacks -
Special Qualities Humanoid Form, Low Light Vision, Kitsune Sphere
Saves Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +3
Abilities Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 14
Skills Jump +2, Hide +5, Move Silently +5
Feats Track
Honorable
CR1/3

Kitsune are mischievous fox spirits known for their ability to take human form, and their skill at illusion magic. Despite their reputation for trickery, they are perfectly capable of interacting with human society with little to no problem, and in fact come in two distinct varieties, the Zenko, benevolent, celestial foxes associated with Inari, and Yako, the traditional mischievous, and occasionally malicious, field foxes. In human form, they can usually be distinguished by the presence of their tail, however other tells are not unknown, and a kitsune in human form may retain it's tails, a coating of fine hair, a fox shaped shadow, or their true form revealed by reflection. Furthermore, kitsune harbour deep fear and hatred for dogs which is present even when shape shifted. Confrontation with a dog may cause a disguised kitsune to revert to true form and flee. Finally, kitsune are quite fond of Aburage, (fried sliced tofu) found, appropriately, in Kitsune Udon and Kitsune Soba, and can be swayed and convinced more easily when Aburage is mentioned or offered.
As Honorable creatures, even Yako will hold to their word and endeavour to repay debts and favours. However, they are Youkai, and as such are not bound to human morality, feeling free to steal as they wish, and payments will usually be in the form of valueless items made to appear as wealth through illusion.

Kitsune Sphere
A Kitsune is inherently magical, but barely distinct from a normal fox. A kitsune is a fox who has lived 100 years, gaining at this point the ability to take Human Form. They gain another tail at 2nd through 4th level, then a new tail at every third, when they gain a feat, to a maximum of 9 tails at 18th level. The Kitsune's sphere access advances to advanced at 7th, and expert at 14th level.
Granted Ability: You may use Ghost Sounds and Dancing Lights at will.
1st Minor Image
3rd Invisibility
5th Fly
7th Dreamwalk (Heroes of Horror)
9th Persistant Image
11th Shadow Walk
13th Fireball or Lightning Bolt (chosen at acquisition, cannot be changed, issues from the mouth of the Kitsune)
15th Scintillating Pattern (Sepia Snake Sigil?)
17th Shapechange (allows non-creature forms, at loss of mobility)
19th Time Stop

Kitsune as player characters:
A kitsune adventurer begins play as a first level character with a single d6 hit die, +2 Ref and Will saves, +0 BAB, and the following ability modifiers: +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Int.

Hows that look for a write up for Kitsune? Do they actually need to be 1st level characters or should they be able to take a class as a first level character?


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CatharzGodfoot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mask_De_H wrote:
So, you would probably want to play the major races as great houses, and your average group of players would be something like this, but with more dudes.

For some reason I don't think that "everybody dresses as a maid" is exactly what he was going for...
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I think he meant Touhou stuff in general...

and given the races I've considered so far...

Kitsune Miko... want.
Nekomata Miko... standard.
Oni Miko... creepy.
Tanuki Miko... DEAR GOD NO


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CatharzGodfoot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

[Edit] Is "spirit" an overall template for things that have human forms? In that case, forget just about everything I just said. It's an awesome idea. The only thing I would add is a sphere for every single kind.

So the basic template would be:

Spirit
Type: varies; usually humanoid or magical beast.
Subtypes: spirit, shapechanger.
Special abilities: human form, spirit sphere.
--> Each kind of spirit will usually have some other abilities that go here <--
And, yes, they should all be LA 0.
[/Edit]

I'd make kitsune shaped like big foxes with extra tails (based on level) and prehensile paws as you have. However, rather than giving them "humanoid form" and obvious 'tells', I'd just give them disguise self at will, with the caveat/exception that the form is human. This would give them a +10 bonus to pretend to be human (roll high enough and notice their thin features), but can be seen through with magic or invasion of personal space.

Tanuki are probably also worth statting up, although they'd be very similar.

I like the idea of giving every player race something sphere-equivalent (e.g. the human's bonus feat(s), a thematically appropriate sphere for a spirit, a Tanuki sphere for tanuki, a Kitsune sphere for kitsune).
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hey, they don't call boobs "chesticles" for nothing Prak. awesome

But yeah, I'd make them LA 0 characters if you're making them CR 1/3.
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Prak_Anima
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

CatharzGodfoot wrote:
[Edit] Is "spirit" an overall template for things that have human forms? In that case, forget just about everything I just said. It's an awesome idea. The only thing I would add is a sphere for every single kind.

So the basic template would be:

Spirit
Type: varies; usually humanoid or magical beast.
Subtypes: spirit, shapechanger.
Special abilities: human form, spirit sphere.
--> Each kind of spirit will usually have some other abilities that go here <--
And, yes, they should all be LA 0.
[/Edit]

I'd make kitsune shaped like big foxes with extra tails (based on level) and prehensile paws as you have. However, rather than giving them "humanoid form" and obvious 'tells', I'd just give them disguise self at will, with the caveat/exception that the form is human. This would give them a +10 bonus to pretend to be human (roll high enough and notice their thin features), but can be seen through with magic or invasion of personal space.

Tanuki are probably also worth statting up, although they'd be very similar.

I like the idea of giving every player race something sphere-equivalent (e.g. the human's bonus feat(s), a thematically appropriate sphere for a spirit, a Tanuki sphere for tanuki, a Kitsune sphere for kitsune).


Actually I was thinking of Spirit as a new creature type, not a template, though it could work either way, I suppose. Human Form working as disguise self could work, but a lot of the time they do have very specific tells, the kitsune examples come from wikipedia, and a tanuki's tell would very likely be his enormous scrotum (that's a more hide-able one... not many people are going to look up the jovial monk's robe...) but having it work more as disguise than straight up transformation is probably a bit better.

Edit: Actually, making it a simple template would really help with the shintoism thing, and basically allow any kind of spirit to pop up, from a fish to a mountain, and be an actual character, on either side of the screen.

The CR 1/3 comes from the fact that I seriously just took dog stats, gave them a sphere and a higher int. I was really iffy about making them "LA" 0 creatures, since their stats, from the block, would be +8 dex, +2 Con, +2 Wis, +4 Cha. But hell, I can just say "the sample kitsune uses the elite array, these are your mods" I thought they were probably fine as ECL 0, just wasn't entirely sure.

I'm looking at making the other common youkai similarly, here's the list I got from TV Tropes:
Kitsune
Yuki-Onna (cold sphere humanoids, basically)
Oni (more the big ogre-ish humanoids they're supposed to be than the demons they occasionally are)
Tanuki (will wind up very similar to kitsune, just a slightly different sphere, probably more focused on true shape shifting, into more varied forms, might get a bonus on perform checks used when playing their testicles or stomach as drums, even if only to encourage bards)
Tengu (will also have a human form, will be able to fly, possibly only in bird form, and be more martial than castery)
Nekomata (cats that shapeshift, cast illusions and have some "necromancy")
Kappa -I'm really uncertain here, they could make great brawlers, but the bowl head weakness could be really crippling.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

All-maids would be awesome.

Granted, there's an actual game for that, and it's called Maid, and everyone should play it.

Apparently hot springs and geisha are a very important part of ancient Japan.

You should probably decide on a few things, too. Such as:
  • Are samurai all honour-crazy and concerned with poetry, dance and tea ceremony (the romantacised version, similar to the chivalric code of knights in shining armour) or are they all a bunch of crazy warriors who flat-out murder people and winning is everything, especially when you treat the loser as badly as they do (real version)?
  • Ninja: REAL Ultimate Power? Geisha/prostitutes who poison people? HKAT extras? Karakuri Ninja Girl (this is the one I'd suggest going with)? Ninja Turtles? Tenchu?
  • Some other stuff I forgot
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    CatharzGodfoot
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    That sounds like a better way to do it. So...


    Spirit Person
    To a fox or a bamboo grove, human life can seem full of wonder and excitement. It should come as no wonder, then, that many creatures and places imbued with sufficient magical power choose to disguise themselves and live among humans.

    Type: Spirit (shapechanger). Spirit people are, of course, spirits, but they are all also able to disguise themselves as people.

    Human form (Su): All spirit people are able to take on a human form, but all spirits also retain some part of their spiritual nature while in human form. Human form grants a spirit a +10 bonus to disguise itself as a human, as well as all the other benefits of being a medium-sized and humanoid. Anyone making a successful Knowledge (nature) check against the spirit person's Disguise bonus +10 will be able to tell what sort of a spirit it really is. Even without ranks in Knowledge (nature), a character can attempt an 'educated guess' based on a spirit person's appearance. For example, a snow spirit will always have while hair and pale skin, and will feel cool to the touch. A tanuki spirit has wide-set eyes, is rarely never skinny, and unusually well endowed in certain areas.

    Spirit form (Ex): All spirit people also have a spirit form, which is considered the spirit person's natural form. In the case of animal spirits, the form is that of the appropriate kind of animal, although it is often unusually large and always is somehow capable of manipulating objects as a humanoid. Other types of spirit people have more abstract origins: a stream, a grove of trees, or even a snowfall. Despite this, as long as they live among humans, spirit people will have a concrete spirit form. For a river spirit this might be a large carp or a small dragon. For the spirit of a bamboo grove the spirit form will be humanoid, but green and leafy with limbs like bamboo stocks. Some other spirit forms are unique to the spirit type. Kappa, for example, appear as a strange cross of frog, fish, and turtle.

    Sphere: A spirit person has basic access to a single sphere appropriate to her spirit type. Kitsune have access to the Kitsune sphere, snow people have access to the Cold sphere, fish people have access to the water sphere, and so forth.

    Attribute adjustments: A spirit person gains a +2 bonus to to attribute scores and a -2 penalty to one other. The specific attributes depend on the spirit type.

    Skill Bonuses: A spirit person gets a +2 racial bonus to two skills, depending on her spirit type.


    How does that sound?

    Oh, and as for the overwhelming kappa weakness? Just fucking ignore it.
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    Prak_Anima
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    That's pretty much what I was thinking. I'm working up a template in a word document. I would be inclined to give animal spirits the stat array of the animal with an automatic 10 int for all spirits, unless they're supposed to be more intelligent (so a mountain, fish or fox has int 10, but cat spirits, who are supposed to possess high intelligence get like +2 int or something instead of an auto-score)

    I'm working up a table that assigns hit dice to inanimate object spirits, based on composition. It's actually a bit tricky, so I'll post it for people to pick apart.

    As for a spirit type, fey are basically the same thing, just western. So we can either just say bamboo spirits are fey, or say "the fey type is called spirit." It'll only matter for non-animals and non-homogenous inanimate spirits, as animals will become magical beasts, and, say, a rock or mountain spirit will just become an elemental with the appropriate subtype, where as a location or person will likely become a spirit or fey or whatever.
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    I'd have them keep exactly the same attributes in spirit form as in human form.

    So, a couple of examples:

    Snow Person
    Type: Spirit (shapechanger, cold). Snow people gain the cold subtype from the Cold sphere.
    Human form: A snow person's human form always has pale skin and white hair, and is usually somewhat gaunt. They are always cool or cold to the touch.
    Spirit Form: A snow person's spirit form looks much like her human form, but her body appears sculpted from ice and her hair is clearly made of billowing snowflakes.
    Sphere: A snow person gains the Cold sphere.
    Attribute Adjustments: Intelligence +2, Wisdom +2, Charisma -2. Snow people are sharp and perceptive, but also tend to be distant and difficult to get along with.
    Skill Bonuses: Perform, Balance (totally guessing here)


    Tanuki
    Type: Spirit (shapechanger, augmented animal).
    Human form: A tanuki's human form is characterized by wide-set eyes, a heavy frame, and certain large 'endowments'.
    Spirit form: A tanuki's spirit form is that of a raccoon dog (a small animal).
    Sphere: Tanuki gain the Tanuki sphere.
    Attribute Adjustments: Constitution +2, Charisma +2, Dexterity -2.
    Skill Bonuses: Perform, Diplomacy.

    Kitsune
    Type: Spirit (shapechanger, augmented animal).
    Human form: A kitsune's human form is characterized by close-set eyes and a tall, thin frame.
    Spirit form: A kitsune's spirit form is that of a multi-tailed fox (a small animal).
    Sphere: Kitsune gain the Kitsune sphere.
    Attribute Adjustments: Dexterity +2, Intelligence +2, Constitution -2.
    Skill Bonuses: Bluff, Disguise.
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    Prak_Anima
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    CatharzGodfoot wrote:
    I'd have them keep exactly the same attributes in spirit form as in human form.


    Oh definitely. The human form is more a social palette swap, than any kind of character replacement or buff.

    That said, those three look fine, really, though I'd be more inclined to give Tanuki Bluff than Diplomacy.
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Prak_Anima wrote:
    CatharzGodfoot wrote:
    I'd have them keep exactly the same attributes in spirit form as in human form.
    That said, those three look fine, really, though I'd be more inclined to give Tanuki Bluff than Diplomacy.

    I was trying to distinguish them more from kitsune as 'easygoing guys you'd like to hang out with', but sure, Bluff makes total sense.
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Tanuki, at least what I got from the wiki page on them, could be real dicks. The difference in personality from kitsune is that some kitsune are helpful, and some are borderline, if not actually, malicious dicks. Tanuki are more the jovial class clown type who'll prank you, but then take you for a drink, and then dodge the tab, but probably make sure you can pay it. Kitsune will steal your shit and laugh at you when try to get it back.

    Yuki-Onna, or Snow People, should have bonuses to Perform and Survival, they find lost travelers in the snow and either guide them out or lure them to their deaths. They don't really eat, they absorb body heat. Helpful ones just absorb a little bit by sleeping with said lost travelers.

    and I just realized that Kitsune should have +2 Dex, -2 Con, and +2 Cha, because the Nekomata need the +2 Int to live up to the myth, or at least what I got from wiki, and Kitsune need cha more than int because they're tricksters. I originally gave them +2 Int because I was using the monster PC rules from Races of War.

    anyway, here's what I worked up for the spirit template:

    edit: fixed the fucking code...

    Spirit
    Spirit is a template that can be applied to creatures, inanimate objects and locations. Manmade objects generally don't use this template, and instead are Tsukuyogomi, but items not covered by those can have this template applied to them, armour and weapons, for example.
    When the template is applied to a humanoid, they become an ancestor spirit.
    Type: Animals become Magical Beasts, inanimate objects will be Elementals with the appropriate elemental subtype if of a homogenous compostion, Most other types will become Spirits. Inanimate objects of a varied composition and locations become Spirits. Spirits that did not start as Humanoids or Monstrous Humanoids gain the Shapechanger subtype.
    Hit Die: Racial HD become d6s. The creature may advance in racial hit dice if it desires or is appropriate. Inanimate objects gain HD appropriate to size and (majority) composition:


    Size // Compostion
    Vegetable/Flesh/paper/non-solid
    Wood
    Bone
    Stone
    Metal

    -6” (Fine)
    1/4 HD
    1/2 HD
    1/4 HD
    1/4 HD
    1 HD

    6”-1' (Diminutive)
    1/4 HD
    1/2 HD
    1/4 HD
    1/2 HD
    1-2 HD

    1-2' (Tiny)
    1/2 HD
    1/2 HD
    1/2 HD
    1 HD
    2 HD

    2-4' (Small)
    1 HD
    1-2 HD
    1 HD
    2-3 HD
    3-4 HD

    4-8' (Medium)
    1 HD
    2-3 HD
    2 HD
    4-7 HD
    5-12 HD

    8-16' (Large)
    2-3 HD
    4-6 HD
    3-4 HD
    8-15 HD
    13-21 HD

    16-32' (Huge)
    4-7 HD
    7-14 HD
    5-9 HD
    16-25 HD
    22-31 HD

    32-64' (Gargantuan)
    8-15 HD
    14-20 HD
    10-14 HD
    26-40 HD
    32-45 HD

    64'+ (Colossal)
    16+ HD
    21+ HD
    15-18 HD
    41+ HD
    46+ HD


    Speed: Inanimate objects that become spirits have speeds according to page 298 of the Monster Manual, as appropriate to their spirit form. For example, a mountain spirit is going to be slow as fuck, and in it's human form, will have a speed of 30' (if Huge). Add 10' per size category larger than Huge for sizes not included on the table. Spirits will have additional movement modes as appropriate to spirit form. An earth spirit will likely have a burrow speed, and move through earth as a fast quadruped of it's size, an aquatic spirit with have a fast swim speed (80'), etc.
    Armour Class: Inanimate object spirits have a natural armour bonus according to the following table:


    Size // Compostion
    Vegetable/Flesh/paper/non-solid
    Wood
    Bone
    Stone
    Metal

    -6” (Fine)
    0
    0
    0
    0
    +1

    6”-1' (Diminutive)
    0
    0
    0
    +1
    +3

    1-2' (Tiny)
    0
    0
    0
    +3
    +5

    2-4' (Small)
    0[
    +1
    0
    +5
    +7

    4-8' (Medium)
    0
    +3
    +1
    +7
    +1

    8-16' (Large)
    +1
    +5
    +3
    +10
    +13

    16-32' (Huge)
    +3
    +7
    +5
    +13
    +15

    32-64' (Gargantuan)
    +5
    +10
    +7
    +15
    +18

    64'+ (Colossal)
    +7
    +13
    +10
    +18
    +20


    Attack: Spirits have the same attacks they had prior to becoming spirits. Human Spirits wield weapons appropriate to their life, keeping any proficiencies they had, but favouring an iconic or emblematic weapon (tonfa for rice farmers, three section staves for wheat farmers, katanas for samurai, etc.). Animal spirits have their animal form attacks in spirit form, and tend to use manufactured weapons if forced to fight in human form, but generally have no inherent proficiencies. Inanimate object spirits gain a slam attack in human form that does damage appropriate to their spirit form's size category.
    Special: All Spirits have Low Light Vision. They may also have one or both of the following abilities:
    Sphere: The spirit has a sphere appropriate to it's type or association. They usually have basic access, acquiring advanced at level 7 and expert at level 14. There may be exceptions to this rate for some spirits (such as Tengu, who don't begin with a sphere)
    Human Form: Animal spirits learn to take on a human form as the first spiritual ability they gain. This form is a normal human, mechanically, using the Spirit's ability scores, HD, Class features, etc. In other words, it's a medium humanoid form with a base speed of 30 ft.
    When objects and locations become spirits and gain a human form, it is a manifestation of the spirit, rather than a transformation, and the form is usually obviously inhuman. A bamboo spirit has short branches for hair, and long thin limbs, a mountain spirit has grey, rocky flesh and their eyes glint like minerals. In this form they gain the hit die, natural armour bonus, and speed established above.
    Abilities: Animal spirits have a +2 modifier to the two highest scores of their animal form, a 10 intelligence, and a -2 to their lowest ability score in animal form aside from intelligence. Specific types, such as kitsune, nekomata, and tanuki differ from this. Human spirits get a +2 modifier to their most important score, and a -2 to a mental score, as they become avatars of their function and station, becoming less educated, wise, or personable as they improve in what they did in life. Inanimate object spirits get whatever you can shake out of the dm, with a minimum intelligence of 3, which will usually be higher.
    Skills: The spirit gains a +2 bonus to two skills appropriate to it's nature. Mountain spirits are going to be insanely good at concentration, and maybe even balance (they're damned sturdy), but they're not tumbling anywhere, for example. Kitsune are mischievous tricksters that excel at illusion and trickery, and have +2 to bluff and disguise.
    CR: Animal and human spirits are generally not going to change much in CR. Inanimate object spirits... honestly, it's going to depend, you can probably start by using the zombie or skeleton templates as guidelines.

    Location Spirits
    Locations can have spirits just as easily as an individual object within them would. In this case, rather than using the physical size of the location, the spirit's HD and natural armour bonus is determined using the amount of time that stories have been told of the location, every 50 years is equivalent to one size category. It is entirely possible, and not unlikely at all, that a Location contains an object with a more powerful spirit. A Forest that has lived in folklore for 200 years may contain a tree that is well over 60 feet tall, and should anything threaten the forest, the Tree is probably the first spirit that will do something about it, naturally taking a role as the forest's protector. In the case of locations, HD and natural armour only apply to the "human" form of the spirit. The physical location is as easy or difficult to destroy as it's contained pieces.

    I also statted up Tanuki and Nekomata, complete with spheres:

    Tanuki
    Medium Spirit

    Hit Die 2d8
    Init -1
    Speed 40 ft.
    Armour Class 13(-1 Dex, +4 natural)
    Base Attack/Grapple +1/-3
    Attack Bite +1m (1d6)
    Full Attack Bite +1m (1d6)
    Space/Reach 5 ft/5 ft.
    Special Attacks -
    Special Qualities Humanoid Form, Low Light Vision, Tanuki Sphere
    Saves Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +2
    Abilities Str 10, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 12
    Skills Bluff +3, Disguise +2, Perform +2, Spot +1
    Feats Track
    Honorable
    CR 1

    Tanuki are racoon dog spirits known for their overlarge scrotums and jovial trickster nature. Unlike other animal spirits, their spirit form is a highly stylized and anthropomorphized figure, with large eyes and tail, large belly and testicles, standing upright on it's back legs, carrying a promissory note and sake jug, wearing a conical hat and showing a friendly smile. They are skilled shapeshifters, are very fond of sake, and like to play their large testicles or stomachs like drums.
    Despite their tricks, they are very positive symbols. The conical hat they wear represents protection from ill weather and fortune, their promissory note a sign of trustworthiness, large eyes to take in the environment and make good decisions, a sturdy tail to show steadiness and strength until success is achieved, the stomach indicative of bold and calm decisiveness, oversized testicles emblematic of financial luck and the sake jug shows virtue.
    Like many spirits, a Tanuki in human form has a tell. A tanuki in human form retains his large testicles. Good luck finding out whether anyone in your town is a tanuki in disguise this way. Tanuki are also fond of sake, soup and noodle dishes, and, as symbols of prosperity, kintama, ie, gold balls. (yes, that's why they have “big brass gold balls”).

    Tanuki Sphere
    Tanuki are spirits of illusion and prosperity, and their sphere follows suit, but is more angled towards personal transformation and disguise than creating large exterior illusions.
    Granted Ability: In addition to taking a human form, you may take the form of an unattended object of your size or smaller, a tea pot, for example, at will.
    1st Ventriloquism
    3rd Entice Gift (Draconomicon)
    5th Arcane Sight
    7th Polymorph (Self Only)
    9th Major Creation
    11th Analyze Dweomer
    13th Teleport Object
    15th Irresistible Dance (Requires you play your stomach or testicles as a drum)
    17th Shapechange
    19th Foresight

    Tanuki as Player Characters
    Tanuki adventurers have the following ability modifiers: -2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Cha, and a +2 racial bonus to Bluff and Perform.

    Nekomata
    Tiny Spirit

    Hit Die ½ d8
    Init +1
    Speed 30 ft.
    Armour Class 13 (+1 Dex, +2 size)
    Base Attack/Grapple +0/-5
    Attack Claws +1m (1)
    Full Attack Claws +1m (1)
    Space/Reach 1 ½ ft/0 ft.
    Special Attacks -
    Special Qualities Humanoid Form, Low Light Vision, Nekomata Sphere, Scent
    Saves Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +2
    Abilities Str 8, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10
    Skills Balance +1, Climb +1, Hide +3, Jump +1, Knowledge (any one) +4, Listen +1, Move Silently +6, Spot +1
    Feats Stealthy, Weapon Finesse
    Dishonorable
    CR ¼

    Nekomata are cats who have lived beyond 100 years, grown beyond 7 lbs in weight, or been allowed to keep a long tail. When it becomes a Nekomata, the tail splits into two at the halfway point, and the cat gains the ability to speak, take human form, and walk on it's hind legs in cat form. The nekomata can eat anything, and is particularly fond of poison. Dishonorable creatures, nekomata are known for haunting any dwelling in which they're kept, greatly vexing the nearest people. They may eat their mistress and take her place, and should not be allowed access to corpses, for fear they may reanimate the body.
    In human form, the nekomata is distinguished by a sly grin, tendency to toy with people like mice, and a physical feline characteristic, whether soft fur on part or all of their body, cat ears, tail, or whiskers, or even retractable claws. Powerful nekomata (10th level) have as their spirit form an anthropomorphic cat monster, and the ability to take either human or cat form at will.
    Not all nekomata are evil, dishonorable creatures, some nekomata are benevolent symbols of fortune known as maneki neko. Their stats are identical to regular nekomata, they just “use their powers for good.”

    Nekomata Sphere
    Nekomata are known as powerful magic spirits capable of great physical feats and raising the dead.
    Granted Ability: Nekomata can consume anything and suffer no ill effects from other wise toxic or diseased material. The physical material may cause problems, if normally indigestable, such as steel or a magic item, but poison, disease and alcohol have no effect.

    1st Sap Strength
    3rd Slow Consumption (BoVD)
    5th Animate Dead (The Nekomata jumps over the body to be animated, instead of using the usual material component)
    7th Fly
    9th Dreaming Puppet (Heroes of Horror)
    11th Consume Likeness (BoVD. Nekomata do not use the corruption component, and this is the only way they can copy an existing person. Instead of the usual focus, the Nekomata consumes the entire body while casting the spell in a 10 minute ritual)
    13th True Seeing
    15th Plague of Nightmares (BoVD, Nekomata takes half the damage of the corruption component, and any piece of the person will serve, even a lock of hair.)
    17th Create Greater Undead (Jiangshi and -gaki only)
    19th Utterdark (BoVD, Nekomata can always see through it's own Utterdark, regardless of alignment)

    Nekomata as Player Characters
    Nekomata adventurers have the following ability modifiers: -2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Int, and a +2 racial bonus to Knowledge (any one) and Move Silently.


    Last edited by Prak_Anima on Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:28 am; edited 8 times in total
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    Archmage
    Knight-Baron


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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Japanese mythology has a lot of animist influences--you don't just have the kami that supposedly inhabit every rock and tree on a standard basis, you have a bunch of spirits that take the forms of common objects or that are aforementioned common objects that spontaneously develop sentience after so many years of existence.

    Some of these spirit creatures have already been mentioned, but a more comprehensive list might be useful. The Obakemono Project is kind of a fun list of spirit entities and magical beasts that would fit well into such a campaign setting. Ought to help if you want to play Monster Hunter Spirit Detective X.
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    CatharzGodfoot
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    What's with the racial hit dice? Doesn't that kind of kill the idea of making them playable at 1st level?
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    Prak_Anima
    Invincible Overlord


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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Archmage wrote:
    Japanese mythology has a lot of animist influences--you don't just have the kami that supposedly inhabit every rock and tree on a standard basis, you have a bunch of spirits that take the forms of common objects or that are aforementioned common objects that spontaneously develop sentience after so many years of existence.

    Some of these spirit creatures have already been mentioned, but a more comprehensive list might be useful. The Obakemono Project is kind of a fun list of spirit entities and magical beasts that would fit well into such a campaign setting. Ought to help if you want to play Monster Hunter Spirit Detective X.


    The spirit template allows for obakemono, you just apply the template to tea kettles, umbrellas, whatever.

    Catharz, the racial hit die are because I just straight applied the spirit template to a riding dog for the tanuki, but since the abilities got downgraded, yeah, I should probably just drop the racial to the npc class hd and say "this tanuki is an expert" or whatever.

    The template gives racial hit die to inanimate objects, it's not going to change the hd of a creature, just make a mountain spirit have actual HD.

    so... if I go pan-asian world, russia can get added.. what about Czech stuff? looking at Frank's KFS thread, the only bug people that are around the right area are Czech
    other than Jorogumo, I guess.


    So, trying to keep from getting completely out of hand, I decided to define race roles, creating a set number of areas/things for the races to come from/be associated with:
    • City
    • Village
    • Mountain
    • Forest
    • Sky
    • River
    • Sea
    • Weather

    then figured on creating basically two sets of sentients per cultural milieus, player and savage.

    Here's what I'm looking at for the Japanese area:
      Player Races
    • Human
    • Kitsune
    • Tengu
    • Tanuki
    • Usagi (rabbit spirits tied to the moon)
    • Kappa
    • Ningyo (japanese merfolk)
    • Yukki-onna
      Savage Races
    • Nekomata
    • Inari (rice spirits that talk to animals)
    • Oni
    • Bakemono (japanese goblins)
    • Raijuu (large beasts composed of lightning or fire)
    • Jorogumo (spider women)
    • Linxia (prawn warriors employed by dragons)
    • Okami (wolf spirit associated with blizzards and ill weather, mechanically a barghest)

    Obviously not all of the savage races will be ECL 0, with stuff like Barghests, and "player races" is a bit of a misnomer, since there's really no problem with someone playing any of the savage races, really, they're just... not likely to be well received in town, I guess.


    Last edited by Prak_Anima on Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    CatharzGodfoot
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    PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    "Spirit Person" was meant to be distinct from spirit, which would include unplayable monsters. Once you say that spirit people all have spheres, you imply that they all start weak and can all become very powerful. Koi people can become dragons.

    While a powerful wolf that can take the form of a human would be unplayable at first level, that doesn't mean that a young wolf that has learned to become human can't be.

    If it were up to me, I'd use almost identical rules for all starting spirits, with the idea of making them playable foremost. Every spirit form can reasonably be small or medium sized. It's no surprise if a jorogumo's spider form is absurdly large (small sized): it's a magical being. Same deal for everything you can imagine. On the flip side, consider an Ainu bear person: she'll start out with a medium-sized spirit form, which just means that she's a juvenile bear rather than a full-grown one.

    Even if the townspeople hate jorogumo, that doesn't mean that they'll be able to identify and attack every spider lady that waltzes into town.

    Oni and most bakemono don't often have human forms, placing them as "spirits" rather than "spirit people". That makes them a natural for unplayable monster types, although even in this case you could allow Lum-type exceptions.
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