I've been promising a recap of Saturday's first session of Hunter X Hunter, The Role Playing Game, the new campaign being undertaken by myself and my group. This is the first campaign for this group that is not being run by me but rather it lies in the capable hands and smart-looking glasses of my friend Ray.
For those unfamiliar with Hunter X Hunter, it is a Japanese Manga and Anime series by Yoshihiro Togashi, better known in American Anime Fan circles as the creator, writer and artist of Yu Yu Hakusho, as well as being the husband of Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon.
The main story of Hunter X Hunter focuses on a young boy named Gon, who discovers that his father, Ging, whom he believed to be dead, is actually alive and is a world-renowned 'Hunter'. A Hunter in this setting is a specialized, licensed profession for those who track down fantastic things such as rare or unidentified animal species (including many that would be considered mythic monsters like dragons), buried treasure, lost or unexplored lands or even highly sought after criminals.
Gon, despite or perhaps because of his father's choice to pursue his own dreams of glory instead of remaining with his son and family, departs on a journey to become a Hunter himself. First, he must pass the rigorous Hunter Examination and then, after he too is a licensed Hunter, he will go and find his father.
Along the way, Gon meets a variety of other kinds of Hunters, makes friends, some enemies and also encounters the paranormal and mystical.
The setting is very...Japanese. An anachronism stew as only the Japanese provide so easily and readily without batting an eyelash. Those who are unfamiliar with Manga/Anime are often confused or taken aback by the nature of many series where the world is an odd mix of times, cultures, technology and genre trappings. In Japan, this is not unusual and for the most part, no one ever wonders why the crooked Samurai in Edo period Japan appears dressed in a track suit (Samurai Champloo) or why people on a 15th century pirate ship have a radio (One Piece). To a greater or lesser extent Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto, Pokemon and many more have worlds that look like RIFTS if it were trying hard not to be noticed. In addition to the anachronisms and strange mix of cultural dress, the physical world of Hunter X Hunter is a parallel of ours with similar locations, nations and ethnicities. In the Manga, some of the story takes place in 'York New City', a major city in the America-like region.
Now for the campaign, each of the players came up with a character who is heading out from the city of New DeCheigo* and travelling to far east Jappon* to take the Hunter Examination. The examination changes all the time but it is known to always be difficult and even deadly. Applicants for a Hunter License will even sabotage each other to score a shot at surviving and winning. Some Hunter wannabes will form teams to help each other succeed, as we have done...sort of.
Our PCs are...
Amari (Dave's Character) - Handsome, cool, with an air of arrogance on occasion. - He is a Treasure Hunter hunting the rarest and most fantastic treasures in the world.
Bal (pronounced Bahl or Bol as in Bollywood) (Lee's Character) - Often switching between mysterious guy and regular joe, this fellow appears to be a barber and has a set of old fashioned barber scissors, shaving blades and such. - He is an Information Hunter who claims to be hunting for 'The Truth'.
Stan, aka Stanley 'Smiley' McGee (My character) - The youngest, shortest and physically smallest, my guy hides the sorrows of a tough childhood of poor living and bullies under a jester's cap, a whoopie cushion and a bombastic personality. - He is an Information Hunter as well, out to hunt down the world's funniest jokes so he can spread laughter and joy.
As you can see, these three make for an odd bunch. Analyzing it after the fact, Dave's may be a little too basic, Lee's a little too esoteric and mine, well, it's hard to fit those into adventures with the other two but it'll be fun watching Ray try.
Anyway, we set out on a boat to Jappon with a bunch of tough looking, biker dudes and an even tougher looking, business man type fellow who we later learned was some kind of gangster or something. I am not positive of that but he was the employer or leader of the biker gang guys. He lost his lunch a few times when the seas got rocky and eventually he and his entourage abandoned ship as it seemed like the boat's captain was aiming at one perfect storm after another.
We rode out the terrible weather giving us ample time to learn Ray's homebrew system by making rolls to hold down our own meals and not get tossed off the deck and into the turbulent ocean.
Eventually we landed in Jappon and were told by the captain to head to this one shop in the port town to get passage to the site of the Hunter Examination. We hooked up with his contact at this old bicycle shop on a hill, who let us use his giant bird to get to a mountain overlooking the host city. Yep. Giant bird. He said it would take all three of us. When Lee asked, "Is it really a giant bird? How big is it?", Ray answered, "It's big enough. It'll fit three of you." Love it.
We eventually made our way down the mountain and found a log cabin. We saw lights on in side but as we approached we heard a woman scream and a gunshot (actually more like a shotgun blast).
As the big, handsome Treasure Hunter and mysterious Barber of a thousand, deadly shaving instruments prepared to leave, I, small, wiry comedian that I am, ran toward the cabin door, marbles in one hand and rubber chicken in the other. I kicked the door open with such force that even though the door opened outward toward me, it bounced open wide and I was able to rush in.
A tough older fellow with a shotgun was holding a woman and then tossed her aside onto a couch when I entered. He quickly wrapped a blanket or sheet around her wrist as a makeshift rope. I tried tripping him with the marbles but he didn't fall for it. As he tightened the impromptu restraint, I ran, leaped up and came down swinging my rubber chicken around his neck like a garrote. As my momentum and gravity brought me down to the floor, so did the gunman fall backward, dragged down by my innovative use of polymer poultry.
The other two attempted to assist, Dave's Amari missing twice and Lee's Bal getting nicked by shotgun fire as he attempted to crawl in a window.
While I didn't cause the fellow any real damage, he was of balance long enough for Amari to get up on him and notice something gleaming gold inside his jacket. Turned out he was a policeman and the young lady was resisting arrest. But there were holes in that story. Where was his police car? Surely we would have noticed it around this log cabin in the middle of nowhere. After a few other questions the man and the woman basically said, "OK, OK, they've been through enough. They pass."
The two were guides from the mountain to the examination site. First they give a little test to see if the Applicants they come across even stand a chance. You have to be smart, perceptive, think fast, act fast and move fast to past the Hunter Exam. They thought we had a chance of passing, so they told us exactly where to go and even drove us there in a truck they had hidden in a part of the cabin that turn out to be a workshop garage.
OK, more to come tomorrow...
*Jappon is the name of this world's fictitious, pseudo-Japan. New DeCheigo is the home city of Dave's character and mine. Lee's character got on the boat there but he is not from there. He gave me the impression of a wandering, martial-artist/pilgrim like Caine from Kung Fu. New DeCheigo is my own creation, a merging of Detroit, Chicago and a bit of San Diego.