Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thunder, From A Clear Blue Sky

我々 が探していたゲーム
At the end of summer,
the game we were looking for,
found us.
The Barking Alien gaming group's next campaign (attempt) will be...
Outside of our very successful Traveller campaign, other campaign attempts with my current group have generally fallen a tad short of awesome. When I say a tad, I am actually referring to something roughly the size of the Marianas Trench.
One thing I have been hankering to do for a while is a Fantasy game, although since I dislike traditional Western Fantasy so much, I kept trying to introduce some variant that got back to what I do like, the origin sources of Fantasy, namely European folklore and myth.
Unfortunately, the ideas I had for this approach, such Pendragon and Ars Magica, were sort of dependent on everyone at least having a general familiarity with the folklore and fairy tales the material was based on. This was sadly not going to happen. In addition, players in my group seemed instinctively against playing to the setting for some reason (especially in Pendragon).
While pondering this campaign conundrum yet again, I went about asking some friends and acquaintances what non-D&D/Pathfinder games they'd run across that they could recommend. Most suggested 13th Age, Dragon Age, The One Ring, and of course Ars Magica and Pendragon, which I had already ruled out trying again so soon.
One fellow suggested Chivalry & Sorcery, and while I knew that wasn't my thing, I did a search on it, and came across Land of the Rising Sun, the Lee Gold variant of C&S set in Fantasy Feudal Japan that I had actually played a bit as a kid. I liked it enough, but not as much as...
My players love Japanese culture (actually, two of them are half-Japanese by coincidence), history, Anime/Manga, and mythology. I am a huge fan of Japanese folklore and ghost stories, not to mention being a Kurosawa film buff. A Japanese Medieval Fantasy game? Perfect fit!
 Samurai illustrations for Osprey Books
by the incomparable Angus McBride
Now, no well planned engagement survives contact with the enemy, and I've come to learn no great campaign idea survives contact with my players (sigh), but this is definitely more promising than not.
I have high hopes. Wish us luck, and I will keep you posted.
Since I'm on the subject...
Bushido: Games I Like By Age of Ravens
Retrospective: Bushido By Grognardia
Asao Iwakuro, Shugenja By Dyson's Dodecahedron
Arigato Gozaimasu,
Barking Alien


  1. I will be very curious to see how this goes. It has been some time since I played this (high school IIRC). I do love the wonderful and weird options the game offers. I think my major problem with the FGU games is the presentation of the information rather than the rules themselves being overly complex. The order and page design often made the games more obscure than they needed to be.

  2. Very true Lowell.

    I am hoping my past familiarity with the game (albeit that was almost 25 years ago), and my overall experience with FGU games (Villains & Vigilantes, Space Opera, Starships & Spaceman, Psi World) will give me an advantage in trying to decipher Bushido's arcane rules.

    I also tend to trim and tweak a lot and I at one time had a couple of pages of houserules and notes that simplified things where they got a bit hairy.

  3. I will also be interested to see how this comes out.

  4. You're wondering about my d20 post and you go and decide to run an FGU game? Are we going to have to check your building for pods? I thought you would lean more towards L5R for this kind of thing but alright ... it should be interesting at least.

    My personal experience with FGU started with Space Opera which was probably the first time I ever read through a game and said "why would I ever run this instead of Traveller (or Star Frontiers or Star Trek or Star Hero)"? I do admit to still owning a copy of Aftermath which was probably the pinnacle of their particular brand of complexity and poor presentation.

    We'd better get a whole bunch of posts out of this sir.

  5. I was a big fan of both Villains & Vigilantes and Space Opera back in the day, though for the life of me I can't figure out how we played the latter.

    I ran a killer game of Bushido in 88 or 89 (if I've not mistaken), and with few other things sticking with my group besides Traveller, I thought why the hell not give it a go.

    Oh you'll get posts all right. Hopefully their about how awesome the game goes and not how I'm tearing my hair out. LOL