We put on our masks
In the hope we might frighten
What dwells in shadows
-A Yokai Hunters Society Haiku
Continuing with my ideas for using the Japanese TRPG system Dice Fiction (or my take on it at least) to run a version of Yokai Hunters Society, I am leaning heavily towards the idea of building templates.
One aspect I really liked from the original Yokai Hunters Society game (YHS going for forward) is the concept that each member of the organization wears a Mask to hide their identity and frighten their foes both mortal and supernatural. I just wish they had gone even further with it. I mean, picture a secret group within Japanese society made up of nobles and beggars, the clergy and the unclean, all equal while performing their clandestine duties as their true identities are unknown to even their closest allies. But for how long?
Then their is the choice of motif - Big and powerful Oni, sly and clever Fox (Kitsune), social yet secretive Cat (Neko), or perhaps you identify more with ghosts and monstrous beasts! This got me thinking that the players would choose a Template patterned after the Mask they wear. Each Template has a greater emphasis on one particular Attribute and Skill column or would see more unique Techniques (Special Abilities) to reflect their Mask type.
Mechanically all Fox Hunters - YHS members with a Fox Mask - are geared towards Awareness, Illusion, and other trickery. Visually, all Fox Masks are foxes but they needn't look identical. Again, each is unique just like each Fox themed Hunter is unique as they pick their individual character's Strong Skills, Weapon of choice, etc.
Right now I have about five Attribute/Skill Templates completed: Cat, Fox, Ghost, Oni, and Tengu. I feel some may need further tweaking. Here are three examples:
The Fox is wise and clever, as well as very sneaky. They possess both Disguise and Stealth for any sort of covert mission, not to mention the ability to create Illusions. The Fox walks the fine line between high and low society, well versed in Romance and The Arts but not afraid to walk the back alleys and dark streets.
The Oni is your powerhouse bruiser - Strong, tough, able to take a beating and dish one out. At the same time, they are among the most compassionate and personable, befriending old people and children. The Oni will decimate dangerous Yokai but never forgets the people they protect by doing so.
The Tengu is a being of Air and Earth just like their namesake. They strike like bolts of lightning, often from above or starting out at a distance from their opponents. They have keen Insight into the thoughts of others and the wisdom and strategic skill to know what to do about them. They can be their own worst enemy, getting involved in things like Gambling and Politics but they can also be a powerful ally.
The Techniques, as I envision them, are like Assignment Skills that can do things beyond normal levels of Human skill. Are they actually magic? I think I want that to remain unclear, even within the setting itself. They are a mixture of Feats, Special Abilities, and perhaps just a bit of legendary Power.
What does everyone think? I am really liking how this is coming along and although my primary focus for March will he my new Mecha RPG MSV - Mecha System Variant, I will definitely be continuing with this little project as I am enjoying where this is going.
Join me won't you?
*The title of this post refers to a Japanese superstition that whistling at night or near a graveyard would bring forth ghosts. It is believed to originate with thieves, who would whistle to alert or signal each other during night time burglaries. Eventually the act was simply deemed evil, prone to bringing bad luck and ill intent.