Thursday, July 25, 2013

Namazu (race for Empire of the Flaming Moon) and glossary

Namazu: Catfish People
A rare Namazu Samurai equipped with construction tools.

1d6 HP
-1 CON out of salt water, +1 CON in
2 - 2000 XP
3 - 4000 XP
4 - 8000 XP (& etc)
In salt water, Namazu resemble man-sized catfish. On dry land, their hind end splits into legs and the rear fins thicken and function as feet. They run and walk slowly - at 3/4 the speed of a human - due to this clumsy arrangement. When asked about the change, they are generally gruff or embarrassed; either way, the question usually becomes too awkward to pursue to an answer. They swim at twice the speed of a human.
A number of times per day equal to half their level, Namazu may strike bare flesh with a stiff spine along either arm-fin or the one on their back with a stinging slap that on a successful hit inflicts 1d4 damage and paralyzes a creature failing its Save VS Poison for 1d6 rounds. Creatures of lower HD than the striking Namazu suffer the level difference in damage (on a failed save). If this would kill the creature, it dies after the paralysis. Paralyzed creatures may speak.
Note that the attack must pierce flesh; if this would be impossible even on a hit, the attack does nothing.
(A level 5 Namazu successfully strikes a 1HD Merchant; the Merchant suffers 1d4 damage, fails his save, suffers 4 more damage and is paralyzed for 1d6 rounds. The merchant only had 3HP, so will die when the paralysis wears off if not healed first).
Namazu must immerse their entire body in salt water once a day, gaining a -1 to all rolls per day otherwise.
A Namazu Shinto priest leading a dance to appease local kami.

A Namazu Sorcerer consorts with demons.

A little Namazu history:
Since ancient times, it is known that the earthquakes which occasionally trouble Nippon are caused by the struggles of a daikaiju namazu, or giant monster catfish, under the islands. It is restrained by the god Kashima, who wrestles the great namazu into submission and keeps it asleep with a giant pinning rock. When Kashima falls asleep, however, the great namazu struggles again.
While generally viewed as negative, earthquakes have historically acted as something of an economic equalizer for the islands.
When the populous man-sized Namazu first made contact with land-dwellers, they were treated primarily with suspicion and hatred, although they had their sympathizers. In more recent years, their position among land dwellers of Nippon has become complex. Due to a diplomatic trade agreement with the Emperor and Shogun, Namazu are officially favored. They keep rare minerals and other material from the sea flowing into the capital, and a contingent of Namazu are required to make residence there, raised as Samurai. The common folk of Nippon tend to view this as something of a betrayal, and now view Namazu with the suspicion nobles once did. In coastal areas, however, they often must work together.
Since adapting for land travel hundreds of years ago, traveling Namazu have taken up both Shinto and Buddhism, fighting styles of Chan or Nippon, and some even the dangerous sorcery of the Chan mainland. The Namazu in their cities in the sea are officially neutral in the proxy wars between Chan, Shou, the Empire, and the Forgotten. Those Namazu raised as Samurai due to the trade agreement serve for Nippon as any Samurai would.

Rescuing humans from the rubble of a disaster.

Namazu and construction workers partying in the Yoshiwara red-light district.

The Empire of the Flaming Moon - with its homeland on an island chain, this tiny nation has become a great force for trade and warfare. It's size has increased with conquered lands.

Nippon - the name for the chain of islands compromising the homeland of the Empire. The nation was called this before it became an Empire. Some who feel Empire was the wrong way to go still call it this. Referring to the physical islands as Nippon is commonplace, but referring to the nation as a political entity as such is a sign of rebellion.

Kashima - god of thunder and storms. Shinto believers see gods such as this as Kami who have grown very powerful, not as divine infallible beings.

Chan - a large but chaotic nation occupying the corner of a vast continent West of Nippon.

Shou - a nation to the North, with influences from both Chan and Nippon. Both claim it, while Shou claim independence.

The Proxy Wars - fought in the land between Chan and Shou. A constant war between those two nations, The Empire of the Flaming Moon, and The Forgotten. All involved have agreed to abide by the results of this war, all conscript warriors to fight it, and all maintain settlements to defend on its outskirts.

The Forgotten - an army of automatons who fight in The Proxy Wars. It is no longer common knowledge who they fight for, or where they came from.

I have realized the Birth Charts are probably the most important thing that will determine who your character is coming into your first game, and a really effective tool for conveying setting, so they will come next. It's hard to hold back stuff that affects far fewer characters but that I have more developed, but y'know, I'm trying to do this in some way that makes sense.

Here's a collections of great Namazu-E and some historical info from real Japanese art and myth in our world:

You'll be seeing more of them on this blog as I develop the setting.

1 comment:

  1. ADDITION: There are both freshwater and saltwater Namazu. They are one kingdom, but the player must choose which species the PC is at character creation.