Friday, September 6, 2013

Empire of the Flaming Moon: Character Creation (Revised)

(I realized I had got down a path I wasn't actually that interested in - pretty standard D&D play plus kimonos and katana. My initial intention with EotFM was far more "alt history with mythological touches" and not high fantasy, so before going farther, I'm making sure it's on the right track.)

All starting PCs are human.

FLAILSNAILS: magic items from other settings become mundane items of appropriate weight upon entry, or are left in interdimensional space while the PC is here - Player choice. Non-human PCs may choose at entry to appear human for the duration, but lose all racial abilities while here if so.

The average person will never see magic performed by a human except healing, and might glimpse mystical creatures only a few times in their lives. There are a few exceptions based on Buddhist and Shinto practices and spirits. The major exception is that Priests DO treat those badly injured helping their community or the exceptionally sick if their families petition the priest. Shinto and Buddhist healing magic is part of the culture and not considered an imposition of alien force into reality.

Hengeyokai are considered to be old folklore by the common people, but believed in and feared by Daimyo and Shogun of the old school. Native PCs may attempt to become Hengeyokai at death. To achieve this, they choose a native animal to attempt to possess, then roll percentile dice. If the roll is equal to or less than [CHA x (POW score or INT bonus, use higher)], they are successful and their spirit merges with the animal's mind. Other rules regarding Hengeyokai are here; if there are any discrepancies, this post you are reading now takes precedence.

Character Creation
1. Abilities and money.
Roll 3d6 in order seven times.

STR (melee attack and damage bonus)
DEX (ranged attack bonus. AC bonus)
CON (HP bonus)
INT (Languages known; interactions with written or remembered information)
WIS (Perception checks and the like)
CHA (interactions with others, the force of your personality)

You may switch one if you want. The last one x10 after any switching is starting currency, which is usually paper scripts representing an amount of rice. Currency may be copper coins minted by the Empire, depending. Foreign currency is subject to exchange rates.

Skill checks and saving throws are made by rolling under the appropriate ability score (usually with penalties). Contested rolls are won by rolling under your ability score but higher than the opponent.

Note bonuses to attacks and AC due to Ability Scores from here.

POWER: this ability score is determined by [(CON or CHA) + (INT or WIS) - 28]. It is the ability to manifest your will into a change in reality - IE magic. It has a few other uses that the Magic and Combat Styles entries will go in to.

2. HP
Roll 1d6. Yup. Add your CON bonus according to this chart.

3. Magic (beta test version)- if you have a positive POW score starting out, choose a first level spell from any book or a starting magical ability from an RPG class. I may tweak these. There are many more nuances to POW and magic in EotFM, but for now, this works. A player may decide to leave the effect open to last-minute improvisation, but agrees to acquiesce to GM interpretation of the desired effect. I'll be fair, it's not a _Wish_ spell. Note that Vancian Magic is not native to EotFM, and native characters cannot learn it on this soil.
What players with a positive POW score are doing is: Buddhism - tapping into the Universal Spirit along the Path to Knowledge and manifesting their will. Shinto - Communicating and bartering with Kami or Demons to achieve the desired effect. Shinto magic can be more powerful, but at a cost. There are more typical Magic-Users in the western style in the Dragon Kingdoms to the immediate west (think China).
As far as deities go, players are welcome to do as much or little research on Shinto and Buddhism as they want. There are many local beliefs and superstitions that permeate the setting, so having different PCs with different understandings of spirituality is fine. The basics that anyone from Nippon (the Japan of this setting) would know are: Shinto is the older native religion, and its followers believe every creature and object has a spirit, called a Kami, that the especially sensitive can communicate with and the powerful can manipulate.
Buddhists believe that all living things are part of a Universal Spirit, and that energy flows through all that can be manipulated by those in touch with oneness along the Path to Knowledge.

4. Classes? There are no classes per se. Their equivalent is the sum of your path through the origin tables and what you choose for Advancement.

5. Equipment. You may carry 1 item for every point of STR or CON (whichever is higher), plus a basic kimono. Small items (throwing stars, daggers, etc) count as 1/3 of an item, tiny objects (caltrops, nuts) give you 1 average use of the item per slot (1 throw of caltrops covering 5' well or 15' loosely is 1 item slot)

Social Class of Parents
roll 1d10
1 - Samurai Class - Nobles, elite warriors, the aristocracy
2-7 - Peasant Class - Farmers, fisherman, common laborers
8 - Artisans - craftspeople; boatwrights, swordmakers, clothing makers, makers of cooking utensils, etc
9 - Merchants - traveling traders and shop keepers are considered "parasites" and segregated.
10 - below class system

Family Fate During Childhood
1 - Master's house dissolved; your father became a Ronin; roll on Artisans' chart for Fate During Adolescence
2 - Parents Killed; Roll on Peasant chart for Adolescence
3 - Favored of the Daimyo; you may choose your result on the Fate During Adolescence chart
4 - Political Position; your father was elevated to Daimyo status and you will inherit his position
5 - Corrupt; your parents were involved with Yakuza
6 - Warrior; your parents made sure you were tough. Add 1 to HP OR attack rolls
7-8 - Heavy Training; Gain an Attack Form

1 - famine and heavy taxes; subtract 1 from CON
2 - famine and heavy taxes; subtract 1 from CON but also have Community below under "7-8"
3 - Corrupt; your family is involved with the Yakuza
4 - Agile: your talents were noticed by a Ninja clan, and you were taken from your parents and trained
5 - Parents Killed; roll on Below Class System chart for Adolescence
6 - Family uplifted; roll on Samurai chart for Adolescence
7-8 - Community: you always have safe haven and access to equipment on your family's farm and in your hometown; they will even hide you from Samurai, Daimyo, Yakuza, etc

1 - boatwright; you have access to boats your family couldn't sell or a new boat at material cost
2 - swordsmith; you have access to weapons at material cost if you travel to your family's shop
3 - textiles/clothier; you have access to clothing of any profession of station if you travel to your family's shop, but they may not approve
4 - potter; the rhythms, rituals, and aesthetics of wabi-sabi have given you an understanding - gain +1 POW and have access to pottery (either rejects for free or new at cost)
5 - architect; your parents helped plan and construct houses and other structures, and you have an understanding of them
6 - performer; your parent(s) were either travelling performers or Noh actors and you have a bonus of 1 to any checks involving acting, subterfuge, or performance
7 - painter/printer; you have an understanding of art, color, how to harvest ink and brushes from nature, small-scale woodworking, and can talk aesthetics as if raised in the Samurai class
8 - abandoned; roll on the Below Class System chart for Adolescence
9 - Sword School assistant; gain an attack form and have access to a noted swordsman
10 - Raised by Strange Foreigners; gain +1 to POW but magic performed will be considered an illegal act; know a few sleight-of-hand tricks

1 - failed business; roll on the Below Class System chart for Adolescence
2 - Successful business; double normal starting cash
3 - corrupt; family involved with Yakuza
4 - uplifted; your parents did something that impressed a Samurai and were taken on to run an estate; roll on Samurai table for Adolescence
5 - sold; raised as Ninja
6 - became farmers; roll on Peasant's chart for Adolescence
7 - trader; roll 1d4 on Artisans Childhood chart above
8 - Wildly Successful or Terrible Fate; choose another table to roll on

Below Class System - on all results, halve starting cash
1 - half starting cash again
2 - wanted by authorities
3 - butcher, undertaker, or tanner; access to meat, undertaker's business, or hides as appropriate
4 - descendant of slaves; bears a distinctive tattoo or mark
5 - hustler; +1 to CHA
6 - shop's assistant; roll on Merchant table for adolescence
7 - artists' assistant; roll on Artisan table for adolescence
8 - raised by Yakuza
9 - stole Attack Form; gain an attack form, but a (1-3) Samurai or (4) Ninja Clan wants you dead
10 - Geisha; you know the ways of the upper classes but are not of them

Family Fate During Adolescence
Samurai - NOTE: all results except "Ronin" mean you are sworn to serve your Daimyo and tied to his or her house and fate. Your movements are restricted, and your actions must be weighed, lest you decrease your Daimyo's honor and besmirch his name.
1 - Master's house dissolved; you have become a Ronin and surrounding Daimyos chose not to take you in. Everyone who knows you expects you to petition Daimyo to allow you to Seppeku in their palaces so you might die with some honor. You have no Honor points to start.
2 - Executioner in training; you crit on a 19 or 20. This may be chosen as an Advancement by Samurai characters who spend time training for it. Gain 1 Infamy.
3 - Favored of the Daimyo; you may choose any starting equipment you can carry and may petition your Daimyo for conveyances and other favors; you may go on missions you choose if you convince the Daimyo they are somehow in her/his favor. Gain 1 Honor.
4 - Political Position; you have risen in the Daimyo's house and are in charge of a certain city or trade route. Gain 2 Honor to start.
5 - Corrupt; you are involved with Yakuza and it's only a matter of time before someone figures out who's letting all that gambling occur in District 3. Gain 1 Infamy.
6 - Warrior; You have proved yourself a mighty warrior. add 1 to STR or WIS and gain 1 Honor or Infamy
7-8 - Noted: Gain 2 Honor or Infamy, or one of each.

All social classes below Samurai are forbidden from openly carrying weapons in civilized areas.

1 - Tax Revolt! The Samurai that put down your area's tax revolt were especially cruel. You have no family farm or safe haven.
2 - Tax Revolutionary! You have no family farm, but are a member of a secret mountain camp that works to undermine the Daimyo and Shogun and free the people. Some view you as bandits, some as saviors. Gain 1 Defense Form (NOT an attack form).
3 - Yakuza thug; you owe money or are otherwise under the thumb of a low-level Yakuza boss. You're known as a thug and people fear you or come to you for contacts. Gain 1 Infamy.
4 - Genin; you are a low-level Ninja, beholden to your Clan. Genin is the rank that carries out actual missions in the field. Gain access to Ninja Weapons as starting equipment and roll on the Ninja chart below.
5 - Herbal training; gain a bonus of 2 to revive unconscious people and roll under WIS at appropriate penalties to identify poisons or make antidotes.
6 - Animal Friend; you have an animal friend who is loyal to you.
7-8 - Community: you always have safe haven and access to equipment on your family's farm and in your hometown; they will even hide you from Samurai, Daimyo, Yakuza, etc; if you already have this and want to, you may reroll. Otherwise, gain 1 Honor.

Artisans and Merchants
1 - Genin; you are a low-level Ninja, beholden to your Clan. Genin is the rank that carries out actual missions in the field. Gain access to Ninja Weapons as starting equipment and roll on the Ninja chart below. The fact that you are a Ninja is a sectret from even your closest family.
2 - Expert Smith; with facilities and enough money, you can make Master weapons in downtime. Master weapons observed in use will cause Samurai and Ninja to seek them.
3 - Armorer; you may craft armor or improvise it from what you find with a roll under INT and a plausible or entertaining description
4 - Haunted; a ghost inhabits an item you carry from your parent's shop. It sees into the physical and spirit worlds, and may have other powers. It is not necessarily a fan of you, though.
5 - Noted Craftsman; your family is known for their works, and people curry favor with you. Gain 1 CHA or Honor.
6 - performer; you are a travelling performer or Noh actor and you have a bonus of 1 to any checks involving acting, subterfuge, or performance. If you got this for Childhood you may reroll; otherwise gain 1 CHA or INT.
7 - Yakuza Thug: see #3 under Peasants
8 - Sword School student; gain 1 Attack or Defense form. A noted swordsman's pupil. Gain 1 Honor.

Below Class System - on all results, halve starting cash
1 - half starting cash again
2 - wanted by authorities
3 - Weird mentor; a strange old man sometimes appears and impart his wisdom to you, usually with a whack on the skull. Gain 1 WIS or 1 POW.
4 - Yakuza Thug; double starting cash but you've got responsibilities.
5 - Genin; see 1 under Artisans and Merchants.
6 - Good Deed; you have 1 Honor in your town of origin (only).

Samurai on horseback, wearing armor and horned helmet, carrying bow and arrows

Spend a point to automatically succeed on a CHA roll or decide an NPC's reaction roll result.
Spend a point to add 1 to any roll you make or subtract 1 from the roll of an enemy that can currently see your face.

After surviving a game (at least 2.5 hours of actual play time), a PC gains one of the below:
*+1d6 HP
*Accuracy: +1 to hit (choose Melee or Ranged, only counts for that)
*Savagery: +1 to damage (choose Melee or Ranged, only counts for that)
*Master of Secrets: +1 to POWer.
*Training: pick two skills from this list. Get +1 to checks involving those skills and any relevant extra effects. You can double up on the same skill if you want to get +2, but the extra effects (if any) are not doubled if you are choosing it twice at the same time. (by "plus" I mean "roll improved; in many situations this will actually mean the roll is lowered)
*An Attack or Defense Form, if the PC has spent time training and practicing. (Attack and Defense Forms will be detailed soon)
*+1 to an ability score the PC rolled this session, to a max of 18.

Yamato Takeru dressed as a maidservant, preparing to kill the Kumaso leaders. Woodblock print on paper. Yoshitoshi, 1886.

To Do:
1. Ninja chart (for people who have results making them Ninja on the charts above to roll on at character creation. Gotta have some Ninja runaway PCs with whole Clans after them!)
2. Equipment Details
3. POW details (especially Ninja tricks)
4. Attack and Defense Forms.

I've been working at this so long that it's hard to see it right; I need other eyes on it, so here ya go!
Goal: to get everything done and play a test session by September 15th.

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