Tale of the Five Warriors 五人の戦士の物語 (Gori no senshi no monogatari)
The date is year 2 of the Eiroku period (1560 AC). Japan is a land torn by civil war between the warring clans lead by the fierce and cunning daimyos, who struggle to gain as much influence and territory as possible to attain the status of Shogun, to have the whole country under their command. But this is not simply an age of incredible human feats of strength and will and wits, it is also a time of fantastic stories of monsters and Heroes, of a sage that knew all answers, of a palace under the sea, where the king of the ocean rules supreme, of the bird-like tengu, terrible spirits who cast misery upon the land, of the Oni, ogres of insurmountable strength and appetite for human flesh. You are one of a handful of elite retainers at the orders of Oda Nobunaga. The circumstances that led you all to where you are today are as diverse as the colours of the trees in autumn; perhaps your family was always from this lands, and it was fitting for a young warrior to pledge himself to his Lord. Or perhaps you are a wandering monk, who saw in the daimyo a great destiny. It may be that you are a gaijin, a foreigner who arrived in a ship from distant lands, perhaps China or Korea, or even farther away. You might have your own reasons to stick with Nobunaga, be it spying for another clan or nation, or simple devotion, or you might have been commanded by higher beings. Perhaps you are retainer of the court of the lakes, and were sent here by the Dragon King as a favour. Be it that your are an adept of the sword, a prodigy of the bow, or a priest commanding the power of the spirit realm, you have been chosen by Nobunaga to form this band of elite warriors, his chosen five. You've ridden to battle, or taken care of special missions many time and today was no different. You were sent to assault the enemy, the army of Imagawa Yoshimoto, a rival daimyo, who were preparing to assault the hastily fortified Zenshō-ji (Ji standing for temple). However as you were sneaking through the forest, and about to attack, a huge deafening explosion reaches your ears. As you raise your head you see the temple trashing in fire and a huge cloud of smoke rising from it. Between the leaves of the trees you can see the would be attackers are as startled as you.
In a heartbeat you rush back. The images of the autumn foliage speeding past as you navigate through the forest. Desolation welcomes you as you approach the temple. Soldiers, both samurai and ashigaru are dispersing in every direction, prey of fear and chaos. With a sickening crunch, the stone temple collapses, producing another cloud of dust and smoke. Oda Nobunaga is nowhere to be seen, nor are his personal guards. To make matters worst, Imagawa sent his troops like vultures to a carcass, and you had to flee the scene into the outskirts of the neighboring city of Kiyosu, where the main stronghold of the Oda clan loomed protectively over the land. There, you started to gather your wits, and collect the many questions that crawled into your brain like spiders in spring. You look at each other with the same question painted in your dirty faces: “What should we do now?”
Very well, there we have our intro. I have been rumiating this idea for over a year now, and finally decided that I have enough free time (or that I dont care how busy I am) to make it a reality.
Bear with me while I explain:
The setting is basically Sengoku period in Japan, so roughly between 1400-1600. Most of what a person knows about “old” japan is from this period, so samurai, shinobi, you name it, its probably from this period. It is also a very interesting period for a game too because of all the conflict. Also, the setting incorporates mystical and mythological elements into the “normal” history, so monsters and spirits, and whatever else you can think of. You dont need to be versed in japanese fairy tales to make a magical character, just some wikipedia-do, or asking me for guidance would be more than enough if you want something historically relevant, which is not even a requisite, standard “priest” or wizard type of character are perfectly fine.
This is meant to be a sort of sandbox game where players decide what they want to do with their lives. There would be a general “objective” or leading quest, if you will, which is pretty evident from the intro, and would be present in some way or the other throughout the first chapter of the game, but exactly where you go, what you do, that would be up to the players to decide.
You dont need an extensive knowledge of Japan to know your way around, or to know relevant information of what to do; think dungeons and dragons and you are set!
As you probably read in the intro, the character can be of any origin, japanese or foreigner, human or from the spirit realm, your choice. You could even play a tengu or other monstrous race if you manage to put up a convincive background for it. Still, it would be very rare to see one, so a full Oni squad is probably not good. I think that it goes without saying that samurai and ninjas are great picks =P Regarding backgrounds, while some of you might have wanted to see Nobunaga dead, and others were his number 1 fan, try to have character objectives and complications that are not too strict. Say, if you pick “My PC wants to spy on Nobunaga to report back to the Mori clan” thats fine because now that he has disappeared, you still have motivation to search for him to report back,, but if you say “My PC wants Nobunaga dead” then your PC might think, “Oh, well it seems Im done here”.
I was thinking of incorporating a money system, as I wanted to make the first chapter a sort of survival challenge, but I’m still deciding on that.
Other things are floating in my head, so feel free to ask, and we will get questions answered and hopefully have a good game.
I have posted this same recruitment in Ronin to gather interest and see who would like to apply.
Inspiration: For those geek enough, you might smell something familiar in the setting. If you ever played the Gekokujo mod in Mount and Blade Warband, you can probably see the resemblance. The game basically placed you with a stick (or a knife, your choice) in the middle of sengoku era Japan, and you objective is just do whatever you want. I hope to give the players the same freedom, but at the same time create an interesting main plot and subquests.
Submissions so far:
Dai Jin, the Everlasting Warrior, by Doc Malsyn
Soyokaze, the hengeyokai of the wind, by Fynnarrel
Hama, the Water dragon child, by Nunya B
Hiruma Hanta Akihito, Yumi no senshi, by MacynSnow
Kuroi Kiri, yokai of darkness, by McGuffin
Yahata, the God of War in larval form, by Bill from Accounting
Qi, ninja shadow manipulator, by Loki