The Drops of God is a manga by the writing duo of Tadashi Agi and artist Shu Okimoto (yes, writing duo under one name; the Japanese are weird). Like many manga, it's the story of a plucky young man with an amazing talent who battles rivals and gets stronger on his way to becoming world champion -- only, in this case, it's about wine-tasting. Seriously.
It is awesome.
I am learning so much about wine by reading this series. Robin expressed our admiration for it much better than I could over on Vitis Poema but I thought I'd give a try here -- by statting up some elements for Savage Worlds.
|Read left to right - first he starts drinking and then BAM! Freddie Mercury!|
Whether they are shonen (boy's manga) or seinen (men's manga) heroes, the defining attribute of Japanese heroes is their tireless spirit. Wine tasting in The Drops of God is a transformative, transporting experience; the characters literally have visions while drinking great wines (like seeing Queen in concert or reliving a childhood memory). It is therefore appropriate that wine-tasting be a Spirit-based roll or skill. Contradictorily, our hero's main rival is a cold-blooded intellectual. Such a character could not possibly have a high Spirit rating, so how to resolve the contradiction?
- Cooperative Skills (Setting Rule)
Sometimes a character's expertise in one area gives her an edge in another. It might be an understanding of Knowledge (Electronics) that gives a high-tech thief an insight in Lockpicking or a hard-boiled P.I.'s skill at Intimidation that lends him a hand at Streetwise, but sometimes a single character may combine skill rolls just like a group Cooperative Roll (Savage Worlds Deluxe, p. 63). For every success and raise on the "helper" skill, the character may add +1 (up to +4) to the "main" roll.
- Ex. Batman hits the streets to find out where the Joker is hiding. The GM and player don't want to run a series of interrogations, so the GM allows the player to roll Intimidation and add the successes to a Streetwise roll. Batman rolls his Intimidation of d12+2 and scores 3 successes. He adds +3 to his Streetwise roll of d12+2 and gets an 8 (even Batman rolls low sometimes). The GM rules the raise means Batman tracks the Joker down in next to no time after brutally scaring the crap out of a bunch of thugs, and one scene later he comes crashing through the Joker's skylight.
Wines are complex, fickle things. French wines are infamous for needing to "breathe" -- to oxidize upon exposure to air -- before their true richness is revealed while Italian wines are good from the first pour but lack the nuances of French wines.
Wines are ranked on a scale of 0 to +4 with the number indicating the bonus added to the wine tasting roll. Random wine rankings may be determined by the following rolls (note that only French and Italian wines have been discussed in the volumes I have read so far; I'm sure Texas wines would be off the scale entirely ;) ):
- French - 1d8 - 1-2 = 0, 3-4 = +1, 5-6 = +2, 7-8 = +3. (French wines add +1 to their score after breathing for one hour or being decanted.)
- Italian - 1d6 - 1-2=+1, 3-4=+2, 5-6=+3; if the result is 6, roll again, and if the result is 6 again the score is +4. (Italian wines receive no decanting bonus.)
|Awesome decanting action!|
French wines (and presumably some others) can be improved by aerating or decanting the wine -- pouring it into another container thus allowing it to mix with the air and "breathe." Decanting is an Agility roll; success adds the +1 bonus for "breathing" without having to wait an hour.
- Master Decanter (Weird Edge)
You have an uncanny knack for decanting. You add +2 to all decanting attempts.
- Trained Palate (Professional Edge)
Your character has made a study of the art of wine-tasting (or had it forced upon him). You know what flint, leather, and black currant taste like from bitter experience. You add +2 to wine-tasting rolls.
- God-Like Palate (Professional Edge)
Life experience has refined your senses far beyond the normal man. You add +4 to wine-tasting rolls (including the +2 from Trained Palate).
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Gambling d4, Intimidation d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Wine Connoisseur) d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d8, Streetwise d4, Taunt d6.
Charisma: +4 Pace: 6 Parry: 2 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Enemy (Minor - Issei Tomine), Heroic, Poverty
Edges: Charismatic, Decanting Expert, Trained Palate
Background: Estranged son of wine expert Tanaka Kanzaki, Shizuku has worked for several years at a beer company to escape his father's influence. When his father dies, Shizuka finds himself in competition with wine critic Issei Tomine to claim his father's legacy!
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Gambling d4, Intimidation d4, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Wine Connoisseur) d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d4.
Charisma: +2 Pace: 6 Parry: 2 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: All Thumbs, Poverty
Edges: Attractive, Connections
Background: Miyabi is a a sommelier (wine steward) in training who gets swept up in Shizuka's crazy life when he saves her from getting fired. While far more knowledgeable about wine than Shizuka, she lacks his natural talent for tasting.
|Issei Tomine (the guy in the glasses, not the naked chick)|
Rank: Seasoned (20 points)
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Gambling d4, Intimidation d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Wine Connoisseur) d10, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6.
Charisma: 0 Pace: 6 Parry: 2 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Arrogant, Bad Eyes (Minor), Mean
Edges: Attractive, Connections, Rich, Trained Palate
Background: Issei Tomine is a rising star wine critic and infamous for his harshness. Because of his talent, Tanaka Kanzaki chose him as his heir -- but only if he can defeat Shizuka and claim the "Drops of God!"
(Tomine's advances were Spirit +1, Knowledge (Wine Connoisseur) +1, Connections, and Trained Palate.)
Find out more about The Drops of God and read a preview at Comics Alliance!
It was also a live-action show!