Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pre-Modern Japanese VENUS Packages





Genji: Days of the Blade
from left to right: sohei, samurai, miko (sort-of), and kami-possessed samurai


Heian Ghost Story Packages

These are some V.E.N.U.S. (Venturers, Experimenters, Navigators, and the Unusually Skilled) packages for supernatural investigator characters in a Heian Japan setting, as discussed in previous blog entries.

Bonze/Monk
Note that this is for a Japanese-style scholar-monk, not a Chinese-style martial arts monk.
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Faith & Knowledge (Occult)
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Minor; obey your abbot]
  • Bonus Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), Exorcist (see Savage Worlds Horror Companion)
  • Bonus Gear: Buddhist rosary


Onmyōji

  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Knowledge (Occult) & Spellcasting
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Minor; serve the Ministry of Onmyōdo or some minor spiritual taboo]
  • Bonus Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power (bind entity; see Savage Worlds Horror Companion), New Power (summon spirit; see Savage Worlds Horror Companion
  • Bonus Gear: shikiban (divination board; adds +1 to Occult Knowledge rolls) and other occult tools 

Miko


Prior to the Meiji era, miko were not so much “shrine maidens” as “female shamans” – speaking for the spirits, inviting both kami and ghosts to possess them and speak through them (practices called kamigakari and tokusen). While they usually dwelled at specific shrines, the upheaval of the Kamakura period and the ascension of the samurai turned many miko into mendicant soothsayers. This framework is meant to emulate that earlier form of miko, not the part-time shrine tenders of modern Japan.


  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Shooting, +2 dice Faith & Knowledge (Occult)
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Major; serve the kami] and either Code of Honor (if a shrine miko) or Outsider & Wanted [Minor] (if a wandering miko)
  • Bonus Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), New Power (consecrate ground or grave speak; see Savage Worlds Horror Companion), New Power (summon spirit; see Savage Worlds Horror Companion)
  • Bonus Gear: azusayumi (sacred catalpa-wood bow), red hakama and white haori (traditional miko costume), tamagushi (sacred decorated tree branch or wand), various ritual objects 
Shugenja/Yamabushi
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Fighting, Knowledge (Occult), and Survival, +4 dice Faith
  • Bonus Hindrances: Code of Honor [Major], Vow [Major; obey your master and the teachings of your order], Outsider [Minor]
  • Bonus Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), Exorcist (see Savage Worlds Horror Companion)
  • Bonus Gear: Buddhist rosary, climbing gear, oi and kata-bako (portable shrine), shakujō (sacred staff), shiba-uchi (sacred short sword), tokin (drinking cup/hat), yui-gesa (pompom-adorned vestment harness) 
 
Chanbara Packages


And here are some V.E.N.U.S. (Venturers, Experimenters, Navigators, and the Unusually Skilled) packages for a more typical samurai sword-fighting setting (or a really over the top one). Of course, there's no reason you can't mix and match both sets of packages for a samurai & supernatural setting in the vein of InuYasha.



 
Ninja/Shinobi
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Climbing, Fighting, & Lockpicking; +3 dice Stealth
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Major; serve your clan or the lord that commands you]; Enemy or Wanted [Minor; your clan has a rival ninja clan or ninja are technically outlawed in your area], Outsider [Minor; those who know you are a ninja treat you as hinin, the lowest of castes]
  • Bonus Edges: Assassin, Thief
  • Bonus Gear: grappling hook & line, 5 kunai or shuriken (as throwing knife/dagger), ninja-to (as short sword) 
Ronin
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Shooting, +3 dice Fighting & Riding
  • Bonus Hindrances: two of Enemy [Minor], Outsider [Minor], and Wanted [Minor; likely to be accused of crimes by local daimyo and samurai]
  • Bonus Edges: 1st Edge in a School Style
  • Bonus Gear: katana, tanto (as dagger), wakizashi (as short sword); female samurai often carry a naginata (as halberd). 
Samurai
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Shooting, +3 dice Fighting & Riding
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Major; serve your clan or the lord that commands you]
  • Bonus Edges: Knight (see Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion), 1st Edge in a School Style
  • Bonus Gear: daikyu and 20 arrows (as long bow, but can be used from horseback), katana, lamellar armor (as chain hauberk with enclosed steel helmet), riding horse (Tokugawa period) or war horse (Heian through Azuchi-Momoyama periods), tanto (as dagger), wakizashi (as short sword); female samurai often carry a naginata (as halberd). NOTE: The gear listed here replaces that offered by the Knight Edge.
Ronin & Samurai School Style Edge Trees
Ronin and samurai dedicated to a particular school of combat need not meet Rank requirements when purchasing an Edge; all other requirements for the Edge must be met. Heroes lose this benefit if they purchase any other Combat Edges before finishing training in their school's style.  
  • Battōjutsu/Iajutsu (fast-strike schools): Quick Draw > First Strike > Improved First Strike
  • Ittō-ryū (one-sword schools): No Mercy (or Mighty Blow in settings with the Blood & Guts Setting Rule) > Sunder > Improved Sunder (see Fantasy Companion)
  • Niten Ichi-ryū (two-sword schools): Florentine > Counterattack > Improved Counterattack
  • Yabusame (mounted archery): Steady Hands > Double Shot > Improved Double Shot (see Fantasy Companion)
NOTE:  I deliberately didn't give Niten Ichi-ryū the Ambidextrous and Two-Fisted Edges because the second sword isn't used to attack very often; it's usually used as something more like a shield, save that it's more for disrupting attacks rather than actual parrying.  
 
Sohei
The soldier-monks of Japan are not necessarily sacred warriors; many are mercenaries and runaway farmers. While they’re all indoctrinated into the sect they serve, few pursue a path of mystical enlightenment.
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Faith & Knowledge (Occult), +2 dice Fighting & Shooting
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Minor; obey your abbot]
  • Bonus Edges: Improvisational Fighter 
  • Bonus Gear: daikyu and 20 arrows (as long bow, but can be used from horseback), lamellar armor cuirass (as chain hauberk), naginata or kanabō (as halberd or maul), tanto (as dagger), wakizashi (as short sword), white headcloth
NOTE: Yes, they get Faith but not AB (Miracles). All sohei know their prayers, but not all of them get the benefits of it.


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