Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chi No Tsubasa

One may wonder, does Usagi always stubmle across someone in need of help and then provide his assitance?

The answer? No. Sometimes he's wandering along and hears a blood curlinging scream and goes to investigate as is the case with Blood Wings.

One of the interesting things about Stan is that he doesn't feel confined to making all of his animal creatures exactly the same. When you look at Gen, a rhino, and you look at Usagi, a rabbit, they shouldn't be anywhere near the same class. But for the most part, almost all of the animals don't have abilities based on the type of animal they are.

And then there are those animals that do have special abilities based on the animal they are such as the Komori or Bat Clan ninja. The other notable exception is the mole ninja that Usagi dealt with back in his home town. By ignoring some of his own rules, Stan is able to stretch the types of stories he can tell.

After all, while a great deal of the material in Usagi is researched, he's already shown himself well past a historical piece with animals for Samurai with the mystical elements. The pushing of the envelope with creatures having innate abilities isn't that far of a stretch.

One of the themes that pops up here, and may have in the past though, is gold as a prime mover of events. Anyone remember the old anime Ninja Scroll? The first movie? Where the set up was after gold? Same thing here. While the gold mine is safe from attack, the gold shipment? Not so much.

One element might be for Usagi to go warn the gold shipment but Stan goes another route. The ronin rabbit is captured but makes a quick escape and rallies the village against the bats. The part I find different, is that while Usagi saves the village and while he manages to avoid being slain and avenges the deaths of the villagers, the gold shipment? The important one that sets up other aspects like the bat ninja's test in the first place? He doesn't even get involved with it and the best, from this story, that Usagi can hope for, is that the komori will not be able to raid further shipments because now the authorities will now what to look for.

In his capture, Usagi could easily have been killed. One of the bits of advice from the newer DMG books is that if you don't have to kill the players and want the story to keep moving on, the player can still fail at that action, but they now suffer a setback. Something 'interesting' happens to keep the game moving. If the players aren't hard core and have a whole "to the death" thing going on, try running with that a few times and see where it leads.

The good news here, is that Stan provides the reader several reasons why the Komori Ninja do not outright slay Usagi. Because of the secretive nature of their own mission, it is vital they know what Usagi knows prior to doing anything with him. Having an unknown like Usagi in the game, as most player characters are, gives them a little more flexibility in what the GM needs to do with them.

Another interesting aspect to the bats though, is that one of the traditional weapons of the samurai, the daisho, isn't of much use against the bats because they don't get into melee range that often. For characters, always remember that its a wide world and going with a signature weapon doesn't mean you can't have some type of backup. For example, outside of the sword, samurai are also masters of the bow, which Usagi is able to put to good use here.

Specialization, especially in game mechanic form, can provide substantial bonsues but leave you weak in other areas. You don't necessarily have to be a master of all trades, but made sure that when the manticores and other beasties with the range weapons come out to play, your strategy isn't limited to, "It's gotta run out soon."