Monday, October 18, 2010

Circles

There is an old saying; You Can't Go Home Again. Now Joseph Campbell on the other hand, incorporated part of going home into his monomyth and Usagi here tries to determine what his role is.

In going home, Usagi meets his old childhood rival, Kenichi, his old love, Mariko, and as if internal conflict wasn't enough, when he arrives, Kenichi informs Usagi that Jotaro has been captured by bandits.

The adventure has a few build points.

Usagi and Mariko: The two still have feelings for each other but both stay true to their ethos in "honor and duty", things that will always keep them apart.

Usagi and Kenichi: There is a point where Usagi is hanging off a cliff ready to fall to his death. Kenichi, with no one around to see it, rescues Usagil. I've mentioned this before but it's important enough that I'll toss it out there again. If you can develop rivals and antagonist for the players that do not involve killing each other and do not necessarily want the other party dead, you've made a character that will possibly be resuable for several sessons and can be returned to further down the line.

Usagi and Jei: Jei was supposedly killed by lightning right? Well, here, Jei seems to have more attributes of the supernatural as he captures Jotaro knowing that he has something to do with Usagi. Usagi and Jei's duel ends with Jei going over a cliff with a spear in his guts. We'll probably see him again eh? Jei fills the role of nemesis more than Usagi's childhood rival. Both are outcast samurai. Both are unusual in their approach to fighting. To change things up though, Jei favors a spear. But Jei is supernatural. Jei's character comes across more in further issues so I'll save some of those other comparissons and contrasting bits for them.

The thing I wanted to take from Jei though, is that he's an enemy recurring character that cannot be finished off, only pushed further into the future. In the previous fight, Usagi thought him destroyed. In this fight, Usagi thinks him finished. By giving the villain an out, the GM is able to reuse him. However, what if you don't want to keep using the same character because the players feel it cheats them of their victory or their just tired of dealing with the same guy?

1. Family: The enemy the players just finished off has family and they are on a mind to take revenge.

2. Organization: The enemy belonged to an organization. Either the organization is out to avenge their comrade, the school's honor, or they use those as justifications for a cover reason for attacking the players wishing to steal their wealth or the players have come into possession of something they weren't supposed to have.

3. Friends/Allies:  More likely to happen in a super hero setting in many cases where the hero is down and almost out and his allies come not to defeat the villain, who usually mows through them, but to give the hero a second chance, to allow the hero to 'power up' and take the fight again. for villains, the same thing might be possible. Some allies arrive just in time for the villain to heal himself and enter the fray again.


Usagi and Jotaro: Surprise! Turns out Usagi is actually Jotaro's father. Before Usagi left, he and Mariko had a picnic where one thing lead to another and well, Usagi off to war and serve his lord and Mariko left behind with the rival Kenichi who also loved Mariko... the thing is, it's not just that Jotaro is Usagi's son. He adopts a pet lizard and names him Spot, instantly creating resonasance with readers who say Usagi do something similiar earlier. Jotaro,as we'll see further down the line, becomes another recurring character.

In a long running campaign, one that uses time as a measurement of things going on, as opposed to some of the adventure paths that have adventuers running one into another into another until the players are 20th level, the possibility of children might crop up. By having Jotaro be Usagi's years after the fact, the author is able to play with Jotaro a little more than he would if Jotaro was only an infant.

In some genres, going home is equal to retiring. If you're fighter retires to the small town he came from and opens a bar and you want to keep playing him but the other players aren't ready for that journey, it can be problematic. In a long running series, it often works better to keep the characters moving forward, even if they don't always know where they'll wind up.