Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Way Of the Samurai

Different cultures place different values on different actions. One way to showcase these changes to a default setting is to allow players to see the action prior to becoming involved with it.

For example, if the players are the 'strangers in a strange land', they may find it odd that an older samurai suffering from a disease is determined to die in combat. On the other hand, as default Dungeons and Dragons tend to have knights, who have their own brand of honor, the idea might not seem that strange to them.

Stan also is able to use the visual medium to showcase daily things that the samurai do. For example, when Usagi is speaking with General Oyaneko, the general is polishing his sword with great care and dedication to the blade which he refers to as his 'soul'.

These visual and verbal clues can be great aids to players new to role playing as it allows them to see and experience how others in the setting go about their daily business.

For more experienced players though, they may need a little more out of a meeting with a general. For Usagi, part of it is that the general has reknown. For players in the campaign, this can be copied a bit by either having the players meet famous NPCs of the setting, if they enjoy that vein of the game, or by having them meet their old characters or versions of their old characters, who have gone on to different things.

When the general engages Usagi in a duel, the two don't actually battle. In 4e, or with the right frame of mind and the right skills in play, 3e, this might be considered a skill challenge. Usagi uses old samurai wisdom to counter the codes of bushido that the general uses to justify his action. In a 4e situation, if Usagi failed to make his appointed number of rolls, then it would go from a skill challenge to actual combat. For players and

Game Masters more comfortable with role playing, if the players can provide an out for combat, especially against one they admire, they should role it out to the nines so to speak. Having game mechanics in place for something is not necessarily always the way to run the game if your group is comfrotable with other methods and it doesn't impact the group.

If that in and of itself isn't enough, there is always the set up for the next adventure. Here Usagi learns of a samurai who was framed and now seeks revenge. A samurai who travels with his son. A samurai commonly known as Lone Goat and Kid assassins.