Friday, December 3, 2010

The Warrior's Way

I don't get out to the theaters too often to see the movies. I generally wait until it hits DVD/Blu Ray or Netflix. Less crowds and if you're not catching a cheap show, generally the same price. However, my group was made of fail today and only one other gamer outside of the GM showed up. So we decided to head on out and see The Warrior's Way.

Now I'm so unhip that I didn't even know what it was about. For those who don't want to know or don't wany any spoilers, cease your reading now. Cease it I say!

The Warrior's Way, much like Ninja Assassin, focuses on the badest of the bad, a ninja warrior swordsman who is just so damn awesome, he turns against his clan and of course they're not going to take that lying down so they come after him. In this case, after defeating all of the enemy clan's finest warriors, our hero only has an infant girl to slay. Being an unahppy bastard because he is only a killing machine, he takes her to America instead.

The ninjas follow after and as they do so, our hero has gotten involved with a town of circus folks out in the badlands in the 'Old West' including an old gunslinger and a woman with a past.

So what inspired me that I'd mentioned it on the old blog?

Costumes: I know it may sound strange, but art, heck, visual pull, can be a huge influence on people. Despite their shrinking popularity, comics are still iconic and are still being used as the birth place of movies and television. Visuals play a huge part in my mind. The visuals here are fantastic.

Scenery: Similiar to the costumes. The wide open vistas of the badlands lend themselves well to the action sequences here. The worn down dusty town also works wonders as a backdrop.

Villains: There are two main villains here. The first one, perhaps less important, is 'The Colonel.' Apparently some former member of the army with his own band of villains. His henchmen look like something more out of a wild west apocalypse style movie than one of the actual old west. Still, he's quite the character with his own sense of humor and some great lines and a unique look thanks to a Phantom of the Opera style mask. It makes him quickly identifiable and allows the audience to tie in to him quick. The second baddie is almost generic in that it's the hero's old mentor. He has a solid look but few lines outside of some training bits for his pupil.

Action sequences: I've mentioned this before, but one huge lure of the movies is watching the heroes and villains look cool. There's a sequence where a knife fighting woman is battling the Colonel and one of her daggers is stuck in the wall above her reach. When her foe goes to make a stab at her, she uses his sword, stuck in the wall momentarily, to act as a springboard and leap up and grab her weapon. Allow the players to look cool.

In terms of actual characters, sometimes the GM can get in the way of things if tryhing to establish a certain mood and tone that doesn't fit the game. I imagine that if everyone who saw this wanted to make rogues, assassins, avengers, and other lightly armored strikers and the Game Master wants to run a game of Chilvary and Knighthood, he's going to have some issues. Tailor the game around the themes.

One thing that might be possible is combinging them into new methods. Take the whole concept of the assassins, make them work directly for King Arthur and have them dress up like Assassin's Brotherhood or Assassin's Creed. It's not the most realistic thing, but in a setting where elves and now dragonborn are the standard player races, you have to go with what works.

The non-game mechancis: The clan the hero is from is known as the Sad Flutes. They are called this because when the throat is slashed, the last sound or gurgle sounds like a sad flute. In Lone Wolf and Cub, there is a sword strike Ito delivers that sounds like the Flute of the Fallent Tiger. Names can have all sorts of origins. Play with them and see how they work for you.

In terms of the hero, he cannot be found by his enemies at first. He's sealed his sword you see and in doing so, silenced the thousands of souls of those who cry out from it. It's not a magical weapon, but it the theme of it ties into his background and when he does unleash it, it does lure his foes to him. Magic or plot device? How much will your players take? If you don't abuse it and give them something in exchange, probably enough t okeep the game interesting.

The Warrior's Way isn't high art or anything, but it combines the whole sword and gun thing, the East and the West, in a nice mix with some strong visuals and action sequences and makes me want to roll the dice.