There are some other OSR-type bloggers out there working on Asian Themed RPGs this holiday season (like Dan and Joseph B.). And here I am, once again starting from near scratch to build my Chanbara game.
Well, thanks to my buddy Ted (here, here and here), I've refocused what I actually want to do with the game. It doesn't need to be just D&D in funny hats, as it was headed. Busting monster heads in ruins can still be part of the game, but hopefully I'll be able to make it a bit more than that (like I did for Flying Swordsmen).
I'm simplifying a few things (character classes), and re-complicating some others (Skill Dice) although not as complex as they originally were. And hopefully I'll manage to cobble together a game that's fun to play and also evokes and rewards playing to the tropes of Japanese period action movies (the historical and semi-historical stuff like Kurosawa or a lot of ninja movies), but also the weird Japanese supernatural stories (ghosts and bakemono and oni and all that).
It will also likely be closer to Flying Swordsmen than I originally intended it to be, but now I'm thinking that's not such a bad thing.
I'm going back to basics. Three classes: Bushi (Fighter), Ninja (Thief) and Mahotsukai (Wizard), each with two subclasses similar to the "profiles" in Flying Swordsmen to allow them to specialize in certain areas.
Skill Dice will again be linked to ability scores (well, only my play-test group knew that I'd unhooked them, but oh well), with bonuses (increased die type) for using it for your class's main thing (combat, exploration or magic).
I'll be getting rid of the archetype merger classes, but (in a bit of a twist from how it's normally done), allow humans the ability to multiclass. Or maybe no to multiclassing, this is still in the idea stage. But instead of subclasses being a mix of two main classes, each will just focus on doing their thing a bit differently. So, like I said, more like Flying Swordsmen, only without the magic-user/cleric distinction.
The big change will be in the reward mechanics, which I'm still working on. More details later as I figure out exactly how I want to do it, but if you read Ted's three posts (especially the second one), you'll get an idea of what I'm after for "goals of play."