Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chanbara Facts and Figures

Yesterday, I made this cover mock-up for Chanbara, and in the less than 24 hours since I posted it on G+, it's really grown on me. I especially like the illustration of a female samurai fighting a monstrous spider-thing. That should hopefully say exactly what you're getting with Chanbara. It's not an attempt at another historical feudal Japan RPG (Sengoku, and Bushido before it, pretty much have that covered). It's Japan-inspired fantasy, much like Flying Swordsmen is China-inspired fantasy, both done with OSR mechanics.

I also took a few notes about the contents of the rules (at this stage, I doubt if any major changes are in store) and here's what you'll be getting in Chanbara, mechanics-wise, that may be useful to you even if you don't want to run the game as-is and just want to cherry pick for your OSR game.

3 Classes with 11 Profiles (subclasses)
Bushi (Fighter)
-Abarenbo ("rowdy" sorta like the Barbarian, only low class instead of from another culture)
-Kensei ("weapon master" as you'd expect, similar to the OA Kensai)
-Samurai ("warrior aristocrat" again as you'd expect)
-Sohei ("warrior monk" again similar to the OA Sohei)
Mahotsukai (Magic-User)
-Onmyoji ("exorcist" a ghost-busting diviner, but fairly different from a Cleric)
-Soryo ("priest" a social-oriented protector and healer, not martial oriented)
-Yamabushi ("mountan mystic" an elementalist magician)
Shinobi (Spy)
-Kagemusha ("shadow warrior" a mystical oriented spy)
-Ninja ("ninja" an equipment oriented spy)
-Taijutsuka ("martial artist" a combat-oriented spy)
-Uragata ("secret agent" a social-oriented spy)

Spells: There are a total of 96 spells in the game, spread out over 5 levels, with 32 spells for each profile.

Equipment: Aside from armor, weapons, normal adventuring gear, services and hirelings similar to what you'll find in most OSR games, there are 27 special Shinobi items.

Monsters: I've divided the monster chapter into three parts, NPCS (12 stat blocks, with some blocks covering more than one type of NPC), 35 normal animals (stats only no descriptions, you can Google them if you don't know what one of these real world animals are), and over 50 different monsters (40 stat blocks, a few have variants listed) based on Japanese myths and legends.

There is also a different Background Skills system (2d6 based), and Ninpo (Shinobi skills) work also on a 2dX roll rather than the d% style of D&D.


  1. Are you saying it's ready and available then?

  2. I agree the old art is nice, but the other design choices have me shaking my head. Needs help like last time...

  3. Oh heck I hope this sees the daylight mighty soon!

  4. JB - No, not ready yet. My dissertation comes first. If I can get the dissertation ready to defend in November, then I'll see about getting Chanbara out soon.

    Lee - If you remember, I have 0 graphic design experience. I'll gladly accept some help from you again, if you've got time. :D

    Tanner -- As I mentioned to JB, maybe not super soon, but the play testing has been mostly positive. I just don't have time IRL to get it done sooner.