Sunday, September 11, 2016

another f'n cool session

Last night, the stars were apparently right. Not only did my family schedule work out to allow me to run another session of Chanbara, but Dean, Alexei, Jeff and Jeremy all showed up to play. We haven't had four players since the first session.

We spent a bit of time at the beginning leveling everyone up to 6th, and making sure everyone had the correct version of the rules. I'd also updated a few small things due to feedback from Stefan and his group, so the Bushi characters (Alexei's samurai Ringo, Dean's sohei Monban, and Jeremy's kensei Kuro) all now have a size-up opponent ability, which was helpful for them.

I'd started them off with the prophecy they'd been seeking, and gave them a few clues about things they could do in it, plus had the daimyo ask them to track down a stolen katana (which was in the prophetic dream). I had two paths planned out for them, figuring they'd either do one or the other. They of course did a third. So I had to improvise a bit.

But the session started off with some fun RP, the improv led to a very short combat (morale check in round 1 ended it in the party's favor), then some interesting decisions on the part of the players about how to move forward. They made a choice (one of the things I'd planned for), and that led them to another choice (the other thing I planned, and one which is something I'd run 20 years ago with my Evansville group). It looks like the players are interesting in following up choice #2, so I'll have to update it from AD&D OA to Chanbara, but that shouldn't be too hard.
Many attempts were made to charm these lovely sisters.

After the session, everyone said they had a great time. The title of this post is a quote from Jeff. And Dean gave me a bit of praise that I wasn't expecting. Compared to many other games he's played set in unfamiliar settings, he thinks I've done a great job with my rules of a) not overloading it with new terminology, and b) making the new terminology that is in the game very easy to grasp.

That was actually something I was concerned about. Speaking Japanese fairly well, I knew I had the potential to go overboard with using the language. So that comment from Dean makes me feel like I'm on the right path with the tone of the rules. And the fact that everything is running smoothly makes me feel like I should get the game edited and then into layout. I think it's about ready to go!

Fingers crossed, I'll be defending my dissertation in November. If that goes well, I'll get the manuscript into shape, get a decent cover and back, figure out what sorts of print options would be best, and publish over the winter break.


  1. I think that your decision to use a class structure and an organization of spells similar to D&D's also greatly benefits Chunbara's accessibility. But your classes and spells feel like genuinely Japanese things and not just copy-paste from D&D with a thin veneer. In contrast to explain my point, I am very interested in Hindoo mythology and culture, but every roleplaying game or supplement I have seen thus far simply takes clerics, magic users and fighters and renames the spells and abilities a bit. (Of course, I admit that I do not spend much time looking for new games... ) And Jorune, I will never forget Jorune...

  2. Have you checked out Arrows of Indra yet? I've been wanting to, but no time. Is it just "D&D in funny hats" or does it feel more authentic?

  3. Oh man...I was led back here from your comment over on my blog. My apologies for not checking yours out in a while...I've been looking back over your Chanbara post history, and it's been awesome to read about its development over the (literally) years! I'm sure it'll be amazing to see it put into a finished product.

    Good luck with the upcoming defense (with some luck, I'll be doing the same thing around then)...I'll make sure to stop by a bit more often!

    1. Thanks, both for the praise for the Chanbara development process, and for the good luck on the defense.

      Good luck to you, too, both on your defense, and on the card game. It looks cool. I'll be waiting to hear more about it.

      *I actually wrote a reply days ago, but it must have been eaten by a Grue in between wifi signals while on the subway.