Daishō Design Notes – 15/05/2014

Although many of the rules for Daishō shall be very similar to those In Her Majesty’s Name, we shall be adjusting and supplementing these rules so that they are more compatible with the setting of Mystical Nippon. Areas in which we shall be doing this include Talents and Mystical Powers, so I thought you might appreciate a glimpse into our thinking on these two related topics.


The myths and legends of Japan present a very different feel to those of the Victorian era, and many of the mythical powers attributed to their heroes and villains are unique. Thus we decided to replace Talents and Mystical Powers with  three lists of special abilities named Skills, Magical Powers and Ki Powers.

Skills are roughly equivalent to IHMN’s Talents. They are trained abilities exhibited by the more able figures. Some of these shall be copied directly from IHMN, some shall simply be renamed, others reworked to meet the style of the setting and there shall be several new ones.

Japanese legends have many men, demons and beasts that are capable of harnessing the elements and the spirits to their will. In IHMN we referred to such abilities as Mystical Powers. In Daishō we are calling these Magical Powers. There shall be a few that will be reminiscent of those in IHMN, but many more that are new and reflect the powers described in Japanese mythology and Samurai Anime and Manga.

Finally we have Ki powers. Ki is an important part of Japanese folklore that lives on to this very day. Heroes are said to have been able to draw upon this inner reserve of spiritual power to perform extraordinary and supernatural acts of skill and valour. In Daishō certain figures shall be allowed to have between one and three points of Ki. They can then buy Ki Powers from the list, just as other figures buy Skills and Magical Powers.

During a game they can choose to expend their Ki points for single uses of these special powers. If they have more than one power they can choose the one that is suitable to their situation. Ki powers tend to affect only the figure that has them rather than others, empowering them to perform acts that are truly extraordinary. If used wisely they might prove to be game-changers.

As an example imagine a Samurai Bushi who is surrounded by Brigands that intend to mob him. He expends a point of Ki and empowers himself to be able to make a strike against each of his enemies at his full Fighting Value (instead of splitting his FV). Imagine a Kyujutsu (Archery) Sensei who is charged by said brigands in the movement phase. In the subsequent shooting phase he expends a point of Ki and can loose an arrow at each one at point blank range and at his full shooting value. These powers could lead to spectacular and cinematic results. Note that both of the ideas described above are being discussed and weighed up at the moment and so might not make it, in this form, into the final rules.

We are currently discussing whether to allow figures to restore their Ki points during the game by performing feats such as defeating powerful enemies or showing unnatural valour. This is not decided yet, and the KISS principle may have to be applied if doing so became complicated.

So a quite different approach to IHMN, but one that we feel will serve the setting well. What do you think of this? Are there any particular abilities from Japanese myths and legends that you would like to see in the game? We cannot promise to include anything you suggest, but all ideas are welcome.

3 thoughts on “Daishō Design Notes – 15/05/2014

  1. I think you would have to have something about dying in battle with honour or avenging to regain honour (thinking along the lines of the 47 Samurai here). Perhaps a side gains and loses Honour Points during a game, so it may be wiped out but wins by having more honour points than the opposition?

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