One of the many difficult tasks Charles and I have had is in selecting the Buntai we shall include in the Daisho Core Rules book. Like with In Her Majesty’s Name we shall be releasing further Buntai through the Daisho Blog and possibly in supplements, but the first set of Buntai must represent a wide range of choices for players.
Samurai illustration by Tony Yates
There are the obvious ones such as the Samurai Clan and the Sōhei Warrior Monks. These are a must have, and we shall also be including the Ikko-Ikki, Ronin and Ninja as you might expect.
Then it becomes more difficult. For example the Yakuza. In the period we are looking at, and despite it being mythical Nippon, the Yakuza as we know them now simply did not exist. However, research into this has thrown up an interesting bunch of dandies and psychopaths who terrorised neighbourhoods in several cities – the Kabukimono. I really like these guys and think that they would present an interesting Buntai to play.
In the towns the other ancestor of the Yakuza was organising things to suit their own commercial interests. Not quite full-on criminals yet, but getting close. These were the Machi-yakko, and we’ll be trying some ideas out to see if we can get these to work.
Obviously we want some bandits, an ever present threat in the mountain and forest of the Japanese interior. Also some dedicated martial artists so a Ryu dojo is a good one to try.
Then we come to the supernatural. Japan has no shortage of supernatural nasties, but which of these would make an interesting and challenging Buntai? Well the first shall be the Oni, they are a definite in our minds. Looking at others we could have Tengu, Bakemono, Vampires, Kappa and Kami.
Working through this selection which ones would act in a group and prey upon mortals. Bakemono probably, Tengu possibly. Kappa are water creatures and might not fare so well away from it. Vampires are generally loners. The Kami we have other ideas for as they are closely tied to the landscape they inhabit and protect.
It seemed only fair that I also show GCT’s Oni from their Game Bushido.
Each of these has a 40mm base so you can get some idea of just how bight they are. None of them can be less than 50mm which makes them almost twice as high as a 28mm figure.
The figures are full of character however I think they are a little tall for my tastes.
You can find all of them here: http://www.bushido-thegame.com/savage-wave
Also we have Zenit’s Oni from their excellent Kensei range. If that is a 40mm square base then the figure is 50mm tall, but if it is a 50mm base then it’s topping 60mm.
So what do you think?
I do like the various miniatures companies who have been making 28-32mm miniatures based on Manga and Anime, though I have never seen a real use for them in my gaming. However, Scott pointed out to me that Soda Pop Minis do a couple of Oni so I went and had a shufty…
What a splendid pair of chaps they are too, if a bit pricey. They really do summon up the sort of image I had in my mind for the rampaging monsters they should be.
These are the sort of beast that, if your brave Bushi defeated one, would make him a true legend!
In Her Majesty’s Name was designed as a victorian skirmish game with added science fiction and mystical elements (suitable to the period). As such extraordinary creatures were always designed as an add-on, not an integral part of the game. Thus you could play it as a straight skirmish game or mix in as much of the science fiction or mystical elements as you wanted and it would still feel right.
Daishō is completely different because we are starting out with the premise that this is the mystical Nippon of Japanese legend and modern anime/manga. If we were to just write it as a straight historical game with add-ons then we would just be unnecessarily rewriting Craig Woodfield’s excellent Ronin game.
So a key part of all this shall be the Bestiary, the listing of all the ‘ordinary’ and extraordinary creatures and races that live in the mists and shadows of mythical Nippon
Charles has just finished the latest draft of the Bestiary with all of his usual thoroughness. There are currently eleven beasts, ranging from fighting dogs and horses to bears and sharks. This is everything you would expect. Then we turn to the Legendary Creatures section and things take a turn for the weird.
We have twenty-six creatures selected from Japanese myth and legend that are suitable for inclusion in a skirmish game. And that last point is important. We could include dozens of creatures but most would be of absolutely no use in a skirmish, whereas they might be very useful in a roleplaying game which Daishō is not.
Tengu, Kitsune, Oni, Bakemono and many others are listed, each with its abilities rated in the terms of the game rules. Some of these are the generic templates we shall use for the few legendary Buntai that will be written up, such as the Oni. Others are available so certain figures and Buntai can summon or bargain for their service. A few will not be listed in a Buntai, nor be available to summon using the various mystical powers.
These latter creatures are there for you to use as you see fit in your scenarios and campaigns. Like we did in IHMN we are including equipment, creatures and other items that will allow you to expand upon the game to suit yourselves.
In addition the Bestiary has a section describing the special capabilities of spirit creatures such as Shura – Ghost Warriors.
So the first draft of the bestiary is done and awaits play-testing. I am looking forwards to deploying a couple of Shishi (Lion Dogs) in the defence of my Sōhei monastery.
One of the jobs I shall need to get started on soon is creating a number of buildings and other terrain pieces for mythical Nippon. Some of theses shall be used for playtesting and others for a participation game to take around the shows next year.
Being old-fashioned and skint (parent of two expensive teenagers) I like to build my own. I have built numerous medieval European buildings in the past and a large amount of ruined W40K terrain, but not Japanese.
What I could do with are floor plans of typical Japanese dwellings and temples, and decent reference images, and this is where you come in. I have tried Google but it is a bit of a scatter gun approach to research.
So, do you have any such material that you would not mind sharing with me, or links to it?
Once I have this sort of material I shall do a number of drawings and plans of my own, which I shall scan and share here. Then I’ll document my progress on the blog so you can see how to avoid all the mistakes I shall undoubtedly make.
And here is Duncan’s figure in all its glory!
The man is a true artist and we salute him.
Well the figure has been printed, painted and is now ready for assembly. Later this week we’ll bring you it in all its glory.