If you go down to the woods today, it maybe your turn to die…

shishi
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.

tengu
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.

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8 thoughts on “If you go down to the woods today, it maybe your turn to die…

  1. Sounds absolutely fantastic, and exactly the type of game I want for a Japanese setting… especially if we can get the figures for the creatures

    • In 28mm Kensei are building up a good range, and North Star’s Ronin and Kung Fu figures fill a few spaces too.
      We shall be looking at other sources as well as we progress towards playtesting and then publication.
      The best way to get more good mystical Nippon figures though is to encourage those companies that are producing a few to buy what they have got and tell them that you want more.

  2. Many of the mythical creatures of Japan don’t really fit into the combat scenario that wargames inevitably favour. They play other roles in the stories in which they feature – not just a collection of stats to pit against other collections of stats.

    If you can crack this enigma (and I haven’t been able to), you will truly be onto something special.

    cheers

    CW

    • Scenario objectives – for example a yoki is the mission objective rather than a combatant. The yoki can either move an object on the table, playing ‘keepings off’ and annoying all players, or it must be dispelled at part of the mission. Maybe the mythical creature needs to be approached to pass on information. The possibilities are endless for a non combative figure that can play a major part in a scenario/story.

      Give me a mythical creature and I will try to come up with a use for the game if you like.

  3. Scenario objectives is a good idea Ian. We had already decided that Kami would feature in scenarios and perhaps as scenario or even landscape complicators.
    Craig, though, is correct which is why our list is fairly short when you compare it to the hundreds we had to choose from.

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