Blood & Honor

edited February 2014 in Out-of-Game (Hidden)
Testing. Testing. Trying to pitch a game here for a few friends. I want to try out this whole PBF thing.

The system is John Wick's Blood & Honor game. I'd like to raid my old Legend of the Five Rings books, especially the old Ryoko Owari (City of Lies) box set, but nothing is canon.

If I've sent you an invite, and you're on board, post a response here.


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    Should be done like this:

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    what the hell is magenta?

    If you don't know what I was doing here I tried to bold the first statement and that worked but then everything else became bold also. This was not the plan. Then the words "what the hell is magenta?" should have appeared in that font color but it didn't work out how I hoped. Of course it could be that there is no such thing as magenta as I have suspected all along.

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    what the hell is magenta?

    If you don't know what I was doing here I tried to bold the first statement and that worked but then everything else became bold also. This was not the plan. Then the words "what the hell is magenta?" should have appeared in that font color but it didn't work out how I hoped. Of course it could be that there is no such thing as magenta as I have suspected all along.

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    I think that covers everything we used in the last PBFM game we did here. You guys are all more computer savvy than I am, so you'll probably be able to figure out new things of which I haven't considered.
  • edited February 2014
    Story stuff pitch:

    You are all from the same Clan.

    Your immediate superior in the Clan has been assigned as the chief imperial magistrate of Ryoko Owari Toshi, the biggest city in the West of the Empire. As imperial magistrates, your Clan answers to the Emperor, *NOT* the local governor, who is a member of a different Clan. While this governor is responsible for administering regional law (think state), you guys enforce the laws of the Empire itself (think federal). You're expected to work with the regional governor and the city magistrates, but technically, your authority trumps their authority. Think of all the films and TV shows (e.g. X-Files) where the FBI or another federal agency goes in to a town and gets in all sorts of pissing contests with local law enforcement. And you guys have been assigned there, more or less permanently (or until the equivalent of Prohibition is repealed). There you go.

    Here's the rub. While Ryoko Owari is one of the richest cities in the Empire, its wealth flows from the Silk Road which runs to the barbaric North and West, and the main product that the Empire buys from the barbarians is opium. Opium is illegal in the Empire except in medicinal form. The Empire is aware of how destructive and addictive opium is when used for recreational purposes. Opium is brought to Ryoko Owari and a small amount is processed into medicinal (sanctioned) form, but a huge amount of it is illegally sold to other parts of the Empire. The locals are addicted to the opium trade. You guys have been sent in to bust the illegal opium traders. There are also a host of other barbarian beliefs and practices (both prosaic and possibly magical) that trickle in through the Silk Road, and many of these are outlawed in the Empire. A number of these belief systems question the divinity of the Emperor, the existence of the gods, or both. The Emperor and the priests are so not cool with that. You guys are assigned to stamp out foreign cults as well.

    Your Clan will still have Holdings and an army, just like any other Blood & Honor game, but these will all be stationed in the city. The Emperor "gave" you these holdings to give your Clan the proceeds to carry out your investigations, and he gave you the men to protect those holdings. This isn't like a remote province where you can see the enemy coming. Your enemies (other Clans) are literally camped out around you, with gangs, soldiers, and businesses of their own existing side-by-side with yours. Wars will be fought street-by-street, not on the plains of battle.

    My immediate inspirations for the game are the 1987 Brian De Palma remake of The Untouchables, Frank Herbert's Dune series (The opium must flow...), and a little bit of the 1964 Japanese horror film Kwaidan (if we decide to feature supernatural elements in this game).

    That being said, you guys, as the players, have every right to amend, to edit, or to stomp on any of that. This is what I want to give you guys to start. If that's not a good start, we can start again.
  • edited February 2014

  • I'm interested. What's the post rate expectation?
  • Once a day, maybe?
  • once a weekday, once on weekends? I can do that.
  • edited February 2014
    When I discussed it with my friends Matt and Fellina, the plan was for once a weekday. I have another friend, Ryan, who has a new baby, and he may want to do this less frequently. I also mentioned it to Remi, and he expressed some interest, but he has a lot of other things on his plate right now, so he might not be able to commit to it. They're still waiting for Snail's Pace to confirm their accounts. When they get here (if they get here?), we can discuss frequency, but the original plan was one post each weekday.

    How have you been, man? How has the gaming been treating you?
  • I just approved all three of the applicants (I pestered the admin when things were slow and he granted me approval access).

    One post each weekday is the minimum I need to be able to keep focus. I find it hard to "spin up" to a post in character when too much time passes, you know? I would LOVE to play with Remi!

    Life's good. We just moved into a new apartment and Van loves having his own bathroom to decorate how he likes (he has a skeleton shower curtain, but they're cute skeletons). I'm playing in a few Hangout games that are weekly or biweekly, and that's fun. I've got a bunch of play-by-post games going on some other sites, and that's a fun time waster. Also, I'm still doing Indie+ stuff. So, gaming is my big hobby, sort of my only hobby.

    Spring Training is coming up soon (for baseball). I'm hoping to make a trip to Tampa to catch a game. What day of the week is best for being able to meet up with you and the fam?

    How are you doing?
  • I'm doing okay, man! I'm getting over an illness and trying to spend more time with my Dad in Nashville (who's very sick), but other than that, life is good. I'm teaching fewer classes, so I have more time to write (and rewrite. Mostly rewrite). Just let me know when you'll be down (call or text me at 305-799-3417), and we'll figure something out. Carmen had fun with Van the last time he was here, and Isaac is big enough now to enjoy playing with an older boy as well. There are some cool local places to take a family with kids for the day: MOSI, Lowry Park Zoo, Al Lopez park, etc.

    Thanks for helping out with the approval process, man, and thanks for telling me about this site! I've been meaning to try out another game here when I had time, but I didn't have a chance to plan anything until I was laid up with the flu for the past few days. I really wanted to do this because Ryan hasn't been able to make our regular Story Games group for a while with the new baby, and I thought he might enjoy PBF gaming.

    I agree about the once a weekday thing to keep focus, but I'm always worried about the number of players I'll be able to handle effectively as a GM, and how to keep things going if I get distracted by real life, as happens sometimes. If Ryan or Remi isn't able to play, three or four with the addition of you should be fine, but if we end up with five people, would you consider acting as a sort of co-GM? Maybe you could provide me with some constructive feedback or play the daimyo of their Clan? I'm pretty new to this sort of gaming (PBF), obviously the only experience I've had was our PSI*Run game, and I could probably use the help. How familiar are you with the Blood & Honor rules?
  • Yay, here I am! Just reading everything now but I wanted to drop a line to say that I am in. :D
  • Hey, Fellina!
  • Hi Fellina, welcome to Snails Pace!

    Jarad, I've played some Houses of the Blooded over PBP on G+, that's it. I played a bunch of 1st and 2nd edition L5R. I'm happy to help out however you need me.
  • Alright, finally checking in.

    I'm good for at least one a weekday. I work at an office job, so I'll probably have a lot of posts that are asking Jarad questions or making in-character at other players.

    So Jarad, the basic idea is that we're samurai FBI come in the bust up drug smugglers? I like the sound of it. I don't have any problems with it right away, but I'll probably have a lot of questions since I haven't played B&H before.
  • Matt: Yes, the basic idea is that you are samurai and that your Clan has been asked to enforce imperial law in this city (Ryoko Owari). The law is that opium, when processed for recreational consumption (in either drinkable or smokable form), is illegal. Some opium poppies are grown around the city and many more are shipped in, and they are legal in their raw and medicinal forms. Many adventures (if people are not adverse to going that way) will involve investigating the illegal opium trade and, possibly, local corruption in the government (which may also involve a little intrigue- you don't openly accuse a powerful government official of criminal conspiracy unless you have powerful friends who are willing to back you up). I have a couple of scenarios that also focus on evil cults and whatnot. If people want to add a strong supernatural element, part of the game can focus on illegal worship/illegal magic as well.

    Rich: Let me see what things are like when everyone gets here. I'm still waiting on Remi and Ryan to post. I kind of like the idea of a player portraying the Clan itself, including the daimyo and other Clan functionaries, such as messengers and soldiers (making the Clan itself a character), but I don't know if that would be fun for you. If it sounds like something fun, great, let's do it. If not, and you'd rather play, hell, I could probably accommodate five players... Let's see how you and Remi feel about playing once everyone is here. Ryan, Fellina, Matt, and I play face-to-face on a regular basis. Once things get started, if you guys feel comfortable with the group, you're more than welcome to take part. If you guys would prefer to watch instead, that's fine too.

    Also, I know that Fellina and Ryan have played Blood & Honor before, at Salty Bay Con, and Matt has access to the rules. Rich and Remi, do you guys have access to the rules? The first step of the character creation process is the creation of the Clan to which all the characters belong. If you have access to a PDF of the rules, they are more detailed than what I'm going to put up here:

    Making a Clan
    • First, pick Clan Daimyo
    • Second, pick a Clan Virtue (every member gains a bonus to this Stat)
    • Third, pick Holdings (resources the Clan can draw on)
    • Fourth, pick Clan Aspects (special qualities that Clan members can draw on)
    • Fifth, choose Province Meibutsu (a special little thing your home Province is known for)
    • Sixth, select Clan’s Name and Heraldry
    • Seventh, decide what is true about the Clan

    1. Daimyo (1)
    • Ambitious
    • Clever
    • Cruel
    • Cunning
    • Dangerous
    • Kind
    • Mad

    2. Virtues (1)
    • Beauty
    • Courage
    • Cunning
    • Prowess
    • Strength
    • Wisdom

    3. Province Holdings (1 per player- if more than one player picks the same one, increase the rating of the Holding)
    • Blacksmith
    • Buddhist Temple
    • Dojo
    • Gambling Den
    • Garrison
    • Geisha House
    • Rice Farm
    • Sake Works
    • Shinto Shrine
    • Stables
    • Sumo School

    4. Aspects (None of Us Is As Great As All of Us…+3 more)

    • None of Us Is as Great as All of Us
    • A Merry Companion Is as Good as a Horse
    • All Married Women Are Not Wives
    • The Best Sword Stays in the Scabbard
    • The Deer Hunter Pays No Mind to the Hares
    • Dig Two Graves
    • Even a Thief Must Learn His Trade
    • First the Man Takes a Drink
    • Fog Cannot Be Dispelled by a Fan
    • If My Dog Knew My Plans
    • If One Man Praises You
    • Laughter Is the Fool’s Hiccup
    • One Word Can Warm the Winter
    • Ten Men, Ten Colors
    • The Mountain Never Falls
    • Nail and Hammer
    • Waiting for Luck Is Waiting for Death

    5. Meibutsu (A Little Thing- 1)
    -a particular food, resource, product, craft, etc.
    6. Name and Heraldry
    7. Truths (1 per player- each player says one thing that is True about the Clan and/or the home Province)
  • So, in game terms, the "Diamyo" would be represented by the Emperor?
  • edited February 2014

    You guys would be representatives of the Emperor and enforcers of imperial law. Your daimyo (your feudal lord, in essence, the person who you serve, who in turn invests your with your status in the social hierarchy, making you distinct from the priests and the bonge, the workers, and makes you a cut above the hinin/eta or "non-people") would be the chief imperial magistrate in the district (he or she would outline the strategies and/or set priorities for pursuing crimes in this city while you guys carried out those strategies). I'm reading the source material, and above the imperial magistrates (also called Emerald Magistrates) is an individual called the Emerald Champion, who acts as the Emperor's proxy when it comes to serving justice and maintaining order in the Empire. I imagined that your daimyo would answer to the Emerald Champion. Alternately, if you guys want more day-to-day independence with only occasional interaction with your lord, your daimyo could *be* the Emerald Champion. Since his jurisdiction is the entire Empire, he or she will reside in the imperial capital and will only meet with you once a season, but he or she may send a messenger with instructions from time to time. This would allow you guys to set your own priorities and do pretty much whatever you want to do as magistrates (within reason). However you guys want to do it. I'm totally flexible on this point.

    We could throw out the idea of the Emerald Champion as well. It's part of the L5R setting, but it does feel less than authentic, more bureaucratic China than feudal Japan. The daimyo, the lord of your Clan, is a really cool part of Blood & Honor and cleaves closer to the feudal "feel" of that game than a lot of the setting material in the Legend of the Five Rings books. It depends on whether you guys want a game that's like a Kurosawa film or a crazy, fantastic Wuxia film, or a combination of both.

    I also found this nifty document online with recreates the charter of the Emerald Magistrates that was included in the boxed set of City of Lies. If anyone wants to know *exactly* what the Emperor expects from and empowers his representatives with doing, it's broadly outlined in this in-game document:

    If you're interested in the social/religious hierarchy of this game's setting, here's a wiki:

    And a setting-specific primer on bushido, or how to act like a samurai: (Ignore all the crazy stuff about Nezumi and The Lost at the bottom. I don't want to go into those aspects of the setting)


    Matt has asked if his friend Pierce could play as well. At this point, I'm feeling a little more confident of my abilities to run this (possibly because I'm getting over the flu, and because I'm *really* enjoying rereading the Blood & Honor and City of Lies stuff), so I'm willing to take on more people, but shall we cap this at 6 players? The players I have now are Rich, Fellina, Matt, Ryan, Remi, and Pierce. Let's not add anyone else for the time being, please. Is that okay with everyone?

    EDITED to add information and to maintain parallel structure in verb use
  • edited February 2014
    Fine with me.

    EDIT: I'm Rich
  • Ack. Yes, sorry everyone. Orklord is Rich :). Everyone here, Rich. Rich, everyone!
  • edited February 2014
    For those of you without the Blood & Honor rules... Here are the Aspects for Clan Creation. If you guys have any questions, please ask me...

    Step 4: Choose Aspects
    Each Clan gains four Aspects that define its character. An Aspect is like a skill, but a bit more broad. It’s more of a cliché—with game mechanics. For example, your Clan has the Aspect, None of Us is as Great as All of Us, shown below.

    Invoke: Your Clan is well known for working together. Gain three dice when helping another Clan member accomplish a goal both of you want.
    Compel: You genuinely feel men must work together to accomplish their goals and will do so regardless of the risk to yourself.

    This Aspect, as it says, gives your character three bonus dice whenever he takes a risk appropriate to the Aspect. On the other hand, it also has a compel that forces him to act in a way his Clan deems honorable. If, when presented with the opportunity to help another Clanmate, you choose to do so at substantial personal risk, the Narrator adds an Honor Point to the pool. If you ignore the opportunity, you do not gain the Honor Point (Honor Points are good. More on that later). Every Clan has four Aspects that define it. Each Clan has one Aspect in common: the sample Aspect above. In other words, every Clan has the None of Us… Aspect. You may choose three more from the list below that further define the character of your Clan. Go ahead and pick three more Aspects that define your Clan. When you make a samurai from this Clan, you choose two of those Aspects for your samurai.

    Invoke: Your Clan is known for the wit of its samurai. Gain three bonus dice when using humor in a delicate situation.
    Compel: Sometimes, the fool forgets that he is only a fool. You forget your place from time to time and cause situations that would not have occurred if you kept your mouth shut.

    Invoke: The women of your Clan are beautiful, cunning and deadly. The men are dashing, dangerous and sly. Gain three dice for any seduction risk (whether your character is male or female).
    Compel: A charmer is always lured by charms. You often succumb to similar advances.

    Invoke: There is the life-giving sword and the death-giving sword. A swordsman reaches a point when the threat of violence is enough to maintain peace. Gain three dice when intimidating others with the threat of violence.
    Compel: You truly believe in peace and harmony. You will only draw your weapon if another samurai draws his first.

    Invoke: This Aspect gives three bonus dice for risks involving hunting and surviving in the wilderness.
    Compel: The samurai of your Clan are known for being very clever hunters but not well educated in the delicacies of the court.

    Invoke: When preparing for revenge, always dig two graves. Your Clan’s samurai are well-known for being ruthless when it comes to matters of revenge. Gain three bonus dice whenever you are directly confronting an issue of revenge.
    Compel: Unfortunately, your samurai are also rather hot-blooded and rush to judgment, seldom listening to reason when offended.

    Invoke: Your Clan’s samurai are knowledgeable in crafts such as blacksmithing, weaving, etc. Gain three dice for risks involving craftsmanship.
    Compel: Your Clan is also known for its fair treatment of the peasantry and merchant class. You show them compassion and good will.

    Invoke: … then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man. Your Clan is well-known for its excessive samurai. Gain three dice on any risk when drunk.
    Compel: A drunken man will say anything, do anything. Be careful. Drunkenness is not always forgiven…

    Invoke: Your Clan is exceptionally good at deceiving others. Gain three dice whenever trying to lie.
    Compel: Lying is just like any other source of power: incredibly addictive. You must lie when given the opportunity.

    Invoke: … he’d be dead, too. Your Clan is incredibly good at discovering and keeping secrets. Gain three dice for any risk obtaining or keeping secrets.
    Compel: You love secrets and you tend to go out of your way to discover them.

    Invoke: … a thousand will repeat his praise. Your Clan’s samurai know exactly how to get attention. Gain three dice for any act in front of a crowd that will bring honor and glory to your Clan.
    Compel: You are a glory hound. You can’t shut up about yourself and you must always be in the spotlight.

    Invoke: Your samurai are deadly serious. All. The. Time. Gain three bonus dice to resist any attempt to change your mind once you’ve made it up.
    Compel: You are rude, brutish and don’t care about etiquette.

    Invoke: Your Clan is known for its eloquence. Gain three dice when making speeches or performing.
    Compel: You tend to speak when not spoken to.

    Invoke: Your Clan understands the need for compassion. When you try to convince another you sympathize with their cause, gain 3 dice.
    Compel: You truly believe in compassion and will sympathize with those in true need.

    Invoke: Gain three bonus dice when resisting physical pain or arduous circumstances.
    Compel: You are rude, brutish and don’t care about etiquette.

    Invoke: “The nail that sticks up tallest is the first to be hammered down.” Your Clan knows the proper procedure and etiquette for everything. Gain three bonus dice for any risks involving manners.
    Compel: You must do things the right way. Doing otherwise is disgraceful and dishonorable.

    Invoke: Your Clan’s samurai do not hesitate. Gain three bonus dice for any risk that is impetuous, impertinent and spontaneous.
    Compel: You must act without thinking, jump into the situation without knowledge and otherwise throw yourself into danger.
  • Okay, there are a few Aspects that jump out at me right away, considering we're investigators. But have we figured out what our Diamyo is?

    I can see our Diamyo being the imperial magistrate,I was just curious as to who that person would be in the fiction. I agree that the Emerald Champion feels more ancient China than feudal Japan, but sometimes L5R seems to lean more than Chinese tradition with some things.
  • I like the idea of having a more hands off Daimyo so I vote for him being the Emerald Champion. In all I have seen with FBI agents, I don't really see them answering to anyone higher up than the 'leader' of the group on site. I could be wrong but this is my perception and I think that more hijinks could be had if we were able to fly off the cuff. :D

    I'm sure you all know but just in case, I am Fellina. Hi all!
  • edited February 2014
    Posted By: ParafuniI like the idea of having a more hands off Daimyo so I vote for him being the Emerald Champion.
    Okay, I forgot to say. I'm cool with it being the Emerald Champion. It kind of makes more sense for the person we answer to to answer directly to the Emperor.
  • I'm here. I'm Remi. It's going to take me a bit to process all this as I know 0 about the L5R universe.
  • Remi: I'm incorporating setting material as I go and changing it when I feel like it. Everyone else is welcome to do the same. If you win narration rights, don't worry about drawing from published setting materials. Just add whatever you feel is interesting. Glad you're here, man :).

    Ryan: Hey! Good you made it!

    So, Remi, we have Rich, whom you know, and in addition, there's Matt, Fellina (Parafuni), and Ryan (Doctorduckbutter). Everyone, this is Remi, a friend I've known since, er, 1992 or 1993, I think? Maybe earlier?

    Also, I mentioned Rich earlier. He's a heck of a nice guy that I met through Remi and who lives and operates a gaming podcast in Jacksonville.

    Matt is a good friend that I met through the Pathfinder Society here in Tampa. He loves trying new games and has been involved with our weekly Story Games group here for- I don't know... Six or seven months? He's the chief 13th Age guy around here.

    Fellina has been involved with our Story Games group for about a year, I think. She ran an amazing Monsterhearts game for the group for about two months.

    Ryan I met a few years ago when he was organizing a series of Cthulhu LARPs for local conventions. He founded the Story Games group in Tampa here about a year ago and maintains the meetup site.

    Matt, is it okay if we start talking about Clan creation now, and catch Pierce up whenever he joins?

    The first step in Clan creation is the nature of the group's daimyo. As you can see above, there are seven daimyo personality archetypes to choose from. Now, we can jump around in the process here if you like, or we can handle the process step-by-step. Feel free to jump to any step you like, but Step One is to pick a daimyo: one that is
    • Ambitious
    • Clever
    • Cruel
    • Cunning
    • Dangerous
    • Kind
    • Mad (Mercurial, really. The daimyo changes personality with no warning)
    There are other things we can determine about the daimyo now or later- gender, appearance, history, etc.

    My main question is what role you guys want the daimyo to play in the game. Do you want him or her to be remote and to appear infrequently, or do you guys want one who shows up every game and/or is meddlesome?
  • I would say infrequently, yes? We are samurai and an elite, hand picked group hired to investigate criminal activity. He trusts us to act with honor but do whatever is necessary to stop the flow of illegal opium. That is my idea, at least. Of course, it may be for a better game if he randomly appears to mess us up.
  • By the way, I say he should be Ambitious. That could bring in the opportunity for him to throw us under the bus in a bad situation! Government politics and all.
  • Jarad: Yeah, I'll let him know we're getting started and have him hop in when he has time. He's signed up and is just waiting on approval.

    I agree with the Ambitious Daimyo.
  • Hey folks, it's Pierce.

    I finally got approved and will get around to reading everything y'all have posted tomorrow morning. Looking forward to the game! :)
  • edited February 2014
    Welcome, Pierce! Please take a look at the thread and feel free to direct any questions toward me. I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

    Okay, so Fellina, what I'm hearing is that you have a daimyo who considers you guys partners and go-getters. She/he's not going to micro-manage, but s/he doesn't want you to embarrass her/him, and s/he expects *big* results. S/he also has a lot of irons in the fire back home in the imperial capital, and sometimes her/his shifting alliances require her/him to... realign her/his interests, which involves some mental (and moral) gymnastics on the part of her/his vassals.

    How about this? Your daimyo is the younger/youngest daughter/son of an extremely important lady/lord. S/He only has dominion over a single province near the heart of the Empire (your home province), but s/he has also netted a key position in the imperial court- that of Chief Imperial Magistrate or Emerald Champion or whatever we want to call it. This is the main method by which s/he will expand her/his influence. The last Emerald Magistrate assigned to Ryoko Owari was assigned by your daimyo's predecessor, and this prior magistrate was found murdered. Your daimyo has reacted (some say overreacted) by assigning a TEAM of imperial magistrates to investigate the murder, crack down on the illegal opium trade, and in essence, flex her/his "muscle" as the new top cop in the Empire. S/he has a lot tied up in this venture because you guys are literally her/his circle of most trusted advisors. Everywhere else in the Empire is getting the B team (and the home province is being run by the equivalent of your assistants) while you guys work miracles. S/he has a lot of eggs in one basket here. This could make or break her/him.

    When we create Clan Holdings, we're going to concentrate on the imperial holdings in Ryoko Owari that you guys have access to, but when we define the Meibutsu, the one little thing about your home province that you're proud of, it'll reflect what makes you guys similar to one another and different from other people in Ryoko Owari.

    How does this sound?

    EDITED for a spelling mistake.
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