[Cortex+] Sengoku Yokai Road (C+ meets Inuyasha)

Laminator_X

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#1
This branches off from an idea in the "What would you like to see next for C+" thread. Take a little bit of Inuyasha, a dash of Lone Wolf and Cub, and a pinch of Jeff Lewis's L5r hack, and shake well.

The Yokai Road generally wanders far from the halls of polite society. Those who walk it are more likely to be freaks or tragic outcasts than samurai in good standing, though occasionally a scion of a highborn family may walk the Road in search of a cure for a curse that haunts his family or to find the key to defeating a demon that has beset the family's lands. The barriers between castes are also much loosened in the wild places. The Yokai generally see all mortals as beneath them, and those who survive for long learn to put aside differences in order to work together. A band of comrades might include ronin, peasant yokai-hunters, itinerant monks, a foundling raised by Tengu swordsmiths, half-yokai caught between worlds, and so on.

The rules will lean mostly towards Heroic, but with dashes of Drama. Heroic's Solo/Buddy/Team affiliation will be replaced Values from Drama. Each character gets 1d10, 2d8, 2d6, and 1d4 to spread among Duty, Glory, Justice, Love, Power, Truth. Each Value also gets a one-line statement that describes the character's perspective on that Value. These help guide which Value should be included in a given roll, and also can occasionally be used for increased effect when your Value itself is tested (which may also be an opportunity to change your Value statement).

As in Heroic, they get three Distinctions, that can be used for a d8 when beneficial, of used as a d4 when a hindrance. Choosing the latter earns you Plot Point. A bit of structure is taken from Drama though. One Distinction should reflect your (that is, the character's) origin, another your personality, and a third your relationship with another character.

Next, your character needs a Power Set or two, just like in Heroic. Generally, one Power Set will relate to the character's innate abilities, while a second, if present, will relate to the character's distinctive or magical equipment. Power Sets are worked out as an idea first, then modeled using the guidelines in the rules ("How strong do you think your half-oni farmboy is? Hmm, that seems to fall in line with the d10 examples for Enhanced Strength"). Each Power Set should have at least two Special Effects and must have at least one Limit.

Finally, you choose Specialties as appropriate to your background. They represent not only skills, but also networks of connections and resources related to those skills. Novice specialties are rated at d6, Experts at d8 (which can optionally be replaced with 2d6), and Masters at d10 (which can optionally be rolled as 2d8 or 3d6). Splitting your specialty dice can be helpful when fighting groups and such, but also gives you more chances to roll ones. The list of Specialties will be changed up slightly to reflect the Sengoku setting: replace Tech with Craft, Science with Nature, Vehicle with Transport, and Cosmic with Celestial.
 
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Laminator_X

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#2
How about some Milestones?

The Devil's Road
You were once a respected Samurai before everything went wrong. Sepuku would have been the honorable way out, but you just couldn't let go. Instead, you walk the Road, looking for redemption, vengance, or both.
1xp when you lament your tragic fate
3xp whenever your true identity is discovered
10xp when you either avenge the injustice that ended your old life, or find inner peace in spite of it.

Two Souls
You are the child of a mortal and... something else. Your are gifted with astonishing abilities, but are not at home among either people.
1xp when mortals are frightened by your difference.
3xp when you are looked down on by your supernatural kin.
10xp when you make peace with your nature, or become fully one or the other.

Making Amends
Your reach exceeded your grasp. You thought you could deal with the supernatural and keep things under control, but you were wrong, and the consequences spilled over to those around you. Now you walk the Road looking to put things right, or die trying (and hopefully nothing worse).
1xp when you protect an innocent from supernatural peril.
3xp when your mistakes come back to haunt you.
10xp when either undo the harm you caused, or fail and loose all hope of ever doing so.
 

Laminator_X

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#3
Legend Incarnate
You are someone special reborn. Your karmic ancestor was one of the rare mortals who cast a long shadow upon the Yokai Road, and whose name is still spoken with a mix of admiration and fear. As is commonly the case, your ancestors life did not end peacefully, and karma has brought you to walk a similar path.
1xp when an immortal who knew your ancestor recognizes you.
3xp when you are face an enemy of your ancestor.
10xp when you resolve your ancestor's unfinished business, or make the same mistakes again.

Scavenger Hunt
A mystical McGuffin is at the heart of your journey on the Road. It holds the key to the chains that keep you there. Of course, you are not the only interested party...
-1xp when you gain a clue about a dangerous magical artifact.
-3xp when your quest puts you or your loved ones in greater danger.
-10xp when you either obtain the artifact(s) you were seeking, or destroy it(them).
 
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Laminator_X

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#5
That sounds really cool. :)
Thanks. :)

Childhood's End
This isn't the life someone your age should be leading, and yet here you are. With no home to go back to the Road and your friends are all that you have now.
1xp when you try to prove that you can handle adult challenges.
3xp when you try to interact with other youths, but have difficulty relating after everything you've been through.
10xp when you either come of age, or find a safe place to finish growing up in.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

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#6
I'm not hugely familiar with all the source material...what would, say, a peasant yokai-hunter look like?

EDIT: Actually, lemme try putting one together.

Matsu

Values
Duty is a sham. d4
Glory is the just reward of the virtuous. d8
Justice comes at my two hands. d6
Love is the only redemption. d10
Power is the lifeblood of humanity. d8
Truth is our defense against the shadows. d6

Distinctions
Rebellious Peasant
"Strong in Body, Strong in Mind"
Airan's Big Brother

Power Set: Yokai Hunter
Enhanced Strength d8 | Enhanced Reflexes d8 | Enhanced Stamina d8
SFX: Berserk. Add a die from the doom pool to one or more attack actions. Step up the doom pool die by +1 for each action; return it to the doom pool when you’re done.
SFX: Focus. If a pool includes a Yokai Hunter power, you may replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger.

Specialties
Acrobatics d6 | Celestial d6 | Combat d8 | Craft d8 | Mystic d6

Milestones
Childhood's End
This isn't the life someone your age should be leading, and yet here you are. With no home to go back to the Road and your friends are all that you have now.

1xp when you try to prove that you can handle adult challenges.
3xp when you try to interact with other youths, but have difficulty relating after everything you've been through.
10xp when you either come of age, or find a safe place to finish growing up in.

Making Amends
Your reach exceeded your grasp. You thought you could deal with the supernatural and keep things under control, but you were wrong, and the consequences spilled over to those around you. Now you walk the Road looking to put things right, or die trying (and hopefully nothing worse).

1xp when you protect an innocent from supernatural peril.
3xp when your mistakes come back to haunt you.
10xp when either undo the harm you caused, or fail and loose all hope of ever doing so.

Hmm, okay. I can see this...so now I'm wondering what a typical action in the game might look like. Do you divide it into Action and Transition scenes like in Heroic? I'm most wondering how I choose what Value to roll in a fight.
 
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Laminator_X

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#7
Hmm, okay. I can see this...so now I'm wondering what a typical action in the game might look like. Do you divide it into Action and Transition scenes like in Heroic? I'm most wondering how I choose what Value to roll in a fight.
I'm imagining episodic action with over-arching macro-plot relating to the characters' milestones. Wander into haunted-villiage/enemy's-trap/battle-in-progress -> discover clues -> skirmish -> aftermath points to what's really happening -> climactic battle -> denoument & move on would be a typical episode structure. As far as Values during action, a thing I'd like to do is have players talk smack like characters in Anime do, and roll what they're feeling. Rollplaying the action's emotional and motivational undertones thus has a big impact on the action, "I will never join you!!!" Matsu would roll d10s while trying to rescue a loved one, for example, but d4s if instead fighting out of a sense of obligation. Good presentation in your roleplaying though might let you draw upon Glory instead of Duty, in the latter case. Dialog becomes something of a tactical choice, the idea being to steer the exchange to where you are strong but your opponent is weak.
 
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CarpeGuitarrem

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#8
Makes sense! Great way to bring that element of the genre into it. I'm thinking you lift heavily from the "telegraphing" section of the Smallville RPG, but make the telegraphing in-character too. I dig that!

(I think this is a pretty strong framework for a lot of shounen in general. I would totally use this character creation setup for, say, Fullmetal Alchemist.)
 

Laminator_X

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#9
Makes sense! Great way to bring that element of the genre into it. I'm thinking you lift heavily from the "telegraphing" section of the Smallville RPG, but make the telegraphing in-character too. I dig that!
Thanks.

(I think this is a pretty strong framework for a lot of shounen in general. I would totally use this character creation setup for, say, Fullmetal Alchemist.)
I hadn't considered that, but you're right. It's really not a a night and day shift between Inuyasha and things like FMA or Naruto. Specialties would change with the setting, and Milestones shaped to the tone desired, otherwise, you're in good shape.
 

Laminator_X

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#10
Dead Man Walking
What happened to you was not survivable, and yet you are still here, walking the Road. Something is keeping you from passing on to the next life, whether a magic talisman, a curse, or a powerful incomplete destiny. Whatever the case even you are uncertain as to whether you should be alive.
1xp when you are reminded of how you "died."
3xp when whatever is keeping you "alive" causes you a problem.
10xp when you either are fully ressurected, or are able to finally pass on. (Presumably using those 10xp to unlock a new character, in the latter case.)
 
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