Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It Builds Character: Mantis Analysis

Asog are babaylan that are biologically male.
Last time, I looked to build an L5R character that was based on cultural quirks that lay outside traditional East Asian narratives. Specifically, I wanted to build a character based on the cross-dressing babaylan of Old Visayas, which is quite different from the traditionally conservative views of the culture Rokugan typically base themselves on.

As a reference, here's the completed character sheet for Alunsina of Inazuma.

Alunsina no Inazuma - Narrative Mode
Alunsina no Inazuma - Conflict Mode

But the question is, was it successful? Is Alunsina able to fit into the setting, and not stick out like a sore thumb? Let's take a quick look.


In this one, Alunsina is an easy fit. Unlike most of the other clans, the Mantis are not shy about flaunting their wealth. I previously talked about how Mantis can view wealth as extensions of honor. So a materialistic samurai who loves fashion is pretty much attuned to the Mantis identity. While Alunsina does not sound like a Japanese name, it does still sound like it fits enough to avoid being called a gaijin name... but maybe that's my personal bias.


One of the nice things that I noticed while building Alunsina was that this version of L5R is not as insanely rigid when it comes to its cultural quirks. Sure, there are still breaches that will cause you to lose honor points, but in general I find that there is a better focus on staking one's social attributes instead of just randomly losing them for some cultural faux pas. I feel like this focus makes it easier to emulate cultures who share Asian values of filial piety, and noble duty to subordinates. Meanwhile, off cocksure outbursts caused by strife have social repercussions, but is hardly the end of the world for that character.

So yes, Alunsina is dutiful, and honorable, and quite possibly compassionate, but she can also be blunt, and she refuses to marry despite being from a culture that values the continuation of familial lines. So while there are aspects of her here and there that means she is far from the ideal embodiment of her culture.

And that's fine. Ultimately, the "ideal" member of a culture is reserved for saints/bodhisattvas/what-have-you.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

It Builds Character: The Mantis Babaylan

In what is perhaps one of my dumber moves this year, I saw the new edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG in my LGS, and decided to spring for it. I told myself that I planned to get it, anyway, but as I'm also in the process of moving companies this month, cash flow is expected to be tight. And now I just made it tighter.

Looks I will have tuyo (dried fish) for the foreseeable future. 
The holiday season is usually a horrible time to start a new game locally, so this set will likely stay unused on my shelf until at least January. In the meantime, I think this is a good opportunity to test out character concepts!

Quick Primer: Legend of the Five Rings is an RPG set in the fictional world of Rokugan. Players take on the role of members of a noble caste known as the samurai, and their honor and loyalty is tested as the game progresses.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Fantaserye as RPG Inspiration

Sometime last year, our friend Shao Han visited Manila from Singapore as part of our #RPGSEA movement. We chanced upon a billboard of La Luna Sangre while we were showing him around the city. As we were discussing the various genres of RPG storytelling, Shao naturally expressed interest in the show and whether or not it was about magic or passion. I was, however, dismissive of it as yet another local attempt to copy the tropes of an American IP (Twilight and maybe WoD's Werewolf, in this case), anchored around a bankable "love team." For his part, Shao was then curious as to why I would be dismissive of it, when I was otherwise a mouthpiece for Filipino storytelling.

Perhaps I haven't given fantaseryes their proper due.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It Builds Character: Infinity's Lifepath System, Part 2

And we're back!

Last time, we went through the first seven steps of Modiphius' Lifepath System to create my character for the Infinity RPG. The WOKE AF activist from PanOceania turned out to be affiliated with a Corporation (the sellout), possibly because he has been protecting his younger sibling, who for some reason is an ALEPH aspect occupying a body borne from their mother's womb.

Here's what he looks like so far:


Agility = 7
Awareness = 8 = 7+1
Brawn = 8 = 7+1
Coordination = 6 = 7-1
Intelligence = 11 = 7+1+1+2
Personality = 8 = 7+2-1
Willpower = 8 = 7+1


Survival (Awareness): E1
Pilot (Coordination): E1
Education (Intelligence): E1, F1
Medicine (Intelligence): E1, F1
Science (Intelligence): E1
Tech (Intelligence): E1
Lifestyle (Personality): E2
Persuade (Personality, Signature): E1, F1, Charismatic


Languages: German, SvalarNorse
Earnings: 2
Gear: Analytical Kit (with 5 reagents), Sensor Suite

Life Points Remaining: 2

Let's move on to careers!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It Builds Character: Infinity's Lifepath System, Part 1

So I've talked about Infinity with my friends often enough to be infectious, and now I find myself as a GM for 4 to 6 sessions of gaming in the 23rd (?) century. More games are always good, but now there is a strong pressure for me to master the 2d20 system as soon as possible. One surefire way to do that, for me, is to create a character. And since Infinity is out now on DriveThruRPG, now is as good a time as any to formally delve into the mechanical part of Infinity.

The basics: Infinity's chargen is called the Lifepath System, which is a set of 9 decision points that are mostly handled by random tables. However, you also get 5 life points (LP) that you can spend to forego rolling to instead choose at several points in the Lifepath. Right now, it sounds like I will have a minimum of 4 = 9 - 5 random choices, but there's an optional 12-point character creation option so I am probably missing something here.

At the start, I think it's a good idea to have a very vague idea about the character. Currently I think I would like to come in as an activist-type of character: Smart, well-read, but is capable of getting his hands dirty if needed. I imagine he will also be, as his 2018 ancestors would say, WOKE AF.

There's a PhilStar watermark, so I assume original image
is from them.
Without further ado, let's start!