Dark Eras – Hunter Edo Jidai Preview

A few people have asked if we were going to do open development on the Dark Eras additional content. While I’m not in a position where I can take a ton of commentary and still manage my schedule well, I figured it couldn’t hurt to put a little content out there to show you what we’re doing. I’m personally developing the Changeling the Lost Grimms’ Fairy Tales setting, and this one, Hunter: The Vigil in the early part of the Edo Jidai/Tokugawa Shogunate.

We sort of went all-out on character options in this one. We’ve introduced three new Compacts, and two new Conspiracies. I figured that since Hunter is a relatively Eurocentric game, and hasn’t touched much on Japan, that a lot of area-specific character options would be a great way to foster chronicles, and build setting all at the same time.

We’ve got:

  • A Compact of pearl divers that deal with the monsters of the sea.
  • An archaic form of the Hototogisu, who you might know from the various Tokyo sections in the Second Edition cores.
  • A Compact of male escorts that hunt in society events for those preying on the people.
  • The Rampant. You can read them below.
  • A Compact of samurai nobles, who use their money and influence to root out supernatural corruption in government.

This one’s particularly topical, because it gets mentioned in the modern Tokyo writeup in Beast: The Primordial (which you can read on its Kickstarter page right now!).

This is the Otodo, the Rampant. They’re distant cousins of the Lucifuge. I hope you dig them. All the names are current placeholders. I’m not fluent in Japanese, but I’ve talked to one of my fluent, native friends. She helped me out with them, but I always like to go to a few people when I do this stuff.

If you want to discuss this, check out the forum post I made for it.

36 thoughts on “Dark Eras – Hunter Edo Jidai Preview”

  1. “Many years down the line, a small fishing village did the unthinkable; it lied with monsters.”

    Wouldn’t that be “lay with monsters”, then again, I feel it should be “they lay with monsters”. Not sure if the instinct there is correct, but it flows awkwardly while I’m reading it.

  2. Hunter has always been a game that slipped under my radar. After reading this, I’m very excited to start a Hunter game set in this Dark Era. Awesome work!

  3. This sounds really, really interesting. Never would’ve considered running a hunter game in such a setting but this makes it sound very appealing.

    One other thing, though – this, combined with the new Beast stretch goal, really makes me wish Hunter was already brought up to 2nd Edition.

      • This reminds me particularly of Dawn of Dreams, in that there a lot of parallels with the main character, Soki, in terms of powers. It doesn’t hurt that the game supposedly takes place around the same time as this particular Dark Era.

    • The other day I was thinking of making a Conspiracy of Onimusha inspired Samurai Hunters. Seeing this, I still might.

  4. So I take it that the Bijin are that new Compact of male escorts?

    I think there is some interesting potential for the Bijin to be ported into modern times. Considering the fact that prostitution is the oldest religion, it would probably be easy for the Bijin to spread out around the world. And since prostitution is illegal in most countries, maybe they adapted their membership to be made up of male adult film actors?

  5. I am… awaiting this with trepidation. I liked the zaibatsus, but Werewolf and Mage’s Tokyos look less than good, and I’ve had my ear talked off about how terrible your Tokyo sections are. As a Japanese friend put it, after quite a bit of ranting about the inaccuracies, “this looks nothing like the Tokyo I grew up in”.
    I don’t know whether it was you or someone else, but the Hurt Locker thing that turns Hachiko into a serial killer seems to miss the entire point of Hachiko, as well.

    • There are going to be disagreements. I discuss all this with native friends. I’ve felt the same way about material about Los Angeles, even when written by locals from Los Angeles. Their experience doesn’t mirror mine.

      Hachiko’s a dog. Not a serial killer. I think maybe there’s a disconnect there. That whole story is based on an urban legend a life-long local told the writer (who lives in Shibuya).

      • Also: If your friend wants to look over material for “inaccuracies”, send them my way. They can feel free to drop me an email. I always appreciate beta readers.

        • Off the top of my head, one source of contention is that you seem to like using the christian groups, like Lancae et Sanctum and Malleus.

          As one person put it:
          “Westerners are interested in this more than are the Japanese (SC is also in large part oriented for the western auditory), and yes, it is an interesting part of the period, but it really was minor and nobody would judge if you were to speak of Japan at the time and never mention anything related to Christianity (as opposed to contact with the West in particular). Ultimately, Christians were and are irrelevant in Japan, and conversions mostly served as just a way to get closer to westerners because they often demanded it. By the point you bring LS in Japan you would’ve done a better job by instead making the one covenant the carthians, dragons, or crones.”
          They also had some rather unpleasant things to say about expats.

      • I’m talking about the Hurt Locker preview where Hachiko’s spirit hunts down the unfaithful and kills them.
        Also, all the people I’ve heard complain about you are more the “I want to punch him in the face” types. But I will say that even a lot of what I’ve seen doesn’t jive with what little I know of Japan.

        • Well. If they’re willing to be violent over a roleplaying game, I’m not really interested in catering to them.

  6. The iron clubs seem a bit on the strong side. I assume they’re 2-handed, otherwise they’re kind of obscene. Even if they are though, they’ll be used to exploit the stunned tilt, something that has been absent insofar as I’m aware from the game’s 2e armory.

    Not intrinsically a bad thing, but something to keep an eye on.

  7. Why are there so many Dominate type abilities in 2e? Dorei-Sei is literally a save or suck ability, potentially even a save or die. It’s even *less* well defined compared to other such abilities. How is making someone unerringly do what you want something that makes for interesting gameplay?

  8. I looked up the kanji for Otodo. Wow… “Cloud Cloud Cloud Dragon Dragon Dragon!”

    My problem with the names is that they all sound like translations of English names, not things that Japanese people would call them. For example, “Seitokuken” is, indeed, what the Japanese-English dictionary built into MacOS X gives when you type in “birthright”, but the Japanese dictionary hasn’t heard of it, and Google only finds 59,000 instances. It also looks rather like the technical term used to translate “innate”, in the sense of “innate ideas”, and thus is extremely likely to be a Meiji-period coinage anyway. Similarly, there is actually a Japanese word for “taking away someone’s free will by magic”, but it is “jubaku”, not the translation of “slave spirit”.

    Just translating English names into Japanese seems like false exoticism to me; it would be better to leave them in English, translated like the rest of the book.

    • I was going to make a similar reply, in a slightly different vein. I’m fine with the romanized ability names, but I’d rather they kept the kanji as well (just in parentheses next to it or something) so as to not lose the meaning of the word. It would make it way easier to actually figure out what they mean. And even for people that weren’t interested, it would still look cool.

      • Truth be told, I’m not sure if our layout people can do kanji easily. I know we have trouble with non-standard roman characters. I’ll ask them if they mind if I include them.

        I try to NOT use common usage words for proper game terms. Just like how Protean is not really common usage English, but is totally English. Or Obtenebration. We do tend to use non-English names wherever possible. That’s a long-standing tradition.

        Thanks for the note on Jubaku. I’m going to ask a couple of my friends on that.

    • Although with a little more thorough look at the Seitokuken… So, “dark heritage”, “fire burning in their blood”, “unholy birthright”… Must… resist… Chuunibyou references.

      In any event, there’s a few anime I remember seeing with something similar in concept… ????, kekkai genkai, is the Naruto one, for example, and is based upon earlier fiction, The Kouga Ninja Scrolls – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kouga_Ninja_Scrolls (You’d probably want to avoid any direct link to Naruto for various reasons, however…)

      Alternately, you could just make it simple, and call it ??, or majutsu. It’s the common way for the Japanese to term “magic”, but the character that forms the “ma” is also the character for “demon”. (Literally, “demon techniques”.) In some fantasy sources, they actually go with a full cultural light/dark magic understanding, and make “magicians” always associated with demons, while good humans, saints, and holy beings use a “holy power” that is diametrically opposed to “magic”, as the word for magic, naturally has “demon” right in it.

      Or you could cut straight to the heart of the matter, with ??, kijutsu, which is the character for “oni/demon” and “technique”. It might be a little blunt and literal, but sometimes, you might as well go with exactly what it says on the tin.

  9. Wow, that’s some great looking stuff. I’m all about this, especially if something can be reskinned as Magical Girls, or a SEntai Team!

  10. The Otodo sound rather interesting, and I’d look forward to a chance to play with them.

    … That said, I’d still be a little bummed if we don’t get a Buddhist monk and miko-based hunter conspiracy in a classic Japanese setting. (I would kill for a rules system that lets me play Touhou with Hunter and Changeling…)


Leave a Comment