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Gubat Banwa First Edition


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“Violence for violence’s sake is not the rule of beasts but the nature of divinity. Hand on your blade, do you know what you must do? Cut, or be cut. Violence until Glory!”

Gubat Banwa is a game of rapid kinetic martial arts, violent sorcery, heartrending convictions and bouts of will. Warriors that channel gods face sorcerers that master black arts, martial artists who have unlocked a new form of cultivation clash swords with those that perfect the night alchemies.

When Violence erupts, lightning from a stormcloud, utter the violence mantra: SEIZE HEAVEN’S THUNDERCLAPS, VIOLENCE UNTIL GLORY!


GUBAT BANWA is a Martial Arts Tactics and War Drama Tabletop RPG where you play as martial artists poised to change the world: Kadungganan: the cavalry, the wandering swordsmen, the tide turners, the knights-errant, the ones to call in darkest night in a world inspired and centering Southeast Asian folklore.

Witness, grand warriors, honorable gallants that trudge and toil under kings and haloes. Witness, KADUNGGANAN, that refulgent name. That blasted name: WITNESS NOW. The end of days is upon us: and the new world MUST BE BORN. Bear your blades, incant your magicks. Cut open your tomorrow from the womb of violence. Inscribe your name upon the very akasha of this world. 

A unique Southeast Asian-inspired Fantasy setting. 

With an emphasis on martial arts as a background for war drama and violence, from a Philippine-centric view. Garudas fight against unglu. Martial artist warriors master the Principle of Cutting by meditating upon the teachings of the Violent Bodhisattva. Rituals and superstitions must be performed or else risk the wrath of the ancestors. Vast kingdoms arise with God-Kings at their helm, claiming to be Shiva-Buddha incarnate. You and your warband stand at the center of the mandala of this violence!


The Thundering Tactics Battle System 

TTB is combat system that fuses modern narrative sensibilities with D&D4e style tactical combat and wargaming dice pools. 

The Turn Order is known as the Rhythm, and you don't activate a unit; a fighter riffs. The game heavily relies on terrain abilities and emphasizes movement, especially with it's 3-Beat System, which lets you do 3 Actions per turn (some actions might cost more than 1 Beat!). Finally, the techniques you have are made to setup other allies, creating synergistic actions and situations!

Engage in Martial Arts Tactics by Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Fire Emblem, and Dungeons and Dragons 4e, placing great emphasis on team rolesability synergypositioning, the joy of movement, and emergent strategy. It also boasts a huge amount of build variety for all those that wish to create interesting mechanical interactions!

The Discipline System

A Class system inspired by Martial Arts, Final Fantasy Tactics Jobs, Digital Devil Saga's Mantras, and Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne's Magatama. 

Mix and match your Techniques! Change Disciplines with a single Downtime Action! Be a Death Dancer that heals with alchemies, or a Tigpana (Spiritual Archer) that rides upon a crocodile! Create exceedingly weird builds by mixing and matching your Enlightenments(Passives) and Liberations (Ultimate Attacks) alongside 3 Anting (Magic Items that function like Powerful Feats!)

A Narrative System that generates drama and violence.

A  narrative system made to help play out war drama in this setting, along the veins of Final Fantasy Tactics, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Malazan, Tigana, Game of Thrones, and Tactics Ogre! Manipulate others with Debt, persuade others with your Honor, or generate the power to defy fate by holding fast to your Passions, letting it entangle you even further, and deny death its reward by wielding your Conviction. The baked Honor system interplays with Debt, which is how you get others to do things for you. NPCs can accrue this same debt, forcing you to follow them. If your Honor ever falls below 0, you must play a new Kadungganan!

This same narrative system prioritizes 8 Actions connected to the 8 Elements, there to cover the widest gamut of narrative situations as possible. Said narrative system comes 

Describing or doing dangerous and cool things is encouraged, as that is how you get Thunderbolts, which let you dictate your fate. Thunderbolts are there to encourage Kadungganan to be as dramatic and over-the-top as possible.

It is war drama because it is is not about delving into dungeons, getting loot and money and getting stronger. It’s about being forced to kill your closest loved one in the middle of a blood-stained sea in the midst of a storm because they serve a datu that blasphemed your sultan. As a war-drama roleplaying game, expect an emphasis on relationships with other warriors, with your loved one, and intense interpolity politics with the other polities. Gubat Banwa expects you to play into these melodramas: sons having to kill their fathers for defecting to an enemy polity, daughters having to flee to the mountains to escape misogynistic responsibilities, loved ones killing each other slowly due to orders and/or emotions, best friends dueling at the top of a mountain in the midst of a storm as their ideologies bring them to a head. 

This game is made for war stories, the likes one would see in Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre.  It’s about being forced to kill your closest loved one in the middle of a blood-stained sea in the midst of a storm because they serve a Datu that blasphemed your Sultan. War Drama narrative mechanics make sure that violence happens inevitably, in one way or another, all threads intertwining and coming to a head with tactical combat. 


An enemy system that allows for Solo and GM-less play! 

Roll an Enemy's Gambit Dice to find out what actions they do when they Riff. Adapt and act accordingly, make for dynamic fights! You can play an entire game of Gubat Banwa on your own, and planned modules are being written with solo play in mind.

Event tables and generators for every possible thing you might encounter while journeying in the Sword Isles, to fully immerse and play in its cultures! As well as Lore to fulfill any questions you might have.

Violence Blossoms Like A Lotus

Finally, baked in is the starter adventure: The Sword Devil. So you can jumpstart your games! The Sword Devil is the first in a long line of planned modules in a series known as Violence Blossoms Like A Lotus.

Supplementary Fiction

If you wish to dive deeper into the lore and setting of Gubat Banwa, consider checking out Stars Without Brightnessa a Fantasy novel set in Gubat Banwa, following a skilled spirit medium, a hotheaded warrior, a rebellious prince, a princess turned flesh-eater, a revived swordsman, and a passionate monster in their quest to fulfill orders and duty, facing the truth of war and violence.

Princess Murders The Hero


If you want a free and beginner friendly entry into the lore, consider the free web serial: PRINCESS MURDERS THE HEROPRINCESS MURDERS THE HERO is a free web serial inspired by Philippine Folk Epics and wuxia, featuring larger than life mortals that must prove their conviction, slick fight scenes, complicated relationships, and a violent world inspired by Precolonial Philippine culture and religion. If you liked Raya and the Last Dragon, The Raid, Warrior, RF Kuang’s The Poppy War or Kill Six Billion Demons, you’ll probably enjoy this.

Finally, check out dragonkid11's introduction video! 


Thank you Kadungganan! Until Glory!

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Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
John L August 05, 2023 5:20 am UTC
The Beta Release + Updates business model utilized by this publication is an attractive alternative to Kickstarter funding. I purchased the Beta quite a while ago and have been pleased to see repeated update notices enter my inbox.

Observing this ambitious project maturing as a fan of international travel, culture, literature, music, cuisine, and film has been exciting. I'm pleased to witness a game enter the market utilizing a fresh mythological source written by its modern-day descendants. Interpreting and integrating a culture of which you have no lineage into your works is problematic on many levels.

The world is full of wonderful stories. I look forward to reading and playing more of these gems in English, making them accessible to a wider audience. However, this broader exposure of tales will come at the cost of the unavoidable loss of some of their essence that naturally occurs in all linguistic and cultural translations from the original source material and context. Partly, this...See more
Customer avatar
Stacie W January 25, 2023 10:14 pm UTC
The preview isn't working and is this book available in print anywhere?
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Francis A January 16, 2023 5:19 pm UTC
Hello when can we expect to see the 1.04 update here? Thank you!
Customer avatar
Trevor P November 19, 2021 3:32 am UTC
Link to _Stars Without Brightness_ is broken.
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File Last Updated:
November 04, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on June 08, 2021.
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