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Bushido: Honor Bound $4.00
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Bushido: Honor Bound
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Bushido: Honor Bound
Publisher: Fantasy Games Unlimited
by James G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2021 19:13:03

This is a nice work. It has four adventures, the latter two of which tie together. But the second is a sequel to happen some years later after the first, when the PCs are more powerful and established in Nippon. Here's my subjective lists of positives and negatives. (I emphasize "subjective," because I've been a feudal Japan history otaku since... the last few decades of the 20th century). So my tastes are a little skewed.

Starting with the subjective negatives (which are few): -I had a little trouble figuring out the plots in the first two adventures. Who the NPCs were and what their goals and motivation were. It took second reads and some scrolling up and down to get it. -The names of NPCs and places were invented. When samples of actual Japanese names from the period can easily be searched. Japanese names have a logic, they're made of components. (E.g. Yamamoto, Ishiyama, Yamamori. Yama means 'mountain.') I thought that throwing in authentic names would subtly add to immersion into the world of Nippon. Which is a hard enough task already for any Bushido GM. (I warned you I was otaku) -I didn't know what level characters the encounters were designed for. They seemed very challenging for 1st Level characters. (We have to face it, everybody playing Bushido these days is probably starting out at -1 Level (character generation) and working up to Level 1.

The positives (which are many): -Well organized, with complete information and no holes left open. -Establishes the PCs a base and surrounding area, with excellent maps, include a town map, topo map, and various detailed interior/grounds maps to be used however needed. But samurai Nippon-style, doesn't really let the PCs become insiders, without much effort. -Early on introduces the social interaction, On and Rank considerations. Forces the GM and players to learn and think through this pretty unique Bushido system. Provides ample opportunities for using Skills such as Go, and opportunities for downtime training at temples, dojos and such. -Nonlinear adventures hint at "Honor Bound" being a setting for sandbox, as much as an adventures module. -Complicated thought-through explanations of many if/then situations, depending on whether a certain NPC survives, whether the party has a ninja or not, whether he/she is detected, etc., etc. GMs, don't read until you need to. You'll only do needless work that the author has already done for you. When it comes up, find your situation and apply it.
-Nice black and white ink-like illustrations of NPCs. -The author was kind enough to include recommendations for inspiration fiction reading for players and GMs. -Many

This module/adventure fighting encounters lean toward the fantasy/supernatural, FYI. But a GM can easily shift toward a more historical bushi vs. bushi (or other human) viewpoint. There's solid sandbox framework here. Also some rather hard to fully take in complete adventures, possibly way too hard for 1st Level characters. But many good ideas, and many aids for setting up a Bushido campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido: Honor Bound
Publisher: Fantasy Games Unlimited
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/31/2017 05:35:09

I purchased this product along with 'A Tale of Honour Lost' as I have recently started my first Bushido campaign and was keen to acquire some starting adventures to go with the other two I already had; 'Takishido's Debt' released by Games of Liverpool and the only ione FGU ever published; 'Valley of the Mists'.

I was particularly attracted to the fact that whilst several of the four adventures it contains are linked, the other two could be run separately, and in all cases, could easily be set in any province of Nippon. I like the flexibility to be able to do this. The likelihood of an additional multi-part adventure by this author in print form is to be welcolmed.

At the present moment in time, I have not yet run any of these adventures, but am already looking to gradually incorporate some foreshadowings based around the character backgrounds already designed. I like the formatting and style of the artwork and text as these are evocative and easy to read, which during a gaming session, is important.

The settings are supported by some good maps, and these alone and the detail that goes with them, would allow any creative GM to plot some further adventures, which again makes this good value. Even with the ink and paper required to print this adventure out, I calculate the cost to me would not be much greater than £4.00, a bargain!

The province of Kai is detailed enough with the major schools of teaching, shrines and temples being listed in the format of the main Bushido rule books. The first two adventures were my favourites; 'The Will of the Noble' and 'Rightful Possession' (the latter being linked with the third; 'Amakurikara'), as they offer opportunities for good role-playing.

Player characters will be able to undertake investigation and combat in an exciting combination where one type of action does not overpower the other. The balance is fine and should cater for all tastes. The fourth adventure is really more of an encounter albeit it 'Things To Come' is also a kind of sequel to the second and third, set years later.

The adventures provide rumour tables, in keeping with the styling of the originally released 'Valley of the Mists' although it is left to the GM as to how to present these within the storyline as the author suggests this makes for a much better flow of storyline. The black and white art work and maps add a certain look which I like very much.

The pacing of these seem to invoke the life of people living in a mythical Japan (Nippon) and it would be very easy to add in as much history from our real world as you like to increase the enjoyment for the players. There are several periods of history between the thirteen and seventeenth centuries that were very turbulent times indeed!

I hope there will be many more titles next year and beyond. I always felt Bushido had been abandoned unfairly and unwisely as a games system, perhaps because it retained (simpler) mechanics also seen in the 'Aftermath' RPG which was so more detailed and far too complicated to teach and follow easily during several gaming sessions.

Highly recommended to players and GM's alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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