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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
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