Friday, March 11, 2011

World Building: A Japanese Analog, Part 2...

Good Morning, All:

When I posted the beginnings of a Japanese cultural analog in my previous post, I got a number of comments with some excellent suggestions. Even if you do not agree with the direction I am going with the Isles of Zai below, I strongly suggest that you check out the comments, because there's some great stuff there, well worthy of consideration. With that in mind, I continue with the write-up, exploring the role of samurai-inspired knights and the evolution of martial arts.

The Knights of Zai
As with many feudal societies, the warlords of the Isles of Zai have the capacity to grant some of their land in turn to those that choose to follow them. As warskill is highly prized among the islanders, these landed nobles are often knights of significant martial prowess. Some also possess at least a minor amount of arcane talent, in keeping with the esteem bestowed on the tradition of the Sorcerers of Krang from whom the Sorcerous Sovereign has descended. By tradition, the Knights of Zai have been given significant legal powers within their domains, including the right to kill social inferiors for failing to display appropriate deference. Dueling among social peers is a common practice for the settlement of disputes.

The common people are often caught up in the squabbles and disputes of the warlords and their knights as they eternally war over territories. Given that the status of the warrior is revered on the Isles of Zai, the commoners are not without talent in the art of war. Even when it became common practice to disallow weapons to commoners, the poor would often turn agricultural tools into makeshift weapons, and even develop extensive styles of unarmed combat that feature grapples, joint locks, throws, strikes, kicks and other combat techniques. The warlords and their knights have allowed unarmed combat styles to flourish, but strictly discipline those commoners who practice weapon-based styles of combat, in the hope that those commoners will not rise up against the representatives of the warlords as they continue to wage their minor wars over border disputes. To hide their practices, many unarmed combatants disguise their training as ritual prayer and exercises, and several shrines and temples have integrated the practices as part of their physical and spiritual conditioning techniques.

As I have mentioned before, this is simply a rough outline of the concept. I'm sure that it will evolve as I rewrite it and polish it up for use in a later campaign. However, it does show an example of how a Referee can take a cultural example from our own history and rewrite it in other terms to expand their own personal campaign setting. After a rough draft like this one has been created, then the next step as a Referee would be to examine the new write-up and look for ways that it will inspire both adventure content and world details to improve the players' gaming experience. This, of course, could inspire another line of thought, and another, and another, until eventually, the idea takes on a life and identity of its own that makes it truly a part of the Referee's campaign world.

With Regards,

1 comment:

Trey said...

That looks pretty cool to me.