The sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath breaks the silence in the dark alley. Akagura Goro flinches and turns around. He sees the vague reflection of the blade before he can make out the shape of its bearer.
His call turns to steam in the cold night air, and he draws his own sword, readying himself. He can hardly recognise his sister's face as she emerges from the alley and moves towards him, into the deserted, moonlit street.
"Rie! What are you doing here!"
He gets no answer, and has no time to react before there is a sudden flash of steel. At once, a cascade of blood gushes down his expensive kimono. He gawks in surprise before the world turns to black before his eyes.
Rie looks down at Goro as he slumps to his knees and falls forward into the muddy street. His steaming blood slowly forms a dark pool under him. Her broken voice is hardly more than a whisper.
"That was for Misaki, you animal."
She turns around and leaves as snow starts to fall. She is walking towards the dark outline of the fortress, while leaving two tracks behind; one from her wooden sandals, and next to them, specks of Goro's blood that is dripping from her katana. They are the tracks of two siblings returning home for the last time.
Lotus Blade is a cruel eastern fairy tale; hard-boiled, romantic and full of death. You will live, fight, love and die. You will perform great deeds and build your legend. After you pass away, there will hopefully be someone to pick up your heritage and go on.
Lotus Blade will be set in Wakoku, a fantasy version of medieval Japan that is home to samurai, ninja, shape shifters, ogres, demon half breeds, seppuku and immortal love. It wants to offer you a niche experience without having to read through a lot of background information. If you have seen animated samurai- and ninja films, you have a good idea of what to expect. Historical accuracy is not of big importance. Cool characters are fundamental.
The game mechanics are influenced by two (usually opposing) design philosophies; PbtA and OSR. The idea is that the "rules lightness" of PbtA and the direct connection to mechanics and randomness of OSR will create a hybrid system that is easy, fast, and that offers unexpected twists.
There are no attributes or skills in a traditional sense (although I may still use those terms to connect back to traditional games). Instead there are basic actions and special actions you can take, similar to most PbtA games. I will however attempt to shed off some of the superfluous abstractions that they use, in favor of a more direct approach to the rules.
There are two damage counters. One represents both physical and mental damage that can be healed. The other one is called Death/Life Points, and is a finite resource. The characters will thusly be pulled towards the brink of death from the moment play starts, and I aim to make every fight very deadly.
The characters will build their Legend to (hopefully) boost the glory of their clan, which in turn will affect their next set of characters. I'm not sure at this moment how much “generation gaming” there will be, since it wasn't part of the design plan to start with. Right now this is basically a facet of the advancement system.
At the moment I am fiddling with the character archetypes, trying to figure out which character types to include, which ones to exclude, and which ones would be better as just a background story.
I’ll try to keep you updated on its progress. And I’d love to hear any comments and questions you may have, both positive and negative. Thank you!
/Battlematt, a.k.a. Jörn Joghans on the FacePamphlet.