Another imminentish release, since I’m trying to produce short products while I work on longer projects in the meantime, is IRREPRESSIBLE! My homage game to Monkey Magic (because nothing represents Journey to the West better than a Chinese legend, made into a TV series by the Japanese and dubbed into English by the BBC).
In the game you will take the part of pilgrims, seeking redemption for the crimes that saw you cast out of heaven. In order to earn your redemption and reach enlightenment you will wander a mythic China and India doing good, battling monsters, solving problems and trying to find ways to do such in an enlightened fashion without necessarily resorting to bashing things with sticks though, of course, that can be a lot of fun too.
Characters are defined by two traits from the I-Ching, the Six Virtues of Buddhism and a scattering of their own, self-chosen abilities which can be anything from magic powers and weapons to particular skills or proclivities. Characters are also defined by their transgression, whatever it is that made the Emperor of Heaven see fit to cast them down to the mortal realm as a monster in the first place.
The game is designed to be played in episodes and uses a dicepool similar to poker dice or Yahtzee. The more dice you have the more chance of getting a good result, doubles, triples, runs or more and the higher total you get. Whoever gets the highest, wins the challenge. It’s easier to act in a way that goes against enlightenment and easier to lose virtue than to gain it, but there are longer term rewards to acting enlightened, rather than succumbing to ease and violence. Ultimately, you may even achieve Nirvana or become a Bodhisattva.
As a quick little example of the system – which is still being shaken down:
Monkey is facing off against the Demon King Chen in a martial contest, despite Tripitaka’s protests that he not resort to violence. Monkey’s Passion is high, taking him deep into the Yin, he rolls 4 dice for Passion, plus 1 for Earth, plus 1 for Thunder, plus 1 for ‘I love to fight!’ and plus 1 for his Magic Wishing Staff. Monkey is damn good at fighting and this gives him a total of 8 dice, which is INSANELY good. Since he’s using his Yin he’ll beat anything using Yang on ties but the Demon King is very much a Yin kind of enemy so that’s not going to help.
Demon King Chen is ‘Gigantic’ and ‘Powerful’, has three dice of Passion and a Magic Fire Axe which gives him another dice for a total of 6. Not an enemy to be sniffed at.
Monkey rolls: 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6 – The run 3/4/5 is the highest total, for 12.
Demon King Chen rolls: 2, 2, 5, 5, 5, 6 – The triple 5/5/5 is the highest total for 15.
Monkey is set-back in this battle and may have to come up with something clever in the second phase to win out!
At the end of battle, win or lose, Monkey will slide his Passion down one because he took the unenlightened path.