I posed a thought last week on here and I wanted to elaborate more on it, now that I have thought it through. Plus some points that came up in the last game for the boys.
Last week I asked what had happened to the interest in the Oriental culture among gamers. That when I told the boys that they had effectively been transported to medieval Japan was just a ‘meh’. Bearing in mind that when I grew up Japan, China, Samurai, Ninjas and martial arts were all new things, things to marvel at. But now mentioning those things just inspires boredom or lack of interest.
After thinking about it, and talking about it online I have come to some conclusions about why this has happened. First, I blame the ‘childish’ representations in modern culture. You have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lego Ninjago as prime examples. How is a kid supposed to be interested or impressed by Samurai or Ninja when these are the ‘representatives’? I’m not belittling the shows, they are not bad as those shows go, TMNT even has some very interesting story lines. But I should not be surprised when kids raised with those is not overly impressed by that appearance of Samurai and/or Ninja in a game.
Second, I blame the flowering of ‘geek’ movies. When the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Game of Thrones, and Marvel Superheroes are all on the big and small screen who cares about Kung Fu or Karate? Try and get a kid who has seen those to get even remotely interested in the original Seven Samurai is nearly impossible. It’s just not going to happen.
Given those points what is needed is a great new series or movie representing this culture. I’m not saying re-make 7 Samurai (sacrilege.) Or try to cross LoTR with Samurai (the horrendous 47 Ronin.) But there is plenty of very rich source material. If Game of Thrones is loosely based on the English War of the Roses imagine a series based on pre-Tokugawa Japan! You could have epic battles, cut throat politics, espionage and politics. I just think this is a really rich territory that could be mined. And not in a James Clavell White Man in Japan fashion (although Shogun is a great book.)
Last weekend was a mix of results with the boys. 2 of my scenarios were not remotely good. My 3 Storms idea ended up being shredded quickly. And what I thought would be pretty easy turned out to be very rough. So I am still struggling to find the right mix of challenge for the boys.
But on the bright side the end was a pretty epic finish. As the Paladin was knocked out, and it looked like the Fighter might not last long against the Yuan Ti Abomination. At which point the Sorcerer (in the words of modern military) called in an air strike on their position. Unleashing 3 Fireballs in 2 turns, countering the Fire resistance of the Yuan Ti through sheer destructive power. Yes it did mean knocking out the Fighter at the same time, but it was really their only chance, as there was no way the Bard and Sorcerer could go toe to tail with the Yuan Ti.
All in all it is still fun for everyone. And I figure that if I gauge things on the side of too hard I can always throw in some epic miracle if necessary. Like I told Jimmy, it is very possible that I might have made the next adventure too tough, but I can make adjustments on the fly if necessary.