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MadCast: VoShay

Blades on the Path Setting/Histoy/Cultural Information

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Setting
Nihon-that-was, and more specifically, Edo is a future-shifted alternate world in which the spiritual realm is real, the science of the 19th century was far more advanced, and not everything is as it was in history. In this world, magic and technology are fused to create wondrous effects that match the technology of turn of the century 20th century and beyond. This comes, however, at a terrible cost. The world was destroyed when the veil between the spirit realm (Ren-Sekai) and the physical realm (Zen-Sekai) was forever torn by the war. The sun was ruined, and the world is forever shifted into a twilight realm of less and more dark. Sparklanterns provide much of the lighting, and Sparkcraft, the twisted mix of magic and science, provides for everything that enables life to continue to march on.

The fall of the Shogunate at the hands of other samurai did not save the social class from the Emperor’s might and will. Samurai, once the noble, aristocratic lords over all of Nihon-that-was, are little more than sellswords, vagabonds, and criminals in Nihon-that-is. All that is left of Nihon-that-was today are the Districts of Edo, each named after the region it’s refugee population claimed to have come from, such as Echigo or Kai. Samurai Clans, among other organizations with varying levels of legality and public presence, all vie for the power and wealth to control parts of or even entire districts in their struggle to reclaim what was lost.

 

Clans

  • Nanten (MadCast: Khaos) - The Nanten are a clan of warrior/merchants, adapting to the new world by dealing in luxury goods and information to the power brokers of Edo.  In addition to Samurai, they number administrators, lawyers, and artisans among their numbers.  The wealthiest individuals command the power in the Clan, often but not always organized by families.  The Nanten generally have a piece of all legitimate trade in Edo.  Choose Nanten if glory, fame, and wealth are your duelist's goals.
  • Hokuten (MadCast: Voshay) - The Hokuten have never forgotten how far they've fallen, nor how they have climbed back up the rungs. Masquerading as simple priests by day and shadowy assassins as night, the Hokuten seek to acquire the power and wealth needed to restructure society- with Samurai back at the top, and the Hokuten Shogunate reigning supreme.  Choose Hokuten if you wish authority, honor, and status.
  • Touten (MadCast: Munsa) - The Touten, specifically those counted as Ronin act as enforcers for contraband traders and lead gangs of thugs.  They comprise many lower class laborers and craftsmen, and often serve fringe communities that do not benefit from the Imperial Rule.  They view Bushido as a useful farce to further their own means of power, and are fiercely anti-authoritarian.  They act as more of a loose confederacy than a traditional clan, with individuals gaining loyalty through deeds and strength.  Choose Touten if you value power, conquest, and rebellion.

History

No one remembers who started the conflict. The vile Tokugawa shogunate, as the Imperial Records decree, had ruled Nihon-that-was for centuries. The Emperors of old were reduced to puppets, divine masters locked in a gilded cage and kept like a bird by an endless parade of honorless, fat men who dared to call themselves samurai. With the divine lord kept in such captivity, the Heaven and Earth were moved to tears, the spirit world grew uneasy as the veil between worlds waxed and waned in angry protest, and the samurai who still held their honor chafed under the autocratic dictates of an illegitimate government. It was never to last.

 

How the war began between Tokugawa and the Tozama, between the Zan-Sekai and the Ren-Sekai, no one remembers. The world it created, no one escapes.

 

It was the Kami who took the sun from the land of the rising sun, shattering the pride of Nihon-that-was, poisoning and choking the life from most of the crops, killing many of the animals, Youkai of rage and hatred leading bands of Oni to destroy Nihon-that-was. Only Tenno Meiji, Bansai, the Emperor for-ever and ever, in his craft and wisdom could protect Edo. Only by erecting the spirit barrier, the energy conduits that melded the industrial science from the West and the ritual magic of the East could He, and did He, save Edo and Kyoto and the other cities from the ruinous path of the Oni, the Kami, and others. He forever looks over all of us, and these barriers, from his throne in the Imperial Palace at Kyoto.

 

Here, at Edo, the Leviathan Hunters go out onto the sea as they have for centuries. They do not seek the whales and blubber they once did- they seek the spirit essence, the life’s blood, of the Kami in the sea. The blood in which the magic that flows throughout our industrial society is found. Edo must provide for Nihon-that-is to survive, for the memory of Nihon-that-was to go on.

Japanese Cultural References

Doing your own research is always its own reward to have a great and deep understanding of a culture itself, but here is a selected list of terms and phrases with definitions to spice up the game, to be used at your own discretion. Nothing here is in any way required.

 

Proper Nouns

The following is a short list of proper nouns used in the game both to understand their use and allow you to use them as desired.

 

  • Tenno - Emperor
  • Bansai- forever, literally ‘ten thousand years,’ often a reference to the emperor’s rule and a blessing and battle cry in his name.
  • Shogunate- A military dictatorship under a samurai known as the Shogun.
  • Tozama- The original alliance of Daimyo (samurai clan leaders) who fought the Shogunate on behalf of the Emperor.
  • Ren-Sekai- The physical world all corporeal beings live in. Before the apocalypse, spirits had limited access and effect on this world.
  • Zen-Sekai- The spiritual world all spirits called home before the apocalypse. Since then, it has overlapped and merged with the physical world and spirits have far more presence in the physical realm.
  • Nihon- Literally ‘land of the rising sun,’ the in language country name for Japan.
  • Kami- literally spirit, though often used to specifically reference older and more powerful or unique spirits more akin to avatars or minor gods, it can also be used to refer to all spirits.
  • Youkai- a spirit that is often mischievous or monstrous with a non-human origin.
  • Yuurei- a spirit that is somewhat analogous to the imprint or actual soul of a human being, still interacting with the physical world.
  • Oni- Demonic spirits from the darkest part of the spirit realm, with specifically evil intent
  • Samurai- a social class made up of aristocratic warrior lords, with some a superficial similarity to medieval knights.
  • Daimyo- A samurai Lord, who oversees a clan/organization of samurai.
  • Ronin- A leaderless or rogue samurai, often used to refer to all samurai since the apocalypse. Typically considered an insult when directed at a samurai by a non-samurai. Ronin can fall between knights errant and wandering mercenaries and serial killers.


 

Honorifics

Honorifics are an important part of Japanese society. The detailed specifics of their use could fill up one or more books, but broad information suitable for our purposes here is included below. Typically speakers would communicate on a last name basis unless they were already friends, colleagues, or otherwise associated with each other closely. A suffix honorific would be attached to the surname/last name or given name/first name would further define the relationship. The use of such honorifics in roleplay is optional. A short list of honorifics are included below:

 

  • -San: Similar in meaning to Miss or Mister, this is the safest and most common honorific used with most people who do not have a direct relationship with the speaker. It is considered disrespectfully informal, however, when addressed to someone that is clearly a superior.
  • -Dono: similar to the English ‘milord,’ an archaic form used for equal or higher status businessmen or formerly for aristocratic nobles/high ranked samurai.
  • -Sama: This indicates a very respectful variation for the divine or people of higher rank without a more specific honorific.
  • -Kun: Often used by a speaker of senior or equal status to refer to an equal or lower status person, often male. Used to address females when emphasizing respect, equality, maturity.
  • -Chan: often used by a speaker of senior or equal status person, typically female or children. Used to address youth or females to emphasize youth or immaturity (not specifically in a negative light).
  • Senpai/Kouhai: A generic address to a senior/junior colleague in a business, group, organization.
  • Sensei: A teacher, instructor, or other professional being recognized for their mastery of a subject or profession.
  • Heika: The honorific applied to the Emperor, effectively ‘Your Majesty.’
Edited by MadCast: VoShay

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