What follows are a series of migrated G+ posts that contain some useful (I hope) resources for running Yoon-Suin Games.
I put together some Character Sheets for use with Noism Games' lovely Yoon-Suin: Barebones| Color | +5 Against Printer Toner
Where to Begin?
How often have you found yourself aping that venerable saw: "You all start in the Tavern?" Be honest with yourself now... :)
Are you searching for a suitable, Yoon-Suin-specific substitute for this hackneyed, parochial phrase*?
Well, procrastinating Yoon-Masters need look no further afield! I've put together a sheet of twenty locales, humbly steeped in setting, to (more hopefully) provide a little local color, flavor, and set dressing for adventures set in the Yellow City.
Hope it brings you fun! Let me know what you think or crack your knuckles and tip-tap your own below. A century would make a better table than my paltry twenty for such a big, tea-soaked City, so let's crowdsource over a cuppa :).
*That is to say: "You all start in the Teashop..." yawnsville. Please don't do this :). The excellent tables in Noism's book are crackerjack at quickly and easily germinating better opening seeds than that. It does a lot of the prep heavy-lifting for you with only a few die rolls! But still, just in case, there's this. Might be useful if you get ambushed by a one-shot or something periodically, like me :).
A Yoon-Suin Adventure Locale!
So notwithstanding my stern admonishments, you have your party meet in a Teahouse (see previous post) anyway, only to find them morosely sipping their infusions, waiting forlornly for the forces of gravity to pull excitement and adventure down from the heavens and into their laps.
Alas! You have been busy, and perhaps prep-work has taken a backseat to life as it is wont to do. Or for all one knows, you may just want to gently lower them into the loamy deltas of this fertile sandbox with something more traditional (i.e. a Dungeon Crawl). Fellow Yoon-Masters, I’m humbled if I can help :).
Behold! The Shifting Shrine, a single page locale generator for use with Yoon-Suin.
Useful for abandoned temple/site-based adventures, but best when paired with the wonderful tables and procedures in Chapter Three: Adventuring In The Old Town.
- A powerful Slug-Man alchemical cartel is cornering the market on a special Tea that helps assist with foreign trade treaties. An alternate supply is needed, and a shady eunuch at the shop has a bead on one for a cut of the profits.
- A well-funded and altruistically blasphemous museum is paying handsomely for ancient idols and religious paraphernalia from the Old Town. Rumors of an entire derelict temple district, rich in this sort of thing abound, someone's even gouged a rough map on the teak table.
- You overhear a young tough bragging as he pays for his table’s tea using a fine electrum ring. “I gots heaps more where that comes from.” He lets slip the location for all to hear after being roughed up by a Crab-Man bouncer. If you fly now, you might beat the other patrons to the punch.
- Mulberry bark “Missing” posters are plastered throughout this district. There’s even one on your tea-tray, finding frugal re-use as a place-mat. In a dozen languages, it tells of a powerful Magician that went missing in the Old Town, and rough diagrams where he was last seen. His wealthy estate in the miry mangroves of the Mudskipper District will pay handsomely for his safe return.
- In a fit of uncharacteristic Yellow City generosity, a group of men and women buy a round of the finest tea for the house. They have pressing business in Sughd, but want to hire some locals to investigate rumors of a nearby "abandoned" shrine that is positively pouring with artifefactae, ripe for pilfer.
- The wheezing Holy-Man begging for his betel-nut-fix at the counter expires on the floor near your table. According to ancient Yellow City tradition and established decorum, your group has first dibs when it comes to rifling through his robes. Just a few peanut worms and a cheap silk handkerchief. Wait, is that a map over-stitched in fishing line on top of the tawdry embroidery?
Still debating if this sort of thing would be suitable or sufficient for this years’ One Page Dungeon Contest. I have some other beakers on the backburner as well though, so I don’t want to commit to this one just yet :). I’m kind of curious as to how many separate sites could be generated using this. I’m sure they’d all get a little same-y after a while, but there’s at least a couple of recyclable ideas here. Let me know what you think!
Yoon-Suin Quick Equipment & Encumbrance Sheet(just in time for weekend one-shots!)
One of the most time consuming parts of character generation has always been “buying” starting equipment. Books or lists are passed around, calculators consulted, and everyone painstakingly hems and haws over their last copper while they peruse the various wares available in some abstracted and brigadoonish “Bloodbathe & Beyonde.”
Faugh & Phooey! Inspired by B4’s Fast Packs and a perverse obsession with Making Choices Meaningful, I've slapped together a sheet that should streamline this process a bit. Print one for each of your players, and you should be able to trim the time this stage takes significantly, and get cracking on the inaugural expedition! (I recommend distributing highlighters to make this process as painless as possible, they usually come in Yellow, but I think I prefer Purple.)
Equipment lists can telegraph a lot about the setting to players, and when I didn't see one in Yoon-Suin, I figured I might be able to help shore that up :).
This is hardly a criticism, as researching and brainstorming how to mesh unfamiliar technology with the now prosaic D&D tropes can be an incredibly interesting and entertaining exercise. It’s an autodidacts’ dream :). Maybe I’ll even doodle out some of the more exotic weapons and gear for another useful handout at some point.
NB: I make no claims for spelling or even the pseudo-historical accuracy of some of the terminology and words here. Please keep any pedantry tempered by the fantastic (but let me know anyway, I'm always curious to learn). This is just what I was able to whip up after consulting a few old armory books and trawling tasty tidbits from Wikipedia.
Some equipment combinations are impossible, while other entries are duplicated. This is all by nefarious design and with the wickedest of intentions. (Meaningful Choices, remember?) For something truly delightful, and bizarre you may have noticed that I've intentionally listed only a dozen items for each column. If you require something even faster, or your players are still spending an exorbitant amount of time on this step, the Yoon-Master is encouraged to just have their players roll up to 6d12 and make the first foray in Yoon-Suin all about trading/pawning away useless junk for their initial outlays. :)
I've also included a small and simple subsystem for Encumbrance. Encumbrance is something many of us have a love-hate relationship with. The scare-quote “simulationist” in me loves it, while the “gamist” is plagued with an obnoxious temptation to hand-wave. I've settled on something easy to remember and quick to adjudicate at the table. I don’t really see the populace of the Yellow City as overburdened adventurers prepared for every eventuality, but rather as somewhat slippery, ingenious and prone to improvisation. I feel that a simple AC penalty should hammer this home nicely (an overladen state making one easier to hit triggers behaviors I like to see, like players dropping stuff prior to mêlée), but am always open to other ideas.
This line of thinking wouldn’t have been possible without clear antecedents. LotFP’s slot system and +Brendan S elaborations on Paper & Pencil’s system of “significant items” were obvious inspirations. I believe it was a post like this that lead me to the line of thinking (it also references the relevant systems): here. If you still prefer stones, lbs., or even “coin-based” (my second favorite, I love working in terms of treasure!) weight, another version is always a possibility.
I’ll place another link, full of more standard D&D fare, here for parties interested in using this in more traditional games.
Yoon-Suin Social Status Procedures in the Yellow City
Just an idea I’m playing with for making the caste system more mechanically meaningful.
GURPS Goblins has an interesting mechanic where all of a player’s rolls are modified their Social Status (for good or ill, reflecting both self-confidence and society’s tendency to keep the lower rungs in check). I wanted to see if this was possible to port over, because it seemed like a simple way to make this meaningful. By applying it to the oracular bell-curve of the standard Reaction Roll, as well some others, you end up with a game that’s much more about rank and caste.
For groups, totaling or averaging a parties Rank might work, or you could also resurrect the vestigial Party Caller and use theirs (let the Slug-Men do the talking). I’d definitely only recommend this for games where upward/downward mobility within the strata is possible and encouraged :). Possibly not a perfect fit for all players, tables, play-styles and social contracts, so season to taste.
If this seems a little too tough at first glance, I’d be happy to hear any suggestions on how to improve it. Maybe applying a lower bound to the Rank bonus/penalty that doesn’t un-ring the bell-curve so much? Maybe including some possible “Reaction Roll” modifiers for reducing the sting and sameness (i.e. Grovelling, Flattery, Bribery, imparting bonuses/reducing penalties)? Circumstantial modifiers for Reaction Rolls are pretty standard fare, and may not need rigid codifying in this manner.
As a bonus for Yoon-Masters, it also includes a quick method to generate "feel and population" for a district or neighborhood by drawing a playing card on-the-fly. I’m also flirting with another Social System that uses exclusively playing cards, but that one will take a little more play testing.