Author Topic: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea  (Read 1184 times)

crazon

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Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« on: February 15, 2017, 06:45:57 PM »
So a recent email I received for Al Dente Rigamortis sparked some game fodder involving Junji Ito's manga works. I'm thinking of running a Call of Cthulhu campaign but instead of the Cthulhu Mythos, using the world of Uzamaki, Tomie, Gyo, Etc. and instead of New England, place it in a Japan plagued by those horrors. I'm guessing it will turn out plot wise to how I figured the DnU's Ichor Falls game would have played out, combining elements from the the different stories and building connections.

I've already sort of figured out how to start. Character s are investigating/hunting for a missing transfer student/clients kid who went missing, and follow a string of clues hinting that he met "a girl" and leading toward the small coastal town of Kurôzu-cho. And then just keep building the set pieces from that. Luckily I have a fair sized collection of Ito's work and anthologies to pull for references.

The investigators can be (I figure based on the preferences of my Live crew if I run this) either detectives from Japan or from North America (read Vancouver) who go overseas to track down the missing kid.

Just thought I'd toss this up here if anyone wanted to suggest some ideas or opinions? I know a few here are familiar with/fans of Junji Ito and I'll probably post updates and recordings if this actually gets off the ground.
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Juju-Monster-Man

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 12:40:07 PM »
*Making a placeholder for more context later*

This is similar to the  "Jojo's Problem": it can be done but probably not well. Ito's work is VERY, VERY JAPANESE. The cultural horror of Japan is possibly more impersonal than Lovecraftian Horror. It is almost a force of nature nothing can stop it (or a placeholder for literal natural disasters). You are destroyed by it either physically, mentally, or emotionally. Unless you plan to make a meat grinder of a game where there is a new character every session or two I don't know if you can truly capture Ito's work. I'll try to expand on this more after I get back from work.

Inspired? Yes. Directly Channelled / Copied? No.

Sabwones

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 02:25:02 PM »
I have to agree - Ito's stuff is inherently horrifying, yes, but it's also very focused on short-term personal horror that would make a difficult transition to a long-term campaign. One shots I could see happening without a problem, though.

JuJu is bang on the money - draw themes, but a direct transplant into a game system is unlikely to make it intact.
Oi.

crazon

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 05:11:57 PM »
So, alternatively a Delta Green type situation of dealing with the incidents that arise out of the stories? Perhaps a Department of Disaster Assessment or Investigation? A group to just send agents out to investigate these odd accidents and incidents? 

I suppose Im trying for bricolage, to refer to a recent episode of Ugly Talk. It's definitely of interest to me, even before I knew the term. I'd like to take the stories or horrors from them and just play with them for a fun set of horror games. Ultimately, it'd probably end up as a meat grinder yes, bordering on probably scary canary levels of weird horror.

Using the stories more as inspiration rather than using the material at hand isn't entirely what I have in mind for my treatment of it. Though I'm totally open to discussing it as fodder for game ideas. Discussing ideas deriving inspiration from it's concepts rather than directly pulling from the material is always cool. While I may not be going in that direction, this has already had me thinking on how to adapt my desire for this campaign to fit a formula more suited to it.

Also with regards to an off interpretations, I'm reminded of "Uzamaki" the film, where the Spiral was more or less summed up to a snake cult... for some reason.
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Capman

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 06:03:36 PM »
With regards to bricolage I think definitely taking elements and smashing them in can work, but it needs to be in moderation and with reason.  Remember again my example in that episode about starting with magical singing animals (because of the stupid Chipmunks movie) and ending with the discovery of a dying forest spirit whose powers were just kinda leaking into the woods to grant these animals the powers of terrible singing.

Like you mentioned in the Uzamaki film there was a snake cult because afaik there's no explanation in the Uzamaki comic and I'm guessing they needed a more conventional kind of story to build a motion picture around.  Maybe this explanation wasn't a good reason for why a bunch of spirals just showed up everywhere but an effort was made.

Similarly, unless you're going for a Shane Ivey styled "you're fucked" DG game, the Ito stuff needs to follow some kind of rules and ideally have an ending the investigators can reach.  Amigara Fault is cool but playing a game about being compelled to walk into a hole and getting sealed in there is less so.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 06:05:37 PM by Capman »
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Juju-Monster-Man

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 09:32:14 PM »
So quickly, because I never have time anymore apparently. If you want to go with your investigative route I would suggest adding in the "meat-grinder" mentality to it. Everyone has a dozen or so character, but your "main" character is part of an umbrella company that is trying to figure out what the fuck is going on with these incidents. You send people (your other characters), but eventually, you have to go into the field when they run out. And when that happens? The game ends. You haven't finished the investigations, nothing is gained, and you provide your players a feeling of what it would be like trying to manage in a world/location where Ito situations occur. If you get to the end with characters? Well, I hear there is a thing going on in South America that needs investigating (read: South American Horror). Which would be highly psychedelic and "heady".

As for the campaigns bricolage style: Have different sessions be VASTLY different. One session is a slice of life (which ends in the axe murder of TOMEI for example), the next is an investigation of a small fishing hamlet (then ending in Uzumaki spirals), the other is an action sequence protecting a girl the local prefecture has decided that she is the source of ALL THE PROBLEMS (read: Hellstar Remia). This HARSH shift in gaming styles and play sessions will help with the bricolage style. A mental note: Bricolage is simply a  pile of shit that makes a picture: take a book, a box of poutine, a jar of maple syrup, and a bottle of Cola and assemble them into the shape of Lord Canada's High Horse. That Sculpture of a Bricolage. It's ugly, fast, but it works if the artist is skilled enough.

ONE MORE THING: If you want the DG style, check out and read the RAID ON INNSMOUTH RPG campaign. It uses multiple play session to give multiple viewpoints of the FBI's raid of the fishmantown. I think you can die pretty horrifically in each session, but other session have the players view/discover/crosspaths with previous play characters
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 09:35:21 PM by Juju-Monster-Man »

cornbreab

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 10:42:45 AM »
I'll admit I'm not super familiar with Ito's work (just the really popular stuff). But I thought Matt brought up an interesting point

Like you mentioned in the Uzamaki film there was a snake cult because afaik there's no explanation in the Uzamaki comic and I'm guessing they needed a more conventional kind of story to build a motion picture around. 

Trying to put something completely unconventional into a conventional format doesn't really work most of the time. What if you just decided to break all of the rules of RPG story telling to create something truly bizarre? The structure itself would mirror the subject matter.

Of course, I don't really know how fun that would be but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ just spitballing here
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Capman

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 02:31:52 PM »
Yeah like you can do a Junji Ito everyone dies styled story as one-off a la artifact zero or some of the deeper Shane Ivey stuff.
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crazon

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 09:36:15 PM »
Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to address to the players that this is an experience set of games over the usually "pulpy" horror games.

Another thing I feel I should consider is which system to use? I would want to use original Call of Cthulhu RPG (or the D20 one my group is used to) but perhaps a rules-lighter one and possibly a much more lethal one due to it's simplicity: Cthulhu Dark. The downside to the rules-light system is that my players tend not to take the games as serious if there isn't some kind of crunchier feel to it. But it would be a more suitable functionary to the whole "Everyones going to die!" themes.
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Sabwones

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 02:12:10 AM »
Have you checked out Tremulous? It's a PbTA reskin for Lovecraftian mythos and it's more investigation-heavy, with a system for generating your town and populating it with threats. It might be worth a look if you're trying to find a system that balances crunch with flexibility.
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crazon

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 11:36:11 AM »
Have you checked out Tremulous? It's a PbTA reskin for Lovecraftian mythos and it's more investigation-heavy, with a system for generating your town and populating it with threats. It might be worth a look if you're trying to find a system that balances crunch with flexibility.

I had heard of it before but wasn't sure how it worked. My group also really enjoys PbtA games since I introduced MotW. A thing I've found with MotW is it was hard to create a "pure" horror atmosphere due to the capabilities of the characters. But if this one is more set up for that aspect, could be worth a look.
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Sabwones

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 05:12:09 PM »
The general overview is that you have your location, then you have Threats that are more focused on the players, and you have a Doom, which is an overarching threat that will trigger the bad ending if left to run its course. The investigators are trying to survive long enough to work out what the Doom is and stop it.

In my last game, this resulted in the group betraying another player to sacrifice them to the big threat. That was...interesting.
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crazon

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2017, 05:21:09 PM »
The general overview is that you have your location, then you have Threats that are more focused on the players, and you have a Doom, which is an overarching threat that will trigger the bad ending if left to run its course. The investigators are trying to survive long enough to work out what the Doom is and stop it.

In my last game, this resulted in the group betraying another player to sacrifice them to the big threat. That was...interesting.

One question: Recorded? :)
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Sabwones

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Re: Junji Ito's Japan Campaign Idea
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 03:08:16 AM »
My GM writes for Who Dares Rolls and as a matter of fact, my group is the bunch of buttmonkeys who he records the games of, but only in text form, as a few of our number are teachers and therefore there are some social media clauses they have to maintain.

You can, however, read more here.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 03:15:14 AM by Sabwones »
Oi.