Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The 12 Zodiac Ministers : Weapon of the Gods

04/06/2010
The 12 Zodiac Ministers
EOS' Weapon of the Gods

This was the third time I've used the concept of the 12 Zodiac Ministers (with the first time being a forum-based game which I ran from some international friends using the Exalted system, and the second being a table top series of games with local players using also the Exalted system) with Mahar, Rocky and Urim as the players.  Like before, each player was to embody one of the 12 Zodiac Ministers, who all served the Emperor in his quest to unify the land.   You can find character write-ups and maps here.

 The game borrowed heavily from Exalted, using concepts of the Shadowlands and the threat of seemingly undead ministers and a demonic force hoping to take over.  But even with such touches, the game was more Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than an oriental take on the Iliad.   A larger source of inspiration for the game came from old Jademan comics such as Blood Sword Dynasty and Force of Buddha's Palm comics.  Both were even used liberally in the site for images to serve as inspiration.

The game lasted pretty long, with players actually reaching a second generation as far as time is concerned.  While all the player stuck to their original characters, enough time passed in-game for the players who had children to have their kids grow up and become characters in their own right.   One player even landed the seat of Emperor, in what I felt was a test to see how the player would manage having hold of such great influence and power.  Thankfully neither was abused.   But it was still a cool thing to try.

The game has memorable moments, ranging from having an NPC wife who has better stats than her PC husband, to the presence of a character who was based on Zac Efron.   Battles against very large numbers of soldiers were fun, but the greater fun came in when players had to come up with ways to circumvent the many tactics the enemy used.  In one example, Urim's character, who used musical instruments as martial arts weapons, used a drum and a shield to propel himself sonically across a field of burning tar.

In another sequence, martial arts techniques were used in a bid to win a massive cooking contest (a scene that I admit was inspired by the anime classic: Cooking Master Boy).

A classic memorable moment would be the final battle, where Rocky and Urim's character fought against the big baddie to delay him long enough for Mahar's character to have sex and get pregnant with the next Emperor.  Can you imagine making rolls to extend orgasm and to delay actual fertilization until the time was appropriately auspicious?

But yes, the Weapon of the Gods system lends itself very well to this kind of game.  The different kinds of chi force players to consider moves that allow them to maximize the use of their available chi without leaving them too vulnerable in others.  The River system is a beautiful way to have sudden surges of advantage come in too.  I wouldn't mind playing with this system again in the future, once the freshness of The 12 Zodiac Ministers fades away.


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