Jipangu

Jipangu

Jipangu is a large city of 110,000 people in the middle of Zeus’s Canvas. Most of the people in the city have some relation to one noble family or another even if they are several hundred steps away from being leader of their family. All this nobility confuses outsiders, but for those who grow up with it, the whole hierarchy makes perfect sense. In fact, the natives find societies without this level of nobility difficult to understand.

Jipangu is built on Zeus’s Canvas, a place in which great storms rage year round. The city is atop a large, dirt-covered, rock plateau. The constant deluges do not have disastrous effects for the citizens when they are inside the city. Irrigation canals reroute the large amount of rain from the plateau into the rice patty fields that feed the large population of Jipangu. An ancient orchard also exists close to the city. It has many different types of fruit that are eaten by the Jipanguese and the birds that flock around it. Sounders of pigs are kept around the city for the disposal of waste and to provide fresh meat for the citizens.

Honor is very important to the Jipanguese. The slightest offense or indignity is settled with a duel or immediate compensation; thus, there are many duel shrines in every section of the city. These places look like large square gazebos with benches on the outside for spectators to watch the duels if they wish. Within the shrine a weapons bracket holds a variety of wooden weapons. Most duels are decided by the first hit landed with a wooden weapon. Serious offenses will proceed until one combatant is rendered unconscious. Only in extremely dire circumstances are duels to the death. Duels to the death are scheduled in advance to allow both sides to make arrangements should they die. Such duels attract large crowds.

Because of all these duels the average citizen in Jipangu can act to carry out his own justice. The high sense of honor prevents most of the citizenry from abusing their skills. Jipangu has neither police force nor the need for it because of all the trained swordsmen. Secret crimes, like burglary, are still committed in Jipangu. Such crimes are investigated by the government detective agency, Tarot De’Longshare. The army handles riots and revolts when they do occur. The system works well and crime in the city is swiftly punished.

Jipangu has a militaristic culture. A strong man is respected and gains honor with every fight he wins. Weak men lose their political power without repeated reinforcement from their other traits. The high value on physical strength makes surrender an unacceptable and cowardly option. The Jipanguese army does not retreat from battle. Politicians do not change their positions when the situation changes. This adamancy in one’s decisions once they are made means very few things are said with uncertainty in Jipangu. An unofficial law has sprung up that if one breaks their word, they will be exiled.

Jipangu has a traditional style of clothes that is worn at all times by people in the city-state. Anyone not doing so is socially ridiculed and outcast. The traditional garb is a long, colored vest worn over a white shirt. The color of the vest indicates the wearer’s honor and position in the hierarchy of Jipangu. A headband is also worn that signifies special achievements by the symbols upon it. The pants of the outfit are extremely baggy below the knee, but no other special significance is applied to them. Silk is of course better than cotton or wool. Pants are worn by both sexes except at special ceremonies. There are no special shoes worn with the outfit. Armor is not worn within the city except by soldiers.

The official Jipanguese army of 7,000 is one of the best equipped and trained in Cimmeria, but it lacks unity. The soldiers fight for themselves and their own honor. Tactics are often simply choosing where the troops will charge from. The army does contain infantry, cavalry, archery, clerical, and magical units. Each unit has its general and each general has his centurions. They meet before each battle to discuss where they will fight, but since honor is obtained through killing with your own sword, instead of the overall victory, they will work on their on.

Jipangu has a First Family that rules over the whole city and decides disputes between the other families. The most honorable family holds this position and only loses it in a challenge by another family or through a major dishonorable event for the First Family. In the case of a dishonored First Family a council of all the families is called to decide which of them will take the place of the First Family in the new order.

The art of the city is some of the best in the world and it is present throughout the whole city. Almost every object, piece of furniture, and wall is decorated in some way. Vines, flowers, and all things natural and beautiful are usually the subject of art. If Jipanguese art was a representation of the real world then there would be no people, actions, or conflict in it. These things are always absent from the walls, paintings, and sculptures of Jipangu. Their focus is on still-life pictures.

Jipangu joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. Arendil, the current head of the First Family, leads the Alliance as well. Jipangu is currently hosting thousands of refugees that escaped from Phoenix when the city was conquered by the Xorians. The influx of people puts a strain on Jipangu’s resources, but imports from the rest of the Alliance have alleviated some of that burden.

The refugees of Phoenix along with many people from Dalleer, Dorrowsan, and Shalerton have all gathered outside of Jipangu for military training. Gradorian and Junai, the previous leaders of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix, are in charge of this vast training program. Kig Yupington assists the two generals as he can with the Dorrowsan Scepter. The training is further accelerated by rituals read from the Tome of Agamemnon. These rituals purify water teleported to the city from the Geyser of Talos. Any who drink this water are transformed into a terrifying warrior for a day. This transformation allows the trainees at Jipangu to learn techniques and strategies that would normally be beyond their abilities.

Geyser of Talos
Where ye Geyser of Talos is for reference

-GoCorral

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Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve

My D&D group had our hangout with our friend in San Jose this weekend. Someone suggested naming the event, “Fake Chinese New Year’s,” because its an additional party after the official Fake New Year’s, just like Chinese New Year’s is in the USA.

I picked up my spy partner from the previous post and we went to our San Jose friend’s house together. After catching up a little we started the gaming off with a few rounds of Three Dragon Ante.

Three Dragon Ante is a game made by Wizards of the Coast for D&D. It’s meant to be a card game that the people play in D&D worlds. It’s a bit like poker with a three card hand, but with tons of other rules and suits thrown in. Each suit has a special effect when you put it into your flight (the hands are called flights because they cards are all dragons). The special effect only activates if your card is weaker than the one your opponent played previously. The person with the highest hand at the end of the round wins the pot. You can see that you have to balance between activating your effects or playing high cards to win the pot.

Three Dragon Ante has a nice flow to it and we played two games of it. After that we went to pick up some pizza and talked about which roleplaying system we’ll be using for my next campaign. I and a few other group member have gotten tired of playing D&D 3.5. We feel we’ve explored everything we can with the system. The new systems I’ve looked at are D&D 4E and Hackmaster. Hackmaster has a lot more appeal within my group so we discussed a few of the benefits of that system.

Our next game was Samurai, an old card game where each player is a samurai in feudal Japan. You attempt to gain honor by faithfully serving a respectable daimyo. The daimyos fight each other and there’s a lot of espionage and backroom deals to gain more power as well. I won that one, but just barely.

Another of our buddies showed up at that point. We switched to playing a new card game I’d gotten for Christmas, Villainy. Villainy is all about completing your villainous schemes as a super-villain like Lex Luthor. You have to gather a team of loyal henchman, commit nefarious crimes, complete your master plan, and finally defeat Fantastiman, Defender of Good and Justice. I played the nefarious Frog Tamer and attempted to decaffeinate the world’s coffee supply. Unfortunately, Master Asaurus Pain completed his vile scheme to release Fantastiman’s browser history before me, thus winning the game.

We went out for dinner at a Filipino place that served exclusively dishes with meat and eggs. We watched the final quarter of a football game between the Ravens and some other team. After that I had to head out. I dropped my friend off back at his house. On the drive home I listened to part of a Hardcore History on World War 1 that described what the USA was doing prior to entering the war.

And that’s the word on Fake Chinese New Year’s! I have yet to talk about Christmas stuff yet, but I’ll be getting there soon.

-Mister Ed

Samurai War

It's back, baby!
It’s back, baby!

One of my favorite websites, Samurai War, has returned from the banished depths of the internet!

Samurai War is my favorite website mostly for nostalgia reasons.

When I first started going on the internet in the late 1990s I spent most/all of my time at the GameFAQs boards learning more about the games I was playing at the time.

GameFAQs has a series of discussion boards devoted to every video game ever.

When you post on the boards you have the option of every single one of your posts being followed by a signature. The signature can really be anything and often people would put links in their signatures.

The links could go to the user’s website or to something more fun like a browser based game.

Samurai War was one of those browser based games that I grew to love.

The concept of Samurai War is pretty simple. You’re a samurai/ronin in ancient Japan. Your goal is to become the most powerful samurai in Japan. Maybe you want to be in charge of a noble house or maybe you want to remain a ronin, either way the goal of the game is to advance your character’s stats.

Stats are advanced through training, but you have to pay for training. Where does money come from then?

Well if you click the link above to Samurai War’s webpage you’ll be introduced to the first method of earning money in Samurai War.

The second method is by engaging people in combat. The winner takes whatever is in the loser’s wallet. In the modern world we call this mugging, but in Samurai War it is called honorable combat.

Of course if you’re just stealing money from other players then no new money enters the system. The game fixes that by having a NPCs spawn every few minutes for you to rob and murde- I mean defeat honorably.

The game is extremely minimalist beyond that. It’s mostly text. There are a few images on the site but nothing stunning. There are zero animations in the game.

So with so little to offer in this game, why do I love it so much?

I’d have to say it’s mostly the friendly competitive atmosphere that developed between the me and the other people were playing it.

After you’ve got a decent amount of money you have to rush to use it to train before someone else in the game sees you with a wallet that big and decides to “honorably take it from you.”

And if they kill you after you’ve already used the money, then you get to laugh at them.

It’s a great game and if you’re into little time wasters you should take a look at Samurai War.

-Mister Ed

Father’s Day 2014

I went home last weekend for Father’s Day.

Unfortunately for you, my dad and I are not into taking pictures of ourselves that much.

Instead you get a picture of what I gave my dad.

My dad and I spend a lot of our time together watching movies.

One of the first types of movies we watched together were Japanese samurai movies (Chanbara movies in Japanese).

I don’t think I got much out of the samurai movies when I was a kid because they were subtitled and in black and white.

Now I really appreciate the genre. A ton of my favorite movies are samurai movies.

Some greats to check out include: Rashomon, Hidden Fortress, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Harakiri, Throne of Blood, and Chushingura.

One interesting thing about samurai movies is that they are often adapted for Western audiences as… well, westerns.

Yojimbo and Sanjuro were turned into A Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars MoreSeven Samurai became The Magnificent SevenChushingura was made into an action movie called 47 Ronin instead of a western. Throne of Blood is actually a Japanese adaption of Macbeth. Finally, Hidden Fortress inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars.

What’s my point with all this? Well, because my dad and I like samurai movies we also like westerns.

I recently started listening to a lot of western themed songs.

The songs are like little mini western movies. Marty Robbins is a singer who basically only writes within that small genre.

I got my dad a mix CD of these cowboy songs along with a pair of movies that inspired two of the songs, High Noon and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is an iconic song of the genre. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen to it and get a taste of the genre.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

-Mister Ed