Skip to main content

Kanabo

 An OSR-style take on Bushido with a Legend of the Five Rings vibe on top. Aesthetically it's Akira Kurosawa and similar film makers takes on Tokugawa-era Japan. It deliberately states that it is not attempting to achieve a historical recreation of the period and instead wants a broader more inclusive version of a notoriously chauvinistic society.

The game is distributed as three zines: Characters, Chroniclers and Adventure.

The Characters book explains the basic rules but mostly offers a lot of tables to quickly create a character. The mechanics use a d100 versus stats that are based on the elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) which map onto various aspects of the world. It is explicitly derived by the Sledgehammer/Brighthammer games and therefore mechanically is almost identical.

The Chroniclers booklet explains how to run sessions of Kanabo in the default mode which is that the wandering characters encounter a settlement that has a problem and they get caught up in resolving the situation. The rest of the booklet is taken up with tables that help create a mini-hex map around the village that contain geography and encounters. It's hard to review these kind of things without actually doing them yourself but reading through it I noticed that the usual problems with random table creation seem to apply here. The GM is meant to infer some likely problem from reading the situation the tables have created rather than the tables being procedural to create something consistent.

It would be nice to see some sub-table use that generated links between the hexes. I think possibly each hex is meant to be self-contained which makes sense in a hex crawler but less so if the problems of the settlement are the key focus of attention.

There's also my usual bugbear of the terrain generator having rivers (or equally often coast or mountains) but no rules that help create a river. Presumably when you roll a river hex you're meant to stop being random and add the additional hexes to make it work. To build on the problem there are Flood Plain and Swamp hexes but no rules that I can see at first glance that clusters these hexes together.

Presumably you should place the settlement in the centre, decide where it gets it's water from (most of the time that's going to be a river or a significant spring) and then roll for the adjacent hexes with that settled. A revised edition would benefit from some additional work.

The Adventure booklet is a pre-defined hex map based around a village renown for the delightful quality of it's peaches. Essentially it's the pick up and play version of the Chroniclers booklet. Various entries, whether they be locations or NPCs, are accompanied by prompt questions to allow each version of the setting to be made unique by the person running it. Here there are some linked rumours, mysterious and locations so I take from this that you are meant to prep a rationalise the random setup.

The Adventure booklet looks good to go so overall you do have a zero prep situation with a light rules system and quick random character generation.

Definitely one I'm going to try and get to play this year.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Temple of 1000 Swords

Troika!

Ruma: Dawn of Empire