Friday, April 24, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 25th.

This weeks offering of Samurai Saturday on IFC, is the Kurosawa classic - "Yojimbo". Another great one from Kurosawa, this is probably my 2nd favorite of his work (nothing beats Seven Samurai for me). The tale of a lone ronin working two sides of a gang war to clean up a small town. This is another movie that was remade several times by the west, including the Bruce Willis movie, "Last Man Standing". Here is the IFC synopsis:

1961 | 110 min. | Director: Akira Kurosawa | TVMA
Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to let the enemies tear each other apart. Imprisoned for his "treachery," he escapes just in time to watch the two warring sides wipe each other out. This was his plan all along, and now that peace has been restored, he leaves the village for further exploits. Yes, Yojimbo was the prototype for the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" picture A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The difference is that Fistful relies on Eastwood for its success, whereas Yojimbo scores on every creative level, from director Akira Kurosawa to cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa to Mifune's classic lead performance.

Monday, April 20, 2009

100 Bujin

I have written up 100 Bujin to use as NPC in the Ruins & Ronin white box edition game. This table was inspired by Steven Page's 140 NPC's for Swords & Wizardry. (Which you can find in the download section of the S&W site).

You can find 100 Bujin, here. Enjoy.

--Mike D.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 18th.

This week's IFC offering for Samurai Saturday is Akira Kurosawa's "Hidden Fortress". This was George Lucas' primary inspiration for "A New Hope", so it will seem familiar to you if you haven't seen it. Below is the synopsis from IFC.

Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (original Japanese title: Kakushi Toride No San Akunin) stars Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara as a pair of misfit soldiers. Running from the enemy after a disastrous defeat, the two soldiers fall in with general Toshiro Mifune, who is in search of a huge cache of gold. Mifune is also desirous of freeing princess-in-exile Misa Uehara from the clutches of the evil victorious army. Several large and small battles ensue before Mifune can realize his goal. If the plot of Hidden Fortress sounds vaguely familiar to you, try this exercise: substitute two robots for Chiaki and Fujiwara, Mark Hamill for Mifune, and Carrie Fisher for Uehara. George Lucas himself admitted that Hidden Fortress was a principal inspiration for his Star Wars saga; stretching the point farther, both Hidden Fortress and Star Wars had their roots in John Ford's The Searchers. Originally released in a 137-minute form, The Hidden Fortress was sliced to ribbons by its American distributors, and years later received extensive restoration.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Page Dungeon Contest

It seems that there is to be a contest using the one page dungeon template, you can read about the contest here. Looks to be an interesting contest, and I think I may have to enter it. I have been kicking around a small Ruins & Ronin dungeon in my head anyway, and what better way to work on it? There are prizes involved, even. Not that I think I will win, but it might be fun to try.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More of the end...

I have been working on more of my character classes for my "The End" setting - though I am not sure I will keep that name. Anyway, this is my zombie apocalypse setting (based heavily on my love of the Romero zombie genre and too much playing Left 4 Dead on the PC).

I have been tinkering with the scholar class, which is my tech wizard. They are able to build and repair tech based on their level. I have also changed the S&W Saving Throw, to the new "Scavenging Throw". This is the target number you must roll on 1d20 to find items you are scavenging for (be it bullets, medicine, or tools). Each class has a bonus based on the items they scavenge for.

I have also updated my previous classes (Gunslinger and Medic), all can be found at the below links or on my sidebar.

Gunslinger (v1.1)
Medic (v1.1)
Scholar (v1.1)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Updated version of R&R uploaded...

I have just uploaded my version 1.2 of the Ruins & Ronin white box version. This is probably the last I will do for this version other than some clean up. I need to start working on the core rules version that has languished these last few weeks. It has suffered from neglect after the character classes started to bloat a bit. I plan to cut that down some too. Stay tuned for further core rules news. Meanwhile, enjoy the mostly completed white box version of Ruins & Ronin!

The download can be found here, or on my sidebar to the right.

Happy Birthday!

To me!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 11th.

This saturday's offering on IFC's Samurai Saturday is Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood", which is a re-imagining of Shakespeare's Macbeth. I confess, I have never watched this one all the way through. (Oh, the shame!). Here is the quick synopsis:

Macbeth is reimagined as a samurai in feudal Japan in director Akira Kurosawa's classic adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy. Familiar with Orson Welles's more faithful adaptation, Kurosawa chose to place a more personal stamp on his version by translating the events and characters to historical Japan. The equivalent of the tragic Scottish lord is Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), a valiant warrior whose life is transformed by an encounter with a ghostly female spirit. The spirit offers several predictions, finally stating that Washizu will rise to power over the current warlord. When these predictions begin coming true, he and his ambitious wife decide to ensure his ascendancy to power by murdering the current ruler. As with Macbeth, Washizu achieves his goal, but his guilt and the suspicions of others soon bring about his downfall. The shift to Japanese settings is seamless, creating a historically accurate and resonant work with a culturally distinct visual style. The supporting performances also recall Japanese tradition, particularly Isuzu Yamada's creepily unemotional take on Lady Macbeth, while Mifune proves consistently gripping in the sheer intensity of his performance. The intelligence of Kurosawa's alterations retains the drama's tragic impact, especially during the conclusion, in which Washizu makes a memorable final stand against an advancing army. Impressive in every regard, Throne of Blood seems secure in the pantheon of superior film adaptations of William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Ancient City of Vendja

I have been reading Amityville Mike's blog (The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope) and his latest articles are about cities, you can find the first article here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Samurai Saturday: Apr 4th.

This month seems to be "Kurosawa Month" as they have a great lineup for April's Samurai Saturdays on IFC. This week is my favorite movie of all time, Seven Samurai. This movie inspired the classic western Magnificent Seven. Here is the IFC plot synopsis for those who have never seen this great film (oh! the shame!):

Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei's disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village's defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009