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Matsuri Mechanics

Matsuri Mechanics

It is time to start getting specific about the mechanics for matsuri. In the real world, most matsuri at jinja follow a fixed pattern. The participants are purified, standard miki and mikë are offered, and the shinshoku reads a standard norito, copied out of a book of norito. Such a matsuri will be the baseline, because any shinshoku could do this, with no chance of failure. I could do this with no chance of failure. So, this sort of matsuri…

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Tamao

Tamao

Tamao is the main kami in, er, Tamao. The title of the novel is a bit of a giveaway there. I wrote the novel four years ago, so I didn’t design him in terms of these rules, but I should be able to do it retrospectively. In addition, this example should make sense even to people who haven’t read the novel (although it is still free to read, so if you have time, you can — and if you do…

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Shin’i

Shin’i

Shin’i means “kami authority”, roughly speaking. (The apostrophe indicates that you should finish the “n” before starting the “i”; it is shin-ee, not shi-nee. Pronounce “shin”, but not “knee”.) It is written with the character for “kami”, which is pronounced “shin” here, and the character used in for authority in the thirteenth century laws I quoted earlier: The kami increase their authority through the respect of the people, and the people increase their prosperity through the blessings of the kami….

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Interests of the Kami

Interests of the Kami

The eight powers defined in the previous two posts will determine the number of dice that kami get to keep when intervening in the world in a supernatural way. What, then, determines the number they get to roll? Here, I want to use the interests of the kami. As I said when introducing kami, every kami has her own interests, and is more likely to help in that area. In mechanical terms, this works well as a source for the…

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Powers of the Aramitama

Powers of the Aramitama

What, then, are the powers of the aramitama? Once again, I would like to have four, because human beings like symmetry, and it also makes things a bit easier to remember. The aramitama is concerned with change, disrupting the way that things are. As discussed in the last post, something counts as a change if the kami thinks that it disrupts the way things normally are. The first power is inspiration. Wisdom is about the way things are, while inspiration…

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Powers of the Nigimitama

Powers of the Nigimitama

When we come to define the game-mechanical powers that fall under each of the mitama, we are moving firmly beyond anything established in Shinto theology or legend, and into the purview of game design. The powers here are designed to allow kami in the game to do the things that kami do in legend, but they have no specific basis in those legends. I am making stuff up. As discussed in the previous post, the nigimitama favours the status quo,…

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Aramitama and Nigimitama

Aramitama and Nigimitama

Kami traditionally have two aspects, called the aramitama and the nigimitama. “Mitama” means spirit or soul, while “ara” means wild and violent, and “nigi” means calm and peaceful. “Aramitama” could be translated as “wild spirit”, and “nigimitama” as “calm spirit”. As kami are often thought of as spirits, it might look as though the aramitama and nigimitama are almost separate kami. Indeed, they are sometimes treated that way. At the Naiku of Jingu in Ise, for example, there are separate…

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Kami

Kami

As we saw from Norinaga’s definition, anything awe-inspiring can be a kami. For Kannagara, kami are going to be personal entities with supernatural power, and, in most cases, they will be spirits. This is partly because most kami are thought of this way in Shinto practice, and also because it works well for the game. Mount Fuji as a kami would not be easy to introduce into play, and it is hard to see how you could interact with it,…

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Kamikakushi

Kamikakushi

A persona who becomes a kannagi can see the supernatural at any time and in any place. The other option, kamikakushi, lets anyone see the supernatural, but only sometimes, and only in particular places. “Kamikakushi” means “hidden by the kami”, and could be translated “Spirited Away”. Indeed, the Japanese title of the Miyazaki anime called “Spirited Away” in English is “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi”: “Sen and Chihiro’s Kamikakushi”. In kamikakushi, a kami takes a number of people out of…

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Shinto, Jinja, and Kami

Shinto, Jinja, and Kami

Shinto is a central element in the setting of Kannagara, but it is not well-known outside Japan. I aim to have the game itself introduce the necessary ideas in play, but for this development blog, I fear that short info dumps are unavoidable. Shinto is the practice of performing matsuri for kami, primarily at jinja. There are no good English translations for “Shinto”, “matsuri”, “kami”, or “jinja”, so I will use the Japanese words, and explain them. There are roughly…

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