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Shichi-Go-San

Shichi-Go-San

Today, I went to my local jinja to pay my respects, and the precincts were positively overflowing with families in suits and small children in kimono. It’s Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) season. Shichi-Go-San is a rite-of-passage festival for children, held at age 3 for both boys and girls, and again at age 5 for boys, and age 7 for girls, hence the name. Traditionally, these ages were Japanese “counted years” ages, in which you count every calendar year in which you have…

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A Sample

A Sample

Here is a sample of text from the first scenario. This section concerns the creation of the norito for a harae to purify the personae. Norito The rules for creating each part of the harae are the same, and we will create the norito first. First, one of the personae must come up with a concept for the norito. To do this, roll a number of dice equal to norito knowledge, and keep a number equal to norito skill, following…

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Matsuri Creation Example

Matsuri Creation Example

In this post, I want to give an example of creating a matsuri. There are two people working together to design the matsuri. Yukihiko is a shinshoku, but still fairly young, while Hanami is a miko at the same shrine. Yukihiko has norito knowledge 4 and norito skill 2, mikë knowledge 2 and mikë skill 3, and kagura knowledge 4 and kagura skill 1. Hanami has norito knowledge 1 and norito skill 0, mikë knowledge 3 and mikë skill 2,…

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Matsuri Elements

Matsuri Elements

The players need to be able to describe the matsuri that their personae have created, and most players do not know anything about Shinto matsuri when they start playing, so the game system needs to support the description. This is the most important function of elements. The elements are things that are included in the matsuri, and can be mentioned in the description. As noted earlier, elements come in two types: generic elements, and special elements. Generic elements are simply…

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Creating Kagura

Creating Kagura

The important difference between kagura and norito or mikë is that it is possible to fail to perform kagura. Once a norito has been written, it is simply a matter of reading it off a sheet of paper, as shinshoku do not memorise most norito. It is theoretically possible to fail to read the norito, but that’s not a possibility it makes sense to include in the game. Similarly, once mikë has been selected, it is simply a matter of…

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Creating Matsuri

Creating Matsuri

What are the mechanics for creating a matsuri? Creating the baseline matsuri doesn’t need any mechanics at all; the shinshoku just copies the norito out of a book and does the basics. The mechanics, then, are for improving a matsuri beyond the baseline. A baseline matsuri provides 1 shin’i, no dice to roll to determine whether the request is answered, and makes 1 request. It should be fairly easy to improve this, so that even a novice persona can create…

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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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Matsuri Effects

Matsuri Effects

In the early stages of the game, matsuri are the main way in which personae can influence kami. If they are not kannagi, personae can only speak directly to the kami when they are all in kamikakushi, which is, by default, a relatively rare situation. The way in which matsuri influence kami is, therefore, a very important part of the game. Much of what personae do will be the creation and performance of matsuri, in order to have an influence…

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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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Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri are the fundamental activity in Shinto. Indeed, a book recently published as an introductory text for people training for the priesthood is called “Jinja and Matsuri”. In contemporary Shinto, most matsuri are extremely ritualised and solemn, but some involve mobs of people running around the town with a giant wooden penis. There is a standard form, but personae have a great deal of freedom in designing matsuri. Conceptually, a matsuri welcomes a honoured visitor, the kami. The people provide…

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