Tenra Bansho Zero: Wait, I like this scenario…October 25, 2012
Finally got to reading the included “playset” with the game – basically a nailed down setting bit for people to play in.
Normally I hate specific setting stuff in games – either lots of dry almanac style information that you have to crack open and think hard about to make useful, or lots of completely meandering history that is too convoluted and disjointed in it’s own ways. I had saved reading this towards the end of going through the book because I’m so used to being disappointed in this stuff.
Here, TBZ homes in on a simple, important issue – only talk about what is relevant to leading to current conflicts. In 21 pages you get few states to work with, but basically in 11 pages you get a good focus on one, with an idea of what it’s recent struggles are, what direction it’s going, what threatens it, and who are the folks in power that might save or damn it.
Like a good character, it’s got a direction and motivations driving the whole land and it’s politics. The characters are also laid out with their own goals and desires, and any one of them would be equally as entertaining as a PC as much as an NPC, and since they’re left without stats, it’s pretty easy to swing them either way. What helps is that no one is a clear villain – everyone’s got an understandable motive.
Under each section describing something or a character, they give suggestions story/situation ideas to jump into play with.