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[IaWA] Oracle of the Rising Sun

Started by ZenDog, September 02, 2008, 09:29:28 AM

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Hey, I made an Oracle. Give it a spin if you like the look of it.

Oracle of the Rising Sun


A  - A Sorcerer, a Kappa, a Bakemono, all await the roll of one dice. A dice made from the bone of a Bhuddist saint and cast by a Yamabushi.

2 - The student sprinkles water on the path. Only the master performs the tea ceremony. This is Chan-do, this is the way, but the student does not understand this.

3 - A travelling Shinobi meets the Buddha on the road.

4 - On a busy road a rude peasant accosts his betters with insults and arrogance but tears in his eyes.

5 - On a rope bridge, spanned across a mountain gorge, a fat priest and a Stone Demon meet in the middle.

6 - On the outskirts of a crude peasant village a black kitten hisses, spits, raises its soft claws. The Tiger facing it yowls and flees in fear.

7 - A young woman in Samurai armour wields a Golden Naginata. Her soul is dammed but she fights on for love and pride.

8 - A snow ghost sits beneath the shade of the dragon shaped plum tree.

9 - Two monkeys hear a priest's sermon and become enlightened.

10 - Shoisan puts away his sword and practises death.

J - The priest explains to the thief why the moon cannot be stolen.

Q - In the shadow of the Jade Temple, two Yakuza, a priest, and a demon fight for the Salt Dragon's soul.

K - Yamato-Dake No Mikuto destroys his enemies and saves himself from burning with the aid of a miraculous sword.


A -   Two mournful lovers, standing on a bridge, watched by a needful demon.

2 - An eagle, a viper grasped in his talons, flies over a lake. The viper strikes. Both fall into the lake and drown. A bad omen for the new Shogun who sits on the lake shore listening to his retainers.

3 - At the festival of the Awabi fish a lone Ronin faces the White Serpent God.

4 - A demon of fire falls in love with the maiden of the paper house.

5 - A young Samurai is taught the courtesy of the sword by an old Yamabushi with a stick.

6 - A wizened old man sits with a bamboo spear on his lap. Around him his home burns.

7 - Three Dai-Bakemono argue over the body of a slain Budoka

8  - A blind master cuts wood. Behind him an idiot boy, spear in hand, runs in circles playing war.

9 - The Taiko gathers his three sons and prepares to name his heir.

10 - A wise Ronin sits with young hot headed Samurais. He tells them, "if you sit by the river for long enough the body of your enemy will float past."

J - In a roadside teahouse a young Samurai seeks an assassin disguised as a blind masseuse. But in this teahouse there are two blind masseuses sipping sake.

Q - A Wrestler, a Geisha, a Samurai. A murder planned.

K - Mu-nan, the man who never turned back, experiences something on the road that makes him reconsider.


A - In the gardens of Ryojin Temple a monk rakes the pebbles. The perfection of the gardens enrages a demon.

2 - Four bearded Ainu present their bows to the Kami of the Yew tree.

3 - The Young boy plays the flute as he rides the bull home.

4 - An abbot pushes the young novice through the gateless gate.

5 - A Daimyo  and his retainers fish by the river's edge. A beautiful young girl arrives and asks what they are doing. She has never heard of fishing before.

6 - Snowy Morning. One crow after another, two armies clash – Basho

7 - On Buddha' Death Day the old priest prepares to take revenge.

8 - At a Shinto shrine General Nobrunga stands before his men. He tosses a coin to decide the outcome of the coming battle.

9 - In the forest a wolf and a dog face each other, hackles raised, teeth bared. On the ground, between them, a baby swaddled in the finest silks.

10 - Ishidomoro meets his father on the road but fails to identify him.

J - The ghost of Xoichi appears to The Three as they talk.

Q - On the eve of battle a Daimyo kneels before the Zen Master. The Master has a question, "How will you face your enemies?"

K - On a beach, thirteen of his retainers watch Lord Furozuko behead his son Shutoko.


A - A Samurai tied to a tree. His beautiful wife speaks earnestly to the bandit who stands over them, sword in hand.

2 - The Kami of the willow tree appears to the Samurai and the old man.

3 - Shozenji temple near Fushismi, long since abandoned, ruined. A priest, a pilgrim, a stranger. No sleep this night as the ghostly procession of murdered monks all demand vengeance on the bandits who killed them.

4 - A Disgraced Samurai reads his death poem and makes the three cuts. Seppeku has been committed but no blood flows. He still lives, as does his disgrace.

5 - A castle besieged. Inside, each night, haunting flute music. Outside, the enemy general sits to listen.

6 - Only the most perfect haiku will unlock the doors of Hell.

7 - An angry Yakuza opens his kimono. The tiger tattoo on his shoulder bares its teeth and snarls.

8 - On a mountain road two orange clad priests roll in the dust biting, gouging, and strangling each other. Their abbot watches clapping his hands with glee.

9 - Two samurai stop their duel when Cherry blossoms start to fall.

10 - A Shugenja performs the tea ceremony in an empty teahouse.

J - Two Samurai duel with bamboo swords.

Q - A Daimyo  falls from his palanquin. He shouts out to his retainers, "fly my flag from the walls of Kyoto," then dies.

K - Outside a barn a crowd has gathered. They watch as a greybeard Ronin shaves off his topknot, dons priest's robes, and enters the barn.

David Artman

They seem evocative and well-written, but I'd be a bit leery of many of them for one reason: they declare a situation right up front. It seems that "good" Oracles provide a scene that is steeped in tone (with characters and locations "embedded" in that scene) but doesn't have any explicit meaning or action for the scene. One group might read an Oracle and see situations emerging from it, implicitly, that are FAR different from what another group might read and see. But many of yours above contain the action in the scene already (the full situation) and leave little room for either (a) maneuvering the situation to another one or (b) replaying the same Oracle in combination with other Oracles and starting out with or arriving at different situations.

That said, if they make for fun games and your play group doesn't mind their being someone constraining (some groups might totally dig this... or even require it to avoid being paralyzed by the range of options and possible directions in a "vague" Oracle)... well, then Go Play and have fun! :)
Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


I agree with Dave; they sound coolbut they seem to front-load the game a lot.  Have you tried doing a few draws and walking through the creation of best interests? 

Particularly I don't see a good way to make the Buddha a character in the game.

David Artman

Quote from: Ryan Stoughton on September 04, 2008, 11:15:07 AMParticularly I don't see a good way to make the Buddha a character in the game.
Hehe, I do.

GM: "You see The Budda in the road."
Me: "I kill him."

It ain't much, but it's canon... ;)
Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages