It has been a month straight from hell. Making and giving semester-end tests, now grading, with a PhD deadline looming over my head in 10 days and smouldering homefires. I expect to crank out a few more posts and (gasp!) actually get out to a game soonish, so hopefully that will take the pressure off.
Here's a little bauble to get me back in the groove and shake up your Japan-themed game.
Every shrine and temple in Japan sells ‘omikuji’, fortunes or predictions written on pieces of sacred paper. You go to the temple wicket, pay a coin, then a monk hands you a carved wood cylinder with a pinhole at the top. You give the cylinder a good shake, then turn it upside down until one metal rod of the many inside slides out of the pinhole. The rod has markings on it, which the monk inspects, then he turns to a great cabinet of boxes behind him, opens the appropriate drawer, and hands you the rolled up omikuji. After reading your omikuji, tie it to a tree or line strung between trees on the temple grounds and pray that it either comes true if good, or that it doesn’t affect you too much if bad.
The omikuji first explains your general luck, with each level giving a different effect for the remainder of the day, session, or adventure as the DM sees fit. The following are suggestions, and DMs should feel free to tailor the bonuses or penalties to match the game as they run it.
OMIKUJI RESULTS (Roll 3d6)
3 大吉 - Daikichi - Excellent luck (Immediately go gamble and buy lottery tickets)
The character rolls two dice for all rolls and takes the best result. The character can also have one Save vs. Death against a normally unavoidable misfortune. Alternately, one ‘lucky’ thing may happen to further the plot of the adventure.
4 吉 - Kichi - Good luck
The character rolls two dice for all rolls and takes the best result.
3 中吉 - Chukichi - Fair luck
The character gets + 1 to all rolls.
4 小吉 - Syokichi - A little luck
The character gets + 1d4 to one roll type of his choice. Examples include attack, damage, saves, or skill rolls.
5-6 半吉 - Hankichi - Semi-good luck
The character gets + 1 to a roll of her choice. Examples include an attack, one weapon damage, one type of save, OR a certain skill roll.
7-8 末吉 - Suekichi - Uncertain luck
The character can reroll one failure, but does not have to take the new roll.
9-10 末小吉 - Suekokichi - Uncertain but a little luck
The character can reroll one failure, but has to take the new roll.
11-12 凶 - Kyou - Bad luck (Misfortune)
The character gets – 1d4 to a roll chosen randomly. Examples include an attack, one weapon damage, one type of save, OR a certain skill roll.
13-14 小凶 - Syokyou - A little misfortune
The character gets – 1 to a roll of the DM’s choice.
15-16 半凶 - Hankyou - semi-misfortunate
The character gets – 1 to all rolls.
17 末凶 - Suekyou - Uncertain misfortune
The character rolls two dice for any rolls and takes the worst result.
18 大凶 - Daikyou - Certain disaster (consider buying a karmic life insurance policy)
The character rolls two dice for any rolls and takes the worst result. The character must also make one Save vs. Death to avoid one random dangerous or deadly event. Alternately, one ‘jinxed’ thing may happen to obstruct or derail the plot of the adventure.
SPECIFIC FORTUNE RESULTS (Roll 1d10)
Besides general luck, an omikuji also gives you a specific detail of your fortune. Note that good effects apply only to the owner of a good omikuji, while bad apply to the ENTIRE party in addition to the owner. This will result in the character being called a厄病神Yakubyoukami (jinx or literally Plague God) and sometimes shunned or chased from the group until their luck turns.
1 方角 - Hougaku – Direction
If good, the character may never be lost. If bad, they move in a random direction until the omikuji wears off.
2 失物 - Shitsubutsu - Lost Things (いでがたし)
If good, the character may find an item they need at just the right moment. If bad, they will lose an important item exactly when they need it most.
3 緑談 – Endan - Love Marriage
If good, the character will encounter someone who would be a good mate or spouse for them. If bad, they will be the focus of attention for an obsessive and annoying suitor.
4 旅立 - Tabidashi - Starting a trip
If good, the character may arrive at their destination without random encounters or other traveling misfortune. If bad, they will have such encounters and detours at every opportunity.
5 商売 - Shobai - Business
If good, the character will have a bonus when selling items and a discount buying them, plus have access to just about anything they want. If bad, they will find what little items available either at insane prices or far beyond their means.
6 待人 - Machihito - Waiting for person
If good, the character will meet an NPC who can help them achieve their goal. If bad, they will either be unable to meet the person they seek or encounter a scoundrel who keeps them from their objective.
7 病気 - Byouki - Illness
If good, the character will have a bonus to resist the effects of disease, including those that usually do not offer saves. If bad, they inevitably catch whatever is going around.
8 建家 - Tateya - Building
If good, the character will have a bonus to find architectural secrets, or avoid traps. If bad, they will not find the former and inevitably trip the latter.
9 勝負事 - Shoubugoto - Gambling Luck (Gonna lose)
If good, the character may gamble with no or little chance of losing. If bad, they will certainly lose, and to a large degree.
10 学習 – Gakushu – Study.
If good, the character may get a bonus to experience or skill improvement rolls. If bad, they get a penalty.