Gamers Guide to Feudal Japan: Daimyo of 1867
Different Worlds Publications
Samurai Warlords in Shogun Japan
Adventure through a world more alien and more exotic than you have ever experienced before, yet one that actually existed. Daimyo of 1867 provides a comprehensive catalog of samurai warlords in feudal Japan. Included are detailed information on every one of the 277 daimyo clans in the year 1867, towards the end of the samurai era.
Every daimyo is listed with the image of the mon "family crest," han "fief" name, revenue size, rank at the Shogun's castle in Edo, prior ancestry, and other clan information. Many clan domain descriptions are embellished with photos of their castles, history of notable ancestors, and information about any branch families. Maps of castles and their surroundings are provided wherever possible.
The information is organized as an handbook for creating more realistic backgrounds for role-playing games, boardgames, miniatures games, and computer games. It is also useful for those writing historical novels, screenplays, graphic novels, comic books, animé, and other creative works.
Background information includes geography, history, major roads, social structure, religion, monetary system, and government structure. A gamers guide is provided with suggestions for scenarios, descriptions of martial arts training, ronin, vengeance, the use of ninja, and the naming of a daimyo's son at a coming-of-age ceremony. There is also a special section with lists of samurai-themed games.
Among the daimyo you will find:
- Asano Naganori, the daimyo whose seppuku led to the revenge of the 47 ronin
- Kudo Suketsuné, who sparked the famous vendetta of the Soga Brothers, which took 18 years to complete
- Ooka Tadasuké, a minor judge with legendary wisdom, who eventually became daimyo
- Yagyu Munenori, the Shogun's sensei for swordsmanship, a hatamoto who became daimyo
- Oda Nobunaga, a minor daimyo who began the final unification of Japan after a century of civil war, and who is the inspiration for the video game series Nobunaga's Ambition
- Tokugawa Ieyasu, a minor daimyo who became Shogun, and established a dynasty that would rule the Land of the Rising Sun for two-and-a-half centuries, until the end of the samurai era.
Profusely illuminated with hundreds of photos and images of maps, woodcut prints, and paintings.
Suggested for mature readers.
By Tadashi Ehara
Reviews of Daimyo of 1867:
- The book is wonderful. It is breathtakingly full of information, and must have taken forever to research. What a wonderful addition to my library. I predict this will not only be on gamers' shelves, but a must for every student of Japanese history and culture as well.
—B. Dennis Sustare, Author of Bunnies & Burrows role-playing game, based on the heroic fantasy novel Watership Down by Richard Adams
- This is a real treasure trove of information, and not just for gamers or authors—it would be extremely useful as a reference for would be historians as well.
As with any survey of this scope, generalizations are sometimes made and certain topics simplified but make no mistake—there is a cornucopia of detail in the book. Authors can use the information herein to set up scenarios and backgrounds that are historically and culturally accurate. Gamers, especially those of the RPG and LARP persuasion, will be able to do so as well.
Apart from its value to the gaming community and writers, the "han" section of Daimyo of 1867 along with many of its details on other aspects of Japanese history makes it a useful and handy reference work for amateur scholars. Despite author Ehara's statement that "This is not a scholarly piece of work," there was a lot of research, hard work, and care put into the production of this sourcebook.
—Randy Schadel (aka Tatsunoshi), The Samurai Archives
- The information the book presents is not only engagingly written, but it's also well arranged, meaning that you can easily find your way around the book to locate the details you're seeking. That's a pretty impressive feat, especially in a book intended for use with roleplaying games, which are notorious in their poor organization.
... any book calling itself a "gamers guide" has to include game-related material and Daimyo of 1867 has about 25 pages devoted to generic gaming notes. These include campaign scenario outlines set in different eras of history and discussion of topics of particular interest to gamers, such as ninja, ronin, vengeance, and the like. In each case, Ehara makes clear what history has to say on these topics but doesn't lose sight of the fact that, in a game, it's often acceptable, even necessary, to alter details slightly to make things fun. In doing so, he manages to simultaneously inform and inspire and I found myself frequently imagining ways to use the information he imparted to create adventures and characters for Bushido. I can't imagine others won't be similarly inspired.
I daresay that Daimyo of 1867 is the only book about historical Japan that you'll need to run a great campaign, one that is both reflective of Japanese culture as it actually was but also intelligible to non-scholars. That's as strong a recommendation as I can make when it comes to historical RPG source material and I hope that the virtues of Daimyo of 1867 are widely recognized.
—James Maliszewski, Grognardia
The print edition is a 340-page softcover with a black-and-white interior. The PDF is a special color edition.
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