Thursday, March 28, 2013

Black Tokyo Unlimited Preview: The Goryohime Player Race

Okay, some Black Tokyo Unlimited news..... I recently finished up Black Tokyo Unlimited: Races of Black Japan, which focuses on six races common on 'our' side of the dimensional border separating Earth from the Tatakama. Some of them are races that originally appeared in Black Tokyo II, revised and updated for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game; two of them- the Goryohime, which are getting previewed here today, and the Yurei, are all new. BTU: Races of Black Japan will feature all new, kickass Amanda Webb artwork.

Right now, it makes better financial sense to release several mid-length PDFs under the BTU banner, with plans to eventually collect the content into a single HUGE revised campaign guide. Last night, (while waiting for the last artwork for Action Galaxy)I started revising all the magic items from the original Black Tokyo for their BTU debut, and I'm adding several new items. A few of the items need major revision- particularly the Animal Play Tails and Equine Corset- all the furry/pony play stuff is going to need a major revision. Not for content, of course, but because they need to be brought more fully in line with how Pathfinder handles shapechanging and the Beast Shape spell chain.

That said, take a look at the Goryohime race, which will be major players in the revised setting.

The Goryohime
Medium Undead

            Goryohime are a race of glamorous, bright undead culled from the ranks of Black Japan’s most beautiful young girls. Choosing a special form of ritualized suicide while still in their teens, these schoolgirl undead ensure their bodies will never change, their breasts will never sag, their skin will never wrinkle, their hair will never thin nor grey. After their suicide is complete, some continue in a kind of half life, retaining ties to their mortal existence.

Goryohime might still attend the same high school or preparatory academy they did in life, cling to the same clique of friends (some of which might eventually follow her into undeath), shop at the same hip stores. The only clue to their true nature is the coolness of their unblemished marble skin, or the distinctive, instantly recognizable raspy voice of a living ghost created through ritual strangulation. Others find their new existence as undead makes their world stranger than they could have imagined while they still breathed- they might attend classes as the prestigious Hanging Academy, learning the twin arts of necromancy and seduction. Others might become demon hunters and exorcists, hunting the oni and human predators that prey on Japanese high school girls.

            At first glance, a Goryohime could easily pass for the school girl she was in life. On closer inspection, her undead nature becomes apparent. A Guryohime does not breathe, and her heart does not beat; her milky white skin is cool and smooth. The Guryohime bears the marks of her suicide; her throat is black and purple with bruises and abraded with rope burns. Their tongues are long and black, and their voices have an instantly recognizable raspy sultriness.

            Goryohime dress in the same styles they enjoyed in life, with many adopting seductively modified school uniforms as a personal statement. The race as a whole is vain, fashionable and almost stereotypically girlish. Akaname who know them claim that the race smells faintly of the urine and shit they spilled in their last dying moments, a scent they find delightful. Ordinary mortals lack noses keen enough to detect this ghostly perfume.

            Guryohime are an undead strain of humanity, which cannot reproduce, and only continues by new girls choosing the Guryohime path. The vast majority (as high as 80-90%) of all successful Guryohime are of Japanese descent, though occasionally a girl from China, Korea or even distant America or Europe might hear the dream-call of the Great Tree. Future Guryohime have erotic nightmares of hanging noosed from one of the branches of a great tree of light. These nightmares begin shortly after the girl reaches puberty. Most girls fight the Great Tree’s compulsion on their own, or drown their dreams with anti-psychotic meds, but every year dozens of girls give in to the noose-dreams. If a girl reaches her twenties without giving into the noose-dreams, they fade entirely.

            A girl who chooses to become a Guryohime instinctively knows the steps necessary to complete her rebirth into undeath- the white kimono, the brown obi, the strangling noose woven with purple thread, the prayer, the song, the final kicking away of the stool….

            Relatively few would-be-Guryohime have the strength of will necessary to return as an undead girl. Most are simply lost to the afterlife and the great wheel of reincarnation. Guryohime don’t grieve for their failed sisters- they celebrate their lives, eroticize their deaths, and comfort with the fact they are promised to rebirth somewhere in the Tatakama as temple miko of the Great Tree.

Homes and Lands
            Guryohime are creatures of Black Japan’s cities, and attend school as strange, half-living students. Many still reside in their parent’s homes, or have small apartments near to their still living friends and relatives. An extremely high percentage of Guryohime make their homes near Aokigahara Forest, at the base of Mt. Fuji, as many of the undead girls ended their mortal lives in the eerily still “Sea of Trees”.

Racial Traits

Size and Type
Goryohime are Medium sized undead. As Medium creatures they suffer no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. A Guryohime’s base landspeed is 30 ft.

Ability Score Modifiers
+2 CHA.
As undead, Goryohime lack a CON score. Guryohime are physically attractive, cultivating their youthful beauty and choosing asphyxiating undeath to preserve this beauty forever.

Enhanced Senses
Goryohime possess lowlight vision.

Eased Passage Between Life and Death (SU)
Goryohime have died once, and orgasmed messily as they perished. They have no fear of dying again. Goryohime never lose a level for being raised from the dead or resurrected. They always return to existence as a Goryohime, however. Reincarnation has no effect on a Guyrohime.

If the Guyrohime casts raise dead or resurrection (or similar magic) to benefit another creature, that creature returns to life without suffering level loss or CON loss.

Noose Dreams (SU)
The noose-dreams which called the Goryohime into undeath give the girl a phenomenal insight into the nature of magic and the structure of the three realms: Earth, the Tatakama and the Black Else. Goryohime receive a +1 racial bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft checks. They receive a +4 racial bonus on Spellcraft checks made specifically to identify magic items from the Necromancy school.

Undead Immunities (EX)
            Goryohime have all the immunities common to Undead player characters.

Undead Player Characters
Undead player characters have all the traits common to Undead (described fully in The Bestiary), with one notable exception. As thinking beings, with true souls, Undead player characters remain vulnerable to mind-influencing effects. An Undead player character’s Hit Die, base attack bonus and base saves are determined by its character class.

Becoming a Goryohime In Game

            Unlike other forms of undead, like the Akaname and the Ubume who begin their ‘life’ as an undead creature, Goryohime live several years as a teenaged girl before accepting undeath. Over the course of a campaign, a female character with a CHA score of at least 11+ who is in the Young Adult age category might be blessed (or cursed) with noose-dreams of the Great Tree. Either the gamemaster or the player might decide that a specific character who meets those criteria begins experiencing the dreams, but the actual choice to become a Goryohime is always in the player’s hands.

            Unlike NPC Goryohime, who risk being lost to death forever, assume a player character Goryohime succeeds in the suicide-ritual and rises an hour or so after her death as an undead, still writing in her noose. The character loses all existing racial traits and race specific feats and talents, and gains the Goryohime’s racial traits. The character may select an equal number of Goryohime-specific talents and feats. She does not lose her old racial ability score modifiers, merely receiving a +2 racial increase to her CHA score.

Goryohime Alternate Racial Traits
            Chaste Goryohime (SU)
            The Goryohime followed a different path into undeath, and preformed a far crueler suicide ritual on herself. She followed the path of the Chinese Chaste warrior sisterhood. In her death ritual, she ritually severed her clitoris and sewed her labia shut with golden wire, before opening the veins in her thighs. Her undead flesh is as white and hard as porcelain, and her corpse still bears the signs of its mutilation.

            The Chaste Goryohime’s self mutilation hardens her will, and makes an apprentice member of the eternal, demon-slaying Chaste sisterhood. The Chaste Goryohime receives Combat Martial Arts as a racial bonus feat. The Chaste Guryohime receives a +1 racial bonus on saving throws against spells, spell-like abilities and other effects which specifically target the female gender.

            The Chaste Guryohime does not receive the Guryohime’s +2 racial bonus to CHA. This trait replaces the Guryohime’s Noose Dreams racial trait.

            Dead Daughter of the Tatakama (SU)
            The Goryohime was born and lived as a mortal girl somewhere in the endless twilight of the Tatakama. She crossed to Black Japan to begin a new existence in a world as strange and exciting as her own undead state. The Goryohime can sense the direction to and approximate distance to any Torrii Gate between realms, and receives a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge checks made to figure out how to open a sealed Torrii.

            Dead Daughter of the Tatakama replaces the Guryohime’s Eased Passage racial trait.

            Glamorous Spirit (SP)
            The Goryohime is a seductive and beguiling death-spirit. Once per day, the Goryohime can cast Charm Person as a sorcerer of her total character level. If the Goryohime engages in an hour long ritual which culminates in a second hanging, replicating her transformation to undead, for 24 hours she may choose to cast Charm Monster instead. This ritual must be witness by at least one living or Akaname character.

            Glamorous Spirit replaces the Goryohime’s Eased Passage racial trait.

            Peristaltic Magic (SU)
            The Goryohime will never forget the sensation of bladder and bowels empting in mortal death, and she uses these memories to fuel her sorcery. A Goryohime Modern Spellcaster receives a +4 racial bonus on WILL Saves made to safely overcast any spell with the Skatto descriptor (many of which are described in Spells and Gods of the Tatakama, Otherverse Games, 2012).

Even if she dies while overcasting a spell with the Skatto magic descriptor, she successfully casts the Skatto spell as if she possessed the Suicide Spellcaster feat.

            Peristaltic Magic replaces the Goryohime’s Noose Dreams racial trait.


Kevin Cameron said...

Honestly, Amanda Webb's artwork doesn't impress me. My wife draws manga & would love to draw for the new book & all we ask is for a copy of the book

Mandapandarawks said...

Does your wife have any of her artwork up online? I'd love to see it.
And thanks for the feedback. Sorry my artwork doesn't impress you, but I've been drawing a long time and I enjoy doing it. I can't make everyone happy.

Kevin Cameron said...

I think your art looks good & hey you're still much better than me. I'm a horrible artist lol. I just don't think it really fits the Hentai genre. I don't think my wife has anything current up & her art styles changed a little from the old. Her deviantart I'd is Yoshitaka-shadow

Chris A. Field said...

Kevin, I have to disagree with you on Amanda's artwork- she's damn talented, and perhaps even more importantly to a freelance artist, she pays attention to fine detail in the work requests I send her, and has an incredibly fast turn around time. I've recommended her to other companies quite a few times.

If you don't like her stuff, that's perfectly fine. However, insulting an artist I like and do tons of work with before saying I (or my wife in this case) can do better and asking for work is not a good idea, man.


Kevin Cameron said...

I apologize, I really didn't mean to come off as offensive though I guess I did. However as a fan of the anime genre, we were really hoping to see anime style artwork. Something that adds beauty to the sex & gore as befitting hentai such as drawn by Anthony Cournoyer

As I go back over the Black Tokyo book in my possession, I can agree Amanda is a talented artist, however her art just seems too Western for a sourcebook on hentai.

I don't want to turn this into a grudge match, so I will let my discussion drop off here & make no more comments.

Kevin Cameron said...

Just please remember that I am a customer & one of many. Thus, if my opinion means nothing, all you have to do is a search for reviews of Black Tokyo on Google and you can read many others.

Kevin Cameron said...

I know I said that was my last comment but I would like to clarify that my original statement concerning Amanda Webb's artwork was made prior to realizing which art was really hers.

Now that I have made the distinction, I personally love certain pictures of hers. The Freudian Oni is awesome. The art I really had a problem with I believe was actually yours, Chris.

Once again, don't take this as necessarily insulting or harassment. I know I am not a an art major or critic. I am merely a customer willing to spend his hard-earned money on products like Black Tokyo. I've said my peace, and now I will truly end these posts.

Chris A. Field said...

Yeah, there's a reason I don't do my own art anymore.

Kevin Cameron said...

I can fully relate. As I said, I am myself a horrible artist. Which can really hurt when you'd love to write manga and can't draw the scenes.