Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Black Tokyo: Fetish and Folklore

Appeared in Races of….
Size and Type
What Are They, Really?
The Tatakama
Medium Undead
Pathetic, shit-eating undead
Bloodstrong Men
The Tatakama
Large Humanoid
Incestuous tribal warriors
Daughters of Kirin
The Tatakama
Medium Monstrous Humanoid
The superstrong daughters of an equine god
The Tatakama
Medium Humanoid
Many-eyed thieves
Black Japan
Medium Outsider (native)
Oversexed refugee from a fantasy
The Tatakama
Medium Outsider (good, native)
Severe, two-mouthed celestial harbingers
Black Japan
Medium Undead
Cute undead schoolgirls
Ironclub Oni
The Tatakama
Large Outsider (native)
Brutally strong but dull-witted giants
The Tatakama
Medium Outsider (native)
Helpful and skillful minor deities
The Tatakama
Medium Plant
Innocent and playful plant creatures
The Tatakama
Medium Fey (shapechanger)
Mischievous, shapeshifting fox spirits
The Tatakama
Medium Humanoid or Animal
Dour, dwarflike folk that are more animal than human
Black Japan
Medium Humanoid
An enslaved species of half-woman felines
Black Japan
Small Fey
Child-shaped and lethal protector of children
Black Japan
Medium Monstrous Humanoid
Ultra-creative and loving companion robots
The Tatakama
Medium Humanoid (shapechanger)
Shifty, shapeshifting raccoon spirits with enormous magical testicles
The Tatakama
Medium Undead
Mournful ghost of a woman who died while pregnant
Black Japan
Medium Monstrous Humanoid
Endlessly enraged, ghostwalking killers

            Black Tokyo Unlimited: Races of Black Japan just hit at RPGnow, and I’m well into both a magic item sourcebook and a comprehensive atlas and revised monster manual for the Black Tokyo setting. I put together this chart last night to keep the 18 major races of the setting straight in my own head, and I figured I’d talk a little about how I chose these various races for Black Tokyo.

            As you can see by the character choices available to the players, Black Tokyo is anything but a standard fantasy setting. While nothing’s stopping you from playing an Elf or Dwarf, there’s very little mechanical support for it. Instead all the races are either drawn from traditional Japanese folklore, or else embody either a particular fetish or J-horror trope. Mechanically, I’ve done some different things with Black Tokyo than most other Pathfinder designers- for example, looking over that list you’ll find lots of Outsiders and three Undead player races to choose from. I’ve always wished that 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons (and later the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game) had included some kind of undead species as a core race, because allowing players to be undead opens up some great possibilities, both mechanically, and in terms of story.

            Anyway, most of the player races on the list are purely mythological, and the mythic races actually tend to be weirder than the stuff I come up with myself. Actually, that’s been true throughout the Black Tokyo writing process. One of the motifs I hope readers take notice of (especially in my upcoming atlas and magic items books) is that traditional Shinto folklore and Japanese ghost stories have the same imaginative, gory, ero-horror edge that the best modern hentai stuff has. I want to show an unbroken cultural continuity linking the old myths and stuff like Legend of the Overfiend.

That’s not to say I kept any of the critters in Black Tokyo culturally ‘pure’- rather I sorta view Black Tokyo as the “Ultimate Marvel” version of the old myths- keeping what works, molding the core concept into something taking place in the modern world and revamping whatever I feel is too silly or nonsensical. Rite Publication’s Kaidan setting, which I love and reference often, is doing much the same thing with Japanese monsters that I am, but hewing a little closer to the traditional versions than I am.

Next up are races that either embody a particular fetish or horror trope. These include the Goryohime, the Bloodstrong Men, the Akaname, and the Yurei, among a few others. Some of have clear analogues in J-horror- the Yurei are basically a player character version of Samara from the Ring, as I mentioned in a preview post a few months back. The rest embody a particular and popular extreme Internet fetish, and by their selection should tell the Game Master that the particular player wants to explore that specific fetish with their character (or the player just likes the mechanics behind a particular race, for power gamers).
Basically it works out that

Akaname = scat
Bloodstrong Men = incest porn
Goryohime = snuff sex & erotic asphyxia
Koropokkuru = bestiality (but are also a traditional folkloric race; the Daughters of Kirin could also be included in this fetish category)
Nekemusume and POETICA = sex slaves/harems (and the POETICA are a riff on cute androids like Chi from Chobits)
Nikusi = lolicon, but with a dark edge

Sooner or later, I’ll include a vore/cannibalism focused ‘hero’ race, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet, and so far I’ve limited vore and gynophagia elements to the villains of the setting.

            So is Black Tokyo is all about various fucked up fetishes intruding on a fairly standard Oriental Adventures type setting? Yes and no. Originally Black Tokyo was just something I put together over the course of a few months; it was only after the first edition started selling that I decided to revisit the setting, and I only began really building the world in Black Tokyo II: Chastity & Depravity.

Now, it’s become my biggest selling and most perverse setting. I don’t really have an editor, and there’s no one telling me what I can and can’t write, but I write differently for my different game lines. Galaxy Command and most of my generic Pathfinder Roleplaying Game stuff is fairly all-ages; Psi-Watch focuses on militaristic violence and implied sex. It’s like the old Image Comics that inspired it, R-rated but not necessarily mature. Otherverse America is my serious setting, my mature readers line, not really so much for explicit sex, but because the setting’s central themes are so heavy: abortion, prejudice, terrorism, religious hatred, ect.

Black Tokyo though- that fucking setting is where the wheels fall off the car. I actually force myself, a lot of times, to keep writing until I go past my comfort zones and actually squick myself out. And than I write a little more, try and make things just a little bit more fucked up. I’ve seen a lot of Internet criticism of the setting (which is a major reason I avoid 1d4Chan and Something Awful’s gaming forums) and a lot of the posts actually question my sanity (or casts me as some kind of drooling misogynist, which is kinda ironic, actually). Am I actually into all this weird shit? Not really; my subconscious is a pretty messy place, but not quite that dark. It’s a fun setting to play in, and the more research into obscure myths I do, and the more mythic elements I include, the more I like it. While revamping Black Tokyo I’ve been reading everything from badly fan-translated hentai to doctoral thesis on Japanese folklore. The combination of deep scholarship and fucked up fetish is a fun one to create, and should keep readers on their toes.

Anyway, that combination of folklore and fetish is on full display in the magic item book. Right now, I’ve got 150 magic items (WAY up from the 38 items in the original Black Tokyo), and already have art for a good number of them. At this point, I’m unsure if I will add additional items to the book, as 150 is a great round number for a sourcebook, or save any additional items for later splat-books. I previewed five of my favorite items a few posts ago, so take a look at the item roster.

Magic Armor
1.      Amaterasu’s Ribbon
2.      Bishamon’s Do
3.      Blessed Rice Coat
4.      Casual Steel
5.      Carp Scale Shirt
6.      Cold Winds Skirt
  1. Demon Hunter II Tactical Body Armor
8.      Enenra Rubber
9.      Glisten Shirt
  1. Idol’s Skirt
11.  Otome’s Slip
12.  Masochistic Swimsuit
13.  Police Lady Uniform
14.  Police Section Seven Duty Uniform
15.  Salarimn’s Suit
16.  Silk Coil Harness
17.  Sleepy Dress
18.  Tanso Middle School Dress
19.  Yakuza’s Suit


Magic Weapons

1.      Beauty Knives
2.      Collapsing Reed Cane
3.      Daikoku’s Blade
4.      Ebisu’s Harpoon
5.      Eyrines 5.7mm  SMG
6.      Exorcist’s .50 Caliber
7.      Flying Nagatana
8.      Gashapon Armada Bag 
  1. Girl Hunting Tonfa
10.  Guro Blade
  1. Guro Scalpel
  2. Hell Annihilating Sniper Rifle
  3. Hellclub
14.  Hero’s Mallet
  1. Heroic Tanto
  2. Jurojin’s Staff
17.  Kaishaku’s Katana
18.  Monster Brand
19.  Police Section Seven Tonfa
20.  Splattercore Shotgun
21.  Queen Satan Knuckles
  1. TBMS Catcher’s Tonfa
23.  Yakuza’s Pistol
24.  Viper Tongue Mempo
25.  Yurei’s Cutter

Wondrous Items
(Cn) indicates Consumable Items

  1. Adoration Smoke (Cn)
  2. Ainu Kut
  3. Aizen Myo Ona-Hole
  4. Akaname’s Sticker
  5. Animal Tail Plug
  6. Athlete’s Egg
  7. Baku Call Charmlets
  8. Baku Pillow
  9. Benten’s Headphones
  10. Benten’s Stud
  11. Binzuru Idol
  12. Blushing Dildo
  13. Cat-Girl’s Leash
  14. Cat-Girl’s Neko
  15. Centipede Bracelet
  16. Chrysanthemum Seven Official Panties
  17. Coinless Card
  18. Convenient Yatai
  19. Cosmic Tights
  20. Cosplayer’s Bangle
  21. Cum Vial (Cn)
  22. Cute Purse
  23. Daikoku’s Ring of Fortune
  24. Daruma Doll (Cn)
  25. Devotional Scroll (Cn)
  26. Dosojin’s Phallus
  27. Ecchi Charm
  28. Enlightenment Face
  29. Fisherman’s Stone
  30. Fugen Cellphone
  31. Fox’ Cape
  32. Ghost Sight Goggles
  33. Goetic Dildo
  34. Goryohime’s Tiara
  35. Gyaru Eyelashes (Cn)
  36. Haramaki
  37. Harigata
  38. Healing Matcha (Cn)
  39. H-book, the
  40. Hospital Mask (Cn)
  41. Hotei Fan
  42. Junishi Bangles
  43. Kami Pleasing Candy (Cn)
  44. Kirin’s Shoe
  45. Koropokkuru’s Whistle
  46. Linemaker’s Polymer (Cn)
  47. Lolita’s Lingerie
  48. Maiden’s Bells
  49. Manba Wool
  50. Medicine Gloves
  51. Misogynist’s Tie
  52. Motherblood Bandings
  53. Mongaku’s Robe
  54. Namazue’s Coffin
  55. Necromancer’s Phallus
  56. New Day Panties (Cn)
  57. Noh Mask, Geisha
  58. Noh Mask, Ghost
  59. Noh Mask, Kitsune
  60. Noh Mask, Oni
  61. Noh Mask, Samurai
  62. Nudist’s Camera
  63. Oni-Bane Memento
  64. Oni-bane Ribbons
  65. Otaku’s Ona-Hole
  66. Otoku-San Doll
  67. Perfection Change Soap (Cn)
  68. Pervert’s Guidebook
  69. Petit Mansion
  70. Project: Cute Pet
  71. Psychological Noose
  72. Safe Wipe (Cn)
  73. Salariman’s Tie
  74. Salariman’s Watch
  75. Shit Ofuda (Cn)
  76. Slit Mouth Mask
  77. Spearman’s Ring
  78. Spellcaster’s Egg
  79. Tantros ™ Pill (Cn)
  80. Tatami of Peace
  81. Temple Bell
  82. Theological Egg
  83. Torque of Moans
  84. Train Ofuda (Cn)
  85. Transmutational Gyno-Bed
  86. Ukemochi’s Salt (Cn)
  87. Ususama’s Tampon (Cn)
  88. Yakushi’s Bowl
  89. Yakuza’s Key (Cn)
  90. Yoshiwara Linens

Minor Artifacts
  1. Afterlife Armor
  2. Deep Pulse Armor
  3. Hell Coral Armor
  4. Herskin
  5. Kim-Un Skull Repository
  6. Skin of Pain
  7. Theotokotic Phallus
  8. True Lotus Bud (Cn)
  9. Wonderful Play

Major Artifacts
  1. Ae-Oina’s Spear
  2. Izanagi’s Spear
  3. Kata Yagami, the Imperial Mirror of Japan
  4. Kusanagi, the Imperial Katana of Japan 
  5. The Magatama, the Imperial Jewels of Japan


Kevin Cameron said...

I have recently started a d20 Modern Black Tokyo game with my wife and a couple of interested friends and I have a question for you about races. In the Black Tokyo book, you mention races found in Species: Udates:

Celestial Exemplar, The Cityborn, The Crowfolk, Daughters of Stone, Forest Smile Humans, Fur Choice Humans, Brimstone Humans, Dragonscale Humans, Mageborn and Prime Humans, Kitsune (originally creatures of Japanese myth), Lie Spawn, Monster Brothers, Primordial Champions, Spider Souled, Succubi Kin, Living Toys, Unbreathing, Dhampirs and Wild Fawn.

Where do I find these species updates? My wife really wants to play a dhampir.

Chris A. Field said...

Species Update was cancelled fairly early on- several of the races have appeared in other projects, though. For instance, a less supernatural version of the Neverborn now appear in Otherverse America, Kitsune are in Races of the Tatakama, ect.

Tell you what, send me an email at and I'll send you the old draft of the book.