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Thread: Ghosts have been keeping me busy!

  1. #1

    Default Ghosts have been keeping me busy!

    Sorry, for the hiatus from the forum for the last month or so, I've been a busy guy working on two publication settings and my other publishing project, naturally all three dragged their feet, and now all three are calling for my attention as forward movement to publication is close for all three.

    My Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting is about to get its final written rendition by Jonathon McNulty of Open Design Project/Kobold Quarterly. While the 3 part mini campaign is already outlined or partially written, I have enough material to describe the entire adventure path. However, for the main setting handbook, I am still trying to get a handle on best presentation of that material. I keep having new ideas...

    One stroke of luck, however (I seem to have lots of good luck these days), one of the sites I visit for Japanese folklore resource material is - basically a wiki site containing all sorts of Japanese monsters, ghosts and odd stories. They have a forum there, and recently someone named Zach Davisson introduced himself as an expert on yokai and yurei.

    It turns out that Zach went to college in Japan, where he was introduced to the concept of Yurei or Japanese Ghost, having lived in a 'haunted' apartment with his Japanese wife. The experience lead him to writing his Master's thesis on Yurei of Japan. He has since written many articles in both English and Japanese for various online and printed magazines, as well as some work for nWOD (the publishers of Vampire the Masquerade.)

    At this time, Zach is my 'technical advisor' in all things, yokai (shape-changers), yurei (ghosts) and as a translator of Japanese language and literature. As an exchange of services I am currently reading his unpublished book, called Yurei - Japanese Ghosts.

    Considering I've been on the hunt for a book on Japanese ghosts for over a year, and only finding books written in Japanese, giving feedback on an unpublished book on Yurei - what an opportunity, and finally a resource I can count on - what a break!

    Anyway, that's what I've been doing, so still very busy. I hope to enter at least one map into the Sept/Oct NYC map challenge, but probably won't be able to start until sometime in October - I think I can finish in time, like I said busier than usual these days. Hopefully after a couple of these projects get published I will have more time... we'll see.

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  2. #2


    Also I recently learned more about the 16th century ghost story game played first by the aristocracy warrior class, before spreading across Japan and have remained popular all the way up to the modern era. It is where I found the name Kaidan - as the title of my feudal Japan/Asian horror setting.

    The game was called: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai - which means, "a gathering of 100 weird tales, (ghost stories)". 100 candles are lit and placed in a large circle. Story tellers and listeners sit within the circle. As a single story is completed in its telling, the teller wets his fingers and douse one candle. This process continues until 100 stories are told, and 100 candles extinguished. As the last candle is doused and full darkness settles in on the participants, something dark and evil or dead has been attracted and is waiting outside for one of the participants - or so it is said.

    I plan to include this description with the start of my setting.

    I think its cool that I'm designing a Japanese horror game, using the same name as a ghost story telling game from five centuries ago. It seems like fate, that I am doing so.

    Thought you might find that interesting - I did.


    PS: as an aside, I am taking my nephew to spend a night in a supposedly 'most haunted house in Indiana', the Hannah House, while doing a 'ghost hunt' with a group of ghost hunters and their usual gear of IR cameras, recording devices, etc. It should be fun - and widen my ghostly experiences of late...
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 09-23-2010 at 07:14 PM.
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

  3. #3


    That sounds like an insanely long game, unless the stories are long the lines of "The last man on Earth sat alone in his room. There was a knock at the door."

    "Knock" by Frederic Brown
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  4. #4


    Actually the game was played as more a collection of strange happenings as personal eye-witness accounts from the story tellers themselves, or people they knew. At the time, everyone assumed these were 'true' stories. Most weren't stories per se, and westerners often comment, "that wasn't scary." Some of course are famous tales retold, but most fall into accounts of seeing apparitions, poltergeist activity, trees that didn't blow in the wind, how a rock came to look like a snake - that sort of thing. Some are kappa sitings, or tengu sitings. so not all the stories were about ghosts, sometimes folklore beings, remnants of deitites witnessed, etc.

    The game was played in August, as unlike the west, the scary or haunted season was late summer, not the chilling autumn 'Halloween' season of the west. When the temperatures are hot and humidity high - this is the time ghosts show up in Japan. The Obon Festival held on August 15, is the Festival of the Dead, when ancestors visit their living families, partake of food and offerings, and eventually are sent back on a paper boat with a candle to float to down a river or stream to return to the land of the dead. The end of the festival is noted for streams and rivers with thousands of paper boats with candles floating downstream.

    Though the game was shared with visitors and family alike, apparently its origins were trying to discover which samurai was afraid of ghosts - as a sort of fun 'test of manhood'. Could one stay the entire length of 100 stories and not show fear when the last candle goes out.

    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 09-24-2010 at 01:31 PM.
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

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