Wednesday, April 15, 2009

better than witchfinder general

My internets for the past couple of days has consisted of men slogging through a whole bunch of wikipedia articles on medieval Japan. So if you've emailed me, I must apologize. I've got a crapload of unopened mail in the ol' inbox right now.

I've found a lot of neat stuff that could inform the Oriental Adventures campaign idea I've been kicking around. Here's one little juicy bit I dug up: the imperial Ministry of Ceremonies maintained a small cadre of officials dedicated to the inspection of tombs. What a great gig for an NPC! Assume the elaborate tomb of an ancient emperor has degenerated into a dungeon full of evil spirits and monsters. The local Tomb Inspector could serve as the patron of a good party devoted to clearing the monsters or as the foil of a more larcenous party intent on pillaging imperial grave goods. Maybe he sponsors his own party that serve as rivals to the PC group.

Think about it: who could the PCs hate more than a meddlesome bureaucrat intent on sucking all the fun out of dungeoneering? I wouldn't expect such a character to live very long, but unless the party is very careful in disposing of him they could be borrowing a lot more trouble than they want.


  1. If you haven't already read them, the Judge Dee novels by Robert van Gulik will definitely provide some inspiration along those lines.

    I think "The Chinese Bell Murders", "The Chinese Lake Murders", and "The Chinese Gold Murders" were recently re-issued, and should be fairly easy to find.

  2. Settembrini11:58 PM

    THink bigger, Jeff: Let the characters BE the Ministery of Tombs & Cairns!

  3. Better than a Witchfinder General? It could only be The Oni-thwacker Persuivant!

  4. Sett: I had considered the idea, but I ended up deciding that maybe I prefer a party that hangs together for discernable reason. Also, I don't think I want to make the game about anything.

    Now, if the PCs wanted to try and get appointments with the Ministry, that would be totally sweet. But that's something they would need to do under their own initiative.

  5. I remember Runequest's giganto ruined city, the Big Rubble, setting having some bureaucratic meddling like this. Adventurers not only had to pay an assortment of fees they had to fill out an entire amusingly-bureaucratic form that the players..well maybe amusing to the GM that is.

  6. The Ministry might not be a good employer for the PCs to actually work for, but it's a great lie to foist on the local yokels.