A downloadable TRPG game

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A rules-light pen & paper RPG about monster hunters in Meiji Japan. 

Words, illustrations, and layout design by Chema González.
Edited by Tyler Crumrine.
Layout design advice by Salva González.
Based on Tunnel Goons by Nate Treme.

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Paperback copies are available on Print-on-Demand (POD) via LULU.

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Character generator on-line.

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The year is 1889. After months of deliberation, a Constitution is about to be approved, giving absolute power to Emperor Meiji. In the last two decades, there have been profound political and social reforms that have cleared the way for “modernization:” the abolition of feudal privileges, the establishment of European-style political, police, and judicial systems, restructuring of the army, etc. But not everyone is happy with these changes.

In these convulsive years, yokai sightings and encounters have increased tremendously. Some blame the barbarians, others accuse nostalgics of the bakufu times, and a few even dare to hold His Majesty responsible. The truth is nobody knows the reason behind the uptick in sightings for sure.

The Yokai Gari Kai, or Yokai Hunters Society, has been around for centuries, gathering brave people from any social stratum willing to fight these abominations that lurk in the shadows. 

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The adventures you can play range from facing the monster of the week, to complex investigations or political plots, to routine cleansing jobs. A horror-genre approach to the game’s stories is recommended, with bonus points if it gestures towards the psychological horror characteristics of many Japanese films and comics.


This game was created as an entry for the Goon Jam, and it's based on Tunnel Goons by Nate Treme. 

Purchase

Buy Now$4.00 USD or more

In order to download this TRPG game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $4 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Yokai Hunters Society RPG screen friendly 1.1.pdf 35 MB
Yokai Hunters Society RPG zine hi-res v1.1.pdf 75 MB

Download demo

Download
Yokai Hunters Society RPG Panphlet (with margin) v.1.1.pdf 6 MB
Download
Yokai Hunters Society RPG Panphlet v.1.1.pdf 7 MB
Download
Yokai Hunters Society Fillable Sheet.pdf 373 kB

Development log

Comments

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one word : impressive 😍

Thanks! 

I absolutely love the setting L, been contemplating using YHS and Sprawl Goons upgraded to make a cyberpunk version of YHS

any idea when FloatingChair might get more physical copies? I missed them entirely. :(

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Hard to tell... When the postal services here in Taiwan get back to normal I might do a second printing with MIXAM. For now, the POD via LULU is the best alternative I got.

when and if that next MIXAM printing happens, is there a way to be notified? I’d really love to get a nice physical of this.

I did search Lulu for something, but couldn’t find anything. Do you happen to have a direct link to the product page?

Sure! I would announce it here. Here’s the link to LULU’s version: https://www.lulu.com/en/en/shop/chema-gonz%C3%A1lez/yokai-hunters-society/paperback/product-yr799y.html?page=1&pageSize=4

on the character generator there is an item named - Peak.  We couldn't find reference of that in the game. 

Hi. It’s a tool used for mining, mountain climbing and agricultural work. It works like any other item: roll wisdom when you get it to find out its bonus and apply that bonus to any roll in witch the character is using the tool. 

Let me know if you need more help. I hope you enjoy the game!

It's freaking solid.

I really look forward to being able to get it physically when mailing will be authorized to Canada. Bravo ! :D

Thanks a lot! Specially for your patience with the shipping problem. I will try to compensate you somehow. 

Currently prepping this for my players - we're all extremely excited. I think it'll make some great shorter sessions for them, as well as a much-needed change of tone from 5E.

Great! Have fun!

very cool and fun! :)

Thanks!!

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Hola Chema, veo que la antigua versión gratuita del panfleto en español ya no está disponible. Quería preguntarte si quienes aún la tengamos podemos distribuirla a los interesados que no entiendan inglés, a modo de demo como la versión 1.1 que se puede descargar aquí, o si prefieres que no sea así. Un saludo! 

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sí, claro. No hay problema. La retiré porque hay alguna cosilla diferente en cuestión de tablas. A ver si saco un rato y la actualizo. 

una pregunta,  el juego completo también tiene una versión en castellano? y ademas, ¿quienes no podamos pagarlo por paypal , hay otra manera de adquirirlo?

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De momento, me temo que no hay versión en castellano del fanzine. Ahora estoy haciendo un suplemento que me va a llevar algo de tiempo. Quizás cuando lo termine, me ponga con la traducción... 
Ahora que ya se han terminado las copias físicas, tengo pensado subirlo a Lulu y DriveThru. Creo que ahí es posible pagar con tarjeta. Pero si te interesa mucho, contacta conmigo por mail: punkpadour@gmail.com

¿Podría conseguir esa versión? Gracias. 🙂

Love this game, can't get enough of it.

Thanks!!

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Yokai Hunters Society is a gorgeous 36 page adventure rpg that feels like it's influenced a bit by Gotouge's Kimetsu no Yaiba (although Hunters takes place in Meiji, not Taishou.)

Yokai Hunters is moderately crunchy, being based mechanically on Tunnel Goons. It's PBtA with a single Move, which complicates on a 9 and fails on an 8- most of the time, but there's plenty of equipment and other factors that players can hedge this with. There's also a neat mechanic where you can expose yourself to a curse for a boost on a roll---only shedding that curse later when you are able to purify yourself.

On either an extremely minor or an extremely major note, there are a lot of Japanese words preserved in Japanese in the book, so you'll get stuff like "Omamori (amulet)" in the text---which I personally like, but I know preferences on this can sometimes be intense, so your mileage may vary.

Historical context is provided, so if you're more familiar with Edo jidai, the game will catch you up to speed. There's a lot of really good bits in here (currency conversions, a note about the legal firearm and sword restrictions of the time, the change from state Buddhism to state Shinto,) and they all fold back into the game design, with your own bad choices incentivizing you to see a sword-seller or a priest. Beyond these baseline details, groups are encouraged to come up with the own worldbuilding---so one campaign might have the hunters as a state-authorized agency, while another campaign positions them as dangerous rogues.

Overall, I think if you dig the setting and like slightly crunchy adventure games, you'll really enjoy this. At absolute minimum, it's worth it for the art alone, and it may also make a strong intro game for folks who are interested in the material but haven't tried a tabletop rpg yet.

Minor Issues:

-Page 13, Cursed Die, does its result replace one of your d6s, or does it replace both of them? The text isn't clear, and I can't tell if a roll of 6,6,8 is meant to be 12 total, or 14.

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WOW! Thanks for the review.

The cursed die mechanic works similarly to the advantage, but adding 1d8 instead of 1d6: You roll 2d6 and 1d8 and keep the two best results out of the three. Therefore, the best possible result is 14. If the result in the d8 is greater than your actual curse resistance points, you lose one resistance point.

Okay, cool. It sounded like that might be it, but I couldn't find anywhere the text said that directly. I really like the mechanic, though, and I'd love to read more Yokai Hunters content if there's any planned in the future.

Really cool game, definitely will play it someday. May I ask, how did you do the dotty shading on drawings (sorry I can't describe it better). Did you use a screentone sheet or just added it digitally?

Hi! Thanks. Hope you enjoy it.
I use a software called MediBangPaint.

Thanks :)

Something I haven't been able to figure out yet is if there's any advantage to using more expensive, and seemingly more powerful weapons. From what I've been able to gather, a weapon simply lets you add its item bonus to the roll when attacking yokai, but this bonus works the same for all weapons. For example, one of my friends started with a gun, while I started with a sling. According to the table, the sling reloads faster, has longer range, and has no chance of misfire. Is there something I'm missing here?

Hi! Thanks a lot for the feedback. 

About the weapon (or any other item) bonus: You are right, the bonus works the same with any kind of item, but it’s not necessarily the same as it depends on the wisdom roll you have to do when you get any item (whether you buy it or make it yourself). This bonus is an abstract way to represent the quality of the item, how good you are using it and even how good you did while shopping. The price of traditional weapons even depends on how good you did in the roll. If the bonus of your weapon is low this might be because you bought a low quality thing or your training with it is not very good. So it’s perfectly possible for a hunter with a sling to be more effective than another using a firearm. 

About the range: This also surprised me a lot when I did some research about weapons, but it is true—a sling has a better range than a matchlock or a flintlock pistol! A well trained slinger can shoot even farther: around 300 meters. The world record is more than 400! The range in the table is the average maximum for each weapon. Effective range would probably be the half. 

In any case, the game is not design for a very tactical combat. 

Let me know if you have more questions, and thanks again!

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Love the concept for this (not enough Meiji-era games out there!), hope I can get a table for a one-shot once the pandemic dies down. 

A small thing I noticed: in the description of Amazake-baba, you describe amazake as "Japanese sweets" -- amazake is a traditional low-alcohol Japanese drink, which is a bit more specific than the description suggests. Probably not worth a patch by itself but maybe worth noting if you're aiming for accuracy? Great work overall!

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Thanks! Hope you enjoy it. 

Right. Amazake comes as a beverage or as a porridge-like dish.  On that time the later seems to be more popular, but maybe dessert is a more accurate word to refer to it. 

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Heya, quick heads up: Amazake is definitely not "dessert/sweets", basically the best way to describe it is "sweet wine"/"Japanese sweet rice wine" or the like. It's not eaten as a porridge (it can be mixed into one, but then it's no longer amazake), it's only drunk as hot wine, usually at festivals these days (or cold nights in the Meiji Era). It's the equivalent of the English "hot toddy". 

This came up in play the other day; Hang'em High Herald (below) ran a session for three of us (all the others were Japanese players, playing in Japanese) and this point came up as kind of a point of discussion as a mistranslation/localization issue.

Otherwise, great game!

Thanks!!

Right, it's in the list of changes for the next update.
Given the different ways it's used, I went for a broader translation, but definitely "sweet rice wine" is the best possible translation; after all, "amazake" literally means "sweet rice wine" (amai sake).

Hi! I got an update about the "RPG screen" but when I downloaded it, it appears to be the same as the hi-res zine PDF? Just wondering what the difference is!

it’s just a lower resolution version for use in tablets.

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This is great! Going to try running a oneshot using this system. I have a few questions though: in combat, how does damage work? If a hunter goes to attack a yokai but their roll is less than the yokai's difficulty score, does the hunter take damage or just miss? And in the reverse, if a hunter successfully reacts to a yokai's attack, beating their difficulty score, does the yokai take damage even though it was the one attacking? And finally, do 9 rolls apply to damage rolls?

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Hi! Thanks for your kind words. 

About damage in combat:
It doesn't matter who's attacking and who's defending; if the hunter rolls under the difficulty score takes damage, should they roll above they inflict damage. The initiative is important in order to be the first deciding what to do. Once you engage in combat, anyone could get hurt.   

Ranged combat is a bit different, cause your victim is not usually close enough to counterattack, so you won't take damage. In this case, losing ammunition seems bad enough to me if you fail the roll. 

Rolling a 9 in combat:
When you roll a 9 in combat you still succeed with dire consequences. The GM decides what happens in these situations. If I were the one ruling, and 9 is above the difficulty score, the hunter would inflict damage as usual, and lose their weapon, trip (rolling with disadvantage in the next turn), get blinded by their victim's blood... If the 9 is under the difficulty score, the hunter wouldn't inflict numerical damage, but make their victim fall, retreat... and suffer a dire consequence. 


I hope this helps you! Have fun playing the game and let me know if you have more questions.
It helps me a lot to know where should I be more clear in the future.

Cheers!

Thank you, this helped me understand a ton!

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Hi Chema,

This game is really interesting, I was hooked instantly from the title and cover art! I feel like I have to say, I was a one time GM who tried to rule a DnD campaign, but got discouraged by the overwhelming amount of rules, so the simplicity of your game and the setting got me really excited to try to put a game together again.

One bit of criticism though: After reading the rule book I still had a lot of questions, a lot of sections give me an idea about how some rules work, but they feel incomplete, like I missed something. My biggest question was the same as Quartzio, I wasn't sure if it was just me so I had to check.
The rules seem quite unusual, specially for people who never got into any game besides DnD, so I think the book would benefit greatly from a few examples. Maybe even one of those "game demos" some books have.
Stuff like the monster's "AC" being first tied to 10+hit die, then dropping as it takes damage is quite straightforward when you get it, but I had to read that section probably 3 times before I understood what it was saying. I think a walk-through section narrating monster creation and combat would solve all of that.

Also, one last question, what would be your suggestion to calculate the damage from the Kotengu dropping the player?

Sorry for the delay!

Thanks a lot for the feedback. Introducing an example of play would mean a big update, but it's a cool idea. I will keep it in mind.

About a character being dropped by a kotengu:
The characters are human beings with no superpowers, so any fall from a height of 10-15 meters or above should be fatal. Lower than that: 1d6 damage for each 5 meters. I would allow the player a saving roll to see if their character can grab the kotengu and avoid falling.

No problem, thanks a lot for your answer!
By the way, I saw you talking about having done some research to put this game together, are the prices of stuff based on real Meiji era prices? If so I was wondering on how you found them. I was thinking on maybe including an option for players to buy armor for my game but I'm still trying to figure out how much it should cost, and how people would react to them. There's a bunch on the government banning and confiscating swords, but never any mention of armor (at least from what I could find).

I did. The prices were especially tough to find, so I cannot direct you to one source. I used a few to come up with the list. That's why you may find the price of a very particular object and not a more common one.

Armor, along with some traditional weapons, was something linked to the samurai class. When they were stripped from their feudal privileges, they were no longer the only ones with the privilege of wielding weapons-including armor. However, on that time the army was created following western standards, so soldiers didn't really wear it. The prices probably varied depending on the quality and the artisan who made it. For game purposes, I would treat armor like traditional weapons, and apply its bonus only when defending. During that period would had been weird to see someone wearing a traditional armor on the streets, so I would also apply a malus or disadvantage in social checks while wearing it.

Great little game, the layout, art and rules are first class and clear as a bell.

Thanks a lot, Voros. 

There’s a discrepancy in hunter creation: in both the zine and the pamphlet, under equipment, the player is instructed to roll for their third item from the random item table. However, they are instructed to roll 3d6, but the table is 2d8. Easy enough to fix at the table, but jsyk!

Thanks, Darren! 

Do hunters roll 2d8 or 3d6? Just double checking

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as Darren said, there’s a discrepancy. The 3d6 in the text is a mistake (used to be like that in an earlier version). The table is the correct one: 2d8. I want to update the file, but I got a problem of compatibility with the file in my new computer and couldn’t make it yet. I think I’ll be able to update it during this week. I will also add an editable character sheet to play online. 

Hello, my name is Francisco and I have translated Yokai Hunter to Brazilian Portuguese (the PWYW pamphlet). If you are interested in also making a translated version of the Zine version, please contact me. Btw, the game is great!

francisco.cressoni@gmail.com

wow! That’s great, Francisco. Thanks! Let me know when you publish it so I can link it here. 

I have only the text and it's already finished. I posted on a Facebook group during a minimalist game translation jam. When I get the Zine version I'll check the differences, translate the rest, then send you the text.

I also have the link for the original translation but don't know if I can post here.

great! I can lay it out and post it here if you want

te enviei um email :)

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Hi, I'm a Japanese gamer.

Set in the Meiji era is wonderful!

Entertainment with the theme of the Meiji era is rare in Japan. There are many works dealing with the late Edo period (Bakumatsu) and Taisho era...

I'll translate and play your game!

Thanks! Hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you have any feedback when you play it. 

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Clean, crisp, classy. Superb re-imagining  of Tunnel Goons! 

Thanks, John! An updated zine version is coming soon!! 

What an incredible little production this is! It's beautiful. It seems useful at the table. It explores an interesting and under-represented genre. Great stuff. 

Thanks a lot, Ray! 

You're welcome. https://viridianscroll.blogspot.com/2019/08/yokai-hunter.html

This is beautiful!

Thanks, Nate!