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Yokai Hunters Society
A downloadable TTRPG game
A rules-light pen & paper RPG about monster hunters in Meiji Japan.
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.
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.
|Tags||Alternate History, Fantasy, Horror, japan, Minimalist, Monsters, trpg, Tabletop role-playing game, zine|
|Asset license||Creative Commons Attribution v4.0 International|
|Average session||A few hours|
In order to download this TTRPG game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $4 USD. You will get access to the following files:
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If you want to review the game on your site, youtube channel, or podcast, you can claim a review copy here. Please, send me a link or post it in the comments if you have a minute.
If you just can't afford a copy but really want to try the game, you can also claim one of these review copies. If you have a minute, please, rate the game or let me know what you think about it in the comments.
I will make available a new review copy every time I receive a review or rating.
- Last 24 hours - Field Guide to Yokai funding saleJun 06, 2022
- Field Guide to Yokai campaign launching in 24 hours!May 17, 2022
- Field Guide to YokaiMay 05, 2022
- Paperback copies available via LULU!May 21, 2021
- Fillable Character SheetJun 22, 2020
- Version 1.1Jun 22, 2020
- Zine version available!!Mar 19, 2020
- Pamphlet version with marginsMar 19, 2020
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This is awesome! Can I make a translation for portuguese for you? I would like to DM some games with this system, but some people on the party don't know english.
Hey! Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about it!
Ok quick question im working on my own tg hack., and im looking for some clarification. How do enemies attack a pc, or is the various combat rolls completely player facing.
Just want to make sure as i work on my own hack
Sorry for the delay! I missed this comment.
Yeah. Only players roll in combat. When a NPC attacks a hunter, the player rolls to defend: if the result is lower than 10+NPC level, the hunter takes damage. If the result is higher, the hunter manages to counterattack and deals the damage.
Yo! Just a quick question. How do you roll for wisdom on new items?
Make a regular roll (2d6) and add your wisdom to the result. 10 or less means the new item grants you +1 to any action in which you use it. If the result is higher than 10, for each point above 10, the item gets an additional bonus point. For example, if the total result is 12, the bonus for that item will be +3.
Hope that helps!
Apologies if this was asked before - how much money should the player characters start with? Is there a suggested amount or should it be decided by the Grandmaster?
it’s up to the GM. In the rules, just the earnings per day for each profession are given. You can use that number to give them, for instance, a month worth of salary.
Are there any pre-written adventure modules that anyone is aware of?
We got a free one-session scenario called The Gourdian Not: https://punkpadour.itch.io/gourdian-not
Random Ramblin Press published another one called The Dark House: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/368987/Dakuhausu--The-Dark-House?manufactur...
Right in the last comment, dv88vb said they would like to share the one they wrote to introduce their daughters to RPG gaming, and I'm currently writing one myself. I hope I can release it in a couple of months.
Bought the game last year and finally playing it with my daughters in a Kimetsu No Yaiba inspired settings. They love it ! (it's their first RPG).
I wrote a 20 pages scenario, an adaptation of the classic 1998 MERP, that I would love to share with the community (maps, and lot of stuffs included).
Where would be the best place to do it?
So happy to hear that. You made my day. I feel honored that they had a wonderful first experience with RPG games with Yokai Hunters Society.
About publishing the scenario. Depends on what's your goal: If you just have a simple doc you used for running the adventure, you can just post a link to your dropbox or google drive here in the comments section. I would love to check it out myself! If you have a well-polished and layout document that you would like to publish and sell or offer for free, I'm partial to itch, but you could publish it at DriveThruRPG also.
Hi guys...sorry for my question but Im not able understand how combat/fight works. Someone can help me and explain with other words than the words in the manual?
Thx (sorry for my eng but I'm not native eng)
I'm planning to release something to clarify combat rules and other situations that players have problems with. I hope this example of play works for now. Let me know if you have any doubts.
Yokai Hunters Society - Example of play: Combat.
Hasegawa Aiko, a 37 years old hunter is assaulted by a thief (human-level 1) while traveling alone through the woods.
Courage +2 | Self-control +0 | Sharpness +0 | Wisdom +2
HP 10 | Curse resistance 2
EQUIPMENT: 1d8 sen per day, Hyontan (gourd canteen) (+3), Pendant (+1), Rope (+3)
[When combat starts, if the narrative can’t clearly dictate who’s acting first, roll initiative. In this case, the hunter failed a Sharpness roll so she couldn't spot the thief hiding in the woods.]
THIEF’S TURN 1: The thief attacks by surprise and decides to hit the hunter with a staff in her head. Aiko might be able to stop the thief, but she’s being attacked by surprise (disadvantage), so the hunter player rolls 3d6 and adds Aiko’s Courage (+2) to the result. They roll 5, 2, and 4. They drop the best (5) and add up the other two numbers plus the Courage bonus: 6 + 2 = 8. The thief is a human level 1, so the target number to save against his attacks is 11 (10 plus level). Aiko feels a hard blow to the head and takes 3 points of damage (the difference between the target number and the result of the roll: 11 - 8 = 3).
AIKO’S TURN 1: She’s bleeding, but still conscious and throws an instinctive punch at the thief: the hunter player rolls 2d6 (5 and 1) and adds Aiko’s Courage (+2). Another 8!! The thief stops the punch and hits her with the staff again. She suffers 3 more points of damage.
THIEF’S TURN 2: The thief's not an assassin, he just wants the money. He tries to put Aiko to sleep by choking her with the staff. Aiko has no weapons and only 4 HP remaining, so the hunter player decides to use the Curse die: rolls 2d6 and 1d8 (3, 4, and 8), adds the two best results and Aiko’s Courage (4 + 8 + 2) for a total of 14!! Aiko loses 1 Curse resistance point, but grabs the thief’s staff and hits him back with it in the teeth. The thief suffers 3 points of damage (14 - 11) and sees his HP (and target number) reduced to 8.
AIKO’S TURN 2: Aiko needs something to defend herself and spends this turn grabbing a good-sized stone. The hunter player rolls to find out how helpful the stone will be in combat: 2d6 (3, 6) + Wisdom (+2) resulting in a total of 11. One point over 10, which means the stone will grant her a +1.
THIEF’S TURN 3: The thief growls and spits out a blood-soaked tooth. He raises the staff and lunges at Aiko. She weighs the stone and waits for him. The hunter player rolls to defend: 2d6 (5, 2) + Courage (+2) + Stone bonus (+1) for a total of 10! Aiko dodges the staff with a quick move to her left and slams the stone into the thief's stomach. He suffers 2 points of damage and sees his HP (and target number) reduced to 6.
AIKO’S TURN 3: While the thief is bent over, she grabs the stone with both hands and launches another blow. The hunter player rolls to attack: 2d6 (3, 6) + Courage (+2) + Stone bonus (+1) for a total of 12. Enough to reduce the thief’s HP to 0.
Thank u very much, is very clearly and exhaustive this example of fight and combat turn.
''More than enough to reduce the thief’s HP to 0.''
Shouldn't the HP reduce to 5 (total of 7 - the target nember of 6 ) ?
I run this bi-weekly for my group, really loooove it. Added some "breath total concentration" mechanics for it, obviously inspired by Demon Slayer, which was fun and easy to do!
Also added a Mononoke (the Manga/Animation) inspired mechanic rewarding the players for discovering more information about the Yokai they are dealing with (giving them a +1 bonus once they complete a Blades-in-the-dark inspired clock. There are three of them : heart, form and reason, they get +1 for each that is completed). The "Mask" vibrates with an energy fueled by the "Mystery" of the Yokai. It works well, even for less "pulpy" games!
I would like to know : do you have any intention of creating some cool short-scenarios? I am very lazy and having cool, historically-ish accurate scenarios with just enough to get me rolling is something I am looking for when I don't have the energy to write a campaign haha.
Thanks a lot for your work!
So happy to read this. Thanks a lot. The mechanics sound really fun. My wife keeps telling me I should watch Demon Slayer, but it's still waiting on my list.
I've got a small scenario almost finished that I hope I can release soon, yeah, but first I have to publish a little "monster manual" that it's ready for edit and layout.
Hi would you mind explaining exactly how this mononoke mechanic works so I can shamelessly steal it for my own game?
Sure thing! The idea is that the character owns an object that grants them power over/against the Yokai. In Mononoke it is a special sword that allows the Medicine Seller to change form, but to keep things simpler it only translates to a bonus. For Yokai Hunter Society as chose the Mask instead (if they lose the mask or it is shattered, they lose the bonus).
How it works :
Each Yokai has a three fundamentals that, when uncovered by the characters, each grant a stackable +1 to rolls made against the Yokai :
1. Katachi physical shape : The type of Yokai they are, like a Kappa, Bakeneko, Hannya etc.
2. Makoto their Origin, why they exist or brought them here. Do they exist due to a tragedy of sorts? Where they summoned by evil men? Did the stench of the many battlefield birthed by the Meiji restoration attract them?
3. Kotowari their reasoning or impulse. Sometimes the Kotowari is informed by the Katachi, but it is not always the case. A wronged ghost might be seeking vengeance against Ex-Samurai specifically, a Bakeneko against a group of people who wronged their owner, a Kappa just wants yummy buttholes.
-When I build a scenario, I write down broad "clues" that inform each of the three fundamentals.
-I track how close they are from the full story with a clock, one for each of the fundamentals. Normally those are 4-ticks clocks, exactly like in blades in the dark.
-When the players discover/encounter information relevant to a fundamental, I tick it once or twice (sometimes even straight-up filling the clock in the case of the Katachi : if they meet a Kappa face to face, it is pretty much all the information they needed hahaha).
When any one is filled, then they are given a +1 bonus.
-In-game there are also Kanji (one for each of the fundamental) engraved behind the mask. They emit a mysterious glow that only them can see when clues are nearby (they still have to plan and make the right decisions to acquire them).
I run games for mentally-drained folks that still want a mystery so it has served me well so far hahaha.
Howdy. A couple of friends and I took the game for a spin this afternoon and ran into an issue with the combat. One of our hunters rolled a 10 against a normal human character which resulted in zero damage. I understand that there would be a narrative consequence for the success beyond simply "Hit Point" damage, but the only intention of the player in this scenario was to kill his intended target. We didn't find an obvious compromise in the rules for this discrepancy. Do you have advice for how to handle this type of roll in the future?
Hi! Thanks a lot for the feedback.
In order to give you a better answer I would need more info about the situation, but it sounds mechanically correct to me. If the total result (after adding bonuses) was a 10 and you say there was no damage dealt, I assume that you considered that human a level 0 character, hence the target number to perform an attack on them will be 10. Matching that number means there was no damage, so the target of the attack was able to evade it.
Probably you think it's a discrepancy cause you are considering the 10 a success during this attack. When you match the target number during an attack, you are not succeeding, but failing without giving the opponent the option to counterattack, so that round of the combat had no physical harm for any of the two.
I hope that helps. Let me know if you need further clarifications.
one word : impressive 😍
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. :(
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?
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.
very cool and fun! :)
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!
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?
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: email@example.com
¿Podría conseguir esa versión? Gracias. 🙂
Love this game, can't get enough of it.
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.
-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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
Thank you, this helped me understand a ton!
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.
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!
Do hunters roll 2d8 or 3d6? Just double checking
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!
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.
te enviei um email :)
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!
Clean, crisp, classy. Superb re-imagining of Tunnel Goons!
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!
This is beautiful!