Junkyard Samurai

An entry for game-fu 4 by Inky Hat
Elements used:
Film Noir tropes
Random Chargen
[Lattice Tree] [Broken Tower]
Hope as a physical element
Author's Description:
A game of Gomi.
Vitenka's review:


So. A samurai game set in a junk-world where everything has to be re-used and re-purposed. The text is littered with pseudo japanese - and this annoys the heck out of me. No, I will not ever be calling the GM something other than GM. Certainly not 'Gomi no Sensei'.

I should mention that this pdf is filled with lots of full-page cartoony images.

Attributes are in composite pairs (tact + bluntness = 8)
System is pretty simple - mostly compare stat against difficulty, alternately you roll a d8 (Or use coins, three coins worth 1,2,4) and add stat and modifier. Winner takes 'hope' from the loser.

You also have a fate-point system, gain for exception rolls - spend as XP. Or for some other little things like rerolls - but since it can be spent for XP it will be saved and used for that.

Hope is hitpoints, but can be regained by resting with a cat, or ranting or.. whatever, really. Take a short time-out.

Then we get a sample adventure. A fairly simple 'village did wrong, ghost is taking revenge' story. This is where we get the twisted tree. The nice twist is that you're encouraged to run the adventure twice - once as the scoobies and then again trying (hopefully more successfully) as the NPCs who tried to hide it. This is, allegedly, the noir element.

Then we get a longer system for continuing campaigns. And a very brief setting that includes the immortal line "China is the center of mad science."

Unusually for ANY game, let alone a quickie - it's got a character generator. Roll for your starsign, and that gives you a set of which star-signs you get on with and personality and suitable jobs.
They're not all that interesting, though.

They also give small attribute bonuses, and a schtick. Schticks are what you spend your XP on.

Last we have the sample characters, who are just stat blocks - and more full-page images.

Hits Elements

It hits both 'noir' and 'twisted tree' in the sample adventure. Sorta. Noir is a theme and the twisted tree is mentioned in passing. "Oh, the inn is in a twiested tree." Though it hits the 'theme' of noir more than the transposed tropes. Random chargen is solid, and even has a simple personality generator. I have no idea where the 'broken tower' is meant to be, nor which element that's meant to be. Hope is in no way a physical element.

Ingredients: 8/20


The system is generic. That's good and bad. The setting makes a big deal out of the samurai and 'world of junk' tropes, but the setting has no support for this. The system also has tacked-on 'gimmicks' which it even gives that name.

Tightness: 6/20


Got to give it this. Quite a lot of interesting ideas in here. They're not really followed up on, though.

Style: 14/20


Ok, we've got a full one-shot here - pregens, background and simple system. We've got a slightly expanded system with chargen and advancement. What we don't have is much of an idea what to do in this world, just a single "Scooby Doo" style investigation (which on re-reading doesn't have all that much info in it)
Pretty good, but not perfect.

Completeness: 15/20


Not for me, no. Good idea, fiddly execution and just lacking that spark.

Fun: 10/20
Total score: 53%