A Chrysanthemum in Winter


About the Game

Reference Material

Contact the GM




About the Game

"A Chrysanthemum in Winter" is a live role playing game written by Sandy Antunes which was run on Saturday, March 4, 2004, 9 am - 1 pm at Intercon E, in Chelmsford, MA.

This is an 'all samurai' game, first in the 'Seasons' cycle. All samurai epics focus on issues of morality, honor, and death. Kurosawa film fans and readers of "Usagi Yojimbo" or 'Lone Wolf and Cub' should feel right at home.

The game will offer the following demeanors and attitudes towards life, listed her along with examples from samurai movies. They include scruffy (Yojimbo), clownish (Zatoichi), wise (Kambei), philosophical (Gorobei), cheerful (Heihachi), masterful (Kyuzo), youthful (Katshushiro), boastful (Kikuchiyo), and dutiful (Shichiroji).

Although this is clearly not a bring-your-own character, in the interests of costuming and fun, you may choose your character's look and demeanor in advance, or simply have one given to you at game start. Plots, skills, combat prowess, whether you are ronin or samurai, and other bits will be provided as pre-generated information at game start.

But how you approach life (and how you dress!), that can be your choice. Note this is a game about life's choices and death. While it may seem appealing, for example, to be the ultimate swordsman, such a role has its own difficulty-- how can you die honorably in battle if none can match your skill? If you are always cheerful, how can you deal with the shames of your own past? If you are wise, why are you in the day's bleak situation?

Swords will be provided, so no weapons should be brought to the game. Since we are using cinematic tradition, not pure history, we get to choose the best parts of samurai culture. In particular, men will play male samurai and women will play women samurai. Our intent is dramatic or even melodramatic, not historical.

We will also give a short Iaido lesson at the start as part of the combat mechanics, and conclude with tea. Feel free to visit the reference section for details on costuming, culture, and more.

I received a good question from a player: Is there anything you would like me (as a player) to fill out? Your webpage mentions choosing a demeanor or attitude...do we just send it to you if we want to choose one, or what?

The short answer is, "no, you don't have to fill anything out, or send me anything. You also don't have to choose a demeanor/attitude beforehand and can just show up to the game 'blank'. But for those who want to work out a characterization or costume in advance, feel free to choose one of the attitudes on the webpage. But, oh, don't name your character yet, please.'

All characters will be created at the start of the game. Your outward face (demeanor, attitude) does not limit your inner nature or the sins of your past. It's just how you want to play the role in the game.

For example:

Player A decides to be to be 'clownish' in demeanor. Player B decides to be 'wise'. But onsite at the game, either one could have the backplot of "fled lord during battle, bringing disgrace." How they choose to deal with it is up to them, filtered through their outward face.

And yes, it's entirely possible everyone in the game will all decide to be 'wise' or otherwise fixate on a single 'cool' attitude-- that's fine with me. A game of 32 'wise' samurai is just as interesting as one with an equal mix of wise, boastful, cheerful, et cetera. Though odds are we will have a mix of character portrayals-- not everyone wants the same thing, after all!

Really, choosing an attitude/demeanor/archetype in advance simply emphasizes that the portrayal of any game character is up to you. No matter what backplots, history, skills, and problems you get with a pre-generated samurai, you as player get to decide how you want to play it. So if you've seen "The Seven Samurai", for example, and always wanted to play a role as if you were Kikuchiyo, you can. The setting, the plots will be different, but you are who you are.

And you need not choose beforehand-- again, all character decisions can be made onsite. You can even choose one at random onsite when we set up-- a choice I often take, because I usually don't know what I want to be until I've played it! My games always are designed with minimal 'homework' or advance prep required, but also are designed to appeal to people who want to psych themselves up in advance.













Copyright 2004-2005 Sandy Antunes. All Rights Reserved.