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Naruto D20: The Curse of the 8th Hokage

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Naruto D20: The Curse of the 8th Hokage Reply with quote

Hello fellow players and DM's!

On this thread, I will be posting updates on my first Naruto D20 campaign, entitled "The Curse of the 8th Hokage"

I am new to DMing (both in this specific system, and in general), so this thread will mostly detail the things I learn as I go along, as well as some of my ideas and excitement about doing this for the first time as well.

I'm hoping that, by posting everything that goes well, as well as the mistakes I make along the way, that I can both encourage new DM's to take the leap into running campaigns for the first time, as well as help those same new DM's not to make the same mistakes I have.

All in all, I'm really excited to share my experiences with whoever would like to read them, and I am more than willing (actually I'm hoping) to receive any feedback people think would be useful, as well as ideas people have to make this campaign more fun. Ultimately, it'll be my decision to include these things, but as I'm still quite new to this, I can use all the help I can get.

If you made it through this novel of a post, congrats! The real fun is about to begin!
"You can count on me for one thing...and that thing is that I will never get your name right."


Current Games:
RWBY Tabletop: Ancient Call (Player)
Naruto D20: The Curse of the 8th Hokage (DM)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: Session #1.1 Reply with quote

AKA: Dow Finds Out the Hard Way That Balancing Is Super Important

*Spoilers for the ending of the Naruto manga*

**Spoilers for Matthew McDonnell's "Pass or Fail!" mission. I don't really feel that this warning is necessary, but I would rather be safe than sorry**

So a couple weeks ago was the big day. All my months of learning this system, reading through the massive tome of both the d20 Modern Core Rulebook as well as the even more massive Naruto D20 Handbook as well as all the organizing and planning was about to pay off. We finished up character creation a couple days before our first session was planned and now we were finally ready!

Now, I selected this system because I was and still am a big fan of Naruto (admittedly behind on the last 50 or so episodes of Shippuden as well as Boruto), and I have really enjoyed a RWBY themed Tabletop game that I've been a player for all summer. So I (rightfully) thought that my excitement over both things would motivate me to power through all the reading and planning DMing this campaign would take. And motivate me it did!

After three months of planning, the day was finally here. Now between my computer crashing on me the week before our first session as well as having to evacuate Florida because of Hurricane Irma, I was not as prepared as I would have liked to be, but I sucked it up and decided to wing what I wasn't 100% prepared for.

Hoo boy.

I won't say that was a mistake. I will say that things might have gone a lot smoother had I decided to postpone the first session even by a few days.

But all that is neither here nor there, and maybe explaining everything that went down will shed some light on where I could have made better decisions. That being said, here's what happened:

I set my campaign almost immediately after Naruto Uzumaki, the 7th Hokage, passed away from old age. He lived to a ripe old age of 89, and as such, many of the familiar faces from the manga/anime have passed away as well, either from various missions over the years or of natural causes.

For a first session, I decided to go with Matthew McDonnell's "Pass or Fail!" mission outlined in the mainfile, both as a way of learning how the system plays, as well as figuring out how my players would respond to different challenges so I could better develop the rest of my campaign.

After character creation, I had three senior ninja academy students ready to tackle their graduation exam:

Zaki Orenji (A level 1 Smart Hero descended from the Akatsuki member Kisame)
Maindo Ikamizu (A level 1 Charismatic Hero who may or may not be part squid)
Rin Yoshimi (A level 1 Strong Hero whose Clan is famous in Konohagakure for having the Yoton Bloodline)

Things went pretty well as we all got over the initial first-session giddiness (and jitters). My improv could use a little work, but that'll come with practice (I hope). Besides, you can do all the reading and studying you want, but you won't know how a certain system plays until you're actually running/playing in a session. And so, like I mentioned before, I figured a pre-laid-out mission would be perfect for such learning.

Now. Had I taken the time to really understand how the statblocks were organized, then the mission might have gone better. But I'll get to that in a second.

Things really didn't start going downhill on my end until my players encountered the rogues that ambush them on their way back from the cave. My players had a hard time with climbing the 20 foot wall (DC 20), but that was simply because none of them had any ranks in Climb or knew Kinobori.

Eventually they made it up though, and they were very thorough in making spot checks, dodging every trap with the ease that Gyuketsu-sensei would expect of senior academy students. (A minor hiccup on my end got Zaki blinded by the pepper trap on the final door, but I take full responsibility for that blip (See? Learning experience right there))

Anyway, they made it safely out of the cave and started making their way home......aaaaaand that's when things start going south.

Before the session started (like literally 20-30 minutes before), I glanced over the statblocks listed in the manual for the four rogues set to ambush the players on their way home and I thought that some of the statblocks looked odd to me (as in I thought they were impossible in certain aspects based on the standard buy system and the skill levels available to a level 1 hero).

It turns out they actually weren't as unbalanced as I thought (there were still some things that didn't quite add up for instance, a character with a BAB of +0 should not be able to have the Weapon Finesse feat like the bandit leader did). The issue comes down to just an assumption I made and not thinking.

In the statblocks, skills are listed with the bonus they get for their checks. I ASSUMED that the bonuses in the statblock were just the number of ranks the character had in that skill, and nothing else. And so, under that assumption, a +8 to an Intimidate skill for a level 1 character looked like it shouldn't be a thing. The +8 makes sense when considering that the rogue leader gets a +2 CHA bonus as well as a +2 bonus from the Confident feat on top of having 4 ranks in the Intimidate skill.

Either way, my players suffered for it.

In a combination of really bad rolls that allowed the bandits to take on my players one at a time, instead of as a whole group, and my misunderstanding of the way the bandits were written, Maindo and Rin ended up unconscious and Zaki was faced with 4 very conscious rogues all out for blood.

Zaki's player (I'll call him B here), made a few assumptions of his own that saved the campaign from being a one-off adventure. He thought the rogues were a part of the graduation exam and so, thinking quickly, threatened to burn the scroll they obtained in the cave rather than allow it to fall into enemy hands.

*POOF* In comes Gyuketsu-sensei (who Zaki learns had been watching the whole time) and he made quick work of the rogue who was foolish enough to attack him, causing the other three rogues to turn and flee. Gyuketsu and Zaki ensure that Rin and Maindo were not hurt too badly, and together, help the two unconscious students back to Konoha.

After Rin and Maindo had recovered, Gyuketsu-sensei called the three into his classroom to give them his official evaluation of their performance. The three discouraged ninja feared the worst, but instead of berating them for their failures, he praised Zaki for showing a willingness to sacrifice his chances of graduating and becoming a ninja in order to protect sensitive information from falling into the hands of those who might do the village harm.

Gyuketsu-sensei decided, despite failing in almost every other regard, that the three students were ready to serve the village as official Ninja of the Hidden Leaf Village. The three newly graduated ninja turned their downcast eyes up at their sensei in excitement and disbelief, and promised not to let him down!

Gyuketsu-sensei smiled as he handed each of his students their forehead protectors. Then gruffly ordered them out of his sight. He had to keep up appearances after all. The three ninja went home, newly determined to become the best ninja they could be.

So, what did I learn this session?

1. Prepare the basic outline of everything, but let things happen as they happen beyond that. You can't plan for every possible decision your players make, so don't. Have an idea of where you want things to go, but be flexible. The game is as much your players' as it is yours, and the whole point is to have fun.

2. Make sure you understand EVERYTHING you pull from a source other than your own before using it. If something doesn't make sense, or doesn't quite fit, try to figure out why they don't make sense. If after figuring out why things are written the way they are, they still don't fit your campaign, then tweak it slightly. At the end of the day, you, as the GM, are in charge and there are few wrong decisions you can make for the sake of making things balanced and enjoyable.

3. Mistakes are ok. Your players, especially if they are 1) your friends, or 2) new to the system, or 3) both 1 and 2, will not crucify you for not being perfect

There are more things to be learned from this session, but these are the three I feel are the most important to me moving forward, and I've already taken steps to implement them in my planning for my next session.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for Session #1.2 coming very soon!!
"You can count on me for one thing...and that thing is that I will never get your name right."


Current Games:
RWBY Tabletop: Ancient Call (Player)
Naruto D20: The Curse of the 8th Hokage (DM)

Last edited by imjustadow on Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:31 am    Post subject: Pre-Session #1.2 Reply with quote

AKA The Night Before We Get This Show Back On The Road

Just thought I'd post an update before my players get back together tomorrow night, and give whoever is even reading this thread an idea of the story I'm weaving by sharing the backstory of two of the characters I've created.

The first, Gyuketsu-Sensei (Who I have given the last name of Nanuto), is from the first session, but isn't given much character direction from Matthew McConnell, the reason for which I can only guess is so GM's can have fun shaping the Academy sensei themselves. I have created him as a Spacetime jutsu user who teleports to make up for an injury sustained in his graduation exam.

The second is the party's Jounin squad leader, Tamotsu Komine, a former wandering-nin from Kusagakure who, for reasons described below, decided to become a shinobi of Konohagakure. He is a Mokuton user, who created his own fighting style, Tetsumoku (Ironwood), which combines battle wire with Wood Release to perform lethal attacks with extreme precision.

Here are the backstories I've written:

"During his time at the academy, Gyuketsu Nanuto was the perfect athlete: physically built and toned, with a great natural ability for athletic feats such as running, jumping, and swimming. During his graduation exam, however, he was scaling a wall in a cave, and a flurry of bats startled him, causing him to lose his grip and land on his leg, breaking it in several places.

At this time, the Konoha Ninja Academy graduation exam had moved on from being merely a test of the Bunshin no Jutsu (after the Seventh Hokage had declared it an unfair determinant of one's ability to be a ninja), but the exam was still a solo exam. His sensei, now a much older Iruka Umino, was watching his progress, and was prepared to call his graduation exam early in order to make sure that Gyuketsu got the medical attention he needed, but Gyuketsu forced his way through the rest of the exam using only one leg, a feat unrivaled in the history of the current exam as it required climbing, balancing, and a three day's journey to and from the cave. Gyuketsu made it back to Konoha successful, but collapsed a few hundred yards from the Village gate.

Over the course of the time he was returning to the village, the bone had started to heal awkwardly and it pinched a vein in his leg, causing a blood clot that made it to his brain, which almost killed him. Gyuketsu spent three weeks in the hospital, two of which were in a coma. When he awoke, he found he was partially paralyzed in his mending leg, and even after his injury had healed completely, the stroke he suffered due to the blood clot caused him to walk with a limp. Iruka-sensei graduated Gyuketsu to Genin status, but the Seventh Hokage deemed him unfit to serve as a ninja, fearing he might injure himself further and lose all use of his leg.

Gyuketsu was crushed. All his life, had had been at the top of his class physically, and now he couldn't move without pain. He fell into a deep state of depression, and it became so bad that he limped his way up to the top of Hokage rock, prepared to throw himself down to end his misery. Right before he jumped, he felt a gust of wind behind him, and a hand grab his shoulder. Standing there were the Seventh Hokage himself and a man Gyuketsu did not recognize. He had a long black cloak, which appeared to hide the fact that the man was missing his left arm.

The Seventh Hokage introduced the man as Sasuke of the Uchiha Clan, one of the heroes of the Fourth Great Ninja War, who had been away for many years. He explained that Sasuke had heard of Gyuketsu's situation and was willing to take on Gyuketsu as a student. For the next three years, Gyuketsu studied Space-Time Ninjutsu under Sasuke, becoming proficient so quickly that Sasuke himself was thoroughly impressed."

"Tamotsu was born to the Komine Clan of Kusagakure, a clan famous for having developed the Imperfect Mokuton bloodline (independently of the First Hokage) - the inheritors of which can, like the First Hokage, use the legendary Mokuton techniques, but, once the bloodline is awakened within them, cannot accurately control their chakra output while doing so, leading to gruesome injuries and causing those techniques to be forbidden techniques for members of the Komine Clan.

Tamotsu showed initial promise with his Chakra Control, but was not content with allowing his Clan's powerful bloodline languish unused due to the risk involved in using them. At age 10, he left Kusagakure to find a mentor who could help him control his Mokuton abilities and develop his own fighting style - Tetsumoku, or Ironwood: a fighting style that combined the battle wire fighting style with Mokuton chakra and techniques.

After wandering as a drifter for nearly a year, he came across an old, retired ninja from Konohagakure: Yamato (age 93). After deciding to take the young boy under his wing, Yamato trained Tamotsu to develop his Mokuton abilities, and Tamotsu grew quickly in that span of time; by age 14, he was able to perform low-level Mokuton techniques with ease.

One day soon after, Tamotsu returned from a day of training alone to find the house silent. Tamotsu knocked on Yamato's door, and found it to be open, with Yamato lying on his bed, completely still. Fearing the worst, Tamotsu rushed to Yamato's side, only to have his fears confirmed. Yamato had passed away.

Stricken with grief, Tamotsu's emotions awakened his Clan's bloodline within him, and he completely lost control, a giant tree erupting from the ground at his feet under the floorboards of Yamato's cottage, surrounding both teacher and pupil and sealing them deep within the heart of a giant oak tree.

For nine days, Tamotsu remained unconscious within the tree, his chakra having completely been drained by his Mokuton frenzy. Unbeknownst to him, the tree had begun to absorb Yamato and Tamotsu, taking what little chakra remained within both of them and using them as nutrients. On the ninth day of this coma of sorts, Sai (age 86), another retired shinobi from Konohagakure, came for his bi-weekly visit to bring Yamato food and to spend time with his former sensei. Tamotsu had become a familiar face to Sai, and Sai had even assisted in training the young pupil.

Therefore, when he came upon the cottage completely overtaken by Tamotsu's tree, he had a pretty good idea of what had transpired. Shedding a silent tear for his fallen sensei, Sai entered the abode, placing his hand on the trunk of the tree. Surprised at the warmth radiating from the trunk, Sai called out to Tamotsu. From deep within the tree, Sai's call awakened Tamotsu, who slowly emerged from the trunk of the tree, the trunk reforming and sealing in the place in which he had been hidden away.

Sai did his best to comfort the emotionally exhausted Tamotsu, and offered to bring him to see the Seventh Hokage (age 86) in Konohagakure. Tamotsu reluctantly agreed, worried that his former status as a member of Kusagakure might be an issue. Sai told him not to worry about it, and brought him before the Seventh straight away. After explaining the situation, the Seventh requested to speak to Tamotsu alone. Sai respectfully bowed out of the room, and when they were alone, the Seventh Hokage asked the young boy what he wanted to do.

Tamotsu was silent for a long time, while the Seventh watched him quietly. Finally finding his words, Tamotsu began to tell the Seventh about his dream to develop his own fighting style, his training with Yamato, and of Yamato's passing, which caused Tamotsu to break into tears once more. He composed himself quickly, but all the while, the Seventh kept his gaze even and compassionate, and when Tamotsu looked up, wiping his tears, he found the Seventh smiling down at him.

The Seventh offered him a place in the village, as well as the opportunity to train to become a Shinobi of Konohagakure, and Tamotsu readily accepted.

Over the next three years, Tamotsu advanced quickly, having discovered that in his time within the tree that now marked Yamato's grave, he had absorbed part of his former master, and was now able to use the Mokuton style without losing control, exceeding the power and abilities of every other developer of the Fuka-Mokuton bloodline. Tamotsu was appointed to Chunin status within his first year in the village, and by the time of the Seventh Hokage's passing, he had been appointed to Jounin status as well.

After the funeral of the Seventh Hokage, Tamotsu was called in by the interim Hokage board and was asked to lead a team of rookie Genin, fresh from the Academy. Tamotsu agreed, on the condition that he would select his team's members. After some initial grumbling, they consented, and Tamotsu selected his first Genin subordinates, Maindo Ikamizu, Rin Yoshimi, and Zaki Orenji."

I decided not to shy away from the bigger names from the source material when it came to developing backstories, simply because it makes for fun little easter eggs for my players to discover, even if the characters from the original manga never appear to the players in person.

If anyone would like more information on these characters (statblocks, techniques, etc), just let me know.

For now though, the next session is tomorrow night! I look forward to seeing how things go! I will make another post detailing the events of the session very soon.
"You can count on me for one thing...and that thing is that I will never get your name right."


Current Games:
RWBY Tabletop: Ancient Call (Player)
Naruto D20: The Curse of the 8th Hokage (DM)
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