1. For three racing generations Dawnstar Racing has dominated world culture. Its big circuits - the North, South, West, and East Wind Circuits - are events that every man and woman sets their calendar by. A mix of celebrity, sports star, science hero, and businessmen, the Dawnstar Racers come from many different walks of life, many different kingdoms, and a couple even from different worlds! If you qualify for a race it can take sometimes days to finish.
2. Every nation and major business enterprise sponsors their own racing team, as do many towns, causes, individual brands...some racers are entirely independent, though this is rare. Even educational institutions get in on the act.
3. Mammon Summer is the mysterious head of Dawnstar Racing, possibly the richest person in the world. She is dramatic and severe in her business dealings and promotions but genial and enthusiastic in her praise of the Dawnstar Racers. Once she was quite the racer herself, from an esteemed family. That was long ago, and now she never even drives anywhere. She never has to. People come to her.
4. Anyone who meets an entry fee and qualifies can be a Dawnstar Racer. They try to keep out the riff raff but inevitable bad seeds take root. The Road Dawgs are a gang of racers who want to slowly conquer Dawnstar Racing from within, taking each of the individual circuits and winning the Grandissimo Prix. The money and influence this brings will make them top dawgs for year to come. Their leader is Major Cain S. Nueve, a self-described military genius whose frankly ridiculous public image belies his actual animal cunning.
5. Amateur racing leagues and small circuits fill the globe. Everyone is always angling to snare a Dawnstar Racer for one of their races; it's the next best thing to graduating to the big show themselves. Between these, promotional appearances, community outreach, media opportunities...life is never dull for a Dawnstar Racer.
6. It's not all sunshine, of course. An interloper made of pure toxic masculinity and chrome named Knightrous Oxhide, a deadly buffoon dressed in a mix of medieval armor and wrestling costume, has declared himself the only person worthy of being called the ultimate racer. Sometimes he qualifies legitimately, other times he simply crashes the race - literally and figuratively, of course: if it takes him wrecking all the other racers to be the first to finish then so be it.
7. Other gatecrashers are not nearly so malignant. The mystery behind Cruise Masque's identity might be as captivating as the circuits themselves. Elegant, seemingly unkillable, not everyone can even agree as to whether Cruise Masque is a man or a woman. Even if they have not taken the time to qualify for a race they can still make a surprise appearance. They usually try to outrace and trip up their fellow racers but have been known to be destructive and aggressive...usually for their own, somewhat reasonable ends, according to other racers. Stoic, soft spoken, and gentle as a piece of glass which can shatter or sever.
8. Certain nations in this world are home to fantastic technology, while others are positively stone age. Others are home to fantastic creatures or winsome spirits, while others are devoid of even the animal called Hope. Certain nations have access to miraculous magical gifts while others shun these heinous activities. The warlike, the pious, the flamboyant, the inscrutable, kingdoms of every stripe fill this world. You will meet other racers who hail from each. You will race across many of these.
9. Laws bend whenever a race is on. Often, but not always. For example, the sprawling kingdom of Chevalle forbids all racing and even all vehicles, except for official military purposes. For this reason some racers make a point of short-cutting through Chevalle when afforded the opportunity, which strains international diplomacy and risks life/limb. There's also S.E.D.A.N., the Special Envoy Defending All Nations, an international super-police charged with protecting the public from the dangers of racers, racers from the dangers of racers, and racers from the dangers of the public. These often work with conventional authorities.
10. In all the years Dawnstar Racing has existed no single team has ever been able to claim the Grandissimo Prix Cup, the Sunset Chalice. Doing so requires a single team to win all four Wind Circuits and a final race between qualifying finishers. Being a racer is its own reward, an esteemed class. Winning a circuit opens doors beyond your dreams. There aren't words for how big one might become winning the GP. You'd be the biggest star in the world...and, maybe, in other worlds.
All Vehicles begin with Acceleration 6, Handling 6/Squeal 8, Frame 7/Crunch 9.
Vehicles with Handling or Acceleration 7+ must be piloted by a character with the Driving skill and at least 1 Driving schtick.
Vehicles and weapons normally offered by Types are not available, with the exception of Types built around those weapons (Full Metal Nutball, Sword Master, Archer).
Vehicles may begin play with 1 Weapon. This weapon can be a projectile, a snare, a smasher, a tricky trap, whatever. Vehicles beginning with 1 Weapon do not begin play with a Resource Die.
Your Vehicle runs on...
1. Animal Power/Living power
2. Steam powered
3. Magic powered
4. Esoteric fuel (crystals, solar, robot)
5. Physically powered (e.g. crank powered, wind powered)
6. Gas/Electric powered
Its main special feature is...
1. It can transform for a different race mode
2. Extra speed (+1 initiative)
3. Extra armor (+1 Frame)
4. Turbo boosting (+2 to Chase)
5. Ignore a kind of difficult movement (turbulence, off roading, whirlpools, etc)
6. Extra weapons (Or, may begin with both 1 Weapon and 1 Resource Die)
Its second special feature is...
1. Can transform for a different race mode
2. Special movement (space/subspace, submarine, tunneling or vertical drive)
4. Secondary locomotion (train style, or skis, hot air balloon, sails, springs, hovercraft, jogging, or reroll on first table)
5. Can carry 1 extra crew member
6. Fully functional with only 2 crew members
Your team acquired it by one or more of you...
1. Inheriting it
2. Mortgaging your future on it
3. Luckily winning it or discovering it
4. Building it (or raising it if it's a living creature)
5. Earning it through sweaty toil or similar long sacrifice
6. Being hired to do a job by an owner/sponsor
This downside to this vehicle is its...
1. Tendency to stop working
2. Enormous expense for power or maintenance
3. Lack of armor
4. Lack of coolness/sex appeal
5. Difficulty to pilot
6. Lack of weaponry
It's named after...
1. Whatever sounds cool, especially if it makes no sense
2. A powerful animal, maybe with a color thrown in
3. Something sciency or futury sounding
4. A family member or your team's hometown
5. A valuable mineral and/or powerful weapon
6. Whatever the announcer made up in the heat of the moment and now it stuck.
Players may choose to play any Type. Juncture penalties for magic or transformation are instead assessed regionally. Advancement opportunities come whenever a PC wins a race.
Each Vehicle carries 3 team members: the Pilot, the Coach, and the Defender. As you can see some Teams switch roles for different races while others are more static.
Players will initially play one of the race's Pilots. Players will also play the other members of the Teams captained by other Players. This means that an individual session can focus on one Team at a time during Pit Stops with no one left out while giving every Player something to do during course legs. Short story, you will play multiple characters, but we will not determine these secondary and tertiary characters' game statistics until after the first session. For the first session we will only focus on 1 character: each Player's Pilot.
Go ahead and make some rolls to know where you're kind of coming from.
The overriding relationship between your crew is... (something to keep in mind when making choices on the individual relationships spread)
2. Childhood friends
3. Misfits bound by circumstance/fate
4. Elite team of experts
6. Never mix business with romance
Your crew's pilots are broken up by...
1. One teammate does all the piloting
2. One teammate does air and sea, another for land
3. One teammate each for land, air, and sea
4. One teammate does land and sea, another for air
5. Each teammate is fully trained to pilot any race vehicle
6. One teammate is completely incapable of safely and expertly piloting any vehicle, and the rest of the team divides labor equally.
Your team races for...
2. Fame and glory
4. A promise or obligation
5. To disguise your movements and activities
6. For those you care about
Your HQ is in...
1. The deep country
2. A quiet town
3. A big city
4. A seat of racing excitement
5. A nearby land
6. A world all its own
You are sponsored by...
1. No one, your destiny is your own
2. A small business
3. A big brand
4. A prestigious racing team
5. National interests
6. Extralegal enterprise
1. Is exotic but not unusual
2. Is bog standard - it's all about how you use it!
3. Is outdated or incomplete but you make do with what you can find
4. Is beyond normal convention
5. Is unique, a locomotion only you have mastered
6. Is nothing short of magic
END OF THE FIRST SESSION
Players call dibs on each other's team members and work with that Player to pick 3 Skills and a Schtick for that team member that works with that Pilot's whole theme and the rolls made so far. These won't be full Types; they are basically "Good Mooks" to round out the cast and crew.
You are allowed to make SWAP changes to your Pilot: decide that you played them closer to another Type and swap that out, or decide that another schtick or skill would make more sense for them and swap that out with permission from the Announcer.
Determine any Favor or Teamwork points earned.
Roll or Choose a result to set up your team's relationships. Determine the relationship to the team member to your RIGHT, the conflict attached to that relationship for the team member to your LEFT.
RELATIONSHIPS AMONG TEAM MEMBERS (each result binds 2 team members)
1. Mother and child
2. Father and child
3. Grandparent and grandchild
4. Distant, perhaps estranged relations
2. Former rivals
4. Former romance
1. Discovered ancient secret
2. Touched a part of another world
3. Survived a traumatic experience
4. Alone together
5. Temperamental and do not play well with others
6. United by a shared passion
1. Engineering pioneers
2. Raceway daredevils
3. Explorers and discoverers
4. Disciplined polymaths
5. Road Warriors
6. Esoteric Specialists
1. A pilot and their crew
2. A genius and their assistants
3. A daredevil and their safety team
4. A master and their servants
5. An entrepreneur and their workers
6. A freelancer and their subcontractors
4. Domestic bliss
5. Young and Foolish
THE TROUBLE IS..... (each result attaches to one specific relationship listed above)
1. Addict and enabler
2. Protective and sheltered
3. Danger-prone and rescuer
4. Communication breakdown
5. Phobic and fearless
6. Old grudges
1. Violation of the rules of the road
2. Wanted criminals
3. Wanted BY criminals
5. License restrictions
6. National Security
1. Medical expense
2. Vehicle upkeep
3. Company overhead
4. Loan interest
5. A debt more serious than money
6. Gambling losses
1. Road Dogs have it out for you
2. A ghost from your past (metaphorically)
3. A reckless newcomer after your reputation
4. A curse or sign upon your name
5. An obsessive fan
1. A creature or creatures
2. A machine or machines
3. A spell
4. A prophecy
5. A cult
6. Danger from another world
1. Rivalry amongst teammates
2. Rivalry with a specific racer
3. Rivalry with another team
4. The Road Dogs
5. Magic vs Science
END OF THE FIRST RACE
The winning team has the opportunity to allow each member to advance.
Victory Points and Money determined for each team.
Stage setting for next session.
Make relevant skill checks to resolve dangling plot threads from Pit Stops or to cover catastrophic repairs and stuff.
State anything you intend to do before or during the next race.
Bank any unused Resource Dice.
PLAYING THE GAME
Feng Shui (okay technically Feng Shui 2) is pretty straightforward. It has a lot of terms to get used to but basically 5 things to remember:
- You are almost always rolling 1d6 Good and 1d6 Bad, subtracting Bad from Good, and applying that number (even a negative number) to one of the values on your character sheet.
- 6s have power: rolling a 6 means you roll that die, good or bad, again, leading to the possibility of overwhelming success or failure. Rolling two sixes at once (Boxcars) means whether you succeed or fail SOMETHING big crazy awesome happens.
- Whenever you deal damage to a person they reduce it by Toughness (and armor, but armor is rare). Whenever you deal damage to a Vehicle they reduce it by their Frame. Whenever you Do Good At Racing and impose "chase points" your enemies reduce those by their Handling. Get enough of any of these points and you start taking roll penalties and eventually get taken out.
- As long as you have Fortune dice (sometimes called Chi, Sorcery, or something else on your sheet) you can reduce that value by 1 to add an additional Good 1d6 to a roll. You can also spend Fortune et. al. to improve your defense, Dodging. In a Vehicle Fortune will most often be applied to Driving checks. Fortune can be spent for other reasons, usually to power Schticks.
- Unnamed characters drop if you hit them (e.g. most of the Road Dawgs). Named characters have schticks and Wound Points (T. Rexarcana of the Road Dawgs). Bosses are named characters who are even harder to knock out even at normal WP thresholds (Major Nueve of the Road Dawgs). All other Pilots, at least, are Named Characters. Characters like Knightrous Oxhide or Grace Coupe of S.E.D.A.N. should be considered Bosses.
Since Advancement will be rare and erratic (and doesn't matter much in the metagame for Feng Shui (2)) there are instead 4 types of reward for your teams (not individual characters):
- Victory Points are given out according to where you finish in the race. All racers know the point awards in advance so if you want to play it safe in your position then go for it. That's not what we're going for here, exactly, but you do you.
- Money is given out in pay and winnings and such to a team to, abstractly, distribute. What you actually spend money on is Resource Dice. You begin every race with 1 Resource Die. You can use this to customize/repair your vehicle into racing shape, cover all your Pit Stop costs for a session, or spend it on a NPC or bequeath it to another team. Resource Dice are just there to keep track of this abstract resource, you don't actually roll them. "Spending" it means you give it up and Money Thing Happens.
- Favor is earned by sacrificing your position to help out another racer, protect your own team, help an NPC, or just show off and be as flashy as possible. Playing to the crowd or doing things to ingratiate yourself to the public. You earn this during a racing leg and spend it to improve rolls during Pit Stops.
- Teamwork is earned by using the Pit Stops (built in somewhat pastoral interludes) to role play your guys, playing out little scenes or describing little down time montages, instead of JUST using this opportunity to heal or repair or adjust your course. These points represent the bonds you forge between yourselves and/or the other NPCs. These can be used during a racing leg to improve rolls.
The Feng Shui Archetype list can be found here. I'll have this available for everyone when we play. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE WE PLAY IS LOOK IT OVER, THINK ABOUT DIFFERENT CHARACTERS TO BE, AND HAVE IT HANDY. We run with the Types-as-written for the first session and modify them later.
Remember that while this is its own thing the underlying ethos of "Studio Ghibli Wacky Races" should be preserved so try to imagine your character less in action movie or even shonen manga terms and try adding the word "pastoral" before every character concept. We will get to plenty of wackiness, plenty of ass kicking, plenty of gross-out, or whatever, but let's start from a more Azumanga Daioh/Lupin III/Porco Rosso kind of place and get there on our own.