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Storytime, /tg/!

A few months ago, I ran a campaign based on GARO, which finally wrapped up several weeks ago.

For those not in the know, GARO's a live-action series about badass paladins (Known as Makai Knights) who slay demons known as Horrors. While the titular GARO (The Golden Knight) is the greatest Knight ever, there's an entire society of them dedicated to fighting evil.

Note that the Knights in GARO have a very simplified version of the paladin's code. For a start, they're not religious: Also, the code goes...

a) Slay Horrors wherever you find them.
b) Do not slay humans.

That's about it. Each Knight can summon up a suit of armor he can wear for up to two minutes (I used Crinos Form stats) after which it begins to eat his soul. (Gamewise, he keeps making rolls against his Willpower until he fails.) It's a dark, dark setting, but each Knight is an incredibly powerful, highly skilled indiviual - They regularly go toe-to-toe with Horrors, as is their duty.

This story was basically - Four Knights from four different Houses must travel to a Temple, and defend it until the Eclipse. The temple sits atop a gate to hell, and their ancestors swore (generations ago) to never let the Gate open.

Our four Knights were:

a) The Jade Knight: He's a Chinese Knight who fights with a guandao - Very proud, very noble, a descendant of (no shit) Lu Bu. The problem is, he doesn't want to be here.

Ever since WWII, the Chinese and the Japanese do *not* get along: More, his ancestor has a...history...with the founders of the temple.

b) The Brass Knight: A badass Knight with immense physical strength, his armor resembles a minotaur - His ancestor was lost on the wrong side of the gates of hell, in the big battle generations ago, and he has now been tasked with retrieving his family's ancestral weapon...The hammer, Banisher.
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c) The Knight of Ravens: A lovable vagabond, the Knight of Ravens travels Japan on his tricked-out motorcycle, battling evil wherever he finds it. His armor has a cloak of raven feathers and big scything claws - He can also talk to ravens, but...Ravens are dicks, even though they occasionally have good advice.

d) The Knight of Thorns: The youngest Knight of the lot, his family is the most recently founded. He's inherited the duty from the lineage of the Knight of Iron - In fact, he's so modern that he eschews the melee weapons the other Knights use for a massive pair of steampunk revolvers.

Guns, in general, are not very effective against Horrors. That why every one of his bullets are thrice-blessed and stamped with a sacred sigil of warding, so they *really* hurt.

I'll admit - I actually got the genesis for this scenario from a Maid RPG module; The one where a group of mikos have to defend a shrine from a Snake God. Put a grimdark spin on it, and you have...A fairly good campaign, actually.
Effectively, the victory conditions for the scenario are:

The four Knights must defend the temple (Also known as the Rope Shrine) until the time of the Eclipse, when the gates to hell will open. They'll have to do this for about two months...And Horrors, eager to free their trapped brethern, will do everything in their power to infiltrate the temple.

During the Eclipse, they have to protect the acolytes and the shrine maiden as they complete the sealing ritual - A monotonous cycle of chanting that will take literally the entire night to complete. A blessed artifact, the Phosphorous Arrow, will be used to seal the gate for the new few hundred years.

In between each night's defense and the final battle, they'll have to do their best to prevent the Horrors from building up enough force to overwhelm the defenders...Basically, get them before they get you.

Holy shit, someone else actually watches Garo? I tohught that was an /m/ thing only.
Ah, it's the one you talked about a few months ago.
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>implying no people from /m/ being on /tg/
Of course, they're not alone. The Rope Shrine has plenty of acolytes (Cannon fodder, to be blunt) and a handful of important NPCs:

1.) The family's Patriach. He's an old man, in his sixties, but built like a goddamn ox. He's not really a match for Horrors and is slowing down, but he's good for sage advice. Still intimidating as hell, even in his advanced years.

2.) The Priestess. His daughter; She's a miko who's fairly sheltered, but with a mischievous streak. Really nice girl - The problem is, the culmination of the ritual involves sacrificing her to power the Phosphorous Arrow.

3.) The Bodyguard. An incredibly skilled swordswoman - In NWoD terms, she's an Enlightened Mortal with minor magic - she's also the spitting image of the Priestess. She's been altered to be the girl's identical twin.

4.) The Priestess's fiance. It's a political marriage - They aren't actually in love (Or sleeping together), but are on fairly good terms. That is, he's firmly in the friend zone.

He loves playing Barchess (An in-universe occult game) and he's a Sorcerer who specializes in exorcisms and creating defensive constructs. His chess set is actually a heirloom artifact, where the pieces can turn into powerful golems.

Her role is to protect the Priestess and rally the defenses of the temple. She's incredibly competent - The problem is, as she's not a Knight, she's utterly outmatched.

Basically, the temple is doing everything right. But they need the Knights to handle the shitstorm, or everyone dies. They simply cannot do it by themselves.
You forget, /tg/ is the cultural melting pot of 4chan. No one browses only /tg/. Just about everyone here has some kind of dual citizenship with another board of primary interest.
>No one browses only /tg/.

But /tg/ is the only board you need.
Our story starts when the four Knights turn up - As is appropriate, on a full moon. The temple's being attacked, the defenses keeping the Horrors at bay...Until a titanic six-armed siege creature begins to lumber towards the gates, utterly unimpeded by anything that's thrown at it.

Enter our heroes. (The Knight of Thorns couldn't make the first session, alas, so he isn't present in this one.) A motorcycle rumbles to a stop at the base of the temple steps, and the Knight of Ravens and the Brass Knight dismount: The former sprints up the steps, as the latter - Very casually - drags his incredibly weighty mace behind himself.

Meanwhile, inside the temple itself, a ritual is being performed to effectively summon the Jade Knight through *Hell*; Riding a mechanical destrier, he battles a titanic serpent that struggles to devour him, and materalizes in the summoning circle with an explosion of green flame.

This was really a comparatively easy fight, meant to establish the defining traits of the characters. The Jade Knight is chivalrous, but he's stiff-necked and discomfited - It doesn't stop him from catching the Priestess and gently laying her down when she falls, though; The Raven Knight isn't really that good of a fighter, but he's incredibly charismatic - He hits it off with both the Fiancee and the Bodyguard.

Generally, Knights tend to be kind of arrogant: They know they're the best. It's very, very rare to find one who's so...Well, personable and nice. (For instance, he lets them save face by respectfully requesting their permission to help - Implying that they were doing fine on their own.)

The Brass Knight? He's incredibly strong. (I talked with the player - He said that he wanted to play the game as a straightforward fighter, because he was uncomfortable with social situations.) The Raven and Jade Knights interference, before the Brass Knight OHKOs the weakened Horror with a home run swing from his mace.
After *that* opening battle, the PCs are received by the temple's acolytes - They meet the important NPCs, and settle into the new routine. Of course, there's an incredible amount of friction - You have four alpha-males in one place - but they eventually agree that any discord would be shameful. They're here as guests, after all, and they're on their best behaviour.

The Knight of Thorns turns up the next night, and helps them defeat the second Horror - A winged Garuda-esque monster with a dozen screaming faces. (I don't mean to understate his role, but his player was new to RPGs and the setting - I wanted to slowly ease him into it, but it took a while before he got the swing of things.)

Another interesting thing I've found out: First impressions are really, really deceiving. Despite the Bodyguard being the first girl the Raven Knight met, and the Priestess being the first one for the Jade Knight...The guys found themselves interacting with their opposite numbers more.

The cloistered Priestess really enjoyed the friendly Raven Knight's 'lovable vagabond' charm - At the same time, she envied his immense freedom to travel wherever he would. He eventually promised to bring her wherever she wanted, once this was over.

Did you think up all these characters yourself? Because both the player knights and the GMPCs sound fuck-awesome.

What does the priestess look like, anyway?

Pale, long black hair in a hime cut, willowy. Actually quite playful once you get to know her...When she's not all formal from the demands of her station. She knows that something really bad is going to happen to her, and she doesn't want to think about it.


At the same time, the Jade Knight's interest is piqued by the Bodyguard; Especially when he notices that her fighting style (She uses a sword) is oddly similar to his own. Of course, she's rather interested in his perspective on things - If she wasn't female, she'd have been the ideal candidate to become a Makai Knight.

Meanwhile, the Knight of Thorns - An avid gamer - regularly plays chess with the Fiancee. Both of them are under an immense amount of pressure to excel, and that's a common thread between them.

The Knight of Brass says little, but he's reassuringly stolid; He helps out wherever he can, and his strength is truly Olympian.
I'll admit: I might have made things too obscure at the beginning, because the PCs were generally eager to 'hole up' instead of making pre-emptive strikes. To keep the plot moving, the next attack had demons teleport *into* the temple itself, past the wards - Forcing them to fight a desperate two-way battle in which they were nearly overrun.

As it turns out: Someone intimately familiar with the temple's defenses let the Horrors in. The question is - Who? Of course, the Knights (As outsiders) are quietly suspected, and the Patriach urges them to get to the root of things.

The Thorn Knight questions the Fiancee, who seems to have the greatest motive: Romantic jealousy over the Priestess, since the Raven Knight is charming her. Unfortunately, he's way too blunt with his accusations, and only succeeds in pissing the other guy (Who insists in his innocence) off.

Investigating the city, they find more Horror nests - But with four knights, they manage to clear it out quite easily...Only to discover that the place was marked with runes and sigils to empower the monsters further. (Another mistake I made here: I mentioned to the Brass Knight that the sigils were very familiar to him. For some reason, he decided not to mention this to the others.)

> (Another mistake I made here: I mentioned to the Brass Knight that the sigils were very familiar to him. For some reason, he decided not to mention this to the others.)

You have to be more explicit about these things. Some players can be really dense.

I never put murder-mysteries in my games, becauase my players are incapable of solving them.
Now *absolutely certain* the Fiancee is at fault, they go back to accuse him...And in a fit of rage, he unleashes the pieces from his Barchess set, forcing them to fight off a small army of golems. They collar him, but he protests that he's innocent - He only attacked in sheer outrage.

Not knowing what to do, they lock him up...But the Raven Knight hangs back, and goes Good Cop on him. After some probing the Fiancee reveals that romantic jealousy is pointless: The girl's going to die (via ritual strangulation) to charge the Phosphorous Arrow. It needs the living essence of a magical bloodline to be empowered.

In four words:

> "What the actual fuck?"

Unfortunately, the Horrors choose this time to attack. They're lead by a Knight - A *black* Knight, fused with his armor...And carrying the sacred hammer Banisher.

It's the Brass Knight's ancestor, the poor bastard who's been trapped on the wrong side of hell for several hundred years. And boy, is he angry.
Thanks to some absolutely shitty roles, the Brass Knight doesn't fare well against his ancestor. Neither does the Knight of Thorns.

The Jade Knight and the Raven Knight manage to lead him on a merry chase until the sun comes up - And he has to flee - but they know it's only a temporary reprieve. The Eclipse is coming up, and SOON...That's when everyone and everything is fucked.

At the same time, both men are opposed to letting the Priestess get killed: Because, seriously, that's just wrong. But they still need a sacrifice from a magical bloodline...

The Priestess and her Bodyguard are - They're not *happy* about it, but they're resigned to it. It's only in private that the Priestess breaks down in the Raven Knight's arms, and weeps - She doesn't *want* to die...Especially not when she's fallen in love.

The Bodyguard, too, mentions that when her mistress dies...She'll follow her, to keep her soul safe. The Jade Knight is repulsed by this - Until she reminds him that he has a duty, too. He convinces her that there has to be more to life than duty...And that he'd find the meaning with her, together.
While this is the culmination of the romantic subplots, they're still pondering the whole 'sacrifice' problem - With no solution in sight - when the Eclipse comes.

It comes early (Thanks to their failure to stop the Black Knight from building up his forces) and when the final night dawns, all hell breaks loose. The Knights are driven back, fighting furiously, all the way to the ritual chamber - The Black Knight leading the assault, smashing apart all comers with his hammer.

Things are looking really bad, at this point; I was about to go with a "You all fought valiantly, you did the very best you could, and you died doing your duty...But sometimes, evil wins." ending...

-Until the Knight of Thorns, mortally wounded, finally cottons on...And burns permanent Willpower to stab the Black Knight from behind, with the Phosphorous Arrow.
>In four words:

"That's Garou for ya."
The hungry artifact eats the Black Knight's soul - He continues to fight, desperate to open the gate, but he's finally brought down in a furious, final effort. (Not before nearly decapitating the Jade Knight - Seriously, the guy was at his Dying health level - and cutting off the Brass Knight's arm.)

Never let enemies do aggravated damage, by the way. It's a dick move for everyone involved.

As the dust settles, the gates to hell yawn open. Millions of demons see the world revealed before them, and hunger to consume it. Reality itself begins to stutter, as ruin builds, like a storm...

The Raven Knight yells at the Thorn Knight - Let him do it. He can *fly*, he'll carry the Arrow through the gate. The Thorn Knight, dying, says-


The only way for the gate to stay close is for *someone to be on the other side*. That's what happened to the former Brass Knight. But - Hey, the Thorn Knight's dying. He has nothing to lose. Besides; He wants to prove himself worthy of the lineage.
Staggering, spitting blood, he mounts up on his Makai steed, and rides through the portal. The iron horse tramples Horrors under its feet; He fires blindly, blasting apart the creatures trying to swarm him.

And when he can go no further, he raises the Phosphorous Arrow high, and brings it down.

The blast cuts a swathe through the milling hordes, searing them into nothing; He, too, is unmade by the unleashed energies.

But for an instant, he sees a final vision of his family and the Knights before him, and - In the last moment of his life - the Iron Knight extending a gauntlet to him. Even though there's nothing left - As the world vanishes in pure white annhilation - he takes the Knight's hand and walks away.

The Eclipse ends, as the gates to hell rumble close; Slowly, very slowly, day comes for the survivors. It's not a neat conclusion, of course - Countless people are dead, the Brass Knight is maimed, the Jade Knight may yet die. Even the Raven Knight is looking distinctly tattered...

-But they're alive.
What a bittersweet end to the tale. It fits what I've heard about the GARO world
We cut to:

A few months later, the Rope Shrine has been repaired - The gate to Hell sealed again, perhaps - this time - for good. Now Head Priest, the Fiancee converses with the Jade Knight; The latter is still slow on his feet, but he insists on going back to China. There's still a duty to be done.

The Bodyguard meets him, when he's about to depart - She tells him to come back soon, and that she'd be waiting for him. They kiss, and he asks - What's she going to do now? She laughs, and tells him that - For the first time - her duty is complete. Now, she can do anything she wants...And she wants to go with him.

Outside, spring is coming. It's going to be a glorious day - The Raven Knight is astride his motorcycle, once more: The Priestess settles onto the pillion, as he drives off. She's never been on a motorcycle before, and she laughs from the exhiliration of it, clinging to him - And she asks...

> "Where are we going?

He smiles, and says - "Anywhere you want." - as he accelerates onward into a new adventure.

The Brass Knight, badly wounded, returns to his family holdings. He's hurt, and his time as a Knight might be over...But he's filled with pride, and refuses help as he bears a cloth-wrapped bundle in his remaining arm.

As murmured prayers of benefience - From cowled, hooded priests - fill the chamber, he returns proud Banisher (Now re-sanctified) to its place of honor.

Later still, the trio meets again one last time: At the hall of heroes, where the greatest Knights - Who've died before their time - are interred. It's highly unusual for such a youthful lineage to be laid to rest here...But with three Knights vouching for him, and his sacrifice - Who could argue otherwise?

As the Knight of Thorns takes his place amid the greatest legends of the Makai, the three survivors stand watch, solemnly - Later, they meet his heir (A younger brother). They agree to train him, together: It's the least they could do, for the greatest hero they've known.

...And that's a wrap.

Bravo. That's how you end a campaign!
It sounds like you had a great time, all things considered.

Yeah, but I'll freely admit that I improvised a LOT of things as I went along. While it sounds like I planned it, I did NOT expect the Thorn Knight to stab the final boss with the Arrow, for instance.

It's only when I gave it some serious thought, when I realized: That was genius. It's EXACTLY what they needed to do. (I thought one of the would sacrifice themselves instead of the girl.)

Also, the Priestess was initially slated to die *no matter what*...However, when I thought about it - It seemed to be more and more of a dick move. Hence why I left options open, though there wasn't an easy answer. (Or at least, I thought there wasn't an easy answer...)

Awww, that's actually quite sweet. So everyone lives happily ever after, except for the dead guy?

Well, not exactly. I figure that a Knight's is a bumpy one - one adventure (or experiment) after another, with only a little breathing room in between. Their careers are hardly over, but they've won this one...Good job all around.

Gotta savor the victories you get, after all.
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So the rich nobleman ends up with the girl of no lineage, and the drifter rides off into the sunset with the miko? That's unexpected.

Pic related, a miko.
how did the cooldowns on their armour work? was it once a day/ require a certain ritual or was it resource based?
>Ravens are assholes

They had an automatic number of rounds a day equal to Stamina + Resolve. After that, they could roll against Willpower...Or spend one temporary point for an automatic new turn.

In practice, this might have been a bit too powerful. They never felt really short of time, but they came close on occasion.
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Better miko.

The series never really says, but it's pretty solidly established that if your time limit runs out, that specific fight is over. You can't just reactivate it immediately after the time limit is over.

> "Fuck you, birds!"


Oh, Japan. You know that they're not wearing anything under those, right?
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They probably have an awful sense of humor

Yeah, I can't imagine how talking to those bastards could ever be useful.
Well, crows in Seattle hate Richard Nixon. We could talk about that.
They have eyes in the sky. They can silently watch in trees. They could have tons of useful information.
It's getting it out of them that's the hard part.
Excellent story OP. I think it really fits the style and theme of GARO. Bravo.
And to think that he got the idea from a randomly generated Maid RPG adventure.
At its very base, the general idea is a solid one. It's what you do with that idea and what setting you put it on etc etc that really make or break a campaign.

As with many things in life it may well be the only thing you need but not the only thing you want ...
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God damn a game summary has never had me so close to weeping before.

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So how would you say WoD worked for a Garo game?

I wouldn't mind giving it a go, could be an easy way to ease my group into playing more toku related games.
This. How the hell did you adapt a WoD game to GARO?
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I've never been good with armor or mechanical things, but reading about this makes me want to pour some stuff into virtual paper.
nWoD is actually more flexible and adaptable than most people give it credit for.
I'd say this sounds more like a very good group than any particular virtue of the system. In raw mechanical terms, WW's storyteller isn't great at the best of times, and tends to utterly shatter when used for high power games like Exalted, Scion or certain WoD splats.

However, a good group is capable of making use of a system, accommodating for its flaws and making it work for them. From the story, I'd think this is the case of a good, flexible group and GM making a system work for them, regardless of how appropriate or good it was.

It should be noted that this doesn't mean direct critique of mechanics are invalid. The only way to objectively analyse a system is to do so in a vacuum. But its perfectly possible for a good group to avoid or work around those flaws and have an enjoyable game with the system.
Holy shit, badass.
Knight of Ravens... Karas?
That is pretty damn boss.
Bumping. Everyone on /tg/ at the minute should read this.

Everyone on /tg/ should watch Garo.

Holy shit, this story is fucking awesome. How have I not heard of this show?

I just watched a clip where a knight put a flaming metal horse on a giant sword, then threw it into the face of a gigantic spaceship, THEN JUMPED INTO THE SPACESHIP'S FACE TO PUNCH IT.

Holy shit.

Wow, that's remarkably badass armor.
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Thanks ! I wasn't sure how well I got the idea across. Makai Knight armors have so much detail to think about and it's hard to put down into quick drawings. Working on the Jade Knight now.
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How I personally imagines the Raven Knight the whole time.
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Karas was the first thing I immediately thought of too.

I agree. I've been marathoning the show, and it's badass. It lacks a lot of the campiness most toku are stricken by: The out-of-suit fights are a treat to watch, too.

Do we ever find out why only men can be knights?

It's just a thing. However, it's actually a plot point in the Red Requiem movie and the Makai Senki series.

For instance, your family has two sons. But only one guy can inherit the armor. Obviously, you should choose the more competent one...But what if the more competent one has a high chance of going Darth Vader on you?

Hell, even the villain of the first series had his own spin-off movie. KIBA Gaiden, I think.

Oh yeah, that was fucking awesome. Barago is kind of a whiner, all things considered...But he looks really, really good.

There's a third series coming, but it's not featuring Kouga. Kouga, however, is going to get his own movie; It's about he goes to Oz to KICK SOME ASS.

I mostly liked the second series because Kouga finally got some characterization beyone being Kungfu Takeshi Kitano.

Yeah, the second series was good. I feel that Leo was kind of a putz, though. (Admittedly, he was pulling double-duty.)

Kouga has REALLY aged, hasn't he? It looks like he has a Botox accident in some shots. I really liked the episode where he deals with the Thespian, and Zero's episode where he battles the samurai from the past.

Both are awesome, and they really stand out to me.

OP, an important question. Did the players have the talking pieces of gothic jewellery like in the show?
Depends on how much fighting they're doing. If they're doing a LOT of fighting (and I've seen NWoD combat go for quite a bit with bad rolls and lots of enemies), that's probably about the way to do it.

I have to say, making the armor = Crinos form sounds like an inspired idea. God damn, this means that when it comes to laying down the hurt, Makai Knights are werewolf-tier.
As long as the Horrors are run equivalent to a Fomor or a BSD or something, then yeah. I've used the Gauru form from Forsaken running a sentai one-shot once; worked quite nicely.

> God damn, this means that when it comes to laying down the hurt, Makai Knights are werewolf-tier.

That's very close to the truth. I have to wonder what else the OP allowed the knights to use. Do they have Gifts or the equivalent of Sorcery?

The bodyguard/swordswoman girl sounds like she uses the Second Sight rules, and the rest are Enlightened Sorcerers.

In the show, the knights are simply really skilled swordsmen. One or two have some minor magic (The White Knight is a spellcaster), but it's the armor that's the big gun.

Usually, they have:
a) An artifact advisor.
b) A sword that can cut Horrors.
c) A lighter that allows them to detect Horrors.

In their armor, some knights have Makai Steeds, which are horses made of hellfire and metal.
>EVERYONE should watch Garo.
This thread made me finally decide to catch up with the series. Haven't seen the show since the Beast of the White Night first came out.

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