A red torii gate stands over a pond dappled with lily pads and paper lanterns, all of it framed by vibrant bamboo.
My favorite video game of recent memory is Ghost of Tsushima, a game that celebrates the filmography of Akira Kurosawa, the legendary reputation of the samurai, the natural beauty of Japan, and so many other things that I love dearly.
I took many visual notes as I played through it, and some of my favorite scenes were from the questline that saw you to track down and face a series of samurai in dramatic 1v1 duels. These duels took place in simple, obstacle-free arenas, and yet each arena was decorated gorgeously. The result was always a deeply atmospheric experience, and I wanted to try and do the same thing for the tabletop experience.
Realistically, not every battle utilizes hazards, difficult terrain, line of site, and all the other tools in your Game Master toolbox! Every now and then you might opt for a dramatic duel on even ground. ⚔
What sort of encounters come to your mind? It might be the dramatic clash between two blades that I mentioned. Perhaps a “wave defense” style encounter with assailants hurtling out of the bamboo. Maybe this pool is the home of a peaceful great fairy who only wants to upgrade your equipment? I’d love to hear about the encounters you get up to. 🙂
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