Ann Arbor Game Day
Golden Sky Stories
Elevator Pitch: Friendly animals take human form to help people with minor problems in an idealized Japanese countryside setting.
Core Resolution Mechanic: Stat + spent points of Feelings vs. Difficulty
Dice Used: None!
Japanese folk stories include tales of the henge, animals who, usually through long life, attain the magical power to take human form. Most stories are tales of mischief, but that’s just humans misunderstanding things. The truth is, henge are just interested in people, but they’re not always good at imitating or understanding us. And although the stories present them as something that was around a long time ago, they still exist to this day, especially out in the country, where humans still live in ways closer to nature.
In this game, you’ll take on the role of one of the henge, trying to satisfy your curiosity about humans by helping them solve the little problems of life, whether it’s a fight between siblings or a lost child. You’ll have plenty of magic related to your animal type at your disposal, but in order to use it you’ll have to build connections with each other and with other people, and hope they build them with you, too!
Golden Sky Stories is a Japanese RPG by Ryo Kamiya. Players choose from one many animal templates, and select one or more weaknesses associated with the animal, gaining extra magical abilities in return. Each character also has four stats: Henge, which is mostly used for special magical abilities, Animal, which governs most physical tasks or other actions which involve behaving like your animal type, Adult, which governs hiding your feelings, empathizing with others, and using machinery, and Child, which governs how well you can express your feelings, manipulate people, and have fun. Finally, characters have Connections, which are indications of their relationships with others and the emotions governing them.
At the beginning of each scene, characters involved gain points of Wonder equal to the total strengths of all her connection towards other people, and points of Feelings equal to the total strengths of all other people’s connections to her. Points of Wonder can be used to power the special magics of the henge, such as the Fox’s Oracle power (which lets them change the dreams of sleeping people). Points of Feelings can be spend to add to (or subtract from) a character’s relevant attribute in order to accomplish a task. And a combination of both can be spent to assume a human-like form, but be careful! Changing forms or doing magic in front of people can cause Surprise, which might scare them away or upset them, depending on how your Henge attribute compares to their highest. Surprising someone might be ok if they’re being man or causing trouble, but you shouldn’t do it to your friends!
Characters can build new Connections by making Impression checks with an attribute check the first time you meet a new person. After that, you have to spend Dreams to make them stronger. You get Dreams from other players, who give them out whenever they think you’ve done something cute or helpful during play. Like many Japanese RPGs, Golden Sky Stories is largely designed to be self contained, with only limited carry over between play sessions, so you shouldn’t hoard your points!
At the Fox’s Shrine/Crying in the Night (Golden Sky Stories main book)
Because the expected session length is short, we should be able to do both of these! In the first story, the henge stumble upon a shrine out in the woods, where they meet a new friend! In the second, they meet a young boy who’s returning to school at nigh to find something he forgot, but it’s getting dark out and there’s something crying in the dark . . .