Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Roleplaying Game and Resource Book
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is the first time that Guardians of Order has applied their Tri-Stat System outside of the animge genre, and they do an excellent job.
I'm not going to describe the movie here, except to say that while it's not an action blockbuster, it's still an excellent movie. Go rent it now.
The book itself is well laid out. Most of the pages have either a quote or picture from the movie. Longer quotes start each chapter. While the book is in black and white, I think this fits the book better than doing it in color would have.
The first chapter is a a discussion of the 'honourable killer' genre in fiction. It covers not just American cinema, but ventures into Japanese and European cinema as well. The rest of the first chapter is a walkthrough of the movie.
Character creation is the same as any other Tri-Stat book. The attributes, skills and defects in Ghost Dog are only those appropriate for the genre, although there would be no problem crossing it with other games.
Next is the rules section. Firearms are featured heavily in the weapons table, as well as modifications that can be done to them.
The next section is where the book really shines, however. It is a discussion of samurai culture, and some of the rules it worked by. Also in this section is a discussion of mafia culture. It describes the history of the American mafia, and how it came to be distinct from the Italian version. Described here is the 'honor among thieves' and code of silence that forms the basis of mafia life. Some of the mafia's operating methods are described in general terms. This provides useful background for GMs and players who may not know much about criminal society other than what they have watched on television.
A curious thing about Ghost Dog. While most RPGs are designed for one GM and a group of players, Ghost Dog is aimed more towards a single player and a GM. This matches the movie very well, where the only character we learn much about is Ghost Dog. Most GMs and players may find this disconcerting, but it interests me. With a one-on-one relationship, the player and GM can both focus on each other more.
In short, Ghost Dog is an excellent RPG. While it will not appeal to everyone, it is certainly at least worth a look.Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)