WHAT IS THE KAZEI 5 PLAY-BY-EMAIL ABOUT?
Kazei 5 focuses on role-playing in a dark and disturbing future set just a few generations from the present (i.e the year 2039). It is a future where megacorporations rule every segment of their employees' lives; where they live, what they eat, where they spend their money, and what they spend it on. Where the police are just another profit-minded company, supplying their services only to those who can afford to pay for the privilege of police protection. Where synthetic humans are produced and sold as simple consumer products, no different from cars, computers, or home appliances. Where crime and urban violence has become so prevalent that cities have are sealed off sections and left them to their own devices. Where man, in the never-ending effort to improve himself, has turned to genetic engineering to produce a superior human. Where technology has traded mere flesh for cybernetic enhancements.
It is a world of cybernetics, cyborgs, synthetic humans (a.k.a. "replicated humans"), cyberdroids (a.k.a. "boomers"), and espers (a.k.a. "esper weapons"). A world heavily inspired and/or based off of such anime as Akira, Appleseed, Bubblegum Crisis, and Ghost in the Shell. If you have seen Blade Runner, Bubblegum Crisis or Ghost in the Shell, then you should have a pretty good idea of how the universe looks.
The game takes place in the 21 Century, circa 2039, and is currently centered in and around the city-state of Hong Kong, although the action can take place anywhere in the world. China is no more, having been divided into different warring factions following certain political crises that occured around the start of the new century.
This game does not take place in the Kazei 5 universe described elsewhere in this website. This is an entirely "new" universe with a totally new continuity.
Players can pretty much play anything they want. This includes normal humans, cybernetically modified humans, genetically enhanced humans, cyborgs, replicated humans, espers, and so on.
Players cannot play (as a character) a cyberdroid, a magician, a time-traveller, an alien, a god (and so on). This isn't a Champions setting, or Shadowrun (or Silent Möbius for that matter), and there is no magic, magical devices, or characters that use magic. There are no aliens, extra-dimensional creatures, or "superheroes."
Kazei 5 also not a "team" game. It is not required for the PCs to form a team, or for Players to be members of the Kazei 5 government black ops team, (the group the original campaign was named after). The setting is more free-form than that, in which each person is left to their own devices. However, players are more than welcome to work together as partners and/or teams.
That said, please do not hand in an established anime/manga character as your character. Thus, no Tetsuo, Priss Asagiri, Major Kusanagi, or Sonnet Barjie. If you really want to play a published anime/manga character, then think about ways to alter it to make the character less like the original. Yes, Player Characters will encounter characters from established anime in the campaign, and some of them even have the same names as the originals, but this should not be taken as a sign that the Players can do the same. The Game Master includes such characters for several reasons, mainly for name recognition, and because he has to create a lot of NPCs for the Players to interact with, as opposed to the Players, who usually have just one character (their own).
Kazei 5 uses the HERO System 5th Edition rules set.
Characters are built on a minimum of a 75-point base, although more expensive characters can be built on a 100, 150, or 200-point base (depending on character concept). Characters shouldn't have more than 50 points from any one Disadvantage, and there is no upper point limit for characters (although it is recommended characters not exceed 500 points). Players who build characters with esper/psychokinetic powers should stay within the 60 to 75 Active Point range. Only 1 Player Character per Player, please. You can create all the NPCs you want (friends, family, contacts), but you don't get to run them as full PCs.
Armor, guns and vehicles are not required to be bought with points, although specific, personal, pieces of gear must be. In other words, you can carry a standard handgun for free, but if you want to carry a one-of-a-kind "Borg-Buster", then you need to pay for it. The same goes for vehicles and armor. Mecha and hardsuits are not free items. Allowed items are subject to review and veto by the Game Master. That said, please note any item bought with Character Points is "yours" and cannot be taken away, broken, or lost—on a permanent basis. Thus, is Shoko pay Character Points for her 15mm Stormbreaker revolver, the GM cannot have Ran destroy it—unless he plans to give her a new one soon after.
Please be aware the Game Master will need to okay your design before it can see play, and will reject anything that goes beyond established limits. You can't be the most powerful esper weapon on the planet (for example), that job's taken (say hello to Ran and Shion).
Suggested characters include: ex- (or current) police officers, special forces characters, solo operatives, fixers, escaped experiments, street samurai, bounty hunters, and so on.
But What If I Don't Know/Understand The HERO System? Players who don't know the game system are more then welcome to join. Simply describe your character concept in as much detail as you can and let the Game Master look at it. Odds are, the GM (or another player) will develop a character sheet for you.
The Kazei 5 PBEM is a story-driven game in which actual game mechanics are kept to a minimum. In fact, several players have described the game as an exercise in creative writing, which sums up the game quite well. It is a game of speculative and interactive fiction, much like such "shared-universe" settings as Thieves' World or Wildcards.
Turns are 6 weeks. At the end of 6 weeks, Players will submit whatever stories they have developed. The new turn will start as soon as the previous turn's stories are posted. Normally, each turn will have a Day In The Life theme, but other than that, Players are free to develop their own plot lines as they see fit. Of course, Players may find themselves being asked to join into another's Player's storyline (even briefly), allowing them to interact with other characters. Technically, however, one could participate and never cross paths with another PC... but where's the fun in that?
One last note: It is recommended Players ask the Game Master about the suitability of certain plots before starting them. If only to maintain a sense of continuity and game balance.
Characters will get EXP points on a turn-by-turn basis. Some of this might come as contacts and favors, the rest as straight points. Ask the Game Master for specifics. Note most players don't worry about experience to any great extent, and usually are content to slowly alter their character every few months.
This section is devoted to commentary on story content. Here is where I try to set up what should be in a story from an editor's standpoint.
Stories can be any length. Minimum participation should be one story per turn. In this case a "story" could be a Day In The Life submission (see below). In fact, since one aim of the PBEM is to allow people to flex and practice their writing skills, one could submit a in-character journal and use that as your story for each turn.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is an "adult" game. It may (in fact it will) involve questionable subject matter, including murder, rape, slavery, homosexuality, drug use and abuse, and so on. You don't need to use any of this in your stories, but it will occur.
Spelling: I tend spell check all stories. I will not rewrite them, however.
Formatting: I can accept the following formats: plain text, rich-text format (RTF), Word (.doc), and Appleworks. Please leave an empty line between paragraphs, just like this post and all stories in the archive. Also, the story should start as follows:
NAME OF THE STORY
By Your Name
(date of story in game terms)
Please use this format as written here for your story headers.
Day In The Life: Each turn we will have a Day In The Life section (short stories of only a few paragraphs). This will often have a theme. You are not required to submit to this, but it would be nice.
Language: First of all, "foul" language is up to the writer. If you want, use 2030 slang instead. Slang from the old Shadowrun books is fine (scrag, slag, drek, and so on). If you want a listing of Kazei 5 slang, let me know, I can send it to you. Please, try to avoid such constructs as "a$$hole", it just looks stupid.
If characters are speaking in something other than English, set it off with these "<>". If the whole conversation is in (say) Japanese, then make a note at the beginning and write it normally. The "*" symbol is usually used to denote thought balloons (although those that use RTF or DOC formats should use italics).
Sex: It happens. You don't have to write sex scenes, in fact, you don't need to mention it. If you include a sex scene, try to make it tasteful, this isn't Penthouse Forum. Any story with explicit sexual content will be marked as having such. Please try to avoid writing stories in which the sex is the story (i.e. a "lemon" story). Yes, there are a few of those in the archives, but I'd like to not repeat the experience.
Humor: Humor is fine, slapstick isn't... The occasional goofy scene is okay (even Ghost in the Shell had some bits like that), but non-stop laughs is a no-no. Note the game does have it's comic relief characters: the Puma Sisters are (well... were) one example. Players who wish to write humor are encouraged to write an "omake" (extra), which is a story that has not connection to the actual game world.
Death: It happens. People will be killed in the course of these stories, that's a given. Player Characters will not die unless you want to, or do something really, really stupid (i.e. a one-man assault on the GENOM Tower armed with nothing but a knife and your bad attitude). People writing a story should not out-and-out kill another Player Character. Putting them into a hospital is fine, the morgue is not. Players should also avoid killing other player's NPCs, DNPCs, and major Game Master NPCs, unless such things are settled before hand (i.e. write the GM an ask about it).
This game is set in 2030+2039 and beyond. The technological level is comparable to that seen in Blade Runner, Bubblegum Crisis, Ghost in the Shell, and Silent Möbius. There are vectored-thrust aircars, lasers, space planes, genetic engineering, and cyberspace. There are no personal force fields, teleporters, or food replicators.
As players, you can help create the world around you. If you create a NPC, DNPC, gadget, vehicle, or location, write it up and send it to me. I'll post it onto the website (if needed) so that others can use it. The same goes for corporations and the like.
Artwork is always a plus, as are any miscellaneous graphics detailing the game or elements within it.
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