Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Town Where Things Besides People Live


Some of you may know about a little Japanese Role-Playing Game called Yuuyake Koyake. Or maybe you know it by its English moniker, Golden Sky Stories. If you don’t, somewhere, someone referred to it as the Totoro RPG, and it’s not the worst description. The game is not about adventure in the traditional gaming sense. There’s no dragons to be bested, no empires to overturn. Instead, the game is about the little adventures, the day-to-day trials of regular people doing more or less regular things in a small, rural Japanese town. But you are not one of these people. This is a town where things besides people live. You are a henge, an animal spirit, and at your disposal is a little bit of magic. Not much, but enough to help the people of this town.

After reading that, you may already realize Golden Sky Stories is a different kind of game. There's no dice, no statistics in the traditional sense, and not even a chapter on combat. It truly is “heart-warming role-playing,” a kind of experience where you’re more likely to help a boy overcome his fear of the haunted house at the end of town than stomp goblins.

The setting and focus are not Stories’ only charm. The illustrations throughout are captivating, cute to the point of endangering bicuspids everywhere, and go a long way to setting the mood. Of course, deciphering the moonspeak of the original Japanese book is an endeavor most of us aren’t equipped to do.

Luckily for you and me, Ewen Cluney, along with the other half of Starline Publishing, Mike Stevens, translated this special game and will be bringing it to Western readers soon enough. I’ve had the opportunity to read Ewen’s top-secret (well, okay, not-so-secret) English manuscript for Golden Sky Stories, and it’s a real joy. But that shouldn't be any surprise — This isn’t Ewen’s first rodeo after all. But the text is only a part of the job. Someone has to take this text and give it a home in the pages of a book once again. That someone, as it turns out, is me!

It’s a great privilege to take part in bringing this game to life, and I look forward to sharing with you all my progress. Be sure to check by for further updates, and of course follow Ewen's blog and the Starline Publishing website for all the latest news about Golden Sky Stories.

...Oh? Why is this an entry for Turtle Tuesday? Throughout the book, you’ll meet a cast of lovable characters, including Elder Turtle. Here he is patiently listening to Riko, the tanuki henge, as she frets over some dilemma.


  1. Elder Turtle is one of my favorite of the local gods in Golden Sky Stories. He's a thousand years old, and explains things in terms of stories. There will also be rules for playing as a turtle henge in the second GSS supplement. :3

  2. O...k. I never heard of this before, but I want to read it now :)