Champions Manga Now!

Playing Blame! and Dorohedoro in Champions Now.

I’ve been running a lot of Champions Now games for my Lifted Zine project. Champions Now games are built around two statements. Setting: say something about powers, heroes, or villains. Concept: say something about the location, fictional style, and specific types of problems. Players then build their characters in the context of these two statements.

How about:

  • Powers are fantastic technology run amok.

  • Humanity fighting to survive Silicon Life attacks in an ever-expanding cityscape programmed to exterminate them.

Or what about:

  • Smoke is power. All thanks to Chidaruma.(The devil that made sorcerers)

  • Life in the Hole, ganking sorcerers until you find the one who hexed you.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for these two mangas I found as Netflix shows Blame! and Dorohedoro. After watching both I made my way to the source manga materials —always richer than the show. There are manga issues to be played here!

Blame!

The Netflix show introduces you to humanity struggling to live in an immense, yet largely abandoned technological cityscape. SafeGuard is a faction of technology that has decided to exterminate everything that does not have the Net Terminal Gene (Read: All Humans). As if that wasn’t enough, humanity is also fighting with Silicon Life —they also don’t have the NTG. There are giant-sized techno-constructs called builders that grow the city with no zoning codes!. AIs, Transhumans, 3D printers that print weaponry…deep lore.

The manga series has a main character on a mission to find a human with the Net Terminal Gene and it covers his adventures through the immense megastructure. The setting is huge enough to contain other stories to play out.

I’d run Blame! using the concept statements:

  • Another squad lost in the maze, trying to find the way home.

  • Under siege!

  • Repairing Killy. Killy is the protagonist of the series with an extraordinary weapon. He’s been “inactive” before.

Dorohedoro

The opening from the Netflix show is special. Nothing like a lizard head man with another man’s head in his mouth to grab your attention! It is through this main character Caiman we discover this multi-world of the Hole and the Sorcerer’s world. Sorcerers run experiments on humans and the Hole is their dumping ground. A sorcerer is responsible for Caiman’s lizard head - but he doesn’t know who and he can’t remember much before now either. But if you kill a sorcerer all their magic effects are canceled. Sorcerers can travel to and from the Hole. But humans in the Hole are stuck in the Hole. Magic is sourced by the amount of smoke a sorcerer has and the effects are insanely wild! Champions material for sure!!

I’d run this with a sorcerer as the main problem to the characters. Ideally, one of the characters has been changed or somehow impacted by this sorcerer’s magic smoke. Other concept statements:

  • Another day at the sorcerous trauma ward. There are hospitals where they treat the discard sorcerous experiments that didn’t die.

  • Politics and upstarts among the sorcerous families.

Manga Now!!

—Mad Jay