Friday, April 24, 2020

A Bunch of Randomizers for Small J-Horror Towns from 2016ish

Back in 2016-2017, I was working on a project that was sort of a mixture of World of Horror, Persona 4, and a general appreciation for J-Horror. I got pretty far with it but ultimately it wasn't my narrative to tell and a lot of the research was incredibly depressing. 1980s Japan, the generational divides and post-WWII cycles of oppression and politics; fascinating but also exhausting to consume. So much like most horror projects I work on, it got shelved due to the taxing of just delving into bleak stuff can get it.

That all being said, I still like the generators for it. There's a sort of fun domestic quality to them, some work better than others; and they're obviously skewed by a pop cultural viewing rather than any first hand experience; and that's before we get into it being researched by way of financial/entertainment investment info about Japan in the 80s as written on by Westerners and by Japanese seeking investment from Westerners.

So take it as you will; its not my finest work but there's a lot of it.

Generating Downtown
For each Hex of Downtown, roll twice and determine what features are sitting next to one another; be they both new or old or a mix of the both. Obviously there will also be a number of other local businesses and shops around, these are just meant to help generate main ideas for sites in each Hex.


Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Downtown)

New Feature
Old Feature
2
Hostess Club / Red Light District.
Pre-War Park.
3
Manga Store / Video Rental Store.
Artisan’s Toy Shop.
4
Video Game Arcade or Video Game Store.
Buddhist/Shinto Shrine.
5
Movie Theater.
National Infrastructure Building.
6
Western Fast Food Restaurant.
Pre-War Hospital.
7
University (Technological, Art School.)
Former Military Building.
8
New Government Building (Fire/Police/Medical.)
Meiji-Era Theater.
9
Condominiums or Hotel Complex.
Antiquated Public Transportation Terminal.
10
Shopping Mall / Warehouse Store.
Graveyard.
11
Television/Radio Subsidiary Station.
Historical Inn & Bath House.
12
Financial Firm (Investment/Insurance/Bank.)
War Memorial.


Generating Neighborhoods
Many people dwell within the suburbs, which are attached to downtown but spread all the way out to the wilderness into little rural blocks. Rolls for these hexes indicate a general feel for the neighborhood and what additional features run through that area. As a rule, if you roll more than one school that additional school is for a different level of students.

Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Neighborhoods)

General Tone
Additional Feature
2
Wealthy, upper-class, urbanized.
River runs through it.
3
Second-hand, derelict housing.
Well-funded School.
4
Townhouses, Student Apartment rentals.
Poorly-funded School.
5
Westernized, organized, grid structure.
Old Religious Structure.
6
Abandoned lots, a few low-income houses.
Train station Out of Town.
7
Revitalized Area, old buildings and new houses.
Police Station.
8
Taishō Era traditional housing.
Children’s Park.
9
Middle-class, simple housing.
Converted Civilian Shelter Building
10
Illegal housing, not up to code, eclectic.
Constantly undergoing construction.
11
Urbanized, like a smaller downtown area.
Blind, Dangerous intersection.
12
Scarred area, never fully rebuilt from WWII.
Local Konibi (Convenience Store.)


Generating the Industrial Areas
Industry is a broad term that will apply to a number of different fields and ultimately when left broad you should choose that which makes the most sense for your setting. For example, a fishery would not make the most sense if your town is mostly up in the mountains; and a meat-packing industry for cows might not work so much if you’re on a tiny island. Roll to determine the type of Industry and an additional feature, per hex; on doubles assume the Industry is spread over multiple hexes.

Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Industry)

Industry
Additional Feature
2
Automobile Manufacturing Plant.
Obnoxious Mascot Designs Everywhere.
3
Power Company Plant (Nuclear / Coal / Gas.)
Visible Pollution Exposure (Smoke, Runoff.)
4
Power Transformer Field.
Shift Whistles at Odd Hours.
5
Slaughterhouse / Meatpacking District.
Employs Most of the Town.
6
Fishery Docks / Fish Market / Meatpacking District.
Undergoing Downsizing / Restructuring
7
American Military-Industrial Complex Base.
Tall Barbed Wire Fences.
8
Food Processing Plant (Cake / Sweets / Convenience.)
Foreign Workers & Investors.
9
Agricultural Development.
Occasional Loud Noises at Odd Hours.
10
Pharmaceutical Manufacturer.
Planning an Expansion, Signs Everywhere.
11
Plastics Factory (Toys, Products, Miscellaneous.)
Less Visible Pollution (Sickness, Cancers)
12
Oil Company Site (Refinery, Drill, Et cetera.)
Important to National Government.


Generating Water Features
The following chart determines water features by way of what is on the coast, or what is out at sea. If you are using this to determine rivers, just go with docks, flood channels, and bridges as generic features and only roll below if you feel it fits.

Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Water)

Coastal Feature
Ocean Feature
2
Industrial Harbor (Goods Transport / Fishing.)
Rocky Barrier Atoll (Uninhabited.)
3
Sandy Beach for Tourists, Beach-goers, Swimmers.
Coral Reef.
4
Rocky Beach with Stony Cliffs.
Oil Platform.
5
Civilian Harbor (Pleasure / Fishing / Sailing.)
Ocean Trench.
6
Ferry Route (Between Town and Island / Mainland.)
Frequent Whale Gathering.
7
Upper Class Housing with Private Beaches.
Bountiful Fishing Grounds.
8
Lower Class Housing, unable to be taken down.
Dead Whales / Dolphins / Squids Float Here.
9
WWII Battle Site (Wreckage / Memorial / Graves.)
Sea of Sargassum.
10
Lighthouse.
Small Forested Island (Habitable.)
11
American Military Base.
Jagged Rocky Island (Habitable.)
12
Sand Bar (Disappears with the tides.)
Floating Sea of Trash and Pollutants.
Generating the Mountains
Mountains separate the town from the rest of the world. They lock the town off from other towns by way of winding roads, treacherous winter winds, and deep forests on their hills. When rolling to generate mountains, roll twice and choose both visual and miscellaneous features.

Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Mountains)

Visual Features
Miscellaneous Features
2
Forest Covered Hills.
Popular Suicide Location.
3
Winding Jagged Cliffs and Drop-Offs.
Popular Place for Young Lovers / Vacations.
4
Rugged Rocky Peaks.
School Field Trip Location.
5
Meanderingly Long Forested Slopes.
Treacherous Pitfalls and Cliffs.
6
Snow-dusted Mountain Slopes.
Home to Bears and Wolves.
7
Slow, Rocky, Roundabout Incline.
Abandoned Mountain Shrine or Monastery
8
Densely Forested Mountain.
Uncomfortably Long Tunnel Road to Exterior. 
9
Mist-shrouded Mountains.
Roads Always Seem Under Construction.
10
Valley with Mountain Lakes.
Mountain Hot Springs.
11
Rugged Brush Covered Hills.
Loud with Insects at All Times of the Year.
12
Tall, Treacherous, Solitary Peak.
Uncomfortably Silent at All Times of the Year.


Generating the Wilderness
Wilderness is a catch-all term for forests, fields, or any wide-open unused piece of real estate. When rolling for wilderness, roll and pick from either column to determine what is in the hex; or have both. 

Random Feature Per Terrain Type (Wilderness)

Main Features 
Additional Features
2
Overtaken by Trees (Pine, Deciduous, et cetera.)
WWII Battle Site (Bomb Craters, Old Bullet Shells.)
3
Fields of Wildflowers and Fireflies.
Abandoned Underground Bunker.
4
Rough Scrubland Field of Low Brush.
Old Radio Tower.
5
Farmlands (Without a Clear Owner.)
Rusty Power Transformer and Lines.
6
Hilly Old Footpath Overgrown with Tall Grass.
Forgotten Graveyard Overtaken by Wilderness.
7
Winding Forest Thicket with Hidden Groves.
Abandoned Airfield with Landing Strips.
8
Old Train Tracks (Not In Use, Leads Nowhere.)
Abandoned Military Stockpile Buildings.
9
Muddy Old Abandoned Rock Yard
Makeshift Baseball Diamond.
10
Abandoned Factory Building, Derelict.
Well-Hidden Child’s Club House.
11
Copse of Moss-Coated Trees.
Small Swimming Pond (Filled with Frogs.)
12
Abandoned Farmstead or House (Taishō Era.)
Abandoned Shrine (Heian to Edo Period.)
What's Weird in this Town?
Wilderness is a catch-all term for forests, fields, or any wide-open unused piece of real estate. When rolling for wilderness, roll and pick from either column to determine what is in the hex; or have both. 

What’s Weird About the Town?
Strangeness
Other Strangeness
2
There is always fog in town, even on sunny days. It swirls and clings to things.
This town was home to a serial killer back in the 40s. It was covered up as wartime atrocities.
3
The salarymen shamble about, as though lifeless. More so than one would usually expect.
This town took part in forced labor and other crimes against humanity during WWII. Echoes of these crimes yet linger.
4
At midnight, the TVs play a sequence of numbers. Those who hear it find the pattern appearing everywhere in their lives.
The Government operated out of this town, using it as a base for human experimentation.  Local politicians are still covering up the atrocities.
5
Old  propaganda can be heard on the radio at 3:33 in the morning. What is spoken sounds different to everyone.
Americans in military uniforms visit the local politicians every week. They do not speak a single word, the politicians are always terrified.
6
There was a recent string of suicides with no known catalyst. Local authorities have covered it up.
In the nearby water, on moonless nights, the water reflects a full glowing moon. It cannot be photographed, and elderly folks cannot see it.
7
The elderly are exceptionally pious, and those who aren’t die soon after voicing their dissent. None dare speak out against their elders.
The town was struck by a tsunami recently, and anyone who watches the footage can see something large slithering through the waves.
8
If the school bell rings after school hours, someone gets into a car crash in front of the school.
Lights flicker and moths gather around the homes of those who are soon to pass on from this world to the next.

9
No one in this town has ever left it for more than a few years, they always come back. Those from outside the town never remain longer than a few years. They never feel comfortable or “at home.”
The town holds a Masked Procession Festival each year. Those who search through the mask selection will find their own face on sale, grotesquely warped in wood.
10
Elderly people wander into the wilderness to die. They grow panicked if they cannot wander off. They won’t elaborate on why it is important.
Sometimes smokers in this town begin to choke on a violet gas. A few men have died this way, and their bodies vanished in the night.
11
People’s darkest secrets are scrawled in graffiti at the edge of town, all in the same handwriting. This is concerning for many reasons.
There’s a vending machine in town that has different things everyday, toys, soda, whatever. If you buy from it, you will dream of your own death.
12
The Yakuza won’t come to this town, it belongs to “another gang.” They won’t elaborate, and a lone hold-out remains to keep an eye on things.
For some reason, on cloudy spring days, many people claim local sculptures, mascots, and icons are frowning or scowling at them. 

Ancillary Cast Generators
The following generators exist to help fluff out any additional cast of characters, like bosses/coworkers, neighbors, or victims who will be found in a really bad situation. They are sorted by character type, and you roll 2d6 to determine the characteristics.

Salaryman Generator
Random Salaryman Feature Generators
Dress
Face
Personality
Quirk
2
White shirt, black tie, brown slacks.
Tired eyes.
Grumpy.
Never makes eye contact.
3
Bold striped suit, bland tie, pocket protector.
Broken nose.
Disgruntled.
Always stifling a laugh.
4
Bleached shirt, black tie, black pants, tight belt.
Thin mustache.
Eccentric.
Always fiddling with briefcase.
5
Stained shirt, blue tie, navy slacks, mass produced shoes.
Trimmed beard.
Nebbish.
Smokes cigarettes, profusely.
6
Striped shirt, suspenders, bold tie, beige slacks.
Clean shaven.
Polite.
Slightly disheveled clothes.
7
White shirt, suspenders, bland tie, black slacks.
Thick-rimmed glasses.
Cowardly.
Nods off when speaking.
8
Tailored beige suit, red tie, fancy shoes.
Taped-up glasses.
Bold.
Really loves making puns.
9
Tailored black suit, blue tie, grey slacks.
Shifty nervous eyes.
Arrogant.
Hits head when frustrated.
10
Sweater, collared shirt, red tie, beige slacks.
Poor teeth.
Bitter.
Shakes his fists a lot.
11
Tweed suit, green tie, imported loafers.
Perfect smile.
Content.
Makes suicidal gestures.
12
Cheap suit, black tie, shoes in need of a polish.
Small mouth.
Silly.
Must always impress ladies.

General Citizen Generator (Man)
Random Citizen (Man) Generators
Dress
Face
Personality
Quirk
2
Political T-shirt, beige slacks, running shoes.
Big beard.
Jovial.
Trying to perfect his English.
3
White shirt, black tie, beige slacks, brown shoes.
Stubbly jaw.
Kind.
Has a Walkman & headphones.
4
Soda Brand T-shirt, blue jeans, comfortable shoes.
Sunglasses.
Bothered.
Smokes cigarettes.
5
Foreign band/sports shirt, blue jeans, running shoes.
Taped-up glasses.
Debased.
Drinks often and heavily.
6
Button-down shirt, blue slacks, fancy belt, sneakers.
Bushy mustache.
Lustful.
Always reading the newspaper.
7
Trench coat, pleated slacks, wing-tipped loafers.
Old scars.
Oblivious.
Smells like meat sweats.
8
Hawaiian shirt, capri pants, sandals.
Black eye.
Arrogant.
Always fixing their hair.
9
Turtleneck, fancy belt, white pants, loafers.
Sniffling nose.
Controlling.
Has an awkward, grating laugh.
10
Striped shirt, plaid slacks, brown shoes.
Handsome.
Bossy.
Can never be polite to anyone.
11
Leather jacket, baseball t-shirt, blue jeans, boots.
Thin lips.
Happy.
Enjoys cooking, is good at it.
12
Mascot Character shirt, fraying blue jeans, sneakers.
Multiple chins, fishy face.
Confused.
Is always singing, whistling, or humming.
General Citizen Generator (Woman)
Random Citizen (Woman) Generators
Dress
Face
Personality
Quirk
2
Knit Sweater, Pastel pants.
Too much lipstick.
Proud.
Enjoys dancing, is bad at it.
3
Black, Asymmetrical Dress.
Beautiful eyes.
Arrogant.
Zones out when hungry.
4
Jacket, shirt, striped pants.
Mousey features.
Greedy.
Always forgetting things.
5
Character shirt, cut-off jeans.
Big nose.
Helpful.
Drinks to a worrying excess.
6
Button-down shirt, skirt.
Fat face.
Kind.
Never wants to have kids.
7
Political T-shirt, Jeans.
Taped-up glasses.
Childish.
Smells like old dairy.
8
English phrase T-shirt, Jeans.
Thick glasses.
Fearful.
Always tired, always busy.
9
Pastel shirt, White pants.
Bangs over her eyes.
Servile.
One bad day from a breakdown.
10
Conservative shirt and Skirt.
Cute smile.
Manipulative.
Detached, never emotes.
11
Conservative Dress and Skirt.
Minor scarring.
Cruel.
Comments on everything.
12
Character/Band shirt, Jeans.
Bad teeth.
Sweet.
Sneaks candy bars, often.
General Student (Boy) Generator
Random Student (Boy) Generators
Dress
Face
Personality
Quirk
2
Black gakuran, blue tie, shorts.
Pudgy cheeks
Hot-headed.
Black eye.
3
Navy gakuran, red tie, shorts.
Narrow jawed
Ignorant.
Sucks his teeth.
4
Black gakuran, red tie, wrist watch, pants.
Button nosed
Oblivious.
Bandages on face.
5
Navy gakuran, grey tie, pocket protector, shorts.
Beady eyed
Goofy.
Missing teeth.
6
Black gakuran, green tie, sukajan jacket, pants.
Long nose
Studious.
Terrible haircut.
7
Navy gakuran, bleach-stained tie, shorts.
Wears glasses.
Up-tight.
Tries to be funny.
8
Black gakuran, yellow tie, pants, fancy belt.
Sunken eyes.
Perfectionist.
Quotes TV shows.
9
Navy gakuran, white tie, shorts, boots.
Short, thin hair.
Self-imposed Pariah.
Talented artist.
10
Black gakuran, track shorts, sneakers.
Long, thick hair.
Oppressed.
Secretly genius.
11
Navy gakuran, grey pants, penny loafers.
Pitiful mustache.
Cool Guy.
Conspiracy theorist.
12
Faded Grey gakuran, paisley tie, pants.
Powerful masculine features.
Bland and noncommittal.
Always “adjusting” himself.
General Student (Girl) Generator
Random Student (Girl) Generators
Dress
Face
Personality
Quirk
2
Black seifuku, green plaid skirt, black blazer.
Hair covers her eyes.
Quiet type.
Has an obnoxious laugh.
3
Navy seifuku, red plaid skirt, neckerchief.
Big dumb smile.
Vindictive.
Doodles in the margins.
4
Royal blue seifuku, black skirt, leather jacket.
Traditionally cute.
Queen Bee.
Martial artist.
5
White seifuku, pink skirt, frilly neckerchief.
Long proper hair.
Mastermind.
Always smells bad.
6
Grey seifuku, grey skirt, black blazer, loose socks.
Cold, distant features.
Shy.
Head-in-the-Clouds Case.
7
Black seifuku, blue plaid skirt, blue blazer.
Fat faced.
Tomboy.
Anemic and sickly.
8
Navy seifuku, dark blue plaid skirt, red blazer.
Intense eyes.
Studious.
Hates her life/job.
9
Royal blue seifuku, beige skirt, beige jacket, wrist watch.
Boyish features.
Boring.
Punches when happy.
10
White seifuku, green plaid skirt, green blazer.
Stunningly beautiful.
Lazily.
Bullies boys she likes.
11
Grey seifuku, blue skirt, red neck tie.
Bulky glasses.
Creepy.
Terrible cook.
12
Black seifuku, red neck tie, black skirt, red sweater.
Long, tight, ponytail.
Girl Next Door.
Knows way too much about bad things.

General Product/Mascot Generator
Product/Mascot Generator
Product
With!
Mascot
Quirk
2
Cake Pop
Real Lemons!
Crocodile
Always winking
3
Cookie
Real Peaches!
Deer / Owl
Blushing
4
Candy Bar
Real Mango!
Panda / Crab
Overjoyed
5
Cereal
Beef Flakes!
Bear / Penguin
Smelly
6
Ramen
Hot Pepper Sauce!
Tanuki
Depressed
7
Tofu
Real Apple Slices!
Cat / Weasel
Grumpy
8
Sushi
Imitation Eel!
Dog / Fox
Crazy eyes
9
Popsicle
Carbonation!
Frog / Snake
Always saluting
10
Beer
Real Oranges!
Fish / Eel
Drooling
11
Pocky
Custard Cream!
Little Girl
Long tongue
12
Soda
Cherry Flavoring!
Little Boy
Sailor hat

Closing Thoughts
It was a fun project to undertake when doing these parts of it, just playing around with making an interesting domestic small town scene within a specific slice of the world; a lot easier to work and research on that than doing a broader approach like my Small Towns game project which still gets passed around on boards from time to time. But, much in the same way that I take issue with representation "of me" that isn't "for me" or "by someone like me" I'd not be comfortable working on this sort of project in the present day. But I did also make a lot of very specific tables and I don't think they are of an offensive (not that my thoughts matter if harm is done) quality to make leave them to languish.

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