Your hidden potential as a Shadow God
But I promised things would get more interesting, didn’t I? Well, it would ruin the story to tell you everything right now, but you are destined to become a Shadow God, a spiritual warrior that protects the mortal world from monsters – shadows, ghost, ghouls, vampires, and worse – that come from a place known as the Shadow Realm.
A Shadow God is an alternate form that you take, that allows you to fight and kill those monsters. Because of this, you will be essentially creating two characters ~ one, your middle-school aged Human self, will change very little throughout the campaign. The other, your spirit-powered Shadow God self, will grow by leaps and bounds as the anime progresses, giving you more and more power and allowing you to defeat stronger and stronger foes.
Your Shadow God form is the same as your Human form, as far as the appearance of your body goes. Your clothes will be different ~ your alternate you assuming more traditionally Japanese garb (be it a kimono + sword, or samurai armor, or ninja clothing, etc). You’ll want to come up with your fantastical appearance. A picture from anime that closely resembles your idea, or a picture you draw yourself, will help everyone visualize the change and the concept in your mind.
Another vital aspect of your Shadow God form is your weapon. Your Shadow Slayer is the special weapon of a Shadow God, and it s very strongly tied to your character’s spirit and their eventual progression. You should choose a traditional weapon type for your Shadow Slayer. Most people will use a Sword or Katana, or similarly bladed weapon, but others will do bows or nunchaku or bo-staves, etc. Modern weapons, such as a gun, can’t be used for your Shadow Slayer (although you can ask me if you have a really good reason you want an exception). Don’t be afraid to make your weapon a bit unique ~ double-weapons are ok, so are ninja-weapons such as daggers, sai, and shuriken. Polearms are fine, and Asia has a large variety of them to draw inspiration from. You can also use medieval European weapons if you want, such as a western style bastard-sword / claymore, a glaive or poleaxe, etc etc etc. Two-sword style fighting is rare among Shadow Gods, but don’t be afraid to go all Musashi on the bad guy’s butt if you want.
Your Shadow Slayer is a sentient being, and has a form that can be manifested at a later point in the campaign. You’ll want to create a description of the “spirit” of your Shadow Slayer, its looks and basic personality, but the spirits will be NPCs under the GM’s control rather than role-played by yourself. Many Shadow Slayer spirits are human in form, but there are known to be some animals, monkeys, snakes, and even magical beasts such as dragons or chimera. The important part is to make the Shadow Slayer not only a part of your personality, but to have it be a complimentary personality to your character’s personality. It is a part of you, while at the same time it is its own unique individual being as well. It can be fun to make the Shadow Slayer’s spirit get along with you in perfect harmony, and it can be just as fun to introduce a personality conflict between the two that forces a different kind of character growth.
Shadow Gods often use magic, in addition to their Shadow Slayer. The magic has no name, and is more ancient than the Shadow Gods themselves, but it has been split into five elements ~ Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Shadow. 火 水 土 風 蔭 The elements all operate differently, with Fire and Air magic being more offensive, while Earth and Water magic are both more defensive. Shadow magic is both offensive and defensive. Only Water and Air have restorative properties. Shadow can have control over time itself, at higher levels.
All Shadow Gods have a level of affinity to the Shadow element. That is the magic that allows them to dissolve their mortal form and enter into the Shadow God form. Shadow is the magic that has control over Death and the Shadow Realm ~ essentially switching forms is like dying and then being reborn. However, it is uncommon beyond the base affinity for a Shadow God to really master Shadow Magic, because it is the most difficult of the elements to control. The most common element is Fire, because of its strong offensive power, and the next most common element is Water, because of its restorative properties. Earth and Air are less common, again because they are more difficult to use than Water and Fire.
Elemental magic is not even the only type of magic that is available to your characters, if desired. Other types of magic in the world would include Rune Magic, Shamanistic magic, Shinto magic, Scrolls, and so forth. Naruto-style “Ninjutsu” is also ok, and it can be fun to have “inherited” powers from your ancestors (the Sharingan Eye, for example). Anything beyond the five elements, however, will require cooperation with the GM to design for your character.
And don’t forget good ol’ hand-to-hand combat. Especially with a lighter, more “ninja” like weapon, or even a Shadow Slayer that is a fist-weapon like claws, you can certainly “Rock Lee” your way about combat, relying not on magic but on your highly-trained and powerful body to do the damage you need done. There is plenty of room for muscle, speed, and everything in between, and any martial arts style you know of or can make up.
All in all, the Shadow God form is a way to bring out a lot of the personality and inner strength of your character, and is probably among the most important, if not THE most important thing you will be creating as a part of your character. This game will be very combat-heavy, so it is advised that you do your best to create the strongest Shadow God character that you can.
The Character Creation section will contain more information about how to create a Shadow God, as well as providing a number of example characters to learn from.