H66: What is Master?

In a previous post on this game, I set down the basic premise of the game’s core dynamic: the three-way clash between Family Loyalty, the Warrior’s Honor, and the pseudo-spiritual Code of the Highway. Today, I’ve got the concept of Master on my mind, and am trying to figure out exactly what it means to me and this game.

One of the core inspirations for this game is the book Hagakure – the “book of the Samurai” that is sorta-famous in media as being the source of all of the quotes in the movie Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai. This book is all about defnining the essence of the samurai as the perfect retainer – made perfect by commitment to death for the sake of the Master. Only by acting as if one is already dead can a retainer be the perfect extension of the master’s will.

I want this master-retainer relationship to be in the game, but I’m not yet certain of its implementation. As it is currently conceptualized, Hagakure 66 is about a pack of motorcycle samurai who travel the post-war highways, seeking food, supplies, money, and either reattainment or absolution of their past possessions (physical, emotional, or otherwise). Currently, the only innate “master” of this dynamic would be the Pack Leader.

An enhancement to this core situation would lay down the idea that the Pack needs an external patron (Master) for its greater livelihood. This would add a new active component to the story at play: the seeking and supporting of a patron. Narratively, the gang would have a tough time finding a patron in the harsh social post-war landscape. Trust is a rare commodity in these troubled times. Finding a Patron, protecting a Patron, and doing the Patron’s bidding could be major in-game play concepts, and thus could provide the Master-Retainer relationship.

I’m not entirely sold on the idea of the Pack Leader being the de facto “Master” of the dynamic. My goal is to have the “relationship with the Master” implemented via the laws of the Way of the Sword, and have it clash with the Laws of the Pack. In other words, I want the master-retainer relationship to clash with the brother-family relationship. This could be done with the Pack Leader as Master, but it would be a stretch, and the lines would be a little too blurred than would be good for the initial conceptualization of new players.

What say you?

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