This is the world of Romeo and Juliet transported into the post-Apocalypse city of technological marvels common to anime and manga. The game system is Feng Shui, the roleplaying game of Hong Kong action movies. The year is AD 2056, forty-nine years after World War III devastated the globe.
As such, you need to understand that this world is dominated by two concepts: family and honour. Family is everything. To be without family or disowned makes you nothing in society. There is no greater shame than to be cast out. Honour is a measure of your social worth. You gain honour by performing heroic deeds that 'embarrass' your family's rivals. But be careful for your family may lose honour if your actions cause a public disturbance or bring your family to the attention of the Shogun, the aging general who holds the city in a state of martial law.
It's often been said that a Feng Shui adventure is a collection of cool fight scenes held together by the most tenuous of plots. This is perfectly accurate but the term 'fight scene' can mean anything from formal duels to bar fights to motorcycle drag races in which the riders are armed with crowbars.
The bits between the fight scenes are over-the-top romantic melodrama including getting bawled out by the family for causing a public nuisance, tripping a rival family member to see what he looks like with blue slurpee over his new white suit, falling in love with unattainable girls, and wondering why the boy won't call after you asked your friend to give his friend your comm-number.
While all of this is going on, the city is run by the Shogun and under a martial law. Dueling is forbidden and punishable by exile into the radio-active wastelands outside the city. Street-fighting and other incidents of public disorder are punishable by public disgrace or, worst of all, being handed over to your family to be punished as they see fit.
It's fast, furious fun with teenage angst and melodrama. It's love, honour and duty at 1240 feet per second.
Neo-Edo - Tokyo Regenerated
Neo-Edo occupies what was once the Greater Tokyo Area. It is surrounded a palisade manned by self-proclaimed Shogun General Meiji's troops. No one is allowed out or in unless on official business. Outside the palisade is a cleared area 400 metres deep and beyond that is the radio-active wasteland, the ashes of old Tokyo destroyed during World War III [AD 2007].
Inside the city, strategic resources such as power generation, water purification and food distribuition centres are guarded the tanks and troops of the general's forces. Helicopter gunships can be called at a moment's notice to suppress disorder within the city perimeter.
The city itself has been rebuilt in magnificent spires glass and steel in which people live and work. Schools and libraries are important resources because they train the young who have no direct experience of the years immediately following the war which devastated much of the world. But the areas of the city regarded with the greatest respect are the parklands and gardens which inject a measure of greenery and nature into the spaces between the skyscrapers.
Survival in the aftermath of World War III has mandated a return to the code of Bushido, 'The Way of the Warrior,' in which "puts emphasis on loyalty, self sacrifice, justice, sense of shame, refined manners, purity, modesty, frugality, martial spirit, honor and affection" (Nippon Steel Human Resources Development Co., Ltd. 329). People are expected to always put the needs of their family and city before their own desires and work to survive together. General Meiji equates the city's current condition to the success of the code.
Each major clan family, or zaibatsu, has responsibility for part of the city's infrastructure and commercial life. The clan is expected to provide these survices to the city for the benefit of all citizens although this does not prevent them charging for their services. The zaibatsu and their areas of responsibility are outlined in the table below.
- Clan Tokugawa - Technology Development
- Clan Nobunaga - Adminsitrative Services
- Clan Ashikaga - Nutrition and Health Services
- Clan Toyotomi - Manufacturing and Fabrication
- Clan Fujiwara - Information Services
- Clan Momoyama - Raw Materials Collection
- The Army - Security and Law Enforcement
Shogun General Meiji allows some relaxation of the strict Bushido code for the youth of the city, in order to give the citizens something to complain about when the kids run amok and provide a safety valve for the tensions which arise in a closed community. However, if anyone steps too far out of line, he knows that he must step in and crush any deviance which threatens the safety and survival of the city.
Typical punishments for transgression include fines and having one's name and crimes proclaimed on all public information points (ie: public data terminals and bulletin boards) for one or more weeks. More serious crimes are pubishable by exile from the city, to be shot on sight if found again within the city perimeter. In the worst cases, the criminal is turned over to his or her own family to be dealt with as they see fit. This usually means a public execution or public sepuku ritual to restore the family's lost honour.
The return to family honour and filial duty, when coupled with a reverence for the natural world which was nearly made extinct in the war, has led to the restoration of Shinto as the logical extension of these ideals. Shinto is a sophisticated belief which sees spirits in all natural objects. It emphasises fitting in to this world and living properly rather than teaching how to prepare for an afterlife. The main principles of Shinto are respect for one's ancestors, family and tradition, and a great love and respect for nature.