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Japan - Empire of Shadows: A Call of Cthulhu sourcebook for 1920s Imperial JapanClick to magnify

Japan - Empire of Shadows: A Call of Cthulhu sourcebook for 1920s Imperial Japan

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Japan – Empire of Shadows

日本 - 影の帝国

Hunting the Mythos in Imperial Era Japan

A 400 page sourcebook for investigating cosmic Horror in 1920s Imperial Era Japan for use with Call of Cthulhu (クトゥルフの呼び声) 7th Edition.

Please be aware, this book is written in English. 

Videos

Discussing Japan: Empire of Shadows for Call of Cthulhu with David Trotti - YouTube

Japan - Empire of Shadows for Call of Cthulhu RPG on the Miskatonic Repository (youtube.com)


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WELCOME TO JAPAN

Blue sparks flash as electric streetcars rattle down bustling avenues. Flesh and blood mannequin girls in department store windows beckon customers with their white painted faces and charming smiles. Men in suits and patent leather shoes walk beside women in kimonos and clicking getas (sandals). In factories across the nation the latest modern appliances roll off assembly lines while in the countryside farmers live as they have for countless generations surrounded by the kami (gods) of their ancestors.

Externally, Japan is a modern, industrialized nation, yet underneath the surface lies a shadow world, as dangerous and unpredictable as the earthquakes and typhoons that wrack its shores. Ancient forces that have lain dormant beneath the Japanese islands for millennia are being drawn to the surface by men and women whose growing knowledge of the arcane arts and modern science have outpaced their native wisdom and restraint. It is the dawn of a new age in the land of the rising sun, but will it be an era of light and prosperity or one of darkness and ruin?

- From the Introduction

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Japan – Empire of Shadows is a sourcebook for roleplaying in Imperial Japan during the late Taisho and early Showa eras (1920-1932). It can be run with foreign or Japanese Investigators using the provided single-session story-hooks or multi-session narrative threads. The 400 page sourcebook includes 334 unique locations, 35 full color maps, over 70 NPCs, 20 player handouts, six pre-generated characters, new spells, new Mythos tomes, new monsters, a concise history of the land, people and nation of Japan and much more.

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NOTE: Japan – Empire of Shadows is intended for mature audiences. It contains situations and material that some individuals might find intense, traumatic or offensive. 

A copy of either the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Keeper Rulebook or the free Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-start rules are required to play.


LEGACY PDF BUYERS: If you supported us early and bought the PDF before the POD was available (thereby making the POD possible!), we have not forgotten you! Please reach  out to us at empireofshadowsrpg@gmail.com with some form of early proof of purchase and we'll send you an email with a link for the Hard Cover at a heavily discounted price. We've gotten so much great feedback and response from those who've taken advantage of the offer so far that we wanted to keep it going as long as we can. Thank you!



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Reviews (4)
Discussions (10)
Customer avatar
Jason K October 04, 2023 1:09 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm interested in getting the POD version, but I'm bit worried about the format for the POD. With a 400 page count I'm a bit worried that the spine might crack using a softcover format.

I mean no offense by this, I really like having physical editions (even if I have the PDF version) and I am hoping that it will stay intact and that I won't have re-purchase it again sometime after getting it the first one.
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Customer avatar
David T October 04, 2023 2:23 pm UTC
CREATOR
Your post prompted me to do a (shallow) deep-dive into the world of softcover spines and I learned something new today! So, thank you for your question! I will share that discovery below with a YouTube link. I would think Lightning Source (the printer used by DTRPG) is up to industry standards, so this should apply to them as well, but I could find no long-term reviews about how their spines hold up over time.
I am going to start using this hack though.
The link is to a video on YouTube called "No More Cracked Spines! How to Break Books in". Who knew? : )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aTFKechuuY
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Customer avatar
Justin K October 04, 2023 10:14 pm UTC
I have to agree, with the page count, I would prefer a Hardcover option as well. I've seen how the Beyond the Mountains of Madness book can wear the spine out.
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Customer avatar
David T October 04, 2023 10:48 pm UTC
CREATOR
The Hardcover is coming... I'm currently waiting for the Lightning Source folk to finish their technical checks so I can order a proof copy (see the product information page above for details and progress reports). They received it on September 19th and it's October 4th today... so I guess it will happen when the stars are right.
The first proof version of the hardcover looked great, and I was very happy with the quality. But the cover art was too close to the edge of the book and I had to make the hard decision to redo the cover and start the whole approval process over again (which takes about a month). Anyone who buys the book, deserves the best version possible, and that big gorgeous hardcover needs to be brag-worthy when displayed on someone's shelf after being thoroughly read. :)
Now I have to go see if the soft-cover hack works on hardcover books. Back to YouTube...
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Customer avatar
David T November 11, 2023 9:18 am UTC
CREATOR
The Hard Cover is out and it is beautiful. We're very happy with DTRPG and Lightning Source's work and grateful for the added time spent to get Japan - Empire of Shadows right.
It's never an easy decision to pause a project and wait for adjustments to be implemented, but quality matters and details matter. We hope everyone who buys it agrees. J-EoS should be something that you are excited to pick up and read and proud to put on your shelf and display. Thank you for your patience.
Customer avatar
Elizabeth M September 20, 2023 10:18 pm UTC
Hey so I’m interested in the book, but did you have a sensitivity reader to give it a once over?
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Customer avatar
David T September 21, 2023 12:39 am UTC
CREATOR
We were given notes by a number of people during the editorial and play test phases (many of which we incorporated), but no, the book has not been vetted by a dedicated sensitivity reader. I absolutely understand your concerns regarding the cultural, social and political sensitivities surrounding the subject matter. I can anecdotally say that the response from Japanese readers has been universally positive, both privately and on Japanese message platforms. As I mentioned in another thread to Jason D, I approached writing the book with five core principals at the forefront of my mind: "I did not want to perpetuate negative stereotypes. I did not want to come across as an "apologist" painting an idealized portrait of Japan in the 1920s. I did not want to demonize 1920s Japan unfairly either. I wanted to keep the Mythos separate from real human evil. I wanted to make the environment fun and playable as a game setting."
I don't think it's possible to accurately depict the 1920s without touching...See more
Customer avatar
Jason D September 10, 2023 6:10 am UTC
Does this have any relation to the Japanese sourcebook クトゥルフと帝国 ?
And do you also provide Japanese language maps ?
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Customer avatar
David T September 10, 2023 7:39 am UTC
CREATOR
It's not related to Cthulhu and Empire. It's also not related to Secrets of Japan. It took around two years of research and translation work. My Library Use skill got a good workout using the National Diet Library.
Right now, everything is in English. I've considered putting out translated maps, but I've also considered just supplying the maps clean without any text at all and putting the location names in a separate translatable file so international Keepers can make maps in any language they want. That's what we did with the handouts, after a Japanese Keeper on Youtube suggested it. I think what's holding me back is there're already six pdfs included in the download (the 400 page book, 3 map packs and 2 handout packs - one being the text-free version) and adding more pdfs could get confusing. I will eventually put them out, but I need to figure out a sensible way to do it and a way that is most useful (for example, do I leave the numbers on or take them off? Do I do it for the player maps too?). I also...See more
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Customer avatar
Jason D September 10, 2023 10:55 am UTC
Wow that was more of a reply than I expected. Thank you.
I did notice the page count of your book was almost double Cthulhu and Empire so I was curious. Do you have a blog where you talk about your progress?
I hadn't thought of blank maps and to be honest that would be more than fine.
I don't expect there are many international Keepers that very specific language versions would be worth your time.
Reply
Customer avatar
David T September 10, 2023 4:02 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you for asking! I think Cthulhu and Empire is a good book (I especially like the three scenarios "Asakusa Ryounkaku," "Ginza Spiral" and "Spirit Amber of Ponape"), but I wanted to go in a very different direction with Empire of Shadows. I also wanted to stay very far away from Secrets of Japan (both in time and content).
I haven't blogged about writing EoS, but I have traded emails with readers on the subject. I'd say the real inspiration was the old sourcebook "Secrets of Los Angeles." I really liked the gameable specificity of the locations, the usefulness of the maps provided and how the locations were logically organized. I also liked the "story hooks" at the various locations and how many of them tied together with other locations. Originally, I was just going to do Tokyo, but as I was doing research I decided if there was ever only going to be one sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu set in Japan in the 1920s, this was going to be the ultimate version...See more
Customer avatar
NekoMimi 8 August 17, 2023 11:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi David, I enjoy reading your sourcebook and am excited that Im taking a new character to a Taisho period scenario next week. The KP has kindly accepted me using some of new skills form your book, but I have a question about how to use them effectively, namely on new unarmed fighting specialties.
Is there any way I can send you a message to clarify it?
Many thanks!
Reply
Customer avatar
David T August 17, 2023 2:11 pm UTC
CREATOR
NekoMimi 8,
Thank you! I am glad you are enjoying the sourcebook.
I will be happy to answer any questions! The fighting specialties were very popular in playtesting.
Please send me an email at empireofshadowsrpg@gmail.com and I will try to answer your questions.
David
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Customer avatar
NekoMimi 8 August 17, 2023 4:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you David san!
I will send you a message
Customer avatar
Chris G August 15, 2023 9:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just got this on the sale. I don't even play CoC but I'm excited about this book!
Reply
Customer avatar
David T August 16, 2023 12:56 am UTC
CREATOR
Chris,
Thank you so much for purchasing Empire of Shadows and being as excited about 1920s Japan as we are!
In writing it, I had hoped that the scope of the material would appeal to anyone interested in inter-war Japan, in addition to its usefulness as a gaming sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu. It was a labor of love!
I hope reading it brings you as much joy and "I never imagined!" moments as researching it brough me.
Thank you for the support and encouragement! I'm very grateful.
David
Customer avatar
Marek G August 10, 2023 1:37 pm UTC
Can't wait to read the supplement! I hope it will lead to many scenarios set in interwar Japan being released on the Repository, and I dream to have enough time to write one (or more) myself :)
Customer avatar
Jacob R August 01, 2023 5:15 am UTC
PURCHASER
Uncertain if it's been spotted before or aware, but on pg 335, on the sidebar containing the Dokuro Honzon spell, the fourth paragraph begins like this: "This process if repeated 120 times." I'm not sure if that's meant to be a typo or an accidental period not flowing right, but it jumped out at me, because the rest of the book so far has been quite well written.
Reply
Customer avatar
David T August 01, 2023 5:58 am UTC
CREATOR
Good eyes! It's supposed to be "This process is repeated 120 times." Thanks for spotting it! I've found some other errors here and there, that I've been fixing in the master file for that dreamed-of day when we reach print on demand, but I hadn't found this one yet, so thank you! Yeah, 400 pages is a lot words. So many words...
Shoot me an email over at empireofshadowsrpg@gmail.com and I'll hit you with something as a thank you.
David
Customer avatar
Atsushi S July 29, 2023 8:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
It is an excellent supplement with maps of all of Japan and famous areas from the 1920s.
It contains a wealth of interesting information for foreigners living in Japan!
The scenarios are a very interesting combination of the Ainu people of Hokkaido and Russia, and the scenarios set on the Korean peninsula are exciting.
Scenarios set on Ponape Island in the 1920s exist in official Japanese scenarios, but there are no scenarios set in other countries, so inspiration is stimulated.
For the sandbox-style scenarios, are there any files that contain just the text of the scenario, like the Chaosium scenarios?
Keepers would be very happy to have that, as it would reduce the burden of referencing scenarios.
I hope that many Japanese people will play these wonderful scenarios.

[Japanese comment]
1920年代の日本全国のマップや有名なエリアが紹介されていて素晴らしいサプリです。
外国人が日本で暮らすための情報が豊富に記載されていて興味深いです...See more
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Customer avatar
David T July 30, 2023 3:38 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you! We deeply appreciate the review and kind words. We are grateful to hear that Japanese Keepers and Players are enjoying the book.
I’m also glad you liked the scenarios. We wanted to encourage Keepers and Players to see how diverse and interesting Japan was during the 1920s. So, we set each story in different parts of the Empire. The primeval forests of Hokkaido, the deep coal mines of Korea and the mysterious ruins of Nan Madol on Ponape (Pohnpei) Island seemed natural choices for Lovecraftian horror.
The official scenario in Cthulhu and Empire set on Pohnpei Island you mentioned is really excellent. I would love to see the three scenarios in Cthulhu and Empire come out in English. I think there would be a lot of interest from foreign Keepers and Players in seeing translated versions of real Japanese scenarios.
(For those curious, the Japanese Sourcebook Cthulhu and Empire has three scenarios set in the 1920s: Asakusa Sky Tower, Ginza Spiral and Spirit Amber of Ponape).
Also,...See more
Customer avatar
July 20, 2023 6:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
On your map it looks like you have Pyongyang listed as Keijō. Seoul was Keijō during the Japanese colonial period and Pyongyang was Heijō. Book looks great though and I plan on picking it up eventually.
Reply
Customer avatar
David T July 20, 2023 6:27 pm UTC
CREATOR
Dang! You're right. The rest of the book has Heijo. Great catch! I'll fix that now. When I switched Seoul back to Seoul, I probably slid Keijo up on the map and never got back to fixing it.
Shoot me an email at empireofshadowsrpg@gmail.com for a bonus thank you!
David
Reply
Customer avatar
David T July 20, 2023 7:59 pm UTC
CREATOR
All Fixed! And all pdfs updated! Thank you!
David
Customer avatar
Jared S July 19, 2023 4:23 pm UTC
Hi David,
A lot of people are posting online about getting this in print. If you do a print edition, can you discount the cost of the PDF for previous buyers?
Reply
Customer avatar
Nick E July 19, 2023 5:31 pm UTC
I realise that this is something we all want ("But I only bought the PDF to make the print edition happen!") but DriveThru really isn't set up to work that way. There's no way the systems can be tweaked to allow a purchase to be conditional on previous purchases.
Reply
Customer avatar
David T July 19, 2023 6:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
Jared and Nick!
Thank you for asking! Yes, we plan to (though it seemed like a very remote possibility when we began). Because of your question (and many others received online) we've updated our landing page. I'll add the text here:

"The question was asked: Do we plan on doing a POD (Print on Demand) version? The answer is yes, we always hoped to, but the possibility when we started seemed very remote. The love and support everyone is showing suggests it may become a reality.

If we hit "Electrum" level in sales (250 copies), DriveThruRPG unlocks the POD option. Now, some people may be waiting till there's a pdf/POD bundle, which means that goal remains pretty far away. So to encourage anyone on the fence about buying early, we'll make this offer: if you buy the pdf before it gets a POD option and send an email with some proof of purchase (like a screengrab or DTTRPG invoice number), then when the POD comes out, we'll offer a promotion where early-bird supporters...See more
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Customer avatar
Benjamin B July 26, 2023 12:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No but you can get a report of everyone who purchased it and send a discount code for the purchase which is how most people seem to handle it.
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File Last Updated:
August 17, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on July 18, 2023.