Exorcism Mechanics

The year is 2048, and something dark has returned to Japan. With an international blockade set up around the beleaguered country, there is no escape. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/kuro/
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Exorcism Mechanics

Post by Thrythlind » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:06 pm

I recently grabbed the Kuro pdf. There are several mentions of exorcism. Some of the fluff states "Using a Shinto ritual to expel a yurei is often a bluff or a risk like a hand of poker, with success depending on the conviction of the participants and of the accuracy of the ritual rather than its potency." and several of the creatures and powers mention that exorcism is required to remove them. You also mention people showing clairvoyant abilities. However, no mechanics for these exist at all.

The psychic abilities I can wave off as something that is likely to be introduced in Kuro Tensai and the scenario makes mention of describing "hallucinations", but with several points mentioning "an exorcism is necessary" I'd wonder if there should be mechanics for exorcism.

I've discussed this with some friends and we're wondering if exorcisms are meant to be RPed out in pure freestyle. I've also considered having an opposed roll of Willpower + relevant spiritual specialty vs creature Willpower. So a Catholic based exorcist would roll Willpower + Christianity vs the creature's willpower while a shintoist would roll Willpower + Shinto. (By the way, I'm surprised not to see Ghost Hunt in the list of anime inspirations. It seems very much appropriate to the setting).

In any case, some official word on this would be useful.

It is a beautiful product, btw. Wish my own could be half as lovely, but can't afford the art.

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Re: Exorcism Mechanics

Post by Corone » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:06 pm

I think the reason exorcism mechanics were left out is that they are usually specific to the spirit in question.
Not to spoiler Makkura, but in one of the adventures there are specific things you need to acheive to get rid of the spirit haunting you.

Essentially, exorcism shouldn't be reduced to a dice roll.
Instead the players should research the spirit in question to learn what the way to expell it might be.
This basically makes any haunting into a full adventure.
Japanese ghosts are a little different to western ones in that while they inhabit the form of a dead person, they are more often a dark emotion left behind in a place. This is what makes them harder to shift because the personality is only a host for the rage/pain/anger/torment that is actually doing the haunting.

Having said that, I was watching a really good anime recently called 'Ghost Hunt' where a team of various types of exorcist battle spirits. However, their powers usually only reveal the presence of a spirit or keep it quiet for a while so they can figure out the key to getting rid of it.

So if you have player characters with exorcism skills, by all means let them have a go. I would recommend Willpower and Spiritual. You might create a form of extended test where each attempt grants its margin of success as 'spirit points' and when you have collected enough you can neutralise the spirit for a while.
In the meantime though, it has a chance to fight back...

You are also quite right that Tensei will contain more detail on confronting spirits directly.
In Kuro your characters are rather intentionally overmatched!
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Re: Exorcism Mechanics

Post by Thrythlind » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:31 pm

If you notice, I mentioned Ghost Hunt in the original post. Also, it's good to see that the exorcism for each spirit is described in the adventure. It would be nice for guidelines on how to do it were to exist for GMs running their own adventures rather than pre-written ones.

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Re: Exorcism Mechanics

Post by Jay_NOLA » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:52 pm

Kuro Tensei goes into more details about special abilities of onmyoji & miko who you would have do an exorcism.

Right now it would best handled as a plot deice and you would need to find a proper expert to do one that can exert the needed Ki to power it. (Ki is covered in Tensei.)

You could also say that they could use a properly prepared ofuda.

Have you watched the film Onmyoji: The Ying Yang Master?

Most depictions of Onmyoji in modern Japanese anime, manga, fiction, etc. tend to be heavily inspired by the way it works in the Onmyoji series.

See the link for the trailer.


You'll see a few rituals in the film including that deal with removing of evil spirits. (Also, note the names of the 4 guardian beasts of the city which get mentioned in the beginning. And one of the historic figures in the film is an player archetype character in Kuro Tensei)

The subtler didn't translate eventing I notice in a few places on my DVD I notice.

I think you can watch the entire movie online if you can't find the DVD.

You also want to make sure you have good exorcist and the person knows what they are doing.

See these 2 actual news stories on

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... rcism.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... rcism.html

The Catalpa Bow by Carmen Blacker has an entire chapter devoted to exorcism.

This book is very expensive but you can read the Exorcism info from it online as that part is used in a college class on Japanese ghosts.

http://faculty.humanities.uci.edu/sbkle ... orcism.pdf

I highly recommend Blacker book, but again it is expensive.

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Re: Exorcism Mechanics

Post by Thrythlind » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:25 pm

I am familiar enough with exorcism methods ranging from Shinto to Catholic via a general interest in occult phenomena and beliefs. So making each event a plot device is enough for me to create a scenario. However, I think the average player or GM would benefit from having a primer on developing such stories. The Makkura supplement sounds like it may work for that however.

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