Share this project


Share this project

A tabletop RPG of ronin, ninja, martial arts and fantastic creatures. For group or solo play.
102 backers pledged $1,787 to help bring this project to life.
Last updated




The Japanese term ronin translates to "wave man". A ronin was a masterless samurai who had to travel from village to village looking for a patron. Starvation, bandits, and worse were regular hazards of life. Yet the most skilled of these warriors became legends. As a wave man, can you overcome the hand that destiny's dealt you?

The Game System

This game is a simple 2d6 system that is an expansion of Nate Treme's brilliant Tunnel Goons game. All you need to play, besides the book, is a pencil, paper and a few six-sided dice. This makes it easier for you to pick up and play the game wherever you happen to be.

In Wave Man NPCs and tasks work in the same way. They have a Difficulty Score, or DS, that ranges from 8 to 12, or occasionally higher. To overcome challenges or defeat your enemies, you tally your bonuses from attributes and equipment, then roll the dice, hoping for a total that meets or exceeds the DS.

In the case of NPCs, the amount by which you exceed the DS is the damage that you do to your enemies. And since NPCs' health is equal to their DS, there's very little bookkeeping to do compared to other game systems.

The Wave Man system supports other methods of conflict resolution in addition to combat. Even during combat you can use your wits to outsmart or intimidate an enemy, rather than killing them.

The Book

Learn the way of the Bushi. These warriors are samurai who use the katana and other weapons to deadly effect. Their class feature is swordsman schools, which enhance their combat ability when they fight using specific elemental stances.

If you've ever read the works of Takashi Matsuoka or James Clavell, or are a fan of films such as The Last Samurai or those directed by Akira Kurosawa, then you're familiar with the inspirations for this game.

Visually, this book is very striking. I'm using a unique art style in this book. Most characters are depicted using silhouettes. This is to highlight the conflict among the social classes, as well as to put an emphasis on action.

Besides game mechanics, the book also features extensive cultural notes to help bring the setting to life. these include a discussion of the various social castes that make up the society of old Nippon, as well as a language primer so you can give your characters and places more authentic names.

If you're like me, you often find that either you or your friends have a hard time getting together on a regular basis. That's why Wave Man supports SOLO PLAY. Through the use of random encounter tables, quest generators and NPC emulation, you can enjoy a game of Wave Man all on your own.

The Setting

Wave Man takes place in Old Nippon, in a setting inspired mainly by the early Edo Era of Japanese history, but also by the Warring States period. You play a masterless warrior seeking to make your way through the world. Times are changing at an unprecedented scale. Foreigners have brought their guns and other technology to the empire, forever altering the political and social landscape.

Wherever you go, you're beset by danger. Whether it's the threat of assassination by ninja, attack from monsters, or falling in a duel with your rival. Life is not easy, but for the samurai who excel, there is no limit to the glory that you can achieve, including the rank of shogun, the supreme military leader of Nippon.

Unlike real history, this version of Nippon is also populated by half-human animal hybrids, known as henjin. These henjin are inspired by the shapeshifters of Japanese folklore, including kitsune and tanuki. The strange science of the foreigners mixes with the alchemical studies of Nippon to produce wondrous devices and effects.

There are many threats to deal with, including rogue ninja tribes, the mysterious Hebi Clan and their Cult of Orochi, encroaching foreign interests and ambitious feudal lords.

The Campaign

What do we need the money for? This Kickstarter is going to fund some additional artwork and writing. We've got some exciting stretch goals planned, too. Let's take a look:

Stretch Goal 1: Eddy Webb Adventure

At $750 we're going to produce an adventure written by veteran RPG writer Eddy Webb! Most famous for his work on Onyx Path's World of Darkness games, Eddy is a veteran with a lot of experience, including in writing for samurai RPGs. Trust me, this one is going to be good!

Stretch Goal 2: Ninja

For $1000 the core book gets a new section- NINJA! Become a shinobi and take to the shadows. Besides game mechanics, this section is actually going to feature historical notes as well as explanations of how ninja worked.

Stretch Goal 3: The City of Harayama

If we hit the $1250 mark, the next book is The City of Harayama, a complete adventure location full of plot hooks and NPCs whose stories interlock. The book also features detailed cultural notes on various character types, including geisha and sumo wrestlers.

Stretch Goal 4: NPC Cards

At $1500 we can create a series of NPC cards. These handy poker-sized cards are printed with vital information for each entry. You can use them to make your games run much more smoothly. Simply draw a card whenever you need a challenge. The deck is also printed with dice values so you can even use it to help you play without dice.

Stretch Goal 5: Budoka and Ascetic

At $1750 we unlock TWO more character archetypes for the core book. The first is the Budoka, a heroic warrior who fights for the safety of the peasantry. And the second is the Ascetic, a sage, monk, or scholar who uses alchemy or other forces to manipulate the natural world. I'm especially excited about this one. If you ever played the classic Bushido RPG, these two are going to be very familiar to you.

Stretch Goal 6: Mike Myler

When we hit $2000 we unlock another adventure. This one comes courtesy of Mike Myler, one of the masterminds behind the hit Mists of Akuma RPG.

Stretch Goal 7: Shawn Carman

Once we hit $3000 we unlock yet another adventure. This scenario comes from Shawn Carman, one of the most famous writers on Alderac's Legend of the Five Rings line. Shawn is the person who gave me my start in writing for RPGs a decade ago, and it is my absolute honor to have the possibility of working with him again.

What's next? We'll find out after we hit the first goals!

Risks and challenges

All projects carry some risk. I don't anticipate any problems, but I could become ill at some point. I have all of the files for this book in a cloud storage folder that I can share to make sure that the game content gets out. I've also already got much of the art that I need to finish it.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ


  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10


    With this level of support you get digital access to the project.

    • PDF copy of the core rulebook
    Estimated delivery
    48 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25


    Your rewards are both physical and ethereal.

    • PDF copy of the core rulebook
    • POD print copy code for the core rulebook
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    52 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)