Kickstarter funded, moving onto stretch goals!

Monkey by Peter Frain

Monkey by Peter Frain

Total victory yesterday on the Kickstarter, its basic goal funded within sixteen hours of its launch!  This happened just before I went to bed and has continued to fund while I was asleep. When I got up this morning it stood at £2275 or 113% funded. Time to drink tea, get off to the day job, and work out which stretch goal to announce later today (probably about 12 GMT which is my lunch time).

If you’re new here you can read more about the game in this series of 23 blog posts I made prior to the game being launched.


23 Days of Monkey, Day 2 Meet the Fox Spirits

Fox Spirit by Peter Frain

Animal Spirits are among the character types available for Player Immortals in the game.

This of course Monkey’s Origin, but also famous are the Fox Spirits, who have a reputation for playful mischief and magical elegance.

As well as the narrative aspects of this Origin, Animals Spirits get bonuses from their personality (called Attitudes) since they are more driven by their passions than what they learn in their professions.

Meet Whitetails one of the Player Immortals and a Fox Spirit run by Mr C in my home game. He featured in the 1st Edition this is the chacter updated for the 2nd Incarnation.

Immortal type: Animal Spirit (Fox)
Crime (Weakness):While in the Western Heaven crafty Whitetails tried to steal Lao Tzu’s famous Pills of Immortality. (Theft)
Yin: Agile*
Yang: Cunning
*Whitetails draws two cards for this Dominant Attitudes.
Street knowledge 2
Kung-Fu 2
Rogue 1
Magical Powers
Flight, Shape change
Magic Fan of the Wind:

I recently came across this film from 2013, The Fox Lover, which is all about a small family of Fox Spirits (or Fox fairies as the translation calls them). More a whimsical and romantic tale than martial arts action blockbuster (although it does have its moments), this tale really shows the sort of personal dilemmas that you can build into a game of Monkey.

Day 2 of 23 Days of Monkey, Kickstarter in 21 days on 8th January 2017.

Monkey Monday: Using the new character generation system

This character generation example follows the new character generation method of five story steps.

Each step is played out one to one with the player, and you go round the table doing each step with each player before moving on to the next step. As you go through each step you build up the story of the character, and for new players you explain the basics of the setting as you are playing the story. No more half and hour monologues from the Narrator explaining the ins and outs of the Western Heaven 🙂

At the end of each story Step, you assign game objects to the character. Game Objects are their Attitudes, their Proffesions, which tell you broadly what skills they have, and Magical Powers/Tools.

Finally you play out an Action, in the form of a challenge to the characters. Cards may or may not be pulled to resolve the action, but if you do you use the Game Objects which are already written down.  Other players sit back and listen, but what we found useful in so far to explain why the group was together was for other players to mention their relationships to the others characters ofstage. For example after the first character told their story of what they did in heaven, the other players mentioned that first character in their stories.

Step 1 Origins

The four elements acted upon a stone egg, and from it a Stone Monkey was born!
He joined a tribe of Monkeys who he meets shortly after.

Origin: Animal Spirit

Monkey’s first Challenge

One day the tribe came across a huge waterfall cascading down a mountain. They were curious. The cheeky stone Monkey, suggested that whoever could jump up to the top of the mountain and see what was there would become king of the tribe. Several large apes tried, but only the Stone Monkey succeeded and became their king!

First Profession: Monkey Kung Fu (Mixed Style)
Attitude: Cheeky(Yin)

Step 2 Going to Heaven

After a while Monkey realised that like all mortals he would grow old and die. This made him sad.One of the Elder Apes seeing the normally exuberant Monkey depressed asked him what was wrong and after Monkey admitted his troubles he suggested that Monkey find a wise Taoist Sage to teach him the arts of immortality. Therefore after travelling the world of mortals he meets the Patriarch who taught him the Taoist magical arts. Monkey gained his religious name “Sage aware of Vacuity”. Predictably the cheeky monkey got in trouble with the Patriarch, and Up in heaven the wise Planet Venus, advisor of Celestial Jade Emperor, took notice of the rise of power of Monkey on Earth and decided it would be a good idea to invite him up to heaven to keep a closer eye on him. Once in heaven The Great Sage of Vacuity was given the position of looking after the Jade Emperor’s horses. There he is given the name “Great Sage Equal to Heaven”.

Monkey’s 2nd Challenge: Keeping his position in Heaven

Eventually Monkey realised that he had been given a position of little importance and run amok in heaven as a result. The Jade Emperor sent his heavenly armies, led by the demon hunter General Li,the Pagoda Throwing General, and his son Prince Natha to subdue the rebellious Monkey. But alas they were soundly defeated and Monkey was only calmed when the Planet Venus offered him the position of guarding the Peaches of Immortality in the Queen Mother of the Western Heaven’s garden.

Second Profession: Taoist Sage (from his studies with the Patriarch, although I could quite have easily picked Rogue for his lazing about in Heaven).
Second Attitude: Rebellious (Yang)

Patron: Planet Venus
Enemies: Prince Natha and General Li the Pagadoa Throwing General

Step 3 Monkey’s Magical Weapon

One day while lazing around the Peach Garden, Monkey casually remarked to the Planet Venus that a guard such as he should have a great weapon to perform his duties. Thewise planet suggested that he visit the Dragon King of the ???? Ocean, who had a great store of magical weapons. Once there the Dragon King eventually showed Monkey the Great Iron Staff of the Pole Star, which could shrink down to the size of a needle or expand to vast size, and being made of star metal was very heavy. Monkey successfully lifted the staff as if it was weightless, and despite protests from the Dragon King took it as his own.

Magical weapon: The Iron Staff of the Pole Star stolen from the Dragon King of the ???? Ocean.

Monkey’s 3rd Challenge keeping hold of the new magical weapon

Eventually the Dragon King arrived in Heaven to protest the theft of the Iron Staff, and Monkey was sent to King Yama’s realm, the 12 Hells where the dead go, as a punishment. Monkey managed to trick his way out by sneaking out of the Hells and erasing his name from King Yama’s book of the dead, which holds the name of everyone who is dead and the time and manner of their death. Just for the fun of it, Monkey also erased the names of several elder monkeys from Water Cave Mountain.

Step 4 Monkey gets expelled from Heaven

Eventually Monkey got in trouble again, this time for eating the Peaches of Immortality just as they had finished their thousand-year ripening and were expected at Queen of Western Heaven’s party. Once again rather than take responsiblity he runs amok in heaven. This time he is subdued by Buddha who hears the sounds of mayhem from the Eastern (Buddhist) Heaven and decides to come over and help his friends in the Western Heaven. He tricks the egotistical Monkey into racing to the end of the Universe,where Monkey graffiti on four pillars, and Back, when in fact he never left Buddha’s hand, as proven by the graffiti on Buddha’s four fingers. Buddha then imprisons him under a mountain, saying that he will stay there until a Buddhist Monk comes along who needs his help and who will redeem him.

Weakness: Undisciplined: You were promoted to the ranks of the celestial Immortals, yet at every opportunity you were rude and unruly. Eventually, the Jade Emperor expelled you from the Western
Heaven, and ordered you to learn humility and manners on Earth.

Step 5 Monkey is imprisoned on Earth.

Monkey spends four hundred years imprisoned under the mountain. He is eventually freed when Tripitaka arrives, and recruits him as the first of his pilgrim helpers on his Journey to the West

Monkey’s final Profession: Rogue, despite Monkey not doing a great deal while trapped under the mountain (Prisoner) would be a dull choice, so for his final profession we are going to choose one that is in keeping with his actions that got him there.

Monkey’s final character sheet looks like this:


Origin: Animal Spirit
Yin Cheeky
Yang Rebellious*

*Being of Animal origin Monkey relies a bit more on his natural instincts, which means his Professions below have slightly lower values, but to compensate has a dominant attitude which gives double the card bonus during Actions.

Monkey Kung Fu (Mixed Style) 2
Taoist Alchemist 1
Rogue 2
Weakness: Undisciplined

Magical Weapon: Iron Staff of the Pole Star
Powers: Flight, Shape changing.
Monkey also wears a Golden head band that was placed there by the Goddess Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, so that Tripitaka can use to force him to behave by invoking the Headache Sutra, which causes the headband to painfully constrict.

Have a merry Monkey Christimas

Monkey Madness! I found a small pile of printed copies of Monkey in my attic left over a con appearance.

So If you live in the UK or EU I can sell you a copy for £5 /6 EUR post and packaging FREE and I’ll send you a PDF for FREE.

Paypal the funds to with your name and address and I’ll send you a copy.

Minstry of Thunder revealed!

I am proud to announce The Ministry of Thunder, An adventure book for Monkey: The storytelling game of the Journey to the West.

“Your errant immortals find themselves in trouble with the Heavenly Authorities. Fully expecting to be cast out of Heaven for your crimes, instead you find yourselves drafted into the celestial Ministry of Thunder. Run by the God of Thunder, Lei Gong, it takes on the role of punishing those crimes that mortal law can’t or won’t reach
As deputies of the Ministry of Thunder, led by the stern and terrible Lei-Gong Lord of Thunder, it’s your job to solve crimes and bring to justice those responsible where the mortal authorities won’t or can’t get involved.

A collection of five adventures forming a mini-campaign playable over many sessions. Take your Immortals from criminal outcasts who reform themselves through service to the Ministry of Thunder.


King Tiger
In the city of the winds on the very frontier of the Tang Empire, members of the Li Clan are going missing. A particularly worrying prospect since one in four people in that region are called ‘Li’, a region that is charged with the very protection of the Empire. The implications are clear, so go down to Earth straight away

The Magical Painter
The Queen of the Western Heaven’s favourite mortal Painter has gone missing.  Nobody seems to care or know where he has gone. The Queen arrives at the Ministry of Thunder to demand its agents recover him. The Ministry says “you say jump, we say how high” and assigns its best agents to the job.  Yes that’s you scruffy lot, get yourselves down to Earth right away!

Trouble at Temple
The Abbott of the Buddhist Temple of Golden Harmony is found dead in his room. Who is responsible? What foul plot is afoot? What has the carp in the Temple pool got to say for itself?

Whatever the cause, it is up to you and your immortal companions to sort out this mess.

Bad Dragon
A number of Magical items have gone missing from the Treasury of the Dragon King of the Northern Ocean. The Demon of the Black Lagoon is implicated in their theft. As agents of the Ministry of Thunder, it’s your job to investigate. So quickly travel to the undersea court of the Dragon King, then through the Octopus’s Garden to the Black Lagoon to apprehend the miscreant demon.

Freedom or Fire!
Heavens on Fire! The Ministry of Thunder is called in but Minister Lei Gong’s modesty prevents him from dealing with the case in person. That’s where your disgraced immortals come into it. You must go where terrifying giant bat winged, bird headed Gods of Thunder and Lighting refuse to tread. The culprits must be caught and brought to JUSTICE!

Cover by the talented Jon Hodgson

Ministry of Thunder cover by Jon Hodgson