Bi-Weekly Design Blog #5: Researching Steampunk Musha — Recommended Resources

Hello and konnichiwa.

A Quick Update                                

Things are going swimmingly, with the last of the sections for the Explorer’s Guide to Rosuto-Shima getting their final tweaks and edits. Then the book will be off to layout.

In the meantime, Ismael Alvarez has done some amazing work on two new books that I can’t wait to talk about. One includes a very exciting class, but more on that in a few weeks time.


Recommended Resources

We spend a lot of time looking into real world history and culture. Partly it’s for inspiration, but it’s also to make sure things work. After all, if it existed in Japan, China, or Korea, then it could just as well exist in Rosuto-Shima. I’d been contemplating adding a “Further Reading” list in our Steampunk Musha - Explorer’s Guide to Rosuto-Shima, like in some of the other roleplaying core books of the D20 family, but in the end I thought it would be a rather weird beast — Steampunk Musha is so much more than the sum of its parts. So here it is instead, a list of some excellent resources, recommended by me for your Steampunk Musha campaign. I’ll try my best to update it with other resources we come across.


  1. Tasogare Seibei/Twilight Samurai, directed by Yoji Yamada
  2. The Last Samurai, directed by Edward Zwick
  3. Red Beard, directed by Akira Kurosawa

Animated Movies and Anime Series

  1. Steamboy, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo
  2. Ghost in The Shell, directed by Mamoru Oshii (The live action film looks like it will be a great adaptation, and the manga is worth a look).

Non-Fiction Books

  1. The Samurai Sourcebook, by Stephen Turnbull.
  2. Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250–1877, by Stephen Turnbull.
  3. The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi.
  4. Secrets of the Samurai, by Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook.
  5. Bushido: the Soul of Japan, by Inazo Nitobe.
  6. Introduction to Japanese Swords through Pictures, by the All Japan Swordsmith Association.

Fiction Books

  1. Shogun, by James Clavell.
  2. The Young Samurai series, by Chris Bradford.


Rodney Sloan, Line developer for Steampunk Musha at Fat Goblin Games.

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