So what is it about Seven Samurai that makes it such a source of inspiration to GMs? Well it's not just limited to role-playing games. If we step back to look at cinema and television we can see that Seven Samurai has been heavily borrowed/homaged/stolen over the course of the last 50 years.
- The Magnificent Seven (deliberately a remake)
- Battle Beyond the Stars
- Three Amigos (it's there, honest)
- A Bugs Life (yes, go watch it again, A Bugs Life is Seven Samurai)
There are many more (in fact let me know more, it would be interesting to compile a list.)
Even television shows are not immune to the Seven Samurai plot, and in fact given the episodic nature it's perhaps more likely to be used at least once
- Clone Wars episode The Bounty Hunters (they didn't even try to hide it)
- Stargate SG-1
- Firefly (Heart of Gold)
At its core there is a facet that is so appealing to role-playing. A motley group of adventurers is gathered together with the objective of performing a simple task, that of protecting a village from the predations of a group of bandits. It's a classic tale of the heroic standing up against evil to protect the innocent. It's such a simple concept that is so easily adaptable to almost any role-playing game that the concept of it is ingrained unconsciously into the mind of almost anyone writing adventure stories.
Personally I'm not sure how many times I've used it
- Star Wars
- Call of Cthulhu
- Legend of the Five Rings (seems fitting)
- And probably more
So tell me, how many games have you run Seven Samurai in?