Some Basic Thoughts

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Re: Some Basic Thoughts

Post  Admin on Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:09 am

Wyvern wrote:
Horseman / Nomad / Raider (I'm still having doubts about this one - I know it's historically relevant but in a fantasy world, the role of Mongols and other "mounted hordes" could perhaps be devoted to imaginary creatures, so we must really think this over quite carefully)
Historical relevance wasn't the reason I suggested a Horseman class. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Myth, Mulan all feature mounted warriors. Furthermore, it's a broad archetype that can cover a number of different character concepts, including highwaymen. If you make Bandit a class of its own, what abilities would that class have?

I get your points but we were talking about two different things here - my comment about historical relevance had to do with moutned barbarians. As for mounted warriors à la Mulan, well, I think they would be perfect examples of a broadened "Soldier" class (encompassing not only "spearmen" but also cavalrymen and archers). For me, this simply means the Horseman talent will be very common in this setting for a variety of warriors, including Soldiers and Nobles. But this doesn't mean it has to become the "focus" of a specific class encompassing anything from military cavalrymen to mounted barbarian raiders or brigands.

Speaking of Mulan and Crouching Tiger / Hidden Dragon, do you think we'd need a female warrior class (chinese Amazons ?) or that we should simply allow female Soldiers and "Swordsmen" with the same abilities as their male counterparts ?

So, as classes are concerned, we'd now have the following list - I've also listed the primary attributes of each class in parentheses:

Warriors : Noble (Luck and the "family attribute"), Soldier (Skill and Will, as Spearmen, or perhaps Might and Skill ?), Swordsman (Skill and Will), Bandit (Skill and Wits), "undefined fifth class".

Magicians : Animist (Wits and Will, as Sorcerers or Elementalists), Monk (Will and Luck, as M&M Priests), Sorcerer (Wits and Will, as in M&M), Elementalist (Wits and Will, as in M&M), "Nymph" (Grace and Luck).

Specialists : "Assassin* (Skill and Wits), Thief (Wits and Luck).

* Someone pointed out that the name "Assassin" didn't work very well for this setting - I'm not sure : after all, it has been used in some english translations of chinese movie titles (eg "The Emperor and the Assassin"). I also like the implicit link it makes with AD&D Assassins.

I think I have quite a clear idea of what I'd like to do with classes and martial arts - but I'd also like to have time to develop them correctly before we enter a "second stage" discussion. What I'd really like now would be to shape the world with you - build our "Chinese Mythika".

Our Yellow Sign friend has posted a list which does a fine job of summing up the kind of flavor we're after... so why not try to follow this lead and create the setting itself ?

First, we need a name for that world !

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Re: Some Basic Thoughts

Post  seneschal on Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:17 pm

No need to dump Tolkeineque goblins into this. Both Chinese and Japanese folklore have their own unique mix of ogres, demons, goblins.

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Re: Some Basic Thoughts

Post  gebeji on Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:03 pm

Before going on about the name of our "Mythic China", just a few ideas about the classes.

After thinking about some movies as inspiration (notably Chinese Ghost story, Bride with White Hair, Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Iron Monkey, Wing Chun and Tai Chi Master), I think we can transpose a number, if not all, of them in this new setting.

Amazons could become Sisters of the Weeping Lotus for example, a secret order/sisterhood of female warriors relying on Grace and Skill, replacing the bow with an appropriate chinese weapon (here, given the number of weapons used in chinese movies, most classes could be given a choice between 3 weapons for their special ability/weapon of choice), like darts, a fan or a spear for example.

Barbarians being brute fighters relying on Might and Will, could be made into Iron Monks for example (a staple of many fighting video games), a brotherhood living in remote mountain retreats, training their body to resist damage, replacing the sword with the iron mace, battle axe or any other heavy weapon.

Centaurs being beastly non-humans relying on Might and Skill, could be either Animen (Banyaos) as a whole, human-intelligent animal hybrids (most common being Cats, Monkeys, Foxes and Tigers, but not all of them fit the Might requirements) or precisely only the Half-Tigers (Ban Hu), roaming the world in search of worthy battles to prove their courage. Their special abilities would have to be reworked to fit, however.

Nobles would fit rather easily, being members of the ruling class with ties to the Jade Emperor or a regional governor.

Spearmen being elite soldiers or dedicated fighters relying on Skill and Will, could become just that, a general Swordsman/Soldier/Fighter/Combatant class, regrouping bodyguards, military types, mercenaries or road/country wardens/patrolmen. The classic martial artists, who, more often than not with Chinese kung fu rely on one or two weapon styles, can then easily fit here.

Hunters, are again easy to swap as is (with the vastness and diversity of China’s geography they most certainly exists, even if not too representative as an archetype in chinese movies) or as either Wandering Magistrate or Bounty/Spirit/Demon Hunters, relying on Skill and Wits to get their target, simply replacing Hunting with Tracking and Streetwise.

Thieves are another class with its place in a Chinese setting, maybe renamed more generally as Miscreants/ Rebels/Vagrants/Rogues, relying on Wits and Luck, they can represent, more adequately than the “evil-sounding” assassin, the archetypical beggars, bandits, gamblers, smugglers, vagabonds and robinhood-types of many chinese movies.

Elementalists, as already stated, would be quite at home by simply using the 5 chinese elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.

Lyrists are a bit too Greek to fit into a Chinese setting, even if a case could be made for a number of occurences where someone was bewitched by the beautiful voice or music of a female (who most of the time ended up being a ghost Wink), so it’s probably easier to scrap it in favour of another Grace and Luck magic-user, who could be the Buddhist, someone who search for enlightment by studying the Eightfold Path to Nirvana and has powers to bring about calm, protect others and commune with nature.

Nymphs are also very similar to the many alluring/deadly females found in chinese movies, using their magical charm/voice/music to bring about bounty or misery to unwary travelers. They could be either typically female Banyaos (Half-Cats, Half-Foxes, Half-Spiders, Half-Snakes) as explained in the Barbarian section or Elemental Spirits (one for each element) with similar powers.

Priests are possible in a Chinese setting as either Oracles/Diviners, using Feng Shui and I Ching to probe the will of the Celestial Court or Exorcists battling the many Ghosts and Demons roaming the land.

Sorcerers can be used as is, even if, IMHO, they are usually the bad guys of the movies.

With all this, the main archetypes are mostly covered, leaving the Doctor/Herbalist, who could be either a Specialist Healer, or simply someone with an appropriate background talent, the Alchemist, a magician using potions and powders, and the “Paper-Magician” who uses written magical signs on pieces of paper, although this is at least partially also used by exorcists, but could become a class by itself.

I also agree that martial arts should be a separate option for all classes, since almost everybody in the movies uses them. I also like the naming of the Ways based on the 12 sacred animals.

As for the name of the world, finally (sorry for the long post Wink) Juan Zu or Yao Zu (Far Away Race/People), Huang Zu (Yellow Race/People), Shen Lu or Shen Zu (Mythical/Godly Land/Race/People) or Tian Xia (Tout sous le Ciel) are possibilities. If a non-chinese name is prefered, Land of a Thousand Mountains (Qian Shan Lu) or Land of the Lotus (Lian Lu) might also be good choices.

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Names for the setting

Post  yellow_sign2000 on Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:01 am

And how about these? Question

Heroes of the Middle Kingdom
Heroes & Dragons
Heroes of the Warring States (if you want to use this historical period)
Emperors & Dragons
Between Heaven and Earth
Sons of the Dragon
Beyond the Great Wall
Swords of the Middle Kingdom
Dragons & Dynasties

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Re: Some Basic Thoughts

Post  Admin on Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:27 am

yellow_sign2000 wrote:And how about these? Question

Heroes of the Middle Kingdom
Heroes & Dragons
Heroes of the Warring States (if you want to use this historical period)
Emperors & Dragons
Between Heaven and Earth
Sons of the Dragon
Beyond the Great Wall
Swords of the Middle Kingdom
Dragons & Dynasties

There are already Chinese-themed RPGs called "Swords of the Middle Kingdom" and "Qin : The Warring States". Not to mention the Pendragon supplement "Beyond the Wall" (but this one has nothing to do with China).Very Happy

Seriously though, I think it's pretty obvious by now we'll never find a "X & X" title that conveys the feel of the game (except Dragons & Dynasties, but hey, the D&D abreviation seems a bit, well, awkward). So, after '"Oriental Adventures", the AD&D 1st ed "Japanese" spinoff, I had thought about "Asiatic Adventures" ("Asiatique" being the usual word in French for "Oriental")... but I found this note on a Dictionary website :

Usage Note: As with Oriental, the use of Asiatic in referring to the peoples and cultures of Asia sounds conspicuously dated in contemporary American English, tending to evoke the prejudicial and offensive stereotypes of an earlier era. The preferred ethnic term is now clearly Asian. In most other contexts, however, as in Asiatic Russia or the Asiatic elephant, the term remains a neutral geographic descriptor that need not automatically be replaced with Asian. See Usage Note at Oriental.

And, well, "Asian Adventures" doesn't sound as good (I think). And the thing would not even be set in Asia.

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Re: Some Basic Thoughts

Post  Imaro on Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:29 am

If you were looking for the Chinese equivalent of Nymphs you could use the Huli Jing (Fox Spirits) they are mostly always female.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_mythology


Last edited by Imaro on Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:35 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected from Japanese to Chinese)
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