Sunday, May 20, 2018

TAI CHI MASTER, IRON TRIANGLE MOVIES AND COBRA KAI

This week, we did three episodes of Wuxia Weekend. For our regular Friday film, we talked about Tai Chi Master, a great Yuen Woo-Ping film starring Jet Li, Chin Liu-Ho and Michelle Yeoh. Lady Cao Feng and I held a special discussion of Iron Triangle movies, where we talk about films directed by Chang Cheh that star Ti Lung and David Chiang. Also, we decided to pick up on our earlier discussion of the Karate Kid movies last year and follow Cobra Kai. 







For those who are interested, you can also listen to our earlier discussion of Karate Kid: 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A NEW OGRE GATE TOOL AND SONS OF LADY EIGHTY SEVEN UPDATE

I just wanted to give folks an update on Sons of Lady Eighty Seven. 

Adam Baulderstone made this very useful reference tool for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. It is very useful for quickly finding Kung Fu techniques. It also helps you find techniques by sect. You can find it HERE.  

SONS OF LADY EIGHTY SEVEN 
As I mentioned in an earlier announcement, I am going to be focusing on a one or two things at a time, for health reasons. I still have projects I am intending to release, some however might just end up as blog entries. Sons of Lady Eighty Seven will be a full module (likely 100 pages). We've just started work on the official maps, and I have completed the majority of design and writing. 

Sons of Lady Eighty Seven is a campaign book, meant as an illustration of how I manage wuxia campaigns. It is intended to show people what I meant in the WHOG core book GM Chapter. It is set within the empire itself (our only other book set inside the empire is a city adventure called Tournament of Daolu). 

The inspiration for it comes from a variety of sources. The first is historical. Lady Eighty Seven is a real figure from history (you can see my previous discussion about her HERE). It is also heavily inspired by stories like Meteor, Butterfly Sword, and the Seven Killers. If you want an idea of what to expect you can follow the blog entries and podcast of the Sons of Lady Eighty Seven campaign. 

The campaign is meant for a party that is involved in the darker corners of the martial world, and assumes involvement in criminal activity. There is still plenty of opportunities for heroics, but it takes a campaign of bandits and thieves as its default assumption. 

At 100 pages the book has a lot of entries. It gives a good foundation for a campaign and also provides an overview of a complete prefecture (Fan Xu). I tried to keep entries shorter and took a page from Gu Long when describing my characters. The longer I've run Ogre Gate, the more I've leaned toward this. 

This will probably be the last official release that details an Imperial Prefecture. Partly this is because of my need to reduce workload. But it is also not much of a change, because I've never really been interested in fleshing out every corner of the campaign through our releases. My hope is more to give people guideposts on how they might flesh out these areas if they want to focus on them. 

I do think this is probably the best representation of the setting and the genre I've done so far. I've had a lot of time to make mistakes and figure out what works. The material in this book was by far the easiest for me to run at the table, because I tried to apply those lessons. It also, in my opinion, best reflects the kinds of things in wuxia and related genres that I find appealing. 

STRANGE TALES NEWS 
Heads of Waterfall Bay
by Jackie Musto 
The art for this is almost done, and it looks stunning. I am always a bit nervous when I go into projects because you start with an image in your head of how it will look and along the way, it is easy to mess it up. I've been very lucky with art in recent years. Jackie Musto has been doing our interiors and the interior images of Strange Tales capture the feel perfectly. I think it is a challenging genre to convey visually. 

Strange Tales is very close to done, and is in the final rounds of play testing. Strange Tales is very different from Ogre Gate but it is based on the same core system. I basically wanted something that was lighter, easier to make characters for and deadly. It is much more rules light. It also isn't as setting dense as Ogre Gate was. This is more of a simple rulebook with adventures and monsters that help illustrate the setting intentions. But I am assuming every GM will use the material differently. So we devoted all of our pages (we have a limit of 100 on this one) to rules, monsters and adventures. If you like Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, or movies like A Chinese Ghost Story and Painted Skin, this is a game you might be interested in. 



Monday, May 14, 2018

WUXIA WEEKEND: ASHES OF TIME AND WING CHUN DISCUSSIONS

ASHES OF TIME (REDUX)
This weekend we talked about the movie Ashes of Time. It is directed by Wong Kai-Wai and has an all-star cast. Brigitte Lin plays an interesting brother and sister, with a twist. Leslie Cheung plays Ouyang Feng, the villain from Legend of Condor Heroes. Big Tony Leung plays Huang Yaoshi (the future master of Peach Blossom Island). Tony Leung Chiu-Wai plays a blind swordsman. Jackie Cheung plays Hong Qigong. There are also performances by Carina Lau, Charlie Yeung and Maggie Cheung. 

This movie imagines Ouyang Feng's life before Condor Heroes. It is a bit surreal and is more of a character study than a straight forward plot. It can be divisive, but it is hard not to have a strong reaction one-way-or-another to it. Listen to hear what people thought about Ashes of Time




WING CHUN
On Wuxia Weekend last week, we discussed the Yuen Woo-Ping film Wing Chun, starring Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen, Kingdom Yuen, Waise Lee and Norman Chu. 


Wing Chun blends Kung Fu, comedy, history and folk legend. It dramatizes the story of Yim Wing Chun (whose style bears her name). The title role is played by Michelle Yeoh. The film pits her against a group of bandits who are harassing the local community. But there is a lot more to the film than initially meets the eye. It is one of my favorite martial arts movies, but see if the others on the show agree with me:



Monday, April 30, 2018

CRIME NETWORK: GAMING THE REAL WORLD

I started a new Crime Network campaign last night. This time around I decided to bring in as much of the real world as possible. So we are using all real mobsters and crime families, real local businesses, real local politicians, real news, etc. At the same time I am taking liberties with these things and adding in the occasional fictional place. We've set the campaign in Boston, which is where I normally run my modern games. 


The way I handle local businesses and NPCs is I just use google. If the players go to some a business, church, strip club or other location in the Boston Metro Area (and occasionally, the Greater Boston Area) I just look up the place and see who runs it. Most of them seem to have online profiles with details that can springboard ideas in a mafia campaign. So if I look up a county's district attorney, I use the picture of the person in office (or just their name if no picture is provided) to create a personality fitting to the campaign. I usually try to add a vice or quirk that feels right to the mob genre. I find pictures like this often convey an immediate idea, and if they don't I can just ask "what sort of person is this?" or "what would be an interesting characteristic or secret for this person to have". I aim for larger-than-life. Mafia movies often have a lot of humor so I don't shy away from things like making the state governor a violent madman behind the scenes, with his finger dipped in many criminal enterprises; or having the editor-in-chief of the local paper, a cocaine fiend (or some other vice that will connect them to the criminal underworld). 

One thing that surprised me was how many ideas you get when you go to the website of a business or organization. For example, there was a house of worship in last night's game that boasted about charity programs which I turned into a source of illegal income and a way for them to recruit muscle. 

Another useful tool I used was the Rangen Family Generator (HERE) so we could establish who the Player Characters relatives were. This one is intended mainly for writers but I found it useful because it lists the disposition of each family member to the Main Character (which I just switched to the Player Character) and if you click the detailed generator option, it provides interesting details in a sentence or two about each family member. I was genuinely surprised how well these two pieces of information worked in play on the fly. At one point a character called his father the results from the generator were very useful in helping me quickly establish how to play the dad. The only thing we had to adjust were some of the names. 

I also made another relationship table (which I am pasting below). Here I took all the non-characters I had fleshed out for the initial sessions of the campaign (placing the really important people on TABLE II) and had each player roll 1d10 to see who they are connected to. Then I rolled on the NATURE OF RELATIONSHIP table to determine if they were cousins, siblings, friends, etc. Note, because we used real world people, I changed all the names in the example below. In the actual table, the names are all real mobsters and local people. 

For events around the players (both inconsequential and pertaining to their criminal activities or campaign) I am using local news sources in real time. We are going to try to keep each session to being one week if we can (this may prove impossible but I'd like to have the calendar date in the campaign be close to the actual date). I will also add in other stories, so if they ask what is in the news, I pick headlines off the front page of the paper and add in some of my own. This will be their way of finding potential criminal opportunities but also developments that are important to the politics of the family. 

One of the reasons I tend to set these campaigns in Boston (and usually around the area I live in) is so I can easily manage things like driving distances, local geography, etc. I find it is very easy to game the local area, so I can focus on other aspects of play like characters, groups, relationships, criminal opportunities and vendettas. 

These tend to be short campaigns (3-10 sessions) that I play in-between larger ones. So we'll see how this one goes. We had our first session last night. Most of it was just sorting out background of characters, but they did manage to shake down a local strip club, which led them on a wild hunt that resulted in violent car chase (and nearly-lethal car crash). One of the PCs is recovering at the hospital and the others are planning their next move. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

WUXIA WEEKEND: PAINTED SKIN THE RESURRECTION

This week on Wuxia Weekend we discussed the martial arts fantasy film, Painted Skin: The Resurrection. This is a movie I've talked about a lot before (HERE). You can also hear my previous podcast review HERE. I find this is a movie I keep going back to. 


For those who haven't seen it, Painted Skin: The Resurrection is a sequel to an earlier movie (called Painted Skin) that was based on Hua Pi (Painted Skin), an entry in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling. I highly recommend the original story, I also recommend the first movie. But for me, this film is actually more enjoyable than the first one. I think part of the reason is it veers into entirely new territory because the events of the source material were largely dealt with in the first film. It has similar themes, and it is still very much in keeping with the mood and feel of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio overall. 


I think this movie also stands out because of the strong visuals and the very effective use of music throughout, which creates a world you can almost touch and feel. And I think that is important because so much of the movie is about the senses (a key plot point is the Fox Demon wants to become human so she can smell the world and feel the world like a human). 

I think gamers in general will find a lot in the movie for inspiration. This film doesn't sit easily in any one genre. We discuss this in the review, but the way it spans fantasy, romance, strange accounts, and martial arts, makes it particularly suitable for gaming purposes. It is rich with lore, magic, strange kingdoms and spirited beasts. 

You can check out our discussion below: 


Friday, April 20, 2018

BLOOD STAINED ROADS PART TWO: BLOOD STAINED INNS AND TEA HOUSES

This material is from the Blood-Stained Roads of the Martial World book which I've decided to release on the blog as an ongoing series. You can find the first entry HERE. I will have a list of Wedding Encounters up hopefully in the next few days.

Some of the inspiration for these entries came from Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, New Dragon Inn, Death Duel, and the book The Eleventh Son

INN ENCOUNTERS
Inns are an important feature of the wuxia genre, arguably even more than in medieval fantasy. They are where much of the action and drama occurs, so dropping random encounters at the inn makes a lot of sense. Inns are an key meeting place in the jianghu and show up all the time in books, movies and shows. 
Art by Jackie Musto 


The Inn Encounter can happen any time players go to an Inn, wine shop, tea house of brothel. It is meant to add flavor and excitement to the game. Every Inn the players go into has a 2 in 10 chance of an Inn Encounter at some point during their stay. Use the following tables when an encounter occurs. You can also create new tables on your own for different contexts and places. My approach is to remove each entry as it happens and replace it with a new one. 

I started using Inn encounters to breath a bit more variety into my sessions. I don't always use them, sometimes I just decide an encounter is appropriate. But I like encounters tables because they push me out of my comfort zone. I also enjoy how it shakes up my style. I found these tables made Inn’s exciting rather than rote.

Below are the sample Inn Encounter Tables. I included some stat blocks and additional texts for selected entries on INN ENCOUNTER TABLE TWO to illustrate how these might be elaborated upon. For the most part, I use stat blocks from CHAPTER TEN in WANDERING HEROES OF OGRE GATE (WHOG*). These are just to get the ball rolling. Many can be expanded into much larger scenarios.

*It is PWYW so I included page numbers to the entries I might use for each entry, but GMs should feel free to use their own stat blocks or come up with stats in the moment. It doesn't matter what system you use. 


INN ENCOUNTER TABLE TWO
Roll 1d10
Inn Encounter 
1
A beggar sneaks into the dining area when the players are enjoying a meal and quietly sits at their table to eat some of their food (Detect TN 8 to notice). This is Lady Xiaomin, a member of Nature Loving Monk Sect. She continues to eat and if the players try to stop her she accuses them of failing to pay her for honest work. She then concocts an elaborate story, telling all who will listen that the party hired her to carry their gear through the forest and promised her food when they reached town. She encourages other martial heroes present at the inn to intervene on her behalf and give the party a good beating (roll on the Martial World Personalities Table on page 414 of the WHOG rulebook to see who might answer her call). 
2
A rich looking couple (Wei Li and Wei Hui) claiming to be Hai’anese aristocrats approach the party. The husband has a terrible black eye. They have come to the area to retrieve their son, Wei  Anzhi, who has fallen in with a gang of thieves and bandits called The Jade Horse Gang (they run the Jade Horse gambling hall nearby). They beg the party to go to the Jade Horse and bring their son back. They promise a reward of 20 Golden Taels and even offer to take the party into the household. However, Wei Anzhi is pretty happy doing errands for the Gambling Hall and learning thieving skills. The boss of the gang, Black Toad, has taken the boy under his wing and won’t give him up without a fight.
3
At some point when the player characters are seated at a table or near the dining area, a group to of three men wielding hook swords (the Hook Sword Trio) approach an elderly monk (Shen Lushan) of a nearby Sun Mai Temple who is seated at he back of the inn. They are from Mr. Yan’s Tea Leaves, a manufacturer of tea bricks. The local Sun Mai Temple also manufactures tea bricks but its goods are far superior to Mr. Yan’s. The men demand to know the temple’s secret process and ingredients and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t share them. If the players do nothing a fight breaks out. Roll 4d10 for the Monk, and 3d10 for the men. Whoever rolls highest wins the fight. The men’s boss, Monkey-Fisted Yan, is waiting outside and attacks the monk if and when he exits the inn (for this fight roll 4d10 for the Monk and 3d10 for Monkey-Fisted Yan). For Hook Sword trio stats use Mystic Sword Senior Disciples, WHOG 351 (but replace Ox Tail Dao with Hook Sword). For Monkey-Fisted Yan, us Fearsome Master, WHOG, 346 
4
A woman dressed as a man arrives in the Inn soon after the player’s arrive. She claims her name is Yu Shaonan but her real name is Yu E’hua, also known as Hidden Owl. She is the sister of Hidden Arrow, and presently looking for his son, Leng. Someone the player characters know and/or work for has kidnapped him. She approaches the players and demands they take her to this individual but she will not say why. If the player’s refuse she attacks them. If they take her, it turns out their friend has indeed kidnapped the child is using it to lure Hidden Owl so he can locate her brother to obtain information about Crocodile Sect. 
5
One of the bed’s in the room the players stay in is spirited. During the night, the player who sleeps in that bed awakens to see a beautiful woman beside him or her. The woman, Miaohui, tries to suck the life from the character. 
6
The players have their first encounter with a group calling itself One Thousand Grieving Widows. They are a sect formed in the wake of the party’s carnage. Each member is the widow of a henchmen or underling the players killed in their long career. One Thousand Grieving Widows orchestrates a plan to ambush the party when they are on their way out of the inn. When they leave the inn, the women (and men) of One Thousand Grieving Widows await them in the streets slowly forming a circle around the party. For the Grieving Widows use Standard Disciple entry WHOG, 344. For the organizations leader use Profound Master entry, WHOG page 346. 
7
When the party wakes up in the morning they find a crowd of patrons looking at a severed hand pinned to their inn room  door with a butterfly sword. If they ask, the patrons explain that this is the symbol of the Ashen Moths, a powerful and secret organization. They’ve clearly been summoned to meet them the coming evening. The players will need to investigate to find the meeting place, then if they go, they learn that the Ashen Moths are group of rebels who assassinate corrupt officials by slaughtering their household and burning down the residence. Their leader, Lady E Dao, wants to recruit the party into their organization to destroy unjust governments. If they refuse they will have to fight their way out. 
8
A group of troublesome young men hire a courtesan to dress as a ghost and frighten customers at the inn by suspending her from a rope by their window and demanding vengeance for imagined crimes. However a real ghost also haunts the premises and is angered by their antics (WHOG, 367)
9
Heroes from multiple sects arrive at the inn, for a secret heroes summit to determine the leader of a new alliance. The purpose of the alliance is up to the GM (and should depend on which sects are present). They likely have some great cause in mind or are working to thwart a particularly powerful foe. 
10
The players are awakened in the middle of the night by a terrible scream. If they go to the main dining area, they find one of the female wait staff, Min, bisected and blood covering the floor. A murder mystery begins if the players take any interest. Min was cut in half by Yu Shi, another member of the inn staff (there are six women and four men working in here in all). She had learned that Yu Shi was really the Scarlet Lover, a deadly assassin from Hai’an. So Yu Shi killed her to protect her secret. Discovering that Yu Shi is behind the killing will require some investigation. Yu Shi is on the run from the queen of Hai’an, so she will put up a fight if the players try to capture her. 

The Inn is also secretly a brothel, something the proprietor would like to keep under wraps. Both Yu Shi and Min, as well as the other serving girls are really prostitutes. 


TEA HOUSE ENCOUNTER TABLE ONE
Roll 1d10
Tea House Encounter 
1
A finely dressed swordsman begins reciting a poem that sounds like a memorial to his fallen companions. He describes each death at the hands of wicked people, carving the character on a bannister for a virtue of the individual victims. When he is done he levels his sword at the party and accuses them of the murders. This may be true or it may not be. If the party has killed a group of people for any reason in the past, he could be describing something that happened (though he may be wrong about the details of how and why).  
2
A Hai’anese scholar named He Guo approaches the party and praises them for their achievements. He seems to know a good deal about them. He offers to travel with the group so he can make a first hand record of their future exploits. He is sincere but impeccably honest in his account should he be accepted as a chronicler by the party. Within a year he should have enough material to publish a great work on the subject, which he will have printed for the benefit of government officials. Whatever the party has done in that time will become widely known among the literati. 
3
Let the players make a Detect Roll (TN 9). If they are making a point of examining the crowd, there is no need to roll. On a Success, they a group of men enjoying tea together, but can tell one of them is there against his will with a dagger against his back. These men are the members of the Red Claw Gang, led by the Firelance Brothers (WHOG 203, 311, and 353). The man is LUO TING, a lonely scholar in love with a spirited stone at Turquoise Cave. The bandits don’t know about the spirited stone but they’ve heard a rumor that he knows the location of Flying Sword Sect’s old Headquarters (see THE TURQUOISE CAVE). They are demanding he take them there, and he is reluctant to do so. 
4
When the players arrive at the Tea House they see an eccentric old man laughing as he plays chess (xiangqi). There are dead bodies with pale green skin around them (1d10 in all). These men all voluntarily drank poison after loosing to the old man, who came in offering “the ultimate game of chess for the ultimate reward”. With each death the reward he is offering goes up by 100,000 spades. The man playing loses and drinks poison. The players are free to do what they will.  
5
The place is quiet as the players sit at their table. While they drink their tea, a robust Kushen man named Nergui Mogha (WHOG, 231) drops to the ground and snorts like a boar, then attacks everyone in the inn, eating the flesh of anyone he kills. Nergui was recently in a fight with another master and is suffering from Qi disruption (he has been possessed by a Pig Spirit, WHOG page 377). He is out of his mind at the moment, and his possessed condition can be determined on a Medicine roll TN 7 or with another relevant skill roll. 
6
A beautiful woman (Hua Qiang) and handsome man (Hua Bu) approach the party and greet them, claiming to admire their reputation and talent. They have an accurate understanding of the party’s abilities and ask to be their disciples. In truth, they are con-artists seeking to learn the player’s secret techniques so they can sell them to other people in the martial world. If forced to fight, the man and woman both know lots of Secret Techniques from different sects (use the FEARSOME MASTER entry, WHOG page 346, and add any secret techniques you want to their arsenal). 
7
As the players sit down, they see the place is full and a man in colorful robes named Lord Cobra is laughing with a group of rough-looking swordsmen. Outside dozens of archers fire Arrows into the tea house at all the patrons (roll 2d10 against the Evade of all characters inside each round). The archers are commanded by Sheriff Wu Guo, who is aggressively trying to capture or kill Lord Cobra (a wanted bandit). Sheriff Wu Guo announces that Lord Cobra is wanted for murder and the arrows won’t stop until his body is brought out. Lord Cobra insists he is a hero fighting against the Glorious Emperor. The players can do whatever they want (flee, fight, join with Lord Cobra, help take Lord Cobra down, etc). The truth of the situation is up to the GM. 
8
A man with a thick beard and red robes talks to the waiter and then walks into the kitchen with him (this man is Flying Zhen Bird). As the players are about to enjoy their tea, they hear a sizzling sound and see a man drop at a nearby table. The tea he just drank was an obscure acidic poison that is harmless to porcelain cups but burns holes through flesh immediately (6d10 Open Damage, twice, to anyone who drinks it). The acid spilled onto the ground after burning through his body and the sizzle was the sound of his flesh and the wooden floor being consumed by it. Flying Zhen Bird is a powerful master who was testing his new poison (use Deadly Master entry for combat abilities, WHOG 346).  
9
A fortune teller named Gentle Xiao is reading palms for 100 spades (Divination 2d10). He will only do one reading for each table. If a player asks to have his or her palm read, he will do his best. Roll his Divination Skill TN 6. If he succeeds, he can tell the player about his or her fate. On a Total Success he can tell the player about his or her fate and about an upcoming challenge (for example any encounters you have planned or betrayals lurking on the horizon). On a Failure, he catastrophically misreads the palm, and believes the player is destined to be Emperor or Empress. He immediately pledges his loyalty and asks to be the character’s humble servant. He will sincerely follow the player from that day forward. 
10
A man Luo Shu stumbles into the tea house, his skin purple. There are three needles sticking from his neck. He begs the PCs for help, but nothing seems to improve him. He seems to die and asks the party to get revenge against Lady Plum Blossom (WHOG, 323). He points out the window and they can see Lady Plum Blossom purchasing fruit at a food stall in the street. In truth this man has painted his skin purple and is faking the whole thing. If the players inspect him closely or perform a Medicine Roll (TN 9) they may be able to see the deception.  Luo Shu has few talents but is hoping to get a bunch of martial heroes to kill each other, so he take their weapons and belongings and sell them at a high price to a an antique dealer (for relevant skills he has Deception: 3d10, Disguise: 3d10, and Talent-Theft: 2d10). If Lady Plum Blossom is killed he intends to bring her body to Ferocious Flower of the Tree-Dwelling Nuns (WHOG, 306) for a reward.  


4. HIDDEN OWL 
HIDDEN OWL 
Hidden Owl was once a member of the Majestic Lion Cult but left when she decided they were misguided. Now they are her enemies. She is also the sister of Hidden Arrow, a member of Crocodile Sect. Now she is trying to be a righteous hero and seeks her nephew (Hidden Arrow’s son) who disappeared months ago. She is following rumors of a person who may be behind the kidnapping. 

Defenses:Hardiness 3, Evade 5, Parry 6, Stealth 9, Wits 7, Resolve 7
Key Skills:Arm Strike: 3d10, Leg Strike: 3d10, Grapple: 2d10, Throw: 0d10, Light Melee: 2d10, Medium Melee: 0d10, Heavy Melee: 0d10, Small Ranged: 0d10, Athletics: 2d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Endurance: 2d10, Athletics: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Persuade: 2d10, Empathy: 1d10, Religion/Gods (Majestic Lion Cult): 2d10, Places (Dai Bien): 3d10, Meditation: 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 3d10, Read Script (Feishu): 3d10

Qi: 3
Max Wounds: 7
Weapons: Unarmed (1d10 Damage), Daggers (1d10), Divine Powder (3d10 Open Damage in 10 foot radius per pound)
Combat Technique: Fists of Steel

Techniques (Waijia 1, Qinggong 2, Neigong 1): Crawling Tiger, Deflecting Canopy, Fierce Strike, Fluttering Kicks, Gaze of the Lion, Hands of the Hawk Beak, Kick of the Swan, Lion At Rest Stance, Pounce of the Lion, Stealth of the Spider Demon, Storming Daggers, Swift Pounce of the Cheetah, Graceful Retreat, Grasp of the Python (Counter), Spinning Back Kick (Counter)

5. SPIRITED BED
MIAOHUI
Maiohui is a spirited bed. She slowly came into existence as a byproduct of other peoples’ passions. She and the bed are one, but she can take human form to draw out the life of anyone who sleeps in the bed. She usually does this by attempting to kiss them and using the distraction to suck the energy from their lungs. 

In human form form her beauty is quite literally stunning. She can also drain victim's Qi energy by devouring their blood with her bite. She must drain life to live. Each month she doesn’t drain at least 1 point of Hardiness, she loses 1 wound (if she reaches zero in this manner she dies forever). Miaohui doesn’t always kill her victims. Those she finds handsome or pretty she allows to live and merely drains a small amount of their life. 

Defenses:Hardiness 5, Evade 8, Parry 6, Stealth 10, Wits 7, Resolve 9
Key Skills:Bite: 3d10 (6d10 Damage), Grapple: 4d10, Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 5d10, Fly: 6d10 (90 feet), Detect: 3d10, Persuade: 4d10, Command: 2d10, Deception: 3d10, Muscle: 2d10, Empathy: 2d10, Talent (Singing): 3d10

Max Wounds:8 (+1 per Hardiness Drained)

Powers 
Drain Life:On a Successful Grapple roll against a target, Miaohui drains 1 Hardiness by sucking the life from the lungs of the target. 

Bite and Qi Drain:Miaohui can transform her jaw into a terrifying maw filled with rows of teeth. Every wound she inflicts in this manner allows her drain the Qi energy of her target. Every ten Qi ranks she drains, she gains a new power. 

Stunning Beauty: Anyone who sees Miaohui is struck by her beauty. It is truly remarkable and fills anyone who sees her with both awe and sadness, imposing a -1d10 to any Skill roll made against her. 

Immunities: While her body can be destroyed by normal means, she always returns in 1d10 days. The only way to permanently destroy her is to burn the bed itself. 

10. THE SCARLET LOVER 
ACCOUNTANT LENG
Accountant Leng knows all the inns secrets and is the lover of Madame Liu Rong. However he is weak-willed and self-serving. He is willing to talk if things get too risky for his personal safety or security. 

Defenses:Hardiness 3, Evade 4, Parry 3, Stealth 6, Wits 9, Resolve 6
Key Skills:Grapple: 0d10, Throw: 0d10, Arm Strike: 1d10, Leg Strike: 0d10, Light Melee: 1d10, Medium Melee: 0d10, Heavy Melee: 0d10, Small Ranged: 1d10, Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 0d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Talent (Accounting): 3d10, Talent (Writing): 3d10, Read Script (Feishu): 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 3d10, Language (Hai’anese): 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

MADAME LIU RONG
The proprietor of the inn/brothel, Madame Liu Rong likes to keep up appearances. She comes from a respected family who have fallen on hard times and wishes to keep the true activities of the brothel hidden.  

Defenses:Hardiness 3, Evade 4, Parry 3, Stealth 6, Wits 8, Resolve 7
Key Skills:Grapple: 0d10, Throw: 0d10, Arm Strike: 1d10, Leg Strike: 0d10, Light Melee: 1d10, Medium Melee: 0d10, Heavy Melee: 0d10, Small Ranged: 1d10, Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 0d10, Persuade: 3d10, Deception: 2d10, Reasoning: 2d10, Institutions (Criminal Underworld): 3d10, Survival (City): 3d10, Divination: 2d10

Max Wounds: 1

YU SHI (THE SCARLET LOVER)
Yu Shi is a server at the inn, but makes her living as a prostitute as well. Many men come to the inn just to spend time with Yu Shi. She used to work for the Queen of Hai’an as an assassin, using her love making to lull victims into a sense of security before striking them dead. 

Yu Shi is a hardened killer and presently is just trying to get by. She fled Hai’an because she was tired of being Queen Ai Nu’s tool for killing. She tried to settle down and have a family but the queen found her and killed them all. One of the other female servers at the inn found out who she was and so she cut her in half. Right now she wants nothing more than to protect her secret so she can have revenge against the queen. If the players try to arrest her, she will appeal to their sense of justice, begging them to let her kill the queen first (or help her do so). She promises to face execution once this has been achieved. 

Defenses:Hardiness 5, Evade 5, Parry 7, Stealth 10, Wits 7, Resolve 7
Key Skills:Grapple: 1d10, Throw: 2d10, Arm Strike: 3d10, Leg Strike: 3d10, Light Melee: 3d10 or 4d10 with Dagger, Medium Melee: 3d10 or 6d10 with Jian, Heavy Melee: 2d10, Small Ranged: 0d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 2d10, Athletics: 3d10, Empathy: 2d10, Persuade: 2d10, Meditation: 3d10, Survival (City): 3d10, Survival (Wilderness): 3d10, Talent (Singing): 3d10, Talent (Guqin): 2d10, Talent (Poetry): 1d10

Qi:6
Max Wounds:13
Weapons:Jian (3d10 Damage, +2d10 Accuracy) and Dagger (2d10 Damage)
Expertise:  Light Melee-Dagger, Medium Melee-JIan
Combat Techniques: Light Melee-From the Shadows

Key Kung Fu Techniques (Waijia 2, Qinggong 2): Blasting Blade, Double Blade Death Dance, Calm of Sunan, Curing Palm, Deep Biting Blade, Double Thrust, Drift of the Butterfly Fish, Kick of the Swan, Slashing Blade, Sword Stance, Reserve Blade Strike (Counter), Whirling Dodge (Counter)

Double Blade Death Dance: With a jian in one hand and dagger in the other, you stab a foe before you, then spin and slice many others with your dagger. Make a Medium Melee against one target, then a Light Melee against up to 10 other targets in your immediate area. On a Success both attacks do Normal Damage. Cathartic: On a Success you do Normal Damage Plus 5 Extra Wounds to the first target and Normal Damage plus 3 Extra wounds to the remaining targets. 

Reverse Blade Strike (Counter):You dip to avoid an incoming melee attack and spin backwards to stab with a dagger in your off-hand. Must be used cathartically. Make an Athletics Roll against the Attack Roll. On a Success you avoid the attack and can make a Light Melee attack roll against the target doing Normal Damage plus 4 Extra wounds on a success. 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

WUXIA INSPIRATION: KILLING MOOKS MADE EASY

This will be a short entry on something I've been trying. 

I talked about quantifying heroic power levels in wuxia on the Podcast before (I also blogged about it HERE). I want to share an idea I've been floating in my campaigns to address this concept and simplify it in play. 
art by Jackie Musto


The purpose of this idea is to allow for faster resolution of combat when we want to focus on other things (for example, if the focus in a battle is really the exchange of meaningful dialogue between the PC and NPC and micromanaging the mook-killing would get in the way). 

Basically the idea is really simple. In wuxia characters sometimes are described as being equal to a set number of soldiers or men. Whatever that number is, that is how many mooks they can kill in a single attack (no roll necessary). For Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, I'm toying with Qi rank multiplied by 3 (I am also trying 10 as a multiplier, which I think will work better, but starting smaller to try it out). A mook in this case would be characters with 0 Qi ranks. So a Qi rank 3 Hero could dispatch 9 mooks without rolling with the whirl of a blade or swipe of a spear. 

I may play around with it more and post again if I adjust the numbers (I am also thinking of applying it to Qi Ranked characters of lower level).