Carpe Blogiem: Ruminations on a Wuxia Campaign, Revisited

You might recall me working up a wuxia campaign later last year. You might also remember how it crashed and burned after only four sessions. It happens. You can prepare, plan, and propel a campaign and it can still crash. It sucks. This one died because I lost players. When I lose players I tend to be morose about it. It’s not about what they did or didn’t do. It’s about what I did or didn’t do. I take that failure on myself because I’m the dame games operations director. I went back to my Ceteriverse after it collapsed as that and Aeon are my “comfort campaigns.” I know a lot of how the world is set up and its history and it’s easy and fun to run.

I thought I’d never go back to a wuxia campaign. I didn’t want to screw up agian.

Then my muse got me hooked on this Netflix show she was watching called “The Untamed.” It was all subbed and that is usually a deal killer for me as I like to work and listen to TV shows. The Untamed required that I give it my whole attention. Still, I was hooked. It was interesting and it lead to a whole genre I’d never looked at before – xianxia. Like wuxia, but more about the Taoist alchemy and magic then strict martial arts (through there was that too). Amusingly, the Untamed is based on a book (Mo Dao Zu Shi) which is a errr, yaoi novel. (The show being produced in China could only infer what the novel had so don’t let that fact through you off from watching it.)

I started looking back at my notes for the Middle Kingdom. One of my players (one who quit) and my muse both noted that me splitting the worlds up into modern and ancient was a bad idea. I thought it was a good idea at the time, but after more thought it was obvious that it wasn’t. That divide was probably part of the reason why the setting wasn’t as “good” as it could have been. Still, I started thinking – a dangerous pastime, I know – if I wanted to do a wuxia campaign – and not just wuxia, but also xianxia and fantasy – how would I go about it?

I took the stuff I learned previously and began to sketch out a world in my head. The campaign would be a fantasy setting. No historical setting. Maybe some pseudo-historical, but it would be a “cultivation world” – a concept in xianxia novels wherein the fiction takes place in another world similiar, but different from our own. I made a bunch of notes and bounced ideas off the muse and Chris G. I was still running Ceteri at this point and I didn’t want to leave my players in a lurch while I chased a new shiny butterfly so I worked on the new campaign while finishing up the old one and then tossed down my ideas for the campaign. Folks were interested to thrilled. Some had never used the ruleset I was using before and were eager to try them out.

I mostly went with a modified version of my Chi Sorcery article along with a custom system for “leveling up” weaponry in the mode of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 6: Artifacts. I also originally wanted to create a bespoke realm magic system but after examining the rules I decided to go with Sorcery. Sorcery was much easier and I could put on overlay on top to customize it. Creating a new realm system would take weeks of effort and those rules are kind of a mess. It also was on the same “level” as chi powers and I liked that symmetry. I also decided to use my rules for the Fifth Attribute (which is called QI or Qi in the setting) and have everything supernatural be based on that. I flirted with breaking out my Taoist Alchemy rules, but decided against that (for now).

I finished up my usual character creation package and sent it off to the teams. Current line up is 4 players for A-Team, 5 players for C-Team, and 4 players for B-Team. The muse is also interested in taking up her adversary role more to play in the other teams which will be nice. So far, most of B-Team is done character sheet wise. C-Team is taking some time, but I have prelims for everyone so that’s something. A-Team only has one finished character currently, but I only have three to go there and it should go fast as folks mostly have concepts.

One thing I’ve been really enjoying is the creation of new martial arts styles. I have like 8 I think at the moment. Fully fleshed out styles that are all interesting, unique, or both.

The name was harder, but I settled on “Ten Thousand Jade Petals” and I’m rather fond of it despite it being a mouthful.

Anyways, I wanted to post something today as I hadn’t posted in over a week thanks to me being head down working and trying to ignore the slow apocalypse we find ourselves in.

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