Archive for May 21st, 2006

Roleplaying’s Asian Fetish

2006 May 21

With the pre-release rules summery of French publisher 7th Circle’s English version of Qin: The Warring States out, I have to do the expected thing and bitch a little bit. This bitching comes in two parts:

1) Playing Dynasty Warriors does not qualify you to write a 200+ page game about the Warring States. Yes, run a campaign about it, by all means. Yes, make up your own house system. Yes, release a little short indie game, sure. But if you’re going to spend the time and money necessary to produce a massive, full-color tome, make sure somebody knows what the fuck they’re talking about. I mean, if you have that much money, hire a consultant. Warring States my honky white ass.

2) Do we really need another Orientalist martial arts game that fetishizes the rules system and kewl kung fu powers? Don’t we already have, like, at least a half dozen that are still regularly played? What does this do for us that Exalted, Weapons of the Gods, Feng Shui, HKAT, Wushu, Legend of the 5 Rings, and the other usual suspects don’t already do? I mean, I read the rules system and I am bored to tears. Another use of the 5 elements! How original! Yin and Yang! Nobody’s thought of that before! Hey, we can have different abilities tied to different elements! Woohoo!

Yes, I’m sure nobody cares what I think, but, gah! Can we get a game about Asia that is not a walking cliche, please? All I can really think of is The Mountain Witch and the Asian-y parts of The Shadow of Yesterday. Boht of these are MUCH COOLER GAMES.

—–

Ben: Man, if it were like Dynasty Warriors, that would be awesome.
Jonathan: hells yeah.
Ben: That game rocks. But I don’t think this game is nearly as cool looking.
Ben: “Pick a historical figure. You’re this guy. Now make your character.”
Ben: “Okay, so historically I was a failed general. In this game I have bright blue hair and assassinate people with a giant yoyo.”
Jonathan: that would be the shit.
Ben: Andy and I wanted to make Dynasty Warriors for the American Revolution.
Ben: With, like, crazy power attacks and such.
Jonathan: that would be even cooler.
Jonathan: I wanna be Paul Revere and kill people by flinging horseshoes at them.

—–

Later on in that conversation…

Ben: We have more myths about the revolution, but the civil war game would sell really well in the south.
Jonathan: or we could mash them together and ignore the anachrony.
Ben: Nah, but then we couldn’t draw money out of a sequel.
Ben: Anyway, the Civil War is our three kingdoms period.
Jonathan: i suppose.
Jonathan: we’d have to include characters from that general era, though. because I wanna be Nat Turner.
Ben: Oh, man, you could even do the Indian Wars.
Ben: I want to play John Stark.
Jonathan: or, yeah, Crazy Horse.
Ben: Man.
Jonathan: John MFing Brown.
Ben: This is really a limitless franchise :-)
Jonathan: Fredrick Douglas rhetorical attack!
Ben: Fredrick Douglas has a humongous axe.
Ben: And blasts people with force bolts.
Jonathan: John C. Calhoun Fillibuster Shock Prana!