Just keeping everyone here informed. Tonight I had two cousins, Jon, 22 and Gary, 26, brothers, and Gary's 22 year old 21 y/o gf, Flo, make characters for FS. I'll spare you the names for now (/rolleyes), although I have one existing character for each of them, Jon and Flo claim to not remember having made them, while Gary remembers playing but doesn't remember anything that happened, and wanted a new character because "that character is out of date, I made it when I was 18".
So now we have Jon's "Drifter" - I looked it over in the fan material - it looks more or less okay, I think he liked the Type name the most but I'm just wanting to get them used to the game so I let him take it. Gary took a Masked Avenger and Flo took a Magic Cop. I'm leaning toward running the BoF scenario, but would welcome alternate suggestions for good intro adventures for new players, though keep in mind I only have the core book and some of the other supplements, I do not have a large selection of FS material, and most of what I have is free PDFs.
I ran FS last night for my 40 yr old friend Rod, his 15 yr old stepson Seth and his 14 yr old friend Lyle. Rob had an existing ninja, Lyle made a ninja (he makes a ninja in fantasy games, but wanted to use guns for some reason), and Seth made a Martial Artist. I ran the Hearts of Darkness Amazon River adventure for them, or at least the first two fights (one in a bar and the other with the jet skis) because I'd already run BoF for them.
Anyway, just wanted to say FS is active with/for me, here in NE Oklahoma, in two different groups, and I'm also still working on some things in the background. =)
I ran my first Feng Shui session a week ago and my group loved it. We had been playing D&D 4.0 and I have gotten to the point where I'm absolutely sick of it. It's partly system, partly new GM who's still learning the ropes. He's a good guy, but he's got a lot to learn. Nothing can be done about that.
They were hungry for role playing and it showed. I don't think I've ever had so much fun playing a system before. The group is made up of an Abomination, a dog who was going to be the Gardner's dog (though he didn't show), a masked avenger, a martial artist, two elementals (one water, one fire) and a techie. The fire elemental was in town for the weekend and won't be a regular (though she was one of the best role players).
Ran the BoF scenario and it seemed to go pretty well. We got to the point where they realize that the restaurant is a minor Feng Shui site by looking at the plans and cut it off there on a cliffhanger. I'm hoping to pull another session out of the rest of BoF by adding in a car chase when they get back to the diner to find Sneezy is back and has kidnapped the girl, chase him to where the final confrontation occurs. Not sure where I'll go from there, my people have come up with some AMAZING back stories that have a lot of potential, but I'm not sure that I want to start going down that path yet. Maybe throw some hints in along the way. I'm thinking next they either start working for Fast Eddie or get approached by The Dragons... Not sure which though.
That's next week though as I told them I wasn't going to be running every week so as to give the current GM time to finish his D&D campaign and also to allow me to keep some of my sanity in not trying to run a weekly game (though now I'm itching to run some more).
I'll also hopefully be running BoF again on Saturday for a local Meetup.com group. They're mostly a D&D LFR/Pathfinder/3.5 kind of group but hopefully I can get some people into something a little different.
That's what's going on in Lexington KY at the moment with Feng Shui.
Hey, that's terrific! That sounds like an awesome bit going on there too! I sure am glad FS is still seeing action, as it should be. I'm curious - what's this about elementals and dogs? Are those Types somewhere? I'm not familiar with those in the least - what are they from?
My group last night, the chargen took longer than I expected, for three people, but I'm so used to the system and consider it simple, I should have done as "Flo" suggested and gone over the character sheet and stats with everyone first and explained things, so that was my bad. Lesson to all, still important to explain the basic character sheet and system no matter how "simple" it is, even if it's just allocating points. People were "dividing" their Primary Attribute bonus points between their stats, so if they had 6 total, they made one be 1, two be 2 and another be 1... baffling. And I also used my printout with the 96 Types I have input so far, which is actually much smaller print than I expected - it does fit 6 Types readably on one page, but just barely; makes me wonder about my thing I'm compiling. No description or more in-depth notes on special features of some Types also threw the players off, so I need to think about that too.
Finally go through all that though and now I'm wondering - I know I can get away with saying the Masked Avenger is essentially at least a HK version of Batman or Iron Monkey or something, for that player, the Drifter isn't that hard to pin down, mentally, but the female Magic Cop - is there a movie or something that would be a good example? I'm blanking on this type, or even on a good example of an action movie female cop - I know there was... what, Michelle Yeoh's Supercop or something? And Cynthia Rothrock did a bunch of martial arts cop movies - are any of these any good/close?
One of the guys in my group has just about everything (if not EVERYTHING) published for Feng Shui and then some. The elemental was in a book he had, along with the dog, which is ultimately a type of Supernatural Creature, but there was a particular book that had additional shticks specifically made for a player playing a dog.
Though the elemental may have been from character archetypes he pulled off the internet, as he literally has a notebook full of additional stuff he's pulled from the internet. I'll see him tonight, if someone else doesn't let you know I'll try and remember to ask.
That sounds good, I have about all the fan-made material (I thought) on FS but I haven't come across elementals or a dog. I'm going to include the fantasy and maybe even Star Wars types, for completeness, but your mentions are new to me. It would be nice to see them.
Ran BoF again this weekend for a local Meetup.com group. It was quite enjoyable and everyone there had a good time. I had a bit of trouble towards the end with the fire and kind of skirted the issue of helping people escape and making that more dramatic. Though it gave me some ideas for when I finish up BoF with my regular group tonight, they got about 3/4 of the way through the last time so tonight will be them finishing up BoF, wrapping up the scenario there and then an introduction to The Dragons and The Secret War as this whole scenario was just a set up by The Dragons to test their skills (who'da thunk it, huh?).
Best moment of the game on Saturday was the look on the player's faces when one of them, who was playing a magic cop, had managed to disarm Ta-Yu of his "flamethrower" and had twisted his arm around his back. In a moment of desperation Ta-Yu sent him flying against the wall with a fire blast. Then on his next turn the Magic Cop turned the refrigerator on top of him.
So far only one person I have run this for has played it before (and he ran it at that, so he's never "played" in it before I guess I should say). So far the reactions have been incredibly positive and I'm surprised that this system isn't more well known than it is. I'll be running it again in another month when this group gets together again as several other people now want to play it as well.
Totally know what you mean. The group I play with currently has a continuing D&D 4e campaign they're wrapping up. Last week I wanted to run it again sooooo badly it wasn't even funny.
It's got a good cult following. Some of the things I can see are that the simplicity of the rules don't lend well to rules lawyers, there are also people who don't like to role play as much as others as well and this game is HEAVY in role playing, along with it's strong discouraging of using miniatures, it's lack of any real tactical combat rules, etc.
In short: What it does, it does very, very well. What it doesn't do... Well it doesn't do at all.
I had the same problem with one tabletop group. They coldly vacated the building when they got rid of Ta-Yu or Tu-Ya or whatever his name was, basically letting all the kids and old people fend for themselves in the burning building. "Well, how bout pizza?"
How did you lead in to a meeting with the Dragons and all that? This is the part I haven't gotten to - I am not really a fan of the Secret War angle and all the weird stuff. The sorcerer and stuff in modern day is a nice twist and I don't mind some monsters running around, but I don't know I'm keen on time traveling and ancient evil organizations and all that as a theme and such. I do like the idea of an in-game special group or organization for player-characters though, that would help with consistency and coherence for future games, people being a member of the same "team".
None of my players are more than passing to mainstream action movie fans, maybe US Jackie Chan and Kill Bill movie fans - NO HK movie fans (I got them to watch Big Trouble but one fell asleep), and I haven't seen much of any of that myself for that matter, so Eaters of the Lotus conspiracy Netherworld Time Traveling Triad magic cop stuff would be like selling sand to Egyptian campers. So I'm having to adjust my particular game and setting to some sort of unholy hybrid of modern more-US-centric style at least (not sure if I should actually set it IN the US for my newest group) like Steven Seagal, Jason Statham, etc. (at least the few "good" ones) and maybe somehow mix fantasy elements in it, as most of my groups play fantasy ok, and have played Call of Cthulhu and do okay with the basic investigation, surprisingly. It is a strange mix and I'm having a little trouble finding good mix scenarios and I'm unfortunately not creative enough to cobble together anything myself.
I do like the FS system itself pretty well, it is pretty simple - it is a little unbalanced in place, which is something else I work on, on the side, my own project, but that's neither here nor there. I'm working on a scenario for a forum game I'm running, still, and adopted a modified system of FS using just the primary stats plus rolled Charisma and Willpower into a fifth stat, Confidence, dropping all the secondaries, and just letting the players build their own type - we'll see how that goes for this particular scenario - the Survivor type island reality show with monsters.
As they wrap up all the events surrounding the fire and everything else, I teased it at the end on Saturday in case they wanted to pick up where they left off again next month, and what I did with that is that Kar-Wai was there after he heard about the fire on the television, they were able to save Carina so Fast Eddie fronts the cash for them to buy shares in the restaurant as thanks for taking care of the Thorns, at least for the moment. The lead into The Dragons is very simple, even if it requires stretching a little of the story that surrounds The Dragons. Maybe not stretching it per se, but putting some elements in that aren't explicitly stated in the lore.
When they return to the restaurant there is an old man sitting in the corner who congratulates them on a job well done. He had known that the eatery was a Feng Shui site that The Eaters of the Lotus were after and that they would eventually step up their efforts to claim it. Even though most of his major agents were wiped out in Operation: Killdeer he does have some contacts he calls upon from time to time and had arranged for the PCs to be there. For example, if there were police there he worked it out for them to be in the neighborhood that day on their beat, he set up a fake meeting for the Old Master or another character, he just happened to be lucky enough (or was it that he controls a flow of chi in the area that the PCs don't know about?) that some of them were working there, etc.
He knows the characters as he's had people watching them for a while just in case something did happen to his current line up of agents (as it did) and he need recruits. Enter Kar Fai of The Dragons who is there to recruit the heroes as his latest agents.
Interesting - I like it. Kar Fai and the Dragons. My problem is this though...
Hong Kong, Modern - unusual time/era AND location for most gaming my group's used to
Zombies - cool to players overall but confusing, as it introduced magic or radiation or something they don't quite know the basis of
Feng Shui/Chi ideas/symbols on blueprints - abstract mystical element, might not be interesting to most players other than plot point
Magic head-a-splode possibility - surprise/confuse players, confirm magic or some other unknown force at work
Showdown - eventual discovery of villain using sorcery, possible connection of villain as older name, immortal, sorcerer, head of organization, etc.
All this adds up pretty fast to the end to a weird magical villain head of an evil ancient group of some kind, from the player's perspective most likely, and confirms the use of magic spells, etc. Add in the possible attunement to the Eating Counter site as the first direct mystical aspect interaction between the characters and the world besides their schticks, and maybe a bookstore or something, but then add in Kar Wei and the Dragons and then the possible revealing of the Dragons' history and involvement in ages-old conflict with other groups (Secret War)... it seems like a damn lot for an intro scenario? For people not used to this kind of thing (myself included).
The way I generally ran it was that the Dragon contact, whoever that was, gently steered them towards the 'weirdness of the week'. Sooner or later they confronted him wanting answers about all this insanity- particularly if recurring villains had been putting in an appearance.
One campaign used an Ascended contact. Once they had served their purpose in keeping HK free from other influences (including a Hand/Dragon joint venture to take a minor FS site), he screwed them over royally. Of course, then it transpired that what they had rescued from the Lotus was not him, but a facsimile of him that had been using them to engineer a Lotus-slanted critical shift, but that's another story.
You've got to keep in mind my group of players here:
I have a Martial Artist, a Gardner from 1850, a supernatural creature in the form of a dog, an elemental, an abomination, a mystic warrior (fan created martial artist/sorcery mix, sort of a Magic Cop knock off), and a techie. There's a lot of magic, arcanowave and other weirdness going around as it is!
Also Kar Fai of The Dragons is merely a teaser at the end of BoF, I've found I like to try to end sessions with a cliff hanger. Mostly what I plan to do with Kar Fai is he has determined that they are worthy of joining up with The Dragons. Therefore he is going to take them all into the Netherworld so that a major time shift doesn't happen and they forget what happened along. After that he's going to encourage them to clean up the last of the Poison Thorns and finish of Ta Yu (who got away of course). Finishing off the last of the Thorns will please Fast Eddie as well, of course, and so this could lead to them working for him and ultimately lead to some connections into The Ascended.
My next session is going to be finishing off the Thorns, I've created another Seven's Dwarf inspired character, Doc Chang, who is a techie who has been working for The Thorns and now sees this opportunity for him to rise up through the ranks.
Of course he's more of the cowardly sort and will probably run at the first sight of gun fire or a fight. Or at least hide. A bar fight ensues (as they get a lead to check out a bar where the remaining Thorns hang out) and I haven't exactly figured out a plausible way for them to get to where Ta Yu is hanging out yet (you know, head as-ploding and all that).