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[Feng Shui 2] Opinions? Anyone playing?

DavidStallard

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Last week I went back to my old FLGS in my previous home city -- they always had a massive selection of RPGs which was pretty impressive. Every time I've gone back over the past 5 years they have shrunk the RPG selection even more in order to make room for more board games. It doesn't surprise me, because RPGs on store shelves are drying up everywhere, but I still find it a little sad. At any rate, despite their relatively tiny RPG section they still manage to stock more than any FLGS in my current city and I ended up buying a few things I've never actually seen in person before, even though they are several years old now. One of them was Feng Shui 2 (the other is Torg: Eternity, which I'll post separately about).

I first learned of Feng Shui back in the 90s via the Shadowfist CCG. I wasn't interested in the CCG or the RPG back then, but I guess a couple decades makes a difference because now I think FS2 sounds like tons of fun. However, when I was doing some preliminary research on it before pulling the trigger, I saw that discussion of the game pretty much dried up a few years ago. It was published in 2015 and by 2017 it seemed to be mostly lost to history, at least as far as this and some other internet forums go.

So just curious, is anybody playing FS2? Maybe there's a thriving community which just isn't well represented in forums like these? Did it fall out of favor due to some quirk with the rules or anything like that?

I have only skimmed the book so far but it looks like it'd be a blast.
 

hyphz

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The archetypes are a neat idea, and the ethos of the game is good.

Unfortunately by modern standards the rules are a bit clunky (they were relatively smooth at the time it came then), and the 2nd edition change in the setting makes things rather nihilistic.
 

DavidStallard

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Unfortunately by modern standards the rules are a bit clunky (they were relatively smooth at the time it came then).
Curious what you mean by this, since the 2nd edition came out in 2015 and doesn't seem THAT old. Do you mean, perhaps, that it doesn't use as many narrative elements as many new releases (like FATE Aspects and whatnot)?
 

hyphz

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Curious what you mean by this, since the 2nd edition came out in 2015 and doesn't seem THAT old. Do you mean, perhaps, that it doesn't use as many narrative elements as many new releases (like FATE Aspects and whatnot)?
In Feng Shui, to calculate how much damage you do, you have to calculate the difference between your attack result and the enemy's Defence and apply it to your damage roll. This has been the case since Feng Shui's very first Daedalus release and carried over into 2e.

In AD&D 2nd edition, which was current when Feng Shui's first edition came out, to calculate if you hit you had to calculate the difference between your dice roll and your THAC0 and compare it to the enemy's Armor Class.

In D&D 3rd edition and all later ones, to calculate if you hit you do not need to calculate any difference; you simply roll the dice, add a number and check if it is over a threshold.

As a result, Feng Shui's system now appears slower than others, because they have moved on while it has not. Previously Feng Shui was simpler than D&D, because you didn't have to check the difference to see if you hit, just work out what it was; now, needing to calculate a difference at all makes FS less simple than D&D.
 

DavidStallard

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In D&D 3rd edition and all later ones, to calculate if you hit you do not need to calculate any difference; you simply roll the dice, add a number and check if it is over a threshold.

As a result, Feng Shui's system now appears slower than others, because they have moved on while it has not.
Ah, I see what you mean but I'm not sure that would be a problem for me. I like it when the actual number rolled is significant, rather than just whether or not it met a threshold. For example, one of my favorite RPGs is Waste World (long out of print), where an 11-20 result on 1d20 is always a success and the number above 10 is your number of successes. And then weapons have damage ratings like 2M+1, where M is the number of success. So if you roll 13, that's 3 successes and that particular weapon would do 7 damage. So that means rolling 14 is better than rolling 13, even though both are successful rolls.

But I do see how that might be too mechanically involved for some tastes.
 

hyphz

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Ah, I see what you mean but I'm not sure that would be a problem for me. I like it when the actual number rolled is significant, rather than just whether or not it met a threshold. For example, one of my favorite RPGs is Waste World (long out of print), where an 11-20 result on 1d20 is always a success and the number above 10 is your number of successes. And then weapons have damage ratings like 2M+1, where M is the number of success. So if you roll 13, that's 3 successes and that particular weapon would do 7 damage. So that means rolling 14 is better than rolling 13, even though both are successful rolls.

But I do see how that might be too mechanically involved for some tastes.
Well, yea, but that has the benefit that subtracting 10 is trivial. With Hands Without Shadow in play especially, a single hit in FS2 can go:

Player: What's his defense?
GM: It's 15.
PC: Ok, that's 15 - 12 = +3 bonus from Hands without Shadow, roll 6 and 2, reroll the 6 and get a 4, 6 + 4 is 10, 10 - 2 is 8, add my Martial Arts is 12 + 8 is 20, add Hands without Shadow is 20 + 3 is 23. Their defense is 15, 23 - 15 is 8, that's +8 to my base damage which is 11, so 11 + 8 is 19 Smackdown.
GM: Minus their 8 defense is 11 damage, added to their 7 wounds is 18.

That's 9 sums, a lot of math for a single attack in a game which emphasises fast and free-flowing combat. Again, at the original time it was comparable, but now it's kinda weak.

Also, the Killer totally unbalances the Mook system.
 

Sangrolu

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I ran a short campaign of it and have players who still talk about the possibility of playing it again.

As a GM, I find things can feel a little "samey". Differences in combat are primarily narrative flourishes; there is not the same degree of tactical play as some other systems.

But in the realm of those narrative flourishes, it's totally awesome. Stunts are simple (if you hit by 3, do the stunt plus the thing you were doing), and I like the idea of "never penalize the player for being cool" (so if you have a sword, or you are in a lawn and garden shop and want to get in a rake-fight, you can still do sword damage).

The one thing that sort of drug for me was vehicle combat, which is mostly just regular combat with a layer of vehicle stats to make it confusing.
 

DavidStallard

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The one thing that sort of drug for me was vehicle combat, which is mostly just regular combat with a layer of vehicle stats to make it confusing.
Aw, I was kinda hoping it would have awesome vehicular stuff given some of the artwork on my initial skim through.
 
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