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🎨 Creative [Interest] Converting Tianxia to an Arabians Nights setting (with an eye to playing it online here)


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OK, it was all kitty voodoo's fault when she started with:

I wanna be either a cunning desert thief or a genie.
If you know me, you know what I’d suggest - Fate, FAE or the Tianxia variant.

And folks started to indulge her:
One thing that sort of perpetually floats in the back of my head is taking the basic set up for Tianxia's version of Fate Core, maybe pushing it a bit more (it was intentionally done to hew closely to the then brand new Fate Core) and do this for various martial fantasy style settings. Javanese warriors? We got styles and rules for that (well okay I do in my head, this is one of the few I've actually gone farther than mere speculation with). Korean martial fantasy? Yep. Maori? Fillipino? Ancient Greece? Historic Africa? European Swashbuckling? I can make it work.

The problem is of course life, time, and resources. But I really like the basic idea of using that for such things.

And then they had to drag Tianxia into it, which grabbed my attention like a shiny bauble:
I wouldn’t think it’d be that difficult, IIRC martial art styles in Tianxia just give various stunts. Hold on...Need to dig up my Tianxia PC.

Snow Dragon

Form Aspect: Practitioners of Snow Dragon Kung Fu devote themselves to balancing attack and defense, persistence and restraint. Flowing, fluid defenses lead into strong kicks and fist techniques and locks, throws, and holds let the Stylist dictate the tempo and range of most battles. Strong in many ways but strongest in none, Snow Dragon relies more on having fewer pronounced weaknesses and many potent elements than a few overwhelming strengths.


Dragon rules the mountain: Use Chi instead of Athletics in rolls involving entering zones or preventing others from doing so. Apply a +2 bonus if both Athletics and the Chi Skill are the same rank or Athletics is greater..

Snow Rumbles in Distance: Make a Fight or Athletics roll with a +2 bonus to create an advantage based on controlling or redirecting momentum. If you move at least 1 zone as part of this action, or your opponent has moved at least 1 zone as part of their last action, gain a +3 bonus instead.

Question is how would you apply Tianxia rules to an Arabian Night’s setting? Cuz I think it would work, I really do. Thoughts Glyptodont Glyptodont ?

Edit: Still kinda wanna be a Genie...
I think one question is if people wanted or expected a "let me tell you a tale" framework as we've seen in some adaptations and hinted at in things like Prince of Persia. That's totally doable, but it raises the question of whether a larger lean in on narrative mechanics and scene editing and control would be helpful.

If not? It seems a fairly easy conversion overall. Mysticism and magic would be a bit trickier, but doable.

And of course I couldn't leave well enough alone:
I think one could do a fast-and-loose reskinning of Tianxia to make it an Arabian Nights flavor. Some ideas:

First, the "Chi" skill and Chi Armor doesn't really fit the setting, but a more mundane substitute might be to have all weapon-carrying combatants a free roll to create an Advantage at the beginning of a fight. (Though I'm not sure what the target might be?) This is basically the same as the Chi Armor rules, but in an Arabian Nights setting, it is only for armed fighters, not unarmed martial artists. Let's call it Warrior's Readiness for now until I can think of something more Arabian Nights-ish.

Next, we have the martial arts techniques to look at. Tianxia deals with unarmed martial arts, since it's an Asian inspired setting. For an Arabian Nights flavor we could say that a character must be armed with a weapon to gain special abilities. Swords, knives, daggers, etc. are the tools of a master warrior. Tianxia martial arts styles could be renamed and turned into "traditions of weaponry" or "fighting techniques". For example, we could translate the "Ghost Tiger" techniques, thusly:

The Order of Assassins (née Ghost Tiger)
In order to use these fighting techniques, a character must have an Aspect that connects them to the secretive Order of Assassins located in the mountains of Alamut. Also a character must always use these techniques while fighting with a dagger. (Maybe even require an Aspect for the weapon as well.)
  • The Assassin Withstands All (i.e Exalted Ghost Body): When using Full Defense, you do not use up an invocation to use "Warrior's Readiness" if the attack against you still succeeds.
  • The Assassin Moves Unseen (i.e Ghost Haunts the Shadow): You may use Fight(?) or Athletics(?) (something to replace Chi) instead of Stealth to create an advantage based on moving silently or remaining unseen. Apply a +2 bonus instead if both Fight/Athletics and the selected Stealth are the same rank or Stealth is greater.
  • The Assassin Strikes the Heart (i.e Ghost Strikes the Spirit): Ignore 1 point of Armor when making Fight attacks and add +1 Weapon Rating to any Fight attack against opponents with a lower Warrior's Readiness than the attacker.
  • The Assassin Moves Like the Wind (i.e Tiger Moves With Purpose): Move at least 1 zone and make an attack using Athletics or make an Athletics attack on a target that just moved into your zone on their last action. Add 2 shifts to any stress you deal with this attack.
  • The Assassin Never Misses (i.e Tiger Rends the Flesh): When you tie on an attack using Fight for defense you can inflict a 2 point shift physical attack instead of taking a boost.
  • The Assassin Fears Nothing (i.e Tiger Rules the Jungle): You may use Physique or Provoke (selected when you select this Technique) instead of Will to defend against Provoke attacks. If both Will and Physique (or Provoke) are the same rank, or Will is higher, gain a 2 Armor Rating against Provoke attacks instead.
And the Secret Technique that acolytes can learn after they've mastered the simpler styles:
The Secret Fighting Style of the Order of Assassins (i.e. Tiger Rends the Spirit): Spend 1 Fate Point to make a Fight attack with a +1 bonus and +2 Weapon Rating. You may choose to do either mental or physical stress with this attack. Also, this attack can be used to harm gods, spirits, demons, ghouls, genies, and other beings normally immune to physical attacks.

Other techniques can be made more "magical" or even more mundane for Crusader fighting styles.

You know you want to....

And things began to escalate:
I was thinking more

View attachment 21811

But you know, details....

And like pack of puppies chewing on a shoe, we couldn't let it go:
For an Arabian Nights game, wouldn't Faith be a reasonable equivalent to Chi? The protection of Allah is a frequent feature of the stories about some heroes.

I admit to finding an Arabian Nights game a tempting idea, although I'd be most interested in a Sinbad-type ocean-going game, exploring mysterious islands and trading for exotic goods among strange people.
I was thinking of that. "Faith" or something like "It is written..." or "Allah wills it..." Although, it probably wouldn't be an actual skill like Chi--more of an "Extra" in Fate parlance, or a meta-stat that the faithless wouldn't possess.
Personally I don’t care so much for emulating the stories so much as the setting. I’m looking for a game of Arabian Fantasy, not a faithful recreation of the tales of Scheherazade. So yeah I think combat would be as important in an Arabian Fantasy campaign as any genre. I mean, everyone can’t be a dashing street-rat.

Then things got silly (or awesome, I'm not sure which):
On the other hand, I think Fagin and his band would work quite well in such a setting.
Great, now I want to see Oliver with an all Muslim cast set during the days of the Ottoman Empire
Purely out of curiosity, what would the fate of the Artful Dodger be (if you’re keeping it a bit family friendly)? Deportation to Australia is obviously out. How about forced recruitment under Devshirme? Basically not all too far removed, thematically, from military boarding school.
Prob ends up trapped in a cave somewhere with nothing but an old lamp.
Well if you go with musical movie version, he partners with the Fagin-analog and they continue to have adventures ever after. (A musical send-off may be involved as well.)
With an old carpet to keep him warm...

So..... Fate Core is a wonderfully malleable system and Tianxia is a very simple, yet detailed system for kung fu and East Asian adventure tropes. I am kinda interested in playing an Arabian Nights game (or possibly running one in a few weeks to a month). But I think something like re-skinning Tianxia to a fantasy Middle-eastern setting might be workable. Let's brainstorm!


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What makes Arabian Night's characters special/heroic? It seems like that's what you'd be wanting to make.
Think if you need to reskin Tianxia or if it would be easier to just start building from Core.


Social Justice Cultist
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I think the main benefit of Tianxia is the addition of prebuilt mystical fighting style stunt-like objects to Fate Core. I think they can be reskinned to the martial mysticism of other settings, like this, without a lot of issue.


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What makes Arabian Night's characters special/heroic? It seems like that's what you'd be wanting to make.
Think if you need to reskin Tianxia or if it would be easier to just start building from Core.
Rebuilding rules for an Arabian Nights setting would be the most desirable had we world enough and time, but I'm super-lazy (and I must unjustly work for a living rather than have a patron fund my RPG hobby 24/7), so I was thinking of taking the easy route of putting a new coat of paint on Tianxia.


Chaos Incarnate
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I couldn't find any Core stuff for Arabian Nights with a quick Google search. But here's more fuel for the fire. Link


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Some simple thoughts I've had on the subject of martial arts styles. Some of the animals names need to go, and I'd probably replace Phoenix and Dragon with Efreet and Marid and perhaps Dao and Marid styles too.. Crane, Monkey and Serpent can probably stay, and Tiger would not be unknown though they've probably got a rivalry with the mobs of inferior but group oriented Lion style. In the elements, Ghost styles should be associated with assassins rather than honourable warriors. Forest styles perhaps should be Oasis styles, and maybe rename Iron as Desert, with both associated with that origin rather than more common.

Replacing Chi seems like it might be a problem. Is 'Faith' a good substitute? It's not necessarily applicable in all settings.

Also, would Spirits, Beasts and Spells be in use? The magic systems from there would need some changes, but not a great many, to fit a AN settings.


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I'd agree that replacing the names of the styles would be better for an Arabian Nights setting. The animal names in particular come across as a bit too associated with animism and Chinese folk religion to fit in a Middle-eastern context (even a fantasy Middle east). Fortunately the names are really only metaphors and have no real effect rules-wise.

Since the six body styles multiplied by the six elements generate 36 styles** in Tianxia, I was thinking of simply using those 36 groups of techniques as "schools" or "weapon styles" like the Order of Assassins I outlined above. Small changes can be added to each to give them a more Arabian Nights flavor. Lost techniques could be reskinned as... well, Lost Techniques.

Mulling on the replacement for the Chi skill, I had an idea. For Chi Armor, perhaps each group or school of 6 techniques has a particular skill it rolls against at the beginning of a battle (for "Faith" or "It is Written" or "Allah Wills It", etc.) More aggressive techniques might roll against Fight or Physique or Shoot (for bows). Other more defensive or movement-oriented ones might roll against Acrobatics or Ride (for horse-mounted combat). Others might even roll be changed in detail to roll against Will, Provoke, Empathy, etc.

But.... A character could get a bonus on that roll each Scene if they invest Faith. At character creation, you could spend a refresh and get a "Faith Point". This can be used only to boost your "Chi Armor" a point (or 2) at the beginning of the Scene. You don't have to pay a Fate point to invoke Faith and it is refreshed automatically at the next Scene, but you can't use it for anything else. Not sure if this is too expensive or cheap in the Fate point economy.

As for magic, the system in Spirits, Beasts & Spells seems a bit low-powered for a world of djinns and the like, IMHO. Maybe we can borrow some ideas from Atomic Robo's mega-tunts (which I need to start reading) or even the mantles from Dresden Files Accelerated (which I also need to start reading...)

Anyway... still noodling away on this.

** (Actually 7x6 styles=42 counting the additional Leopard body style in Tianxia: Fire, Strife & Smoke)


Chaos Incarnate
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From my understanding Arabic Faith is closer in concept to dharma or karma. Chi feels more personal to me.

Ishnallah maybe? I don't actually have any other useful suggestions though

kitty voodoo

Social Justice Slytherin
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Still very very interested. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with thing but I’m really just getting a monster case of the flu that’s had be down and out for just over a week now.
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