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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180709


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Setting: Studio of the Spiral Dragon
Martial Arts & Urban Fantasy

Blog Post: Today's scheduled post is not complete between the volume at work and Boyscouts needing an additional adult. Still, this is a good one.

If you have not read about Martial Arts Chronicles, you really should check out these blog posts.

Now we have discussed this setting before. However, I am taking it in a more chronicle design direction.

Every large North American City has a Chinatown of some description. The City's is larger than one would expect. (We play it as a faux Seattle, but choose a good city.) It is full of semi-exotic goods in the market, some great (and bad) restaurants, and signs and speaking in another language. The City's Chinatown also has a number of studios (schools/ dojos) teaching Wushu, Kungfu, and other Chinese arts.

One such place is the Spiral Dragon. There an actual temple trained Shaolin Monk and the descendant of the founding master of the school train students from all around The City.

It started as rumor and babblings of the homeless and odd. Dark shadows that move on their own. Shadows that can peel themselves off the walls and stand by themselves. The elders and their students speak of a Shadow-sorcerer... a creature .... some even whispered a name: Gao-Lin.

The Shadows are looking for something. In their spare time, they terrorize a person or two (messing with people based on their ancestor's actions). Of course, the students of the Studio will get involved. They have been taught meditative and chi techniques that allow them not only to sense the shadow-shen, but strike them.

If the Shadows were not enough, the breath of magic has awakened other spirits and caused other magical events. Chinatown, and even the rest of The City, is encountering The Strange. In fact, the fey and other shen (vampires, werewolves, etc) are moving into The City. They are either taking advantage of the level of magic or looking for this new power source (not knowing it is a being).

Eventually, The Students become aware of what the shadow-shen are looking for: the stopped heart of the Shadow Sorcerer trapped in a jar. It is buried under The Studio and has been for over 100 years (moved from its last place where it had laid for 200).

The students, aided by the Monk and their Master, will protect Chinatown, the innocent, and prevent the Shadow Sorcerer from rising again.

Updated Chronicle Blurb for ease of following.
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I envision this chronicle as a CW TV series. Thus there will be a lot of hot 20 somethings and more soap opera/ drama than is normally found in an action show. Have you not been reading about visualizing chronicles and metaphor? Well go do it now.

Systems I would use: Smallville, Generic Cortex, Hero, BESM

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Martial Arts and Urban Fantasy. Two of my favorite gaming genres. So lets hit the high points of what makes this a good chronicle
  • Mixing of two genres is frequently the basis for a good chronicles. We have one genre and one genre modifier (martial arts). This works.
  • The Setting has an exotic aspect. This can make it appealing if not over done. GM's study up on Chinese Culture a bit.
  • The Setting has the clashing of culture as a theme built in: Chinatown vs the City, Modern Students vs Elders, Magic vs Society.
  • There is no monster fatigue by using Shadow Shen... they are different enough that players are not blase about them.
  • It is a martial arts story. There will be "that other dojo" that might be a source of problems along the way.
  • I would have two sorcerers (and maybe apprentices) as cut scene characters. One would be reputable and the other not reputable (not good and evil, they are sorcerer's after all.) These characters will fill in some background in cut scenes and might actually be main stage characters at some point.
  • This setting really needs to have some innate drama from the characters. Thus there should be a lot of relationship friction and drama.
  • By using a Shaolin Kung Fu studio as a base, the characters will have enough diversity in style and strategy to be unique in action scenes.
  • Remember that in a Martial Arts Genre, Combat is a form of roleplaying... unique styles, personal options, new action choices. Keep it interesting people.
  • A few characters might hold back some points so they can have a "growth moment" and become "a skilled warrior" on camera after a quick montage or drama key.
  • Every Martial Arts character should have "a personal challenge" that they must overcome so they can grow and develop. Each character should have such a challenge.
  • Since this is a CW show, it will have personal drama... so those will also be set up dramatic connections. Some of the Romance Rules might come into play.
  • The Shaolin connection gives me a plausible reason for mystic techniques being taught. These techniques will be a bundle that will be included in a Studio Character Package.
  • This is a hidden world Urban Fantasy. This all happens in the background with people covering up what is going on (or just keeping to the shadows).
  • The cultural isolation of Chinatown is a good tool for keeping the secret. After a while, "the natives" might know something is going on... but they are not going to be telling anyone outside.
  • Player Characters will have just enough abilities to be on an even playing field with low-end Shadow-Shen, and a group will be able to take on the higher end Shadow-Shen.
  • The Shadow-Shen will be the main opposition. They will have some variety in abilities. For changes of pace, we can have vampire (European, Asian, or some vampires designed for the Chronicle), werewolves, and other kinds. It is always important to have options for "change of pace" sessions. Nothing is worse than a stale chronicle with the same old monsters.
  • The Sorcerers might be "going at it" in the background of the setting.
  • The First Season will be stop the bad guy from getting the heart. So the end of the season will be The Showdown.
  • There are options for next season. You can gauge player response and see if they want a second season (immediately or after another chronicle).
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