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Sunday, 25 May 2014

I Know Kung Fu - a first look at Tianxia

As well as a mostly regular fortnightly game I also run an occasional game for two players. This time around we're playing a Yojimbo style game where one of the characters is the bodyguard for the other. We're using a custom background which we developed the core themes and some significant events using the excellent Microscope, which I urge everyone to check out.

As readers of earlier posts will know my go to system is currently Fate Core. In this case we're using Tianxia - Blood, Silk & Jade which has just been kickstarted by Vigilance Press.

In the authors afterword Jack Norris notes that it's a project that's been around for a few years, essentially waiting for the right system to implement his cool ideas. This is very much how I feel about Fate Core as well. The main point is, however, that the team behind Tianxia has spent time where it matters, crafting a setting and it's core concepts that really work.

One of my favorite parts of Tianxia is the Kung Fu style system and the flexibility it brings. The characters in this game are at opposite ends of the spectrum here. Mushu, the "master", has pretty much no fighting skills but successfully used his knowledge of Mountain Crane Style to defend himself from a mob of bloodthirsty pirates (+4 to full defense rather than the standard +2) without breaking a sweat. Maylin, his yojimbo, on the other hand wiped out the rest of the crew and the pirate captain with the use of her fearsome Golden Cobra Style.

The pirate attack was just a short flashback scene to fill time after character creation and so far is one of my favourite Fate experiences to date. For me it really hilighted the strengths of Fate as a system and the great way that Vigilance have implemented it in Tianxia. Each of the characters was awesome but in their own style and as a group we went from character generation to amazing action in just a couple of hours.

Tianxia also has some really great character examples and some great GM advice, including some excellent examples of the Bronze rule in action. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tianxia to anyone who loves Fate or the Wushu genre.

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