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Dragon Lines & The Celestial Empire


Leo Fultz

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Hi guys,

Yesterday i got The Celestial Empire — thru Noble Knight :o, since i don't know if i can order from Chaosium, offline (no credit card) — i'll have to check on this.

Anywho, i haven't had a chance to go through it in detail, but...

In the appendix they mention using TCE with Dragon Lines; specifically, from Ch. 2: Characters, on pg. 6, under Upbringing Entries #'s 8 & 9. The Words, & guǐ are mentioned. i haven't had a chance to read TCE page by page, but going through it, i haven't seen them.

For those of you who have TCE, could you enlighten me to what they are:?

i'm working on a character history / background template (using various sources), and wonder if i should include these in my work.

Many thanx.

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In the appendix they mention using TCE with Dragon Lines; specifically, from Ch. 2: Characters, on pg. 6, under Upbringing Entries #'s 8 & 9. The Words, & guǐ are mentioned. i haven't had a chance to read TCE page by page, but going through it, i haven't seen them.

For those of you who have TCE, could you enlighten me to what they are:?

A is the basic Chinese unit of length and is appr. half a kilometre, or a third of a mile -- see page 20 of TCE.

A guǐ is a creature that exists both in the mundane world and in the spirit world.

i'm working on a character history / background template (using various sources), and wonder if i should include these in my work.

Good. Please keep us posted!

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  • 4 months later...

I finally got around to picking up copies of 'Dragon Lines' and 'Celestial Empire'.

WOW!

These volumes compliment each other nicely for any feudal asian campaign. Celestial Empire is great for a gritty semi-historic chinese setting, and Dragon Lines is perfect for an over-the-top asian setting, like the old Hong Kong Kung-Fu movies, or the more recent Crouching Tiger type stuff.

I heartily recommend for people to purchase both volumes, as together they can provide a great toolbox for anything from gritty feudal drama to heroic wuxia.

Really great stuff !!!

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I'm a big fan of Alephtar's various historical settings, and absolutely love TCE. One of the things I love about historical based settings is that I could never invent the amount of fascinating detail I can find just by doing some mundane research. Consider how the following scenario seeds just fell into my lap:

I discovered that during my favorite dynasty (the Tang), my favorite poet (Bai Juyi) was the governor of my favorite city (Suzhou) (in the year 825). That is quaint, but not particularly interesting. Until I read that Governor Bai had a canal dug so that tourists could more easily reach Tiger Hill, which is the nearby tomb of King Helu of Wu (who died around 486 BC). It's called Tiger Hill because after Helu was buried, a white tiger came to guard the tomb. And consider that Helu is supposed to have collected magical swords and tested them by cutting through rock. Wu was a strong state during the Spring and Autumn period, was considered to be only semi-civilized, and may in fact be related to the wet-rice farming culture that entered Japan around 300 B.C. To top all of that off, nearby Suzhou is Lake Tai, one of the most famous in China, and there's no doubt that a powerful dragon has to live there.

I invented zero facts here, but I think I've got enough adventure seeds to make up several scenarios. (I asked myself what might have been dug up when the canal was being built, and what sort of non-Han-barbaric magic might Wu have possessed.) To get something like that, I would have to work a long time if I were inventing all the facts from a fictional setting. Historical settings aren't for everyone, but I think there are some tremendous upsides to them.

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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I agree that historical or semi-historical/ fantastic-historical settings certainly have their place. Using history as a base provides a firm reference point, and setting a story behind the drama of real-world events make for a great campaign, especially when you tweak it in unexpected ways.

When I initially bought AH RQ3 in my teens I loved the fantasy setting of Glorantha, but also yearned for more of the Fantasy Earth setting that AH claimed they would be putting out. For the times, I thought RQ 'Vikings' and RQ 'Land of Ninja' were great settings, although they weren't strongly followed up with supplements. And that was about it - I was expecting much more, perhaps semi-historical, semi-mythical versions of Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt; The Mongol Hordes; Medieval Europe; The Meso Americas and Feudal Asia. I guess I could see the potential, and I wanted it all with RQ.

So I am quite pleased that Alephtar Games have decided to specialise in these kinds of settings for BRP. I was frustrated that I came late to the party, and missed purchasing a hard copy of 'Stupor Mundi', but I quickly snatched up 'ROME' (briliant), and now ' The Celestial Empire' and 'Dragon Lines'. I have also recently picked up 'Crusaders of The Amber Coast' which looks great, although I haven't had time to get my teeth firmly into it (although I'm quite impressed from what I have seen). I'm eagerly awaiting 'Merrie England', and all in all I'm quite impressed by Alephtar's products.

It's hard to know which one I prefer out of 'The Celestial Empire' and 'Dragon Lines', but if anyone is unsure which one to grab then just go for both, and treat them as one volume with different toolbox options, depending on how you want to run a feudal asian setting.

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I agree. The truth, and the crazy people who lived it, is usually more outrageous than anything you could make up.

That's for sure. I'm often reminded of the comment (from Philip Roth?) that non-fiction only has to be true, but fiction has to also be plausible. When you make up the story, people demand a lot more plausible connections and "reasonable" behavior than history has ever produced.

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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