Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting
We recently had an opportunity to play-test a new game that’s currently under development called BareBones™ Wuxia! I’m pretty sure we’re playing under an NDA so I can only write about the broad strokes. It uses the BareBones™ Fantasy / Covert Ops d00 system published by DwD Studios, so if you’re familiar with that game system and you’re into kung fu, then BBW! might be right up your alley.
For those unfamiliar with Wuxia (pronounced as woo-sha) it is loosely translated to “knight errant” as written in BBW! or simply “martial (wu) hero (xia)”. It is all about role playing wandering heroes (if this were a Japanese setting, they would be called ronin) in the world of kung fu movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero just to name a couple of well-known movies in that genre. But as a whole, there are thousands of movies and novels out there and the stories about xia (heroes) date back to more than 2,000 years.
So yesterday three members of the Infrequents decided to try it out. We started off making characters, which was fairly quick once we had a concept for each of them: A warrior, a thief and a sorcerer. Mainly just to see how quick they can be created and afterwards to see how combat holds up. As I mentioned character generation was quick as we got into the short combat scenario soon afterwards.
The different concepts allowed us to get a feel for the game as well as the different kung fu styles were really fun to play around with. It provided us enough diversity between the three characters.
Combat in the scenario was quick when up against regular NPCs to multi-turn battles between three heroes. Which leads me to the scenario itself.
Let me set up the scene… where the heroes are in a local tea house, the warrior quietly eating his noodles at a table observing the occupants until he spied a female thief pitifully attempting to steal a coin purse from the sorcerer. The sorcerer catches the thief in the act, instead of scolding or apprehending the would be purse snatcher, he offers the woman a seat at his table for tea?!
Irritated at what he is witnessing, the warrior cried out “Thief!” for all to hear as he points at the woman. Thieves should be held accountable, sensing danger, the thief decides to run through the kitchen as the warrior pursues after her only to run into “Lethal Snow” (aka a cloud of flour) as the woman stops to swing a shelf at the warrior. Undeterred, the warrior smashes the shelf with a sweeping strike of his Tiger kung fu as the chase begins anew as both exit out into the back alley behind the tea house.
Inside the tea house, the owner having heard cries of “Thief” decides to call in the town guards who just happen to appear at the front doors. Not seeing the woman, he points at the sorcerer and claims he was with her, as the guard attempt to apprehend the sorcerer as an accomplice to the thief’s crime. Blades erupt from his fingers as he quickly dispatches the guards and the tea house owner, to avoid more trouble he quickly exits out the front door in the hopes of catching up to the warrior and the thief.
Behind the tea house, the chase has leaped onto the roofs as the warrior catches up to the thief as they face each other. The thief brandishing twin warhammers as the warrior wields twin crescent moon knives at the ready. Equally matched as they dance and clash weapons when suddenly a bolt of lightning strikes the thief as the warrior sensing trouble jumps away. Both turn to face their assailant to find the sorcerer standing on another roof preparing to ready another spell. The warrior turns to the thief and proposes that the sorcerer is going to be trouble and should cease their duel for another time and deal with him as they both turn.
Sensing trouble as the warrior and thief turn in his direction, the sorcerer decides to make a hasty retreat as he avoids the wrath of the two opponents multiple strikes with deftness and luck. To aid in his retreat using sorcery as a distraction, the warrior and thief hear a town guard commanding archers prepare to fire arrows at them. Unfazed, the warrior realizes the ruse and gives chase once more as the thief believing the town guards are about to fire upon her drops low on the roof.
Incensed and humiliated at the deception, the thief throws one of her warhammers as it spins past the warrior striking the sorcerer from behind. Crying out in pain, the sorcerer falls, and tumbles off the roof into a large basket of laundry. The warrior continues his pursuit as he jumps down to deliver the final blow as the sorcerer miraculously parries the warrior’s moon knife as it shatters his longsword into pieces. The warrior decides to press his attack, as he knocks the sorcerer unconscious in the laundry basket.
The thief witnesses from her viewpoint on the roof as the warrior unceremoniously picks up the sorcerer from the basket and dumps his body in front of the town guards, exclaiming to them “Arrest this man as the thief’s accomplice!” The thief decides now would be a good time to slink away from the warrior under cover of the night.
Definitely a game system to watch out for when it is published. Looking forward to more Wuxia as I’ve gotten into the mood to dip into my Netflix watch-list or browse their Foreign category for wuxia films.
We finished our game session by playing a round of Kung Fu Fighting by SlugFest Games.