Thursday, 18 September 2014

Feng Shui – Not just about rearranging your furniture...


It was nearly twenty years ago that something new took the world by storm, just when the western world was really starting to appreciate the nature of Hong Kong Action Theatre, a game called Feng Shui made it’s debut.  The premise wasn’t a million miles away from any other combination of games that had been done before, skills and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, the ability to play characters that weren’t human and in some cases were about as far from human as you were likely to get.


What made it most interesting was the background, evil was everywhere and there was very little that could stand against it.  In fact...

There was only you...


The system was simple, D6 base plus modifiers, but unlike other game systems where everything had a reasonable level of balance, Feng Shui understood that it was fine to have things completely unbalanced, as long as everything was unbalanced.  It was the first game to make popular the ideas of powers that could fundamentally change things in the game, a trend that would be continued with Exalted to reach it’s zenith with games like Scion.  You couldn’t go into this game as a regular person (Well you could, but, well, Dead before the end of scene one), but you could choose a variety of ways to enhance your character, from mystical and technological boosts, to skills beyond the range of mortal men, to fighting techniques long forgotten by the world that most would see as some sort of sorcery.


To give you some idea on this, one such technique was Vengeance of the Turtle, a technique by which striking a vehicle with bare foot or fist instantly destroyed that vehicle. 

Didn’t matter what the vehicle was, car, or main battle tank, the vehicle was destroyed...

And then there was the background, a secret war fought between sorcerers, demons, technologists, martial artists, and cops.  A war that was fought across a number of different time zones, from the 1800’s to the 2000’s and beyond, with each Juncture (What they called time zones) having a different part to play in the war.  The whole war centered around the control of sites of power (the aforementioned Feng Shui), both in the past, present, and in the future.  Those who controlled the sites, controlled the power, and those who controlled the power, controlled the world. 


As a premise, it was massively complex and overpowered, it took a long time to progress the characters to anything beyond what they started at, but they already started at a level that a lot of characters would have retired before.  The characters in this game weren’t beginners and that proved to be a great attraction for many as well, there was no danger that a lucky hit would wipe you out at level one, and the game brought forwards the case for Mooks, being henchmen that served only as cannon fodder for the players and villains.  These were not a threat to the players, but in great enough numbers, they could complicate things. 


Feng Shui was very popular in the time that it was out, and the reason for writing this review today over any other day is that Atlas Games have finally (it’s been nearly twenty years) announced that they’re going to be doing a second edition of the game.

Some of the best news I’ve had all year that...


So, we’re backing, because there’s been twenty years of fan input on this, and while they couldn’t possibly add in all the things that the fans want, it’s clear that they intend the new edition to be everything that we remember the old game to be (even if it wasn’t those things at the time).


The kickstarter can be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atlasgames/feng-shui-2-action-movie-roleplaying-game-by-robin and it’s already 500% funded, by the time it’s done if it’s not more than 5000% funded, I’ll be surprised.

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