The second post about clouds and mapping is going to take a little longer to write up, so here’s something else in the meantime:
If you’re looking for an RPG based in semi-historical China, there are a lot of choices out there. The best one that I know of, however, is Celestial Empire. When I saw it in a store, I took it off the shelf, expecting but dreading the usual mess of stereotypes, half-truths, misunderstandings and misrepresentations so common to RPG treatments of China. As I paged through the book, though, I found no immediate inaccuracies to object to. In fact, the longer I looked at it, the more interested I was. The author clearly put a lot of work into it, getting the facts pretty much as good as could be in an RPG. (I have a degree in Chinese studies, and nothing I’ve seen in the book contradicts what I know, at least.) The author even got the romanization almost completely perfect! All far better than I’ve seen in RPG treatments of China before. I eventually convinced myself that I needed to buy it, and did so.
- I have a long-term hankering to run a game set in China. I’m thinking of the Tuoba Wei era, which seems like an adventurous time, perhaps set on the edge of Chinese civilization.
- When people on RPGnet and elsewhere seek recommendations for good China sourcebooks for RPGs, I direct them immediately and confidently towards Celestial Empire.
As it happens, the author, Gianni Vacca, saw my most recent recommendation of the book and thanked me for it. A nice person, and a great book full of scholarship and interest — the RPG world needs more of that.