This weekend, I got a chance to run the Feng Shui 2 roleplaying game for my two youngest kids, ages 17 and 16. Even though I backed the Kickstarter almost a month ago, I hadn’t had time to read the rules fully, so I went off my memory of the One Shot podcast (http://peachesandhotsauce.com/podcasts/feng-shui-2-part-1).
I got many of the details of the system wrong, but the spirit was right and we all left eager for more! The Feng Shui system means to evoke the feel of an action movie, and it succeeds admirably.We had a blast describing our moves, punctuated with cheesy one liners.
This new edition also streamlines the first edition, which I’d played about five years ago. It’s hard to believe it’s only been five years – the storytelling aspect of roleplaying games has bloomed in just a few short years.
Players in Feng Shui play “chi warriors”, and their characters vie for control of sites of mystical power called feng shui sites.
My daughter Hannah chose the Spy archetype, but she ended up investigating the situation to learn more about her foes, so Hannah switched her character Scarlet to be a Private Investigator at the end of the session. Scarlet comes from the post-apocalyptic Juncture – another change from the previous edition of the game – but that didn’t factor into play much.
My son Riley was a Thief named Colm, born in medieval times. In the Feng Shui setting, characters can access a handful of stable time periods called Junctions to choose from, but his wasn’t one of them. Rather than redirect him, I ruled that Colm accidentally got sucked into the Netherworld (a nebulous location that connects Junctures) and can’t get back to his home time. Riley was really attached to the idea of Colm’s immortality, so I said that he’s been taking longevity potions for a while now and really is too old to live without them.
This initial session consisted entirely of a fight that started in an upscale department store at the mall. The pair noticed they were surrounded by creepy mannequins that were advancing on them. Both Colm and Scarlet paused in the action to upgrade their wardrobe with items off the rack, so I dubbed them the .
Colm took a few of the mooks out with some nicely choreographed strikes, and I got to describe the emotionless faces of the mannequins as their limbs were severed and they kept advancing, Toy Story style. Scarlet ran for the household appliances, and used kitchen knives and ceramic plate shards to make mincemeat of her mannequins.
When the mannequins couldn’t stop the heroes, one mook ran off and brought a featured foe named Qi-shi, a mysterious fire sorcerer in a green, fireproof Mandarin tunic. “At last, the chi warriors have arrived!”, he said. Hannah realized that her Guns skill was her primary attack, so she tried to shoot Qi-shi, but her errant shot set off the store’s security system and brought down the gates, trapping the duo in the store!
Even with his commanding entrance, his fire whip and softballs of fire, Qi-shi barely managed to set Colm’s duster ablaze in the perfume department, so Qi-shi spent most of the fight retreating. (I had the combat rules wrong, thinking that initiative reset when the location changed.)
When it was clear Qi-shi could not best the team, the sorcerer burned a hole through the store’s security fence to duck into a tea shop, just a step in front of the heroes. The front was teapots and teas for sale, the back was a suburban replica of a Japanese tea house. Not being one for subtlety, Colm bashed through some rice paper walls into what seemed like a serious Japanese business meeting with guns on the table. [Thanks to my other son Diego for the suggestion – I’m sure those suits will become important later.]
Scarlet, being sensible, pressed her advantage and drove him into the back of the store. In fact, Qi-shi kept retreating so far that he led the duo through a portal into the Neverworld that led to Qi-shi’s home Juncture, China’s Ancient past….
Colm leapt through the rice paper wall next to the portal, so I ruled that he tumbled uncontrollably through the Netherworld. However, he did so well on his recovery role – yay for getting exploding sixes twice – that we decided he burst through the ceiling of an apothecary shop in a three-point landing with the sun shining through the roof like a spotlight, just as Qi-shi came through the portal with Scarlet at his heels.
Even in this city where magic is strong, Qi-shi has proven no match for our pair of chi warriors. His billowing dust attack was made useless when Colm leapt to the rooftops and Scarlet pulled out clear-vision goggles and a breather mask and charged right on through.
We left with Qi-shi at the Fashion Police’s mercy. When we next play, it will be interesting to see what Qi-shi will say when pressed to explain why he attacked them, and why he was on the lookout for chi warriors in the first place….