Outlaws of the Water Margin

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Sleepyscholar of Shentian

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Something, something, chorus.



Also; while I'm super hype about all this RPG stuff - I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a peek at that Song Dynasty-set detective novel.

Nice of you to write that, but it wasn't good enough for the various publishers my agent sent it to (with the exception of St Martin's, but then the editor's mother died and it stalled, and that was that), so it probably isn't good enough, full stop. I put the first 10 chapters up on Scribd () but the search engine at that site is so 'good' (in a Spotify sense of the word) that searching for 'Absent Heads' doesn't yield the book.
 

TristramEvans

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Incidentally the image I used in the OP.

Folio Society does fantastic quality books, though I ca rarely justify more than two purchases from them a year. Not just the price, but their shipping costs via courier tend to be almost as expensive as the books themselves. Last one I bought was their Howl's Moving Castle as a birthday gift for my fiance.

The only reason that I haven't scooped up that particular set is that it is not my favourite translation.
 

Newt Newport

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The only reason that I haven't scooped up that particular set is that it is not my favourite translation.

Out of interest which is your favourite translation. I'm currently looking at picking up a set, but from experience with Journey to the West (where eventually I settled on the University of Chicago/Anthony Yu edition).
 

TristramEvans

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Welcome to the Pub Newt Newport Newt Newport !

To answer your question, I guess I'd have to say Sidney Shapiro's translation, but I'm also really digging John and Alan Dent-Young's translation, though I've only got the first two books of theirs so far
 

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Hi, I found this thread as I was brought to the forum as there was a conversation about Righteous Blood, Ruthless Blades. Funny how Chinese inspired gaming draws people together.

Anyway. I wanted to chime in about travel rules. I think when you design a game, you have to sharply focus on the experience you want to model. Please note very carefully I did say "model" and very much not "simulate". Is travelling an experience you want to model in the game? Then by all means bring in travel rules in the game. If travel was a more involved affair in pre-modern times, and you feel a game set in Song era China thus must include travel rule, that is another kettle of fish entirely. I wear my feelings and preferences on my sleeve as I think the "simulating" school or GURPS and C&S is a evolutionary dead-end in game design. YMMV.

That being said. There are travel rules in some games. The One Ring has been mentioned, and I think when I think back that Rolemaster has tables for weather, travel times and travelling encounters. If it wasn't in the main rules, maybe somewhere in the companions. Apart from those oldies, the big OSR conversation of the 2010's did bring the "hexcrawl" back into focus and I am sure there are rules to mine for ideas in that area. A modern game coming from that soil is Forbidden Lands which focus a lot on travelling, exploring and the resource management needed for that.

I'm looking forward to see whatever Sleepyscholar of Shentian Sleepyscholar of Shentian cares to share of game design ponders or history and have found this thread very entertaining. Thanks for sharing Paul! :smile:
 
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Hi everybody

I'm very happy to have found this thread and I've joined the site to be able to follow and participate.

I'm a french guy with a deep interest in China and its history. Over the years I have played a few games of Outlaws of the WM with simplified house-rules. And to tell the truth I even asked Paul, a few years ago, the authorisation to translate the game in French. But I never found the time to do it. So I ask for the Sleepy Scholar's forgiveness (if you even remembered that !), and of course I will be quite delighted to find a completed game in some time... even in English.

The only real work I have done until now has nothing to do with the translation project in itself : it's a Water margin alias generator, done with all aliases of heroes and enemies alike who appear in the book (and a few others). It will give more "realistic" aliases than most wuxia name generators you can find online. One problem only... it's in French so I guess it won't be very useful to most of you, but maybe some of you can still enjoy it.
 

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Wow. I just discovered, from another thread on this forum, the incredibly good Chinese naming guide from Jeremy Bai. Now I just have to buy his and Brendan's new wuxia rpg, that I hadn't heard of before today.

And my automatic corrector doesn't want me to type either "wuxia" or "rpg". How bothersome can technology get ?
 

AsenRG

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Wow. I just discovered, from another thread on this forum, the incredibly good Chinese naming guide from Jeremy Bai. Now I just have to buy his and Brendan's new wuxia rpg, that I hadn't heard of before today.

And my automatic corrector doesn't want me to type either "wuxia" or "rpg". How bothersome can technology get ?
OTOH, once you make correctors accept a word like this, they tend to learn the new words:thumbsup:!


And yes, the Pub is great for learning about new games that you want to get:devil:!
 

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Hey, I just joined the Pub to weigh in on this thread. I'm very interested in the new Outlaws revisions. As much as I love wuxia -- and I do love wuxia -- I feel like it is overrepresented among RPGs compared to more classical fare, and I am ecstatic that Outlaws is getting renewed attention.

I wanted to add that the range-based combat (clashing, facing off, etc) bears some resemblance to Flashing Blades' ship combat in the High Seas supplement. Basically, there are three tactics (Bear Down, Circle, or Evade), and the way the rules progress depends on the attacker and defender's current range in relation to each other and the tactics chosen.

Ships that Bear Down on each other greatly reduce each other's range, and might initiate a boarding action.

Ships that Circle each other have to roll off to see who has the better position for a broadside. If one ship Bears Down and the other Circles, the Circling ship can launch a broadside.

Ships that Evade each other end the combat. An Evading ship increases its range from an enemy and gets a free broadside against a pursuer when they get close enough, but is otherwise less able to attack (only able to fire stern guns). A Circling ship gets a free broadside against an Evading ship.

Another thing interesting I found is that the target number for a successful broadside is based on the range between two ships.

There's a fair bit more to the ship combat system but I just wanted to present the idea than get down into the weeds of it all.

Anyway, this whole range-relation based combat kind of gets bogged down when there are multiple combatants, in my experience -- much moreso than "traditional" combats, as everything has to be tracked relative to each other rather than designating a point of reference (often a battlemap) that characters all move in relation to. A similar difficulty emerged in play with FFG's Star Wars system and its "range bands."

Of course, reducing the number of available ranges reduces these sorts of issues with the system and attacking multiple opponents at once is generally discouraged in Outlaws as it is.
 

dahkdm

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Welcome to The Pub D dahkdm !

I'm surprised how many people this thread has attracted over time. For a long while I kinda thought, on the RPG forums anyways, Imazine and the Outlaws RPG was an obscure secret :smile:

Thanks! And same, before this thread, I had no idea it was so well-received. And it's a treat to see the creator on top of it.
 

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Welcome to the Pub Newt Newport Newt Newport !

To answer your question, I guess I'd have to say Sidney Shapiro's translation, but I'm also really digging John and Alan Dent-Young's translation, though I've only got the first two books of theirs so far
What do you like about it?
 

Nobby-W

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Useless factoid - there's a Chinese restaurant called The Water Margin in Tunbridge Wells. I had never heard of the novels, so the name never made any sense to me until I saw this thread.
 

TristramEvans

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What do you like about it?


The Young translations? Hmmm, I guess because it's less of a technical translation and more of an attempt (from my perception, obviously I don't read any dialect of Chinese) to translate the spirit of the stories. It is sharp and full of wit, and uniquelly structured almost more like a fairy tale than a nvel, with a rythm and lyrical quality. On top of that , they add in (I assume) a lot of background details that other translations lack, making the story easier to understand for someone foreign to the culture and time period. I found with other translations it was very hard to keep track of all the characters, and often things seemed to happen with no context given, whereas the Young translation is clearly designed to communicate the story effectively to a modern reader while retaining the humour and immediacy of the original.
 

Séadna

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Thanks, that's the translation I'll get then. I had similar problems with some translations of Genji where I couldn't tell who was who until I got the one by Tyler with loads of background notes.
 

TristramEvans

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The Folio Society is amazing. I recently purchased a copy of Dune from them and I was not disappointed.


Yeah, they recently rereleased their Book of the New Sun set, and it's taking a lot of Willpower to resist, as it's only been a few months since I tracked down the first editions.

bkn_book.png

their books are some of the highest quality on the market right now, exquisite works of art from the typesetting to the paper quality, just an abolute joy.
 

Nobby-W

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Yeah, they recently rereleased their Book of the New Sun set, and it's taking a lot of Willpower to resist, as it's only been a few months since I tracked down the first editions.

View attachment 28052

their books are some of the highest quality on the market right now, exquisite works of art from the typesetting to the paper quality, just an abolute joy.
I got the Folio Society Dune edition as a present for my father a year or two before he died. I must admit to being tempted with the Book Of The New Sun, although I already have a copy of the four books collected into one volume.
 

TristramEvans

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Sleepyscholar of Shentian

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Welcome to The Pub D dahkdm !

I'm surprised how many people this thread has attracted over time. For a long while I kinda thought, on the RPG forums anyways, Imazine and the Outlaws RPG was an obscure secret :smile:
Obscure secrets are the best kind!

Not a lot of news, to be honest. I designed an Excel sheet that scores up characters, because I couldn't be arsed to do all the points tallying myself when adding the as-yet-unstatted sample characters (I assume you noticed the none-too-subtle suggestions in the game to ditch the whole points-build business). I plugged the characters I'd already done into that worksheet and discovered that several of them were 'wrong', so just for the hell of it I corrected them. I then got on to finishing off the sample characters, but I have to confess, there are still a few countryfolk eluding me.
The range thing for combat was all written ages ago, and I'm hoping that finishes combat, but it's going to need to be looked at again some time.

To be honest, reading the Magic section I was surprised it wasn't as bad as Tristram suggested -- his comments echoed how I'd thought of it until I reread it. It is deliberately designed not to be a 'meta' system, ie one that draws attention to the fictionality of the game by turning the players into 'authors' rather than allowing them to immerse in their characters, or which imposes the author's Grand Idea about magic on the background. So its purpose is to set up a load of 'furniture' that gives a feeling for the magic of the Song Dynasty. Not 'my brilliant unifying concept of magic', but many of the bits and pieces that you encounter in the source material. There are rough edges where they butt up against each other, or where they get squeezed into what unifying mechanism there is, but that's part of the point. It is meant to be warped and twisted and interpreted -- the Pyramid of Skulls adventure demonstrates that. In other words, the system is not designed to be authorial, but players and referee can use it in an authorial way if they like. A more 'modern-style' approach to magic that got ditched long ago was based on the idea that the use of magic enabled the player to hijack the ability to describe game reality from the ref. As I say, this sort of option is open, but I view it as part of the contract between ref and players rather than something to put in rules.

The release of the game is not conditional on Dave finishing Tetsubo (thank god, as he's up to his eyeballs in Vulcanverse at the moment). On the other hand it is conditional on me finding both time and motivation to add bits and pieces. As I work through the game, I will also be ditching stuff that can't be done to my satisfaction. But I don't think C&S-style simulation is quite a dead end if it is presented as something that helps when you want it, but is ignored when you don't. Telling people 'Make it up however you want!' is all very well, but in that case, why am I bothering with your game? Every role-playing game I played in the past got modified to suit my needs, but I wouldn't have preferred that the designers of those games omitted the bits I changed and told me to write it myself! I'm interested in putting descriptions of housing types in different parts of China into the game, because it adds to the background. And anything that adds to the background makes it easier for players to immerse.

Oh, and one reason why I have been silent on this forum for several months is that I didn't get any notifications until today. Don't know why that is.
 

AsenRG

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Oh, and one reason why I have been silent on this forum for several months is that I didn't get any notifications until today. Don't know why that is.
It just happens sometimes. I need to re-check the PbP game I'm playing in because sometimes the lack of notifications trips me up.
I sincerely hope these are goo news:thumbsup:!
 

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TristramEvans

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To be honest, reading the Magic section I was surprised it wasn't as bad as Tristram suggested -- his comments echoed how I'd thought of it until I reread it. It is deliberately designed not to be a 'meta' system, ie one that draws attention to the fictionality of the game by turning the players into 'authors' rather than allowing them to immerse in their characters, or which imposes the author's Grand Idea about magic on the background. So its purpose is to set up a load of 'furniture' that gives a feeling for the magic of the Song Dynasty. Not 'my brilliant unifying concept of magic', but many of the bits and pieces that you encounter in the source material. There are rough edges where they butt up against each other, or where they get squeezed into what unifying mechanism there is, but that's part of the point. It is meant to be warped and twisted and interpreted -- the Pyramid of Skulls adventure demonstrates that. In other words, the system is not designed to be authorial, but players and referee can use it in an authorial way if they like. A more 'modern-style' approach to magic that got ditched long ago was based on the idea that the use of magic enabled the player to hijack the ability to describe game reality from the ref. As I say, this sort of option is open, but I view it as part of the contract between ref and players rather than something to put in rules.

Wow, I hoped I hadn't given the impression that thought it was that bad - I just meant that unlike the rest of the game it didn't excite me, which was hardly intended as a criticism. I think it works just fine, and I do appreciate it not being a meta-system, or trying to be clever for clever's sake and ending up a half-baked mix of freshman philosophy-wank and unplayable mechanics (*cough* Mage *cough*).

The release of the game is not conditional on Dave finishing Tetsubo (thank god, as he's up to his eyeballs in Vulcanverse at the moment). On the other hand it is conditional on me finding both time and motivation to add bits and pieces. As I work through the game, I will also be ditching stuff that can't be done to my satisfaction. But I don't think C&S-style simulation is quite a dead end if it is presented as something that helps when you want it, but is ignored when you don't. Telling people 'Make it up however you want!' is all very well, but in that case, why am I bothering with your game? Every role-playing game I played in the past got modified to suit my needs, but I wouldn't have preferred that the designers of those games omitted the bits I changed and told me to write it myself! I'm interested in putting descriptions of housing types in different parts of China into the game, because it adds to the background. And anything that adds to the background makes it easier for players to immerse.

Well, hopefully the enthusiasm in this thread continues to provide some degree of motivation. I am a mix of patient understanding as someone struggling through finishing an RPG myself and impatient...um, fandomness (fandominity?)

I completely agree, as someone who tinkers relentlessly with every game I run, I would resent the "just make it up yourself!" schtick. I like at least having a good amount of insight into how the author would handle things, which tells me both how they intend their system to be used in play, and the thinking behind game choices. And when it comes to culture games, obviously there's a ton of historical info out there, but wading through that to find what is relevant to the game or time period is going to be a hit or miss endeavour. One of the reason I like GURPs sourcebooks, even if I don't play the system, is just having info specifically aimed at gaming at my fingertips.

I should also mention we have some talented artists here at The Pub that I'm sure wouldn't mind contibuting (read: donating) some art assets, including possibly building plans. I myself have been known to doodle to some acclaim...

49943481738_cbb592b76c_z.jpg


49943987091_fb3e24376d_z.jpg


49968274233_d590a5d46b_z.jpg



Oh, and one reason why I have been silent on this forum for several months is that I didn't get any notifications until today. Don't know why that is.

The forum software seems to randomly send me notifications, and my email provider seems undecided on whether to classify them as spam or not, so I only get a few of them myself.
 

Sleepyscholar of Shentian

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Wow, I hoped I hadn't given the impression that thought it was that bad - I just meant that unlike the rest of the game it didn't excite me, which was hardly intended as a criticism. I think it works just fine, and I do appreciate it not being a meta-system, or trying to be clever for clever's sake and ending up a half-baked mix of freshman philosophy-wank and unplayable mechanics (*cough* Mage *cough*).



Well, hopefully the enthusiasm in this thread continues to provide some degree of motivation. I am a mix of patient understanding as someone struggling through finishing an RPG myself and impatient...um, fandomness (fandominity?)

I completely agree, as someone who tinkers relentlessly with every game I run, I would resent the "just make it up yourself!" schtick. I like at least having a good amount of insight into how the author would handle things, which tells me both how they intend their system to be used in play, and the thinking behind game choices. And when it comes to culture games, obviously there's a ton of historical info out there, but wading through that to find what is relevant to the game or time period is going to be a hit or miss endeavour. One of the reason I like GURPs sourcebooks, even if I don't play the system, is just having info specifically aimed at gaming at my fingertips.

I should also mention we have some talented artists here at The Pub that I'm sure wouldn't mind contibuting (read: donating) some art assets, including possibly building plans. I myself have been known to doodle to some acclaim...

49943481738_cbb592b76c_z.jpg


49943987091_fb3e24376d_z.jpg


49968274233_d590a5d46b_z.jpg





The forum software seems to randomly send me notifications, and my email provider seems undecided on whether to classify them as spam or not, so I only get a few of them myself.
The art is fantastic. I especially like the weirdness of the Tengu.

GURPS I detest as a system, but as you say, the sourcebooks are great. I just feel for the poor authors, working under such godawful contracts.
 
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