Tuesday, April 7, 2015


We are building Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate for a wide range of play styles. I think that is important in an RPG because different GMs have different strengths and different groups want to explore games in their own way. One area I am presently giving a lot of attention to is the role of dungeons in the setting and in the genre. It may seem like an odd pairing, dungeon crawl and wuxia, but there is a huge trove of material to draw from in the genre and there is plenty of reason to go dungeon delving in such a game. 

There are lots of things to motivate dungeon delving in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate but the chief motivation is to find manuals in order to learn forgotten or secret Kung Fu Techniques. This is something you see all the time in wuxia, hunts for manuals or secret techniques. Whether it is the Sunflower Manual of Smiling Proud Wanderer or the Heaven and Earth Great Shift technique of Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre, these are common features of the genre. In the case of the latter, the protagonist discovers it inside a chamber below Ming Sect Headquarters. In Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils a protagonist stumbles upon a powerful lightness Kung Fu technique deep inside a cave. 

Dungeons are actually pretty common in wuxia. They are not ubiquitous, it would be a stretch to say wuxia films or shows feature them as often as your standard fantasy RPG, but they occur more than one might imagine and they are often more elaborate and inventive than one might think as well. They also are not as chained to some of the assumptions about dungeons you find in fantasy. A great example is the Tomb Sect in Return of Condor Heroes. They literally live in a massive underground tomb with secret chambers, traps, etc. Another is the film Dragon Swamp which features many classic dungeon-like elements in a mysterious marshland. Treasure Venture opens with an amazing dungeon sequence that includes traps and animated skeletons. Newer movies make use of dungeon locations as well. Both Flying Swords of Dragon Gate and Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame involve dungeon-like locations. This is all stuff that we want people to be able to do with Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. 

I mentioned before the word "wandering" appears in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate for a reason. There is meant to be a place for exploration and GMs ought to make dungeons a part of that in their campaigns. The setting itself will include a couple of mapped out dungeon locations, but it will contain even more seeds for GMs to develop as they desire. If the game is successful we may release more location maps in PDF format. 

That said I don't want to give the impression that the game is all about dungeon crawls. It isn't. There is meanly a solid place for them in the game. If you look at our playtest reports you will see in my own campaign the focus is on the characters and their interactions with various sects. But they go on all kinds of adventures, solving mysteries, finding ancient manuals and more. 

One hope I have is that GMs who may hesitate to run a wuxia campaign because they simply don't know what to do for adventures, will see many of the classic tools, like dungeons, can work just fine and still be genre-appropriate. 

No comments:

Post a Comment