Friday, March 25, 2016


We started our first session of a new Profound Masters campaign for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate recently (session log is HERE). All characters in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate have power levels expressed in Qi ranks (which span from 1-24). The core rule book is mostly focused on Qi ranks 1-6 (which are the levels that represent the more standard wuxia). It includes rules on the higher levels (and includes some characters beyond Qi rank 6) but the focus is on wuxia. Ranks 7-24 deal with Profound Masters and Immortals. There is more emphasis on fantasy and mythic elements at the higher levels. We are working on a future supplement called Profound Masters of Ogre Gate that will give more robust support for these higher levels and include a lot more setting information on Immortal Sects, locations and magical items. 

Just to give a bit of context, characters that are Qi rank 1-6 represent the kinds of figures you might see in a typical wuxia movie or drama. New martial heroes just setting out on their first adventure would be QI rank 1 while a Qi rank 6 character would be one of the few great Kung Fu masters in the world, able to do extraordinary things that border on the supernatural (like summoning phantom swords to slice their foes at a distance). My Secret of Zhe Valley Campaign (most recent session log HERE), is an example of characters advancing from Qi ranks 1-6. Generally speaking if player characters earn full XP every session and the group plays weekly, they should advance to Qi rank 6 in about a year. 

Characters who reach Qi rank 6, are exceptional in the world. This is pinnacle of earthly Kung Fu and to go beyond it they must achieve some deep insight or learn from powerful groups like Immortals (with the aim of eventually becoming immortals themselves). This naturally means campaigns tend to shift from the realms of mankind to the remote mountain peaks where ancient sects of immortals pass on their secret knowledge or to the dark and dangerous cave realms of the more sinister practitioners of high level Kung Fu. 

Qi levels take longer and longer to advance in however. Getting to Qi rank 7 is no easy feat. In a standard campaign it can take 2 years or more to reach it. Once players reach this level of power the supernatural elements of the setting, which have always been present, really become obvious to them. In part this is because Qi advancement represents the increasing internal cultivation of the character. So they are simply more aware of their own abilities. Every character has a Karma rating but prior to Qi 7, only the GM knows what everyone's Karma rating is. After Qi rank 7, they can sense their own Karma.

Essentially at Qi rank 7, the game starts to emulate martial arts fantasy and myth sources more. Whereas the earlier levels feel more like House of Flying Daggers and Legend of Condor Heroes, the later levels are more like Mount Zu, Journey of Flower and Journey to the West. To emulate some of the tropes in Immortal and Fantasy series, there is a distinction between those on a path to immortality and those on a corruptive path (usually just called Demon Heroes). The basic difference is immortals abide by the principles of Heaven and the Enlightened Goddess. They eschew Evil Techniques and live righteously. The Demon Heroes will dabble in Evil Kung Fu (often resulting in great changes to their bodies and mind) and in dangerous Qi Rituals (Immortals can use Qi Rituals too but tend to avoid the more nefarious magic). 

The Profound Masters of Ogre Gate book will a complete listing of new Profound Techniques, Qi Rituals, Celestial Weapons, Evil Techniques, Immortal Powers and Insights, as well as the geography of the immortal world, immortal sects, NPCs, and general clarification of the rules for Profound and Immortal level play. 

We plan to devote a year of time to completing Profound Masters of Ogre Gate (in the meantime we will release an adventure and PDF setting supplements). I want to develop the book in the course of two live campaigns (this is an approach I just finds works best for us). We do individual playlists too but those really do not find the wrinkles that emerge in the course of a natural campaign. And things that sometimes seem to be a wrinkle in a single isolated playtest, prove not to be so in the context of a regularly meeting game group. 

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