INTRODUCING PLAYERS NEW TO WUXIA
Because wuxia is a niche genre (at least where I live in the US), I think chances are high you will have players who are not familiar with it, or have limited exposure to a few notable examples. You can definitely show players over the course of a campaign, what the genre entails, but it also helps if you introduce them to online resources, movies, books and shows.
Also, it is important to understand what your take on the wuxia genre is. Certain kinds of wuxia stories probably appeal to you more than others, and if your campaign reflects this, you will want to steer players toward material that reflects your sensibilities. For this reason I grouped movie recommendations by types.
TYPES OF WUXIA MOVIES
I am grouping wuxia by type in this list to make recommendations easier for GMs. Also for GMs, this can be a handy guide for their own inspiration. This is far from comprehensive. There are many classic films like Come Drink With Me or Temple of the Red Lotus that I didn't have categories for. It is mostly films I really enjoy (or in some instances, films that seemed essential to the category). This kind of list is incredibly subjective and many movies can easily fit into more than one category.
|Reign of Assassins|
Brotherhood of Blades
Dragon (Wu Xia)
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Reign of Assassins
These are the more cerebral type of wuxia film. Most on the list I highly recommend. Personally I have to admit, I did not enjoy The Assassin (2015), so I can't personally recommend it. However I recognize a lot of people like the movie, and it definitely belongs in this category. Since I am assuming most reading this have seen Crouching Tiger, my biggest recommendation here is Ashes of Time (which is really unusual) and A Touch of Zen (which is admittedly slowly paced, but a very important wuxia movie).
Ashes of Time
The Assassin (2015)**
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Curse of the Golden Flower
Legend of the Black Scorpion
A Touch of Zen
Wuxia varies greatly depending on the decade and the production company. In the early 80s there were a number of wuxia films that took things in wild and fantastic directions. I think these are particularly suited to GMs and groups aiming for a more gonzo style. Here is a brief list of prime gonzo wuxia:
|Holy Flame of the Martial World|
Duel to the Death
Holy Flame of the Martial World
Jade Dagger Ninja
Legendary Weapons of China
Web of Death
The Weird Man
I would less enthusiastically point to The Battle Wizard and The Journey of the Doomed as other films in this category.
FANTASTIC AND MYTHIC WUXIA
These are movies that get into myth, legend and other genres like xianxia. Some overlap with gonzo, but most of these are movies that many would regard as not belonging strictly to the wuxia genre. For example, A Chinese Odyssey is a retelling of the classic novel, Journey to the West. Strictly speaking, many of these are not wuxia movies, but they are easy material to incorporate into a wuxia campaign if you have supernatural elements.
A Chinese Ghost Story
|Painted Skin: Resurrection|
A Chinese Odyssey
Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
Legend of the Mountain
Painted Skin and Painted Skin Resurrection*
Sorcerer and the White Snake*
The Thousand Faces of Dunjia
Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain
DARK AND MYSTERIOUS WUXIA
This is wuxia that features darker characters and themes. I also fold wuxia with mystery elements here. A film like Duel for Gold is dark because the characters are all pretty much bad people, whereas a movie like Magic Blade features dark and eccentric characters like Devil Grandma.
|Bat without Wings|
Bat without Wings The Blade
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Duel for Gold
Finger of Doom
Trail of the Broken Blade
What Price Honesty
BROKEN HERO WUXIA
This is just any movie where the hero is maimed or mentally broken.
Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
The New One-Armed Swordsman
Return of the One-Armed Swordsman
The Crippled Avengers
Opium and the Kung Fu Master
These are movies that feature strong romantic storylines. Some are more focused on the romance than others. Painted Skin and Painted Skin Resurrection could have been on this list as well (but I chose to put them on the fantastic wuxia list). Reign of Assassins could also have gone on the dark list.
|Heroes Shed No Tears|
The Assassin (1967)
Brave Archer I-III
Heroes Shed No Tears
House of Flying Daggers
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan
The Butterfly Lovers
Bride with White Hair
Bride with White Hair II
The White Dragon
The internet changes quickly. So here are some places online you can send your players for overviews of the genre and related genres:
Wuxia World: This website has a number of full translations of wuxia novels but primarily translates novels from the xianxia genre (and has many active, ongoing translations). Full disclosure: Deathblade, one of the translators at the site, is the writer of Legends of Ogre Gate (a novel set in my Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate world).
Drama Panda: This is a blog that feels more like an online magazine dedicated to dramas. I get most of my news on upcoming drama series from Drama Panda. Full Disclosure: I occasionally post for this site.
Shaw Brothers Universe: Full disclosure: I occasionally post for this site as a fan.
The Wuxia Society: A comprehensive list of fan translations of wuxia novels.
Viki and Drama Fever: These are both great ways to watch wuxia series. Drama Fever is available on its own website and through Amazon. Viki is its own site and one of the things I like about it is the comments. People comment on the shows as they watch them (and they appear in the upper corner if you keep that feature turned on.
WUXIA AND RELATED NOVELS
For new players I find it is easier to get them to read stuff in print. Luckily there are two very recent translations I like to recommend. In addition to these there are other translations available in print as well like Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain, The Book and the Sword, etc.
Online translations are widely available. Here there are a wide range of stories to choose from. The ones I include below give a good overview of different writers. But GMs with different preferences might make other suggestions.
This is my current list of suggestions for new players.
The Eleventh Son*
A Hero Born (first book of Legend of Condor Heroes)
Heroes Shed No Tears
Condor Heroes Trilogy (Legend of Condor Heroes, Return of Condor Heroes, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre)
The White Haired Demoness (Baifa Monu Zhuan)
*Appeared on my first list
**I do not recommend this movie but I recognize it belongs on this list.