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Tabletop Game / Legends of the Wulin

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Legends of the Wulin is a Wuxia Role-Playing Game published by Eos Press, and a successor to the Weapons Of The Gods RPG. It is designed to showcase the larger-than-life heroes, the variety of kung fu techniques and the high power level of Wuxia - "Ranked Fighters" (AKA "Xia") can literally take down dozens of nameless mooks right out the gate, and character abilities deal with destiny, and the fate of all of China. Unlike Weapons of the Gods however, the powers of heaven and hell do not make their presence directly felt, leaving destiny in the hands of humans.

Legends of the Wulin contains examples of the following tropes

  • Amazon Brigade: The Blood Wind Cult. More esoterically, the Resplendent Phoenix Society, who downplay their Action Girl traits in favor of more particularly feminine strengths (but can still kick ass with the best of them).
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Sutra internal technique
  • Anti-Hero: The Heterodox Factions as a whole.
  • Arc Number: Four and Five. Factions are four sets of four, there are four Saint Beasts (maybe five). Four directions and the central plains, five great philosophies, five main relationships, five derivative relationships, five elements, five ranks, and five character archetypes.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Baneful humans are martial artists who have chosen to walk a very cynical path that rejects the natural order as anything more than Heaven rigging the game. As a result, they reject all Virtues other than Ferocity and Force, relying on nobody and nothing except themselves. They are still substantially better people on average than Deviants, and they're one of the only people who can master Corrupt Chi rather than the other way around; it's possible to greet them in a more friendly manner to learn, though any self-respecting Baneful human is the very definition of a Sink or Swim Mentor.
  • The Atoner: Chipped Blade, a former bandit who is trying to leave her past behind.
  • Battle Couple: A possibility, even has mechanical support.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: In the Tale of the Three Maiden's Answers, three concubines search for ways to preserve their value to the king. The first makes herself a wise and reliable advisor to the king, the second developed techniques for preserving and enhancing her beauty, and the third joined the Wulin and became a powerful warrior. The book mentions that how it turned out for each of them depends on the point the storyteller wishes to make.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Due to Daoist beliefs, it's not healthy for a woman to be stronger than her mate; it can cause sickness if her Yin is stronger than his Yang. Therefore, smart men don't bed women they can't best.
    • At the same time, it is healthy for the man's partner to have a strong Yin. As the book says, "the ideal lover is a woman who he can just barely beat in battle, or who can sometimes be beaten and sometimes not." Meanwhile, it is healthy a woman seeks out as strong a male as possible, at least her equal. She stands little risk of his yang overwhelming her yin (there must be at least a 3 rank difference, which is a massive power gap, between them in order for this to occur). This paints a picture where martial artists seek out their approximate equals when they look for love.
  • Best Served Cold: The Hundred Ghost Faction is made of this.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Eyes of the Fiery Raptor, which boosts combat abilities at the cost of self-imposed ripples. Transformation of Dark Jade works similarly, allowing the user to surpass his own physical limits through careful application of poison.
  • Chef of Iron: There's a floating restaurant in Notably Picturesque run by a legendary warrior who has mixed cooking with kung fu and the Secret Arts, known only as the God of Cookery. If you seek him out, you could learn things like how to use food to influence someone's chi, or train in his kung fu style that uses kitchen utensils with deadly results.
  • Church Militant: The Priest archetype in general, and the Little Forest Sect and Fire Doctrine in particular.
  • Combat Medic: The Doctor archetype - like all Player Characters, they know kung fu.
    • In some sense, this also applies to Priests and Courtiers, since there can be Chi Conditions of many different kinds, and any of these archetypes can treat them with the right techniques.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Definitely possible with the after-combat Rippling roll. In fact...
    • Demonstrated (and lampshaded) in the writer's comedic game Nihao Honey Year 2[1] in a fight between Blaze the Mighty and Cracked Bell. Inverted because Blaze was the one who instilled friendship in CB, even though she lost.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Daoist sexual techniques can have magical effects. Including altering your partner's gender (although, doing this without consent is considered a major violation of trust).
  • Elemental Powers: Divided among five main types, with three others that sit outside the system. Each type of non-normal chi counts double for its own particular style, and Corrupt and Enlightened Chi count double for ALL elements.
    • Wood Chi, which promotes the growth and health of the user
    • Fire Chi, which focuses on the Burn status effect and speed
    • Metal Chi, which grants the user incredible resilience and physical strength
    • Earth Chi, which focuses on the Shock status effect and Chi regeneration
    • Water Chi, which focuses on the Freeze status effect and weakening the opponent
    • Normal Chi, which can fuel any elemental style, along with the others, though not as well as the focused types
    • Corrupt Chi, which focuses on the Poison status effect and causing extra damage
    • Enlightened Chi, which comes only from meditation and adherence to the tenets of a religion or philosophy
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: All player characters know kung fu.
  • Fallen Hero: Deviants, martial artists who have succumb to the allure of the Corrupt styles and techniques. This can include such wonderful practices as devouring people's corpses to enhance their chi.
  • The Four Gods: There are heroes who name themselves after each of them, including the fifth, Golden Dragon, which is meant to be reserved for the Emperor himself!
  • Hero Antagonist: The Liquid Metal Delegates are a fully Chivalrous faction in terms of their Virtues, adhering to the virtues of Righteousness and Loyaltynote . However, as they serve the Empire rather than the Wulin, they are considered a Heterodox sect and are somewhat antagonistic to the world of martial arts.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Abbot Spider Wolf
  • Insult Backfire: Sword Bastard took his name from an epithet in the Dying Speech of a hero he killed.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Silver Fox Bandit.
  • Kamehame Hadouken: One interpretation of the Infinite Universe technique available to Daoist monks of the Dragon Well Sect, which lets you treat unarmed attacks as simultaneously ranged.
  • Ki Manipulation
  • Kill It with Fire: The Fire Doctrine (You don't say?), and the Fire Sutra internal technique.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Glacier Heart Transcendent Style. Sadly, it's also a Corrupt style that will level the user eventually wishing to turn the world into a cold, frozen void...
  • King of the Homeless: The Beggar King, head of the Beggar Fraternity. Interestingly, this position is open to anybody who proves him or herself when the current one dies or retires.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Any Priest character, some Scholars.
  • Lady of War: Fragrant Jasmine
  • Large Ham: The "Booming Deity's Voice" technique is perfect for this.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: One way to cultivate a student's chi is by sleeping with them. (Don't overdo it, though, or the overdose will make them sick.)
  • Making a Splash: Rage of the Dragon Kings, which lets you use chi to transform available water into a weapon.
  • Martial Pacifist: The Subtle Force style.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Not chi, which is more or less practical magic. Other powers that might be supernatural, like a priest declaring something to be a supernatural event or the elusive Heaven Hunters are deliberately left ambiguous.
  • Out with a Bang: Sex in certain configurations (homosexual male interaction without the right ability, sex between a stronger female and weaker male, or sex between a weaker female and a male who is too strong) is dangerous to the health of one or both partners.
  • Pirate: The Southern Dragons clan. They are considered a Heterodox faction because while they raid ships, take over towns/cities on the rivers, and defy the government, they allow safe passage to ships that give them tribute, rule the places they take fairly and protectively, and their Wulin behave chivalrously.
  • Prescience by Analysis: The basis of the Scholar's Secret Art, Predictionism.
  • Prehensile Hair: The Lashing Black Silk Wires technique. Can be used with anything part that has hair, from head hair, to beards, to particularly bushy eyebrows.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: The Eagle Claws technique of the Eagle Talons allows your unarmed attacks to also count as attacks with sabers. Similarly, the Sword-Heart Skill of the Heavenly Sword Alliance allows your unarmed attacks also count as sword attacks and vice versa.
  • Rule of Cool: One of the game's guiding principles is "Your character gets to be cool".
  • She Is the King: The "Beggar King" can be male or female; the title remains the same regardless of the gender of the person holding it.
  • Shock and Awe: The Heaven's Lightning internal technique.
  • Shout-Out: Aside from the direct references, there are some in-game references.
    • The doctor's secret arts mentions a beetle that causes people's skin to burn in sunlight.
    • One of the secret techniques is Buddha's Palm. Yes, it's pretty much taken straight from the movie.
    • The Yun Clan's ancestral weapon, the Snowstorm Saber, is effectively identical to Wind's Snowy Saber.
    • The Heaven Sword Alliance's makeup is very similar to the Five Mountain Sword Sect Alliance from Jin Yong's "The Smiling Proud Wanderer" and it's leader, Sword Spirit, shares a name with a Storm Riders character.
    • The legendary warrior Lonely Devil Dugu is based entirely off of Jin Yong's Dugu Qiubai character.
    • To say nothing of Unstained Lotus Mastery, which kills the opponent by causing his internal organs to explode. Unstained Lotus Mastery is much less messy about it, though.
    • The game's focus on awesomeness and singlehandedly trashing armies is quite reminiscent of Exalted, another tabletop game.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: While mainstream society is just as sexist as it was historically, the Wulin is presented as an idealized society, where members are judged by their deeds, rather than their sex, ethnicity or wealth. The game recommends that for female PCs, gender prejudice should only be as much of a problem as the player wants it to be.
  • Super Mode: Many of the styles have some technique that can be maintained at a discount for subsequent rounds. These range from increasing your dice pool, to turning your flesh to steel, to empowering your body with purified chi, to true unity with your sword, and so on.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Internal styles are basically this, granting supernatural abilities in exchange for Chi that can be used for various martial attacks.
  • World of Badass: The Wulin, where even the beggar on the street could secretly be a master of the martial arts.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Apparently, in Shen Zhou, Yin + Yang = Lightning.
    • Sexual techniques rely on the generation of energy through the union of yin and yang. (Doing this with a homosexual pairing is tricky, but possible.)

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of The Wulin