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The Unplayables

You would not believe the stupid ideas I had since I started playing Feng Shui. Note that, even before playing, after a first reading of the rules, I already had stupid ideas...

One of the first such ideas -- if you except making a campaign loosely based on Mars Attacks! -- came during a character creation session with a bunch of friends. Mostly from the fear of archetype monopoly.

Hence "The Unplayables", characters you don't want to have in your game...

Old Boys

This if chronologically the first. You just can't imagine the cold sweats when considering a team entirely composed of Old Masters! Okay, now you can...

Such thoughts immediately conjure up images of old cronies who spend their time bickering, telling war stories, complaining about socio-medical troubles (rhumatisms, bad back, children who never come, etc.). And, what's more, mop up mooks by the truckload!

In this case, the entreprising and courageous GM can start with a scenario based in a home for the elderly, which just happens to be a powerful, albeit minor, feng shui site. And of course, one of the factions (maybe the Ascended) got wind of it and tries to control it. By force if necessary. And then, caught in the Secret War, our retired heroes must play the Great Escape each time they want to go fight the Hordes of Evil, and avoid Mr. Frieda, the East-German nurse.

This scheme can easily be adapted to other archetypes. Other Old Somethings: the retired Marine who was in Normandy on D-Day, the hidden daughter of Mata-Hari, who spied for the USSR, the USA, France and Western Borzmeghistan; the amnesic Demon, who forgot not to grow old; or even the one young Medic, who ran into the whole affair while looking for the ancient runaways...

Blowing up Summer Camp

Scrappy Kids. Lots of Scrappy Kids. In summer camp, but also in a scout excursion, a catholic boarding school, or more simply a street gang.

Twelve years, rollerblades and an attitude. Three words: flee! run! hide!

Flee, Triads! Run, Lotus Eaters! Hide, Cyberdemons from the future! Here come the 85th Street Lions! Nothing is sacred anymore: your nice Armani suits will be target practice for paint-ball guns and your European limos paint-sprayed up to the antenna!

Scrappy Kids have their good points -- player-wise, that is. They also have to deal with angry parents, sadistic teachers, nosy clergymen, getting home by midnight, etc. And, if two FBI agents have trouble convincing the masses of a global conspiration, imagine the credibility of your average teenager...

The Boys' Band

This was in September 1997, at the Lausanne gaming convention. I was mastering a game of Tigres Volants (my own, home-made sci-fi RPG), which bears only a slight relation with Feng Shui. Then, a bunch of friends, from Valais but quite nice anyway, came to ask if they could play along. They wanted to play a Boys' Band! I must confess: I freaked and ran away. This year, if they do it again, I'll make a special Feng Shui... Maybe it will calm them. Maybe.

Anyway, take a bunch of pop-stars (I saw a "Superstar" and "Playboy" archetype somewhere on the net) and throw 'em against some sorcerers, cyborgs and/or triad scum. After all, characters in Anime do it all the time...

The whole thing could start right in the middle of a concert, during the shooting of a sopa opera episode, or even during some kind of promotional thing. Whatever. Here come the bad guys, who start shooting people, kidnap a couple of relatives and go away. Can you spell "pursuit"? Of course, them being stars have probably next to no combat skills worth mentionning.

If everything turn fine (i.e. they don't get killed, mained, or worse: permanently scarred), they could even try to use this to boost their popularity. Which in turn might earn them an silly marketing plans, involving even sillier spandex suits... And then, of course, when you are a boys' band, don't expect your "friends" to hang near when you're out-fashioned!...

Family Business

Not the Mob: worse. Very freely adaptated from the Car Wars comics, itself inspired by the eponymous boardgame, where an average American family on holiday decided to take part in Great Race across hostile territories, chock full o' savage hordes and other road bumps.

In this case, it implies having the PCs playing members of one family: Mom and Dad being Everyman Heroes, with a bunch of Scrappy Kids (guest stars could include the Techie uncle or the Old Master granddad...), going on vacation on the terrorist-ridden cruise, in the holiday camp during a civil war, or inherit the family estate with lots of feng shui.

In short, here comes Bubba Redneck and family with his worn-out station wagon, smack in the middle of some major disaster or another.That is, when they don't make up one themselves: Junior could be kleptomaniac and fancy stealing a Voodoo artefact -- central piece for the local sorceror's Master Plan -- during a trip to Haiti...

A variant would be a Family-Addams look-alike, including Sorcerers, Supernatural Creatures, Ninjas and other fencing Martial Artists... It's a bit less funny, as these kind of people are usually more up to par with hordes of mooks and similar problems. Unless, of course, the GM decides that their new neighbours happen to be a Ascended-controlled school for Magic Cops...

Darkness Uprising

... or "Barnum takes a day off"!

PCs are circus freaks. Take your pick: Supernatural Creatures, Abominations, Ghosts, etc.

Either their boss/owner is a powerful Sorcerer, complete with megalomania and tyrannical habits, or they are just regulars in a fairgrounds; who knows, they even might have bought it themselves to get some peace (as well as a few bucks). As it happens, they set up on a patch of land which... you know the rest!

Every flock has its black sheep: one of the, er, folks in the circus could have an irresistible craving for human flesh, or a similarly annoing social stigma. This might draw to the scene the aforementioned FBI agents, who are bound to investigate the case as a horde of undead come crashing the party. Characters would be well-advised to lock them in the Ghost Train while they roll the bones with the skeleton menace...

In the most improbable case of the GM wishes to tone down sillyness a bit and/or have less socially-challenged characters, he may allow contorsionists (Martial Artists), sharpshooters (Killer), beastmasters (maybe a Transformed Animal?) or even a true Sorcerer...

Vengeance is ours

This next group reeks of superheroics. Badly. If you can't stand the smell, go relieve your stomach some place else. Because here come the Masked Avengers; notice the plural. The International Silly Suit, Grotesque Mask and Big, Unpractical Cape Fair! (There should be a special shtick for Masked Avengers: "Not Getting Stuck In Costume"...) Well, it may appeal to fetishists out there.

A nasty GM (arent't they all?) would take great care to knot everyone's Dramatic Hook so that, at some point, they become antagonistic. Just for the fun of it...

May I Borrow Your Microphone?

If you think one Spy is trouble, try getting a whole team of them! Preferably of opposite sides, of course!

I must confess: this one has been taken straight out of a French movie entitled "Les Barbouzes" (1964; directed by Georges Lautner, dialogues by Michel Audiard; with Lino Ventura, Mireille Darc, Bernard Blier, Francis Blanche and many others). It is one of my favourites, but I guess non-French-speakers will have a hard time 1) finding it, 2) understanding it...

A fast synopsis: spies from competing coutries (Cold War time, folks...) try to gain back dangerous weapon patents from a beautiful widow in an isolated Bavarian castle. Which boils down to: "Seduce, kidnap, and marry if necessary!" Or would, if various Asian mooks would not crash down the party and start a huge fight...


As if Feng Shui wasn't silly enough... Well, in my opinion, it is not! Or maybe it is my habit of taking everything second degree... Anyway, everything here is so unofficial that if anyone from the Official Team gets a word of it, I'll probably get shot by a horde of mooks with AK-47s.

Retour aux pages Feng Shui

Feng Shui

C'est la guerre!

Les Injouables

The Unplayables
(in English)

Harmonie et Archétypes

Sbires Express

Saint Academy

Les règles

C'est quoi ce cirque (scénario)

Scénarii de base:

Opération Lederhosen

Il était deux petits navires

La Menace Subliminale

La Campagne Zombies & Zombulateurs:

Ma castagne au Canada

Le Pédalosaure nouveau est arrivé

Le Lotus sifflera trois fois

Area 1851

Le feu au lac

La malédiction du Lotus Éternel

Side note

I know that my way of playing Feng Shui can seem shocking to purists. After all, the game is supposed to simulate Hong Kong action movies, in essence serious, tragic even. Unfortunately, no run-of-the-mill roleplayer this side of the Atlantic can play seriously in this kind of setting -- rule, universe and all.

Well, anyway I can't.

So, this article should not be considered as gospel if you really wish to keep a tragic accent to your campaigns. You have been warned

Commentaires: Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Ou alors venez troller sur le forum...