Hearts of Wulin, an RPG of wuxia melodrama, funded in less than an hour.
Driven by the characters’ duties, desires, and entanglements with other characters, Hearts of Wulin draws on films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Chinese wuxia TV series like Legend of the Condor Heroes, and Chinese martial arts novels from the second half of the twentieth century. The game focuses on letting players tell stories steeped in wuxia melodrama, giving them roles as skilled martial artists in a world of rival clans, conspiracies, and obligations. Romance is as dangerous as a blade – and just as often hidden. Everyone has ties to factions, loves they can’t express, and secrets whose possible revelation will shake them to their core.
Launched on May 14th, 2019, the Kickstarter funded in less than an hour. Since then the stretch goals that it has met include full color interiors, enhanced material on the supernatural, an essay on combat description from the co-hosts of the Jianghu Hustle podcast; and an expansion using the system to explore turn-of-the-century San Francisco from designer Banana Chan. Upcoming stretch goals include settings and materials for Joseon dynasty Korea, Musketeer-era France, and cyberpunk.
Hearts of Wulin comes from The Gauntlet Gaming Community. For several years the Gauntlet has offered a massive online gaming calendar covering story games, OSR, and beyond. The community features multiple podcasts (including ENnie winner Fear of a Black Dragon), active moderated forums, a monthly zine (Codex), blog (featuring ENnie winner Age of Ravens). Hearts of Wulin co-authors Agatha Cheng and Lowell Francis have a deep love of the wuxia genre. Agatha co-hosts the Asians Represents Podcast (@aznsrepresent), while Lowell co-hosts The Gauntlet Podcast.
Playtest materials are available. An early version, the playtest packet includes only a fraction of the support text that will be in the final product. Nevertheless, it provides a tantalizing and addictive sense of what the final game will be like, and anyone with a basic understanding of how Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) games work will be able to run a short campaign of Hearts of Wulin.
“Hearts of Wulin is a joyous exercise in capturing the heart and soul of a beloved media genre in the the sublime form of a well-designed roleplaying game. Lowell and Agatha have seamlessly blended action, romance, humor, pathos, and a deep appreciation of source material ranging from classic Shaw Brothers films to modern serialized TV dramas, to produce a dynamic play experience that’ll make great stories even if you’re only passingly familiar with those works.” – Jim Crocker,JimLikesGames.com
The campaign ends Sunday, June 16th.
The Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gauntlet/hearts-of-wulin
For more about the Gauntlet Gaming Community, check out gauntlet-rpg.com
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