Saturday, January 8, 2011

Feng Shui and Savage Worlds: Two great tastes, together at last!

Outside of my potential library game and old school brainstorming, I've been recently sitting down with my non-gaming friends and trying to determine a game that they would like to play. They all have assorted background with roleplaying, both in tabletop and video game format and are mostly looking to have some fun and kick some ass. My friend Harrison isn't a fan of fantasy fiction and D&D by extension, so I've been thinking about games in more modern, but still somewhat fantastical settings. We first tried making characters for a Deadlands game, which is one of my favorite settings and the home of my most successful campaign ever (4 sessions! Whoo boy!) But once characters were made, I had a hard time coming up with any adventure hooks. I guess it was one of those cases of being more excited about the idea of running Deadlands than the actual prep involved.

So, after a week or so of refocusing, I picked up a new line of inspiration. I had gone over to hang out with a big pile of DVDs after my finals were over and ended up putting on Big Trouble in Little China, which no one else had seen. Now, alongside Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silverado, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Desperado, Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite movies of all time, one that I could watch over and over again. Everyone else seemed to have a blast watching it, which got me thinking. Feng Shui is basically the Big Trouble in Little China RPG, right?

Compare and contrast

Like many people, I'm not a big fan of the auctioneer-style initiative system and the 2056 Juncture in the established core book, just because I don't really like the idea of magic bug carapace technology as a normal everyday thing, even in the future. But I wasn't comfortable enough with the system to modify the existing Arcanowave system or start making my own Archetypes and Schticks.

And so, I started working on a weird hybrid system, combining Feng Shui with my most comfortable system, Savage Worlds. The two actually share a fair amount of common ground, from the broad skills to the differentiation between major characters and mooks to the effects-based sorcery powers, so conversion wasn't a difficult step. But there were also a lot of elements from Feng Shui that I wanted to keep, as well as a fair amount of other changes to both of the systems (does it really make sense for a high-flying Hong Kong action game to keep meticulous track of ammunition?).

Hopefully, we'll be making characters tonight after watching The Rundown. So far, everyone seems super enthusiastic about it and it's given me a chance to revisit a bunch of my favorite Hong Kong and Hollywood action movies. Once I've gotten more of a handle on the individual parts, I'll start posting my conversion stuff.


  1. Feng Shui is one of those games I wish I would have picked up back in the day. Good luck with the new venture. It's an awesome genre.

  2. Full-on on ditching ammo tracking. Interested to see the final product you come up with, it would be awesome to incorporate a few more "cinematic" rules to our Savage Shadowrun game when it starts up again.