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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Tianxia, also known as Cathy, occupies a tremendous stretch of variable terrain far to the eastern reaches of the continent.

    Its citizens proclaim it as the single greatest nation on the face of the planet. Certainly, it can be said to be the most cultured. Old when the precursors of the other civilisations were young, Tianxia has endured as a single unbroken empire of great sophistication, unparalleled development, enviable invention and tremendous beauty.

    Unbowed by external conquests and expansionist neighbours, all who have claimed the mantle of the Mandate of Heaven have assimilated to the culture of Tianxia, fully integrating as a Cathyian.

    Its borders hold a wealth of abundance, both in terms of scholarly knowledge and text and in terms of material wealth; and population. It is home to at least 63 ethnicities; the single greatest concentration in any country.

    Due to the directive of a forward thinking warlord, all ethnicities possess a united script, and a common language. Due to other progressive thinkers, all ethnicities must retain their own cultures, their own traditions and their own language; this was as much to do with preserving the individuality of these peoples as much as dividing them along cultural lines.
    Despite this, many minority ethnicities, so called due to their perceived smaller population compared to the majority Tangs, occupy several (key) administrative and governmental positions; Tianxia society is integrated to the extent that these ethnicities would rub shoulders, converse and not care whether one person is this ethnicity or some other ethnicity.
    This tolerance also extends to foreigners and other races; there are known halfling, gnome, dwarven and elven enclaves within Cathy.

    Tianxia's influence is felt not only within its own borders but across its neighbours as well. So much so that the extent of borrowing of its culture, traditions and philosophies by neighbouring countries has bordered on outright stealing on several occassions.

    Due to a policy of non-aggression and non-interference in external affairs, the Cathyians are content with influencing others culturally and commercially. Many trading consortiums and cartels originate from the vast expanse that is Cathy.

    Cathyians are generally atheists, but believe in philosophies that venerate filial piety, commitment to the greater good, and the balance of the natural, the mundane and the cosmic. A major religion revolves around what is known as the Celestial Bureaucracy.

    Despite its large population, education is mandatory and compulsory for children of schooling age, 5 years to at least age 12. Admittance into the state-run bureaucracy must be gained through an Entrance Exam that evaluates a person's knowledge and dedication.
    Due to some degree on part of the Dowager Empress and a certain Dowager Princess, the empire has become egalitarian to the extent of having women be more or less equal to men; and most families share the power divide.

    The Tang are the product of an ethnic mix between several ethnicities; their eyes are large and commonly a hazel or brown color that lack epicanthic folds and their hair is straight and commonly brown or black. They are not required to cut their hair and most wear it into the top knot fashion.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-08-23 at 10:57 AM.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    The Dowager Princess Annalee Aoina-Taihuang


    By xion-cc

    The Dowager Princess Annalee Aoina-Tianren is the widowed spouse of the late Prince Aethyrialen Elathian Tianqian Taihuang; who sacrificed himself to save his princess, their unborn children and the villagers of a small town from the purging fires of a rampaging red dragon. The dragon was slain but not without loss; the princess was scarred in one eye, becoming blind in that eye, and lost her beloved.

    She mourned for a week and her heart still felt heavy and tears still rose unbidden to her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. Her otherwise formidable mother-in-law, an elven princess now dowager empress, was a great support, caring for her emotionally and tending to her needs.

    For the sake of her children, she could not persist as a broken shell of a woman, and with a steely resolve and determination and with loving memory to her husband warmed her heart to the suffering of her populace and their dilemmas. As a princess, she was not required to maintain the affairs of state, but for her beloved, for her mother-in-law, for her children, it was something that she herself must do.

    Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. She became the People's Princess; personally donating her money and her time to the poor, the needy, the orphaned.

    Annalee Aoina came to Cathy with her merchant parents and siblings from a far western country. They initially settled within a Free Economic Zone, so set up to encourage and facilitate trade between the various nations of the planet.
    Initially, she refused to go to school for she couldn't speak the language, and when her parents adamantly commanded her to attend, she pretended to go to school but would run off with the other foreign nationals and engage in limited thieving.

    In time, she would learn a smattering of Tanghua from these street urchins and would insist upon entering bureaucratic service but for now she was as happy as any young adult could be. That is of course, until he met her prince; where upon her heart did somersaults within her chest.

    The young prince, the half-elven scion of the Dowager Empress, was leading a procession through this particular ward of this city to commemorate a great service performed by one of its citizens.

    Shyly hiding within sight as her friends pressed forward to exclaim praises, Annalee did spy upon the handsome half-elf as he walked beside his mother in the palanquin. As their procession walked down the street, she grew bolder and crept forward to her friends, and it was that moment that the young prince spied her looking at him.
    Some angels say that love at first sight exists.
    He smiled at her and threw her a precious chrysanthemum and a golden necklace and stole from her a kiss on the cheek, boldly saying that she may steal one back from him at the right time.

    Their love would endure for an age, but that is a story for another time.


    The Dowager Princess Annalee Aoina-Taihuang
    Expert 1/Rogue 2/Wizard 11
    Str 12, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 16
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-08-23 at 11:19 AM.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    interesting fluff.

    this actually sounds like it could be a chinese based campaign setting that is actually worth the paper it's printed on.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Wow! Thank you awfully for the kind words! :)

    Annalee still needs statistics, and more descriptions may please people, so I'll go get brainstorming and get cracking!
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    What do players do in this setting? Court Intrigue?
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Can do; adventuring, trade expeditions, exploration - overland or by sea. Generally what adventurers get up to.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    My general problem with a lot of Chinese based campaign settings is that they generally copy the form, not the essence of it. While it's fine if you just wanted to play something thoroughly exotic and orientalized, as someone who grew up with that culture (and a large part of Chinese pop culture), a lot of it just doesn't quite work for me as an authentic game. It feels like they were basically written as normal D&D but with different clothes, and that's it.

    The exception to this is Qin, which is actually quite excellent.

    I would like to see this campaign pick up more focus though, since it will help funnel your creative design into a single focused direction.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    But there's a big difference between a setting that is genuinly "historically chinese" and a setting that "looks chinese to people who don't know anything".

    And I think when it comes to fantasy worlds, they are never even remotely similar to the true historical source, even if done by people who grew up in the area centuries later.
    Samurai were not the honorable warriors who would sacrifice their lives without hesitation and often terrorized the commoners.
    Same goes for european knights, who claimed to be valiant and honorable, but often were just poor lowly nobles who had a horse, they couldn't really afford.
    Or the vikings everyone knows about were brutal raiders and slavers.
    When it comes to "historical" fantasy, about everything is much more made up stuff than historical accuracy. If japanese people would make a samurai rpg, it would probably even be worse from a historical perspective. I know about really terrible examples of european knights created by Germans.

    But I have to say, when I played Jade Empire a couple of weeks ago, I was quite disappointed. Because it had chinese looking architecture and chinese sounding names, but felt just like a re-textured Neverwinter Nights.

    I think it really depends on, if you want to create a "traditional" western RPG setting that includes some asian asthetic elements, or if you want it to feel like a genuine asian fantasy setting.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    My general problem with a lot of Chinese based campaign settings is that they generally copy the form, not the essence of it. While it's fine if you just wanted to play something thoroughly exotic and orientalized, as someone who grew up with that culture (and a large part of Chinese pop culture), a lot of it just doesn't quite work for me as an authentic game. It feels like they were basically written as normal D&D but with different clothes, and that's it.

    The exception to this is Qin, which is actually quite excellent.

    I would like to see this campaign pick up more focus though, since it will help funnel your creative design into a single focused direction.
    Hmm, I'm attempting to integrate fantasy specific concepts, more or less, into the setting; there'd be inter-racial love and marriage, for reals this time, actually between different races, and inter-racial interaction in a platonic or adversarial sense, demi-humans a la elves, dwarves, gnomes et al, and anything else that is interesting and fits within the setting.
    Would this mean that the setting would be copying the form rather than the essence of a Chinese based campaign? as an historic, true to life setting, would not feature 'demi-humans' prominently or at all, nor perhaps would it include mythology and mythological figures in a literal and symbolic sense.
    Would this then mean the setting is largely exotic and orientalised rather than authentic?

    What is Qin about and what kind of game is it? Low power, wuxia, et al?

    Thanks for the encouragement, mate! I've hit a creative stumbling block but have some ideas as to how to proceed :). Suggestions and ideas are always welcomed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    But there's a big difference between a setting that is genuinly "historically chinese" and a setting that "looks chinese to people who don't know anything".
    I agree with this.

    And I think when it comes to fantasy worlds, they are never even remotely similar to the true historical source, even if done by people who grew up in the area centuries later.
    Yes, when imported into D&D or other rules-sets, the inspiration seems to undergo some rather hefty restructuring and embellishment; some more examples would be the titan, medusa and pegasus as presented in the Monster Manual.

    But I have to say, when I played Jade Empire a couple of weeks ago, I was quite disappointed. Because it had chinese looking architecture and chinese sounding names, but felt just like a re-textured Neverwinter Nights.

    I think it really depends on, if you want to create a "traditional" western RPG setting that includes some asian asthetic elements, or if you want it to feel like a genuine asian fantasy setting.
    What do you think of this setting so far, from what little you have read? I'll like to work more on it, as the source material, ancient China, is both highly interesting and inspirational.
    To see the world in a grain of sand
    and Heaven in a wild flower
    To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    and eternity in an hour.

    - William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Tian Xia is a cool name for a campaign setting and very appropriate for a place that resembles China. However, that's what the Pathfinder RPG calls its version of China.

    Have a look.

    There's more info on Paizo's (the publisher) website.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    Tianxia or Tian Xia means "under heaven" in Chinese. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianxia

    Qin takes place during the Warring States period in Chinese history, where Qin is trying to subjugate the other sovereigns to form a unified China. The setting is wuxia-inspired with heavy focus on the world of martial arts. Essentially, most player characters would be considered outsiders, because adventures don't really fit in to mainstream Chinese society. At least that's the feel I got from reading it long ago. It doesn't have "magic" in the D&D sense of the word. Instead, it has four mystical ways: External Alchemy, Internal Alchemy, Divination and Exorcism which is similar to concepts that existed (and still exist) in Chinese culture.

    Qin is actually very inspirational and you should really try to get a hold of it. I could compile a list of other books I would recommend, although I have to warn you that most of my sources are centered on Southeast Asia rather than China specifically.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Tianxia, a Far Eastern CS

    It is home to at least 63 ethnicities; the single greatest concentration in any country.
    Cute. Why not 55/56?

    Cathy
    Are you sure you don't want to call it "Cathay"... the name Cathy could lead to unintended amusement at the gaming table.

    Due to the directive of a forward thinking warlord, all ethnicities possess a united script, and a common language. Due to other progressive thinkers, all ethnicities must retain their own cultures, their own traditions and their own language; this was as much to do with preserving the individuality of these peoples as much as dividing them along cultural lines.
    Would it be correct to assume that their "other languages" are all written in the same national script similar to the Cantonese/Mandarin different pronunciation/similar writing phenomenon.

    Tanghua
    Another cute touch naming the language (major ethnic group-language (hua)). You speak, Chinese or know a bit of it perhaps?

    --
    Sources??: Exalted is an interesting Eastern-themed setting.
    Kalen the Kobold Paladin by Sneak ; Avatar by Shirwill Jack. (Thanks!)

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