Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Looking forward to more about China

The east is the least understood and least played setting in RPGs. So I have a special props for Qin: The Warring States for making a game about the Warring States period. I realized that part of the focus I will do in my Low Tech direction, (there was only one vote to a particular direction and it is towards Low Tech) would be to cultivate more information about Ancient China.

I've gotten back into studying my Putong Hua. My 8 week year old son happens to find it funny when I practice to him. I'm particularly influenced me is the talks by Patricia Kuhl: the linguistics genius of babies. So I'm getting the little guy primed with Putong Hua sounds and speech pattern (all that Anime subtitles growing up helped developed an ear for Japanese and Chinese, particularly Ranma since we had a lot of it in Chinese with english subtitles).

Right now downloading all the free history books and wiki articles on Ancient China. Confucius, being very Secularist Humanist friendly (contrary to how it may be interpreted, it has strong a humanist and nerd philosophy).

I'm looking more for Household Life. That JSTOR subscription is looking more tempting, good thing the last time I had that subscription I downloaded all the material related to ancient history (of all cultures). I still have some JSTOR articles about marriage statistics and culture in ancient china (can't remember what era).

I've checked GURPS china and sadly, I cannot recommend it. China seems like just another setting where you just have to memorize another roster of dieties. My opinion is that, given how Sun Tzu wrote, the affairs of the supernatural were something quietly dismissed by the academic and technical elite.

"Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.

"Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is FOREKNOWLEDGE.

5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.

6. Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men."

Sun Tzu

I think the approach for a Chinese setting requires an understanding of difference in values. I think a Tour-guide book to China can very well do a better job than a gaming book. Professors Hammond's "From Yaho to Mao: 5000 years of chinese History" is a great place to start also.


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