Warriors of Heaven and Earth (Tiāndì Yīngxióng 天地英雄)

Warriors of Heaven and Earth is a 2003 Chinese adventure film set on the Silk Road in Táng China. The film really, really unfolds like a Celestial Empire adventure: there is an adventuring party, with different professions (soldier, caravan guard, outlaw, Buddhist monk); there is a mission: safely bring the relics of Śākyamuni to Cháng'ān; there are the bad guys: the Göktürks; there are several pivotal scenes set in as many locales: the fight in the oasis city, the fight in the gorges, the flight through the gulley and the secret cemetery, crossing the Gobi Desert, the last stand in the abandoned fortress. The last scene involves an amazing array of different Chinese weapons, including firearms. You don't want to miss this film, it's truly a TCE player's dream come true. There's also a rival adventuring party to the main protagonists'... this almost feels OSR!

The film features gritty, manoeuvres-heavy combat scenes without wire-fu, and no spells or other supernatural powers [SPOILER: except at the very end], so again it is very much in line with what a player of the Basic Role-Playing System would enjoy, as opposed to other styles of role-playing.

The film has spawned a MMORPG in China, which is testament to its high "role-playability".

Oh, and did I mention the film features the delicious  Zhào Wēi  ^_^


White Bone Demon (Báigǔjīng 白骨精)

Despite their name and their appearance, White Bone Demons are not demons nor undead, but a humanoid race with translucent skin and organs. In a distance, only their skeleton can be seen, hence the misnomer. This is usually enough to cause most opponents flee in terror. Upon close inspection, and  in broad daylight, the translucent skin and organs can be dimly seen, and the white bone demon is exposed for what it really is: a mere humanoid creature.

A white bone demoness features prominently in the Journey to the West. She is constantly trying to confuse the protagonists so that they fail their quest, using all kinds of tricks, mainly illusions, since Báigǔjīng can create illusionary faces to appear as normal people (and then hide the rest of their translucent body using loose habiliments). A white bone demon will usually avoid hand-to-hand combat, relying on its tricks to harrass or drive away opponents.

Báigǔjīng inhabit the wastelands between China and the Barbarian lands that surround her.

STR 3D6 (10-11)
CON 3D6 (10-11)
SIZ 2D6+6 (13)
INT 3D6 (10-11)
POW 3D6 (10-11)
DEX 3D6 (10-11)
APP 2D6 (7)

Move : 8
Hit Points: 12
Qì: 10
Damage Bonus: None
Armour: None
Allegiance: Roll 1D100, 01-60: Mārā's Path 2D10+30; 61-00: Heterodoxy 6D4+6
Morale: Leader

Dodge 30%, Invisible in the dark 80%, Knowledge (Region [Own]) 75%, Language ([Majority language of region]) INT×5%, Resist Cold 60%, Sense 50%.

Battle Magic: Illusion 80% [limited to own face, see above]

Mêlée weapon 30%, damage: per weapon+db (per weapon)

Hit Location Table: Use Humanoid


RuneQuest 6: Firearms

In terms of a rules engine to power your Celestial Empire games, I have already mentioned RuneQuest 6 as a viable alternative to the Basic Role-Playing 'Big Gold Book'.

RuneQuest 6 has been available for a few months now, and I really wish I had the time to write an in-depth study of the consequences of using RuneQuest 6 as the engine of your TCE games. Some day I hope I'll be able to post something.

In the meanwhile, I really urge you to download the free Firearms supplement for RuneQuest 6 on the Design Mechanism's web-site.

Page 12 should be of particular interest for pre-European contact games, or for encounters with very early Portuguese or Dutch colonists.