D100 Dread Family Secrets

Elfmaids & Octopi (EMO) is one of my favourite blogs. Its author posts very often, almost daily, and each and every post is oozing with re-usable ideas, usually on the gonzo side. As a result, I usually steal from EMO for my science fantasy or Second Age Gloranthan games, but certainly not for my historically accurate East Asian games.

Yet the latest EMO blog entry, titled D100 Dread Family Secrets, can probably be enjoyed in a semi-historical Chinese game, what with the importance of kin and ancestor worship.

I am presenting a slightly revised version of the table below that takes into account the East Asian background of The Celestial Empire:

Prominent clans/NPCs/PCs of your campaign game may warrant a 1D100 roll once (or even twice!) on the following table to determine a dread family secret:

D100 | Dread Family Secret
01 | Parents are siblings, family history of incest, your own sibling loves you
02 | Bànyāo ancestor in family (see p112 of The Celestial Empire)
03 | Necromancer ancestor after descendants bodies to be reborn
04 | Hǎiruò in distant ancestry
05 | Family member is a famous wanted outlaw in secret
06 | A Xié Daoist in family (see p98 of TCE)
07 | Secret society in family (see p102 of TCE)
08 | A serial killer in the family
09 | Generations of inter sibling violence
10 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants to perform horrible acts
11 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants to avenge some forgotten crime
12 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants for libations of wine
13 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants to marry into better bloodline
14 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants to sacrifice silver ingots to family burial plot
15 | Ancestral ghost nags descendants to follow their favourite cult
16 | Dread mìngmó is ancestor (see p117 of TCE)
17 | Famous yaksha is ancestor (see p126 of TCE)
18 | Ancient vixen spirit is ancestor (see p112 of TCE)
19 | Ancestor served a god who meddles in family affairs
20 | Cannibalism practised by some members till recently
21 | Ancestors stole a relic or artefact which they keep hidden
22 | Ancestral blood feud with other clan over land
23 | Ancestral blood feud with other clan over over runaway missing lovers
24 | Ancestral blood feud with other clan over missing legendary weapon
25 | Ancestral blood feud with other clan over over battlefield betrayal during inter-dynastic period
26 | Ancestral blood feud with other clan over murder of prominent ancestor
27 | Ancestor famously declined office in the imperial bureaucracy
28 | Ancestor famously refused summons to imperial court
29 | Rumoured to have immortal ancestry
30 | Rumoured to have guǐ-creatures in ancestry
31 | Rumoured to have yāoguài in family
32 | Family keeps many mad members of clan locked in family home
33 | Family home has many hidden corpses and rumours of phantoms in estate
34 | Ancestor made pact with foreign cult to maintain the clan
35 | Family really broke on edge of complete ruin
36 | Family famous misers
37 | Ancestor served foreign ruler as right hand man
38 | Famous ancestor late with message triggered disaster
39 | Famous traitor ancestor joined nomads in war at crucial moment
40 | Ancestor famous sexual pervert people tell stories of to scare children
41 | Cruel ancestor ruled a village terrorising locals for a generation
42 | Ancestor was cursed by gods for blasphemy, curse still carried by clan head
43 | Ancestor murdered children to attain control of clan
44 | Ancestor was a famous poisoner
45 | Ancestor disappeared in cave with important official documents
46 | Ancestor famous amateur torturer, victims bodies still found in family home
47 | Cats hate family and go crazy when near
48 | Dogs hate family and go crazy when near
49 | Horses hate family and go crazy when near
50 | Birds hate family and go crazy when near
51 | Family exterminated another family to get land
52 | Family usurped title and land of original owners
53 | Ancestor a notorious grave robber
54 | Ancestor a Xié Daoist who was sentenced to death after public trial
55 | Ancestors were low-status Ritual Masters
56 | Ancestor Xié Daoist was hunted and killed by mob, swore vengeance on whole village
57 | Ancestor a famous thief of long lost goods owners still want
58 | Ancestor lived in now haunted temple or manor that locals have sealed up and shunned
59 | Ancestor famous slanderer whose malicious lies about other clans still believed today
60 | Family home built on a non-Hàn burial ground or temple site
61 | Many believe under family home are catacombs with horrible secrets
62 | Ancestor linked to foreign cult, strange pilgrims always visiting
63 | Ancestor a famous slaver who killed hundreds cruelly
64 | Ancestor a famous drug fiend who ruined other clans with vice
65 | Ancestor a famous rake and seducer, hated by many other clans
66 | Ancestor a famous popular harlot who was murdered by persons unknown
67 | Ancestor rumoured to have had otherworldly evil lover
68 | Clan famed for being thieving lying money grabbers
69 | Family stalked by unknown murderers for generations
70 | Family mentioned in evil prophecy so changed name in past
71 | Family full of rakes and harlots, full of bastard children
72 | Everyone thinks family has hidden treasure from looting in troubled times
73 | A doomed immortal of clan assumes identity of descendants for legal reasons
74 | Family has taint of wǎngliǎng blood (p115 of TCE), famous brutes
75 | Ancestor famously went into forest for secret rites with yāoguài
76 | A famous clumsy idiot of clan caused a huge disaster people still not over
77 | Ancestor begotten by a huòmó (p118 of TCE)
78 | Ancestor notoriously partied with (Roll 1D6) 1: foreign cultists, 2-4: outlaws, 5-6: nomads
79 | A famous spouse murderer had 3D4+3 partners before killed by enemies
80 | A famous ancestor slandered the emperor who had most of the clan killed
81 | A famous ancestor collected heterodox books and ancestors then disappeared
82 | A famous cruel ship captain was marooned by crew somewhere
83 | A famous martial artist kidnapped and killed local maidens
84 | Ancestor was rumoured to have been to the Ten Courts of Hell and back somehow
85 | Family have a horrible evil motto most think disgraceful today
86 | Famous ancestor last seen riding into hole in hill with demons, a stone slab in place today
87 | Ancestor had an affair with an imperial concubine and was horribly murdered by rivals and enemies
88 | Ancestor started a cult which was outlawed by the local magistrate after their death
89 | At a certain night ghosts appear at clan temple to condemn all for villainy
90 | Ancestor rumoured to have illicit sex with animals, family maintain just enemy slander
91 | Ancestor built a strange folly which locals avoid and fear
92 | Ancestor was of non-Hàn ethnicity so changed name in past
93 | Ancestor collected funds for temple then drunk and gambled and whored funds away
94 | Started a doomed ethnic war that resulted in thousands dead and bitter inter-ethnic resentment
95 | Briefly an ancestor held top position in imperial bureaucracy before being murdered by staff
96 | Briefly an ancestor held top position in imperial bureaucracy before being murdered by rivals
97 | Ancestor rumoured to have been evil wizard, torn apart by invisible demons in market square
98 | Ancestor rumoured to have been demon cultist or offspring, killed by animals in village
99 | Ancestor famous magician, crackpots harass clan for magic hidden secrets
00 | Ancestor famous martial artist, crackpots harass clan for hidden martial arts treatise


[Scarlet Heroes] Sample Character

The Scarlet Heroes KS is over, and I felt like trying out the character generation rules, so I drew up my first Scarlet Heroes player character.

Swarthy Lee has had a tough life. He is one of the Shou, the original inhabitants of the distant Sunset Isles that have been dispossessed of their lands, and pushed ever further west into the more inhospitable parts of the islands by the colonists. He has learnt how to eke out a living selling his sword or his skills at ambushing his employer's foe or sneaking unnoticed into the mansion of his employer's rival. However, what Swarthy Lee likes above all is working by and for himself looking for forgotten treasures in the many ruins that dot the islands. As a native, Swarthy Lee is able to survive on a diet of roots and insects for quite a long time; this doesn't mean, however, that he does not enjoy the fine food available in the eastern cities. Swarthy Lee would also be able to pass as a human, were it not for his facial tattoos.

Swarthy Lee

STR 14 (+1)
INT 15 (+1)
DEX 16 (+2)
WIS 12 (+0)
CON 13 (+1)
CHA 10 (+0)

Race: Shou-Blooded
Class: Thief

HP: 5
Armour Class: 5 
Attack Bonus: +1
Fray Die: 1D6

- May use any armour
- Can wear leather armour but no shield
- Weapon: any, but limited to 1D8 dmg

- Archetype, Fearless Ruin Explorer: 3
- Resist the Red Tide: 2
- Forgettable Face: 1
- Wiry: 1
- Well-travelled: 1

46 gold coins

Bow (Dmg: 1D8)
Quiver w/20 arrows
Sword (Dmg: 1D8)
Leather Armour
Backpack + Tools
Narcotic drugs, 10 doses


Weather in China

After my post about using weather dice it is only natural that I should write one about weather in China.

China being a vast empire, a discussion about her weather will have to be apportioned among her various regions. Using the nomenclature from map No.2 on p28 of The Celestial Empire, the regions are:
 - North China -  with cold, dry winters, and hot, humid summers. The annual precipitation is concentrated heavily in summer.
 - Gānsù - as North China, but with drier summers.
 - Sìchuān and Lower Yángzi - hot summer with heavy rainfall, short but cold winter, little sunshine overall.
 - South China - winters are short, mild, and relatively dry, while summers are long, hot, and very wet.

Despite the dramatic differences, the GM may apply the usual four-season distinction (as in Europe) to determine weather, especially with regards to the 1- v 2-die mechanism described in my earlier post:
 - Spring: March to May
 - Summer: June to August [except in South China: April to September]
 - Autumn: September-October
 - Winter: November to February [except where indicated as 'short' above, in which case it's December to February]

This four-season distribution doesn't hold true any longer with areas outside China proper, such as the tropical south, the subarctic north, or the Tibetan Plateau.