Testing the waters... wuxia and/or Chinese mythology?


#1

Hey guys, haven’t been around in a while. Anyway, I’m back, with a fresh (…sort of) idea, and I swear to Thor above that I won’t drop the story this time. >_>

It was actually the Choice of Kung Fu that acted as a wake-up call for me, since I was in the middle of writing a wuxia story a (long, long) while ago, left that hanging, and recently thought of picking it back up. However, as there’s already an official story in the genre, I’m a little afraid another story in such a niche genre would get moldy.

If I do follow ahead, though, I have another dilemma: I’m not sure if I want to take the pure wuxia (Legend of the Condor Heroes, etc. Jin Yong, Gu Long, and other classic wuxia authors generally work under this genre. While some martial moves/settings/plots devices seem wholly unrealistic and fantastic, they are an exaggerated version of things that do exist in the real world) or fantasy (in the flavor of Fengshen Yanyi or Liaozhai, the whole shebang comes out here: gods, demons, spirits, ghosts, prophets, magic, the works) route. CoKF felt like a hybrid of the two, with sprinkles of the supernatural (Feng, divination, and the Dragon) in a mostly realistic setting, so I feel I have to take either to the extreme to add anything to this site.

So, thoughts? Opinions? Smacks on the head for always leaving so abruptly are welcome, too. :slight_smile:

(Didn’t really want to put this in WIP, since I’m so unsure about this whole thing. Please do relocate if I’m in the wrong section.)


#2

I’d suggest doing a hybrid that goes in a different direction from CoKF. One thing that Kung Fu lacks is a proper direction; I mean, you’re a monk searching for enlightenment, which is found through getting enough of a social status, and that enlightenment can matter to the Middle Kingdom or not. So instead, how about a high-magic version of Dynasty Warriors/Romance of the Three Kingdoms? One where the stuff about the Empire’s decline and the loss of the Mandate of Heaven takes center stage?

That way, you get powerful magic and super kung-fu combined with a down-to-earth plot.


#3

@seryou

Yes, You get a smack upside the head from me for leaving us hanging, but with that out of the way WELCOME BACK!!!

Im not fully familiar with the eastern world fantasy settings, I seen a few movies that slightly dove into the eastern fantasies with like demons, spirits, and all that, and I wanted to see more of that aspect, and I love Martial Arts movies and stories.
Im not sure how close your story is to Choice of KungFu actually, but I feel like you shouldnt be hesitant to write in the same genre.


#4

No, don’t mix two sorts of genre together. I personally find that mixing two different genres together requires a lot of writing skills. I’m not saying you’re a bad writer, only that it isn’t worth it.


#5

@Ramidel, I’m a huge RoTK fan myself, didn’t think I would meet a fellow fan here, that’s great! I definitely see what you mean, and I did plan to set the story in a free-for-all warring period, be it the TK period or otherwise. I just love the chaos and gray-and-gray morality that inevitably comes with wartime stories, and all it seems to mesh so well with the Choice structure-- any small event, any of the hero’s decisions can have a massive impact on the plot, and change the destiny of the Empire to come.

When writing, I tend lean towards a sandbox direction myself, but I agree doing that here would be skirting a little too close to CoKF, which is why I’m trying to plan things more thoroughly before diving in. A wartime period like this can have a definite goal (uniting the nation) while leaving the details up to the player (aiding the local warlord, taking the crown for yourself, using your connections with the world of Spirits to convince others to come under your flag, etc), but does close off some options that come with the “pure” genre. For instance, a common theme in both wuxia and Chinese fantasy is to separate oneself from worldly matters altogether focus on the self. This actually tends to be the “happy ending” for many wuxia heroes and mortals in myths who eventually reach enlightenment and become immortals, but seems selfish and difficult at wartime.

Another thing is balancing the two. In CoKF, I thought most of the supernatural elements were too negligible. Spiritual powers, which as I remember was only taught by Master Zhuge, and only in one instance, was a skill you could completely go without, and save for impressing the foreigners once there wasn’t much you could do with it. I’m very fond of mythology, so I do end up doing a hybrid, I’d like to really avoid sidelining it.

I’m still weighing the pros and cons myself, and would love your input. :stuck_out_tongue:

@2Ton, Thanks!! I’m happy to hear that, and it’s very reassuring to know there’s still demand for this type of story. Chinese folk religion is packed with interesting and unique tidbits, and I’m glad you want to see more. :smiley:

@Wyrmspawn, I see what you mean, but I think in this case, with these two specific genres, it shouldn’t be too bad. Wuxia by itself already blends the line between fantasy and reality quite a bit (a lot of tv/movie producers are fond of adding laser beam effects to sword attacks >_>), and adding mythological elements to modern wuxia stories seems to be a rising trend (e.g., the Chinese Paladin series). If anything, it’s more like an exaggerated urban fantasy.I don’t think execution should be too much of a hindrance here, since I’ve seen it pulled off successfully more than a few times and feel pretty comfortable with mixing these two specific genres on my own. In the end, it comes down to whether a classic wuxia or hybrid story would be more enjoyable for the reader.

Thanks for bringing it up though, I definitely understand your concern, and if you have plot or setting concerns stemming from genre blending, I’d love to hear your input! :slight_smile:


#6

@Seryou: CoKF is not a sandbox, it’s a quest for enlightenment that happens to have some random worldly events in it. So yeah, I think that if you’re going to do Warring States, Three Kingdoms or a similar period (actual China or a CoKF-style “kinda-sorta China so I don’t have to worry about inaccuracies”), then I’d say to focus on the politics and battles and not really on the mythology. Of course, feel free to keep in the superhuman kung fu, because that is cool (and never let it be said that I hate cool!).

As for magic, I’d say that outright sorcery should be kept as a sideline for people who have overwhelmingly high traits in the relevant stat to use in certain battles. In Three Kingdoms, battles are usually won by crescent halberd or feather fan (and yes, my favorite characters are showing :stuck_out_tongue: ), and the only bona fide sorcerer I can recall was Zhuge Liang, who only messed with the wind on a couple of occasions. Other than that, you win the war by politics, assassination and force of arms. However, heroic kung fu warriors can and should be a match for entire armies. Again, says the Lu Bu fan.

For reference, also, in Choice of Kung Fu there are other ways to get a high Magic stat than to work with Zhuge.


#7

@Ramidel, oops, it’s becoming a little too obvious that I haven’t played CoKF in a while, haha. xD I really should brush up on that, just in case.

The thing here is that if I do end up going in a supernatural + warring states direction, I would like to feature the supernatural more prominently than it was in RoTK. In RoTK the supernatural usually took the form of an omen or a powerful mystic, and I can’t actually recall a single occasion that goes beyond that, and though there were quite a few mystics none except Zhuge Liang had prominent roles. (I haven’t played Dynasty Warriors so I can’t compare the two, but I imagine they’re similar in this case.) As for magic on the actual battlefield, I think Zhuge was the only case. On my end, I really would like to go deeper into the gods-demons-immortals direction, up to and including actually battling otherworldly beings or calling on them to aid the hero, that sort of thing.

Another thing regarding battles is whether actual armies (and with it actual strategies) should be used. In wuxia, there generally are very few army-on-army battles, instead favoring one-on-one or small group skirmishes, and the occasional 1-vs-100 bit we’ve all come to love. RoTK, and similarly war-centric pieces, tend to focus more on the lord or generals (though the generals do seem fond of one-on-one battles), rather than the soldiers on the field, while wuxia tends to focus more on the individual. While some wuxia stories end up with the hero gaining status and eventually having an army, I feel that, even then, strategy (and maybe even politics, though this really depends on which work you’re looking at) takes a back seat to sword-knife-pew-pew.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that RoTK really does differ quite a bit from both mythology and wuxia, and while some elements are applicable it doesn’t seem practical to work it in more thoroughly.


#8

Well, the reason I mentioned Dynasty Warriors is because the DW games set their lord generals in the middle of the fighting against entire enemy armies, and a general can kill twenty or thirty soldiers at once, or more if he picks his fights carefully and avoids being overwhelmed (thus, a good general has an army to back him up). So that might be a good model; armies count, but ultimately the spear-carriers are just tools for the generals to use and scenery to make the heroes look awesome.

If you want to put more overt magic in, emphasize this. Heroic xia and sorcerers are a match for armies and decide the fate of nations, and gods and immortals come down from the Heavenly Mountains to gamble with the lives of men. If armies take the field, then their usefulness is merely a reflection of the heroic spirit of their commander and the brilliant mind of their tactician. You have no army stats, you have men who are your weapons, and a weapon is only as good as its wielder.

Keep the politics and wars front-and-center, and have your hero cut a bloody swath through them.


#9

I’d like something in a historic battle. Like the southern Song dynasty. There were a lot of sad heroic tales in that age, what with the best, and legendary generals getting killed by an emporer who wanted peace at any cost.


#10

@Ramidel, ah, I see, that’s a pretty good compromise. I probably won’t follow it to the letter, but I will take it into account when I get to the battle parts. Where’s the fun in a battle without a legion of redshirts? xD It draws a nice comparison between the crafty, carefully calculating general and oops-I’m-overwhelmed-I"ll-be-damned guy who rushes in, takes his share of hits, and saves the day anyway.

I’m forming a more concrete image of where I’d like to go with this story, and I can’t say it’s going exactly in the direction you’re thinking of, but talking to you has definitely helped me out! :slight_smile: Men who are your weapons, and a weapon is only as good as its wielder, I’m really digging that.

@Wyrmspawn, historic battles (though not guaranteed to be historically accurate :P), sad heroic tales and questionable morality will definitely happen! Mmmh, yes, those are very much to my liking.

@all, if the winds are blowing in my favor (ha, ha) I should have a chapter or two up by this time next week. It won’t be indicative of the grand scheme I have in mind, but it should effectively set up the story. Wish me luck!


#11

Good Luck Seryou, May your typing hands be swift and always wise.


#12

@2Ton, thank you! :smiley:


#13

I’m glad to have helped. Can’t wait to see what you come up with,


#14

@Ramidel, :smiley:

@all, a thread and very early demo should be up later tonight, so I’d like to thank you for helping out and ask you to migrate with me to the Works in Progress. Actually, I didn’t want to post the demo until I finished the intro, but it kept getting longer and I want to get some feedback on the setting.