Quick and Dirty Scenario Generation

By littlemute.

This basic technique for generating Feng Shui scenarios is based on two assumptions: 1) you have access to some Shadowfist cards, and 2) you are spontaneous.

Mr. Law's scenarios are based on three (planned) fight scenes based around a plot that the players may or may not stumble through. The best example of this I've found in HK cinema is Drunken Master II. Yes, there are more than three fights, but only three that really advance the plot. The first one (with the old limey-fighter) seems unrelated to the story but is the catalyst for the thief beating and the final foundry fry fest. Watch this film if you can get a hold of it.

The generator is simple. First split your Shadowfist cards into personalities; feng shui and non feng shui sites; and events, edges and all that stuff. Then draw three personalities, two sites and a few of the others. You may want to stack the deck if your 69 AD Dragons are not quite ready for a howling pack of Chromosome Screamers driving around Lucky Lane in a Mustang during the New Year festivities, including factions that are more likely to spur on your Dragons and discarding others.

One personality is the Patron, the second is the Protector and the third is the Protagonist. The Patron is a character that gets the Dragons into the action. The Protector is the character that the Dragons will fight in the first couple of fights, the active arm of the Protagonist, who is the bad guy, and the character who set all the plot in motion in the first place.

In Baptism of Fire, the Eating Counter owners are the Patrons, Happy Cheung is the Protector and Ta Yu and Sneezy are the Protagonists.

The first site is the Battleground and the second is the Base. This is self explanatory; one or more of these can be missing, of course, but usually there is always a Feng Shui site at stake somewhere in the plot.

In Baptism of Fire, the Eating Counter is the Battleground and the apartment building is the Base.

The edges are plot devices, subplots and extra firepower either for the baddies or the Dragons. Drawing these cards sometimes helps and sometimes are useless.

Usually, depending on the amount of alcohol I've digested, it takes two to three draws to be happy. Just look at the group of cards, and let the ideas flow. You should have a solid plotline brainstormed in a few minutes, the rest is just the simple bookwork. It helps if your group is used to the "eternal champion" style, wherein the plots the character is involved in are not necessarily in chronological order or in a campaign proper (read the snazzy short stories at the front of the rule book to see what I mean. We use the "eternal champion" style a lot because some players lose interest for a month or so and if they are the main catalyst for the plot in your campaign then...

Both the glory and the problem of this method is that it is simple and fast. The bottom line is that if you come home from eight hellish hours of work and the neighbors are itching to play Feng Shui and you haven't looked at the books for eight to ten months, you can hide for a bit and come up with a really satisfying plot line that will give you a good ego trip and suprise players who are overly avaricious readers. If you are looking to make a plot worthy of, say, Jubei Nimpicho, this method isn't the right one.

A final tip: do not let players know you are randomly drawing cards from Shadowfist to make the plot. It will ruin it like Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

Last modified: March 24, 1997; please send comments to durrell@innocence.com.