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Cool History Bros: East Asian "Cultivation" explained via Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic

CJ Leung of Cool History Bros has put out a new video covering the "Cultivation" trope that you often see in Wuxia/Xianxia fiction - you know, where the protagonist levels up through training, hard work and grit, even developing superhuman chi powers. CJ explains how Cultivation works via Brandon Sanderson's Laws of Magic, and classifies it as a Hard Magic system.


It's a really cool essay that talks about how the Cultivation trope has developed throughout Chinese philosophy (going back to the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), martial arts literature (wuxia and xianxia) and East Asian pop culture (including anime). There's a comparison with Avatar: The Last Airbender's bending magic system, examples of what limitations can hold back cultivation in these stories, the social dimension of conflict in wuxia fiction, and more. Terrific worldbuilding stuff for anyone interested in emulating wuxia and East Asian martial arts/supernatural powers in their RPG campaign.

If CJ's distinctive voice and accent sounds familiar, that's because he's also done a lot of RPG videos, including a huge series of "how to play" videos for D&D 5e and Call of Cthulhu 7e. He knows his D&D, and he knows his Asian history. :)

Would love to know what all of you think about how to use cultivation in your campaigns!
 

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