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Not DnD | Wandering Blades

Wandering Blades is a rules light, low fantasy tabletop role playing game inspired by Chinese wuxia and xuanhuan media, and old-school renaissance (OSR) games.

Daniel Kwan (Asians Represent Podcast, Candlekeep Mysteries, Motherlands RPG, Candela Obscura) joins Jessica this week on Not DnD to talk about Wandering Blades.

Wandering Blades is a rules light, low fantasy tabletop role playing game inspired by Chinese wuxia and xuanhuan media, and old-school renaissance (OSR) games.

Violent melodrama in an old school tabletop RPG package! Wandering Blades is currently in development, but you can download the current Quickstart guide on itch.io

Not DnD is a weekly show discussing tabletop roleplaying games. Each week EN Publishing’s @tabletopjess interviews the creators behind different tabletop roleplaying games that aren’t D&D!

You can watch the live recording every Monday at 5pm ET / 10pm BST on YouTube or Twitch, or catch up with the podcast platform of your choice by searching 'Not DnD'.

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One of these days, I have to write a campaign/game setting inspired by South East Asia. Not to knock the setting or anything (I have a tiny bit of Chinese blood in me), but I think China and Japan are already well trodden territory, whether it be Warring States/Wu Xia inspired settings, Sengoku Jidai influenced worlds, or even Neo-Tokyo Cyberpunk. Honestly, I'd be more interested in Daniel's WW1 Ross Rifles game which I had never heard of until the podcast.

I'd love to see some settings based on or inspired by India and South East Asia. I read one of Daniel's articles, and he talked about the danger of Asian culture's diversity getting blended into one homogenous blob. I come from a minority group in the Philippines which are much more closely related to Malaysians and Indonesians than the Christianized/Hispanicized Filipinos. Unfortunately, I see it all the time where 1) people assume all Filipinos are the same culturally, linguistically and even historically or 2) just assume Filipinos are like a different kind of Chinese

One disadvantage of a South East Asian inspired setting is that there is not as much historical information available. Due to the jungle climate, not a whole lot of information survived. It's been relatively recent that we even knew some information about the Sri Vijayan and Majapahit empires. On the other hand, it also gives some more room for freedom to extrapolate and "fill in the blanks". This is especially true of the Philippines, which before the Spanish came, never had a single polity dominate the the entire island chain or even a majority of it.

It's interesting he talked about players fears of being insensitive or out of touch playing another culture. For the game setting I have in mind, while it may be controversial, I'd love to put the setting at a time period when the Europeans first started coming and the beginning of their colonization. Because of the history of my mother's people, I've always felt a kind of deep spiritual kinship with American Indians (I've been told they don't like to be called "Native Americans" just like latinos don't like to be called "Latinx", both of which were coined by outsiders). For me, having the Europeans in the setting opens up huge roleplaying potential. Maybe you could be a European who "goes native", growing to admire and respect the locals. Since I am also half-white, there has always been a bit of tug of war, but I am glad for it. Being exposed to the history has opened my eyes and made me wonder what my ancestors...on both sides...must have gone through.

As for the mechanics, I'm glad he factored in the psychological state of combat. I grew up on historical wargames before I truly got into TTRPGs, so the whole idea of "player agency" really never made sense to me (I guess playing Call of Cthulhu early in my RPG "career" also got me used to not always having full control of my character). I grew up on games where if your troops got shaken or routed...well, tough. Deal with it, because that's a part of the strategy and tactics.

I also like how he makes combat and violence dangerous, and therefore must be taken very criticially. I've always bemoaned games that make combat somewhat non-chalant. Lethality should always be foremost on a player's mind. Consequences to actions should always be the first thing both players and characters must consider.

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