Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Gaming: Qin Legends

Qin Legends
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
Authors: Romain d’Huissier, Angus Abranson, Sandrine Thirache
Page Count: 50
Release Date: 11/20/2009
Cost: $14.99 (Book), $9.99 (PDF)
Get it here: Cubicle 7 (Book) or DrivethruRPG.com (PDF)

Qin Legends is a supplement for Qin: The Warring States, a role-playing game set in ancient China. Legends expands on the core book by adding more creamy, nutty, martial-arty, inner-strengthy goodness of every sort. This book contains a lot of chunks that cater to everything from Taos to weapons, and then concludes (for the second half of the book) with an adventure stemming from the one contained in the core book. Let me break it down for you:

Higher Level Taos

Extends the Taos to level 5 and 6 (“Legendary” and “Godlike” respectively), and provides one power that is accessible at each of those levels. For instance, at level 5 of “Tao of the Thousand Bees”, a character can throw small objects without having to touch them, or redirect a missile weapon that is heading towards him to another target.

New Combat Techniques

Close combat or ranged combat, each gets a few new moves to throw around in a fight that are available at higher levels of weapon skill. One example for close combat is a “Suicide Attack”, which allows you to attack a striking opponent without regard for your own safety. For ranged combat, a character can “Trap” someone or something with a missile, not to kill but to prevent them from doing something else. There is also a handy list that shows which moves are available at which level of skill, which of course includes the 5- and 6-level tiers.

New Weapons, a Weapon Skill, and Combat Styles

Legends contains rules for bianshu (flexible weapons) like the bian (a whip), or the “flying guillotine”, a bladed disc on the end of a long chain.

There are also combat styles now, where a character can be taught a specific style of martial art within a martial skill. For example, if Ling is “Legendary” in bangshu (staff weapons), and then is taught a specific style like “the Style of the Wall of the Hundred Thousand Bamboos”, he will be known as: “Ling, Legendary in the art of bangshu, practitioner of The Wall of the Hundred Thousand Bamboos”. In order to learn a combat style, you have to find a master and persuade him to teach you, which can be an adventure in and of itself.

More Spells, Fabulous Treasure

There are also Legendary and Godlike levels of spells for the four schools of magic. An Exorcist can send cursed souls back to Hell; an Internal Alchemist can dissolve his spirit temporarily into the surrounding nature and control the plants and beasts, even the water. We’re talking downright crazy power here. Of course, you’ll have to get your character enough experience points to get any of them.

During their travels, a player might find an item of great value. Not just something that is well-made or of precious materials necessarily, but something imbued with power. Over time, an object may have special powers bestowed on it by its wielder, and may even have its own Renown value. Legends has rules and guidelines for these special items, and how they might gain notoriety as powerful weapons belonging to a specific master.

An Adventure

The second half of the volume is an adventure following on the tails of the one presented in the Qin core book. In it, the party will be tasked with escorting the young bride of an official to a nearby town. However, things go wrong, and they end up in more trouble than they bargained for. It is designed so that the players will have an easier time of it at the beginning, but end up having to make some serious choices with lasting consequences.

What Do I Think?

Qin Legends is like putting more whipped cream and chocolate sauce on a delicious sundae. Do you want more? Of course you do! However, this content is only available to characters with high skill levels and Taos, so you most likely won’t be building any characters out of the gate with these abilities (unless you want to go that way). Still, if you’ve been playing Qin and your players are itching to make their characters more powerful, this is a must-have. I would also recommend it for the adventure, as it is literally half of the book and is a continuation of sorts from the one presented in the core book. Since official adventures for this game are in woefully short supply (though I expect that to be remedied in the near future), I would pick it up just for that, and then have it handy when your players get more powerful.

The legendary item section can be a very useful tool for GMs. What’s one thing adventurers like to go looking for? Treasure, of course. Qin isn’t about treasure-hoarding and finding uber-loot, but finding a weapon or other item with some powers beyond the ordinary is bound to perk up any adventurer’s ears and send him wandering.

Even though this book is a collection of various things, I did not find reading through it as jumbled as the core book. Everything is presented in a certain order, with a fantastic index at the back. Kudos to Cubicle 7 for more great Qin material.

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