Hong Kong – The Chronicles of the Strange is a contemporary urban fantasy role-playing game adapted from the Chronicles of the Uncanny trilogy of Bailiff Romain (The 81 Brothers, The Resurrection of the Dragon and The Heavenly Guardians) published by Editions Review then reissued in pocket format by Folio SF. If you want to know more, all the volumes have been reviewed on scifi universe.
The game universe
A metropolis of nearly ten million inhabitants, ultramodern and frenetic. A city whose streets are still haunted by ancient spirits and Chinese demons, where ethereal ghosts roam along the quays, within which lie vast spiritual realms ruled by dragon kings.
A city rooted in the past and looking to the future, where the most avant-garde technology meets ancient traditions, whose tall glass skyscrapers overlook Confucian temples and Buddhist monasteries, where silver is revered like the celestial gods.
A kingdom defended by the fat si: practitioners of the Chinese mystical arts who defend the celestial order by ensuring the balance between the profane world and the supernatural society. Seers, exorcists, geomancers or alchemists, they use their ancestral techniques to fight hungry monsters, help lost ghosts to reincarnate and negotiate with ancient animal spirits – according to the will of the gods.
And you are one of those fat though.
In this playful universe, the spirits, ghosts and various creatures of Chinese folklore still exist. More discreet, they sneak into the shadows and sometimes even integrate into human society. In this ultra-modern megalopolis, demons serve as henchmen of the triads, female vixens sing cantopop in karaoke, dragon-kings rule over secret courts of spirits, sorcerers practice the dark arts, sects work for the return of ancient entities… It’s up to the PCs to thwart all sorts of Machiavellian plans!
In The Chronicles of the Strange, you play a detective specializing in the supernatural, a fat if. These are magicians mastering one or more of the ancient ways of the Chinese esoteric tradition. They are the intermediaries between mortal society and the supernatural world. While most creatures just want to live in peace and fit in with Hong Kong, some are malicious and pose mortal danger – it’s up to the fat if to neutralize at their own risk. Yes, it’s not a plan plan job and it is necessary to regroup, all according to common values and esoteric visions. Thanks to the taonet, they can collaborate and stay in touch in this dangerous struggle.
The game system
The rules of Chronicles of the Strange were specifically designed for this universe. They are inspired by Chinese numerology and traditional Taoist concepts in order to best reflect the atmosphere of the novels as well as the capacities of the fat si, their allies and their enemies. These easy-to-learn rules carry the universe well. The five elements (metal, water, earth, fire, wood) are at the heart of the character sheet. These aspects, whose values range from 1 to 5, are not only physical or mental characteristics: they above all reflect a character, a particular way of approaching a situation or solving a problem. Each PC has a Celestial Guardian under whose protection he finds himself. Classically, skills, specialties and resources complete the character. The Three Treasures (Saam Bou) of the Taoist tradition are the three energies that run through the PC’s body. They make it possible to measure his physical and spiritual state.
the Ng Hang system uses ten-sided dice. The player adds the value of the aspect to that of the most suitable skill or resource. If the PC has a Specialty, he adds 1 die and gets the total of his dice pool. It will then be necessary to beat a difficulty defined in number of successes to succeed from 1 to 5. Once the dice have been thrown, they are placed on the aspect diagram and according to their value will be linked to an element. Depending on the situation and location, the dice are good or bad. It’s original and quite fun in game, the elements are very consistent with the attitudes of the PCs during the actions attempted and the whole thing is immersive if not fast for the first rolls of the dice.
the Loksyu (bond that unites the PCs) allows them to tap into a mystical reserve and help each other – while the GM has the Tin Ji (a provision of points symbolizing the “will of Heaven ») in order to influence the game and put some spokes in the wheels of our heroes.
A starter kit is downloadable to try the game on drivethroughRPG.
The basic book
Now that you have an idea of the game universe and the rules that support it, what do we find in the basic book: a rather rich presentation of the background and setting of Hong Kong, the set of rules ( Ng Hang system, combat, magic), mastery tips, a wide range of villains and three scenarios for Fat beginners and with evocative titles: The year of the lion (Cedric Lameire), A turtle on their shoulders (Julien Moreau) and good cat, good rat (Antoine Bauza). With a clear layout and beautiful illustrations, this book is pleasant to read. The choice of colors transcribes well the particular atmosphere of the Chronicles of the Strange.
We would like to say thanks to the writer of this write-up for this amazing material
RPG Review: Hong Kong  by Natalie Z.
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