[Xie Zhen]

The 'Zine

The All Men are Brothers 'zine covers my own Outlaws of the Water Margin adventures, and can also include articles from contributors who love this game, or the culture and history of Ancient China. The 'zine issues are all produced as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files, and you'll need a copy of the Acrobat Reader (at least version 3) to read the files. You can find copies of the following issues linked to this page:

Volume One, Issue Zero (about 2MB in size)


Back Issues
For back issues of the 'zine (there aren't any currently), you'll need to contact me directly at viktor underbar haag at mac dot com.

Contributing
If you'd like to contribute material to the 'zine (it's in its infancy right now, so I'd appreciate it), then please contact me about what you'd like to add, and I'll let you know if it's appropriate, and when/if I'll fit it in.


The Mailing List

I moderate a mailing list for fans of roleplaying in ancient China. You can find information about it here.

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[Thin Blue Line] Outlaws of the Water Margin is © 1998 by Paul Mason, and is published by Panurgic Publishing. The contents of this page are not in any way intended as a challenge to this copyright.

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All Men are Brothers



On this page are attached notes, characters, plots, maps, and so forth, associated with my campaign using Paul Mason's Outlaws of the Water Margin rolegame.

The first major step in Phase One is completed now, and I've moved on (perhaps temporarily) to running Masks of Nyarlathotep. Accordingly, these pages aren't like to get updated in some time.

Game rules

Outlaws of the Water Margin is a face-to-face rolegame designed for heroic adventure role-playing in 12th century China. It's published by Paul's own imprint, Panurgic Publishing. This section contains links to the reference sheets, rules modifications, extensions and clarifications I've made.

Dribs and Drabs
This page contains a miscellaneous collection of tweaks and adjustments I'm thinking about that don't necessarily warrant an entire page on their own.

Master Ability List
Outlaws employs a unique system for measuring abilities (aptitudes and skills). I thought it would be useful to build a table describing all the abilities mentioned in the rulebook.

Task Mechanics
Outlaws uses quite a simple task resolution system; but, I think it has a few rough edges. This page has some proposed tweaks for the basic mechanics to smoothe things out.

Forms and Tables collection
I've collected some forms and tables from Paul's Outalws rulebook, and put them in this PDF. In it you will find character record sheets and two pages of combat reference tables. Please note that these pages are copyright © 1998 by Paul Mason, and my inclusion of them here is solely for the personal use of players of his game.



Phase One: The Cases of Judge Yu

The first series of stories told: the players assume the roles of assistants to the young, but talented, Judge Yu. These stories form a Magistrate campaign, loosely based on the Judge Dee mystery books by Robert van Gulik. The power level is 3 (average), and none of the principle characters (with the possible exception of the Judge himself) should be heroic.


Story resources

Here's a variety of resources specific to the Judge Yu stories.

Map of East Jingdong Circuit
In the first stories, Judge Yu has accepted a post as Magistrate for the district of Penglai (in the port town of Penglai). The town lies on the borders of Laizhou and Weizhou prefectures, on the banks of the Sticky River about ten miles from the sea coast.
Note: this map was created by Paul Mason. I've made the map available here as a PDF because this gave the clearest rendition of the original map.


Principle characters

Non-player, principle characters are intended for referee and/or troupe play. Principle player characters are designed for play by the troupe's players.

Judge Yu (Viktor Haag)
A young man of 33, Judge Yu, is a rising star in the Imperial bureaucracy; however, he has been ill-fortuned with a streak of stubborn independence. Rather than accept a lucrative, functionary position in the Eastern Capital (Bianliang), Yu petitioned to fill the position in the remote town of Peng-Lai (a small port town in Laizhou prefecture, in the province of East Jingdog).

Scholar Gong (Vidal Bairos)
The "elder brother" of the player group, Scholar Gong is a middle-aged scholar of some reputation, both for his rhetorical skill and his taste in leisurely pursuits.

Instructor Li (Pat Phillips)
Instructor Li is a slightly scruffy, rural-looking character who never seems to go anywhere without his staff. He is not someone to be trifled with. Judge Yu has put Li in charge of training his constables and bailiffs.

Gambler Fu (Dave Ferguson)
Gambler Fu is a reformed gambler whom Judge Yu has taken under his wing. Despite his hot temper and superstitious nature, he's making an honest effort to lead a more responsible life.

Apothecary Gong (James Nicoll)
Apothecary Gong is a tall, spindly apothecary of remarkable talent. Being a Taoist and alchemical dabbler is an unfortunate flaw in his character (as far as the Judge is concerned), but his pharmacological and medical skill are above reproach.

Stories

Here's a number of accounts of Judge Yu's exploits based upon the progress of the players in the series.

The Case of the Woman in the River
On the last leg of his journey to Penglai, Judge Yu and his associates encounter a young woman drowning in the middle of the Wei River. When they rescue her, they discover that she has a strange story to tell.

The Case of the Murdered Magistrate
After a brief, but spooky, enounter on the road, the Judge and his associates arrive in Penglai. There, they begin to acquaint themselves with the town and to investigate the murder of Wang Te-hwa, the town's previous magistrate.
Note: this case is derived principally from the events in van Gulik's book, 'The Chinese Gold Murders'.