Welcome to the jungle
We take it day by day
If you want it you’re gonna bleed
But it’s the price you pay
— Guns N’ Roses
The urban jungle. That’s the theme of my Feng Shui blog posts over the next week. The crowded streets of Hong Kong are the default setting for Feng Shui; but the Chi War might play out in Tokyo, New York, London, or San Francisco. Any large metropolitan area has lots of people, and their Chi, making them vital in the Secret War. I’ve got a few articles from the mean streets of the world to share with you over the next week. Opening the series are two Feng Shui sites — the City Part, and the Night Market.
Most communities have a park of some kind. In a small town, like mine, it might be a simple lawn with a band stand. In a large city, the park might be huge. Central Park, in New York is 843 acres. Of course most parks have benches, walk ways and a monument or two. Large ones might also have water features, playgrounds, food carts or anything else expressing the values of the local community.
A park is often the hub of a community. In a happy, prosperous community, everybody might be attuned to the park and not even know it. Cities with a strong or corrupt government might have a tighter control of the chi flow through the park, and keep its benefits for themselves.
Cool Things That Can Happen
If you think about a park as a big lawn, it might seem like a boring place for a fight. But, look closer and you will find lots of possibilities.
- Acrobatics on the playground equipment
- A large, heavy character steps on the see-saw and sends a nook flying
- Somebody gets slammed into a lamp pole
- A park bench becomes an improvised weapon
- The hot dog cart has steaming hot water and condiments
- Somebody gets impaled on the sword or bayonet held by the status of that famous guy
- Or that spiky bit on that modern sculpture nobody actually likes
- Somebody gets thrown into a pond
- The swans in that pond, they are mean. All swans are mean
- If the park is crowded, innocent bystanders might get used as hostages
- Not just any bystanders, a couple is getting their wedding photos taken
- Also that old guy, practicing T’ai Chi, don’t mess with him
The chi flow of city park is both subtle and generous. While control of its chi does not grant any special powers, being a member of the community that controls the park grants the benefits of attunement. No special ritual is necessary.
In Your Campaign
When using the city park in your campaign, focus on its role as the central hub in a community.
A small city has seen a revitalization in recent years, after renovating its central square. New grass, flowers, a playground seemed to lift the community’s spirits. New business have come into town, schools are doing better, in short things are better than they have been since the mills closed decades ago.
As if sensing the new prosperity, a group of thugs has come looking for a new places to sell their drugs. Perhaps one of the factions sent them to capture the park’s chi; or perhaps they are not aware they are capitalizing on an auspicious site.
In either case, somebody connected with one of the PC’s melodramatic hooks, comes to them looking for help, restoring order to the community.
Somebody the PC’s care about disappeared in the city park. Investigation shows that there have been several other disappearances in recent weeks. Turns out a group of vile sorcerers has been feeding people to the demon that is hiding in the bottom of the Koi pond. With each meal it grows stronger, taking more of the park’s chi for itself. Somebody has to come and kick this thing’s ass back to the hell from which it came. I wonder who that could be?
The city park is all decked out to celebrate 100th anniversary of the city’s founding. Everything seems to be going well until strange people in antique clothes show up. It is clear, they are mad about something.
Turns out that a portal to a pop-up juncture, 100 years ago, has opened up somewhere in the park. The cities founding fathers wronged these people somehow, and they aren’t coming through to negotiate. Meanwhile, other enemies of the park’s controllers may be trying to go back through the portal stop the city, or at least the park, from ever being founded.
The frenetic energy of the night market is palpable, even for those unaware of chi. When the sun sets, normal daytime thoroughfares become bustling bazaars. Stalls emerge from nowhere, with vendors selling xiaochi, snack foods, drinks, produce and manufactured goods of all kinds. Bright lights and banners try to attract attention, but end up just creating more chaos and noise.
Cool Things That Can Happen
- Advertising banners hang from everywhere. They can be torn down and used to entangle opponents, or obscure vision.
- Strings of electric lights are, well, electric
- Two words: hot noodles
- A merchant is selling boot leg martial arts DVDs. The covers might inspire nooks to feats of foolish bravado
- Crowds get in the way during a chase
- Are those fried scorpions on a stick?
- Of course, they were fried in hot oil
- The loud TV outside the discount electronics shop will be much quieter after being broken over somebody’s head
- Down that street. Hardware, children’s wear, ladies lingerie
- A number of stalls sell fruits which become messy improvised weapons
- Not only is the scrappy kid familiar with the market well, she fits under most of the carts and booths
- One stall sells plastic martial arts weapons. You know, for the tourists
The Chi of the night market is powerful, but hard to tame. It is difficult to control such a large area with so many independent businesses. Even local gangs have competition in the area. However, attuning to the market is worth it. Everybody attuned has their wealth level increased by one level. If they are already rich, then they are even richer — whatever that means in your campaign.
Once attuned, losing that attunement hurts. If you lose control, then you loose a level of wealth, in addition to the one you gained with initially. If you were already poor, now you are really destitute. Once you attune to a new site, your wealth level will revert to normal.
In Your Campaign
There is no better spot to meet someone in a public, but anonymous place. The night market is also excellent for evading pursuit. Finally, you can buy just about anything you need here.
The lodge offers to let the PC’s attune to the night market in exchange for a “small” favor. Maybe they are sincere, but probably not. More likely the lodge will do something to break their attunement then kick the characters hard when they are down.
The players are likely to see this coming, but can they capitalize on the opportunity without being destroyed?
Li Ting, the King of the Fire Pagoda, is trying to establish a night market in the Netherworld. He is hoping to gain control over illicit trade between junctures for both power and profit. Of course his siblings won’t approve, but how do the other factions feel. There are pros and cons to centralizing trade in one area. It might make some things easier, and there is big profit if you can get a cut.