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The Wyrm in China

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  • The Wyrm in China

    I'm actually surprised at how little info there is on the Wyrm's position in modern-day China. The rapid industrialization, the extreme pollution, the bizzare state hypercapitalism and deep-rooted corruption & repression would make it an ideal breeding ground for Wyrmish forces. At the same time, I'd imagine the decades-long isolation of the local (mortal and supernatural) populance under Mao and the tight grip the state/CCP still has on most aspects of political life, society and the economy would make it difficult for traditional Wyrm agents such as BSDs, Pentex and the cults to infiltrate and co-opt the country.

    How would you run a Werewolf campaign set in 2019 China?

  • #2
    One plot hook you could have is a gutter oil salesman slowly gets corrupted and this trickles down to the food stalls and consumers, pretty soon you have a spike in formori running around.


    Are you on the square?
    Are you on the level?

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    • #3
      If I were to run a Werewolf game in China, I'd probably focus on the Weaver as much as the Wyrm. I'd probably want to focus pretty heavily on the "Ghost Cities." In its rush to urbanize, China has constructed vast cities in the middle of nowhere, literally. Traditionally cities tend to be built around important resources (like water supplies). With China, they just start plopping down massive urban cities in various places with the idea in mind, "It doesn't matter where it is, if you build a city people will move to it."

      So what ended up happening was that these cities would have a tiny population leaving the vast majority of the city completely empty. People often didn't to move to a basically empty city that lacks things like good healthcare, transportation, schools, shopping centers, etc. Meanwhile government bureaucrats didn't want to spend money on these things until there's a large enough population that it's considered cost effective. It created a kind of a catch 22, though in recent years these cities have started to see their populations begin to inch up.

      Anyway, I can think of a lot of cool plot ideas revolving around massive, empty urban cities (which I'm sure in the World of Darkness are a bit emptier and spookier than they are in real life).

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      • #4
        In my more perfect World of Darkness, part of Year of the Lotus would've been a Rage Across Tibet book.

        China in the mid-20th century was subjected to a level of bloodshed and brutality (both physically and mentally) that is generally inconceivable to people in the Western First World. Historian Frank Dikotter has done an excellent trilogy about the era of China under Mao Zedong (The Tragedy of Liberation 1945-1957; Mao's Great Famine 1958 - 1962; and The Cultural Revolution 1962 - 1976), a period which saw the deaths of anywhere from 65 million to 78 million people.
        From a Werewolf perspective, this sort of thing leaves massive spiritual scars on the land and the people. Countless Banes and other spirits get spawned by this kind of thing, and have a tendency to lurk around in hidden corners of the landscape.
        The so-called "Great Leap Forward" that created the famine and led to at least 40 million deaths was also an environmental catastrophe. Deforestation, masses of badly planned and poorly engineered dams, and numerous other problems were a result of Mao's idea that the natural world was something that needed to be conquered. (Judith Shapiro's Mao's War Against Nature is an in-depth scholarly tome on the subject for those that are seriously interested in the subject.)

        Probably anything that's ever been presented as part of PENTEX - environmental crimes, pollution and poisons, damage to surrounding communities, murder, mutations, monsters, and everything else - can just as equally apply to China's various businesses and industries. In some cases, they may even be worse.
        Last edited by No One of Consequence; 09-05-2019, 01:49 PM.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • #5
          While not exactly Wyrm related, two interesting relatively recent books about life in modern China are Yu Hua's China in Ten Words and Alec Ash's Wish Lanterns. Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones and Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster are also pretty good, though both are from 12 years ago. If you want to run a chronicle set in modern China, they're all pretty good reading.


          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Logothétēs View Post
            I'm actually surprised at how little info there is on the Wyrm's position in modern-day China. The rapid industrialization, the extreme pollution, the bizzare state hypercapitalism and deep-rooted corruption & repression would make it an ideal breeding ground for Wyrmish forces. At the same time, I'd imagine the decades-long isolation of the local (mortal and supernatural) populance under Mao and the tight grip the state/CCP still has on most aspects of political life, society and the economy would make it difficult for traditional Wyrm agents such as BSDs, Pentex and the cults to infiltrate and co-opt the country.

            How would you run a Werewolf campaign set in 2019 China?
            They formed a massive force in the Peoples Army ever since 1st edition. They had it the Army was infested with Fomori, like the Romans in the old White Howler Days, when they destroyed the Stargazer Homeland.

            Also in Kindred of the East Akuma and Devil Tigers cultivate Bakemono.

            I do wish we got a full on 中国 setting, like Rage Across the Middle Kingdom.


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
              If I were to run a Werewolf game in China, I'd probably focus on the Weaver as much as the Wyrm. I'd probably want to focus pretty heavily on the "Ghost Cities." In its rush to urbanize, China has constructed vast cities in the middle of nowhere, literally. Traditionally cities tend to be built around important resources (like water supplies). With China, they just start plopping down massive urban cities in various places with the idea in mind, "It doesn't matter where it is, if you build a city people will move to it."

              So what ended up happening was that these cities would have a tiny population leaving the vast majority of the city completely empty. People often didn't to move to a basically empty city that lacks things like good healthcare, transportation, schools, shopping centers, etc. Meanwhile government bureaucrats didn't want to spend money on these things until there's a large enough population that it's considered cost effective. It created a kind of a catch 22, though in recent years these cities have started to see their populations begin to inch up.

              Anyway, I can think of a lot of cool plot ideas revolving around massive, empty urban cities (which I'm sure in the World of Darkness are a bit emptier and spookier than they are in real life).
              It didn't help that many of the apartment complexes were gobbled up by real estate speculators, looking to profit from the eventual sale of said properties. Problem is, of course, this kind of speculation artificially inflates property values. Far above what many lower income Chinese families can afford, even if there wasn't a dearth of employment opportunities in these ghost cities. In a country where a not inconsiderable number of citizens either have no homes or live in crowded, run down places, it makes the presence of so many empty buildings all the more jarring.

              In the World of Darkness, I imagine Pentex actively works to promote this sort of land speculation, precisely to prevent lower income families from settling in them. Keeping them in crowded existing urban centers and in crippling poverty, where Banes can more easily fester. Meanwhile, the ghost cities being both highly developed and virtually uninhabited means that while the Weaver has a strong presence, they are largely spiritually dead locations. Natural areas cleared, and then nothing being allowed to take their place. The ultimate in nihilistic urban planning.


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              • #8
                I could easily see the ghost cities being populated (or infested) with vampires (I don't think the distinction between kindred and kueijin matters much in Werewolf) or other creatures that crave secrecy and venture out to get food or other necessities. Maybe even a Glasswalker pack or sept buying up several blocks and making it exclusive for them and their kinfolk.
                There's a book, Ghost Cities of China, by Wade Shepard, about the phenomenon, which I've never read but have heard is interesting. (Christopher Marcinkoski's The City That Never Was apparently looks at the concept on a global scale.) There's also a number of online videos about them.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                • #9
                  The thing about China is, you can't really involve Pentex very overtly. The CCP has the corporate market there locked up tighter than an Arisen's sarcophagus. Even the few large, civvie-run enterprises like Tencent and Huawei are run by state toadies. Can't really see them letting a US-based megacorp that size buy a slice.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Logothétēs View Post
                    The thing about China is, you can't really involve Pentex very overtly. The CCP has the corporate market there locked up tighter than an Arisen's sarcophagus. Even the few large, civvie-run enterprises like Tencent and Huawei are run by state toadies. Can't really see them letting a US-based megacorp that size buy a slice.
                    That is true, and the books indicate its just wyrmish influence in the CCP itself, rather than from specifically Pentex. So individual people influenced by Wyrmish forces, and likely cults.


                    It is a time for great deeds!

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