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Rules for Poetry Duel(With focus on East Asian literature)

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  • Rules for Poetry Duel(With focus on East Asian literature)

    ROKA sergeant reporting for duty! Since Korean military policy has been changed to allow use of cell phones in barracks, I found time to post some stuff.
    So I decided to make some special rules for my Dark Era project:

    I think the first good step would be poetry. Poetry was considered a pinnacle of art in many regions, including China, Korea, and Japan. East Asian classical literature, in all genres, is full of scholars boasting and competing their poetic abilities. Poetry could be also used to persuade, test, or manipulate the opponent, both in real life and fiction.
    I have divided the poetry rules for three parts. Simple, Basic, Advanced(Featuring special rules for Chinese classical poetry Hanshi).

    Simple is well, simple. It almost has no rules. Choose between folk and scholastic. Engaging with folk poetry roles Presence+Expression, while scholastic poetry roles Intelligence(If there are plenty of time) or Wits(If there is a time pressure)+Expression. One with the most successes wins(in case of tie, there could be a tiebreaker round/underdog favor, or just co-victory), and the player or the Storyteller chooses one option below appropriate for the situation. Other normal prizes could be held by the characters in play.

    - Moving: Open one door of one opponent.
    - Pleasing: Increase an impression by one step for every participants & onlookers.
    - Firm: Add one door against one opponent.
    - Famous: For this session, treat your social merits relevant to this poetry battle by one dot higher.
    - Mocking: For this session, deny one participant's social merits by one dot. Or give every participants humiliated condition.
    - Rousing: Give every willing participants & onlookers incited condition. Or give the self-reflecting condition to appropriate participants & onlookers.

    Basic is more complex and detailed then simple rules. It tries to portray generic poetry duels with few restrictions on time & space. If the characters engage in poetry duel, they must agree on the theme, style, type of the duel. The winner's options are same as Simple.
    Themes & Style could vary, but still should make sense in context. Also, the participants could choose different themes.

    Types of the duel are listed below.
    - Unlimited relay: The first participants says one line, the next participants adds another line, and so one. The character who failed to add another line, or adds a wrong line(mechanically, who fails first) is eliminated. Whoever left standing is the final victor. As the poem grows longer, it becomes more harder to come up with the right words - every participants suffer a cumulative -1 penalty by each cycle. Most brutal and competitive of all types of poetry duels, asking another person for unlimited relay reads "I want to crush you hard, man.'
    - Limited relay: Same as unlimited relay, but even if you failed to compose a line, you don't get eliminated. You just miss your turn. Participants must agree on a goal(mechanically, number of goal successes) ahead. If the combined successes of all participants is same or higher than goal successes, the duel immediately ends. Whoever contributed most successes is the victor.
    - Full Composition: Each participants are given time to compose a full poem. One with the most successes win the duel. Rules for full composition are listed below.

    Full Composition - Three Steps.
    This rule divides poetry into three parts. Beginning, Middle, End.
    Beginning: The memorable introduction to the entire poem. Because it requires creativity and shock, roll Wits+Expression.
    Middle: The main part of the poem, where the poet is encouraged to show off his exotic skills. Roll Intelligence/Presence+Expression, but you may switch to another relevant skill, like using animal ken when the theme is wildlife.
    End: Many says it is the hardest part, since it requires an ability to give up your imagination and accept restrictions. Roll Resolve+Expression.

    Note that those three styles could be merged together. For instances, you could do unlimited relay with full poems, not just separate lines.

    Advanced(Hanshi Specific)
    For those who don't know what Hanshi(漢詩) is read here :
    Advanced rules aren't universal, and is focused on creating Hanshi, especially formal ones that trended on Tang dynasty.
    The themes of the Hanshi are listed below.
    - Landscape: Poems focused on wildlife - beauty of natural life, great scenery, changes of nature. Landscape poems provide minimum quality. If there are inspirational plants, animals, or scenery near the dueling field, you may re-roll a failed dice on each roll.
    - Sentimental: Poems depicting one's inner thoughts, especially tragic ones - illness or death of a family member, separating with friends and lovers, worries and loneliness. When you spend willpower on a poetry roll, add dice equal to the number of your current conditions.
    - Political: Poems with clear social/political meanings - suffering of the poor, hypocrisy of aristocrats, foolishness of the officials. When you select the Rousing option from victory, you may put outraged instead of incited, and self-ashamed instead of self-reflecting.
    - Historic: Poems showing notable persons and events - annotations on old scripts, creatures and people from legends, historical figures. You may use academics instead of expression.
    - Entertaining: Poems meant to make everyone joyful - 'party songs', having a good time with friends, alcohol and sex. You may recover one willpower instead of selecting normal victory options.
    You may mix two styles together, applying -2 modifiers.

    The style of Hanshi is mostly focused on rhymes and verses. Typical full Hanshi is composed of 4 parts called Ki-seung-jeon-gyeol(起承轉結, in West, it is known as its Japanese term Kishotenketsu).
    Ki(Introduction): Literally "Standing Up". It is the introduction to the entire poem. Roll Wits+Expression.
    Seung(Development): Literally "Succession". It develops the theme from the introduction. Roll Intelligence/Presence + Expression.
    Jeon(Twist): Literally "Rolling over". The most fun part of the Hanshi, Jeon brings up theme looking unrelated, even paradoxical to the Ki & Seung's theme - adding curiosity and interest to the reader. Roll Wits+Expression.
    Gyeol(Conclusion): Literally "Ending". It tries to corporate both the two themes into one. Roll Resolve+Expression-(Difference between Seung and Jeon's success numbers).

    Rhymes also play a vital part of Hanshi. It was considered in Korea essential to know the correct Chinese pronunciation, even thinking it as a matter of National Pride.
    Because it gets harder and harder to think of right rhymes, every two lines it imposes a cumulative -1 penalty to the poet(to all participants in relay). You could try to change the rhymes by rolling Intelligence+Academics. If you succeeded, you are treated if you gained only one success on your turn, and the rhyme penalty is set to zero.

    That's all. What do you think? This is just a draft that I am trying to put into my dark era project. So let me know if there are any unclear phrases or rules.
    Last edited by tg0098; 09-01-2019, 04:58 AM.

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      Hearing night cicadas outside my window
      I gaze upon my computer screen
      "What brilliance do I see before me!"
      I think, as I pour a glass of wine.