This is a highly eclectic list of references of all kinds that I think you might find useful for Feng Shui. It is not meant to be complete. Note also that I have eschewed the traditional bulleted list of links for a more conversational style; I was getting bored with the endless lists.
and Disclaimer: The titles of many books on this page
are linked to the Amazon.com Books Web page. Clicking on the
link will bring you to a page from which you can order the book
easily and quickly at a discount. I get a little cash back for
each book ordered in this way, so I have a certain interest in
seeing people do this. I also think you should check your local
non-chain bookstore first: chain bookstores are putting many
independent retailers out of business, and I dislike
homogenized bookbuying. End of rant.
Daedalus produced three Feng Shui sourcebooks; Marked for Death, Back for Seconds, and Thorns of the Lotus. Marked for Death contains five adventures, all of which are reasonably keen; it's 80 pages long, and retails for $12.95. See also the review elsewhere on this site. Back for Seconds is pricier, although I can't find the actual cost anywhere on the book; it's also 80 pages, but it's still worth it for the slew of GMCs, locations, and plot ideas. Thorns of the Lotus is somewhat hard to find, as Daedalus had bad relationships with most distributors by the time it was printed; you may have to try mail order. It's also been reviewed here.
Ronin Publishing published the only non-Daedalus Feng Shui sourcebook to date: Blood of the Valiant. I've written a review; there are also a couple of reviews on RPG.Net. Summary: good stuff.
Hong Kong action movie fans should also check out the excellent Hong Kong Action Theater RPG from Event Horizon Productions. It's another Hong Kong movie RPG, and it approaches the genre from a very different standpoint. Check it out; it's fun.
While we're on the subject of alternate Hong Kong movie RPGs, you might also be interested in Point Blank, from Wasteland Games. I haven't seen this game myself, but their core system looks to be as good as any on a quick glance and their Web page proves that they understand the genre. My contacts tell me that Point Blank is oriented more towards gunplay than kung fu.
And then there's the always useful GURPS sourcebooks. I recommend GURPS Places of Mystery as a general sourcebook; it's also been reviewed here. GURPS China is out of print, but we have one review; finally, GURPS Alternate Earths is a possibly interesting source of ideas on critical shifts, and we have some thoughts in that direction as well.
Finally, White Wolf recently published Kindred of the East, a sourcebook for Vampire. It's well-researched, and while not directly applicable to Feng Shui, might be useful if you badly wanted to delve into the world of vampires and other non-demonic supernatural creatures.
Alas, the old Daedalus home page is gone; fortunately, there are still a few darned good general sites out there. David Eber's Fortress of Shadow is run by one of my most frequent contributors, and includes a ton of good material and more all the time. The Jade Agenda is new as of 1998, but it's an excellent site and well worth your time. Evan James is another frequent contributor of mine; he has his own site as well. Finally, Ethan Parker's Feng Shui site has a couple of adventures, among other things.
Besides the big general sites, there are several more focussed sites I can recommend. First off, check out Jason's Feng Shui pages, which include a semi-official FAQ and much other good material. Next, you may want to read Tim Byrd's Feng Shui page, which includes his unpublished material written for Golden Comeback, the Dragon sourcebook. Steve Barr has a small but nice article on Woochan Combats (combats in the style of John Woo and Jackie Chan), and the Flick Inc Feng Shui page has a section on Brad Solberg's house rules and a lengthy analysis of Fu schticks. And last but not least, IK Net has a nice mook database.
There are also a few pages out there that use the Feng Shui mechanics in other settings. First off is Amurgsval, a fantasy setting using Feng Shui rules. The Feng Shui rules are also a perfect match for the Star Wars setting, and while they don't fit the Cthulhu Mythos quite as well, that doesn't mean they're totally incompatible...
Shadis #27 has a Feng Shui story by Greg Stolze and not one but two positive reviews of the game. The story is really nice, all about the perils of being Pledged. The reviews are, well, the sort of good reviews that we expect for Feng Shui.
Pyramid #20 (July/August 1996) from Steve Jackson Games has Feng Shui right on the cover, plus an article all about the game from John Tynes and a positive review. The article includes some new Buro gear that will be turning up in the Seed Of The New Flesh sourcebook by Greg Stolze. The article is cool but if you're already playing Feng Shui you'd only want it for the two pieces of gear.
Adventures Unlimited #6 from Bootstrap Press has a new Feng Shui adventure by Bruce Baugh, and again some lovely Feng Shui cover art. And a Daedalus ad on the back cover. Major exposure.
Rob Heinsoo notes:
If any of you are planning to run Bruce Baugh's Feng Shui adventure from issue 6, you should know that the stats for the GMCs are way too weak.
No PC group will get more than a couple seconds of opposition from the GMCs provided. It's a case of an adventure being written for a game before publication when the game's range of stats weren't well understood -- and nobody from Daedalus proofed the piece before it went to press. AVs for nearly all the GMCs included have to go up by at least a point, and in the case of the Named characters and the would-be serious opposition, two or three or even five points! I won't have time to offer a full revision of the stats any time soon, but anyone who's considering tinkering with it should also check and make sure that the schticks chosen make sense for unnamed characters. Frex, I think some of the unnamed folks have Slap Patches, and that doesn't make sense once you check out the game mechanics.
There are a lot of these, so I'm just going to mention the two I consider to be key. First of all, check out the Hong Kong Movie Information page, which is a general overview. This is also where you should look for links to pages dedicated to specific stars and movies. The other important site is the Hong Kong Movie Database, which indexes movie reviews by star and title. You can also find more reports on the Hong Kong movie industry there.
The slick pop culture book to buy is definitely Sex & Zen and a Bullet Through The Head. I think it's the optimal introduction to the genre. I've also heard excellent things about Hong Kong Action Cinema, by Bey Logan. Reports are that it has a lot of historical information, which Sex & Zen lacks, and it sounds as though it goes into more depth in general.
China the Beautiful is an huge repository of Chinese culture. It's very very good. I also like Friends of China, which is mostly a collection of links but which is far better organized than Yahoo.
Hong Kong has a slew of good Web sites. The Asia Trade Network has a notable travel-oriented site with good graphics; you can find nice Hong Kong pictures (very useful for setting the mood) at the Hong Kong Starcam and the Hong Kong Picture Archive. The latter includes both scenery and popstars.
Also scope out The Complete Hong Kong Guide, which almost lives up to its name, and The Hong Kong Connection, especially good for us pop culture fans.
There are, of course, an awful lot of books on China. The ones listed here are mostly those I've seen recommended; here more than anywhere else I'd advise going to your local bookstore and seeing which ones catch your eye.
However, some good starting points (recommended by Bruce and Robin) include Cultural Atlas of China, by Caroline Blunden and Mark Elvin, which has lots of pictures and history; Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, by Patricia Ebrey, which is well stocked with primary sources along with short summaries of different historical eras; China to 1850: A Short History, by Charles O. Hucker, which is recommended as an afternoon's read and introduction to Chinese history, and A Traveller's History of China, by Stephen Haw, which includes notes on what cool things happened where.
Unsurprisingly, there is also a plethora of books on Hong Kong. My personal vote for one of the keenest ones goes to Traveller's Tales: Hong Kong, which contains a whole bunch of excerpts from various travel writers' stories about Hong Kong. It's a wonderful source for flavor.
I'm also currently recommending Fielding Travel's The World's Most Dangerous Places. It's a rocking travel guide on, well, exactly what it says. You get info on how to bribe people, what the local dictators are like, mercenaries, and much much more.
And in general, it's worth looking in the travel section of your bookstore. I tend to like the travel books with plenty of pictures, for visual aids; there are too many to mention here. I'll try and add specific recommendations as my library grows in size.
Turning to fiction, I unconditionally recommend Barry Hughart's Number Ten Ox series. These are fantasy, set in a world very much like the 69 juncture; magic is a part of the world but superstition is even stronger. The first and best of the three books is Bridge of Birds; the other two (The Story of the Stone and Eight Skilled Gentlemen) are out of print. Buy them if you see them in a used bookstore. Also of some interest is David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, which is a science fiction series set in a near future where China won. It's not quite Feng Shui in nature, but it is very Chinese. There have been five books of it to date: Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdom, The Broken Wheel, The White Mountain, The Stone Within, and Beneath the Tree of Heaven. Five more are planned.
Getting back to historical fiction, the Judge Dee books are very good both as mystery fiction and as inspirations for the historical junctures. If memory serves me right, Robert Hans Van Gulik translated the first one, Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, and then wrote The Emperor's Pearl, Judge Dee At Work, The Lacquer Screen, Murder in Canton, The Phantom of the Temple, The Red Pavilion, and The Willow Pattern.
My favorite gun-oriented gaming book is Chameleon Eclectic's Ultramodern Firearms, which supplements Millenium's End, their RPG of near-future espionage. It's very nice, as are most Millenium's End supplements -- minimal game mechanics and accurate info. It is also unfortunately out of print, but Chameleon Eclectic is well aware that hordes of slavering Feng Shui fans want to buy it, so get in touch with them and tell them of your hunger. Also keep an eye out for their Terrorism/Anti-Terrorism book.
Pagan Publishing produces a mail-order-only sourcebook called The Weapons Compendium, intended for Call of Cthulhu but applicable to most any RPG. I haven't seen this myself, but I've never been disappointed by anything they've published so I suspect it's good.
I also am aware of Edge of the Sword, Vol. 1, Compendium of Modern Firearms, from R. Talsorian Games, Inc.; Phoenix Command Wild West Weapon Data Supplement (obviously oriented towards a certain period), from Leading Edge Games, and of course GURPS High Tech from Steve Jackson Games. I believe the latter two are also out of print.
I haven't gotten seriously into gun books yet; at some point I need to run by my local bookstore that carries this sort of thing and scope out the shelves for potential references. However, here are a couple that have been recommended on the Feng Shui mailing list:
Note that what I'm looking for in a guns Web page is keen pictures. It's all about style, right? That said, I like rec.guns FAQ for starters, since it has a nice pictures section and an excellent list of other gun sites. I won't give many other links, since it would be redundant, but I do like the Unofficial H&K USP Home Page, with pictures (scope the grenade launcher); the Unofficial Sig Sauer Home Page, with more pictures, and the immensely keen M-1911 Pistols Home Page, which has gobs of info on Colt pistols. (With more guns info and images on his home page.) Finally, Shooters has a very fine links page and some articles that are undoubtedly of interest to real gun fans.
For period firearms, the 1850 Firearms Reference is keen and has pictures.
Being a complete tyro, I chose the selections herein on the basis of what looked cool. I wouldn't recommend starting here if you want to make a serious study of the arts.
Palladium's Ninjas and Superspies is probably not worth buying unless you already have it; however, it does have useful descriptions of what styles look like, what sorts of garb practioners wear, and the like. Some people will recommend GURPS Martial Arts, the out of print Ninja Hero, or the Ultimate Martial Artist (the last two for the HERO system). I don't; they're all good references for the games in question but not that great for Feng Shui.
Also, White Wolf's out of print Street Fighter may be good; it's very flashy, and seems to fit well into the Feng Shui mold.
The most recommended book was Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts by Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith. It includes history, styles, pictures; everything you could want. I also got a few recommendations for The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia by John Corcoran and Emil Farkas; this may be harder to find, and is not cheap, but is reportedly very good. Beyond this, your best bet as always is to flip through books in a bookstore and see what grabs you.
You may also want to check out some martial arts magazines. They're easy to find and much cheaper than the above books; look for Inside Kung Fu, Inside Karate, and Black Belt. These may yield good scenario ideas, interesting new weird weaponry, and at the very least will have pictures for visual references if you like that sort of thing.
Finally, a nod to multimedia: The Martial Arts Explorer CD-ROM. It runs under both Windows and MacOS, and while I haven't seen it personally it contains movies of interviews with martial artists, comparative videos highlighting the differences between various styles, an art gallery, and a timeline. Sounds well worthy of the relatively cheap price.
There are, as you might expect, a lot of martial arts pages on the Web. For game reference, I like the Shaolin Kung Fu page, which has a very nice styles section. It covers the martial art Feng Shui characters are most likely to be using. For the Tai Chi Old Masters, there's Tai Ji, which is a bit messy but interesting.
The best general martial arts page I was able to find was MARS, the Martial Arts Resource Site, which has historical information, style descriptions, philosophical treatises, and more. Other decents links pages include Furyu Online and of course Yahoo.
Thanks to some helpful souls, I now have a few good Feng Shui references. Not a lot; still looking for a good book or two.
Here're just a couple of places to look. First, Pun Yin Metaphysics Ltd. has a general guide to feng shui. Second, for other sites, check out the Yahoo Feng Shui Business List. (Amusingly enough, this category has been shunted from Alternative Medicine over to Interior Design.)
The American Feng Shui Institute page is nice, especially if you want to take classes. One of their students has a very informative and amusing page: Feng Shui for Dummies.
I don't yet have any recommendations for non-fiction books on feng shui, although I'll be looking around next time I get to the good bookstore in town. I did, however, greatly enjoy a science fiction book from Walter Jon Williams: Metropolitan, which takes place in a strange future in which the manipulation of chi derived from feng shui sites has become a science. The writing is extremely vivid and rich.
Thanks to Eamon Honan, Chris Meadows, Robin Laws, Rich Redman, Steve Barr, and Bruce Baugh for their pointers and contributions; if I've forgotten anyone, which is not unlikely, please be assured that it was accidental.
Last modified: March 25th, 2000; please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.