I’ve finally gotten around to writing another review! Yay! Today’s review is Jadepunk: Tales from Kausao City by Reroll Productions.
Jadepunk is written by Ryan M. Danks, Jacob Possin, and Mike Olson, and it’s a wuxia meets wild west flavoured game. I’m not that knowledgeable about wuxia—so much so that I probably mispronounce it :p—but I do know my fair share of wild west, and on that point it delivers!
This game is, above all else, about doing the right thing—it even says so right in the foreword! The game takes place in Kausao City, hence the name. It’s a place where the four great nations of the world attempt to live in harmony, but end up just squashing those without wealth, entitlement, or status beneath the heels of the industrial machine.
Jade and the World
The world of Jadepunk is a world where the magic of jade replaces technology, around the time of the industrial revolution. Instead of giant factories spewing out noxious gasses into the atmosphere and toxic bilge into the waterways, there are people suffering from jade taint, and the water systems are being polluted by excess jade runoff.
Jade is the magical mineral/metal/crystal that makes the world go ‘round. There are 5 known colours of jade: green, red, blue, white, and black. Each on has it’s own special properties, and is used for different things.
Green jade is the jade of earth, vigour, and substance. It’s used to make incredibly durable things, like swords, armour, the equivalent of steel, and other such things. It’s also used in potions to enhance the same qualities in people.
Red jade is the material of fire, courage, power. It’s the most common jade found in firearms, furnaces, and engines. Its volatile nature is both a boon and a curse. A well-made red jade engine can run for years without incident, but a poorly made one is a time bomb waiting to go off.
Blue jade is the jade of water, cold, and cunning. It’s found in water-propulsion and refrigerators. When mixed into an elixir, it can cause the imbiber to be more ruthless or heal their body.
White jade is the jade of air, reason, and freedom. It’s used to make the otherwise heavier-than-air airships fly. It’s also used for potions of intellect, and can actually make people lighter.
Black jade is where the money is. It’s a recently discovered type of jade, and it’s only available in the Kausao region—hence it’s popularity with the four great nations. It not only is associated with quintessence and faith, but it’s what allows for other jades to be mixed together. It’s a catalyzing agent, but it’s properties are still relatively unknown.
As mentioned above, the city and surrounding area is the only place where black jade can be found. To prevent a war of unmatched proportions to break out, the four great nations decided to “share” the Kausao region. The city itself is very reminiscent of a boom town in the wild west, with more labour than jobs, and those jobs that are available are usually poorly paid and dangerous. There is a massive divide between the rich and entitled, and the swathes of the poor. The slums are the worst you could possible think of, and the opulence of the rice areas are beyond your wildest dreams.
That’s where the players come in. They are members of the Jianghu—the rebels who are trying to make the city safe, trying to right the wrongs, and making the world a better place to be in. Vigilantes, terrorists, saviours; they go by many names and titles, depending on who’s talking about them. Think of Starling City from Arrow, or Detroit from Robocop. The city is crap, and there are a scant few who are willing and able to change it. But it’s not easy. It’s not even hard. It’s impossible, it’s suicidal. But it must be done, at any cost.
Jadetech is the technology of the age. Instead of electricity, gasoline, transistors, etc jade is used. As mentioned above, each colour of jade has it’s own special properties, and each is used in a variety of ways. A white jade device can be constructed that functions just like a radio or walkie talkie. Green jade makes weapons and armour that is super durable and neigh-unbreakable. If you have the money, there is very little that jadetech cannot accomplish—in fact, the basis of the Asset system (which replaces stunts) is predicated on the availability and use of jadetech.
To Be Continued
For a setting as rich and game mechanics as vibrant as Jadepunk, I can’t do it justice in just one sitting. I’ll be back later with more!
Next time, I’ll delve into the new mechanics of the game, so stay tuned!
The Jadepunk logo is © Reroll Pruductions, used with permission