Today I will quickly show you how the game’s rules work.

Most actions that the player Immortals attempt can be resolved using common sense; there isn’t any need to use the rules in this book. Simply by talking it through between players, the action will be resolved. When the outcome of an Immortal’s action is uncertain, the Narrator may ask for an Action. The players share a deck of playing cards, which is used in this situation. Numbered cards are the value on their face, Jesters are 11, Queens are 12, Kings are 13, Aces are 14, and Jokers are 20, which mean that when drawn usually means an automatic and resounding success.

The Narrator can call for one of three types of Action:

A Quick Action is called when how well the Immortal does is significant in terms of how it’s described, as either something they can do without any difficulty or something they struggle with and causes them great hardship before they get there in the end. No cards are drawn, but the Narrator asks the player which Skill they are using to overcome the obstacle put in their way, and then narrates the level of success depending on the Skill Rank. For example the Pilgrims (Monkey, Tripitaka, Sandy and Pigsy) are crossing a fast flowing river, which really needs skilled swimmers to cross it. Sandy (who is a Water Demon and an expert swimmer) cross the river with ease, and sings a merry tune.  Monkey uses his magic staff and Monkey Kung Fu to somersault over in style. Tripitaka is riding the Horse, a transformed Dragon who has no problem traversing the river. Pigsy who is a poor swimmer struggles against the current and eventually gets across wet, cold and ill of temper.

A Simple Action is called when a Narrator wishes quickly to resolve a conflict in the story the outcome of which is significant on the course of the adventure, such as climbing a mountain or checking to see if they can hear the rustling of the ghostly breeze behind them. The player randomly draws a number of cards equal to the skill he is using. He gains an additional card for using an appropriate Attitude, such as drawing on his Very Determined in scaling the mountain. The opposing Immortal or force, in this case the Mountain, draws a number of cards equal to the skill or resistance they are using, with a bonus card for appropriate Attitudes or environmental conditions. For example, the Mountain pulls an extra card because of the weather: it has been raining heavily. The player and the narrator look at their hand of  cards and play the highest card, with victory going to the higher score.

A Dramatic Action is resolved in exactly the same way by pulling cards. However, Dramatic Actions are called when a Narrator wishes to focus the game session on an important and lengthy scene in the story, such as a long, tough fight against a River Dragon. The Action is not resolved in one draw of the cards, but through a series of linked Simple Actions.  For each lost Action, a participant gains a Strike and when they have three Strikes against them, they are knocked out of the Action. The eventual winner(s) are the characters who have knocked all their opponents out of the Action.

Adding Yin and Yang Forces to Actions
Chinese philosophy sees the Universe being made up of two opposing forces: Yin and Yang. To add colour and significance to the card draw, Red cards are Active or Yang in nature and Black Cards are Passive or Yin in nature. When the player draws the cards from their Skill, they pick the highest card from that draw and see if it is Yang (Red) or Yin (Black).  If they then want to draw a card to play due an Attitude their character possesses it  must match the colour. If the card draw matches the colour of the initial high card drawn due to the Skill then you add the score on the card drawn because of the Attitude to the Highest card.

For example Manju (see below: the Demon Hunter from Day 3 ) attacks a Town Guard with his Kung Fu of 3, draws three cards the highest is the Ten of Clubs (a black/Yin card). This means to draw a bonus card for his Attitude they have to pick Manju’s Yin Lazy Attitude. So they draw an 5 of Spades and since it matches the colour of the first card drawn it gets added, for a total of 15. If the card had been a red card (Yang in nature) it would have been discarded immediately.  As well effecting the rules outcome, it colours the narrative, since Manju’s player now has compose their narrative to explain how Manju lazily moves up to the Town Guard and strikes them using their Kung Fu technique. This is in comparison to a more straight forward and bold Yang (active attack) where the Player could easily describe how Manju runs up to the Town Guard shouts and strikes them directly in the gut.

This system applies to all actions from physical fights, magical duels and philosophical debates.

Day 13 of 23 days of Monkey, Kickstarter opens in 10 days on 8th January 2017.