Thursday, December 12, 2019

Kung Fu Dark Sun

art by Eric Belisle
Still on a wuxia kick and thinking about the arid lands of Northern China, it occurs to me that Dark Sun might be an interesting mashup with kung fu action. It is true that the default 80s barbarian film meets Mad Max aesthetic of Dark Sun doesn’t scream Crouching Tiger or Hidden Dragon, but that aside, I think it’s actually not a bad fit. Let me run the list:

  • The downgrading of weaponry due to the scarcity of metal in the setting leaves space for bare-handed martial arts.
  • The Elemental clerics thing can easily spun in a wuxia direction (as seen in Avatar: The Last Airbender).
  • The "fighting oppression" angle of Dark Sun dovetails nicely with with the "fighting corrupt authority" aspect of some wuxia.
  • There are Thri-Kreen who are praying mantis people, essentially, who would be natural practitioners of praying mantis kung fu
  • Athasian Dragons aren't common monsters but beings of immense power, like the Chinese conception of the creature (though Athas's is certainly not benevolent). 


Kyana said...

This is a very cool idea.

Tom said...

I can envision a Thri-Kreen martial artist who pointedly mastered some other form of Kung Fu and gets irritated when people assume he knows mantis style.

"I told you, I mastered Iron Monkey Drunken Boxing!"
"Can you even get drunk?"
"That's not the point, Carl!"

While not Dark Sun level of Dying Earth, the show Into the Badlands is a nice post-apocalyptic wuxia series.

Trey said...

Definitely. I wrote a post about a year ago about who Into the Badlands could inspire a Kung Fu Post-Apocalyptic Ravenloft.

Kyana said...

I can imagine how annoyed this thri-kreen would be.

I wonder more if it is possible to combine Wild/Wyrd West (as it is seen in Sergio Leone's work) with kung-fu or if Wild West is not fully used to its potential if there is no much gunfight.

David Baymiller said...

In 2e we often took unarmed proficiencies from the Fighter and Gladiator's handbooks.
Damn... we SHOULD have integrated martial arts from Oriental ADventures and Ninja's Handbook.
Brilliant idea sir!