6038. Umborodom’s Abbey: There is an ancient fortress-monastery constructed here of red bricks and tall, peaked roofs of copper. The roof is covered with hundreds of tall, copper spires that attract lightning. The monastery is dedicated to Umborodom, whose hound was the thunder. The monastery is inhabited by 16 low-level sohei and their abbess, Deneg, a temperamental woman with blue-gray eyes and a powerful hatred of the Jade Empress, who quells her lovely storms and keeps her “hounds” hungry.
The “hounds” are three lightning elementals that dwell within a golden matrix that serves as the monastery’s idol. The monastery is surrounded by a village of red brick buildings inhabited by about 150 tin miners. The mines are of ancient vintage, but still producing tin and a few tourmalines and topaz each month. Tourmalines are claimed by the sohei and topaz by the empress.
The sohei of the monastery wear blue armor and carry large, steel-shod mallets.
5140. Fey Samurai: A fairy knight in the trappings of a samurai has made camp here. He has been wandering the land searching for an honest man, for it is the kiss of an honest man that will awaken the Silver Maiden who sleeps beneath the mountains.
4921. Forest of Legs: The forest of trees in this hex gradually turns into a forest of giant, stone legs. The legs are limestone and carved from the “living rock” as some people say. They once held aloft a create limestone cavern that was apparently pulled apart in ancient times. The woodland of stone legs is inhabited by giant blue eagles and silver foxes, and a few of the legs serve as the roosts of hermits, devout wushen who seek enlightenment through the denial of comforts like regular meals and bathing.
It's to die for if pseudo-orientalism is your thing - which it is mine.
It's reminiscent to me of an old favourite of mine: Sword of the Samurai. This was a fantasy gamebook set in "Hachiman", the quasi-Japan of the Fighting Fantasy world - another setting which, like Matt's Mu-Pan, captures the atmosphere of a fae-tinged, delicate, misty, melancholic Eastern "other". Edward Said would not approve, but who gives a fuck what that old bore thinks?
Finally, to round off this rather incoherent and unstructured ramble of a blog entry, I would like to direct new readers to one of my all time favourite pieces of pseudo-orientalism: Borges' The Analytical Language of John Wilkins, in which he fabricates an ancient Chinese encyclopedia which categorises all the animals in the world into:
- those that belong to the Emperor
- the embalmed
- the trained
- the fabulous
- stray dogs
- those included in this classification
- those that tremble as if they were mad
- those that are drawn with a very fine camelhair brush
- et cetera
- those that have just broken a flower vase
- those that from a distance look like flies