I’ve been without internet access for a few day now, making it a bit difficult to post on schedule. I’ll hopefully be back to posting more about Wu Xing as soon as my internet access allows it. Apologies for this incovenience. #ThirdWorldBloggingProblems
Archive for the ‘Local Scene’ Category
Just wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my good friend and occasional commenter on this blog, Yamasaki, who has decided to take the Manila by Night campaign idea I put up on this blog and use it for a campaign of Mage: the Awakening for his own gaming group! As a big fan of the game, and an even bigger fan of promoting tabletop RPGs in the Philippines, this is all sorts of happy news for me.
That said, if Yamasaki needs help with anything in the campaign, I’d be happy to provide assistance, whether it be for coming up with interesting villains, plot hooks and random ideas for his game. I’ll see if he’ll be willing to write up an actual play report of his campaign which I can host here on my blog as well. It’ll be a good way to showcase other campaigns aside from my own.
I’m more than happy to host word of other people’s games as well. If you’re part of a gaming group here in the Philippines, and you’d like to submit your own actual play reports, feel free to comment to this post and send me your email and I’ll get in touch right away. The more exposure your groups get, the more new players will be able to find you and find people to enjoy the hobby with.
A few weeks ago pointyman2000 posted on his receiving a replacement copy of AEG’s 4th edition of Legend of the Five Rings but upon going to the post office to pick it up the assessor attempted to levy a tax on the parcel, which if it had pushed through would’ve run somewhere along the lines of 250-500 pesos (roughly 10 USD) whereas I had to fork out around twice that much when I got my parcels from Black Library the first time this new racket came into effect. Whether this was done so at the behest of customs or merely by an assessor looking for pocket money is irrelevant, fact of the matter is in the Philippines books are one of the few items that are tax exempt even though assessor will gleefully remain silent on that fact and simply levy a duty anyway.
In any case as a public service I’d just like to bring the following laws to everyone’s attention;
The Florence Agreement of 1950; this treaty obligates all signatory nations to refrain from imposing customs duties on the importation of books, periodicals and materials used for the production of books. So in effect no matter the quantity you cannot be assed import duties by Customs though they still can assess other fees that are applied to any other product that is entering the Philippines.
Republic Act 8047; this local law provides books and other such analogous materials with several benefits but the pertinent provisions for our segment is in Section 12 which states “Books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, including book publishing and printing, as well as its distribution and circulation, shall be exempt from the coverage of the expanded value added tax law.” This means that books are exempt on the 12% VAT.
How to apply the aforementioned laws: Now just because these laws exist doesn’t mean the local bureaucrat in the post office will apply them automatically, let alone even know about it. Procedurally the Supreme Court is clear that the onus falls on us to make the claim for a tax exemption and show we qualify to avail of it. Every time you have a parcel you will be given an assessment which states a breakdown of the taxes being charged to you for importing the books, various taxes and the postal service charges. On this form will also be procedures for claiming tax exemptions, at which point you should first call their attention to the two laws then fill out the form or submit a memo, which I usually prepare in advance before I head over to the post office, citing the aforementioned laws.
If the assessor is particularly nice they might just hand wave you upon pointing out the two laws, if they’re particularly hidebound you’ll have to spend a couple of minutes filling up forms but either way just remain polite and courteous. If the assessor is particularly stubborn or greedy it would be best to back off and consult an attorney to draft a more formal letter if you’re dead set on not paying. Petty bureaucrats are terrified of anything penned by a lawyer. You have 30 days before the parcel is considered abandoned so there’s no rush.
On a final note I am not yet sure if these exemptions apply to audio books in CD form and other literary materials not made from slaughtered trees since they can qualify as both Optical Media and Educational Materials, a distinction which has not yet been settled by the courts or the Department of Finance.
So more or less that’s it; a quick work around to make books more accessible to the Filipino gamer. Though I’d like to make the disclaimer that I’m just a law student at this point and any real conflicts that arise on this subject should be taken up with an actual practicing tax lawyer.
Your friendly neighborhood rules lawyer,
Fellow Philippine gamer, Gelo Dmnyo has managed to round up a bunch of like-minded gamers to put up a gaming event of his own!
Epic Flail: A Pen & Paper RPG Newb Event is a mini-convention put together by a bunch of enthusiastic gamers that want to share the hobby to anyone and everyone who might be interested in rolling some dice and having a lot of fun!
Games that are running are:
Zombie Flavored Lollipop
No. of players – 3-6
The gods of lore are bored with today’s society and they want action!
They chose six random humans and gave them powers, now they are put to the test in a post apocalyptic dimension where they are to face hordes of zombies…and in return the survivors shall reach a level no human have achieve…GODHOOD!
The Blood Cult’s Dungeon
4-5 players With Pregenerated Characters
You’ve awoken in a dark dungeon cell, unable to remember how you got there.
The faint sounds of distant screams echo through the walls. Something sinister looms in the air as robed cultists forcefully pull out prisoners from out of their cells, dragging them to some unknown doom! Escape before the same fate befalls you!
Your team was hired for a covert rescue mission. Intel has gathered information that the recently disappeared Lady Eileen of Snowgrove was kidnapped by an anarchist mage society called Imperium Absentis, wanted in 53 towns for unsolicited devil summoning and wide-scale terrorist attacks. Intel also says that the IA plans to sacrifice Lady Eileen in order to open gateways from hell to provide free entry for devils and demons alike to our world.The goal is to sneak into the IA headquarters, rescue Lady Eileen, and do whatever is necessary to thwart the IA’s plans.
Criminal Intent (Vampire: The Requiem SAS)
System: New World of Darkness
Mr. Petrovsky is a somewhat prominent figure among the Kindred of Los Angeles. He is a strict, some would say fanatical, protector of the Masquerade, often approached when Kindred are inadvertently exposed, or when some rebellious vampire has to be punished for his indiscretions. Now, it is Mr. Petrovsky who approaches you and your group seeking assistance in dealing with a Masquerade violation by the city’s Hound, Simone. You are tasked with finding her, and ensuring that sanctity of the Masquerade… by whatever means necessary. In the World of Darkness, however, not everything is as it seems.
Of all the genres that run as smooth as silk in the context of a Philippine setting, it would have to be Urban Fantasy or Horror. The Filipino culture in general is one where superstition rubs shoulders with faith, and just about anyone can tell you two to three different superstitions that they follow. Filipinos are well aware of the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, for example, while making certain to check the horoscope every morning, while making sure to hear Mass every Sunday.
This sort of open culture leads to a whole bunch of interesting scenarios. Filipinos tend to enjoy the fantastic, from ghost stories, to urban legends to tales of creatures like the tikbalang or the kapre. Majority of the supernatural types that are common to Philippine beliefs are mostly those of the Fae and Ghosts, but there’s always room for the creepy undefined stuff.
A World of Darkness game set in Manila would be a perfect fit. The large socio-economic divide between the rich and the poor is nothing new here, and many crimes and deaths just pass unnoticed by the general populace, already far too numb to care anymore. The Media is obsessed only with the next scandal, and businessmen and politicians tend to have other priorities than being of help the their fellow man.
Personally, if I were to run Urban Fantasy or Horror in Manila, I’d go for Changeling: the Lost. The idea of being taken away and changed, before finally making it back is one that works wonderfully well in a Philippine setting. There’s always talk of people being taken away by some form of fae creature or another, and every child is taught to never accept food or drink if one was ever taken away, or else they would never be able to leave.
Sadly, the Cthulhu Mythos is probably not quite so applicable here, unless you try and force it and correlate the siokoy myth with the Deep Ones. If one veers towards non-fantastic horror, then serial killers and the like would be interesting in a Philippine setting. We don’t really get reports of serial killers here, but that might just be because the people don’t recognize it as such.
Overall, an Urban Fantasy / Horror campaign set in the Philippines would be an interesting mix of Asian and Western sensibilities. The fact that a lot of places here are ripe for some truly horrifying scenes makes it an even more fertile ground for bone-chilling campaigns.