[Let’s Study Qin: the Warring States] Part 5: Philosophies and Religion

Posted: August 20, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Qin: the Warring States, Roleplaying Games

Hello everyone, hope you’re all having a good Monday. Today we’ll be looking at the Philosophies and Religions of Zhongguo. This will be the last of the setting articles for Qin before we start trying our hand at character creation tomorrow.

The chapter on Philosophies, titled “The Hundred Schools of Thought” breaks down the major philosophical schools of Zhongguo into their Origins, Doctrine and Key Figures. The Philosophies discussed are: Confucianism, Legalism and Mohism.

While some might wonder why there’s such a focus on Philosophy in this game, it’s important to remember that to the culture of people in Zhongguo a Philosophy is more than just something you discuss, but forms the very foundation by which a ruler may choose to apply his authority upon his subjects, and the basis of a man’s interactions with his fellow man. Each state subscribes to a different sort of Philosophy, leading to an entirely different flavor depending on whose courts (or even home) the player characters might find themselves in.

The chapter discussing Religions and Superstitions on the other hand, takes a look at Taosim, which is both a religion and a philosophy that draws together from multiple sources to form a cohesive belief system.

The Chapter starts from the very beginning with Lao Zi’s writing of the Dao De Jing. From there they discuss the doctrine, and belief systems of the foundation of the univere to the quest of immortality. Internal and External forms of Taoist Alchemy are given focus here, as well as the arts of Divination and Exorcism, all of which fall under the purview of Taoist practices.

The Gods of Zhongguo are given their due in the following section, starting with the gods of the Court of heaven, down to minor dieties such as the gods of happiness, the four dragon gods and the nature of the Ten Hells of Zhongguo religion. I found this to be very good reading, and will come in handy when describing temples and adding a bit of flavor when people converse with NPCs in my game.

Overall, these chapters feel like excellent additions to an already overflowing mass of knowledge for players and GMs alike to immerse themselves into the setting. Understanding the Philosophies and Religions adds another level of complexity and interesting dimension to the setting which is hard to do by just aping the fighting.

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle the creation of a Da Xia of our own  with the Character creation system for Qin: the Warring States.

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