Saturday, January 28, 2012

Inspiration: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is a wonderful pulp romp set in the Tang Dynasty. As the impending coronation of the Empress Wu Zetian draws near, the mysterious death of a key official charged with completing the 1000 foot statue of Buddha makes the release of the imprisoned Detective Dee a necessity for the would-be Empress. His mission: to uncover those responsible for the fiery death of the official, despite his own personal opposition to the coronation of Wu Zetian.


"By this mace, I find weakness!"
The movie is visually stunning, has intriguing characters such as the Chancellor Jing'er -- right-hand woman of the would-be Empress -- and Pei -- an albino official in Wu's court -- who liven up the investigation in this mystical, mysterious, and intrigue-laden version of Imperial China.

Neat things to rip off:
"Don't make us angry. We know a thousand different and cinematically
interesting ways to kill you."
  • the Phantom Flame, course, as a mystery and eventually an ongoing threat to the PCs if one of them is inflicted by it;
  • the methods of shapeshifting used;
  • martial arts, opponents, and locations for fight scenes;
  • the 1000 foot statue of Buddha as a scene location;
  • the 'mace' of Detective Dee, an artifact given to him by the late Emperor and returned to him by the would-be Empress which has a 'find weakness' ability when a ring is spun about its base (its humming increases when near a weak point);
  • Chancellor Jing'er as an NPC;
  • Pei as an NPC (an albino who's heroic, sympathetic, and cool -- rare in modern cinema);
  • the cavernous underworld of Imperial China, littered with the refuse of bygone days and riddled with twisting caves and passageways, perfect of a dungeon crawl.
Maybe this can be updated and added to the setting of Weird Adventures, heheh.

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