The Quest

The PCs are on a quest. They might be seeking enlightenment, tracking down a lost artifact, searching for rare materials needed for high-quality weapons, or working toward a laudable goal. Appropriate goals include rescuing a prisoner, freeing a people from bondage, defeating a conspiracy or an enemy, and bringing peace to the land. A common quest in cheesy kung fu movies is recovering "lost" knowledge - typically a miraculous cure for a disease, a tome of all wisdom, or forgotten martial-arts secrets.

The advantage of such a campaign is that the PCs have an excuse to wander around, looking into every mystery. Still, the GM should ensure some kind of steady progress or the quest will seem never-ending. A wide-ranging adventuring party can run into martial artists from around the world during their search. Some might be allies; others, enemies. Either way, such encounters enable the GM to introduce new martial-arts styles for the seekers to learn or contend with. Enemies might be genuine adversaries, but rivals for the quest object - willing to sabotage the heroes' progress to get ahead - are equally fitting.

Star Wars depicts a quest - the heroes seek to defeat a galactic empire - and includes a young martial-arts student seeking a master (see The Quest for the Master, p. 248). The Swordsman II is another example, the goal being to stop a power-crazed martial artist from becoming completely invincible. The Silent Flute is a classic quest: a martial artist seeks the ultimate truth, aided by an enigmatic guide!

Don't overlook the quest for revenge. The PCs might seek the enemy who killed their master, betrayed them in the past, or otherwise wronged them and theirs. Revenge quests are common in martial-arts fiction. The Count of Monte Cristo is of course a classic - but there are plenty of excellent modern tales, such as Kill Bill and Lady Snowblood.

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