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Year of the Lotus

The Los Angeles area's location on the Pacific Rim has long made it a destination for immigrants from across Asia and Oceania. Where people go, they tend to bring their cultures with them, and so it only makes sense that the shen, or magical peoples, of the far east have found a foothold in the region.

While some have clustered into communities such as Chinatown, Koreatown, and Little Tokyo, others have spread farther afield. Los Angeles and the surrounding cities boast a sizable Asian influence, and this is what the Year of the Lotus setting is all about.

There are a few key elements to remember if you want to join this setting:

1) This is not Asia. While aspects of societal norms and ways have been imported, they have in many places melded with or been superseded by American values and methods. Many came to America to escape their old lives, and many children grew up rebelling against their parents' values. This means that the same old castes and cultural values might not always be there, much the way it is when you compare America and Europe. New arrivals may be in for a rude awakening, the way many Kuei-jin were during their Great Leap Outward, when they discovered that so many of the Cathayans already in the New World were marching to a different drummer.

2) This is not Asia. This bears repeating, because both the Umbra and the Shadow Lands will not be the same in the U.S. as they are across the seas. While some spirits and wraiths may have come across with the immigrants, and even set up small pocket courts to remind them of their homelands, for the most part they find themselves forced to deal with a culture and landscape alien to them.

3) This is not Asia. Getting redundant yet? While there are large Asian communities across the region, they are still the minority overall. There are only a handful of cities where Asians represent the majority, and even then you must remember that Asians are far from homogeneous themselves, with many cultures and ethnicities represented among them. Aside from the Great Leap Outward of the Kuei-jin, which ultimately proved to be a costly mistake, the shen of Asia often find themselves at a disadvantage, particularly in terms of numbers.

Now, with all that said above, shen can and do thrive in the New World. They DO have large pockets of believers and allies they can draw from, they DO have a vast and varied world they can explore, and they CAN and often DO make alliances with the Westerners.

The Year of the Lotus game is represented primarily by the following groups.

Despite the eventual routing of their Great Leap Outward, the Kuei-jin remain a major player in the area. Not only does the Chinese Quincunx have a presence, but so too do the Korean Green Courts, the Japanese Gaki, and a wide variety of others from across southeast Asia. While the abilities of the Cathayans will often bring them into contact with the hengeyokai and fera, they are mostly a part of the Vampire game, and so should always be considered in that context.

The shapeshifters of the East, the Beast Courts are the only collection of shifters on the planet to rival the Western Concordiat of the Garou, though the African Ahadi is swiftly coming into its own. A diverse collection of different shifting breeds, they have established a definite presence in the region, and tentative agreements with the locals. They are also quite close to the local hsien, whom they historically tend to view as distant cousins of a sort, particularly the animalistic hiranyu.

The mysterious Hsien technically fall under the auspices of the Changeling game, but in truth they are a breed apart, much as the Kuei-jin are to Kindred. Their nature and habits mean, though, that in Los Angeles they often wind up associating with other shen: Mages, Fera, Hengeyokai, and Changelings all seem to wind up drawn into their circle, for each tends to find commonalities with them at certain points. Note that in this setting the door has been opened for 10 new breeds of hiranyu, many of whom are more independent, and might be even more likely to wind up associating with non-Hsien.

Wraiths who make their way across the vastness of the Pacific to the U.S. find a very different world from the kingdoms they have known. Strange are the ways of Stygia and its remnants. This game does not just encompass the Dark Kingdom of Jade but also other Eastern Kingdoms such as Swar, the Indian City of Delights.

This is the realm of the Chi'n Ta, the Lightning People. Mages who come from far Eastern paradigms fall under this game. This includes the Akashic Brotherhood, Wu Lung, Wu Keng, and Five Metal Dragons.

This game covers both the Shih, the curious, mysterious, and ancient association of hunters that act as a sort of sheriff in the far East, and the more modern hunters of Strike Force Zero, an organization backed by the Japanese government directly who see all non-humans as monsters to be eradicated.

"Christeos drilpa moz dlugar de priazi ds aai ge."

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