Sunday, November 25, 2012

TTRPGs (桌上角色扮演游戏) in China--or not

 Okay, so with the growing popularity of Pathfinder and D&D in countries outside of the English-speaking sphere I thought I'd check out the table-top roleplaying game (TTRPG) scene in China.  I have a theory that TTRPGs don't take off in a country until it reaches a certain level of economic decadence prosperity.  With Asia that would be further tempered by the massive emphasis they have on academic education, which is a necessity to pass the university exams.  In most Asian countries young people are dissuaded from any activities which might distract them from the all-important academic studies.  However, I thought that China might just be getting to the socio-economic phase where TTRPGs start to be played.

My first stop was, China's best search engine site.  If you want to find something in Chinese don't waste time with Google (even in English I use Yahoo!)--go right to Baidu.  I did a number of searches on likely terms, such as "桌上角色扮演游戏" ( table-top roleplaying game).  Alas, the only real mention anywhere of RPGs concerned computer or video RPGs.  Even Pathfinder only showed up as Pathfinder Online (开拓者OL), which apparently is getting a lot of buzz there.  The English version of the Pathfinder core rule book is for sale on at least one Chinese book seller web site, but that appeared to be the full extent of its popularity.

I was also interested to see if China had any home-grown TTRPGs.  Alas, there too I was disappointed.  The only Chinese non-computer/video RPG appeared to be a card game called "Three Kingdoms Kill" (三国杀).  So, I very much suspect that currently the great majority of people playing TTRPGs in China are probably foreigners who brought the hobby with them.

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