Serial Setting 2 ~ Week 2
The Casting Shadows blog’s second Serial Setting is set to run once a week over a six-month period, and provide details for heroic pulp adventures set across the peninsula, present a fictionalized community oppressed by faceless enemies and their own countrymen, and suggest routes, leads, and hooks for GMs to entice groups based elsewhere in the world to get involved.
2. The Approach by Sea - The Coils of the Dragon
The name Samhang is derived from the somewhat self-aggrandizing idea that the community may lay claim to three safe harbours. With the typhoons which ravage the region every fall and the weeks of torrential rains which precede the storms, the value of a sheltered harbour among fishermen cannot be overstated. For a fishing community to then translate the eccentric tripartite shape of such a harbour into a claim to fame is easy to understand as a natural extension of civic pride mixed with insecurity.
Although the harbour is both deep and well protected from the wind and waves of even the most outrageous seas, it is by no means easy to approach. Locals say that if all the boats lost in ‘The Coils of the Dragon’ were to be floated again, the fleet would be large enough to conquer all the seas of the world. Hyperbole aside, a veritable forest of timber has been shredded on the cruel rocks of the harbours’ shared mouth, to slowly make its way to shore in the twisted and worn driftwood from which the local artists create exotic art which calms the heart while engaging the mind.
At the narrow mouth common to the three coves of Samhang lies a stretch of submerged and nearly submerged rocks that when seen from the deck of a boat look eerily like the arched and roiling coils of an immense sea serpent. With the constant action of the waves and the changes of the tides, there are no routine approaches. Each trip requires white-knuckled attention at the helm. Even if the locals were of a mind to produce charts, they c oils not capture the reality of the dangers presented by this ocean hazard. The older fishermen tend to be right-lipped on the subject, but when drunk enough on soju, may recount tales of how the stone coils are rarely in the same place twice.
Kim Kyeong Do – a gentle giant with fists of stone
Dividing his time between a small restaurant operated by the women of his family, and commanding his small fleet of 3 tiny fishing boats, Kim Kyeong Do is a surprisingly jovial man, beloved by most. He is generous and loves to laugh, and is strangely unburdened by ego. Of course, this is balanced out by having been given extraordinary physical gifts and having been forced to learn how to use them.
Kyeong Do is a giant among men, a trait that skips generations of his family. Strong and healthy, and towering above his peers the temptation to become a bully may have been great, but under the guidance of his grandfather and the training he was forced to take at the temple in the mountains, he grew to be a man who understands the value of life, and the use of force.
Nowhere is this better manifested than in his mastery of gyock-pa or breaking techniques such as subyeokchigi (수벽치기). So adept is he that he can shatter stones with his large, but supple and agile hands. Although able to do this subtly, with a simple clap of his hands or a slap of his palm, he has learned the value of comedy and drama in spreading joy and so is more than willing to stage a big show when entertaining others with his skills. More than just a parlor trick, Kyeong Do’s skill makes him a fighter of fearsome ability (Lethal Blow 3) and grants him an almost beatific serenity which allows him to handle adversity with great cheer and level-headedness. Although highly trained as a physical warrior, he prefers to create. No one can remember him raising a fist in anger since first entering the care of the priests in the mountains. His spirit expresses itself most fully in his cooking, and he enjoys being able to gently crack the extremely tough shells of the various sea creatures for sale in his restaurant with his bare hands for the entertainment of his customers.
This particular son of the large Kim family has no overt political agenda, but in his heart of hearts, wishes the invaders who are slowly crushing the individual spirit of his insular nation, would embrace the strength of unity despite differences instead.