Review: Third Eye Games – The Firebrands (Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade)

Wu Xing: The Firebrands
The Firebrands is a supplement for the Asian epic fantasy, martial arts system Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade (powered by the Dynamic Gaming System) published by Third Eye Games and written by Christopher Lee Simmons, Brennan Brishop and Eloy Lasanta.
By Aaron T. Huss

The Firebrands is a clan sourcebook delving deeper and expanding upon the Blazing Dancers and Virtuous Body Gardeners clans. The publication is a combination of narrative source material, in-game mechanics, and short adventure with a storyline that times from beginning to end. In addition, there are three new clans introduced in the same fashion as the core rulebook and a landslide of new mechanics to coincide with the narrative source material. The Firebrands is an excellent sourcebook that really encompasses a great amount of valuable material to expand upon these two clans.


Confessions is a prologue story for The Firebrands. It is written in a journal-like style of a single ninja from the Blazing Dancers and a single ninja from the Virtuous Body Gardners in their attempt to (ironically) assassinate the same target. The story is first-person narrative and jumps back-and-forth between the two ninjas as the action goes on around them. Its quite interesting to see the same activities from two different views. I will not spoil the outcome.


Dancing in Fiery Circles is a first-person narrative concerning the Blazing Dancers. The story follows a new recruit as they work their way through various members of the clan learning about is history, intimate details, major personas, and important locations. This dives much deeper than the summary-like introduction of the clan within the core rulebook. Included in this is a deeper look at how the Blazing Dancers view the other clans across the land.


Pierced with Beautiful Needles is a first-person narrative concerning the Virtuous Body Gardners. The story follows a new recruit as they are thrown into the different aspects of training and learning in a slightly more rough fashion than the Blazing Dancers. This initiates teacher explains all about the clans history, intimate details, major personas, and important locations (just like the previous). In addition, it also delves further into the clan including a look at how they view the other clans across the land.


Building Fires contains the actual in-game mechanics that extracts the game material from the narratives and turns them into direct material. This includes new passions, gifts, drawbacks, weapons, fighting styles, wushu, and celestial animals. Most of this directly coincides with bits and pieces of the narrative stories allowing players to produce characters similar to those found within the storylines. This is an excellent way of tying source material directly into the system.


The adventure module picks up where the prologue Confessions left off. This location-based adventure places the PCs into the storyline and ties the beginning of the publication to the end. It’s a great way to tie off the content, although it doesn’t correspond to the narrative. However, the PCs could become one from the narrative, place them into the adventure, and thus bringing the entire book together in a full circle. It’s truly brilliant!


The Firebrands is a sourcebook with an interesting presentation. With a combination of storyline, narrative, and in-game mechanics that presents the reader with a lot of options for Blazing Dancer and Virtuous Body Gardner characters, adventures, and campaigns. And in case you’re wondering, I asked the author Eloy Lasanta about using the title The Firebrands in which he explained to me that The Firebrands represents chaos and change, which encompasses these two clans. In addition, they are both the fire-aspected clans within the system. It made perfect sense to me and I really like the title in addition to how the content is presented. Highly recommended!


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a beautifully assembled publication. Not only is it laid-out well and filled with awesome illustrations, but the narrative sections all flow very well. When I read them (excluding the prologue Confessions), I get the feeling of the method one would use when introducing someone new to their world and their surroundings. Somewhat like a tourist guide but in a fashion similar to training. I can visualize myself asking this person questions, and then I read their response. Such as “What is that large building there?” and the content begins to point out that building, explain its purpose, and give a bit of history or detail or simply description. It reads like a story. Once you read through the narrative, you come upon the section where it’s all brought into the game with real in-game mechanics including character creation options. The Firebrands really ties the content into the system very well.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The Firebrands contains a great number of new mechanics. However, the way in which these new mechanics shine the most is how they directly tie into the source material, giving the storyline purpose. I especially like how these two clans are brought to life and given new options to coincide with the depth and color being painted in the narrative.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a great addition for GMs and players, not only for those who wish to run characters from one of the two clans. There is a large amount of source material here detailing the lands in which these clans live along with some of their background and history which can be directly used for adventures and campaigns. The only thing that is out of place is the three new clans simply introduced. This small addition to the publication is completely outside of the context and purpose of the bulk of the content and would fit better elsewhere. This doesn’t reduce the value but rather means if you desire the ability to play one of these new clans, you need to purchase this clan sourcebook even if you don’t want to use the rest of the content.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a definite must for anyone player who wants to be a Blazing Dancer or Virtuous Body Gardener character and GMs who want to run adventures or campaigns within the lands of one of these clans. There is so much valuable content concerning these two clans that you can fully flesh out all the details and add a wealth of depth to your game.

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