Saturday, January 30, 2021

#StayAtHome: "Outlaws of the Marsh"


One quarter of a lifetime achievement unlocked: I finished the first of four volumes of Outlaws of the Marsh aka Water Margin aka the Marshes of Mt. Liang aka All Men Are Brothers. Only 1500 more pages to go!

Outlaws of the Marsh is 14th Century Chinese novel about events at the end of the Song Dynasty in the 12th century. The state is corrupt at every level. Honest people cannot make a living without bribery, and are forever at the whim of officials. A group of bandits and people who have fallen due to various crimes take to the slopes of Mt. Liang, and to the vast wetlands surrounding the mountain (the so-called water margin) and the greatest assemblage of thieves, swindlers, and martial artists come together.

The novel is episodic, with a cast of 108 heroes. If you intend to run a martial arts RPG, this really is the ultimate source material. I'm looking forward to starting the next volume. I have an RPG campaign in mind, eventually.


  1. It's great! The translation I have is in three volumes and at the end of each chapter it is a little bit reminiscent of Perry Rhodan in that it informs the reader things like "We shall not meet so-and-so again in our story" and things like that. (In PR they always told you what to expect in future stories, so not exactly the same, but it reminded me of it.)

    1. I was a big Perry Rhodan fan as a kid, and my two oversize German books of ship blueprints are among the treasures in my library. It wouldn't be all that much of a stretch to find some of the Water Margins heroes in the Mutant Corps, either. Wine seems to be the key ingredient to activating a lot of martial arts powers.


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