Jadetech: Red Jade & Green Jade

I reviewed Jadepunk not too long ago, but let’s go through from the top. Jadepunk is a steampunk wuxia setting for Fate that I rather enjoyed. Jadetech is the steampunkish magi-tech powered by colored jade, with each color providing different elemental effects… and the Jadetech game supplements take a more in-depth look at the different colors of jade and the types of jadetech they power. Green Jade was first, and Red Jade came second. (Insert joke about them being Christmas colors here.) Blue Jade is in the works and forthcoming.

A good example of Jadetech: Green Jade’s art.

These two volumes are the first of six products in the Jadetech line, all slated to be $2.00, 16-page .pdfs. Inside are two pages of flash fiction by Benjamin Feehan and ~14 pages of setting and rules by Jacob Possin. The books use the same sepia-toned design that impressed me so much with the core book, with some awesome new pieces of art that keep up Jadepunk’s high standards. Too many digital/print-on-demand books look like they’re cobbled together using sticks, previously chewed gum, and bits of string. The Jadepunk line puts them to shame, just a masterwork from a graphic design angle.

Both supplements follow in the footsteps of the Jadepunk core book; they excel at showcasing the fascinating parts of the setting without beating you about the head and ears with specific facts and finite details. You get a brief history of the jade, how it was discovered, what it was originally used for, and some really cool info about “quality of life uses”—how it makes life better for the average joe in the Jadepunk setting. And while all of it is really evocative and got the ole’ grey matter thinking, I most enjoyed seeing how the types of jade impacted day-to-day life—uses that anyone living in the setting would know about. Giving the jade’s original uses also made it less static, and I loved seeing the uses of jade evolve.

In terms of rules, you get a lot of things built using Jadepunk’s Assets system (11 items in Green and 12 in Red). Green Jade has a few minor additions—brief rules for building animals (spoiler: it’s replacing their Secret Aspect with one called Instinct),  which include some brilliant Assets, animals modified by green jade exposure. There’s also a new challenge scenario that looks pretty cool. (I was sold by its pulpy title, “Stuck in the Sargasso.”) Red Jade’s sidebars are more setting-centric and are rich in flavor; there’s not as much rules in Red though there is another scenario idea, evading the cliff guns of Kausao City in your airship. (Sold!)

Red Jade versus Green Jade -- which will win?
Red Jade versus Green Jade — which will win? (Trick question; answer is “both.”)

I’m finding it hard to work up any criticism. Red Jade would have been nice with a few more infusions (potions) instead of more guns, though Jacob Possin has already said he’ll include more infusions for the upcoming Blue Jade, so problem solved. Come to think of it, I would have liked to see creatures tainted by red jade as well. I’m still torn on the world: I love seeing it presented in broad strokes, with very evocative details yet still plenty of room to run wild in. But part of me really, really wants to see more—if the broad strokes are this evocative and rich, just imagine all the parts we aren’t seeing! I can wait to see that, though. I have no doubts that Jadepunk’s details—the things we don’t yet know about Kausao City, much less the world beyond—will be revealed in the long run.

Actually, I know it’ll be revealed in the long run, since the Kickstarter’s stretch goals included an adventure series, a martial arts expansion, and a world supplement, on top of *World and Cortex+ editions. So, safe to say there’s a lot of Jadepunk in the works.

For $2.99 at Drive-Thru or the Reroll Store (where 30% goes to charity!), you’re buying a lot of great ideas, a lot more inspiration, and some Assets that may help you understand what the versatile Asset system can do. These Jadetech books are worthy supplements with impulse-buy pricing; you really can’t go wrong at that price. The setting remains rich and evocative, and there’s a wealth of information to get you thinking not just about jadetech Assets but about jadetech’s role in the world. I’m eagerly awaiting future volumes.

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