Cathay Arts of Role-Playing is a radically unique approach to standard tabletop gaming, with concept and execution firmly entrenched in Chinese culture and theory of role-playing. Originally developed in Chinese, it is made available in English as a series of HTML pages including:
- A - Cast (Characters, Five Roots, Families of Martial Arts)
- B - Combat (Standard and Optional Procedures)
- C - Advanced Combat
- D - Advancement
- E - Heaven and Earth (Cosmology)
- F - Magic
- G - Advanced Magic (incomplete)
Characters are developed on a "Nine House Chart", or "House of Basics" which is a type of combined character sheet and development methodology. The graph is divided into nine regions with an upper row indicating social status and the lower row indicating inventories. The central row indicates personality and talents--the three "Houses" on this central row are Wen (Academic Arts), Yuan (Basics), and Wu (Martial Arts); in traditional English role-playing these roughly equate to Skills, Attributes, and Combat, respectively.
Yuan (Basics) is comprised of the Wu Ben (Five Roots) of Xiang (Countenance), Zhi (Intellect), Li (Strength), Shou (Endurance), and Gan (Perception). These are Attributes, though each is sub-divided into a Yang and a Yin Aspect--for example Xiang (Countenance) is divided into Se (Carnal) and Xin (Moral); and Li (Strength) is divided into Gang (Hard) and Rou (Soft). Each Aspect is assigned a numeric rating from 1 to 9 generated on 3d6 for the Root and then distributed into each Aspect by player fiat.