Water Margin book discussion

#1JRavePosted 4/22/2012 11:50:10 PM
Anyone else here a fan of the original novel?

I've read the novels (the longest version with 120 chapters) myself, although I have to admit that towards the latter part a lot of the minor characters' stories tend to slip from memory, the cast is simply too big. And the campaigns against Tian Hu and Wang Qing (which is still argued by some to not have been written by the original author) just outright don't stick with me.

Who's your favourite hero amongst the 108 of Liang Shan Bo? And whom do you find the most memorable outside the 108 heroes?
#2chaoyun2kPosted 4/23/2012 12:31:34 AM
I haven't read the book, but based entirely on this game, I guess Chao Gai (Heavenly King) is the most memorable to me as the founding good fellow (but I don't think he is one of the 108 because of the circumstances). Hua Rong (Little Li Guang) has to be my favorite, again just going by this game.
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Some are wise, some are otherwise, and I have my moments.
#3JRave(Topic Creator)Posted 4/23/2012 6:00:52 AM
Yeah, Chao Gai is probably the one character with the most prominent role that's not among the 108 heroes (actually he has a bigger role than several of the 108).

Interesting notes: Chao Gai is in fact the only casualty amongst the heroes of Liang Shan Bo throughout the book until the Fang La campaign near the end (where most of the heroes died), unless you count Wang Lun (who technically founded Liang Shan Bo with Du Qian and Song Wan before he was killed by Lin Chong and Chao Gai took his place).

Also, Chao Gai never led any more campaigns from the period between Song Jiang joining the heroes and the campaign where he was killed. His last campaign before the one that killed him was when he and the heroes rescued Song Jiang from the execution ground (where Song was wrongfully tried for treason). After Song Jiang became his second-in-command, Song led all the campaigns while Chao stayed in the mountains. The first time he attempted to lead another campaign, he was killed.

Anyway, my personal favourite amongst the 108 is Zhang Qing........although he's not referred to as such in the game. There are, in fact, 2 Zhang Qings among the heroes of Liang Shan Bo. Their chinese characters are written slightly differently but the pronounciation is the same.

The one I'm referring to is spelled as Zhong Qing in the game, aka Stone Thrower, and also the husband of Qiong Ying. His chinese nickname by direct translation is in fact "Featherless Arrow" which amounts to the same thing (his trademark missile weapons, stones). He's one of the last to join Liang Shan Bo, and gave them a hell lot of trouble before they managed to capture him. As the guardian of the prefecture they were invading, his unique fighting style caught most of the heroes off guard, and he managed to defeat / fend off 15 of Liang Shan's heroes (including some of the strongest ones like Yang Zhi, Lu Zhi Shen, Guang Sheng and Dong Ping) before they managed to capture him by trickery. I don't think there's been any other battles where so many heroes of Liang Shan Bo came out with bruised, swollen and bloodied faces (thanks to the stones). XD

The other Zhang Qing (spelled correctly in the game, aka Gardener) is a relatively minor general (though he does have a good number of scenes in the book). He opened an inn with his wife Sun Er Niang (She-devil) where they'd rob their customers and kill them before using their meat to make buns to serve to future customers. (They even attempted to do that to Wu Song when he passed through once, and of course that didn't go down well.) After the couple joined Liang Shan Bo, they retained their roles as innkeepers, running one of the 4 inns own by the bandit camps as part of their info and intelligence network.

I also quite like Chai Jin (Small Whirlwind), the nobleman who befriends heroes all over the world and offers them refuge when they're on the run.

As for heroes not within the 108, I like Wang Jin (Chief Advisor, Shi Jin's mentor). Pity the book did not reveal where he went after he left Shi Jin. He was only featured in the first chapter. I also quite like Shi Bao, who served under Fang La. He was one of their more notable adversaries and was personally responsible for killing some of Liang Shang's best generals.
#4soiledbladePosted 4/23/2012 8:53:55 AM
Like Chaoyun, my love of Water Margin sprouted from this game and I have yet to read the book in full. I have, however, seen a couple movies and read quite a bit online. One of the things that intrigues me are the seemingly recycled characters from RotTK. I have a hard time thinking about Song Jiang without calling him Liu Bei and Li Kui sounds a bit too similar to Zhang Fei to be coincidental. I find myself detesting Lu Shi Zhen the same way I do Guan Yu.

Because she's been so useful in so many of my games, I have always had a soft spot for Hu San Niang. I think of Double Clubs similarly (Huyan Zhao?).

Due to another game based on the book, I have a severe man crush on Fan Rui. I love his audacity and built a strategy around using him solo. It's a shame he isn't a good fellow in this game.

Speaking of which, someone mentioned quite a while ago that they reverse engineered the game to play any bandit as the good fellow. Did we ever find out how/get a link to a version of it?
#5chaoyun2kPosted 4/23/2012 1:41:22 PM
The PC name for Double Clubs is Hu Yan Zhuo, and I like to get him when I can. Ten Foot Snake (Hu San Niang) is great and in my last game using Tattooed Priest (Lu Zhi Shen) I used her a lot. When I moved out of a prefecture with 10 heroes and checked back to see that she had been made chieftain, I left that prefecture alone. Before that she had built 3 prefectures to above 40 all on her own.

That reminds me that I need to update my play-throughs.

Stone Thrower is awesome to have, and that is one of the reasons that I like using Heavenly King in the third scenario. I usually make sure I capture Stone Thrower as soon as possible.

I'd like to know more about Arrow of Beauty (Qiong Ying), even though she is late to arrive and very young when she becomes available so I don't think she was one of the 108.
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Some are wise, some are otherwise, and I have my moments.
#6JRave(Topic Creator)Posted 4/23/2012 6:17:11 PM
soiledblade posted...
Like Chaoyun, my love of Water Margin sprouted from this game and I have yet to read the book in full. I have, however, seen a couple movies and read quite a bit online. One of the things that intrigues me are the seemingly recycled characters from RotTK. I have a hard time thinking about Song Jiang without calling him Liu Bei and Li Kui sounds a bit too similar to Zhang Fei to be coincidental. I find myself detesting Lu Shi Zhen the same way I do Guan Yu.

Because she's been so useful in so many of my games, I have always had a soft spot for Hu San Niang. I think of Double Clubs similarly (Huyan Zhao?).



I can definitely see some similarities between the Song Jiang/Liu Bei and Li Kui/Zhang Fei comparisons, but I not sure I see the similarities between Guan Yu and Lu Zhi Shen.

Speaking of Guan Yu, one of the other heroes (Guan Sheng) is supposed to be a descendent of his.

I've always liked Hu San Niang's character as well. She's definitely the most remarkable and memorable female general among the 108 (although there're only 2 others), and I recall feeling quite upset about her character having to marry the lecherous Wang Ying (Dwarf Tiger). But I guess that was a realistic reflection of ancient China (or even of most ancient civilisations) that women were simply not treated all that fairly, even heroines like her. Still, I guess this also means that she married someone who can never bully her. She can legit beat him up if he pisses her off (as she did when they first met in battle). XD
#7JRave(Topic Creator)Posted 4/23/2012 6:30:52 PM
chaoyun2k posted...
I'd like to know more about Arrow of Beauty (Qiong Ying), even though she is late to arrive and very young when she becomes available so I don't think she was one of the 108.

Well, like I said, the campaigns against Wang Qing and Tian Hu don't stick particularly well with me, but Qiong Ying appeared during the Tian Hu campaign and is one of the more memorable and prominent characters in that story.

She's not part of the 108 because she appeared way after Liang Shan Bo submitted to the government (the 108 were formed before that).

Historically, Fang La, Tian Hu, Wang Qing and Song Jiang were the 4 major Bandit Kings during the that period in the Song Dynasty. In the novel, after Song Jiang (who's portratyed as ultimately a patriot at heart despite being a bandit) submitted to the goverment, the evil officials still see his group as a threat, and sent them against the other bandits in the hopes of getting everyone killed. Amazingly, Song Jiang went through Wang Qing and Tian Hu without taking any major casualties until he ran into the last bandit king, Fang La.

Anyway, during the Tian Hu campaign, Qiong Ying and Zhong Qing (or Zhang Qing) played a major role in bringing him down. Qing and one other hero (the doctor An Dao Quan) infiltrated Tian Hu's army as spies under false identity. During their mission, Qing met Qiong Ying, who was servng as one of Tian's generals, and they fell in love. On their wedding, Qing revealed his secret to Qiong, who to his surprise revealed that she in fact hated Tian Hu because he killed her father, and she was only pretending to work for Tian while looking for a chance to bring him down. So together the two of them succeeded in helping Song Jiang defeat Tian Hu.

I don't think Qiong Ying followed Song Jiang in the final Fang La campaign, since i don't recall reading about her in any of those battles, but she's said to have gone to recovered her husband's body to give him a proper burial after that (yes, Zhang Qing was one of the many heroes killed in the final campaign).
#8chaoyun2kPosted 4/24/2012 12:32:13 AM(edited)
I was trying to find out where I heard that someone was working on reverse engineering the game to allow other good fellows, but I didn't find where that was mentioned.

I've always wanted to play Dragon Zhu and Elder Tiger in the scenarios they have prefectures.

The one that made me think about Guan Yu was Beautiful Beard (Zhu Tong), because a lot of the stories I've heard that mentioned about Guan Yu.

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Some are wise, some are otherwise, and I have my moments.
#9JRave(Topic Creator)Posted 4/24/2012 1:07:54 AM
Elder Tiger is Zeng Tu, right? Yeah, it'll be amusing to play as the Zengs and the Zhu brothers, since they technically weren't bandits and had no reason to want to be. But then, a lot of the characters are pretty funny to be seen cast as bandits. Pan Jing Lian or Ximen Qing being a Good Fellow with Wu Song working under her/him would be utterly hilarious.

Speaking of Zhu Tong, his story is what made me really dislike Li Kui's character (and to some extent also Song Jiang and Chao Gai for not really punishing Li Kui for what he did). Killing in battle is one thing, murdering a helpless child to force Zhu Tong to give up his official duty and join the bandits is just deplorable.

That's why even though Song Jiang poisoning Li Kui at the end to prevent him from going rebel again is in itself a questionable act, I wasn't all that sad to see Kui die.
#10chaoyun2kPosted 4/24/2012 12:59:43 PM
There was something else that struck me while I was reading your posts. It seems more like the stats and traits are swapped for Heavenly King (Chao Gai) and Welcome Rain (Song Jiang). It is just a game, so I guess it isn't a big deal either way. I noticed other characters don't necessarily fit the story in the game.

Have you mentioned or remember anything about Xu Guan Zhong, but I don't think he was one of the 108 either.
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Some are wise, some are otherwise, and I have my moments.