Background/History: Active during the late twenties and early thirties, Wenyi Zhijuan was known as Long Nu Shanghai ("Dragon Lady of Shanghai") at the height of her fame. She owned and operated a brothel with the somewhat unsubtle name of Yung Er Tian ("Eternal Paired Paradise"), as well as an attached gambling hall, bar, and restaurant. Zhijuan catered mainly to Westerners (and their money), and made sure everything about Yung Er Tian fit the many preconceived notions foreign visitors had about China and its ways. Thus, she always appeared in public dressed in various tight-fitting cheong-sams, such as the one seen here, artfully cut to show off a hint of skin. While very rich, she was also very generous, and carefully looked after her employees' well-being.
Zhijuan vanished in the late 1930s right before the 1937 Battle of Shanghai. Rumor has her using her cash and connections to aid the Chinese fight against the Japanese. Others say she was killed by the Japanese as an example, noting that Yung Er Tian ended up intact in Japanese hands and from 1938 on was used as a "comfort station" for their troops.
Personality/Motivation: Zhijuan ascribes to the theory of "if you can't beat them, join them," although in her case it has been modified to "milk them for all their worth." While she doesn't look down on the West or Westerners as uncultured savages (unlike, say the Japanese), she does tend to see them as too rich, too arrogant, and too caught up in their own preconceived notions about how the world works. Thus, she gets her revenge for their exploitation of her country by exploiting them in return. She gladly parts foreigners who wish to experience a taste of the "exotic Orient" from their money, in turn putting said cash into the hands of those who can really use it—her employees, their families, and local Chinese tradesmen and shop keepers. At the same time, she also carefully harvests more than money—she collects information from talkative Westerners (or overly confident Japanese), and either trades or sells it to various Contacts within Shanghai. This information also alerts her to current and upcoming trends and events, and has made her more and more wary of the Japanese plans for Imperial expansion (as well as the West's seeming lack of foresight to see what's coming).
Quote: "The House of Yung Er Tian can offer you anything you desire. All you need to offer me is the right amount of money."
Powers/Tactics: Although she knows how to use both knives and pistols, Zhijuan prefers to avoid physical confrontations. Depending on the situation, she may attempt to placate an antagonist with offers of money, gambling chips, or even sexual favors (delivered via the ladies in her brothel). If forced, she will defend herself, and tends to be ruthless when doing so, as a wounded enemy will only come back for revenge, while a dead one often sends the right message to anyone else getting smart ideas. Of course, Zhijuan is no fool, and will often have some bodyguards close at hand when dealing with less reputable members of society.
Appearance: Wenyi Zhijuan dresses in a manor designed to live up to her reputation: tight, formfitting silk cheong-sams loaded with gold trim and braid. Most are cut high on the leg, with cleavage-enhancing openings, high collars, and flaring sleeves. Her hair is elaborately coffered and set with various hairpins and the like (nearly all of which can be used as a stiletto, if the need arises). Only rarely does Wenyi Zhijuan dress in more "mundane" clothing, and then, only if it is truly needed.
Designer's Notes: Designed to be a Pulp-era Femme Fatale, the Dragon Lady of Shanghai makes an excellent Contact for a group of PC heroes, more so if one of them happens to be Chinese (such with the sample NPCs provided in the back of Pulp Hero). And as with many Femme Fatales (and "inscrutable Orientals") she has her own agenda, one which probably isn't the same as the PC's. However she won't work at cross purposes to most PC parties, provided they at least nominally support such heroic causes as freedom, justice, and the right for ethnic groups to decide their own fate and not have it imposed on them by outside forces (like Imperialistic Japanese or Colonial British). She'd even get along with Sora-hime, despite her being Japanese, because it is obvious that Sora-hime has no interesting in Imperial conquest and has even opposed her own countrymen. But don't expect a free ride when dealing with her, the Dragon Lady is aptly named, and will expect proper compensation for any services or information she provides.
(Character sheet created by Michael Surbrook)