Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Distracting myself - kung fu fighting

Some gamers feel their fantasy works best without starships and rayguns, thank you very much. Other still think sf is best without space elves or psionics (yeah I know, the promised psionics project is moving forward very slowly, but it's not dead), thank you sir! Considering those purist tendencies, it's not surprising that oriental martial arts are not every gamer's cup of tea. For those who like it, read on.

On the commuter train this morning (my brain marinating in Wǔdāngquán, Ba gua, Wu Xing and my own practice of Chinese martial training and exercise), I suddenly wondered if it was possible to capture some of these ideas in gaming rules, and rolling dice. This is what I came up with.

Let's say we have a game where every school of martial arts provides your character with some techniques. Those all have an aspect of a certain movement or "element". You also have different pools of chi, likewise aspected (this is totally bogus of course, but makes for an interesting resource mechanic). Every time you want to use one of those techniques, you dice off. You always roll opposed, and you always have to have chi to fuel the action.

So, you grab your dice for the chi pool you have at hand and the dice for your technique. Roll and add your successes, and also add your total. Now, the limiting factor here is your technique. You can't utilize more power than your training allow, even if you are loaded up with chi. So, you roll all the dice but only keep as many as your technique rating, then do the counting of successes. But, if the "colour" of your chi pool matches the movement which generates the one of the technique used (according to the shēng cycle), you get to keep one extra die.

If, according to the cycle, the aspect of the technique used "defeats" the defending one, you get to keep the chi used to power the attack, otherwise it's lost. Same thing for the defender.

The amount of successes determine who won that exchange, and for every ten points you narrate one detail. Narrative power goes to the looser in the exchange.

There you go. I bet it's half broken and needlessly complicated. The thing is, I will probably never bother to beat those rules into shape, since don't see me have any chance to use them soon. Use them and abuse them, and feel free to tell me what works and not.


  1. Seems like a pretty cool concept. God I hate space elves >.>

  2. Have you played Feng Shui? It's a great, fast-paced RPG based on Hong Kong action movies.

    Lots of high flying action, interesting setting. Great for a one or two shot game.

  3. Yeah, space elves are... well.

    Craig, no I haven't. I have read the rules and made a character, but more never happened. It seemed neat, but still to mired in traditional ga,ing to be all it wanted to. Wushu is the game Feng Shui wants to be. Also, I found the genre mixing setting to be both odd and not that true to the source material.

    Wushu is da bomb.


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