Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wushu Misc Mechanics

Getting to the end of these posts on Wushu mechanics-- I might post my revised martial arts system, but I'll probably do that in a quick batch over the weekend. This is most for those interested in how I'm adapting classic Storyteller to the needs of a Wushu-style game. By next week I'll get back to more generally interesting posts (I hope) ((that is, I hope they are more generally interesting, not that I'll get to them))(((but I hope that as well...)))


Chi represents the breath of life within characters and their internal power. While classic Chinese philosophy speaks of the various forms of chi within a person and the importance of those balances, for gameplay purposes we will deal with chi as a single stat.

Chi is an expendable resource which is used for the following effects in play:
-Activating certain style elements
-Casting a spell
-Activating a stance
-Fueling certain other abilities

Chi can also be used as follows:
-A character may spend up to 3 chi to add dice to an attack, before the attack is rolled. Each chi spent adds +1 die.
-A character may spend up to 3 chi to increase his soak. This effect lasts until the character's next action. Each chi spent adds +1 die to his soak.
-A character may spend a point of chi to add one additional element to an attack, beyond the normal limits set by his Legend.

Characters begin with a maximum chi pool equal to 5 plus their Legend Rank. As their Legend rises, so to will their chi pool. Outside of this, they may raise their maximum chi pool by up to five more during the course of the campaign. This costs character points.

An unwounded character allowed to rest and meditate will recover chi at a rate of one every five minutes. If they must remain in motion, they recover at double this rate. Characters at the -1 or -2 wound penalty level double the time required as well. Characters at the -4 wound level or suffering some certain debilitating effects, such as poisons or disease, may take even longer or not be able to recover chi at all until the condition passes.

Note that some attacks and effects can drain a person's chi. If a character reaches 0 chi, they become lethargic. They may spend Willpower as chi on a 1 to 1 basis, but will begin to have to check to keep from passing out. They must rekindle their internal energy to regain their strength.

Willpower represents the character's ability to channel his Virtues so as to achieve greater and more potent effects. During character creation, the player chooses three of the twelve virtues to represent his starting character's outlook and focus. He assigns dots to these virtues, with each one being rated from 1-5. Over the course of the campaign he may spend points to raise the values of his virtues or even add a new virtue.

In play, a character may spend a point of Willpower to invoke his virtue on a particular action. He must explain how that Virtue relates to the action he is trying to carry out. This is a narrative call and the GM may suggest another virtue or even veto the choice. If the virtue fits, the character may add a number of dice equal to the virtue's rating to his available pool for that action. The rating of a virtue determines the number of dice which can be used and the number of times it can be used per scene. So a character with a Valor virtue of 3 gets three extra dice when he spends Willpower and can use that virtue up to three times. Virtues may be invoked on any action, including damage and soak.

Willpower can also be used to shrug off combat effects, such as paralyze, poison and so on. Doing so costs one action-- either Active or Dodge-- and one point of Willpower.

Note that some effects can drain a character's Willpower. When a character reaches 0 willpower, they become more susceptible to outside influences and have penalties to resistance rolls. If a character would ever be reduced below 0 Willpower, they become unable to use their chi until they can recover.

Character's recover Willpower by rolling dice equal to their Legend each morning. They regain an amount up to their maximum as shown on the dice. Character's may spend time engaged in deep meditation, in which case the GM will allow the players to add some dice to the roll or perhaps make an additional recovery roll, depending on the circumstances.

Characters begin with 3 Willpower, this may be bought up with experience.

These are the twelve wulin virtues available to the characters. Some are more common than others. The classic ones are noted with their Chinese terms. Some are, of course, easier than others to invoke, but they represent keynotes for a character's personality. Also noted are the corruptions of these virtues-- representing either a explicit turning away from that path or else what can come when one goes too far in pursuit of the virtue and loses their way.

Duty: Service to one's community, respecting authority and upholding the laws that govern a decent society. In the Wulin world, duty can be complex, involving respect for the State, for authority, and for one's personal and filial relations. (Corruption: Individualism)

Harmony: Tied to a sense of cosmic design and destiny, in the end represented by the Mandate of Heaven which keeps the world from falling into chaos. Characters who focus on this often see less of good and evil, but more of the necessity of balance. (Corruption: Obsession)

Intellect: The power of reason helps raise the enlightened man up above those who have fallen. Those who strongly follow this virtue believe in debate, inquiry and the battle against those who would keep people in the darkness of ignorance. Acts which embody creative thought make the world a better place. (Corruption: Certainty)

Valor: The most basic and common of the wulin virtues, it is about demonstrating martial prowess and upholding the good name of one's teachers and family in battle. (Corruption: Recklessness)

Artfulness: The ideal of doing things with a certain degree of skill and art. The idea that actions done with beauty help to make the world a better place. Each perfect performance demonstrates respect for others and the gods. (Corruption: Practicality)

Endurance: The sense of the stoic self-- drawing power and strength from the hardships, turmoil and pain which must be suffered. (Corruption: Preservation)

Justice, also called Xia: The virtue of all-is-as-it-should be. When those who follow this virtue do something cool and right in the pursuit of poetic justice, harmony and revenge, they deepen their understanding of this path. In some ways it represents the more active version of the Harmony virtue. (Corruption: Revenge)

Benevolence, also called Kuan: The virtue of altruism. Helping others when aid is appropriate or necessary, on a personal scale. This is the virtue of unselfishness and sacrifice. (Corruption: Greed)

Loyalty, also called Zhong: The virtue also of honesty and honor. It is about taking acts against one's self-interest in the name of higher principles. To act properly in all things, whether to friends or society. “Leave no friend behind” is one of the highest principles of this virtue. (Corruption: Ambition)

, also called Yi: Doing the right or benevolent or good thing on a large scale. Righteousness is about doing the correct thing regardless of the demands or desires of the established authority. It is about overreaching and is often what brings wulin heroes into conflict with each other and society. Where Benevolence is personal, Righteous is about the system. (Corruption: Ruthlessness)

Force, also called Ba: This virtue carries with it the sense of Force to be reckoned with or Force of Will. The demonstration of raw power. This is about bending others to your will, but without ferocity, more about your skill and mastery creating a stunning effect, whether on the battlefield or in the courtly setting. (Corruption: Ferocity)

Love: Possibly the most dangerous of the virtues as it represents an attachment which can often come into conflict with other goals, virtues and duties. Love is respected as an ideal, but in practice can get people into trouble. (Corruption: Passion)

This is a ranked attribute representing a character's development on the path to become a legendary wulin hero. Characters begin with a Legend of One. Character's may buy up this rating during the course of the campaign with the GM's permission-- once he's determined they've learned fully and demonstrated their skill. It is ranked from one to five, with values beyond that being reserved for legendary masters.

Legend has the following effects:

*A character may reroll a die roll a number of times per session equal to their Legend.

*The resistance roll for inflicting and resisting combat effects is modified by a character's Legend.

*A character's maximum chi pool is based on their Legend

*A character may add a number of elements to an action equal to their Legend. Warrior archetypes may add one more to combat actions.

*Legend acts as a bonus to reputation

For each rank of Legend as well, the character may choose one characteristic to gain an Epic dot in. Each Epic dot counts as an additional automatic success when using that stat. Characters are limited to up to two Epic dots in any one stat.

Character's begin with a number of wounds based on their Stamina. Wound boxes are distributed into the following groups: 0/-1/-2/-4/Incapacitated

Stamina 1: 1/2/2/1/1
Stamina 2: 1/3/3/1/1
Stamina 3: 2/3/3/2/1
Stamina 4: 2/4/4/2/1
Stamina 5: 3/4/4/3/1

Additional wounds may be bought as an advantage in character creation or later. Characters with Epic Stamina dots gain an additional -1 and -2 wound box.

-0 wound levels heal in a few minutes, -1 health levels heal in an hour, -2 levels heal in a day, and -4 and Incapacitated levels require a week per wound level. Medical treatment reduces this healing time and can deal easily with the -0, -1 and -2 health levels. Magic, of course, can do even more.


  1. *Fixed wounds based on Stamina numbers

    *Changed recovery...this is cinematic, what was I thinking before. Wounds get shrugged off for the most part-- and then there's the switch flip of them becoming serious.

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