Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fighting Schools

From time to time I see posts from people looking for a way to handle fighting schools. I know there are a few existing solutions out there, but I fancied having a go at creating my own, which I felt should be generic enough to handle both martial arts and swashbuckling styles of combat. Much like the weapons in Savage Armoury, I also wanted the fighting styles to be customisable by the player, rather than writing a laundry list of premade schools.

A fighting style is represented by a series a customisable Edges, and members of a particular school will typically have the same abilities for each Edge. Players can select whichever abilities they wish, representing either their own unique style, or membership to a particular school (which they should then describe as a plot hook for the GM).

For a martial arts school that teaches unarmed techniques, the character should also take the Martial Artist Edge; the GM may even wish to add it as a requirement for the Fighting Style Edge.


Fighting Edges

Fighting Style
Requirements: Novice, Fighting d8
  Choose a core principle for your fighting style. When fighting someone who is also using a Fighting Style, if you have the advantage due to your core principle you receive a +1 bonus to your attack rolls. This bonus only applies when both combatants are using a Fighting Style.
  Select 1 point worth of abilities from the technique list for your principle. You may choose multiple abilities if you wish, as long as they add up to 1 point.
  This Edge may be taken up to three times, once for each of the three core principles, however you may only use one Fighting Style Edge at a time. You must declare which Fighting Style (if any) you are using at the beginning of your turn, as a free action, and the benefits last for the remainder of the scene or until you declare a different Fighting Style.

Improved Fighting Style
Requirements: Veteran, Fighting Style
  You've mastered the principle of your fighting style. When fighting a foe who is also using the Fighting Style Edge, if you have the advantage due to your core principle you now receive a +1 bonus to Parry (in addition to the attack bonus).
  Select another 1 point worth of abilities from the technique list for your principle, this may include an Improved ability if you wish. You may choose multiple abilities, as long as they add up to 1 point.
  This Edge may be taken up to three times, but must be applied to a different Fighting Style Edge each time. You only benefit from this Edge when using the associated Fighting Style.

Muscle Memory
Requirements: Heroic, Improved Fighting Style, Fighting d10
  This Edge applies to one specific Improved Fighting Style Edge. You've trained so extensively with one of your styles that you no longer need to declare it at the beginning of a scene; it is now always active, as long as you are conscious, even if you are Surprised or attacked with the Drop (although you may still change to another Fighting Style on your turn with a free action as normal).

Fighting Stance
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Style, attribute d8+
  You've learned how to use a particularly effective fighting stance, although it's difficult to use. Spend a benny as a free action while using any Fighting Style to gain the benefit of this Edge for the remainder of the encounter.
  Select 2 points worth of abilities from any principle, this may also include 1 point of Improved ability if you wish. The most expensive ability also determines the attribute requirement for this Edge (in the case of a tie, the Edge requires all of the joint-highest attributes at d8+).
  This Edge may be taken multiple times, but you can only use one Fighting Stance at a time. Changing stance is a free action, and doesn't require the expenditure of another benny (i.e., spending one benny allows you to freely use all of your stances for the encounter).

Fighting Discipline
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Style, attribute d8+
  Select up to 1 point worth of abilities from any principle. The most expensive ability also determines the attribute requirement for this Edge (in the case of a tie, the Edge requires multiple attributes at d8+). You benefit from this Edge when using any Fighting Style.

Improved Fighting Discipline
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Discipline
  Select 2 point worth of abilities from any principle, however these abilities must also include whatever abilities you took for the Fighting Discipline Edge - i.e., both Edges combined give a total of 2 points worth of abilities (this may also include 1 point of Improved ability if you wish). For example you might take +1 damage (worth ⅔) with Fighting Discipline, then upgrade it to +3 damage (worth 2) with Improved Fighting Discipline. You benefit from this Edge when using any Fighting Style.

Secret Technique
Requirements: Wild Card, Seasoned, Fighting Style, Fighting d10
  You've mastered a particularly deadly yet highly specialised fighting technique. Select 4 points worth of abilities from any principle, this may also include up to 2 points worth of Improved abilities if you wish. You only benefit from these abilities when you are dealt a Joker during combat while using a Fighting Style, and the abilities remain until the beginning of your next turn.

Core Principles

Each fighting technique belongs to one of the three core principle: Rock, Paper or Scissors. Rock represents strength and resilience, Paper represents a more spiritual or intellectual focus, and Scissors is based on speed and reflexes. Each core principle has the advantage over one other core principle (Rock overpowers Scissors, Scissors outmaneuvers Paper, and Paper outsmarts Rock).

Rock Principles
  • Bonus Damage (⅓): +1 damage on a raise (Strength, Stackable, Improved).
  • Combo Attack (Push) (1): When performing an attack and a Push maneuver the same round, reduce the MAP by 1 (Strength, Improved).
  • Damage (⅔): +1 damage (Strength, Stackable, Improved).
  • Focus (Power) (⅓): Increase the bonus damage on a raise by +1 die step, cannot exceed your Strength (Strength, Stackable).
  • Free Strike (Cleave) (1): Free Fighting attack against a second foe after incapacitating someone (Strength, Improved).
  • Hardy (½): A second Shaken result is not upgraded to a wound (Vigor).
  • Ignore Pain (½): Ignore 1 point of penalty from wounds (Vigor, Improved).
  • Knockback (1): Opponents are knocked back 1" for each raise on your attack roll, if they hit a solid object they suffer an additional +d6 damage (Strength).
  • Natural Armour (⅓): Armour +1, doesn't stack with worn armour (Vigor, Stackable)
  • Penetrating (⅓): +1 AP (Strength, Stackable).
  • Push (½): +1 bonus to perform and resist push maneuvers (Strength, Stackable)
  • Reactive Attack (Retaliation) (1): Free Fighting attack at -2 against someone who hits you, but rolls under your Toughness for damage (Vigor, Improved).
  • Soak (½): +1 bonus to Soak (Vigor, Stackable).
  • Tough (⅔): +1 Toughness (Vigor, Stackable).

Paper Principles
  • Attentive (½): Gang Up bonuses against you are reduced by 1 (Smarts, Stackable).
  • Blindsense (½): Can sense and approximately pinpoint things within 6", attacks using blindsense are made at -2 (Smarts).
  • Combo Attack (Intimidation) (1): When performing an attack and an Intimidation test the same round, reduce the MAP by 1 (Spirit, Improved).
  • Combo Attack (Smarts Trick) (1): When performing an attack and a Smarts trick the same round, reduce the MAP by 1 (Smarts, Improved).
  • Combo Attack (Taunt) (1): When performing an attack and a Taunt test the same round, reduce the MAP by 1 (Smarts, Improved).
  • Cool-Headed (1): Draw one additional action card for initiative, keep the highest (Smarts).
  • Fearless (¼): +1 bonus to resist Fear tests (Spirit, Stackable, Improved).
  • Focus (Chi) (⅓): Increase the bonus damage on a raise by +1 die step, cannot exceed your Spirit (Spirit, Stackable).
  • Free Strike (Vengeance) (1): Free Fighting attack (even when Shaken) against someone who causes you a wound which you fail to Soak (Spirit, Improved).
  • Reactive Attack (Opportunist) (1): Free Fighting attack at -2 against someone who becomes Shaken (Smarts, Improved).
  • Reroll Trait (½): Gain a +1 bonus to the final result when spending a benny to reroll a trait check in combat (Spirit).
  • Smarts Trick (½): +1 bonus to rolls when making and resisting Smarts tricks (Smarts).
  • Tenacious (¼): +1 bonus to recover from being Shaken (Spirit).
  • Unerring (1): You almost never miss; if your attack roll is under your foe's Parry but higher than 1, you hit their torso for half damage (Smarts).

Scissors Principles
  • Accuracy (1): You automatically hit your foe's least armoured location on a raise (Agility).
  • Agility Trick (½): +1 bonus to rolls when making and resisting Agility tricks (Agility).
  • Attack (1): +1 to attack rolls (Agility).
  • Combo Attack (Agility Trick) (1): When performing an attack and an Agility trick the same round, reduce the MAP by 1 (Agility, Improved).
  • Defence (1): Foes suffer a -1 penalty to hit you with both melee and ranged attacks (Agility).
  • Fast (½): Increase Pace by +1 and running die by +1 die step (Agility).
  • Focus (Finesse) (⅓): Increase the bonus damage on a raise by +1 die step, cannot exceed your Agility (Agility, Stackable).
  • Flurry (1): Can perform two Fighting attacks at -1 or three Fighting attacks at -3, as a single action (Agility, Improved).
  • Free Strike (Alacrity) (1): Free Fighting attack against someone who move adjacent to you (Agility, Improved).
  • Lunge (1): +1" Reach (Agility).
  • Qinggong (½): Only really appropriate for wuxia settings; works like Flight, except the character must start and end their movement on solid ground (Agility).
  • Reactive Attack (Riposte) (1): Free Fighting attack at -2 against someone who attacks you and misses (Agility, Improved).
  • Slippery (¼): +2 to resist and escape from grapple, constrict, Entangle, and other forms of confinement (Agility, Stackable).
  • Evade (1): Once per round, you may prevent one free attack from being made against you (before it is rolled) with a successful Agility roll (Agility, Improved).

Technique Notes

Each ability is followed by its cost, where 1 is the value of a full Edge. Each ability also lists an attribute, which is to determine the requirements for certain Edges.

Focus can be stacked with itself (for +d10 damage on a raise), but different Focus types do not stack with each other.

Combo Attack can be Improved (reducing the total MAP by 2), but you cannot use more than one type of Combo Attack in the same round.

Evade can be Improved (if the Agility roll is a raise, you cannot be targeted by any free attacks until the beginning of your next turn), but a character with the Extraction Edge cannot take Evade (and vice versa).

Stackable abilities can be taken twice. Improved abilities can also be taken twice, although the second time must be with Edge that explicitly permits Improved abilities. If the ability is both Stackable and Improved, it can be taken up to four times. You cannot benefit from a particular ability more than twice (with Stackable or Improved) or four times (with both).

Flurry allows the character to roll make two Fighting attacks (with a -1 penalty to all actions that round) or three Fighting attacks (with a -3 penalty to all actions that round) as a single action (i.e., roll two or three Fighting dice with one Wild Die). The Improved version reduces the penalty to -0 for two attacks and -2 for three attacks. This ability cannot be used the same round as any other effect that allows the character to attack multiple foes in one action (such as Frenzy, Sweep, Rapid Attack, etc).

Free Strike grants a maximum of one free Fighting attack per round when not Shaken (unless otherwise stated), while the Improved version allows a free Fighting attack every single time it's triggered. You cannot use more than one type of Free Strike in the same round, and a character with the First Strike Edge cannot take Free Strike (or vice versa).

Reactive Attack grants a maximum of one free Fighting attack per round with a -2 penalty when not Shaken, and the Improved version removes the -2 penalty. You cannot use more than one type of Reactive Attack in the same round, and a character with the Counterattack Edge cannot take Reactive Attack (or vice versa).

Examples

The following are some simple examples of what martial arts fighting styles might look like, and are loosely based on real world fighting styles:

Black Tiger Fist
Requirements: Novice, Martial Artist, Fighting d8
  Uses the Rock principle and grants Damage and Bonus Damage. Improved grants Ignore Pain and Hardy.

Choy Li Fut
Requirements: Novice, Martial Artist, Fighting d8
  Uses the Paper principle and grants Attentive twice (Gang Up reduced by 2). Improved grants Cool-Headed.

Fanged Snake Style
Requirements: Novice, Martial Artist, Fighting d8
  Uses the Scissors principle and grants Accuracy. Improved grants Reactive Attack (Riposte).

The following are some fictional examples of what a fighting stance might look like:

Bull Stance
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Style, Strength d8+
  Grants Damage three times (+3 damage) for the scene when you spend a benny.

Eagle Stance
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Style, Agility d8+, Smarts d8+
  Grants Unerring and Defence for the scene when you spend a benny.

Viper Stance
Requirements: Seasoned, Fighting Style, Agility d8+
  Grants Free Strike (Alacrity) and Lunge for the scene when you spend a benny.

Fighting disciplines and secret techniques could also be created in much the same way.