Martial Arts in Legend?

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Prime_Evil
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Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:09 pm

I've been watching a heap of wuxia movies recently and was thinking about how it might be possible to add a cinematic martial arts system to Legend without breaking the game or adding a significant layer of complexity. I had a sudden flash of inspiration tonight and thought that I'd try and put my initital thoughts down on this forum - please note that this is still very, very rough and is nowhere near ready to be used in a game. It's really little more than a brain fart at this point, but I thought that I'd throw it out there and see what people think. If there's interest, I'll consider developing it further.

How Martial Arts Work
Each martial art incorporates a number of advanced combat manoeuvres taught to practitioners of the style. In effect, learning the Martial Art "unlocks" a number of special combat manoeuvres that can only be performed by a trained martial artist. Some martial arts also provide access to unique heroic abilities to practitioners who meet the prerequisites.

New Advanced Skill

Martial Arts (Style)
The Martial Arts (Style) skill reflects the knowledge of advanced fighting techniques associated with a particular style of unarmed combat. A character must roll against this skill to see if they correctly perform advanced combat maneuvers associated with that style.

What is the Difference Between a Martial Art and a Combat Style?
The major difference between a martial art and a normal combat style is the inclusion of one or more special combat manoeuvres that are only available to practitioners of that style. This is the reason why each Martial Art is an separate advanced skill while each Combat Style is a separate basic skill. Anybody can pick up a sword and attempt to swing it, but only a trained Martial Artist can attempt to use the secret Five Venom Fists technique!

Using Martial Arts in Combat
In most cases, martial artists use the unarmed common skill to attack and defend as normal. However, whenever they gain the opportunity to perform a Combat Manoeuvre, they may choose to perform one of the standard Combat Manoeuvres available to all combatants or attempt to perform one of the special combat maneuvers associated with their own martial arts style. For example, a martial artist could use a "normal" Combat Manoeuvre such as Choose Location when the opportunity arises or they could attempt to perform an exotic martial arts Combat Manoeuvre such as Nerve Strike or Drunken Fist of Flying Back Kick.

The big difference between the standard Combat Manoeuvres and the advanced Combat Manoeuvres taught by martial arts is that an adventurer must make a skill roll against the Martial Arts (Style) skill to successfully perform an advanced manoeuvre. In effect, the character must make a skill roll to "activate" the special Combat Manoeuvre.

Performing A Martial Arts Combat Manoeuvre
Whenerver a combatant attempts to perform a martial arts Combat Manoeuvre, they must make roll against the Martial Arts (Style) to perform the advanced Combat Manoeuvre correctly.

On a failure, the adventurer simply wastes the opportunity to perform any Combat Manoeuvre at that point in the fight. However, on a fumble the character makes a serious mistake while attempting the maneuver and exposes themselves to an immediate counter-attack by their opponent.

At the other end of the scale, if an adventurer rolls a critical success while attempting to perform a martial arts Combat Manoeuvre, the character may perform a combination attack - this allows them to perform two martial arts combat manoeuvres as a single action. This is the equivalent of rolling a critical success on the initial attack roll.

Martial Arts and Ki Powers
Some Martial Arts combat manoeuvres are quite potent, reflecting the wuxia tradition. Indeed, some of them may have a supernatural component, blurring the line between martial arts and magic. (Let's face it; the laws of physics are regularly broken in martial arts movies!!) In order to activate these Combat Manoeuvres, a martial artist may need to spend a magic point. This reflects the intense concentration and expenditure of ki required to perform such prodigious feats.

(Note: It may be possible to expand these rules using the rules for Ki Powers from the upcoming Samurai of Legend presuming that these are carried over from the MRQ I version).

Learning Martial Arts
Adventurers can only learn the secret techniques associated with a martial art by pledging allegiance to an appropriate teacher - this might be anything from a wise old sage to a remote monastery that trains acolytes in a particular style. In any case, the normal faction rules can be used to determine the availability of training. Other than this, Martial Arts follow the standard rules for advanced skills. Note that some masters have a number of special techniques (Heroic Abilities?) that they only teach to students who show particular promise.

What About Weapons and Martial Arts?
Martial artists sometimes use weapons as part of their fighting style. Although the draft rules assume that characters will be using the Martial Arts (Style) rule in conjunction with the Unarmed basic skill, it may be possible for characters to learn a martial art based upon a combat style that uses a weapon.

This approach could even be used to model certain Western fighting styles. For example, the Martial Arts (Fencing) skill might be used in conjunction with a combat style called Fencing Weapons (covering the rapier, saber, smallsword, main-gauche, et al). This martial arts style might grant practitioners access to new combat combat manoeuvres such as Sudden Lunge (allowing the character to extend the reach of their weapon), etc.

Here's an typical example of how this might work in play 8) :

Inigo Montoya: You are using Bonetti’s Defense against me, ah?
Man in Black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo: Naturally, you must suspect me to attack with Capa Ferro?
Man in Black: Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don’t you?
Inigo: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa… which I have.

So there's the basic idea. What do people think? Am I crazy or does this approach hold some promise? Does it fundamentally break the game? Or is would it be too complicated to use in actual play? Should I write up a cinematic Martial Arts system for Legend and release it as OGC?
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby hanszurcher » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:18 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:...
Martial Arts and Ki Powers
Some Martial Arts combat manoeuvres are quite potent, reflecting the wuxia tradition. Indeed, some of them may have a supernatural component, blurring the line between martial arts and magic. (Let's face it; the laws of physics are regularly broken in martial arts movies!!) In order to activate these Combat Manoeuvres, a martial artist may need to spend a magic point. This reflects the intense concentration and expenditure of ki required to perform such prodigious feats.

(Note: It may be possible to expand these rules using the rules for Ki Powers from the upcoming Samurai of Legend presuming that these are carried over from the MRQ I version).
...
I noticed that the upcoming RuneQuest 6 has just the system to fit that bill.

Mysticism is completely new and aims to allow characters to replicate all manner of wuxia, martial arts, ki, and other powers that focus on self-realisation and potential. Its not a spell-based system, but it does have a very wide range of different effects/talents to offer considerable flexibility.
~From the Design Mechanism, February Update
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Prime_Evil
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:21 pm

hanszurcher wrote:I noticed that the upcoming RuneQuest 6 has just the system to fit that bill.

Mysticism is completely new and aims to allow characters to replicate all manner of wuxia, martial arts, ki, and other powers that focus on self-realisation and potential. Its not a spell-based system, but it does have a very wide range of different effects/talents to offer considerable flexibility.
~From the Design Mechanism, February Update
Very cool! I didn't know that. Is this based upon the the rules originally published in the MRQ 1 Land of the Samurai book or are they completely new?
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby hanszurcher » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:26 pm

Prime_Evil wrote: Very cool! I didn't know that. Is this based upon the the rules originally published in the MRQ 1 Land of the Samurai book or are they completely new?
Hopefully that promised RQ6 preview will answer some more questions. I have an interest in wuxia as well.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:53 am

hanszurcher wrote:
Prime_Evil wrote: Very cool! I didn't know that. Is this based upon the the rules originally published in the MRQ 1 Land of the Samurai book or are they completely new?
Hopefully that promised RQ6 preview will answer some more questions. I have an interest in wuxia as well.
Cool. How do you like the approach that I propose?

I'm thinking that any Martial Arts system should build on the existing game mechanics for Combat Manoeuvres.

The new Martial Arts (Style) advanced skill is kind of similar to the Sorcery (Grimoire) skill in that it provides access to a collection of abilities - although in this case they are Combat Manoeuvres rather than spells.

Is this approach worth developing further?
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby soltakss » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:21 pm

I reckon you could do a decent Wuxia system with a combination of Heroic/Legendary Abilities, Combat Maneouvres, a CHI Characteristic and some CHI manipulatin skils.

BRP does it with Powers, but BRP Powers can be modeeled with Legendary Abilities.
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Prime_Evil
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:09 pm

I don't know that you need a separate CHI characteristic as POW can fill that function.

The Land of the Samurai book for MRQ 1 does introduce a Ki Powers mechanic that uses the rules for Legendary Abilities (the precursor to Heroic Abilities). This will hopefully become OGC once this book is re-released as Samurai of Legend later this year.

Here are the basics of that system:
  • Ki abilities allow a character to use a Heroic Ability without having to have achieved its requisite requirements in terms of Characteristics, Skills or Hero Points first.
  • Each Ki ability is attached to a specific skill and may only be invoked for that skill.
  • To use a Ki ability, the character must spend one Combat Action in concentration and make a skill roll.
  • If the character rolls a Critical Success and the result is equal to or less than his Persistence skill the character successfully invokes the Ki ability, gaining the use of the Heroic Ability.
  • The character must spend 1 Magic Point each time a Ki power is successfully invoked.
This seems a solid system and a good alternative to BRP Powers. The requirement to roll a Critical Success is a bit tough, especially if you are also charging a Magic Point to use a Ki Power. I'd probably also permit characters to activate a Ki power on a normal success with the expenditure of a Hero Point.For Legend, I might also require the martial artist to roll a result less than or equal to the Meditation advanced skill rather than the Persistence skill as this more accurately reflects the wuxia tradition (and requires martial artists to develop that skill in order to be effective!)

Unfortunately, the list of new Legendary Abilities provided in the MRQ Land of the Samurai book is a bit limited though - I'd probably add some new ones to reflect the genre.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Ultor » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:50 pm

I'd had a very similar idea to this. Here are my notes so far, yet to be finished, never mind fleshed out:


Martial Arts

Each Tradition or School teaches a Combat Style, the Martial Arts skills, probably a few other skills, and a variety of Techniques that help modify the Combat Style by adding Combat Maneuvers, abilities and effects through the Martial Arts skill. It may also teach Heroic Abilities.

Martial Arts (Specific Tradition) skill (POW + DEX)

The Martial Arts skill is used to apply martial arts techniques to a Combat Style. Each ten percent of Martial Arts skill allows the martial artist to apply 1 point of technique to his/her combat style for the combat action (round?).

This skill is not rolled against when fighting. Its value merely limits how much the martial artist may modify his/her combat style.

In fantastical worlds, each Technique used may cost 1 Magic Point.

Techniques

A Technique modifies or affects a combat style. Techniques come in three general forms: combat maneuvers, effects, and abilities.

Combat Maneuver Techniques: Ordinarily, a fighter using Unarmed skill cannot for example, use Bleed. However some martial arts teach the ability to use a combat maneuver as part of the technique. Thus the follower of the Rhino Style tradition may use Bash, for example. Using a Combat Maneuver as part of a Martial Arts attack or defense is not automatic. It must be declared as part of the Martial Arts skill use with each combat action (round?). Each combat maneuver potentially used costs 1 Technique point. It costs 2 Improvement Rolls to learn a Combat Maneuver Technique.

Additional Combat Maneuvers: Choke Attack – the martial artist grabs his/her opponent and begins to choke him. Damage is immediately established as per the suffocation rules (Legend p. 76) except per combat action of the attacker rather per round. The opponent rolls his resilience in an opposed test against the original successful attack roll. Damage continues until the opponent is able to Slip Free or the Martial Artist drops the hold.

Example: Dark Cloud is just learning the Shadow Boxing martial arts technique and has 30% in his Martial Arts skill. He has learned three combat maneuver techniques: Bypass Armor, Bypass Parry, and Disarm Opponent. He nominates all three for his Techniques this action (round?). He has an unarmed combat style of 67% and succeeds in his attack against his opponent, who fails to parry his attack with his dagger, and therefore gains a combat maneuver. He cannot choose Bypass Armor as that is a critical-only maneuver so chooses Disarm Opponent to represent him grabbing his opponent’s sword arm and applying pressure to cause him to drop his dagger.

Effect Techniques: These are techniques that affect the results of combat directly. The most basic Effect Technique is Increase Damage which adds 1pt of damage per point (2 points?) of Technique devoted to it through the Martial Arts skill. Other damage techniques may add magical damage or environmental damage. Other techniques modify combat results in some way. For example, Precise Strike allows the martial artist to bypass 1 point of regular armor per technique point used. Example techniques are:

Increase Damage: +1 damage per point of Technique
Precise Strike: Ignore 1 AP of normal armor per 2 points of Technique
Mystical Strike: Ignore 1 AP of magical armor per 2 points of Technique
Flaming Fist of Fury: Adds fire damage at a rate of 1 fire level per 2 full points of Technique (so 2 points are required to simulate the 1 pt damage of a candle, 4 points to simulate the 1d4pt damage of a brand, and 10 points to simulate the 3d6pt damage of lava)
Cobra Strike: Adds a snake venom effect to the attack at 10 points of POT per point of Technique
Charging Rhino: Adds the equivalent of +2 SIZ per Technique point for the purposes of determining the results of a Bash maneuver

Example: TBD

Ability Techniques: These are techniques that enhance other skills used by the Martial Artist. They generally enhance another skill for a specific purpose for the duration of the combat action (round?) by +10% per Technique point. For example, Leaping Frog adds +10% to Athletics skill for the purposes of jumping. A martial artist may use these techniques in non-combat situations as well, and will therefore generally enhance their skills by the maximum Technique amount possible in those circumstances leading to the extraordinary feats often associated with Martial Arts masters. Example techniques are:

Crouching Tiger: Adds +10%/TP to Evade skill for the purpose of ducking an attack
Leaping Dragon: Adds +10%/TP to Acrobatics skill for any purpose

Etc, etc...

[I've also posted this at http://runeunderwater.blogspot.com/2012 ... ts-in.html with a couple of additional notes, for example, why there is no mention of Ki]
Still waiting for Games Workshop's contribution to Questworld

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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby hanszurcher » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:25 am

Prime_Evil wrote:...
Is this approach worth developing further?
We'll never know for sure until we get a play-test in. Keep developing. :wink:
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:20 pm

Ultor wrote:I'd had a very similar idea to this. Here are my notes so far, yet to be finished, never mind fleshed out:

<snip>
Interesting. There's definitely a fair bit of cross-over between my approach and yours.

For my own approach, I'm very wary about adding new sub-systems to the rules - I'm trying to work with the tools that are already available as much as possible.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:20 pm

hanszurcher wrote:
Prime_Evil wrote:...
Is this approach worth developing further?
We'll never know for sure until we get a play-test in. Keep developing. :wink:
Ok...I'll do that :D
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Ultor » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:47 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:For my own approach, I'm very wary about adding new sub-systems to the rules - I'm trying to work with the tools that are already available as much as possible.
I understand that concern. My worry was that without the techniques, you end up with a very fancy way of doing D3 damage. And I did want to enable martial artists to set their fists on fire or inject poison or cut through magical defenses, if the style calls for it. So, like you, I based the concept on the Sorcery skill, with techniques being equivalent to manipulations.

I do need to finish the system off and to provide examples of Schools and how the system would work in practice.
Still waiting for Games Workshop's contribution to Questworld

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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:37 pm

Ultor wrote:I understand that concern. My worry was that without the techniques, you end up with a very fancy way of doing D3 damage. And I did want to enable martial artists to set their fists on fire or inject poison or cut through magical defenses, if the style calls for it. So, like you, I based the concept on the Sorcery skill, with techniques being equivalent to manipulations.
I thought that it might be possible to get around that issue by using Combat Manoeuvres. If a range of new manoeuvres were offered, they could allow martial artists to have a range of battlefield effects beyond inflicting 1d3 damage per round. I was also thinking about adding a couple of new heroic abilities like these:

Iron Fists
Requirements: STR 15 or higher, Martial Arts (Style) at 90% or higher
Hero Points: 8
Duration: Continuous
As an experienced practitioner of a martial art, you inflict additional damage with all unarmed attacks - including punches, kicks, head butts, and elbow strikes. Your Unarmed attacks do 1D6 points of damage rather than the usual 1d3 points of damage.

Grappling Techniques
Requirements: DEX 15 or higher, Martial Arts (Style) at 90% or higher
Hero Points: 8
Duration: Continuous

During your martial arts training, you mastered a range of advanced grappling techniques. You receive a +30% bonus to all opposed unarmed attack rolls to establish a grapple or break free from an opponent's hold.
Ultor wrote:I do need to finish the system off and to provide examples of Schools and how the system would work in practice.
Please do - I'd love to read more :)
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby hanszurcher » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:53 am

Has anyone read Dragon Lines - Guardians of the Forbidden City? It is a BRP game, probably portable to Legend. I've been reading its product thread over at BRP Central.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Loz » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:59 am

Very cool! I didn't know that. Is this based upon the the rules originally published in the MRQ 1 Land of the Samurai book or are they completely new?
Completely new.

The system is designed to permit traditional, contemplative mystics and the more action-oriented, wuxia variety. Mystics follow a Path (or Paths) and each contains related talents. Talents can enhance skills, physical capabilities (not characteristics) and invoke traits, akin to creature traits. So a mystic with the right path could invoke wall-walking, enhance their stealth and perhaps boost their damage bonus. They're very flexible and adaptable.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby hanszurcher » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:12 pm

@Loz That sounds very cool.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:21 pm

Loz wrote:The system is designed to permit traditional, contemplative mystics and the more action-oriented, wuxia variety. Mystics follow a Path (or Paths) and each contains related talents. Talents can enhance skills, physical capabilities (not characteristics) and invoke traits, akin to creature traits. So a mystic with the right path could invoke wall-walking, enhance their stealth and perhaps boost their damage bonus. They're very flexible and adaptable.
That sounds great. Can I give you some money now, please? :lol:
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Loz » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:23 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:
Loz wrote:The system is designed to permit traditional, contemplative mystics and the more action-oriented, wuxia variety. Mystics follow a Path (or Paths) and each contains related talents. Talents can enhance skills, physical capabilities (not characteristics) and invoke traits, akin to creature traits. So a mystic with the right path could invoke wall-walking, enhance their stealth and perhaps boost their damage bonus. They're very flexible and adaptable.
That sounds great. Can I give you some money now, please? :lol:
Sure you can. I need a some new clothes and boots. About $600 should do the trick. I'll send you my Paypal details... :)

Seriously, not yet. Once price and pre-ordering is ready, I'll make sure its publicised.
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Re: Martial Arts in Legend?

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:15 pm

Loz wrote:Seriously, not yet. Once price and pre-ordering is ready, I'll make sure its publicised.
Well...in the meantime there's still plenty to play around with in the MRQ II / Legend rules...

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