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Kung-Fu in RPGs 
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:01 am
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Post Kung-Fu in RPGs
I took the family to see Kung-Fu Panda 2 yesterday. Man what a great movie. I really love this series.

But that got me thinking about kung-fu* in RPGs.

For some reason, connecting the traditional** back and forth of most RPG combat to "Western" melee styles is easier than connecting it to kung-fu. For me at least.***

I think this is party because in many movies, white dudes with swords take turns swinging and blocking, while movie kung fu typically looks like a fluid dance. Even when movie kung-fu fighters are simply exchanges blows and blocks, it is so quick that it is a poor fit for rolling dice, checking a target number, rolling damage, subtracting armor.****
Now, I've played Weapons of the Gods. I've played a little Qin: The Warring States.
Both games try. And fail.

Oh, sure there's Wushu, or other games that handle combat in such a way that it's quick and fluid. But that's a little to ephemeral, aetheric, vaporous, for what I want for kung-fu at the table.

So, taking my work on Dokkodo as inspiration, I started thinking about cards.

Ever play Egyptian Rat Screw? There's kung-fu for you. Or it least a basic foundation. It's quick, fucking lightning quick at times, the results are immediate and unambiguous, the rewards are immediate, play can flow back and forth with opponents gaining, losing, then regaining advantage (at least in the total number of cards).

Now combine that with speed, where you hold 4 cards in your hand and can play any one of them. So what if you had a Egyptian Rat Speed. Normal Egyptian Rat Screw rules, but instead of flipping cards blindly, you can have 4 in your hand.*****
I'm thinking you need "big move" type cards. Maybe your kung-fu skill determines how many cards you can hold.

Ayway, just riffing on a concept.

* By "kung-fu" I mean pretty much all eastern martial arts.
** You know what I mean by traditional, even if you don't agree with the term. Let's not lose the forest for the trees.
*** Yes, I know it's all abstracted at some level, but I'm talking about a visceral reaction here. A feeling.
**** Feel free to substitute any other "traditional" rpg combat resolution mechanic here.
***** Of course we'd have to drop the SLAP! rules, but I was already figuring on that.

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Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:43 pm
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Post Re: Kung-Fu in RPGs
I think I would go about it a different way, basing it on the Energy resource rules in the In Harm's Way air combat rules.Each move costs you energy, but if it takes more energy away from your opponent, it's a net gain. Initially, all moves are simultaneous, but gaining Advantage lets you follow your opponent's moves, knowing what he's doing and replying. Failing a roll loses Advantage. It would work sweetly for fencing too.


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Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:16 pm
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