Cinematic Martial Artists

Cinematic martial artists are free of some, most, or all of the limitations just described for realistic martial artists. The GM decides how far to go.

The simplest option is to permit no superhuman abilities other than Heroic Archer, Trained by a Master, Weapon Master, and cinematic skills. At low power levels, this can feel more authentic than a high-powered "realistic" campaign. For instance, many people find it easier to accept that an aged (and presumably skilled) martial-arts master with ST 10 can break boards using Breaking Blow than that a youthful warrior can have ST 20 - even if the latter is realistic by the letter of the rules. This treatment suits settings where the world looks like ours and anything unusual is hidden away in monasteries, rarely seen outside secret battles between masters.

from their fists, and have skin that turns bullets. The players in such a "four-color" or "over-the-top" campaign will probably want access to GURPS Powers as well as Martial Arts when creating their PCs!

Like their realistic brethren, cinematic martial artists can have any point total the GM likes. The availability of flashy, expensive abilities means that the cinematic style of play works best at generous power levels - probably over 200 points, perhaps higher - but a cinematic campaign doesn't have to be high-powered. "Cinematic" has more to do with attitude than with cool powers. The GM should read The Cinematic Campaign (p. B488) and require the players to do the same. There's no denying the link between "high-powered" and "cinematic" in martial-arts games, though. At a sufficiently high power level, even a campaign that permits no special abilities will seem cinematic!

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