Moderate Realism

This is what most gamers view as "realism." People can die, and karateka are advised not to parry swords with bare hands, but the heroes are insulated from the worst fates by the game's inherent bias toward PC survival. A moderate-realism campaign should use the combat rules in the Basic Set, plus any of the realistic maneuvers and combat options from Chapter 4 that the GM likes - All-Out Attack (Long) (pp. 97-98), Committed Attack (pp. 99-100), Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111), and so on. It should avoid optional rules that add fine detail (such as A Matter of Inches) or painful consequences (like Harsh Realism for Unarmed Fighters), but might add one or two for flavor.

Strengths: Has the advantage of familiarity, since it uses rules that everybody already knows plus a handful of new options that players can ignore without handicapping their characters. Players who know something about real-world martial arts get to show off their knowledge. Probably the best compromise for a storytelling GM with a group of ultra-realistic gamers.

Weaknesses: Still too deadly for gamers raised on action movies and comics. It can be worse than a gritty campaign in this regard, because the system's tendency to err on the side of PC survival - explicitly suppressed in a gritty campaign - can lull some players into assuming that the game is cinematic and playing accordingly. Just close enough to gritty realism to frustrate players who like bloody simulations.

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