Modern

Modern-day games are among the easiest to stage. The players are intimately familiar with the setting. Adventure ideas are no further away than the daily news. Best of all, such campaigns can take advantage of an incredibly broad range of martial arts.

For one thing, many of the traditional arts described in Historical and Modern Styles (pp. 148-207) exist in the modern world. Styles formerly available only in remote locales or to select students have spread worldwide; usually, the sole requirement for training is a monthly fee. As well, recreation-ists have restored many "lost" styles using the original manuals, making it possible to study Longsword Fighting (p. 180182), historical fencing (pp. 156-159), and so on. The Internet gives anyone with access to a computer the ability to look at reproductions of priceless historical documents that would otherwise be available only to a lucky few scholars - and these are often digital copies of the originals, not merely text.

There's also a wealth of new martial arts to choose from. Styles such as Aikido (p. 149), Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (pp. 167168), Jeet Kune Do (pp. 164-165), Kajukenbo (p. 168), Karate (p. 183), Krav Maga (p. 185), Sambo (pp. 169-172), and Tae Kwon Do (p. 200), to name but a few, are 20th-century creations, even if they claim older roots. Mixed martial arts (p. 189) are exciting, popular, and an entirely modern invention - one that owes a lot to no-holds-barred spectacles broadcast on TV.

A few of the style lenses under Choosing a Style (pp. 144146) are especially appropriate in a modern-day game. The "Police" lens suits cops, from patrolmen to SWAT. "Self-Defense" is common for those learning quick-and-dirty techniques to protect themselves from crime. And "Trained by a Fraud" fits both McDojo students and store-bought black belts.

The main challenge in a modern-day game is "gun control." Dozens of points spent on martial-arts abilities can become irrelevant in a single burst of gunfire. The law is another obstacle: except in a cinematic game, punches and kicks that can incapacitate a foe can land you in prison. For more on this topic, see Martial Arts and the Law (pp. 26-27).

Many themes can work in a present-day campaign, but today's focus on the martial arts as sports makes The Contender (p. 250) especially fitting. To Serve and Protect (pp. 247-248) and Vigilante Justice (p. 249) are good for action-movie games. Any realism level is appropriate, but because players in modern-day games often expect something between Gritty Realism (p. 237) and Moderate Realism (p. 247), the GM should introduce cinematic elements with care.

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