Shout It

In some comedic martial-arts films, fighters loudly name each move from a hidden style before they execute it. Attackers don't merely use "Death Palm," "Dragon's Claw," or "Eagle's Beak" . . . they shout it out. These attacks are supposedly unstoppable except by potent defenses - but merely knowing a counter isn't enough. The defender must shout out his move, too!

To simulate this, the GM may let players make up style names and buy Style Familiarity (p. 49) with these fictitious styles at the standard point cost. Each perk represents an entire body of hidden moves. The person who named the style must describe the general "flavor" of its moves; e.g., "Monkey King style is inspired by the monkey's agility and cunning."

A fighter can exploit such a Style Familiarity in two ways. He can shout out the name of an attack before launching it, giving the target -1 to defend against it, or he can call out the name of a defense, gaining +1 to his defense roll. If the attacker announces his attack ("Cobra Fist!") and the defender names his defense ("Snake Charmer!"), the modifiers cancel out.

These attacks and defenses aren't actual techniques like those in Chapter 3 but names the player makes up on the spot in keeping with the spirit of his fictional style. For instance, the Monkey King fighter might defeat a "Crane Style" defense with a "Monkey Snatches Fish from Bird" strike. The actual moves can be standard techniques - even ordinary attacks and parries. The martial artist uses his secret training to enhance them, naming them aloud to channel his chi.

A warrior can shout out only one technique - offensive or defensive - per style per battle. Once he has used a move from a secret style, it won't catch his foes off-guard again. If he has several special Style Familiarities, each represents a different body of hidden teachings that he can use in the same battle. Opponents might not be surprised by another Monkey King attack - but they won't expect a Righteous Southern Fire move! Reset the count in the next fight, even against the same adversaries. In the movies, old rivals always bring new tricks to a rematch.

The GM might wish to limit martial artists to one such Style Familiarity per full 50 character points they have, to ensure that experienced masters know more secrets than young Turks. He can also introduce special moves that have only one specific counter . . . in which case the PCs must develop it on their own or find an instructor who can teach it (an excellent time for The Training Sequence, p. 147).

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