Tactics

see p. B224

Tactics is a martial-arts skill, but it works before the action starts. Below are two options for the GM to use in place of the rules on p. B224.

Abstract: If not using a map, roll a Quick Contest of Tactics between the leaders of the two sides before the battle. The winner receives "rerolls" equal to his margin of victory. If his side has 10+ fighters, multiply this by 10% of the size of his force and round down; e.g., for 15 warriors, victory by four gives six rerolls.

In battle, a leader may grant his rerolls to any ally who has just attempted a combat-related die roll. The recipient rolls twice more and selects the best result. The leader's player must describe how such tactical factors as cover and formation altered the outcome. If the GM disagrees, the reroll is wasted. Unused rerolls disappear at the end of the fight.

Mapped: This method is intended for tactical combat (pp. B384-392) in which the plot doesn't dictate force placement. The GM must first designate what part of the battlefield each side controls when hostilities begin. It's fairest to bisect the map - north/south, left/right, etc. - unless the story demands otherwise. In player vs. player conflict, any division that both sides agree on is acceptable.

Next, roll a Quick Contest of Tactics between the leaders, recording the margin of victory. The winner chooses whether he or his rival puts warriors on the map first. In a tie, flip a coin or roll a die. The leaders then take turns placing one man - or 10% of their forces, if larger - on their side of the map.

Once everyone is on the map, the winner may move one ally (or 10% of his men, if larger) to a more favorable position on the "friendly" side of the map or one opponent (or 10% of the enemy, if larger) into adverse circumstances on the "hostile" side per point of victory. He may move fighters toward or away from bad footing, cover, concealment, support, etc. He may not move his warriors behind the foe or turn enemies to face the wrong way.

Wildcard Skills for Styles

In a silly or highly cinematic game, the GM may want to introduce wildcard skills (see p. B175) that encompass entire fighting styles. A "Style!" skill replaces all the skills of a single style - including optional skills that the GM believes every student should know. If the martial artist has Trained by a Master or Weapon Master, this includes the style's cinematic skills. Style! skills are DX-based, but allow IQ-, HT-, Per-, and Will-based rolls for skills controlled by those scores.

A Style! skill removes the need to learn individual techniques. The stylist may roll against the maximum level allowed for any technique his style offers, using his Style! skill as the underlying skill. If the technique has no maximum, use skill+3. Techniques that aren't part of the style but that default to the style's core skills default to Style! at the usual penalties. To improve such techniques above default, learn a new Style! skill that covers them.

Even DX-3 level in a Style! skill grants Style Familiarity with that style. Don't buy it separately. The stylist may purchase his style's Style Perks for a point apiece without regard for total points in the style. If a perk requires specialization by skill, the Style! skill is a valid specialty and the perk works with all applicable skills of the style.

Example: Escrima (pp. 155-156) requires students to learn Karate, Main-Gauche, and Smallsword. It has many optional skills - the GM might rule that all but Bow, Shield, and Tactics suit modern-day fighters. Escrima! would replace all of these skills. With Trained by a Master or Weapon Master, it would replace Mental Strength, Power Blow, and Pressure Points, too. A stylist with Escrima! could use any of his style's techniques at its maximum level; for instance, he could try Dual-Weapon Attack at Escrima! or Feint at Escrima!+4 when using Escrima weapons.

A martial artist with Escrima! gains the benefits of Style Familiarity (Escrima) without having to buy it. He may ignore limits on points in style when he takes Style Perks, buying as many as he wants for a point apiece. If he selects the Off-Hand Weapon Training perk, it's for Escrima! and lets him ignore the off-hand penalty whenever he uses that skill.

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