The Realistic Campaign

The real world is the one we know best, but it isn't what many gamers think of when you say "martial arts." Contrary to movies and comic books, realistic martial artists can't rely on fists to defeat a sword, never mind a volley of arrows - and even the best archer or swordsman is just a poorly armed target to a gunman. Except in a staged exhibition, a real martial artist can't smash a door with a single punch, either . . . or shoot two arrows at once . . . or fence blindfolded. Without cinematic abilities and combat options, all of this is true in GURPS, too - although GURPS is fairly forgiving because a game that punishes the players for not being combat experts isn't fun!

There are two, equally important elements to a realistic Martial Arts game: believable characters and realistic combat. We discuss these in greater detail below. A good GM carefully weighs both considerations against player expectations before opting to run a realistic campaign.

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