Finding teachers

In a martial arts campaign, there should be plenty of opportunity for players to interact with local and foreign martial arts champions in contests and exhibitions. If the Gamemaster takes the time to develop some rivalries between martial arts schools and annual martial arts contests for insertion into the campaign, he will be rewarded well in terms of player feedback and participation.

Historically, challenges were a central part of a martial arts master's existence and could not be refused. The challenger could stipulate whether an armed or unarmed match was desired and the host had to accept. Further, the guest could decide whether the match would end in mere defeat or death? Although a master could not refuse a challenge, if the challenger was a stranger of unproved merit, he could be referred to a senior student. Often masters would do so for the opportunity to study the challenger's style and technique. The chief reasons for having senior students accept challenges from unknowns were to avoid fights with brash young inferior fighters. If such a challenger did fight the resident master and lost, he would often leave with a phrase such as "two years" or "five years"—indicating how long he would train before returning for another bout. Due to the prevalence of challenges, many masters would keep the ultimate secrets of their martial arts to themselves for fear of being challenged by their own students.

Challenges can be inserted into the campaign to provide many plot lines and plot hooks for martial artists. Perhaps the characters are senior students of a respected master, and as a result are continuously challenged by local toughs who wish to improve their reputations. An interesting variant plot line would be having a character's teacher lose to an ill-mannered braggart. The master mysteriously became ill


Sections 3.2, 3.3

Common Character Themes

Challenges and Finding Teachers illlllSllgllSllllllllllllllllllSlSlSllllllililil


Section 3.4

Creating Cultures before the match, but decided to continue with the fight. His illness got worse during the match and he was defeated easily. The braggart then set about starting his own school and bad mouthing the character and his fellow students. The master's students might suspect foul play and investigate the situation on their own.

Annual contests are also a great source for campaign ideas and memorable moments. Perhaps the players wish to have their characters enter the famous martial arts tournament. Will they succeed and defeat all challengers or will they fail and bring shame to their school ? Some of the ideas in Section 14.7, which details cinematic combat, might be useful for staging ideas. Perhaps the contest is held on wooden scaffolding twenty feet above the ground so the spectators can see the combatants and the fighters are in constant danger of falling to the ground.

An interesting role playing option available to martial artists is the task of finding a master to teach them martial arts skills. The Gamemaster may make the players act out the process, or he may say that they find and establish a relationship with a teacher and take the role playing from there. The martial arts teacher can provide a great NPC for campaigns, not only as a source of training, but a source for the Gamemaster to introduce new plot lines.

Historically, one of the most difficult challenges facing a prospective student of a martial arts style was finding a master to accept him as a student. Most masters taught only a few students at a time, and those that accepted students usually taught very slowly. Usually, if a new student was accepted, he would be taught by to a senior student for years, until it was decided that he had learned enough to benefit from the master's instruction. Many masters followed the dictum, "never tell too plainly," when teaching their students. Often the concept they were trying to teach would be clouded in metaphor and double-meanings. There were several reasons behind this inefficient teaching style. Master's often followed traditional teaching methods, teaching their students as they were taught. A master could be hiding his lack of true knowledge of a style behind a cloak of secrecy and ill-defined techniques. The master might simply be ill-natured or unwilling to teach his secrets to his students. Because many students ended up challenging their masters, this fear was not unwarranted. Many martial arts styles died with their final masters because of this need for secrecy.

The Gamemaster is encouraged to create his own special cultures and societies for his campaign world that have their own unique martial arts. This section offers some examples for creating your own societies and how to model martial arts within them. For a more general discussion of how to create fantasy worlds and societies, refer to Game-master Law. For more information on the historical development of martial arts and how martial arts interacted with the cultures in which they developed, please see Section 2.0.

When introducing martial artists into your campaign, it is necessary to decide where their skills originated if these skills are not normal to the current campaign setting. To make sure that the campaign feels authentic, it is necessary to develop some extra background for the campaign to explain the martial artist's place within it. Even if there is a pre-existing culture or society that will be a good fit, it is still recommended that the Gamemaster take time to answer the questions in this section.

The easiest way to determine how the martial arts interact with a new culture or society is to ask some simple questions, like the following.

What is the History of Martial Arts in this Culture?

Does the culture or society have a rich heritage of martial arts? This question asks whether martial arts existed for most of the culture or society's existence? Depending on the answer, the Gamemaster gains an immediate understanding of what level of martial arts might exist.

What group or organization was first involved in martial arts in this culture? Why were martial arts developed? Answering this question helps to cement the place of martial arts in a society. For example, martial arts could have been developed as a response to oppression from the ruling classes, or it could have developed after challenges and dueling became widespread in the society. Another possibility is that martial arts could have developed for another reason altogether (e.g., strengthening exercises) and later evolved into fighting arts.

What Martial Arts Skills are Taught in this Culture?

What type of martial arts does this culture specialize in? This question asks whether the culture focuses on a specific type of martial arts. For example, a culture could focus more on martial arts involving weapons than unarmed combat, or the reverse.

Does this culture have knowledge of rare martial arts skills, like the Chi Powers skills, or other Restricted martial arts skills? It is suggested that one region not have access to all the martial arts skills in the campaign world, or if such a region does exist, that martial arts skills be taught in other regions and cultures as well. Following this suggestion offers a little more diversity and depth to the created society.

How are martial arts taught in this culture ? This question really involves several decisions that must be answered before this question can be fully addressed. Are martial arts taught to everyone in the culture or are they taught to a subset of people in the culture? To pass the skills and knowledge necessary for the continued evolution of martial arts there must be some way to train other students who will later become masters. This training can follow many different avenues. The Gamemaster can decide that there exists one primary organization that trains most of the martial artists in the culture? Or the Gamemaster can decide that there are many independent organizations that train their members in the martial arts. It is even possible to say that the primary teaching method for martial arts revolves around individual teacher/student relationships.


What are unique features of this culture's knowledge of martial arts?

Does this culture have knowledge of certain martial arts skills that are not readily available to other cultures and societies? For example, is this the only culture that has knowledge of Chi Powers skills? Does this culture have a bias against certain types of skills? For example, the culture could have a bias against Maneuvering in Heavy Armor skills or Missile Weapon skills. Does this culture specialize in certain types of martial arts skills? For example, a culture that specializes in Weapon Style skills could have their Basic Weapon Style skill style point range from 0 to 35 rather than the standard 0 to 30 style point range. For some examples where martial arts skills are specialized in specific cultures, see Section 16.1.

What is the Place of Martial Arts in this Culture?

What is the place of martial arts in the culture? If the ruling class developed advanced martial arts skills, these skills will be most likely held in higher regard than if the common people (usually in response to oppression from the ruling class) developed the same skills.

Does this culture honor and recognize martial arts ? This is an important question that helps to define the place of martial arts within the society. If most of the martial arts skills were developed by the ruling class, then it is more likely that martial arts will hold some position of honor and respect within the society. If most of the martial arts skills were developed by the general populace of the culture, then it may be likely that martial arts are suppressed as a challenge to the noble's power.

Depending on the culture's view of martial arts, what types of career paths are available to martial artists? Can a martial artist open his own school of martial arts and make a comfortable living? Can a martial artist make a living as an instructor and martial arts consultant? Must the martial artist always be working (as a bodyguard, warrior, etc.) to make a living?

What are the place of challenges and contests in this culture? If the society allows challenges to decide points of law or dispute, then the role of martial arts in the society becomes very important. Also if challenges are legal, then martial arts become a survival skill for the social class that is most involved in challenges. When the Gamemaster decides the place of challenges in the new culture, he should also think about any forms or conventions that are also associated with a challenge. Are challenges only performed with certain weapons? Are there restrictions on who can challenge whom? When is a challenge illegal or unlawful?

It is important for the Gamemaster to fully understand the power level of martial arts that he wishes to allow within his campaign. It is equally important that he convey his expectations of the capabilities of martial artists to his 1 players so there is no chance for misunderstanding. With both the players and the Gamemaster starting from a common set of assumptions, a campaign becomes much more stable.

The Core power level assumes a near real-world expectation of martial arts. The martial arts are treated as unarmed combat with all the inherent advantages and disadvantage that come with that expectation. The Core power level is well integrated with the entire RMSS. The basic components of the Core power level are as follows.

• The Adrenal Defense skill is redefined to require a 40% activity action in the round it is used;

• New Essence-based and Mentalism-based Monk variant professions are introduced;

• The new Martial Arts Combat Maneuvers skill category is added;

• The new martial arts skills listed in Section 7.0 are added;

• The optional rules listed as Core may be used if desired.

The Heroic power level assumes a slightly larger-than life expectation of martial arts. The martial arts are treated as a little more effective than they actually are in the real world. The Heroic power level lets players accomplish extraordinary acts more easily. In most cases, the Heroic power level is the average level at which a role playing campaign is run. The basic components of the Heroic power level are as follows.

• The inclusion of the new background options and talent and flaws;

• The inclusion of the new training packages listed in this companion;

• The special techniques associated with some martial arts styles and weapon styles may be used;

• The optional rules listed as Heroic may be used if desired.

The Fantastic power level assumes an unrealistic expectation of martial arts. Martial arts are presented as the supreme form of combat and are practiced by the majority of the heroes of the campaign world. Martial arts masters can accomplish supernatural feats through the focus of their inner power. The basic components of the Fantastic power level are as follows.

• The inclusion of Chi Powers skills, as described in Section 10.0;

• The widespread use of the Cinematic Combat options, as described in Section 14.7;

• Basic Weapon Style skills and Basic Martial Arts Styles skills are treated as Everyman skills for all professions;

• Advanced Weapon Style skills and Advanced Martial Arts Styles skills are treated as non-Restricted skills for all professions;

• The optional rules listed as Fantastic may be used if desired.

It is important to recognize that the Fantastic power level is the most potentially unbalancing option with respect to the rest of the RMSS. Inclusion of the options given for this power level will create some imbalances in the system as the role of martial arts skills achieves a greater prominence over other types of skills.


Section 3.5

Power Levels

0 0

Post a comment