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Supernatural martial arts, or: contemplating a micro/minor-template

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  • Supernatural martial arts, or: contemplating a micro/minor-template

    So, I 've always been a huge Fan of martial arts in practically every shape and form, and I DO like the Styles.
    However, a teeny-tiny voice wants something more: in a setting with supernatural beings, I want supernatural martial arts!
    Because a) rule of cool, b) why not and c) ripping-your-heart-out-punches against vampires.
    So this thread is for Brainstorming ideas about how to make such a thing possible and fit into the ChroD - what factors need to be considered mechanically, does it even fit in ChroD,

    Thematically, I think there is a lot that can be taken from old Kung fu movies and anime like dragon ball, fist of the North star, Kenichi etc, especially when taking the themes and topics to their logical extremes.

    The core concept would be something along the lines of people training and dedicating themselves so much that they attain a new state of awareness, learning to harness their own natural energy/life force, and weaponize it. To reach new heights, they need to challenge themselves, going for harder and harder tasks to pushed themselves beyond their limits. And what better than to fight superhuman beings?
    mechanically, the approach would probably be to give these templates a ST in the Form of Ki, 2 free dots for physical skills, an attribute Limit of 6 for physical attributes, and special merits and some abilities...
    you could seperate them into a few Basic approaches to how and why learning martial arts - to become strong, because they love fighting, to attain enlightenment, to protect others, because they love the Art and want to Preserve it, to create a new style or recreate an old one, to exert power over others... - and which ones (silat, muay boran, karate, "Kung fu", HEMA, Kenjutsu, Kalarippayatt, KrabiKrabong, Pankration, Tai Jutsu...) might be better to make up overarching categories for the latter.

    This is just off the top of my head. Glad for any help.

  • #2
    My first thought would be to have most superhuman feats being Merits that have a certain level of martial style Merit as a prerequisite (probably fair to say it doesn't matter which one). And maybe some kind of "enlightenment" Merit as an additional prerequisite - maybe that gives you extra Willpower which can risked like in Hunter.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the best fit for this is a minor template, something along the lines of the various groups found in Hurt Locker. In fact, the Lost Boys would be a pretty good starting point; take the various physical enhancement merits (boosts to strength, stamina, general armor, jumping ability) and change the overclock function to be "spend willpower/ki points/something similar" to activate boost for a scene and you've got yourself a superhuman fighter.

      It's also worth looking at what a heavy exp invested fighter is really capable of and where they fall short, to make sure whatever supernatural merits you come up with can't already be done by someone just pumping up with a ton of styles and attribute increases (which is thematically in line with Training From Hell tropes)

      Off the top of my head the biggest shortfall there is that regular mortals have extremely limited access to any kind of natural armor. Iron Skin exists but is very limited. That can be rectified with access to Advanced Iron Skin from Beast, a couple of the Lost Boy merits, or something similar. In combat decent natural armor is a really noticeable line of demarkation between regular people and the superhuman. Conversely, good unarmed weapon modifiers are more accessible to mortals, but still less impressive than supernatural versions.

      Comment


      • #4
        So, micro-templates are basically one key-stone Merit and a bunch of other enhancements to it. You could do that for a generic "magic kung fu" template. You could also easily require certain other Merits as prerequisites.

        Like

        Raging Thunderbird Style (Style, Supernatural, • to ••••)
        Prerequisites: Psychokinesis (Electricity) ••• or •••••, Brawl ••+, Resolve •••+
        Effect: You can internalize the fury of the storm, wrapping its power around you like a cloak and striking with the force of a thunderbolt.
        Shocking Fist (•): You can charge your limbs with electricity - add the number of successes on a Psychokinesis roll as additional Bashing damage to all brawl attacks this Scene.
        Lightning Reflexes (••): The power surging through you increases your reflexes with the speed of lightning - add half your dots in this merit, round up, to Initiative and Defense for the rest of the Scene whenever you use Psychokinesis (Electricity).
        Flashing Zephyr (•••): You can move with the swiftness of a gale - add your dots in this merit to your speed for the rest of the Scene whenever you use Psychokinesis (Electricity).
        Storm Guard (••••): The power of the storm now coruscates around your - add 2/0 Armor.
        [EDIT: This is something I threw together in minutes - it should not be considered final without some review and adaptation. It's an example.]

        Other, related Merits might require certain levels, and do things like adding the Stun tag, boosting your Jump, letting you "throw" (using the Athletics Skill) electricity, etc.

        Idea is to take one Supernatural effect, and base a bunch of other related effects off it.

        Other fun ideas:
        Open Rites Mastery (Summoning) + Medium: Attacks which inflict the Resonant/etc. Condition on a target, with follow-up actions exploiting that to summon a Spirit/Ghost/etc. for something (instead of punching them again, summon a Stone Spirit to punch them for you!).

        Attempt:
        Virulent Madness Maw (Style, Supernatural, • to ••••)
        Prerequisites: Open Rites Mastery (Summoning), Medium, Telepathy 5. Brawl 2+, Madness Condition
        Effect: The whispering thoughts in your head WANT OUT, and you know just who they should visit.
        Broken Mirror (•): You may add half the dots in this merit, rounded up, to Defense and Brawl rolls against targets that have the Madness Condition or Insane Tilt.
        Special: The Storyteller may allow other mentally-based Tilts and Conditions that also affect the merit's owner to apply.
        Ready Vessel (••): When you successfully make a brawl attack, succeed at a grapple, or touch an unsuspecting target, you can expend 1 Willpower to apply the Resonant (Madness) Condition to them for the Scene.
        Thousand Trilling Thoughts (•••): When you successfully make a brawl attack, succeed at a grapple, or touch an unsuspecting target who has the Resonant (Madness) Condition, you can make a Presence + Occult roll penalized by the target's Resolve to inflict the Insane Tilt. This also advances the Resonant (Madness) Condition to the Open Condition for the Scene.
        Special: The Storyteller may allow other mentally-based Tilts and Conditions to be passed on via this effect.
        Dread Puppetry (••••): You may attempt to "gift" a target you can touch with the Open (Madness) Condition one of the voices in your head - specifically, a Rank 1 Madness Goetia that has the Possession Manifestation. The Goetia immediately attempts to Possess the target you touch, and have them act on your behalf (mostly). Unlike normal Goetia, it is too weak to remain outside your head for long and Discorporates at the end of the Scene.

        Assertive Implement + Telekinesis: A combat style that lets your weapon fight "on its own" besides you for some double-team action.
        Apportation + Parkour?: Some Flash Step and minor teleportation antics.

        Just look at this list and imagine all the fun fighting styles you can come up with using them as a base.

        I also think it might be worth looking at amechra's Ultra-Light Psychic Powers thread/Merits to see if they could accomplish some of what you want.
        Last edited by Vent0; 03-28-2018, 11:53 AM.


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

        Comment


        • #5
          In addition to rebranding supernatural merits that achieve the desired mechanical effect (such as the all-important armor), you need a way to represent "these guys" at the core.

          How about:

          Preternatural Prowess (Supernatural Merit, ***)
          When you achieve a critical success on a roll activating a supernatural merit, gain 1 Willpower point.

          Then:
          Boundless Will (Supernatural Merit, * - *****)
          Requires: Resolve 5, Composure 5
          Increase your maximum Willpower by the dot value of this Merit.

          And:
          Focused Will (Supernatural Merit, * - *****)
          Requires: Resolve 5, Composure 5
          Increase your maximum Willpower by the dot value of this Merit; these points of Willpower may only be spent to pay activation costs for a specific, supernatural Merit, and regenerate last after unrestricted Willpower points are recovered fully.

          Now you have your battery. I realized recently that while Willpower has no upper bound, it also has no independent ability to be "bought up"--unlike in WoD, for instance. That means you must purchase the limiting Attributes and though a potent supernatural (6+ power stat) might have Willpower 11+, mortals won't get there normally, even though Willpower serves as their store of energy.

          [Note: not tested, possibly out of wack and/or duplicative in some way with published material, somewhere....]

          --Khanwulf

          Comment


          • #6
            I think additional options to regenerate willpower will probably add more mechanically and thematically than just increasing the cap. Unless you're activating the virtue refill at the right critical moment or taking a lot of downtime between action scenes it's hard to stay full.

            Something like a bonus vice for resorting to physical combat to settle a dispute, and a bonus virtue for either expending all your willpower or going into wound penalties while refusing to back down from a superior opponent.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
              I think additional options to regenerate willpower will probably add more mechanically and thematically than just increasing the cap. Unless you're activating the virtue refill at the right critical moment or taking a lot of downtime between action scenes it's hard to stay full.

              Something like a bonus vice for resorting to physical combat to settle a dispute, and a bonus virtue for either expending all your willpower or going into wound penalties while refusing to back down from a superior opponent.
              Oh I agree, but there are a couple tropes at work. First is the "huge reserves of Energy", and the second is "recharging". Raising the Willpower pool cap addresses the former, but not the latter (though it does make fulfilling Virtue a relatively larger thing).

              You could use a Merit for meditation that provides a Willpower on a critical success, plus a Merit that provides the option to take a Willpower point on a critical combat roll instead of a Condition. Those get made more often than supernatural activation rolls, and tend to have lots more dice thrown.

              Vice-ridden is a Merit already, as is Virtuous. You could take those to cover love of fighting for fighting's sake. I've used the Competitive Vice as well to model similar behavior.

              An additional angle that might help the overall picture would be Merits that add extra Bruised health levels. IIRC, even natural armor does not negate damage, but reduces it to a minimum of 1B. So after taking your supernatural toughness armor levels, you'll need health to get smashed into a mountain and shake it off... but not too much health, or that final, lethal blow will only tickle instead of triggering an expository exchange while the Bad Guy(tm) is fondling your spleen.

              --Khanwulf

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for chiming in, Lots of very good ideas! I, too, think WP should be very important for these guys, for the sake of the Tropes involved, but hadn't much considered the option of giving additional Chances to refill, as I was mostly stuck on larger pools. This gives me something to work with!
                Thanks Vent0 for the exemplary style! Thanks Khanwulf for the WP Merits.

                Regarding taking Inspiration from other splats, I considered 'stealing' some abilities from e.g. promethean (Heroic Second Wind - instead of wound penalties, gain bonuses), and Demon (Whorf Effect- roll a dicepool reflexively for a WP, reduce incoming damage by successes this turn) for example.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
                  An additional angle that might help the overall picture would be Merits that add extra Bruised health levels. IIRC, even natural armor does not negate damage, but reduces it to a minimum of 1B. So after taking your supernatural toughness armor levels, you'll need health to get smashed into a mountain and shake it off... but not too much health, or that final, lethal blow will only tickle instead of triggering an expository exchange while the Bad Guy(tm) is fondling your spleen.

                  --Khanwulf
                  So, something like the ability to clear Bashing damage, maybe via a Stamina roll (remove successes in Bashing)? 1 Willpower, or once-a-Scene?


                  Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                  Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wormwood View Post
                    So, I 've always been a huge Fan of martial arts in practically every shape and form, and I DO like the Styles.
                    However, a teeny-tiny voice wants something more: in a setting with supernatural beings, I want supernatural martial arts!
                    Because a) rule of cool, b) why not and c) ripping-your-heart-out-punches against vampires.
                    So this thread is for Brainstorming ideas about how to make such a thing possible and fit into the ChroD - what factors need to be considered mechanically, does it even fit in ChroD,

                    Thematically, I think there is a lot that can be taken from old Kung fu movies and anime like dragon ball, fist of the North star, Kenichi etc, especially when taking the themes and topics to their logical extremes.

                    The core concept would be something along the lines of people training and dedicating themselves so much that they attain a new state of awareness, learning to harness their own natural energy/life force, and weaponize it. To reach new heights, they need to challenge themselves, going for harder and harder tasks to pushed themselves beyond their limits. And what better than to fight superhuman beings?
                    mechanically, the approach would probably be to give these templates a ST in the Form of Ki, 2 free dots for physical skills, an attribute Limit of 6 for physical attributes, and special merits and some abilities...
                    you could seperate them into a few Basic approaches to how and why learning martial arts - to become strong, because they love fighting, to attain enlightenment, to protect others, because they love the Art and want to Preserve it, to create a new style or recreate an old one, to exert power over others... - and which ones (silat, muay boran, karate, "Kung fu", HEMA, Kenjutsu, Kalarippayatt, KrabiKrabong, Pankration, Tai Jutsu...) might be better to make up overarching categories for the latter.

                    This is just off the top of my head. Glad for any help.
                    Curious have you tried looking over ideas and concepts with the OWOD "Shih" Template. Granted it should be water down in this case but, certainly seems around what you intend.


                    "I am a daydreamer and a Night thinker."~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nightout View Post

                      Curious have you tried looking over ideas and concepts with the OWOD "Shih" Template. Granted it should be water down in this case but, certainly seems around what you intend.
                      The Shih were adapted into a Hunter conspiracy by Reighnhell. I've used them in game to good effect.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Darkblade View Post

                        The Shih were adapted into a Hunter conspiracy by Reighnhell. I've used them in game to good effect.
                        Ah, This is very interesting, pretty well made. I might use this.


                        "I am a daydreamer and a Night thinker."~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                          So, something like the ability to clear Bashing damage, maybe via a Stamina roll (remove successes in Bashing)? 1 Willpower, or once-a-Scene?

                          Yeah that would work and keep the numbers down. It's again with the "I'm meditating for a (3 second) moment to regain focus" trope.

                          Just because text is good:

                          Ardent Chi Arrangement (supernatural, merit)
                          You may focus your meditation inwardly to purge your body of accumulated weakness and frailty. Expend one Willpower point and roll Stamina+Composure. On success remove Resolve levels of Bashing damage, or on critical success remove double Resolve in Bashing damage and take the Inspired Condition; a dramatic failure converts Resolve Bashing damage to Lethal. Your Defense is zero during the turn Ardent Chi Arrangement is used.

                          Essentially you'd do this while, oh, protected by senseless but convenient forcefields in the subterra of a young queen's palace. Dramatic failure is reserved for those moments when you really want to complicate the scene ("cannot.. contain... the power!"). The Willpower cost serves as a limiter, as does the lack of Defense... so if an antagonist likes to recover you must maneuver them into positions where they cannot obtain safety.

                          If this seems too potent, and should be a once-per-scene power as-is, then consider making the recovery rate one point per round spent undisturbed after the first. That stretches things out quite a bit (probably 6 or 11 rounds) and requires a longer period free of danger.

                          --Khanwulf

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post


                            Yeah that would work and keep the numbers down. It's again with the "I'm meditating for a (3 second) moment to regain focus" trope.

                            Just because text is good:

                            Ardent Chi Arrangement (supernatural, merit)
                            You may focus your meditation inwardly to purge your body of accumulated weakness and frailty. Expend one Willpower point and roll Stamina+Composure. On success remove Resolve levels of Bashing damage, or on critical success remove double Resolve in Bashing damage and take the Inspired Condition; a dramatic failure converts Resolve Bashing damage to Lethal. Your Defense is zero during the turn Ardent Chi Arrangement is used.

                            Essentially you'd do this while, oh, protected by senseless but convenient forcefields in the subterra of a young queen's palace. Dramatic failure is reserved for those moments when you really want to complicate the scene ("cannot.. contain... the power!"). The Willpower cost serves as a limiter, as does the lack of Defense... so if an antagonist likes to recover you must maneuver them into positions where they cannot obtain safety.

                            If this seems too potent, and should be a once-per-scene power as-is, then consider making the recovery rate one point per round spent undisturbed after the first. That stretches things out quite a bit (probably 6 or 11 rounds) and requires a longer period free of danger.

                            --Khanwulf
                            Pretty good. The use of all Resistance Attributes means its hard to game the ability. Though with a name like that, it should probably be a Style. Maybe further ratings allow you to "aim" for better recovery, or even enable Physical Tilts to be cleared (or at least suppressed)? Mastery perhaps eliminating the Defense penalty (it still costs Willpower and takes your Action)?


                            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                              Pretty good. The use of all Resistance Attributes means its hard to game the ability. Though with a name like that, it should probably be a Style. Maybe further ratings allow you to "aim" for better recovery, or even enable Physical Tilts to be cleared (or at least suppressed)? Mastery perhaps eliminating the Defense penalty (it still costs Willpower and takes your Action)?

                              Sure, why not? As an ST, if I was allowing such a Merit I would charge maybe 1 XP for it and make the acquisition more of a story issue. After all, everyone's already decided they're going to (soon) be playing kung-fu horrors or Draculball-V(ampire). So sure, make it a style and toss in other bits for different levels.

                              Later rank? Maybe 4th? Swap 1 Willpower (activation) for a Condition that is resolved to ignore all damage from a single source above the lower of Resolve or Composure? (Essentially inverted armor.)

                              I like the "Physical Tilts suppressed" for a scene idea. That could also enable you to focus, concentrate, and ignore the fact that you're blind while cutting 30 men to ribbons with your sword-cane. Just for... yaknow... random example.

                              --Khanwulf

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