Bullets and Brimstone: Martial Arts - Feedback needed

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SlasherEpoch
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Bullets and Brimstone: Martial Arts - Feedback needed

#1 Postby SlasherEpoch » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:52 pm

New Jericho is a dangerous place, and a lot of folks learn how to throw a punch. Here are some of the martial arts Edges for this campaign:

Martial Artist
Requires: Novice, Fighting d6+
You've trained enough to know how to handle yourself in a fight. You never count as Unarmed, and your strikes deal Str+d4 damage.

Offensive Martial Arts
Requires: Martial Arts, Agility and Strength d6+, Fighting d8+
You have focused on a martial art such as kickboxing, tae kwon do, or kung fu that focuses on inflicting punishment. You gain +1 to unarmed damage, +1 to pull off and resist Agility tricks, and ignore 1 point of Called Shot penalties while unarmed.

Defensive Martial Arts
Requires: Martial Arts; Agility and Vigor d6+, Fighting d8+
You have studied a martial art with a defensive emphasis, such as jujutsu or tai chi. You gain +1 to Parry, +1 to Soak rolls, and gain a +1 bonus to escape grapples.

Grappling Martial Arts
Requires: Martial Arts; Strength and Vigor d6+; Fighting d8+
Your martial arts training focused on grabbing and controlling an opponent. Examples of this practice include wrestling and judo. You gain +2 to initiate or escape a grapple (which does not stack with Defensive Martial Arts) and damage you may apply Str+d6 when you maintain a grapple.

Iron Fists
Requires: Seasoned; Offensive, Defensive, or Grappling martial Arts; Spirit d6+
You have learned to focus your energy into your unarmed strikes. Unarmed damage increases by a die type. Additionally, you ignore 1 point of Called Shot penalties while unarmed (stacks with Offensive Martial Arts).

Master of the Swift and Terrible Sword
Requires: Seasoned; Martial Artist; Strength d8+; only available to Angels
Using slams, gouges, wing buffets, and flight-assisted strikes, Angels have learned to use their natural strength and wings to develop a deadly form of martial art. Practitioners increase their unarmed damage by a die type and add +1 to all melee damage.

The Nine Hells
Requires: Seasoned; Martial Artist; Smarts d8+; Demon of Hybrid (half-demon) only
The Nine Hells is a collection of combat theories, stories, and forms woven together to create a martial art emphasizing a zone of control and redirecting opponents. No two practitioners demonstrate any similar techniques excepting the nine stances that the system is based on. Characters using this martial art ignore 1 point of gangup bonus and may use their claws to inflict damage while grappling. Additionally, a practitioner may attempt to grapple the first opponent who misses them with a melee strike. Finally, Nine Hells users may choose to knock an opponent prone instead of dealing damage when maintaining a grapple.




Those are all the setting's unarmed fighting edges. I could use some feedback!

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Tuesday
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#2 Postby Tuesday » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:08 pm

These should probably say they don't stack with each other and can't be used all at the same time.

They're all pretty strong for single Edges - Defensive, for example, gives the exact same benefits as Block, *and then more*, and also stacks with Block. However, since it seems like all of your players will have them, it's not like strong Edges are inherently unbalancing in that respect.

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#3 Postby SlasherEpoch » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:32 am

Tuesday wrote:These should probably say they don't stack with each other and can't be used all at the same time.

They're all pretty strong for single Edges - Defensive, for example, gives the exact same benefits as Block, *and then more*, and also stacks with Block. However, since it seems like all of your players will have them, it's not like strong Edges are inherently unbalancing in that respect.


You've shed some light on a couple things.

First, the effects are actually cumulative. None of them are really mutually exclusive, anyway. A character with Offensive, Defensive, and Offensive Martial Arts will be formidable in unarmed combat...but a character with Two Fisted, Ambidextrous, and Florentine will be formidable with two weapons, so it's really a question of approach. I had also wanted to put martial artists on par with people who use guns or spells in this setting; I feel like this way someone dedicated to their craft can reasonably be about as combat effective as someone with a machine gun. I want a campaign that rewards badassery.

Next, while Defensive gives more benefits than Block, it also has more requirements. I could up all the "advanced" things to Seasoned, though.

Finally, BnB isn't a martial arts centric setting per se, but it is a world in which throwing punches is important. It is unlikely all the PCs will have these Edges, but I wanted to give unarmed fighters a sense of belonging in the world. I also feel like the Angel and Demon racial martial art forms flesh out those two races a little bit - angels are more geared towards butt-kicking and demons towards scholasticism and academia.

So. I'm hearing I need to bump Offensive, Defensive, and Grappling up a rank to Seasoned. I could also rule that you can only take one of those per Rank, maybe; then you wouldn't be an accomplished martial artist until Heroic level at least.

I think Offensive should read "while unarmed, you gain the following benefits:" and probably Defensive's Soak benefit should only apply to melee damage. I don't know too many martial arts that teach you how to lessen the wounds you receive from bullets.

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#4 Postby Artking3 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:20 am

SlasherEpoch wrote: First, the effects are actually cumulative. None of them are really mutually exclusive, anyway. A character with Offensive, Defensive, and Offensive Martial Arts will be formidable in unarmed combat...but a character with Two Fisted, Ambidextrous, and Florentine will be formidable with two weapons, so it's really a question of approach. I had also wanted to put martial artists on par with people who use guns or spells in this setting; I feel like this way someone dedicated to their craft can reasonably be about as combat effective as someone with a machine gun. I want a campaign that rewards badassery.

Finally, BnB isn't a martial arts centric setting per se, but it is a world in which throwing punches is important. It is unlikely all the PCs will have these Edges, but I wanted to give unarmed fighters a sense of belonging in the world. I also feel like the Angel and Demon racial martial art forms flesh out those two races a little bit - angels are more geared towards butt-kicking and demons towards scholasticism and academia.



The majority of Combat Edges can be used with unarmed combat, so there is no need to create so many new edges. Most of the time, you have to look at the effects, not the names. Weapon Master and Master of Arms may seem to be only used for weapon fighters, but there is nothing in the rules sayng they cannot be used unarmed. I only have 3 new edges to round out what I see as necessary.

Two-Fisted and Ambidextrous can be used with bare hands (seen in 50 Fathoms), allowing 2 unarmed attacks a round with no penalties, 3 attacks if you also have Frenzy. I think that makes any unarmed warrior pretty formidable. Block, Dodge, Frenzy, Sweep, all make an unarmed martial artist truely deadly, as well as high Strength and other traits and edges. I include the Combat Sense edge in my campaign, which allows the fighter to ignore Gang-up bonuses, which makes the Florentine edge unnecessary for unarmed fighters.

If you want to create a more offense oriented unarmed warrior, Frenzy and Sweep could help. If you want more defense, you pick Block, Dodge, or even Acrobat.

I have only 2 new unarmed edges in my campaign, for the characters who show exceptional dedication to unarmed combat, which is based on examples shown about martial arts in other settings (Deadlands Reloaded, 50 Fathoms, Pulp GM).

One unarmed combat edge I have seen many times, and therefore incorporated into my game, is one that allows the unarmed fighter to ignore the Unarmed Defender rule when fighting armed opponents. You can call the edge Always Armed, Martial Arts, or any other name.

Another unarmed combat edge that seems to be popular lets the unarmed fighter inflict lethal damage with his unarmed attacks, as well as inflicting Str+d4 damage. I call my feat Lethal Hands, and typically limit the damage to Str+d4, because I think making unarmed attacks as dangerous as a knife fight is pretty deadly. It also means the unarmed fighter has some reason to use weapons, as even highly skilled warriors in wuxia films use weapons, as well as Bruce Lee in his films.

With all the edges available, you can make a truely deadly unarmed pugilist.

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#5 Postby Flynn » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:39 pm

I use the Edges from the Modern Martial Arts Revised pdf, found on the Reality Blurs website. I highly recommend checking them out if you are looking to add martial arts to your campaign setting.

http://realityblurs.com/wordpress/?page_id=981

Hope This Helps,
Flynn
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http://www.lulu.com/samardanpress
Stellar Reaches, a free fanzine for Classic Traveller and Traveller T20
http://stellarreaches.nwgamers.org/

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#6 Postby SlasherEpoch » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:23 pm

Yeah, I've known about those. They weren't quite right for the setting but I certainly consulted them for some inspiration.

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#7 Postby SlasherEpoch » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:53 pm

Hmmm, actually I found my initial notes on the subject tucked in a desk drawer and they read like so:

Martial Artist
Requires: Fighting d6+
Always count as Armed, +1 to escape grapples.

Offensive Martial Arts
Requires: Fighting d8+, Martial Arts
Unarmed attacks deal Str+d4 damage.

-note: I think the requirements may not be equal to the payoff. I am considering adding a +2 bonus to attack/damage when disarming an opponent.

Defensive Martial Arts
Requires: Martial Arts, Ag d6+
+1 Parry

-that one seems fine to me

Grappling Martial Arts
Requires: Martial Arts, Vg d6+
Deal Str+d4 damage (instead of Str) when Grappling. +1 to initiate and maintain a grapple.

Iron Hands
Requires: Str and Vg d8+
Unarmed damage increases a die type.

Zone of Control
Requires: Fighting, Smarts, and Notice d6+, Seasoned
Ignore 2 points gangup bonus. This stacks with Florentine.

Bring it On!
Requires: Zone of Control, Heroic
Ignore all gangup bonuses.

Crowd Control
Requires: Bring it On!, Legendary
Add +1 to Fighting rolls when adjacent to multiple opponents, as you are able to shove and manipulate them into each other's way.

Master of the Swift and Terrible Sword
Requires: Angel, Martial Arts, Fighting d8+, Flaming Sword, Vigor d6+
+1 to all melee damage. Grappling damage increases a die type.

-flaming sword is an Edge; with it, angels gain a flaming bastard sword.

The Nine Hells
Requires: Demon of Hybrid (half-demon), Martial Arts, Sm and Sp d8+
+2 to Smarts tricks, may attempt to grapple the first opponent who misses them in melee combat.



And as a setting rule:

Takedown:
Instead of dealing damage, anyone maintaining a grapple may roll opposed Strrength or Agility (their choice) to force an opponent down to the ground. With a success, the opponent is knocked Prone and the grapple is maintained; with a raise, they are Shaken as well. On a critical failure, the opponent automatically escapes.

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#8 Postby zeth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:13 am

Forgive me But I don't see grappling as that popular an option. Let demons skip the martial artist edge requirement. If demons have claws they already do str+d4 damage and are considered armed.

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#9 Postby SlasherEpoch » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:15 am

zeth wrote:Forgive me But I don't see grappling as that popular an option. Let demons skip the martial artist edge requirement. If demons have claws they already do str+d4 damage and are considered armed.


As a GM I am quite fond of grappling, and my players pick up on it pretty quick. It allows a group of people to control the battlefield pretty quick, cuts down on hit and run attacks, allows me (in Bullets, at least) to prevent Angels from taking flight, grants Gangup bonuses, may prevent melee fighters from acting for a couple turns...there's really no downside.

You are right about Demons. I may need to work on their martial art more.


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