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Old 10-22-2023, 09:25 AM   #1
Calliban
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

I am planning a GURPS Martial Arts campaign inspired by classic 2D fighting games such as Street Fighter and The King of Fighters, alongside Beat 'em Up games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and others. The player characters will be martial artists specializing in unarmed combat, adept at swiftly dispatching waves of thugs. They can collaborate to tackle formidable "stage bosses", or engage in individual battles against unique adversaries.

The PCs will have special abilities derived from Exoteric Martial Arts skills and Imbuements, as these rules feel more thematically aligned. However, I wish to steer clear of the Powers system, as it may overshadow Martial Arts and I am not aware of straightforward integration guidelines.

Additionally, I aim to reduce the appeal and availability of firearms in this setting.

Currently, I am considering the Martial Arts, Imbuements, and Action (specifically Heroes, Furious Fists, and Exploits) rulebooks. I am open to suggestions regarding other books, optional rules, or mechanics that could enhance this campaign. Particularly, advice on accelerating battles against numerous minions, or bolstering bosses' resilience when faced with multiple opponents would be greatly appreciated.

Moreover, I am curious about the suitable point range for character creation, especially for characters akin to Guy from Final Fight or Ryu from Street Fighter.

On a related note, I considered the old Street Fighter RPG but found it challenging to adapt to a Virtual Tabletop like FoundryVTT, and recall it being quite slow-paced. Any insights or recommendations would be warmly welcomed!
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Old 10-22-2023, 10:41 AM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post

Additionally, I aim to reduce the appeal and availability of firearms in this setting.


Moreover, I am curious about the suitable point range for character creation, especially for characters akin to Guy from Final Fight or Ryu from Street Fighter.

d!
The "firearms problem" goes away at certain power levels and mixes of genre assumptions. For example, PCs are obviously using Cinematic rules while nameless NPCS will face Harsh Realism.

So if npcs almost never have Guns Skills higher than 10 (sadly quite realistic) they only hit each other at very close ranges 50% of the lime or less. When fired at PCs with Dodges of 14+ and Per scores that mean they are almost never successfully ambushed guns are no longer decisive weapons but something more like "noisemaking devices" and this would seem to fit the "reality" of the battle anime that would be my window in to what you're talking about.

You would also add damage taking abilities like Ablative HP or Damge Reduction and you would apply these to firearm wounds which you wouldn't do in even "sort of realistic" genres where even top martial artists avoid guns.

A good bit of Luck and Luck related advantages too. Fights are almost never settled by lucky hits early. You have to _beat_ your opponent down and burn through his Luck and layers of defenses.

So, your PCs are effectively Supers and not even Street Level Supers. I would say to set your point totals after you've built one or more example characters but I would be surprised if you reached this level of satisfaction at much below 500 pts.
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Old 10-22-2023, 10:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

I would not necessarily recommend the abilities in GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers, but they were designed to work with cinematic martial arts skills, and they mostly give fairly modest powers. Conceivably they might work for supernatural foes like the bad guy in Big Trouble in Little China.
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Old 10-22-2023, 12:48 PM   #4
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

In terms of books, Martial Arts would be extremely useful for a game like this, and obviously you'll need Power Ups 1: Imbuements to make use of Imbuements (well, unless you decide to handle those a bit differently, but note that's also meant to replace a lot of the esoteric skills that it sounds like you'd rather keep in play).

For weaponry, I'd suggest a setting where firearms are rare rather than one where they're useless against martial artists - when a foe in Final Fight uses a gun, it's typically a Big Deal. If you do want them to be less useful instead, however, an easy option is to state that anyone with Trained By A Master (which is basically the "I'm a serious martial artist" trait in cinematic settings) can Dodge firearms - and only firearms, bows and thrown weapons and the like follow normal rules - using the better of Dodge and their unarmed Parry (that is, Skill/2+3, plus any bonuses from Combat Reflexes, Enhanced Parry, etc).

For melee weapons, based on how rarely they're used as well as how they work in games like Final Fight, I'd suggest a rule that a character's highest melee weapon skill cannot exceed their highest unarmed skill at -4. That is, if you have Karate at 16, you cannot have any melee weapon skill above 12. So the characters are better fighters when unarmed, but weapons are still useful on account of their improved stats (Reach and Damage - particularly swing damage, which has the further benefit that mooks relying on Brawling are at -3 to Parry... which in turn means you may want to use Telegraphic Attack against such mooks). You may want to encourage players to make characters who only have one melee weapon skill (although admittedly, GURPS kinda encourages that already), like how Haggar was the best with the pipe (Axe/Mace or Two-Handed Axe/Mace), Kody with the knife (Knife or Main Gauche), and Guy with the katana (Broadsword or Two-Handed Sword), with characters who pick up other weapons relying on Telegraphic Attack.
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:09 AM   #5
Calliban
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The "firearms problem" goes away at certain power levels and mixes of genre assumptions. For example, PCs are obviously using Cinematic rules while nameless NPCS will face Harsh Realism.

So if npcs almost never have Guns Skills higher than 10 (sadly quite realistic) they only hit each other at very close ranges 50% of the lime or less. When fired at PCs with Dodges of 14+ and Per scores that mean they are almost never successfully ambushed guns are no longer decisive weapons but something more like "noisemaking devices" and this would seem to fit the "reality" of the battle anime that would be my window in to what you're talking about.

You would also add damage taking abilities like Ablative HP or Damge Reduction and you would apply these to firearm wounds which you wouldn't do in even "sort of realistic" genres where even top martial artists avoid guns.

A good bit of Luck and Luck related advantages too. Fights are almost never settled by lucky hits early. You have to _beat_ your opponent down and burn through his Luck and layers of defenses.

So, your PCs are effectively Supers and not even Street Level Supers. I would say to set your point totals after you've built one or more example characters but I would be surprised if you reached this level of satisfaction at much below 500 pts.
I think damage reduction for guns might be an overkill. Limiting skills sounds like a better approach.

Which Luck related advantages would you suggest?

I was thinking 500pts, as TbaM would easily allow for 4+ attacks per turn due to rapid strike, which is great for mowing through minions whilst also enabling Deceptive attacks against highly skilled foes, but I am afraid of having PCs with 30+ in a single combat skill and no techniques, as even a -10 modifier is easily ignored by such skill levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I would not necessarily recommend the abilities in GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers, but they were designed to work with cinematic martial arts skills, and they mostly give fairly modest powers. Conceivably they might work for supernatural foes like the bad guy in Big Trouble in Little China.
Have you had any experience in blending these elements with martial arts skills in a cinematic setting? Any specific examples or scenarios you could share would be great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
In terms of books, Martial Arts would be extremely useful for a game like this, and obviously you'll need Power Ups 1: Imbuements to make use of Imbuements (well, unless you decide to handle those a bit differently, but note that's also meant to replace a lot of the esoteric skills that it sounds like you'd rather keep in play).

For weaponry, I'd suggest a setting where firearms are rare rather than one where they're useless against martial artists - when a foe in Final Fight uses a gun, it's typically a Big Deal. If you do want them to be less useful instead, however, an easy option is to state that anyone with Trained By A Master (which is basically the "I'm a serious martial artist" trait in cinematic settings) can Dodge firearms - and only firearms, bows and thrown weapons and the like follow normal rules - using the better of Dodge and their unarmed Parry (that is, Skill/2+3, plus any bonuses from Combat Reflexes, Enhanced Parry, etc).

For melee weapons, based on how rarely they're used as well as how they work in games like Final Fight, I'd suggest a rule that a character's highest melee weapon skill cannot exceed their highest unarmed skill at -4. That is, if you have Karate at 16, you cannot have any melee weapon skill above 12. So the characters are better fighters when unarmed, but weapons are still useful on account of their improved stats (Reach and Damage - particularly swing damage, which has the further benefit that mooks relying on Brawling are at -3 to Parry... which in turn means you may want to use Telegraphic Attack against such mooks). You may want to encourage players to make characters who only have one melee weapon skill (although admittedly, GURPS kinda encourages that already), like how Haggar was the best with the pipe (Axe/Mace or Two-Handed Axe/Mace), Kody with the knife (Knife or Main Gauche), and Guy with the katana (Broadsword or Two-Handed Sword), with characters who pick up other weapons relying on Telegraphic Attack.
Yeah, base Imbuements feel great for the style of game I am aiming for. I am actually thinking on using the Pyramid ones for armor as well.

One of the things I considered for firearms was to allow TbaM characters to parry them without consequences using Precognitive Parry, but I think your solution is a bit more "in universe". Rolento, who appears in both Street Fighter and Final Fight, uses actual guns in fights but they don't seem much more effective than punches; I could interpret it as PCs having large pools of Ablative DR and their standard melee attacks causing more damage than a Gun, all things considered.

In the case of Melee weapons, I liked your idea. I was also thinking on having common weapons breaking if used in conjunction with things like Power Blow, or using a harsher version of the breakage rules in Low Tech Companion 2.
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:23 AM   #6
johndallman
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
I was thinking 500pts, as TbaM would easily allow for 4+ attacks per turn due to rapid strike, which is great for mowing through minions whilst also enabling Deceptive attacks against highly skilled foes, but I am afraid of having PCs with 30+ in a single combat skill and no techniques, as even a -10 modifier is easily ignored by such skill levels.
That tends to depend on the numbers of people in a fight. I've had a few occasions where taking a -10 to attack eyes was the only way through DR, but I needed one or two other party members fighting the same opponent to use up their parries and/or blocks. If you have that, then skill levels of 22-24 are quite adequate.

If you're fighting alone, need to use Deceptive Attack to reduce your opponent's defences, and also need to attack their eyes to get through their DR, then skill 30 is more or less necessary.
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:47 AM   #7
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
Thanks!



I think damage reduction for guns might be an overkill. Limiting skills sounds like a better approach.

Which Luck related advantages would you suggest?

.
There's basic Luck but you might not allow that at more than one level. Some Players will take that Luck you want for keeping them alive and use it any time they blow a roll because they thin that Luck is just sitting there doing nothing. Then next round they need the Luck for defense and it won't come back for an hour. Luck(Defensive only) might be a better choice.

Super Luck would make sure that climactic move for defeating the Boss will hit but you need to keep them from using it too early.

Then there are things that are just using "luck" as a justification like Enhanced Dodge or Hard to Kill/Subdue...
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Old 10-23-2023, 11:27 AM   #8
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
One of the things I considered for firearms was to allow TbaM characters to parry them without consequences using Precognitive Parry, but I think your solution is a bit more "in universe". Rolento, who appears in both Street Fighter and Final Fight, uses actual guns in fights but they don't seem much more effective than punches; I could interpret it as PCs having large pools of Ablative DR and their standard melee attacks causing more damage than a Gun, all things considered.
Melee attacks being more powerful than firearms is more Dragon Ball (where Goku was largely bulletproof from the start, and only got stronger from there) than Street Fighter in my opinion, but my experience with the latter is from Street Fighter II (or, rather, the first half-dozen or so iterations of it)... but the fact your brought up Final Fight made me think you have more that era in mind. I'd say letting them use their unarmed Parry as a Dodge (I mean, you can still treat it as a Parry for purposes of penalizing later defenses in the same round, but it won't involve more contact than an occasional cosmetic graze) will largely work. Another good option is to give the characters Impulse Points (from the Impulse Buys book, I forget which Power Up number that is) that they can use to turn big hits (such as the occasional bullet they fail to "Parry") into Flesh Wounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
In the case of Melee weapons, I liked your idea. I was also thinking on having common weapons breaking if used in conjunction with things like Power Blow, or using a harsher version of the breakage rules in Low Tech Companion 2.
"The Broken Blade" (Pyramid #3/87) has an interesting weapon breakage system; you'll probably want to give most weapons reduced breakage thresholds if you want them to break as roughly as readily as they do in beat-em-up games (granted, in those I think it's more that they tend to break after being dropped some number of times, but breaking down from too many hard hits or hard Parries until they eventually break outright would work well here). Alternatively, just encourage players to give their characters high ST (and similarly give high ST to worthy enemies) but don't have high MinST weapons generally available - Haggar using a MinST 10 Thrusting Broadsword is probably going to break it pretty quickly! If going with the Final Fight style of weapons being things you typically find left and forgotten in the street (or take from someone you just beat senseless), most weapons will probably be Cheap, making them break more readily.


Something else I forgot to mention - I believe both Supers and Zombies have advice and rules for fighting large hordes of weak enemies, which may be useful. They probably aren't worth picking up for just those rules, however, so I wouldn't advise buying them unless you're interested in their subjects anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That tends to depend on the numbers of people in a fight. I've had a few occasions where taking a -10 to attack eyes was the only way through DR, but I needed one or two other party members fighting the same opponent to use up their parries and/or blocks. If you have that, then skill levels of 22-24 are quite adequate.

If you're fighting alone, need to use Deceptive Attack to reduce your opponent's defences, and also need to attack their eyes to get through their DR, then skill 30 is more or less necessary.
I wouldn't expect armor to feature much in the type of setting OP is talking about. If you do opt to have the occasional armored boss, like Sodom from Final Fight, I'd suggest giving them only partial armor, not a full suit of plate or similar. Sodom, for example, wears a kabuto and mempo (protecting Skull and Face, respectively), football shoulder pads (covering the upper chest and shoulders), some half-bracers (protecting the outer forearm), and shin guards (protecting the lower legs, but only from the front). His Neck and Abdomen are fully exposed, while his chest, arms, and legs only have partial protection. Personally, I wouldn't go above 5/6 protection on the Torso and 4/6 on the Arms and Legs (Skull, Face, Neck, Hands, and Feet can be fully armored). If you lack High Tech or Low Tech to reference, n/6 protection means you have to roll above n on 1d to hit where the armor isn't when you strike the armored location (so against 4/6, a roll of 1-4 means you hit where the armor is, while 5 or 6 means you hit where it isn't). You can also purposefully aim where the armor isn't, at a penalty equal to 1-n (for n=1, treat as a -1 to hit, meaning both 1/6 and 2/6 give the same penalty to avoid). So the above character with 5/6 Torso protection requires a -4 to hit to strike the unarmored part of the Torso, and with 4/6 protection they require a -3 - total -5 when factoring in the base -2 to hit for targeting a limb - to strike the unarmored part of the Arm or Leg.
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Old 10-23-2023, 01:24 PM   #9
zoncxs
 
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Default Re: Seeking Advice for a 2D Fighting Game/Beat’em up-Inspired Martial Arts Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
I am planning a GURPS Martial Arts campaign inspired by classic 2D fighting games such as Street Fighter and The King of Fighters, alongside Beat 'em Up games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and others. The player characters will be martial artists specializing in unarmed combat, adept at swiftly dispatching waves of thugs. They can collaborate to tackle formidable "stage bosses", or engage in individual battles against unique adversaries.

The PCs will have special abilities derived from Exoteric Martial Arts skills and Imbuements, as these rules feel more thematically aligned. However, I wish to steer clear of the Powers system, as it may overshadow Martial Arts and I am not aware of straightforward integration guidelines.
This is how I run my martial arts game, I use imbuements plus a mesh of Psionic Powers and Chinese Elemental Powers to cover the things imbuement doesn't, like healing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
Additionally, I aim to reduce the appeal and availability of firearms in this setting.
This is easily enough done by making sure players understand they are making martial artists, that means they look down at firearms. Also make sure that the setting has weapons be hard to get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
Currently, I am considering the Martial Arts, Imbuements, and Action (specifically Heroes, Furious Fists, and Exploits) rulebooks. I am open to suggestions regarding other books, optional rules, or mechanics that could enhance this campaign. Particularly, advice on accelerating battles against numerous minions, or bolstering bosses' resilience when faced with multiple opponents would be greatly appreciated.
Pyramid articles I use:

3/04 Perfect Defense (imbuements)
3/13 Mystic Knight (a few more things on imubments)
3/34 Ten Tweaks (combat rules)
3/36 Powering Up Imbuements
3/44 The Last Gasp
3/60 Mystic Power Ups
3/71 Vehicle Imbuements (I use them for people too!)
3/87 The Broken Blade
3/120 Conditional Injury (makes fights last longer, having to focus on getting the perfect hit to knockout big people)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
Moreover, I am curious about the suitable point range for character creation, especially for characters akin to Guy from Final Fight or Ryu from Street Fighter.
100 for low end street fighters without powers, 150 with powers just blooming. 200+ for more over the top. This is what I use along with a disadvantage limit of only -25.

I break up the points spending too for example of a 150/-25:

Quote:
37 points on mandatory advantages

60 points on mundane advantages, attributes, and secondary characteristics.

20 points on more abilities or to improve known abilities.

A further 11 points on the above, use any leftover points for skills or to buy off disadvantages. Use any leftover points for skills or more abilities.

-25 points in Disadvantages that fit your background.

8 points on mandatory skills.

Seven of the following: (I have a list of skills that would be useful for the game)

Spend 6 points on the above skills.

Spend 16 points on combat skills and techniques.

Spend another 10 points on the above skills or new skills.
So a new player would have anywhere from 0 - 31 points in abilities and skills related to them (imbuements counts as abilities)

EDIT::

For fun here is Ryu, he has Karate at 18 and Judo at 14 which is very good. Project Blow at 16 as well. Project Blow does not cost any FP to use thanks to efficient imbuement. Power Blow is at 18 which is also good.

Ryu (250/-25)

Quote:
ST 12 [20]
DX 12 [40]
IQ 10 [0]
HT 12 [20]


Secondary characteristics:
HP 13 [2]
FP 12 [0]
Per 10 [0]
Will 12 [10]
Basic Speed 6.00 [0]
Basic Move 6 [0]

Basic Lift 29 lbs
Damage: 1d/2d


Advantages:
Imbue 3 (Unarmed Only, -50%; Chi, -10%) [16]
Chi Talent 4 [60]
Striking ST 2 [10]
Trained By a Master [30]
Unique Technique (efficient Imbuement) [1]

Disadvantages:
-25 points worth

Imbuement Skills:
Project Blow (VH) DX+4 [8]*
Power Blow (H) Will+6 [12]*

Imbuement Techniques:
Efficient Imbuement (H) Project Blow+0 [6]


Skills:
Karate (H) DX+6 [28]
Judo (H) DX+2 [12]

*(includes bonus from Chi Talent)

Last edited by zoncxs; 10-23-2023 at 04:25 PM.
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