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Old 04-15-2021, 12:34 AM   #1
tbone
 
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Default A flurry of questions about martial artists

Martial artists! The most mysterious of the delvers. I have questions, from me and from a player pondering this profession. Can anyone guide us on our path to enlightenment?

===

1) Cost of rations
Disciplines of Faith (Chi Rituals) requires that MAs pay double for rations. Is that meant literally: double the cost to $4 for normal rations, to $30 for Elven rations ($27 with Elven Gear?), and so on? An oddity: Doubling the cost implies zero extra cost when there's no discrete cost for rations to begin with, i.e., when paying the weekly cost to live in town or when living off the land.

Is that the game's intent? Or should this be generalized to "+$6/day"?

(FWIW, I think a flat cost for MAs' special requirements makes more sense, given that the expense includes things unrelated to food, like incense and ointments. A flat cost could even be made something really simple like "+$50/week".)


2) Keep moving
Does Light Walk work only while the MA is on the move? Getting literal with the "Walk" part of "Light Walk", and noting the words "when you walk" contained in the description, I assume that that's exactly how it works: your Stealth bonus or your ability to glide over thin ice requires movement; if you hold still, you breathe as noisily as anyone else, you break through the thin ice, etc. Does that sound right?


3) "Caltrops? No problem, I run across them."
Has anyone used Light Walk as the skill to move over hazardous surfaces with no (or lessened) harm? If so, what penalties would you suggest for traipsing safely over caltrops, hot coals (fire walking!), lava, or slime?


4) Mental Strength vs Mind Shield
I'm trying to understand the merits of Mental Strength (prevents against attacks targeting Will only) versus Mind Shield (prevents against attacks targeting Will, IQ, or Per; prevents against location attempts). Mental Strength's first +1 boost over plain Will is a little cheaper, but beyond that, Mind Shield seems more powerful, and even works when the MA is asleep.

The answer might lie in the line "If Magic Resistance or Mind Shield would help, Mental Strength gets the same bonus" - which I take to mean "if resistance would benefit from Mind Shield, you can roll vs Mental Strength + Mind Shield". But isn't it still all-around better to sink points into Mind Shield alone? I think I'm missing something.

(Side note: The cleric, druid, wizard, and MA all have access to Mind Shield. Seems to me it'd be a fair addition to the holy warrior template, too; spiritual warfare is part of their gig.)


5) Resisting Terror
Do Mental Strength and Mind Shield work against monsters' Terror ability?


6) Self-treatment
Can an injured MA benefit from both Body Control's self-treatment and other healing, including self-use of Esoteric Medicine? GURPS suggests no, on MA p54: "If you also receive external medical care, you must choose between it and this skill’s benefits; the two don’t “stack.”"

Comparing the merits of Body Control vs Esoteric Medicine (Chi) for healing purposes, my understanding is as follows:

Body Control: Good: Don't need a healing kit; skill has uses other than self-treatment. Bad: Only works on self.
Esoteric Medicine (Chi): Good: Works on self or others. Bad: Need a healing kit for some applications.

Does that sound right?

(Side note: For the MA who spends points on both skills, it seems fair to me to allow one skill to aid the other as a complementary skill for self-treatment.)


7) TbaM + WM
Trained by a Master and Weapon Master are a legal combo, right? The combination would offer improved weapon damage and improved weapon skill defaults from Weapon Master, access to chi skills thanks to Trained by a Master, and a halving of the Rapid Strike penalty thanks to either advantage – or should that be a quartering of the penalties thanks to the two advantages?


I take it from the pre-gen character Glint that the combination is perfectly kosher, and that the penalty reductions aren't doubled. The latter seems unfortunate to me, as it implies some wasted overlap between the two expensive advantages. But that aside, is my understanding correct?


8) One punch or two?
Breaking Blow or Power Blow must be readied for "each attack". Does that mean a prepared Breaking Blow or Power Blow affects only the first blow when two blows are made using AoA (Double) or Rapid Strike?


9) Wait for it...
Are there any rules for time and other conditions for "holding" a prepared Breaking Blow or Power Blow? I assume some amount of "holding" is perfectly legal: say, 32 turns of prep for Breaking Blow, followed by 32 turns of prep for Power blow, followed by the super-punch that draws on both prepped abilities to turn that evil statue into dust. Or some length of time to prep Power Blow, followed by Wait for the monster to come running up, followed by a Power Blow-assisted Push that sends the monster flying.

But "powering up" with these skills, then running around exploring and camping and resting and all that, until a fight begins much later later and the player shouts "I had Power Blow readied!", seems way out of line. Are there any guidelines on this that I'm overlooking?


10) Cost of Seven Secret Kicks
DF 11 lays out the basic part as "Striker (Crushing; Chi, -10%; Shin, -20%) [4]." As for the source of the "Shin" limitation, I believe it's the "Limb" limitation [-20%] for a Striker from MA p.47, just renamed. This limitation defines an existing limb as the Striker in question, and, despite being a limitation, also boosts the Reach of said Striker from the default C to 1.

All that's fine. But shouldn't this Striker be bought twice (for two legs)? And shouldn't the Strikers also get a cost reduction from No Parry [-40%] (unless the legs are explicitly defined as good for parrying)?

Not that it's important; just trying to exercise my rather weak "Build powers in GURPS" kung-fu.

===

The remaining items are not questions about rules, but rather requests for ideas/opinions about how you folks game martial artists.


11) Kiai as a power
Kiai has always seemed to me better gamed as a power than a skill; after all, the effects are pretty similar to Rapier Wit or Song of Humiliation. Maybe there are good reasons for making it a skill instead. But out of curiosity: Has anyone built Kiai as a power and given it a spin at the gaming table?


12) Pressure Points vs monsters
This skill takes a -5 penalty vs monsters. Hm, I'm thinking this would be a good place to give Physiology skill a specific mechanical use: a success could remove that -5 penalty (or lessen the penalty by 1 per point of success, to be less generous). Anyone already gaming this?

That would assume that the monster has any pressure points at all, a GM call. Anyone have good guidelines for what sorts of monsters would or wouldn't have such pressure points?

(Side note: BS says Pressure Points "May default to Esoteric Medicine-4 in a cinematic campaign." That seems a fair addition to DFRPG as well.)


13) Breakdown of tricky advantages
Not that it's a big problem, but the workings of esoteric combat power-up advantages (Trained by a Master, Weapon Master, Unarmed Master, Heroic Archer, etc.), each with its own (but sometimes overlapping) effects, always leave me re-checking exactly which advantage does what.

Out of curiosity, has anyone broken these advantages down into individually-priced components? (I suspect there's a thread for that.)


14) Bringing back skills
MAs in DFRPG have plenty of cool skills, though they miss out on a few that their GURPS counterparts enjoy (maybe just for reasons of saving space). Zen Archery and Pressure Secrets seem a nice fit for MAs (and scouts, for the former skill). Has anyone introduced these to a DFRPG game? Or is there something in those skills that's not quite right for the game?
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

Those questions feel very gurpsy, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone View Post

7) TbaM + WM
Trained by a Master and Weapon Master are a legal combo, right? The combination would offer improved weapon damage and improved weapon skill defaults from Weapon Master, access to chi skills thanks to Trained by a Master, and a halving of the Rapid Strike penalty thanks to either advantage – or should that be a quartering of the penalties thanks to the two advantages?


I take it from the pre-gen character Glint that the combination is perfectly kosher, and that the penalty reductions aren't doubled. The latter seems unfortunate to me, as it implies some wasted overlap between the two expensive advantages. But that aside, is my understanding correct?

13) Breakdown of tricky advantages
Not that it's a big problem, but the workings of esoteric combat power-up advantages (Trained by a Master, Weapon Master, Unarmed Master, Heroic Archer, etc.), each with its own (but sometimes overlapping) effects, always leave me re-checking exactly which advantage does what.

Out of curiosity, has anyone broken these advantages down into individually-priced components? (I suspect there's a thread for that.)

Ravens n' Pennies has a blog post that makes an attempt at breaking down those "Tricky Advantages". I've seen a few different folks use it.



This can also be used to calculate the overlap between Trained by a master and weapon master


Quote:
4) Mental Strength vs Mind Shield
I'm trying to understand the merits of Mental Strength (prevents against attacks targeting Will only) versus Mind Shield (prevents against attacks targeting Will, IQ, or Per; prevents against location attempts). Mental Strength's first +1 boost over plain Will is a little cheaper, but beyond that, Mind Shield seems more powerful, and even works when the MA is asleep.

The answer might lie in the line "If Magic Resistance or Mind Shield would help, Mental Strength gets the same bonus" - which I take to mean "if resistance would benefit from Mind Shield, you can roll vs Mental Strength + Mind Shield". But isn't it still all-around better to sink points into Mind Shield alone? I think I'm missing something.

(Side note: The cleric, druid, wizard, and MA all have access to Mind Shield. Seems to me it'd be a fair addition to the holy warrior template, too; spiritual warfare is part of their gig.)

Honestly... I think the two stack. I'd certainly do that in my games. so you spend 4 points to get a +2 with mental strength, and the rest of the time you buy mind shield.
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Old 04-18-2021, 12:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Those questions feel very gurpsy, but....
Mm, I'd say that 1 through 9 are purely DFRPG questions.

Quote:
Ravens n' Pennies has a blog post that makes an attempt at breaking down those "Tricky Advantages". I've seen a few different folks use it.
Yes, that's the sort of thing I knew was floating around somewhere. Thanks!

Quote:
Honestly... I think the two stack. I'd certainly do that in my games. so you spend 4 points to get a +2 with mental strength, and the rest of the time you buy mind shield.
Right. Which is why I'm scratching my head: past that initially cheaper resistance from Mental Strength, there seems to no reason to buy any further levels, when levels of Mind Shield will do the same and more. (Or possibly no reason to buy Mental Strength at all, as its initially lower cost is offset by limitations that Mind Shield doesn't face.)

I suspect there's some point to Mental Strength that I'm not seeing.

Thanks for the comments!
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

The first point in Mental Strength leverages Chi Talent for a potentially large increase in Will resistance. Beyond that it's better to buy Mind Shield and, in my opinion, better still to buy Will.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
The first point in Mental Strength leverages Chi Talent for a potentially large increase in Will resistance. Beyond that it's better to buy Mind Shield and, in my opinion, better still to buy Will.
Ah, that's a great point: a purchase of 1, 2 or 4 points gets some level of Mental Strength plus a big bonus from Chi Talent. That definitely makes it a valid option vs Mind Shield!...

...up to 4 points of purchase, anyway. Beyond that, it seems to me that Mind Shield becomes the clearly superior purchase again.

Well, if I ever feel some need to remedy that, I suppose I can try to think of additional benefits for Mental Strength. Maybe the MA could, say, ward off "psychic scream" damage from a horrid skull or psychic wailer fungus with a roll vs Mental Strength (possibly at a penalty to keep it challenging). And/or rule that Mental Strength resists monsters' Terror while Mind Shield doesn't. (I don't know what the official rule is on that.) I'll think of something if the situation comes up.

Anyway, thanks for the good point about Chi Talent.
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Old 04-18-2021, 10:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
I suspect there's some point to Mental Strength that I'm not seeing.
Well, in my current game overgrown secrets, mind shield isn't a valid trait for players to buy, while mental strength is nearly required. So that's one context.
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Old 04-18-2021, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

For point 1, this thread discussed the topic of doubling when the cost is 0:

https://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=156650

For point 8, the relevant krommquote :



Quote:
Originally Posted by http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.php?p=1881828&postcount=7
Canonically, Power Blow counts for the next small-a "attack" (not for the next maneuver, turn, etc.). Such an attack could easily involve a two-handed weapon, a Drop Kick using both feet, a Two-Handed Punch, or the like. It would be decidedly odd if one limb had twice the Strength of the other in those cases . . . you'd think that would result in less than double ST for the attack. Thus, I'm inclined to say that Power Blow affects ST for any group of attacks that occur simultaneously, which includes not only Dual-Weapon Attack but also All-Out Attack (Double) or Extra Attack when used to strike with two different limbs at the same time. All-Out Attack (Double) with a single weapon, Altered Time Rate, Extra Attack (Multi-Strike), Rapid Strike, etc. produce what are explicitly successive blows, not simultaneous ones, so they're out of luck.

Last edited by Celjabba; 04-18-2021 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

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Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
For point 1, this thread discussed the topic of doubling when the cost is 0:

https://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=156650

For point 8, the relevant krommquote :
Thanks! I'd missed both those threads. They give clear answers to the questions.

On the doubling rations matter, the official answer seems clear: Yes, the rule is indeed double the cost of rations, whatever the cost of those rations might happen to be.

I think I still prefer the idea of a simple flat weekly cost for MAs' special needs; seems easier to me. But as always, it's good to know the official rulings (which very often turn out to make more sense than I realize...)

Thanks -
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: A flurry of questions about martial artists

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
1) Cost of rations

Is that the game's intent? Or should this be generalized to "+$6/day"?

(FWIW, I think a flat cost for MAs' special requirements makes more sense, given that the expense includes things unrelated to food, like incense and ointments. A flat cost could even be made something really simple like "+$50/week".)
Yeah, there's a Kromm or PKitty quote floating around that backs up the "6$/day", so that's how I run it. I see nothing wrong with giving MAs a weekly price break, I wish my GM would give me one.

In my games I also allow for "if miss one type, may substitute the other", in this case if they have to forego the Special Exercises, they may partake of double Chi Rations, if they run out of Chi Rations (or are being frugal) their Special Exercises are 2d6 hours per day. This also keeps the "not spending extra in town" in line with expectations and rules, and means if the MA wants to guarantee they have time to do things in town, they'll spend $$ on Chi Rations for a week...

Quote:
2) Keep moving
Does Light Walk work only while the MA is on the move? Getting literal with the "Walk" part of "Light Walk", and noting the words "when you walk" contained in the description, I assume that that's exactly how it works: your Stealth bonus or your ability to glide over thin ice requires movement; if you hold still, you breathe as noisily as anyone else, you break through the thin ice, etc. Does that sound right?
If you want. I've never bothered. MAs are already limited and constrained in comparison to the other skirmishers, so I don't feel like reducing their abilities.

Quote:
3) "Caltrops? No problem, I run across them."
Has anyone used Light Walk as the skill to move over hazardous surfaces with no (or lessened) harm? If so, what penalties would you suggest for traipsing safely over caltrops, hot coals (fire walking!), lava, or slime?
Yes. For 'pressure' damage/hazards (like caltrops, lava, fungus spores, etc) it's just a straight roll. For 'sticky' hazards I might assess a -1 or -2. For 'environment' damage/hazards (where just contacting it can be damage, like hot coals, acid, slimes) I assess a penalty and allow the Light Walk MoS to reduce damage as though it were DR versus that hazard.

Quote:
4) Mental Strength vs Mind Shield

I think I'm missing something.
Your GM may limit how many levels of Mind Shield you can take.

Quote:
(Side note: The cleric, druid, wizard, and MA all have access to Mind Shield. Seems to me it'd be a fair addition to the holy warrior template, too; spiritual warfare is part of their gig.)
Agreed. In fact I don't bar anyone from learning it post-Character Creation. However note, HWs have Willpower* and at a mere 1 point more, it's honestly all around better to buy it than Mind Shield, unless you specifically want the "hide from enemy's mind searching".


* By which I mean if you're using DF 11 Power-Ups and Holy Warriors can take Willpower to 25.

Quote:
5) Resisting Terror
Do Mental Strength and Mind Shield work against monsters' Terror ability?
Yes.

Quote:
6) Self-treatment
Can an injured MA benefit from both Body Control's self-treatment and other healing, including self-use of Esoteric Medicine? GURPS suggests no, on MA p54: "If you also receive external medical care, you must choose between it and this skill’s benefits; the two don’t “stack.”"
I ignore that rule as it wasn't ported over to DFRPG. If Kromm wanted it in, he should have made room for it.

Quote:
Comparing the merits of Body Control vs Esoteric Medicine (Chi) for healing purposes, my understanding is as follows:

Body Control: Good: Don't need a healing kit; skill has uses other than self-treatment. Bad: Only works on self.
Esoteric Medicine (Chi): Good: Works on self or others. Bad: Need a healing kit for some applications.

Does that sound right?
Yes.

Quote:
(Side note: For the MA who spends points on both skills, it seems fair to me to allow one skill to aid the other as a complementary skill for self-treatment.)
Agreed.

Quote:
7) TbaM + WM
Trained by a Master and Weapon Master are a legal combo, right? The combination would offer improved weapon damage and improved weapon skill defaults from Weapon Master, access to chi skills thanks to Trained by a Master, and a halving of the Rapid Strike penalty thanks to either advantage – or should that be a quartering of the penalties thanks to the two advantages?

Halving. As per Exploits pg 38 and 48 it's "or".

Quote:
I take it from the pre-gen character Glint that the combination is perfectly kosher, and that the penalty reductions aren't doubled.
Correct. I overruled this, afterall we're building Munchkins not balanced characters...

Quote:
8) One punch or two?
Breaking Blow or Power Blow must be readied for "each attack". Does that mean a prepared Breaking Blow or Power Blow affects only the first blow when two blows are made using AoA (Double) or Rapid Strike?
"Each attack requires a separate use of this skill." A good reason for MAs to get Power Blow and Breaking Blow high enough to soak that -10 for instant use.

Quote:
9) Wait for it...
Are there any rules for time and other conditions for "holding" a prepared Breaking Blow or Power Blow?
I require continued Concentrate Maneuvers.

Quote:
10) Cost of Seven Secret Kicks

All that's fine. But shouldn't this Striker be bought twice (for two legs)? And shouldn't the Strikers also get a cost reduction from No Parry [-40%] (unless the legs are explicitly defined as good for parrying)?
Legs can Parry, not only as per Martial Arts, but there's no ruling against it in DFRPG. And it's not really worth it to charge for it twice, as the low price keeps it in line other similarly useful abilities.


Quote:
14) Bringing back skills
MAs in DFRPG have plenty of cool skills, though they miss out on a few that their GURPS counterparts enjoy (maybe just for reasons of saving space). Zen Archery and Pressure Secrets seem a nice fit for MAs (and scouts, for the former skill). Has anyone introduced these to a DFRPG game? Or is there something in those skills that's not quite right for the game?
I've added all of them back in, and removed Powers when they overlapped (Lizard Climb versus Spider Climb frex), and changed Precognitive Parry to actually being Precognitive (I have Precog Parry allow Parries versus attacks you did not sense).

The only one that got a real write up change was Invisibility Art to bring it in line with Light Walk:


Invisibility Art
IQ/Very Hard
Defaults: None.

This is the fabled skill, often attributed to Ninja and Martial-arts masters, of being able to stand in plain sight without being noticed.

It requires one second of concentration to activate. After that time, you gain the following benefits for the scene:

Move stealthily. Invisibility Art can give a bonus to Stealth against enemy Vision. Roll vs. Invisibility Art. If you succeed, add half your margin of success (round down, but minimum +1) to Stealth.

Light beam avoidance. Some traps depend on beams of light, or shadows, passing across a spot on the floor. While you do not actually bend light around or let it pass through you, you have learned to move in a manner that minimally disturbs how light plays across surfaces. Maximum Move under such circumstances is 1/3 normal (round down), you automatically avoid light based traps if successful. You may be penalized based on how many or how bright the light traps are, for instance a single beam of light, no penalty; a beam that fills the entire area that if blocked in the slightest sets off the trap, -10.

Unnoticed in the crowd. A successful Invisibility Art roll lets you leave no strong impressions in the memory of those observing you, you look you you belong there, or just go unnoticed as though you were a servant. If you succeed, add half your margin of success (round down, but minimum +1) to skills like Shadowing, or Savior-Faire (Servant), to go unremarked. You may face penalties for being inappropriately dressed.

Finally this skill allows you to vanish in plain sight, use Invisibility Art in place of Stealth to allow Backstabbing (Exploits pg 57) when you have no diversions (no party, more than half your party is hidden, etc).

Note that while this skill works in combat, if you attack anyone, you will immediately become visible to everyone!

Last edited by mburr0003; 04-16-2021 at 07:22 PM.
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