Overview: This supplement addresses a much debated aspect of many role playing games; martial arts. This is a very complex subject and is unlike most other skills. There are two ways to address this system. Complex or Simple. There are many well written and complex martial arts rules for many role-playing games. But the problem with these systems is the time it takes to run one round of combat. These systems are very detailed, and allot of research has gone into them, but there is too much overhead, and I, as well as many other gamers, want a fast simple system that emphasizes the special abilities of a martial artist, with out bogging down the game. My system is simple, keeps game balance and shows how powerful a true martial artist can be. This supplement is designed specifically for the Star Wars Role Playing Game.


The Basics: First off I would like to define the term 'Martial Artist'. A martial artist is a being who has spent a considerable portion of its life to the practicing of a martial art, the specific style at this point is irrelevant. We can further define the term by illustrating what it is not. One is not a martial artist, if they have taken some lessons sporadically and know a few moves. The following paragraph illustrates the basics of the system, and can in fact be used as a default or generic style. It is the simplest method to play. I have outline some specific examples of different styles at the end of this page, but these are a little more complex and slow down the game.

Here is how the system works. The skill Martial Arts, if possessed supersedes, and replaces the following skills: Melee Combat, Melee Parry, Brawling, Brawling Parry, and the brawling specialization martial arts. You can replace the name martial arts, with the name of the style learned if desired. For example Tai Chi Chuan. Martial Arts is a DEX based skill. All rolls, attacks, defense ect. are based upon dexterity; except damage, which is based on strength. The base difficulty for any maneuver is moderate [11-15]. In combat the martial artist gains a bonus of +2D versus any opponent in hand to hand combat who does not posses any, type or style of martial arts. This bonus reflects any special moves and techniques that the artist employs, rather than list an exhaustive table of what move the artist has performed. This bonus is applied to attack and defensive rolls not to damage. This bonus may seem excessive to some but,it is a much faster and simpler method for combat than using a list of moves, their effects, ect. ect. ect. The disadvantage to any martial art is that if it is not practiced on a regular basis then the skill level deteriorates. This is a role [as opposed to roll] playing disadvantage that must be enforced. If the character in question does not tell the GM that his character is practicing, then it is assumed that he is not. Character point costs are doubled to increase this skill, and time must be spent training; no getting off easy by just using the skill once in the last adventure and then being able to upgrade the skill. The training time requirement is mandatory. Weapons related to that style of martial art is considered a specialization of the martial art skill, as well as special signature moves. [Character point cost is still doubled for these specialization's as well.] A brief note on signature moves. The advanced maneuvers described in Crackens Rules of Engagement by West End Games are suitable to be used with this system.

Gaining the Martial Arts skill: The easiest way for a character to have the martial arts skill, is to start with it. The player and the GM should work together to incorporate the training into the charters background. The character must also spend 2D of his initial skill dice to purchase the skill at 1D above the characters DEX attribute. This is the maximum allowed at character creation. Which the GM may waive at his discretion. Weapons and special moves may also be purchased at this time. It is assumed that the character spent the requisite time in his youth training, and has continued training. The other way to gain martial arts is to start training with an existing character. The character point cost is double that of learning any other skill [2 times the DEX attribute.] The character must also spend 30 hours a standard week over a period of 3 standard months to gain the first pip in the skill martial arts. OR the character must spend 6 hours a standard week over a period of 1 standard year training to become proficient. A trainer is mandatory and costs 100 to 1000 credits [or more] per month. A trainer must have a skill of 5D and at least 2 years of experience. A being CANNOT learn the skill from a book or holo.

For example: Marik a human, decides to learn martial arts. His dexterity is 3D and his strength is also 3D. He finds a trainer for 200 credits per month and decides to work exclusively on training. It will take him 3 months to become proficient in the skill. Marik will have to spend 6 character points, 600 credits, and 3 months of his life training. At he end of the 3 months his skill in the martial arts is 3D+1 [DEX +1 pip]. He can continue training (see improving martial arts for more details), or he can go on is way. If he wants to learn any special moves or weapons he will have to train more. The training time is 1/3 [total time] of the basic skill to learn a special move, or weapon.

Improving the Martial Arts skill: The training time is 15 hours per week for 1 month to improve the skill by 1 pip. The character point cost is 2 times the number before the D. For example if you have a skill level of 4D+1 and you wanted to improve it to 4D+2 it would cost 8 character points and 15 hours per week for 1 month to improve the skill. This time is assuming that a trainer is present. All costs are double if there is no trainer. Specialization's cost the same amount of time and the number before the D in character points, and requires the presence of a trainer.

Marinating the Martial Arts skill: A character must spend 5 hours per week practicing to maintain current levels of skill. If this is not done the character looses 1 pip per month, and must be regained under the listed rules for improvement. Martial Arts is NOT like riding a bike you have to use it or loose it.

Using Martial Arts in the Game: Now for the fun. The base difficulty is moderate [11-15] to use this skill. A martial artist gains a bonus of +2D against any opponent who does not have any skill in any martial art. Brawling is NOT a martial art. This bonus may seem like "munchkinism" to some but this reflects the superior abilities a martial artist possesses compared to a non martial artist. A martial artist uses the skill martial arts to parry blows or melee weapons wielded against him. He also uses this skill to attack. No special moves need to be used, it is assumed that the character uses what ever move the situation warrants. A GM and Player can add some flavor to their combat scenes by telling what the combatants are doing, i.e.:

Player: "I am going to throw a round house kick at the enraged Wookie with the blood dripping from his mouth." [Someone else's blood].

GM: "OK the difficulty is 15, as the Wookie is pretty tall"

Player: rolls a 3D+1 [his martial arts skill with a +2 bonus as the Wookie is untrained] for a total of 5D+1 the result is 16 and the attack hits. The player rolls 3D for damage [the character strength no +2D bonus for damage, just the characters strength] the result is 4 and the Wookie shrug's of the kick. "OK I try again same move again." Rolls a 4d+1 [multi action penalty applied] "Opps!": the result is a 5 and a 1 on the wild die. The character misses, spins and falls on his face with the angry Wookie looming over him.

GM: <grin> "now the Wookie grabs....[The following is censored due to gratuitous and wanton violence]

This example illustrates that a martial artist is not invisible and still has limitations. This system can be used as a generic martial art, Or see the following section for some sample martial arts, complete with advantages and disadvantages.

Using Martial Arts against an armed opponent: A Martial Artist uses special moves against a armed attacker, as most melee weapons are nearly impossible to block without something to parry with. So most martial arts focus on avoiding the weapon and getting into striking range and disarming the opponent. To handle this roll attacks and 'parries' [same MA skill here] are rolled as normal with all applicable bonuses and penalties. The armed opponent makes an attack using the skill melee combat [or a MA specialization for that weapon, if the skill is possessed]. The Martial Artist roles his martial arts skill to 'parry' or 'martial dodge', remember to include the 2D bonus for the martial artist if the wielder of the weapon is not a martial artist himself. If the Martial Artist's 'parry' beats the attackers role, then the martial artist gets to add the difference to his next move. Usually a move to disarm the attacker, or strike inside where the attacker cannot defend. Why? The attacker [wielding the weapon] was put off balance and would be overextended by the martial artist's move. Here is an example:

Let's say Bob armed with a vibro-knife has Melee Combat at a skill level of 4D. Bob goes after Jennifer a martial artist with a skill of 4D Jennifer rolls a 6D because Bob is untrained in the martial arts.

Bob attacks. He rolls 4D and gets 14.

Jennifer defends. She rolls 6D and gets 23. She sidesteps, then goes for kotegaeshi (a wrist throw from the Aikidoka martial art). For a difference of 9 that she applies to her next move (in reality this is all in the same movement but can be broken down to reflect the small nuances of the fight.)

Jennifer continues her action and rolls 5D to finish the kotegaeshi maneuver. She rolls an 8 on that (5D) then gets to add the 9 from her previous roll over the Bob's to-hit.

Again you ask why? Bob was overextended and in no position to defend against the simple wrist throw. Since it is a wrist throw, chances are Jennifer disarmed Bob as well. Use what ever fits the action and story best, which would be more dramatic. As the GM you have control over the situation. If you want to leave it to chance then have Bob roll Vs his DEX to keep his weapon.

A note on Martial Arts vs. a unlike species: These above rules assume that the combatants are the same species. But what happens if you want to use Martial Arts against a quadruped, and you are a human? Most martial arts focus on the bodies weak points. A Twielek might have different pressure points than a human. To simulate this and keep it simple use the following rules. If the combatants have similar body types [ Twielek vs. Human] apply a -2 pip penalty to the martial artist. UNLESS the style of MA is designed to work on that species. If the combatants are vastly different then apply a -1D penalty. These penalties are cumulative with any other bonuses or penalties.

Difficulty numbers: Most martial arts moves will have a difficulty of 11-15. GM discretion. Some moves depending upon circumstances will be higher or lower depending upon the complexity, terrain ect. Again this is left up to the GM to decide.

Tai Chi
Wing Chung Kung Fu
Grappling
Karate
Negori
Boxing

This is an original supplement by: Scott "Jade" Murphy

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or criticisms. I will be more than happy to discuss my reasoning behind the system. And If you point out something that I missed, then I will revise this supplement and add credit to you. Please note, that this supplement is subject to revision.

Special Thanks to Steve Lamb for the idea and example of the 'Martial Dodge', and discussion on unlike species.

 

 

 

 

 

1998-1999 Tevors Contacts: Star Wars RPG