Carpe Blogiem: Ruminations on a Wuxia Campaign IV

Like my previous posts this one is kind of an “outloud thinking” post. I’ve discussed doing research on Chinese history and folklore, the general thrust of the campaign, and how I was approaching character creation. This post is going to talk about the general optional rules I’d be using for the campaign.

First, I decided to scour the GURPS books to see if there were any cinematic rules I wanted to be in effect. I decided on these:

  • Bullet Time (empowered by requiring a use of IP) – because yeah, Bullet Time.
  • Cannon Fodder (for mooks) – hordes of guys running into a room to attack the protagonist is so on point for wuxia games that this was just required.
  • Cinematic Knockback – because guns tend to send folks through.
  • Flesh Wounds (empowered by requiring a use of IP) – because fighting through the pain/hp loss is common.
  • Gun Control Law (can be turned off by using VP) – because guns are meant to scare people, not blow holes through the protagonists (though that CAN happen)
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy (can be turned off by using VP) – because even when they get shot at it usually misses long enough for the protagonist to run away
  • Shaking it Off (empowered by requiring a use of IP) – because fighting through fatigue is common.

Next, I decided what optional rules would be in play from various books. I decided on these (sort by book):

GURPS Basic Set

  • Limited Enhancements (p. B111)
  • Malfunctions (p. B279)
  • Modifying Dice + Adds (p. B269)

GURPS Low-Tech Series

  • Armor Hit Locations (Low-Tech, p. 100).
  • Sheaths (Low-Tech, p. 57).

GURPS Martial Arts

  • Multiple Blocks (pp. 123). Note: This is only available to those with Trained by a Master or Weapon Master.
  • Pain in Close Combat (pp. 119).
  • All of the Additional Combat Options except for A Matter of Inches (pp. 109-132)
  • All the Expanded Combat Maneuvers from Chapter Four (pp. 96-124).
  • Cinematic Rapid Strike (p. 127).
  • Chambara Fighting (p.128-129).
  • Extra Effort in Combat (p. 131), all options are available (Heroic Charge, Flurry of Blows and Mighty Blows are especially appropriate).
  • Martial Arts Styles (pp. 140-206), all PCs should know at least one martial arts style.

GURPS Powers

  • Coordinated Attacks (p. 165)
  • Crippled Abilities (p. 156)
  • Defending with Powers (p. 167)
  • Abilities and Exertion (p. 159)
  • Power Skills (p. 162)
  • Power Techniques (p. 162)
  • Trading Fatigue for Effect (p. 160)
  • Trading Fatigue for Skill (p. 161)
  • Repeated Attempts (p. 159)

Pyramid Magazine

The following Pyramid articles are being used for the campaign; if a magazine is not listed, and you wish to use something from it ask the GM.

  • Pyramid #3/53: Action (“Fortunately I Saw This Coming,” pp 32-34)
  • Pyramid #3/77: Combat (“On Target,” pp. 4-8).
  • Pyramid #3/100: Pyramid Secrets (“Impulse Control,” pp. 4-9); see the box on spending Impulse Points (p. 00). Note, that everyone starts with Impulse Points 0 and no Villainous Points, IP are refreshed through Foibles and roleplaying. IP and VP have their usual costs.
  • Pyramid #3/105: Cinematic Magic (“Chi Sorcery,” pp. 12-21). It should be noted that Chi Sorcery is the basis for the martial arts abilities of the campaign setting, but only the powers would be in use – Ki Investment was stractily off the table. These powers would serve as placeholders until I could get the chi power system I wanted to create functioning.

Miscellaneous rules

  • Fantastic Grappling: The simplified version of Technical Grappling would serve to enhance grappling’s flavor for the campaign.
  • GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders: the rules for Long-term Fatigue Points (p. 24) are in play.
  • GURPS After the End 2: The New World: the rules for Temperature Tolerance (p. 12) are in effect (and how they affect the rules for being cold, hot, etc.).
  • GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality: Ethnic Cool Weapons (p. 10; renamed as appropriate), Armor (p. 13), and Azzalum (p. 27) are available. Ethnic Cool weaponry are not typically starting gear! Ask the GM before taking anything.
  • GURPS Fantasy-Tech 2: Weapons of Fantasy: Full Metal Weapons (p. 4), Double-Ended Weapons (p. 5), Giant Swords (p. 8), Serpent’s Fangs (p. 10), Multi-Blades (p. 10), and Diabolical whips (p. 12) are available. Ask the GM before taking anything for a starting character.
  • GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents: Alternative benefits for Talents are in effect for all of those who prefer those to reaction modifiers. You can get both if you want by purchasing a number of levels of a new perk: “Enhanced Talent.” All racial talents start with alternative benefits instead of reaction modifiers.
  • GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys: This book is in use, but with the Impulse Control modifications from Pyramid #3/100.
  • GURPS Social Engineering: the Expanded Influence Rolls (p. 36).
  • GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic: This book with some modification would serve me well to build the system I wanted for the campaign’s magic.

Picking Over the Bones

I think I covered everything. My intent for the optional rules from GURPS Powers was to use those to build a solid framework for my nascent chi powers system. Everything I needed was there I just needed to put it together like a lego set. I think the thing that took me longest to decide was the cinematic rules in play. Too many and you forget them. Too little and it doesn’t modify the feel enough and is still forgettable. You got to have the right blend.

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