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Rebuilding Martial Arts From Scratch


Lucius
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I'm actually thinking of messing around with just designing the maneuvers through like everything else, through powers, and not using the maneuvers table at all, aside from the freebies everyone has.

 

I think the problem with marital arts is that they're a kludge. They work pretty well but they're just pulled out of thin air. We don't have a structure or design to build martial arts like a power framework or system. There's a structure to build martial arts, but its not based on any other part of the hero system, so there's no clear method or way of understanding how to modify or create these maneuvers. Want to put armor piercing on a fast strike? There's a sort of workaround to do it but it was added on rather than an organic part of the rules.

 

Which is why I've been calling for a power framework that is how martial arts are created - which would allow other, similar structures to be created as well such as spell systems and talent trees like some online games use. This would make building alternate maneuvers and specific ideas into martial arts part of the hero rules rather than a tack-on, which is the way it feels now.

 

I totally agree with this. I might start a thread just to pick people's brains on how they would build martial arts if there was no preexisting patch. It just seems like martial arts is an area where all the flexibility of Hero goes out the window, and so discussions of it fall back on RAW in a way that often results in "you're trying to do things that the system does not work for" when, in almost every other aspect of the game, this is not as much a problem, as so much is possible.

So I have two questions:

 

If there were no "Martial Arts" as they currently exist in the system, how would you go about inventing them?

 

And, is there anything that the Martial Arts subsystem does that can't be duplicated with Powers and Skills (possibly at greater cost?)

 

 

I will assert that the answer to the second question is "no" and will probably post some ideas on the first question as well.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And I'll definitely post some palindromedary taglines

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Target Falls is likely going to be one of the more difficult effects to re-create whole cloth. The part that I haven't seen mentioned yet is how so many of the 'Martial' maneuvers have free counterparts (throw, trip move by, choke, etc..)

 

HM

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Target Falls is likely going to be one of the more difficult effects to re-create whole cloth.

HM

Here's one rendition that you could incorporate with the maneuver's cost (a la Unified Power):

Target Falls: (5 Active, 1 Real)

​Teleportation 0m w/ Position Shift, Limited Power: Only to cause target to 'fall' (requiring a half phase to 'stand up') [Power loses about two-thirds of its effectiveness] (-1 1/2), Limited Power: Completely mitigated by successful Breakfall roll [Power loses about half of its effectiveness] (-1), Unified Power (-1/4), Must Pass Through Intervening Space (-1/4), Leaves A Trail (-1/4)

 

If the 0m distance bugs you, you could do 1m which would make it 6 Active and it'd still maintain a Real cost of 1 CP. :)

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This is probably going to be more expensive in the long run but worth considering at least.  Counterstrike was brought up as a real poor build in the present Martial Arts system and I agree, but making it cost effective is challenging, at best.  Which is why I think a framework is the way to go more than just builds.  Something that ties it all together as a tight concept separate from other power structures (and safe from certain builds such as links etc) and makes a more universal answer than simply martial arts.

 

Oh, and you need Usable as an attack on that throw maneuver!

 

 

But... does anyone else feel a bit like a heretic tearing down one of Aaron Allston's biggest contributions to Hero rules?

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Target Falls is likely going to be one of the more difficult effects to re-create whole cloth. The part that I haven't seen mentioned yet is how so many of the 'Martial' maneuvers have free counterparts (throw, trip move by, choke, etc..)

 

HM

Meaning you only have to pay for the difference between the free maneuver and the Martial one. i.e. that's a matter of buying Skill Levels with those maneuvers.

 

While I would not have used the exact write up Surrealone did, I have used variations of Position Shift Usable as Attack before.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary wants me to make a list of "things Martial Arts can do" to work from.

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This is probably going to be more expensive in the long run but worth considering at least.  Counterstrike was brought up as a real poor build in the present Martial Arts system and I agree, but making it cost effective is challenging, at best.  Which is why I think a framework is the way to go more than just builds.  Something that ties it all together as a tight concept separate from other power structures (and safe from certain builds such as links etc) and makes a more universal answer than simply martial arts.

 

Oh, and you need Usable as an attack on that throw maneuver!

 

 

But... does anyone else feel a bit like a heretic tearing down one of Aaron Allston's biggest contributions to Hero rules?

I don't think our little thought experiments are going to lead to wholesale abandonment of the Martial Arts subsystem by Hero players.

 

I don't see the objection to Counterstrike as it is. If you have a SPD 3 Martial Artist, your counterstrike happens, at most, 4 seconds after your Block. But some people think it needs to happen in the exact same split second.

 

I don't see any way to build that except as a Triggered attack or as a Naked Trigger, with the Trigger condition being the Block.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Riding a palindromedary around the Block

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I built 0 cost martial arts maneuvers for my fantasy hero campaign for everyone to use if they wanted.  Sure, you don't hit as hard or accurately, but you can try any of the maneuvers.   That seems like a good place to start: how to build the very basics.

And I once built negative cost Martial Arts that were worse than standard maneuvers. I've used them on characters my players encountered too. But that's another story.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says it's a story that involves the Zornwil Effect too....

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Block/Counterstrike: (Total: 14 Active Cost, 10 Real Cost)

+2 with Block (Real Cost: 4)

<b>plus</b>

Trigger (Activating the Trigger is an Action that takes no time, Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action to reset, Trigger can expire (it has a time limit), Misfire; +1/4) for up to 40 Active Points of Up to 8 DC of direct damage no range strike (10 Active Points); Restrainable (-1/2), Inaccurate (1/2 OCV; -1/4) (Real Cost: 6)

 

I envision this applying to STR, Hand to Hand damage, melee weapons, and the like.

Misfire means if there are more than one foe in hand to hand range, the martial artist may reflexively strike someone not the intended target.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary thinks counterstrike sounds like a labor problem at the deli.

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Damage shield does fine for a counterstrike, just build an attack that the counterstrike consists of with a damage shield so it goes off immediately.  Its just going to be spendy.

Where I disagree is in the fact that that would be better than a counterstrike. That would be the perfect counterstrike, as no roll to hit is necessary. That would be a superhuman counterstriker, but an ordinary one, I favor a strike.

 

My issue with the counterstrike rules is that they simply are not a counterstrike. A counterstrike lands at the end moment of the strike it's a counter for, and takes advantage of that moment and positioning. I can think of no single exception. As it stands, the current rules for counterstrike have an effect more like offensive footwork, and so relating it to a strike seems unnecessary.

 

It seems like we all agree that a counterstrike is pretty much a triggered thing.

 

For some reason, I was under the impression that change environment was the way target falls was done, but I haven't looked closely at that power yet.

 

Many of the maneuvers are fairly simple. CSLs, not much else to them. Some are not. Grabs, for instance, and throws.

 

Haymakers as well, though maybe I'm overthinking that. The bulk of maneuvers can mostly be done with a certain amount of CSLs one can shift around.

 

I'm in full agreement on the comment regarding frameworks, that seems necessary.

 

Thanks for starting the thread, Lucius! Or was it one or the other ends of the palindromedary that did it? Both?!!

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Actually, a thought. Would it be more effective for trips and throws, in short, things where the target falls, to do something with added STR for knockback only? And use knockdown only for throws that are not distance throws? I will admit to not being as strong at the builds as you guys are, so sometimes, my head spins and I speak in tongues the moment I try to fathom what I am trying to build.

 

It just seems strange to me to use a power for something like falling down, which basically has a rule in place already.

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Grabs and Escapes aren't that hard.

 

Exert Force: (Total: 30 Active Cost, 8 Real Cost) +20 STR, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (30 Active Points); Variable Limitations (requires -2 worth of Limitations; Such as: only for holding on after Grab, only for Disarm, only to Escape, only to resist Disarm....; -1), Restrainable (-1/2), Conditional Power Must have 2 pt Combat Skill Level with relevant maneuver, or else 2 pt "technique familiarity" (-1/2), Real Martial Arts (-1/4), Required Hands One-And-A-Half-Handed (-1/4), Unified Power (Unified with basic STR; -1/4) (Real Cost: 8)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary asks, how does that grab you?

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Disarm is another maneuver that has come up that would be tricky, I think.

 

I also have a weird question. Should grabs be effect wise mimicking sticky, or vice versa? It seems to me that if it is the former, almost any situation using STR except blows would require buying a limited form of sticky.

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Grabs and Escapes aren't that hard.

 

Exert Force: (Total: 30 Active Cost, 8 Real Cost) +20 STR, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (30 Active Points); Variable Limitations (requires -2 worth of Limitations; Such as: only for holding on after Grab, only for Disarm, only to Escape, only to resist Disarm....; -1), Restrainable (-1/2), Conditional Power Must have 2 pt Combat Skill Level with relevant maneuver, or else 2 pt "technique familiarity" (-1/2), Real Martial Arts (-1/4), Required Hands One-And-A-Half-Handed (-1/4), Unified Power (Unified with basic STR; -1/4) (Real Cost: 8)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary asks, how does that grab you?

I'll admit, it does have a hold on me.

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Where I disagree is in the fact that that would be better than a counterstrike. That would be the perfect counterstrike, as no roll to hit is necessary. That would be a superhuman counterstriker, but an ordinary one, I favor a strike.

That's easy enough to modify

 

Have it require a roll (successful to hit roll), limit how often it can go off (or put a modifier on the hit roll by each successive counterstrike) and you've got a maneuver that doesn't require a trigger, functions the way people figure a counterstrike ought to, but is limited to a reasonable martial arts function.

 

The thing is, creating the maneuvers doesn't really quite do what I had in mind.

 

All this does is simulate each maneuver in combat through the powers, which is fine, but martial Arts functions as a power framework: its specifically built to be cheaper to better simulate a specific set of limited actions with a tight concept.  I think we need a new power framework that works for martial arts -- and for other structures such as "skill trees" and related magic systems.

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Throw: (Total: 14 Active Cost, 10 Real Cost) +2 with Trip (Real Cost: 4) <b>plus</b> Trigger (Activating the Trigger is an Action that takes no time, Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action to reset, Trigger can expire (it has a time limit), Misfire; +1/4) for up to 40 Active Points of Up to 8 DC of direct damage strike (10 Active Points); Restrainable (-1/2), Inaccurate (1/2 OCV; -1/4) (Real Cost: 6)

 

Biggest difference between Trip and Martial Throw is that Trip does not inherently do damage except for velocity damage.

Misfire means the Thrower might fall too, or instead (say, on a roll of 18)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says we just wanted to throw that out there

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That's easy enough to modify

 

Have it require a roll (successful to hit roll), limit how often it can go off (or put a modifier on the hit roll by each successive counterstrike) and you've got a maneuver that doesn't require a trigger, functions the way people figure a counterstrike ought to, but is limited to a reasonable martial arts function.

 

The thing is, creating the maneuvers doesn't really quite do what I had in mind.

 

All this does is simulate each maneuver in combat through the powers, which is fine, but martial Arts functions as a power framework: its specifically built to be cheaper to better simulate a specific set of limited actions with a tight concept.  I think we need a new power framework that works for martial arts -- and for other structures such as "skill trees" and related magic systems.

Would this(the damage shield with the success roll, not the framework) be more cost effective than a triggered version simply using Strength(or a modest amount of added Strength)? Honest question.

 

Another thought on a limitation that counterstrike SHOULD have, for a couple reasons, the main one being balance. This comes from a realistic perspective, but it aids the game, I think.

 

A counterstrike should increase DCV, not as much as a dodge(as one is trying to stay close to counter, whereas a dodge does not have that limitation), but still increase it, but the counter itself should have the limitation that it can only happen if the attack it is countering fails. From a realistic perspective, if I slip around a jab and do a rear hand strike to my opponent under their attacking arm, if their jab hits me, it also fouls my counter. From a game perspective, it limits the "I automatically have a strike every time you attack me" AND does not penalize the opponent for successfully attacking me.

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Throw: (Total: 14 Active Cost, 10 Real Cost) +2 with Trip (Real Cost: 4) <b>plus</b> Trigger (Activating the Trigger is an Action that takes no time, Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action to reset, Trigger can expire (it has a time limit), Misfire; +1/4) for up to 40 Active Points of Up to 8 DC of direct damage strike (10 Active Points); Restrainable (-1/2), Inaccurate (1/2 OCV; -1/4) (Real Cost: 6)

 

Biggest difference between Trip and Martial Throw is that Trip does not inherently do damage except for velocity damage.

Misfire means the Thrower might fall too, or instead (say, on a roll of 18)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says we just wanted to throw that out there

Is this a counter-throw? I'm not understanding the trigger, unless it is one, then I understand.

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So, I think there is merit in building maneuvers on their own, AND playing with the idea of a type of framework that could work with martial arts, skills, and, from what I gather, magic systems(I haven't played fantasy hero, so I'm totally out of my depth on that one).

 

On the framework issue, I have a thought.

 

So, in Hero, there is a tendency to choose the most appropriate method for building the ability, eschewing end runs that may be cheaper, but are not considered appropriate for the goals.

 

With this in mind, what about a framework that solely allows additions to stats(she's intelligent, but she's a savant at engineering), and skills, plus any limitations, etc., that apply? Effects would all have to be based on rules in play for everyone, not special abilities allowable only with the purchase of certain powers.

 

This would change builds, I know. So, in such a framework, counterstrike would have to be a trigger, and not a damage shield, because the latter is a power.

 

Throws would need to be built on concepts of knockdown.

 

This would also allow nerve strikes(NND).

 

To be useful for our purposes, naked advantages would have to be allowed at some level, or it just leads to "+1 STR for blah blah blah" on things that we don't really want the added STR on.

 

The reason I bring up Hero's tendency to require choosing a power or trait specifically intended to do a specific action over one intended for other purposes is that it seems to me that counterstrike is a strike triggered by another specific strike(hth, throws for counterthrows, etc.) Whereas damage shield has other intentions. Now, I know this is all a bit fluid, so I can understand the counterargument as well, I'm just saying, this kind of framework would work with those intentions in mind, and not limit the ability, outside of that framework, to make a power based build that did a similar thing, if one so chooses.

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