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Martial artists and defense


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3 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

The REC means that the character recovers twice as fast (essential as he has twice as much STUN and BOD) for the same number of recoveries, whether the character only takes PS 12 recoveries, out of combat recoveries, or uses phases to recover.  I'd say they are functionally equivalent, although the REC-based character will move up the charts for speed of recovery once KO'd faster (if KOd at -29, getting a REC of 24 is much more useful than a REC of 12).

 

That's obvious.  Point I was leading towards is that the REC only happens once per turn, whereas the stun reduction from the DRed happens on every hit.  However, it's the massive increase in the STUN that lets you treat it like this.  

 

It works out with these numbers because the STUN total is raised up so high as well, at least in the case of more-or-less average rolls.  I may run some scenarios later;  it's a good way to watch bad bowl games. :)

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18 hours ago, Surrealone said:

These numbers are, of course, based on the standard Checklist, so obviously different numbers would apply if using optional rules. That said, the premise is still the same -- defensive powers that help a character take less damage … aren't the same as capabilities that allow a character to avoid damage (completely) in the first place such that no damage roll is ever made

 

IMHO, it's the latter capabilities that tend to be central to how most martial artists are built … and 6e really didn't do anything that would warrant building a martial artist around taking (less) damage rather than completely avoiding it.  Going down that road ("ok, I'll build to take damage rather than avoid it completely") is traveling down the road of a scrapper, anyway … and if you travel far enough down it you eventually become a brick, instead.

 

The problem with your argument would seem to be that you're basing this on comics characters.  Those have 100 points of Dramatic License.  They don't get hurt because the writers never let them get hurt, by and large.  Once you throw dice into the mix, that breaks down quite badly.  Even if I've got a DCV 5 higher than your OCV, you still hit me 10% of the time.  That raises the minimum defense I need to have to avoid simply getting dropped when you do hit.  

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1 minute ago, Doc Democracy said:

I did, but I think it needs to refresh more rapidly...

 

 

That's totally do-able.  You would be using the mechanic, but not necessarily LTE as-is.  Simply cut the refresh in half and see how that sits for you.

 

Or possibly tie it to REC-- as in "i've taken enough swats and got enough bruises I just can't do that again until the stinging stops."

 

Though likely you've already played with both of these ideas, too.

 

Sorry.  I liked the idea enough (freely-admitted hater of "Combat Luck" here) that I wanted to at least try to pitch in. ;)

 

 

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6 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

The problem with your argument would seem to be that you're basing this on comics characters.  Those have 100 points of Dramatic License.  They don't get hurt because the writers never let them get hurt, by and large.  Once you throw dice into the mix, that breaks down quite badly.  Even if I've got a DCV 5 higher than your OCV, you still hit me 10% of the time.  That raises the minimum defense I need to have to avoid simply getting dropped when you do hit.  

I'm actually basing it on the vast bulk of the martial artists (not 'scrappers', not 'bricks', but actual 'martial artists') I've seen written up.

Per your quoted text, you appear to be fixated on DCV being the only means to avoid being hit when, in fact, it isn't.  (Hint: Block!)  Show me a player with a martial artist character that doesn't use martial block or similar mechanics (a la Deflection) to actively avoid damage rather than relying on adjusted DCV … and I'll show you a martial artist that spends more time unconscious than one who blocks at appropriate times.

 

That's not the only option, by the way. Flying Dodge is in the mix, too … and it can be used to full move beyond HTH range while simultaneously adding +4 to DCV. If the martial artist successfully exits HTH range, then there's not even an attack roll to be made (much less a damage roll). However, in the off-chance the martial artist is still in range when executing the maneuver, then his/her DCV is cranked (better than a regular dodge, but not as high as if martial dodging).  

 

I think you get the idea -- there's more to not getting hit than just raw DCV; smart play is required.

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8 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

(Perhaps Surrealone since I see Martial artists as should being somewhat of a scrapper at least the PC, is why I have a hard time distinguishing between Pure Martail Artits and Scrapper.

I believe the distinction is actually pretty clear and simple when boiled down to basic essentials:

  • The archetypical martial artist relies on SPD, DEX, and a large repertoire of martial maneuvers to avoid (or minimize, where unavoidable) getting hit
  • The archetypical scrapper starts as an archetypical martial artist but then deviates from the usual/critical SPD-DEX-repertoire playbook by sacrificing some of each in order to spend elsewhere -- specifically to be stronger (so that hits really, really hurt when they land) and to have defenses that allow the soaking of repeated hits


Here's a classic martial artist vs. scrapper fight -- specifically Roper (martial artist) vs Bolo (scrapper) in Enter the Dragon.  In it, you will notice that Roper repeatedly lands punches and kicks on Bolo -- which seemingly have little effect, individually (but which steadily wear Bolo down). By comparison, Bolo manages to connect with and roll damage on Roper only twice -- the first of which is so severe it stuns and knocks Roper down, while the second is a low-damage throw that merely renders Roper prone.

Notice how each character even looks and moves the part of his archetype -- with Roper being faster, more dexterous (notice the breakfall maneuver to get up from the throw?!), using a wider repertoire of martial maneuvers, and hitting lightly -- compared to bolo, whose massive muscles let him hit hard when he connects … with the few moves he has … in the openings his slower SPD can manage in this fight.

But, man, Bolo sure can soak some hits! Where Bolo stunned Roper in a single shot (a backhand, if I recall) and might have finished Roper had he followed up with something similar (instead of doing whatever the hell he was doing to Roper's arm), it took Roper 109 seconds of combat to wear Bolo down and win -- with more punches and kicks connecting than I could readily track.  (Note: I tracked combat from the second the first punch was thrown until the second the groin kick that finished Bolo landed -- and then subtracted out the time required for the prisoner release footage).  That's 9 turns (!!!) for the faster, more dextrous, but lighter-hitting martial artist to wear down the slower, stronger, and harder-hitting scrapper.

 

As a reminder, it likely could have been a two-shot fight that went Bolo's way in less than 12 seconds (one turn!) had Bolo been smarter about the attack he used after he stunned Roper. (Or perhaps it wasn't smarts, perhaps it was lack of options; maybe he didn't have what he needed in his repertoire of martial maneuvers because of the maneuver sacrifices he made in exchange for upping his defenses and STR?) Archetypical martial artists typically can't soak two stunning hits in quick succession and remain conscious … or if s/he can, his/her state is often with next to no STUN left. The fact that this fight dragged on for ~9 turns … means Roper got the same benefit of post-seg-12 RECs that Bolo got … but unlike Bolo, Roper wasn't getting steadily hit, so it went the way it did, cinematically...

 

 

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11 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I think Damage Negation is an option that has not yet been well evaluated as a game management tool. 

 

A Super with, say, 25 defenses, 15 resistant, in a 12 DC game will never take BOD from a normal attack, and seldom from a killing attack.  That's fine if the intent is that BOD damage is rare in the game, but some source material sees Supers of equivalent power do BOD damage to one another pretty routinely, and a more powerful foe may hospitalize his opponent.  [Anyone remember the Marvel 2 in 1 where the Thing is in the hospital after battles with Champion and Gladiator?]

 

For this, Damage Negation may be a better choice.  With the defenses above, a typical normal attack gets 17 STUN past defenses, and a typical KA (14x2) manages only 3 STUN past defenses.

 

Change that to, say, 6 DC Damage Negation and 8 defenses, all resistant.  Now that normal attack manages 13 STUN past defenses, and an average KA gets 6 STUN through.  But above average rolls can also punch a bit of BOD through.

 

Against a 15 DC opponent, our Defenses-based Super takes 27.5 average STUN and no BOD.  Our Negation-based Super  takes 23.5 STUN and 1 BOD - that larger attack is doing real injury.  A KA will average 2.5 BOD and 13 STUN.

 

This would add a much higher level of lethality to a Supers game.  In a typical Silver/Bronze age game, that's not really desirable, but a more iron-age feel (higher risk combat) can be better achieved by ensuring BOD damage is a more real possibility.

 

The numbers quoted above have been my experience in using Damage Negation as a martial artist defense.

 

Since Damage Negation goes first out of all defenses, reducing the number of dice before they even get rolled against the character, a character can actually ignore low level damage, which means minions and mooks can be waded through without worrying a lot about them. It also has a significant effect in campaigns that use Hit Locations that should not be ignored. I'd far prefer getting hit with a 8DC attack and using 4 levels of Damage Negation against it rather than 50% Damage Reduction. 

 

By making it Restrainable, it actually nicely simulates dodging ability versus minions and mooks that is seen in the movies, which makes it a bit more effective than Damage Reduction in such cases. Against an equivalent-level opponent, it also simulates the ability to take damage while allowing some BODY damage to leak through.

 

I haven't found it to be overly difficult to apply in combat, since it just reduces the Active Points of an attack. It's not too strenuous of an exercise to back calculate the base DC by reversing the Advantages calculation against the reduced amount of Active Points. While this isn't exactly how the rulebook explains how to do it, it has worked for me as a GM. So, 10DC attack with +1 in Advantages is 100 Active Points, less 6 levels of Damage Negation (-30 Active Points) yielding 70 Active Points or 7DC to roll. In cases with AOEs, just roll a different color for the Damage Negation portion and ignore that damage for the character with Damage Negation.

 

I also like applying the Limitation that it only works against certain types of damage to further fine-tune it against special effects. A fire user with 10 levels of Damage Negation that only affects fire damage, for example.

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I tend to agree with Steve.  While I am no expert (outside of Jackie Chan, because he's hilarious, martial arts as a genre isn't really my bag), but it seems in what I have seen, it's not too terribly uncommon in the source material to throw up a forearm and "block" everything from shin and foot strikes to baseball bats (often shattering them in the process).  It was my thought that this simply was some visual representation of "martial arts chi" or "ectoplasm" or whatever you want to call it-- his iron-willed control over his body.  Blocking pretty much everything that isn't sharp.

 

And I've seen a lot of movies where the hero takes a devastating blow from a powerful opponent, but rolls with it in such a fashion as to both make it merely a glancing blow (which I think Steve's suggestion of Damage Negation demonstrates nicely) and simultaneously better-position himself to counter-strike while his opponent is open or off-balance from delivering the blow.

 

Is there a counterstrike maneuver in any of the Ninja Hero or 6e stuff?  Maybe even with a sacrificial element of some sort?

 

 

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6 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

That's totally do-able.  You would be using the mechanic, but not necessarily LTE as-is.  Simply cut the refresh in half and see how that sits for you.

 

Or possibly tie it to REC-- as in "i've taken enough swats and got enough bruises I just can't do that again until the stinging stops."

 

Though likely you've already played with both of these ideas, too.

 

Sorry.  I liked the idea enough (freely-admitted hater of "Combat Luck" here) that I wanted to at least try to pitch in. ;)

 

 

That's great, I need to really sit down and do the numbers but I think this should almost be the reverse of LTE, nothing comes back for an extended period and then it begins to trickle then flow then flood until it is full.

 

my more immediate question is whether we think this is (to borrow from D&D 4th), an encounter power, a daily power, or something else.

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I scrapper vs martial artist distinction is not nearly as clear as some like to make out. For example, both characters in that video (and in fact most all fighters in Enter the Dragon) are considered martial artists withing the kung fu/martial arts genre.

 

On top of that, in game terms martial artists and scrappers will often be hitting for similar damage, so the biggest distinction is often only DCV vs PD/ED, not how hard they hit.

 

Even comics blur the line. Wolverine used to be one of the iconic examples of a "scrapper" but he's also basically a ninja who gave black belt level martial arts training to several younger X-Men. Meanwhile, Spiderman who is the ultimate Dex/Dodge character has demi-brick strength and no actual martial arts training (originally).

 

Differentiating the two can have its uses in conversation, but it's not nearly as clear cut or obvious as brick or blaster or speedster.

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10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I just watched that video three times.

 

In it, the "scrapper" Bolo dodges and blocks more times than does the 'finesse' guy in the yellow suit, and now this whole thread is out of kilter.

 

 

Of course he does, because Bolo's a slower SPD character -- meaning he's forced to hold and react or abort in order to fend off some of the higher SPD character's attacks.  This leaves fewer opportunities/openings to actually attack Roper … so of course Roper doesn't block or dodge as much. Had Bolo not blocked as much as he did while looking for openings, the fight would have likely ended sooner.

Also, as a reminder, Martial Block adds +2 to both OCV and DCV.  Bolo likely needs to buoy both since he likely has less of both than Roper.  Perhaps more important, an often overlooked benefit of a successful block is that it can help a slower SPD character create an opening, since a successful block results in the blocker automatically acting first if both opponents have their next Phases in the same segment!

 

Threads roll out of kilter on this forum all the time.  That said, we're talking about martial artist defenses, and the video shows two different angles on that (i.e. not getting hit, versus soaking hits). It also helps underscore the idea that soaking hits tends to be in the realm of a bigger/stronger/slower scrapper type (such as Bolo, Chong Li in Bloodsport, Tong Po in Kickboxer) as opposed to the archetypical martial artist who isn't terribly strong but is quite fast when employing his/her art( such as Bruce Lee, Roper, Mr. Miyagi, etc.).

 

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I don't know.

 

I can't think about Bennie the Jet.

 

Broad, thick, powerful man.  Gave Jackie Chan a run for his money speed-wise.

 

But even then-- there is _no doubt_ that, even in the clip above, Bolo Yeung _is_ a martial artist.  Bennie the Jet _is_ a martial artist.  Samo Hung _is_ a martial artist.  The difference here is not whether or not they are martial artists, but their individual styles.

 

And that's the crux of things.  Not enough players think of "style" as anything more than "which list of maneuvers gives me the best advantages?" and default decide "yep.  I'm a martial artist.  I can't be touched."  Thus we don't have a problem of definition; we have a problem of lack of creativity.

 

Bolo _is_ a martial artist, and his conception (if you will) is to counterstrike with single blows or simple combos of great power, and relying heavily on Blocks to not get hit.  Bennie the Jet is (was; he's probably lost a lot with age at this point) ungodly fast, and plays more to dodging and simply soaking what he can't dodge, waiting for opportunities to strike with single powerful blows.

 

But it absolutely cannot be argued that they are not "true martial artists" or whatever it is we're doing to create some sort of divider where no such divider should exist.

 

We have conception differences in the same character class.  We can get all D&D and sub-sub-sub-sub class, or we can do things that educate and entice players to look at alternate conceptions for their special ninja guy.

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16 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

But it absolutely cannot be argued that they are not "true martial artists" or whatever it is we're doing to create some sort of divider where no such divider should exist.

 

We have conception differences in the same character class.  We can get all D&D and sub-sub-sub-sub class, or we can do things that educate and entice players to look at alternate conceptions for their special ninja guy.

The words 'true martial artist' were not uttered by me.  I use the words 'archetypical martial artist' because the archetype most typically entails a wiry, fast person who isn't particularly strong.  Thus, deviation from that archetype entails (wait for it) … a different archetype.  In this case, it's a scrapper.  Sure, scrappers use martial arts and therefore are martial artists … but they are NOT archetypical martial artists, as they have their own, highly-specific archetype.

 

To give you an analogy: A cavalier is a fighter, but it's a distinct and separate archetype with its own unique properties when compared with plain-Jane fighters in 1st Edition AD&D.  Sure they are both fighters in the generic sense of the word 'fighter' (much as scrappers are martial artists in the generic sense of THAT term), but as to how they are built and the tools available to them, fighters and cavaliers are pretty different creatures with their own archetypes, just as wiry, fast, technique-based martial artists are very different from slower, stronger, somewhat brick-like characters who happen to use martial arts.


Look up the word 'archetype' … and I think you'll see that the stronger, slower, somewhat brick-like characters wearing gis who happen to use martial arts … are not the typical representation of martial artists.  Or not … as it's your choice as to whether you choose to acknowledge the difference … or not.  It makes no difference to me, really; I see and acknowledge the differences between them, as do the gaming groups I've played with across the decades.  That doesn't mean you have to do so...

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19 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

The words 'true martial artist' were not uttered by me. 

 

No; they were not.  I made no attempt to put those words in your mouth.  The quotations in this instance, as they were not boxed and attributed, were to demonstrate that these words were my own, and the following "whatever it is" (again, my words) were to demonstrate that I may well not have a complete grasp what makes a muscular karate guy less of a karate guy than a wiry karate guy.

 

19 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

 

 

I use the words 'archetypical martial artist' because the archetype most typically entails a wiry, fast person who isn't particularly strong.  Thus, deviation from that archetype entails (wait for it) … a different archetype.  In this case, it's a scrapper.  Sure, scrappers use martial arts and therefore are martial artists … but they are NOT archetypical martial artists, as they have their own, highly-specific archetype.

 

 

 

If this is the crux of the discussion, then it seems important that we should first lay out what it is that actually _is_ the archetypical martial artist.  Moreover, I am damned curious as to why "untouchable" is such an important part of that.

 

So let's start with skinny / wiry guy who can't be touched (for the purposes of the definition, I am not going to argue the "can't be touched" part, even though it makes no sense to me personally.  I am taking it from the above conversations about the importance-- or perhaps, better stated, the _commonality_ of insanely high DCV levels for martial artists.

 

What else do you see as part of the "archetypical martial artist?"

 

 

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3 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

So let's start with skinny / wiry guy who can't be touched (for the purposes of the definition, I am not going to argue the "can't be touched" part, even though it makes no sense to me personally.  I am taking it from the above conversations about the importance-- or perhaps, better stated, the _commonality_ of insanely high DCV levels for martial artists.

How do we distinguish that from a speedster?  They tend to meet all those qualifications too. 

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16 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I may well not have a complete grasp what makes a muscular karate guy less of a karate guy than a wiry karate guy.

I think the issue is that you seem to think someone has indicated that a muscular karate guy (who is slower, often fewer martial maneuvers … but much higher defenses) is less ofa karate guy than a wiry, fast karate guy with a ton of maneuvers … when, in fact, no one has indicated that, at all.  Rather, what's been indicated is that they are two different archteypes … as represented by very different builds and point expenditures.

 

As to Gnome's question about a speedster, it is, of course, a different archtetype with its own, different builds and point expenditures as compared with scrappers and martial artists.  It's probably best exemplified by comparing Bruce Lee to The Flash.  Where Bruce Lee is, perhaps, representative of the pinnacle of human speed and dexterity combined with martial techniques, the Flash's speed is superhuman and rather than relying on martial technique, all of his powers derive entirely from his speed. Can Bruce Lee move so fast soas to travel through time?  No.  And Can The Flash perform a Martial Disarm or a Nerve Strike?  No.

I think you get the idea when using some common sense to compare the builds associated with the various archetypes as to what is a speedster, a brick, a scrapper, a martial artist, a flying energy projector, etc.  Trying to define a razor thin dividing line is, of course, an impossible task, so I'm not going to try because I think good, old-fashioned common sense is adequate.

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The idea that Martial Artists "aren't strong" only exists in the superhero genre where super strength is a common power.  Most martial artists in comics are in peak physical condition and many are very strong by human standards. I think your definition of "Archetypal Martial Artist" is not as archetypal as you think it is, your definition is only somewhat true in one specific genre. Even in trying to give examples you used things from other genres  like the Enter the Dragon clip  that basically disprove your point.

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3 hours ago, bigbywolfe said:

The idea that Martial Artists "aren't strong" only exists in the superhero genre where super strength is a common power.  Most martial artists in comics are in peak physical condition and many are very strong by human standards. I think your definition of "Archetypal Martial Artist" is not as archetypal as you think it is, your definition is only somewhat true in one specific genre. Even in trying to give examples you used things from other genres  like the Enter the Dragon clip  that basically disprove your point.

In your experience, how much of an archetypical martial artist's damage comes from actual STR (rather than 4pt Martial Arts HTH DCs, 2 CSLs used as +1 DC, the damage bonuses from given martial maneuvers, etc -- all of which can readily be lumped into one term 'technique')?  It's been my experience that very little damage in archetypical builds comes from actual STR … specifically because STR costs END, whereas Martial Arts HTH DCs, CSLs used as DCs, and the damage bonuses from maneuvers do not.  Thus, 'technique' is somewhat incentivized from an END efficiency standpoint on martial artists that will already have a low REC as a result of being built to avoid hits rather than soak them like a scrapper would.

 

The reverse is true, as well -- scrappers intended to soak hits will have high REC and CON, making it easier and more cost effective to support the END costs of higher STR … since they'll buy and need that REC to recover the STUN that they will take … and that avoidance-based martial artist build don't intend to take (or take often).  This was even more true in 5er and earlier when Figured Characteristics were at play...

 

I've rarely seen a martial artist with more than 15 STR, whereas scrapper builds I've send tend to have 20-25 STR.  In END terms alone, the scrapper will spend twice as much END per STR-based attack for potentially the same damage output (depending on martial HTH DCs, CSL allocation, and chosen maneuver, of course) … but will likely have the requisite REC to recover it relative to his/her SPD, which is probably lower than the martial artist's in question due to expenditure of points in CON, REC, STUN, and defenses rather than in the same quantities of DEX and SPD made by the martial artist.

As a reminder, a Competent Normal has characteristics ranging from 8-15 … with a SPD of 2-4.  That's not Bruce Lee; I think we can all agree he's well beyond 'competent normal'.  He's likely either Very Powerful Heroic (Characteristics 10-23, SPD 2-5) or Low-Powered Superheroic (Characteristics 10-30, SPD 3-8), depending on where you place his DEX and SPD; regardless, if I were building Bruce I wouldn't give him more than 13 STR.  Bolo would likely have 23 if I were building him.  (Can Bruce pick a motorcycle up over his head?  Probably not, but he can easily lift another person -- hence a 13 STR.  Can Bolo?  Probably so, without much of a sweat, I'd think.  In fact he can likely lift two people fairly readily or maybe one really fat person or a cow, hence a 23 STR.  These things per the Strength Table, of course.)

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On 1/2/2019 at 3:09 PM, Surrealone said:

've rarely seen a martial artist with more than 15 STR, whereas scrapper builds I've send tend to have 20-25 STR.  In END terms alone, the scrapper will spend twice as much END per STR-based attack for potentially the same damage output (depending on martial HTH DCs, CSL allocation, and chosen maneuver, of course) … but will likely have the requisite REC to recover it relative to his/her SPD, which is probably lower than the martial artist's in question due to expenditure of points in CON, REC, STUN, and defenses rather than in the same quantities of DEX and SPD made by the martial artist.

 

 

I think the communications issue is that you have your dividing lines and your classifications, and they're fine...but we don't necessarily share them.  We probably don't even agree on what defines a martial artist per se.  Pretty clearly we don't, in that many you call "scrapper" would be "martial artist" to most of us.  

 

I also agree, it's not "common sense" at all.  It feels like it to you because your assessment process is very nicely tuned...but it's your process, not a shared one.

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On 1/2/2019 at 5:09 PM, Surrealone said:

I've rarely seen a martial artist with more than 15 STR, whereas scrapper builds I've send tend to have 20-25 STR

 

Yes, and there's a reason for that. The reason is that if you see a marital artist with a STR of 20 to 25, you don't CALL it a "martial artist," you call it  "scrapper."

 

Which is fine if it works for you, but if you have set your definitions that way you shouldn't then say "I've rarely seen a martial artist with more than 15 STR" as if that statement proves something; all it proves is the decision you made to not count someone with a higher STR as a martial artist. Plenty of people have seen martial artists with higher than 15 STR, because they're not using the same definitions as you - and your definitions are not privileged or automatically valid for others.

 

If i go through a bunch of balls and put all blue and green ones in one bin and all red and yellow ones in another bin and then point to the bins and say "SEE?" I have not proved anything at all about the balls themselves; all I prove is that I, myself, divided them up in this way.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary defines a marshal artist as a specialist in portraits of law enforcement officers

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I have no desire to pile on to Surrealone, but I will show how my definition differs from his.

 

I treat martial artists, in terms of characteristics at least, as the toughest characters that aren't Bricks.

 

Other characters may be superior in some areas because of their powers or equipment, but in general it will be the MAs that have the highest characteristics across the board. The "powers or equipment" exception most commonly applies to defenses (armour, force fields etc.), but characters that lack these will generally be inferior to the MAs in this area too.

As a result, it is entirely normal for my MAs to have 20 Str. Some may be higher, and some, usually teens or smaller women, will be lower. I also tend to run light on skill levels, extra damage classes and on the number of martial maneuvers my characters have.

So I guess nearly all my MAs are scrappers by
Surrealone's definition.

There you go.

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