New Edge: Soft Style

For some reason, recently I’ve found myself thinking about soft style martial arts—traditions like aikido and judo—and how to model them in Savage Worlds.

G. I. Joe Special Missions #4 by Larry Hama and Herb Trimpe
Oh, yeah. Now I remember why they've been on my mind.
The philosophy behind these schools (at least, the one that action movies and comics taught me) is that they’re supposed to be about redirecting the opponent’s momentum to throw them or knock them off balance. Particularly in the case of aikido (sold to Westerners as the “pacifist” martial art), modeling this with Fighting skill attacks seems contrary to the underlying philosophy.
The answer looks to be pushing, an underutilized part of the Situational Combat Rules. If we accept that the Bash maneuver also incorporates throws and that “knocking” someone prone can also mean flipping them, then the Bash and Knock Prone maneuvers perfectly encapsulate the kind of redirection of momentum espoused by soft styles. Unfortunately, pushes rely on opposed Strength rolls, so unless your martial artist is Hercules, he’s not going to be throwing a lot of people.
Therefore, we need a couple of Edges.
Soft Style
Requirements: Novice, Martial Artist
You practice a soft technique martial art such as aikido, hapkido, judo, or t’ai chi ch’uan. The philosophy behind your school emphasizes redirecting your opponent’s momentum, putting yourself in an advantageous position and leaving your opponent off-balance.
You may use the Push maneuver (see Situational Combat Rules) to Bash or Knock Prone opponents through flips, trips, and throws. When you Bash or Knock Prone, you use Fighting instead of Strength for the opposed roll. Bashing and Knocking Prone count as Fighting and martial arts attacks for Edges that modify such abilities (such as First Strike and Martial Arts Master).
Improved Soft Style
Requirements: Veteran, Soft Style  
You have learned to truly turning your opponents’ own power against them. When you Bash or Knock Prone, your opponent suffers damage equal to their Strength. If your target ran at least 3” toward you before you attacked, you add +2 to your roll.

For Freedom Squadron, I'd convert this into an aspect of the Fighting Style Edge, while for it could get added into Superior Kung Fu for Deadlands: Reloaded.


  1. Very cool. I've been thinking about how to make an aikido-ish character earlier with only RAW, but it was difficult. Enabling Fighting instead of Strength for the maneuvers is a good solution.


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