Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Paradigmatic Framework: Mystic Warrior

The Mystic Warrior puppets of Thunderbolt Fantasy
The Lupin the Third Part 5 recap is going to be late because I do not want the blog to turn into “all Lupin III, all the time.”

Anyway…

I’m playing in a Freedom Squadron game at Chupacabracon this year, so I’ve been digging deeper into Sean Patrick Fannon’s new setting rules. Despite the fact that I worked on some upcoming Savage Rifts® books and wrote a few Iconic Frameworks for them, I’m still surprised by the Vocational Frameworks found in Freedom Squadron. They’re significantly more powerful than the M.A.R.S. packages without getting quite as overpowered as Iconic Frameworks, striking a balance I would call “cinematic.” With one of these, you’re pretty much jumping right in to the competency level of a John McClane as he appeared in Die Hard, if not quite the level of a James Bond.

I like them. If you’re a fan of the long climb from zero to hero, then I certainly wouldn’t recommend adopting anything similar in your campaign. I prefer heroes with some meat on their bones, so these Vocational Frameworks greatly simplify my usual process of having players level up a few Ranks.

With that said, I’ve been longing once again to play a wuxia game and maybe even dust off “Zhàndòu: City of Warriors,” the martial arts setting I created for Savage Insider (and still one of my favorite things I’ve written; follow the affiliate links to buy a copy). Therefore, I think I’ll create a new Framework to support that.

Mystic Warrior

This Framework emulates heroes whose mastery of the arts of war bleeds into the supernatural—characters like the Irish champion Cu Chulainn, Kenshin Himura, and the youxia of wuxia and xianxia books and movies. It is not meant to emulate modern martial arts-style heroes (such as those portrayed by Bruce Lee and Michael Jai White) nor chanbara characters like Zatoichi or the hero of Yojimbo. For those, I would recommend the Athlete and Sword Saint frameworks found in Freedom Squadron.

Hero’s Journey

If you have access to the Freedom Squadron Commando’s Manual, you may make one roll on the Close Quarters Combat, Command, or Physical Training tables. Otherwise, choose one additional Combat or Command Edge.

Abilities and Bonuses

Blending magical training and martial expertise into otherworldly combat skills, Mystic Warriors regularly perform extraordinary feats.

  • Martial Training: All Mystic Warriors begin with a d6 in Agility, d8 in Fighting, and the Acrobat and Martial Artist Edges. If you have the Freedom Squadron Commando’s Manual, then they also gain the Fighting Style Edge; if not, then they gain the Trademark Weapon Edge.
  • Mystic Attunement: All Mystic Warriors begin with a d6 in Spirit, d8 in Faith, and the Adept Edge. The “faith” embraced by Mystic Warriors varies greatly from individual to individual. Some follow stringent codes of conduct, others do reverence to local gods and follow difficult taboos. In a wuxia setting, heroes will either be aligned to Daoist principles (such as the Wudang sect) or Buddhist principles (such as the monastery of Shaolin).
  • One With the Blade: Mystic Warriors are differentiated from unarmed martial artists by their use of weaponry. Early in their training, every Mystic Warrior masters a particular weapon; commonly chosen weapons are the dao (short sword), jian (long sword), gun (staff), and qiang (spear)—though many Mystic Warriors master more exotic weapons. When using this style of weapon, the Mystic Warrior gains the benefits of Adept and any Edges that require Martial Artist as a prerequisite; for example, a Mystic Warrior with Improved Martial Artist who became one with the staff does Str+d6 damage, while any Mystic Warrior might spend Power Points to improve the AP of their weapon attack as per the Adept Edge. 

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