Wushu-tastic

I’ve recently come across a new game system by the name of Wushu. Its very different from any system I’ve seen before. The main aim of the system is to accurately model the sort of action we see in blockbuster movies. Unlike other “cinematic” systems it doesn’t do this by adding specialised rules designed to allow for over the top combat moves and death defying feats of heroism. And unlike many roleplay systems it doesn’t impose penalties when you try to lay the smackdown in a cool and original way (d20 I’m looking at you here).

Instead it uses what it calls the Principal of Narrative Truth (or PoNT). Basically the player describes EXACTLY what his character does. Right down to the SFX used, things he says, body language. Everything. For each detail you include in your description you get to roll 1d6. Each die that rolls below or equal to the trait being used is a success. Now here’s the thing with PoNT. Regardless of what you roll, what you said happens, happens. The roll is to determine how EFFECTIVE you were. In other words you don’t roll to hit (its assumed you automatically hit) all you roll for is damage.

Cool huh?

Now, there are complications of course. First there’s the Veto Rule. Anyone at the table (player or GM) can veto any detail in your description if it doesn’t fit in with the style of game being run. Next we have the Coup de Grace Rule. You cannot describe yourself killing the enemy in one blow. No instakills in other words. Instead, the victor in any conflict (whether it be social, combat or skill based) wins the right to narrate how the scene is resolved.

Also, characters do not have hit points or wound levels. They have instead have Chi. This is a measure of that characters “plot immunity” and as long as you have Chi you can continue to participate in the scene. When you run out of Chi, your opponent gets to narrate how the scene ends.

One of the most counter-intuitive parts of Wushu is that you can describe your character failing but still win the scene. For example:

At the end of SW: RotJ, Luke finally meets the Emperor. Assuming that Luke is the PC, in the final confrontation Luke’s player describes his character getting fried by the Force Lightning. When he’s rolling however, the success are still used to reduced the Emps Chi. When Palpatine hits Zero Chi at the end, Luke’s player could have described an improbable Pro-Wrestling style second wind. Instead the player narrates how in a last act of compassion and redemption, Vader kills Palpatine.

I’ve probably done a very bad job of explaining it but I recommend visiting the links below to find out more on this excellent system. Download Wushu Open from Bayn.org or the slightly more detail Wushu Open Reloaded from the wiki.

Bayn.org – Creators website
Wushu Wiki – Wushu resource
RPGnow Store – Online retailer where Wushu PDFs can be bought
Wushu FAQ – An index of posts on RPG.net about Wushu answering many questions and expanding the system.

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About blaster219

Suspect is a Caucasian male, approximately 5'7" in height with blue eyes and brown hair. Last known place of residence in Manchester, UK WARNING: Suspect is in possession of number of swords, knives, firearms and other weaponry as well as body armour. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, in RPG General, Wushu. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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