Monday, August 11, 2008

Multiple Styles in Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game

One thing I've always wanted in Street Fighter is a way to model characters who study multiple styles. This is an idea for how to do that without making major changes to the system. If someone has already done this, I'd be happy to hear about it. And if there are obvious reasons this wouldn't work (or simply issues that would need to be sorted out), I'd love to hear those too -- I'm dashing this post off pretty fast, but I'll try to get back with replies if there are any comments.

The basic idea is to simply to a) add Style ratings to the character sheet, so characters could be level 4 Karate, level 3 Kung Fu (for example), and then b) treat the power point costs listed for the maneuvers as prerequisites. The special maneuver "Dragon Punch" has a power point cost of 4 for Shotokan Karate and 5 for Kung Fu and Thai Kickboxing. This would translate to a simple requirement that a character must have achieved the 4th level of mastery in the Shotokan Karate style to get access to dragon punch, whereas a kung fu stylist would need to be 5th level in their style before getting access to the same maneuver.

Using this system, characters would need a starting pool of points to place in different styles, with a standard maximum rating of 3 (before freebie points). How many? I'm tempted to simply say 3.

The "any" category would simply default to your highest level in any style: if you have a 3 Karate, you'd also have access to any maneuver from the "any" list with a cost of up to 3 power points. This is a fairly simple system for allowing characters to be masters of multiple styles, and it works best if you're taking a "style proliferation" approach to the martial arts in the game. With this system, you could create Ryu as something like Karate 5, Tae Kwon Do 3, Judo 3, and so on.

The system isn't perfect: I haven't checked it for breakpoints (why go to level 5 in style X, if there's no maneuver with a cost of 5 in the style?). If you're using standard experience point costs and rules, it also makes the power point costs doubly important -- they limit access to maneuvers which also will cost more when access is gained. If you're not using the regular SF:tSG xp system, this problem can be avoided.

The system doesn't only restrict, however: it also opens up options for characterization and for character building (in terms of combat). Previously, there was no way to build a character with certain combinations of special maneuvers: you had access to the maneuvers in your style, those in the any list, and that's it. For story based reasons, it was sometimes desirable for a character to be able to learn a particular maneuver, but the only way to get this access was simply to make an exception to the rules on a case by case basis.

That's the basic idea, essentially back-formed from ideas for multiclassing in the d20 street fighter hack I'll also be talking about sometime. As always, I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fist of the Assassin -- Aggression (version 1)

Fist of the Assassin is a martial arts rpg idea I've been kicking around for too long. It's been one of those "always in development, but never really in development" things, a game I always come back to and mess around with.

The blurb goes like this:

Fist of the Assassin
A game about Life, Death, and Kung Fu
It has always existed, just beyond the reach of civilization. It can be felt at the crossroads, on a storm-tossed ship at sea, in a windswept desert, and at the heart of an uprising.

It is home to heroes, masters, and boxers, to cultists, revolutionaries, and assassins, to villains, demons, and ghosts.

It is the martial world.

And it is your home.

A few months ago, I put together a rough draft document (thanks to some kind comments about the game made by Jonathan Walton), and I got some useful feedback in this thread started by Lukas Myhan at Story Games. At the time I got swept up in Game Chef and failed to respond properly to the thread, but I'm still thinking about revisions to account for the problems in the game as it stands right now.

The draft folks were working with is here.

The main current problem is pretty simple: the only smart thing to do is to turtle. There are too many defensive options and not enough offensive options. I've considered solutions that are based on reducing the number of options in play and handing them out by martial art style: so at base, the game might use only the numbers on the cards -- only simple, single card attacks and dodges. Suits are ignored. Then your style might give you a few strong attacks by allowing certain suits to be active for you. These strong attacks couldn't be dodged normally: they could only be stopped by playing blocks (cards of matching suits). Different styles would have access to different sets of strong suits and block suits. Combinations and reversals would be similarly restricted: you'd only get access to combinations and reversals for certain suits, ones granted by your style.

The advantage of this is to make styles matter in a fairly straightforward way. One disadvantage is that it ramps up the complexity of the core system, increasing how much you need to track to play the game. I'm not sure yet if it's a working solution.

Combinations need a buff up too, regardless of what is done with the styles. Right now, my idea for combinations is to make them more effective by stating that they cannot be dodged or blocked. Only a "reversal" (card of both higher rank and matching suit") could stop them, and it would only cancel them out -- not act as a counter-attack as it would against a single card. I think this helps offset the weakness of attacks, but only partially. I'm still working on the implications.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sirlin's "Yomi" street fighter card game

David Sirlin, top level street fighter tournament competitor and designer of the upcoming Super Street Fighter 2: HD Remix, has recently updated his "yomi" fighting card game. The game itself isn't new, but it's new to me, and definitely worth a link. It looks like a clever take on a street fighter themed card fighting game, and it's something I'll be interested in trying out when I get a chance.

The main page for the game is here. It's password protected, but the password isn't a secret: it's daigo, as mentioned by Sirlin on his own yomi message boards as well as at

The rules, faq, character card decks, and design discussion are all available at the main site.

Here's a related article by Sirlin talking about how he uses the term "yomi" in relation to fighting games: Yomi Layer 3: Knowing the Mind of the Opponent.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Roleplaying. It's kinda like that.

The Grand Unifying Theory of Roleplaying.
Calvin & Hobbes, January 01, 1995, Bill Watterson

SF Tribby Sagat Closeup
by ~joe-vriens on deviantART

Street fighter tokens 1

street fighter tokens: set 1 (pdf)

This set of tokens is for use with any street fighter rpg that uses a hex or grid map at 1" scale. They can be printed out and affixed to any 1" base with a little bit of heft to it, from quarters to wooden craft discs.

All the core characters from the original Street Fighter game, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Zero, and Street Fighter III are represented. A few additional characters are included in the bottom row from Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter EX.

Eventually, I plan to create a separate set for each Street Fighter game. Right now, this set is a pretty good start, making most of the major characters available right away.