Friday, December 19, 2008

Who's Who of Street Fighter -- 1968

We're talking about setting up a historical Street Fighter campaign, set roughly around 1968-1972. This is the era of Johnny Quest (and by extension of the first generation of Team Venture). It also is a good fit for setting a space age tone, and it matches up to the beginnings of the kung fu movie explosion of the seventies.

One interesting question is what the "who's who of the Street Fighter canon" would be at this time. I've gone to my strategy guides and the Street Fighter canon plot guide, and using 1968 as a point of reference for the campaign, here's what I've come up with.

First, we only have birth dates for the core 15 characters (minus Lord Vega) from the SFII era of games and for wrestlers from Muscle Bomber. In 1968, most of the main Street Fighter characters are young children or haven't been born yet (Ryu, born in 1964, is 4 years old). But there are a few who are nearing fighting age, especially considering how early fighters seem to get into the game in Street Fighter.

The year is 1968. Zangief is 12 years old. The man who will eventually come to dominate the fighting circuit, Sagat, is 13 years old. Dhalsim is 16. Mike Haggar is 27. Oro is already a hermit in Brazil and is currently 108 (born 1860).

These ages are definite. What else do we know? Well, the Japanese strategy guides estimate Gouki's age in SSFII Turbo as around 48, which would put him at around 21-23 in 1968. Gouken would be roughly the same age.

We can extrapolate other ages from there.

Here are some canonical characters who would probably be of or near fighting age in 1968.
  • Gen (based on his age in SF Zero, he'd be 50-60 years old in 1968)
  • Go Hibiki (Dan is roughly the same age as Ryu, which would suggest that Go Hibiki should be old enough to have a young son. Go could easily be about the same age as Gouki and Gouken -- in his early 20s.)
  • Zeku, Bushin-ryu Master (roughly the same age as Gouki and Gouken?)
  • Retsu (same as Gouki and Gouken?)
  • Li (a little younger --maybe 16, Dhalsim's age)
  • Kanzuki Juro (Karin's father, he'd work well at around 18-20 -- Karin is born 1973)
  • Rolento (he's late 30s to early 40s in SF Zero, which would put him around 20 in 1968)
  • Chun Li's father (Chun Li is born in 1968, so her father could be in his early 20s)
  • Remy's father (13-18)
  • Belgar (end boss in Final Fight -- maybe around 21-23)
Dudley's father would be a character of the right age, but he wouldn't be a fighter (he would be a wealthy businessman or aristocrat, from what I understand.)

In addition, there's Lord Vega, who I mentioned before. His age is unknown. If he's around the same age as Chun Li's father, he'd be in his early 20s -- the same generation as Gouki and Gouken.

And then there are a few teachers from Rival Schools who might be young fighters in this era.

I'm not sure if Goutetsu would be dead yet, or not. Ryu doesn't come to train with Gouken until he's around 8 to 10 years old (again, roughly), which wouldbe around 1972-74. I think Goutetsu is dead before Ryu comes to train with Gouken. So either Goutetsu would be dead when the campaign started... or the clock would be ticking.

Some of this info is based on the Japanese strategy guides and Gamest Mooks I have laying around here. Some is based on The Street Fighter Canon Plot Guide (v4.6). Much of it is basically guesswork and creative interpretation.

Character Creation

Character creation follows the standard point values, with a few additions and clarifications. This is a summary -- refer to Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game for the default rules.

Assign Starting Points
  • Attributes: 7/5/3
  • Abilities: 9/7/4
  • Backgrounds: 5
  • Techniques: 8
  • Styles: 5
  • Special Maneuvers: 7
  • Willpower and Chi: Determined by primary Style (highest level style, or select a primary if more than one style is tied)
  • Freebie Points: 18
During this first stage of character creation, Abilities and Techniques cannot exceed a rating of 3 and Attributes cannot exceed a rating of 5.

Freebie Points
Characters begin with a few more freebie points than in the default rules. However, these points are also spent at a slightly different rate. One problem raised by the default core rules is that freebie point costs and XP costs are different. This creates breakpoints during character creation that can be mostly removed by unifying the costs.

The new XP costs will be described in a later post. At this point, it is sufficient to note that the freebie point costs listed below match up to the XP costs.

As in the core rules, you can exceed a rating of 3 in Abilities and Techniques using freebie points.

When spending freebie points, use the following point costs in place of the costs in the core book (p. 39).
  • Attributes: 6 per dot (12 per dot past 5?)
  • Abilities: 1 per dot, 2 per dot past 5
  • Backgrounds: 1 per dot
  • Techniques: 1 per level of the desired rating, paid for at each increase (e.g., one point for a new technique at 1, two points to raise a 1 to a 2, three points to raise a 2 to a 3, etc.)
  • Styles: 2 per dot
  • Power Points: 1 per dot
  • Chi: 3 per dot
  • Willpower: 3 per dot
  • Health: 4 per dot
There are two important notes worth considering at this point. First, Backgrounds can only be bought during character creation. Second, a long-term decision about attribute totals needs to be made during character creation. Points added to attributes during character creation determine the maximum pool of attribute points the character can have in a particular category. The default is 15 (the equivalent of a 5/5/5 attribute outlay). Only if freebie points are spend to increase attributes during character creation can this maximum total be increased: a character who spends 6 freebie points to add 1 physical attribute during character creation can potentially reach a total of 16 attribute points, and so on.

This is a draft based on a discussion we had last night. I've made a couple changes after thinking about things a bit: first, we originally considered the "frontloading" of attributes to be sufficiently restrictive that raising them past 5 wouldn't need to cost more. After thinking about it a bit more, I'm not convinced that it's enough, so I've suggested an extra cost to go past 5. (I'm not sure what this cost should be, but I think it's preferable to keep attributes from jumping past 5 immediately, and increasing the cost should help here by making the jump more of a commitment.)

Street Fighter House Rules: Overview

This is part one of a series of posts where I'll review the current state of our house rules. We're preparing for a new Street Fighter campaign, and these are the rules changes we'll be making. In this post, I'll give a little bit of context. Then I'll move on to specific cases.

  • Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game
  • Secrets of the Shadoloo
Only these two books will be core. We'll be using the base combat rules and special maneuvers from this book, as well as the base character creation rules. We'll be changing how XP is awarded and spent and making changes to the martial arts styles and maneuver lists, but unless otherwise noted, these books form the core rules set. None of the other published supplements will be used.

Briefly, here are some of the changes we'll be making.
  • Glory and Honor: We won't be using these. They don't work in long term play. The numbers simply don't add up when characters enter regular tournaments, especially when the characters face each other in tournament matches. They break down in the case of NPC villains, as well, who can't succeed in tournament play because they have no way of regaining Chi and Willpower. The only positive outcome we've noticed in play is that honor does make the decision of whether or not to hit a dizzied opponent a real decision. This doesn't match up with how the video game works, but it is generally good in the RPG because of the length of the health track.
  • Recovering Willpower and Chi: Without Glory and Honor, we'll need another way to regain spent Willpower and Chi. We'll be using a simple method. If you win a fight, you can immediately roll your permanent score in Willpower and in Chi. You regain a number of points equal to your successes. We can then simply add other conditions that allow for a roll to regain points: not striking a dizzied opponent would be one, for example, that would allow you to make this roll in the middle of a fight. Spending a round showing off / posing might be another. In a later post, I'll draft a list of conditions that allow for Will/Chi recovery rolls.
  • Multiple Styles: We'll be using the "multiple styles" rules I mentioned in my last post.
  • Styles and Maneuver Lists: We'll be replacing the style lists from the core book. Some styles will go (Kabaddi and Native American Wrestling, I'm looking at you) and be replaced by other styles (Yoga, for example, replaces Kabaddi). In addition, we'll be taking a "style proliferation" approach. Having a large number of styles with relatively small maneuver lists works well with the multiple styles rules and allows for a lot of great character customization.
  • Freebie Point and XP Streamlining: The XP system needs an overhaul. We've used it for years, and if there's one thing that needs simplification and improvements, it's that. I'll outline our current changes soon.
That isn't all we'll be house ruling, but it covers the core issues. We'll also be working with the combo rules clarifications and updated maneuver tables (and other rules notes) from our "Street Fighter Revision" project from 2003 (at the time of this writing, these files are still available here).