View Full Version : General Rules and Sample of Play

09-01-2008, 10:50 PM
Die Pool Limit: Unless otherwise noted, the Die Pool Limit for most scenes will be 4. This means that though you may add as many descriptions as you like to your character's actions, you may not gain more than 4 dice each turn. During especially dramatic or epic scenes, the Die Pool Limit may be raised and the players will be notified of such a change when it occurs.

Veto Rights: We are all adults and are here to have fun, so I don't anticipate the need for "veto" occuring often. If, as the GM, I come across descriptions that I feel are in need of veto, I will mark the text in question in red font. I will only invoke veto rights in the interesting of keeping things within the theme, style and conventions of the campaign and to maintain fairness between players. As a player, please feel free to contact me (via private message) if you feel that another players descriptions are not in keeping with the fun and fairness of the game. As I've said, I expect a "veto" to be an exceptionally rare occurance.

Examples of Play:

Non-Conflict Scene: During scenes in which there is no immediate conflict, player turns will be handled by simple prose descriptions. Players are free to describe what their character's immediate interests, actions and directions are and, in a general sense, how they are interacting with the scene.

For this example, let's say that the PC, Hatori, has witnessed the aftermath of a murder and has gone to the Jade Dragon, a local tea house to try to find citizens from whom he might glean important clues. The GM describes that while many of the customers seem relaxed and joyful, one older man, with a long black mustache is sitting alone in a corner, nervously eyeing the door:

As Hatori enters the Jade Dragon, he makes his way to a corner table and orders a cup of his favorite Jasmine tea. He spends a few moments surveying the tea house, examining the behaviors of the patrons carefully and giving discerning glances at the mustached old man. After enjoying a few swallows of hot, fragrant Jasmine, Hatori rises slowly from his seat and approaches the table with the old man.

"May I join you here?", he asks and promptly sits across the table from him. "Forgive me for my interruption but you seem to be a little on edge tonight. Tell me, what's got you so afraid? Perhaps I can help."

Conflict Scene: When conflict breaks out, the pacing will generally change to calling for the description/die pool structure to become active. During each players turn, the player will describe their actions with dramatic license as per the Principle of Narrative Truth. Each element of description should be seperated by a "/" to make it clear and easy for others to see the "breaks" between each element of your actions on a turn. Yin and Yang dice designation should be announced following the description and then the dice roll result.

Here is a sample combat turn of Hatori fighting a group of bandits in the forest outside of town who he discovered to be responsible for the earlier murder. We'll say Hatori has the Earthbender 4 trait:

Hatori levels his staff in an attack stance at the bandit leader, knees bent low and bare feet spread./As two bandit charge at him from flanking positions,/Hatori stomps the ground savagely with his left foot/sending a trembling wave of earth at each, knocking them over/and then makes a powerful thrust with his staff at the leader,/pelting him with melon-sized chunks of rock.
(Yin:2 Yang:2)

* Earthbending *
Dice Result History - [Hide]http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/clear.gif Monday 09-01-2008 10:54 PM
Test: 4d6 (4,4,1,3 = 12)

It's important to remember that the dice results are counted seperately and not added together. As such, Yin dice will be counted first, followed by Yang dice from left to right. Thus, in the above example, the first and second result (4 and 4) are counted for Yin and the last two (1 and 3) for Yang.

The key to making the best use of description and Narrative Truth is to annouce and detail the action and its immediate consequences or intentions, but to leave the end results a little vague or unfinished to allow for other players or the GM to follow up with appropriate description. As in the example above, it was made pretty clear what Hatori did and how he was directing his action. As in the case of the two charging bandits, it was even stated that Hatori's attack knocked them down. It may be reasonable to assume that his foes where pummeled into submission, rendered unconcious or otherwise, but by purposefully avoiding explicitly stating that end leaves some possibilities open for players and the GM to build on if desired. Likewise, it was stated that the bandit leader was pelted with rocks from Hatori's attack, but it did not state exactly what happened to the foe because of it. Depending on how effective the attack was in rules terms, it may have delivered the final blow or it may just be setting up for the next description. This balance may be a little tricky at first but experience will hopefully prove to be the best guide.

If there are any questions or need for clarification, please let me know.

09-02-2008, 10:03 AM
Thanks, those examples are inspiring and dead on about the practical aspect of the game and the fuzziness that I was anticipating.

There's still something that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. I get the "no initiative concept" and agree that when fighting mooks it's not an issue. But when it comes to significant NPCs, Nemeses, I wonder if things aren't slightly more complicated. What I'm trying to figure out is whether talking first, i.e. initiating the action is bringing any advantage or disadvantage. For instance when one describes a character reaction it might "undo/counteract" every or most of the description of whoever started.

I guess practice will dissipate my apprehension...

09-02-2008, 11:01 AM
As always, practice is the best teacher, but to hopefully help address some of your question:

Major nemesis conflicts are handled slightly differently than other conflicts. As most of such epic confrontations have a very rapid "back-and-forth" pacing, the player(s) and nemesis will take turns exchanging 2 or 3 descriptions at a time. The dice are not rolled right away but instead when the Die Pool Limit for each side has been reached. As initiative is unimportant, whoever makes their descriptions first is generally irrelevant, since his opponent will get the opportunity to react with their own.

Here's an example scenario. We'll use Hatori again, facing over a cascading waterfall against White Cobra, a deadly (non-bender) bounty hunter. We'll say that the Die Pool Limit for this scene has been set to 6.

Player: Hatori thrusts his hands into the earth at his feet/and as he withdraws them again, they are encased to the elbow with stony gauntlets./He assails Cobra with a flurry of straight and heavy punches to the chest.

GM: Deftly rolling with the momentum of Hatori's strikes,/the Cobra frees his twin hooked swords and stone clashes with steel in a rain of sparks./Then, with frightening speed, he sweeps low at Hatori's feet, sending him tumbling danerously close to the bank of the falls.

Player: Hatori springs to his feet and in one swift motion/strikes the ground with a fist sending a column of earth erupting beneath the Cobra/thowing him into the air and back down with a solid thud.

GM: Winded and bruised, the Cobra releases a handful of flash powder at Hatori to disorient him/and slams him in the gut with a shoulder charge as both tumble knee-deep into the rapids./"I've defeated many Earthbenders before you. You're all so predictable!", he says/as he positions his blades into a readied stance.

(Yin/Yang dice are assigned, dice are then rolled and results are announced).

While all of this action has taken place, the end results of when and how the scene will conclude will be up to the outcome of the dice. Hope that helps give you some idea. As always, please ask questions of anything that's on your mind.

Ben Rostoker
09-02-2008, 09:26 PM
All good, cept could you please remind me of the significance of ying/yang.

09-02-2008, 09:50 PM
All good, cept could you please remind me of the significance of ying/yang.

Sure. During a conflict scene, the dice that you accumulate through your descriptions are divided between Yin dice and Yang dice.

Yin dice represent the "defensive" part of the roll and Yang dice are the "offensive" part.

For each success on your Yin dice, you subtract 1 Yang success from your opponent's roll. For each success on your Yang dice, you are inflicting 1 level of stress against you opponent.

You can divide your dice however you choose. If you're rolling 4 dice, you can choose to go all offensive and put all 4 dice into Yang, but that means you will have no Yin successes to block any of your opponent's Yang successes. Likewise, you can put all of your dice into Yin if you desire, but you will not be able have any Yang successes to impose on your enemy. Most times, you will want to put some dice in both to give you to opportunity to both meaningfully defend yourself and meaningfully attack.

For example, if you were to roll 2 Yang successes, and your opponent rolls 1 Yin success, then his Yin success blocks 1 of your Yang successes, and the other Yang gets through. For each "unblocked" Yang success, the opponent loses 1 Chi. When a character receives a Yang success for which he does not have a Chi to spend, the character is "taken out" or otherwise "bested" in a manner appropriate to the scene and circumstances of his defeat.

This mechanic is behind all extended "conflict", not just physical confrontation.

Hopefully I've not confused anything. Let me know. :)

09-04-2008, 01:41 PM
Just as FYI, there is a free PDF available of Wushu Open Reloaded which is a re-edited and slightly expanded look at Wushu, that offers some great insights and examples into further understanding of the system and its conventions. If you guys are interested, I recommend checking it out:


09-04-2008, 03:07 PM
I wish it wasn't in landscape orientation.

09-04-2008, 04:58 PM
I wish it wasn't in landscape orientation.

No problem. Here it is in "portrait" format:



09-04-2008, 06:25 PM
You're like the genie from the lamp of Wushu !

09-04-2008, 06:27 PM
You're like the genie from the lamp of Wushu !


By the way...you're up! :)