Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG by Doresh
IntroductionOriginal SA post
Many moons ago (aka around 2 months or so) I reared my ugly head in this thread with a review of Thrash, the spiritual homebrew successor to White Wolf's Street Fighter RPG. Quite entertaining and all, but things quickly fall apart once you take a look at the maneuver customization rules and see how easy it is to at least quintuple the amount of attacks you dish out per turn, curbstomping anyone not as optimized as you.
Fast forward to 2010, we have another pen-and-paper fighting game, brought to you by the one-man publisher Divine Madness Press aka Christopher Peter, whose previous contribution was a sourcebook to a game called "Wake". Will this be a King of Fighters '98 / Marvel vs Capcom 2 / [insert other fighting game considered to be a holy grail or something], or another Rise of the Robots? Let's find out!
Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
"You can't defeat me. I have the high ground!"
(Maybe not the most evocative RPG name, but it gets the job done.)
Welcome to the worlds of Fight! The Fighting Game RPG! In this game, players have the opportunity to
create characters of epic proportions with fighting skills rivaled by few others in history. Their adventures will cross time, space, and sub-genre, as such fighters might be found in stories of modern supernatural conspiracies, globe-spanning terrorist plots, urban crime drama, historical fantasy, nearfuture techno-thriller espionage, and even fantastic space operas.
Hadokens transcend the boundaries between genres.
Fight! aims to port the essence of fighting games over to the tabletop. Certainly sounds like it will be more gamist than those other two fighting game games (if you believe in that classification system, that is.).
Fighting games are all over the place in terms of setting (at least the 20% of them that aren't set in a modern day city), but there are certain tropes common to all of them. They can be summed up as follows:
Everyone is a biological WMD like Kenshiro
Boring protagonists love honor and stuff
There is no problem that can't be solved by punching stuff
If you spend more than one scene
punching stuff, you're doing something wrong
Punching stuff is srs bsns
We get a short overview of what the following chapters will bring. Of special interest is Chapter 5, the combat rules. Not just because this is kinda important, but because the paragraph mentions two sub-systems you can swap in and out as you please: One deals with fighting mooks (so Fight! can also do Double Dragon and Final Fight), the other is a more narrative system (aka "Fight! - The Animated Movie" mode).
Before the obligatory "What the heck is roleplaying?" section, we get a nice little info box about how the rules in this book are based on fighting games first and proper martial arts... not at all.
The box also tells us that Fight! features an (optional) meta-game aspect, where the players aren't controlling PCs in a fighting game setting, but rather the players playing the fighting game. Though not suitable for more serious campaigns, you can actually create a PC who has an awesome theme and a shitty sprite.
Well, that chapter was a bit short, so onwards to stuff about the book/pdf itself!
The rules are presented in typical two-column format, with occasional info boxes and black-and-white artwork from various artists, ranging in quality from so-so to "OMG that's a lot of detail"
As there is no core setting to speak of, the art itself is naturally random, though it mostly consists of people duking it out like in the above picture, or a single bloke just posing around, though most of them can clearly be identified as martial artists of some kind.
Most of them
Next time: Character Creation. Should I recreate the characters from my Thrash review (aka "weakest shoto/grappler ever" versus "Scottish Kenshiro-chan"), or should I make some "Original Fighting Game Characters (Do Not Steal)"?
Character GenerationOriginal SA post
Man, Beyond The Wall's looking pretty nifty. Hope it can continue that trend.
The thing that baffles me is that, as jacked as the probabilities are, they published a chart of the probabilities in the book. Like, how do you look at that chart and not go "hmm, that's a lot of 95%+ results. Maybe I should rethink these numbers?"
How do you eff up what is essentially a modified D6 System?
Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
Chapter 1: Character Generation
The chapter starts of with your typical "What kind of character do you want, anyways?" section, encouraging you to think about stuff like your PCs fighting style or his blood type (because Japan does not approve of the zodiac as a means of arbitrary personality archetypes, unless you count that weird zodiac with koalas and unicorns they have currently going on).
We also learn that PCs and important NPCs are called "Fighters", able to pull off physics-defying stunts and treat just about everyone else as cannon fodder. It's a bit like a World of Darkness game in that regard, right down to being part of an underground society (in most campaigns, at least). So that's why they made that Street Fighter Storyteller game!
Anyhow, this chapter is probably the weakest when it comes to editing. The layout makes it easy to glance over stuff like the "This happens when you level up"-section, and some statistic groups have very similar names, but aren't really all that related. Nothing major, really. Just takes another look or two. Oh well, that's why you have me around.
A Fighter is composed of the following values:
Fight! is a level-based system, though you sadly can't reach over 9,000 (or 8,000, depending on your translation). Power Levels (or PLs for short) go from 1 to 8, with the campaign's final antagonist having a PL of 9 or even 10 (because fighting game developers love broken boss characters).
It should be noted that the first 2 PLs are actually some sort of tutorial phase, as Fighters are very limited in what they can do during this period (the book thankfully gives some guidelines on how to make the most out of it). PL 3 is where Fighters are much more well-rounded, and they get access to Super Moves from that point on, so feel free to start there once you're familiar with the rules.
(Though not mentioned in the book, using fixed PLs could probably be used to mimic tier lists, if you're into that sort of thing.)
Life Bar, Fighting Spirit & Super Bar
Probably your most important values to keep track of in combat. The first on is your hit points (depending solely on your PL and nothing else), the other one is a mixture of a Fighter's willpower and concentration (as well as his fictional player's, if you're playing meta-gamey). Any combat-related roll that is not a damage roll can be beefed up with the expenditure of Fighting Spirit. Unlike Life Bar, Fighting Spirit can be easily recharged during combat and increased beyond it's base value. Having lots of Fighting Spirit is quite useful if you want to make a rushdown character, as your opponent will sooner or later have to play defensively to recover his smaller Fighting Spirit pool.
The Super Bar becomes available starting with PL 3 when you can get your first Super Move, and it fills up just like in most fighting games (aka hit or be hit). You can also charge it like a DBZ character.
Unlike the Life Bar and Fighting Spirit, the Super Bar does not depend on your PL and stays the same for everyone. How much energy the Bar can store (or if Super Moves even exist in the first place) and other details are decided by the GM in advance. The default is a simple bar that goes to 10 (the base cost for a Super Move).
These are your attributes/stats. Fight! cuts off a lot of bullshit compared to its ancestors here, reducing the choice to the only stats with combat application: Strength, Speed and Stamina. They can range from -1 and 2 and are mostly used for die shifts for one specific (but often used) die roll: Strength affects your physical damage, Stamina affects incoming damage, and each point of Speed either goes into your Initiative (how fast you act) or Control (how much you can do when you act).
In a way similar to oldschool D&D, Basic Qualities are set in stone for the reminder of your Fighter's career, and since the game only allows for 9 possibile distributions (a balanced spread of 1/1/0 or a specialized spread of 2/0/-1, each with 3 combinations; +7 distributions if you include the different ways you can split your Speed rating), they essentially determine your Fighters archetype.
Qualities (Maybe not the best name as we just had "Basic Qualities")
A catch-all term for your advantages and special abilities, Qualities can make you a cute little witch girl with an adorable pet, or a scary tough guy with a theme as cool as Guile's. You start off with 4 of these and can get more by leveling up.
Your disadvantages, like being an ugly dude with a glass jaw. Having these gives you more Qualities.
Personality quirks that migth result in roleplaying-related problems or conflicts (in fact you want this do happen as this gives you Story Points, this game's FATE/brownie/whatever points that can only be used outside of combat), but aren't as severe as to count as Weaknesses (though the whole package counts as one Weakness if you have a lot of Quirks). Every Fighter is encouraged to have at least 1-2 of those.
Skills in Fight! are separeted into Combat Skills and Non-Combat Skills. Combat Skills flesh out a Fighter's style (or repesent the skill of the Fighter's fictional player), while Non-combat skills (aka the normal skills) are purely for roleplaying scenes aside from the sub-category of "Mechanical Skills" that are put to use in the combat sub-systems. The main combat rules don't really use these, with maybe one exception.
Combat Skills include the game's 3 kinds of Armor Class (Defense, Evasion, Tactics), Ki (ranged attack damage and your ability to cancel out enemy Hadokens with your own) and Combo (how many attacks you can string together; yes, a Combo of 1 does nothing. It's a point tax for low-PL Fighters). There are no Combat Skill for hitting stuff, as not getting hit in fighting games is the truly challenging part.
Besides the three ACs (which have a strict limit) and Combo (which can go as high as you want, though you should make sure that you can actually dish out tah many attacks), all skills can go up to 10.
Interestingly, you can already reach this limit at PL4, so you can be the world's greatest, roundhouse-kicking quantum physicist without having to be [insert the most impossible fighting game boss you can think of. My money's on Demon Gaoh. Gently caress that guy.]. Having a higher PL just means you're the best in more stuff and dish out way more hurt.
If you're worried about possible min-maxing, rest assured that Combat and Non-Combat Skills are bought with different kinds of points.
Starting with PL2, you get to put points into Combat Bonuses, which act as static bonuses to things like your Accuracy or all of the three kinds of defenses. There is no Combat Bonus for Initiative, so you're never guaranteed to go first. They serve to customize your Fighter and can either emphasize your strengths or try to cover up your weaknesses (like giving your Strength -1 fighter a damage bonus).
Thankfully, Combat Bonuses have very strict level-dependent, smallish upper limits, so even the highest-PL Fighters can't just casually dodge attacks from n00bs with no effort.
Of course this wouldn't be a fighting game without some special moves. I'll cover them in more detail in their own chapter, but here's a first summary:
Unlike the Street Fighter RPG and Thrash, special moves in Fight! are fully effects-based: There's just one kind of special move to buy, but you can customize it up the whazoo to mimic just about everything seen in the video games (though you need the "Round 2" book if you want to go for Fatalities or the more crazy stuff seen in Guilty Gear or BlazBlue). The higher the level of the Special Move you buy (usually 2-5), the stronger you can make them, but they also become harder to pull off.
Super Moves are suped-up Special Moves. They require Super Energy to perform, but you can add way more stuff to them, including Super-Move exclusive goodies that essentially replicate the large hit boxes and invincibility frames they tend to have.
While you can have as many Special Moves as you can afford, you can only have a specific number of Super Moves depending on your PL.
Special and Super Moves are bought with Move Points, which everyone gets the same amount of depending on their PL. You can convert these points into Skill points (either combat or non-combat) or Fighting Spirit, but you have to buy at least one new Special Move per PL, unless you specifically "complete" your Fighter's Move List, from which point on you can't buy any more moves.
Your XP. You get them for good roleplaying, winning fights, fighting honorable, and hitting people with Special Moves (but only once per single Special Move per combat, so keep it varied). If that's too much bookkeeping, the GM can just keep it more freeform and hand out Glory or direct level ups as he sees fit.
Heroes and Supporting Characters
For a Buffy-esque campaign, the players can select one of their Fighters as the "hero" (I presume there's nothing against having more than one), with the rest being supporting characters. This modifies the starting points and growth rate of a Fighter's Combat and Non-combat skill points, turning them from balanced characters into either D&D Fighters or Rogues.
Overall, a like the tight focus on combat-only stats. We've already read about plenty of roleplaying games heralding themselves as the bestest, most flexible universal/fantasy/whathaveyou system ever made, only to then include stuff like obvious god stats or classes whose abilities are around 98% combat-related.
Fight! is pretty honest about the kind of campaigns it supports, with no bullshitting around. Combat's pretty important, so it makes sure that every Figher is competent in that area (even if that means that an underaged schoolgirl can beat up an entire biker gang, though that is accurate to the source material). There's also really not much min-maxing you can do. Specialized Fighters can be quite powerful with their one Basic Quality at 2, but that required -1 will hurt them no matter where they put it. The closest you could get to a dump stat would be Strength for Hadoken-spammers, but that path requires patience and careful planning if you don't want to end up as a one-trick pony.
Next Time: Chapters 2+3 for Qualities, Weaknesses, Quirks and Skills, as well as the first example character or two (sans special moves for the moment). There's currently lots of talk about bears. You wanna see a bear?!
Skills, Qualities, Weakness and QuirksOriginal SA post
I have some good news and bad news for you.
Good news: Bloody Roar Exists
Bad News: It's not particularly exceptional beyond the fact that it's a fighting game where you're a were-whatever
Worse News: There hasn't been a game in this series since 2003 and there probably won't be a new one since Hudson Soft was absorbed into Konami before they could get funding for it.
Fight! actually has a whole info box about emulating Bloody Roar.
Aaand this review just went from hilariously racist and stupid to depressing.
Who needs the CyberPope if you can have "This is what RL is kinda sorta already looking like" World ?
Because Noun: The Verb is an inherently fun and easy to copy format. Pick a silly name, divide your subject up into five categories, add a curse.
I mean there's gotta be a Gargoyle: The Flappening out there with categories like Goliaths and Brooklyns.
Now I would make a joke about a hypothetical "Magical: The Girling", but I think that's what Princess: The Hopeful is.
I think there's even a fan-game for Kamen Rider, but I don't even want to think about how this is supposed to work with your typical WoD rules and customs. I'm already waiting for Super: The Sentaining.
"Mad science doesn't pay the bills"? Even if it can't be reproduced you could make tons of money selling it as a service. "Your satellite in orbit for $100/kg, no questions answered." Or use your Super-Prospect-O-Mat to find a huge deposit of rare earths, buy up the mining rights, then have the site surveyed conventionally.
Or "Guaranteed orbital destruction for $1,000,000 per square mile. No questions asked!"
I never know how to approach WoD-like fan stuff (or even the official stuff, really). On one hand, mad science is totally a concept that has the potential to be fun to play. But here, it gets crammed into the same and extremely predictable WoD framework we've seen a million times before, because WoD. It's not even that it's a lazy approach, because clearly a lot of work went into this and there are quite a few genuinely good ideas in there. It's just... I don't know. It's not even that I don't like rules and crunch, because I'm crunchy as all can be, but somehow everything just becomes bland, predictable and formulaic when squeezed into the WoD format.
Half the time, I can't even tell if a WoD-style game is supposed to be a parody or not.
Just makes me want to make one that's borderline worthless and put it out into the world. Disney: The Afternoon is my new game guys. You can play as Clan Darkwing, the Rangers, Duc'Talz, join the Goof Army, or be a Sky Pirate. 5 dots in Resources gets you a silo full of coins you can swim in.
I'm all for Clan Darkwing. The classic Greek tragedy of a hero that kinda sucks at what he does.
Or how about Shounen: The Jumpening, where noble Gokoos destroy enemies by shouting really hard, and vile Eisens can reshape the past with the ancient art of Red'Konne.
And with that out of the way...
Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
Chapter 2+3: Skills, Qualities, Weakness and Quirks
The next two chapters are mostly light on rules and just feature a long list of stuff to pick from, so I'll just do them in one post. But first, an example Fighter. I'll start hm at PL 1 and will later upgrade him to PL 3 for a potential combat example.
El Oso, Luchador Bear Extraordinaire .
The past of this Fighter is shrouded in mystery. One day, je just stepped out of the forest, donned a red mask, and entered the ring to show humanity who the real alpha-predator is.
Before the crunch, I'll fill in the two "fluff boxes" on the official character sheet:
: 9ish feet
: 400+ pounds (he's quite athletic for a bear)
: Do bears even have our blood types?
: Lucha Oso
: A bear he is, a bear a bear, all black and brown and covered with hair.
- Reason For Fighting : Species Superiority Complex?
: *Bear growls*
: Arms lifted and looking at the cheering audience, then he turns around to his opponent
: Same as Opening Pose, just in reverse
- Taunts : *Bear growls*
As a grapple-heavy Fighter, we could make him a specialised tanker with Stamina of 2 and a -1 in either Speed (making him slow) or Strength (gimping his basic moves and requiring him to rely on special moves that lack in utility because they have to make up for the low base damage). But since he's a luchador who's also pretty darn tough and strong, a balanced spread of Strength 1, Speed 0 and Stamina 1 sounds like a good compromise. Later Power Levels can flesh this out further with bonuses to damage (he's a bear), Accuracy (he's pretty huge, so those hit boxes out to be large) and Control (as your typical fighting game grapple move is a bit hard to pull off, we need all the help we can get).
I think this goes to show how careful Fight! is. A more universal system could've had El Oso dump all his mental stats to beef up the physical ones. You can't actually be the best at everything here.
Now onto skills!
Chapter 2: Skills
Skills rolls are a basic 1d10 + Skill level vs a Target Number (called "Difficulty Level" here). The maximum possible level for a skill is either 10 or your PL times 3, whichever is lower. This means you can already max skills with a PL of 4, allowing you to pull off "Generally Impossible" uncontested skill rolls 50% of the time (outside for circumstance modifiers). If a Basic Quality is relevant to a specific skill use, you can at its rating as is to the roll. Raw Basic Qualitiy ratings can also be used as a skill roll, usually at lower TNs. Rules for Critical/Mixed Successes and Fumbles are there, but optional.
In contested rolls, ties are always rerolled, unless a tie would actually make sense in context.
Skill Challenges are also there, called "Action Sequences". These even allow you to break your way through a guarded building without actually having to use the combat rules. Just treat the guards as a skill roll or two.
Skills are broken up into Combat Skills (which really aren't anything like the other skills), Mechanical Skills (stuff that's useful in the two combat sub-systems) and Narrative Skills (fluff and roleplaying stuff).
The skill list is a mix of your usual suspects (Animal Handling, Awareness, Cooking, Intimidation...) and some skills geared more towards martial arts (Meditation, Sense Ki, Stance Evaluation, a knowledge skill about the "Fighting World"). There's nothing about Driving, Piloting or Riding, though there's always the Occupation skill. Skill Specialisations are their own separate skill, which you roll along the base skill and pick the better result. Languages aren't really a thing in Fight!, unless you pick an Occupation skill to reflect that your Fighter really knows lots of them.
A problem I can see is that there are some skills with similar names, but different applications. There's Agility, Acrobatics and Athletics. There's "Endure Great Harship" and "Grim Determination". You use "Call Forth Wisdom" to play mentor, and use "Receive Wisdom" to make sense out of what your mentor just told you. The descriptions are thankfully clear on what the skill does.
And now onto the more interesting ones:
Climactic Super Mov
: You know that thing where half-dead anime heroes suddenly pull a surprise Spirit Bomb out of their buttocks to save the day? This is the skill for that.
: The "F*ck Sh*t up" skill. Synergizes well with Strength.
: Your Beat 'em Up skill. Gives you extra actions against Thugs (your mooks, minions, cannon fodder, what have you).
: Requires a Quality to get and gives you a super power like flight, teleportation or invisibility. You can get yourself fitting Special Moves without the skill, but you won't be able to use them outside of combat.
- Gadgeteering, Magic and Psychic : Freeform skills that allow you to do pretty much everything as long as you can justify it with its respective flavor. As they have a much wider utility than the above Power Skill, these not only require a Quality to get, but also have a bunch of secondary skills that require a minimum level of half its level.
Chapter 3: Qualities, Weaknesses and Quirks
This is also where we get rules about Story Points. They can be handed out by thinks like good roleplaying or purposefully playing up to a Weakness or Quirk. You spend Story Points to manipulate the plot, activate some Qualities, reroll skill rolls or have the GM throw you a bone if you're stuck.
Your typical Quality, Weakness or Quirk gives you a bonus or penalty to a specific skill roll under specific circumstances, and there's also typical advantages/disadvantages like Amnesia or Connections. There's also like half a dozen different Qualities etc. related to your Fighter's looks, some only available to one gender (males can't be Cute, but at least they can be Bishounen), including Fan Service aka Pantyshots. The book notes how some of these Qualities are relative, so in a world where every female has huge gazongas, someone with the Buxom Quality has water melons.
There are also Qualities with a direct combat effect. Fortunately, these are actually balanced with drawbacks. Sure, you can be a short dude that's really hard to hit, but you'll have a hard time hitting stuff at longer range with melee attacks. Combat-related Weaknesses sadly don't make up for their disadvantage outside of maybe allowing you to get more Story Points (which don't actually do anything in combat aside from one combat sub-system).
A Quality of note is "Technique", which gives a Fighter access to stuff that nobody else can do, like Chun-Li's wall jump (which sadly is only in the Round 2 book, along with most other things you can use Technique with).
And yes, "Theme Music" and "Badly Drawn" are a thing (and the "Annoying Voice" Weakness can also represent a very bad voice actor), if your Fight! campaign leans more towards the sillier side.
And now back to El Oso .
After the Basic Qualities, it's time for some Qualities etc. I think it's a good idea to leave some Quality "slots" unspent, which we can then use to boost Combat Skills or Fighting Spirit.
For a bear, Big and Tall sound about alright. This reduces incoming damage further, makes it slightly harder to knock him back, allows him to just push people away through sheer mass, gives his basic moves longer reach and adds a small Intimidation bonus on top. On the flipside, he's bad at jumping as well as easier to hit and to evade. The jumping part can be cancelled out with the Mobile Quality (he's a luchador, after all), but the other drawbacks require some adjustments to El Oso's strategy. He's probably going to spend a lot of Fighting Spirit to keep his defenses high, and he better have some Special Moves to discourage the use of Evasion.
For the last free Quality slot, I take Theme Music . El Oso's fictional player is so inspired by his bitchin' theme song that he automatically regenerates Fighting Spirit at a slow rate!
El Oso naturally has Fearsome Appearance , making him stick out of crowds and suck at negotiation (unless they involve intimidating people). Unintelligent sounds good since bears don't usually go to school. I'm not going for Unattractive as El Oso's quite handsome apart from being a bear.
With those Weaknesses picked, I have 2 free slots/points that I put into more Fighting Spirit.
For personal quirks, I go for Arrogant , Attitude and Short-Tempered because he's a wrestler and a bear.
With 15 points to spend on normal skills, I'll do it quick and just max out 5 skills with a level of 3 each (the maximum you can have at PL 1).
I pick Acrobatics , Endure Great Hardship , Intimidation , Thugh Thrashing and Property Damage . He's a big, scary bear that make cartwheels while wrecking your car.
With just 5 points to put here, I go the boring route of putting 2 points in Combo (enabling 2-hit combos) and 3 points in Defense (the most reliable way to defend).
Next Time : Special Moves. Let's make some Bear Hugs and Flying Clotheslines!
Basic Moves, Special Moves and Super MovesOriginal SA post Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
Chapter 4: Basic Moves, Special Moves and Super Moves
Moves might just be the most important part of character creation and advancement. You might already have some basic capabilities written down, but moves define what your Fighter can actually do .
As mentioned in the first chapter, Moves in Fight! are effects-based and only really come in 3 different varieties (Basic, Special and Super). There are some pre-built Moves in the appendix as guidelines.
Fight! does a rather clever thing when it comes to Move balance by having the cost to purchase a Move affect its cost to use in combat: Moves are rated in levels which not only determine their purchase cost in Move Points, but also their overall power and how much Control you need to pull them off. This avoids situations like in Thrash where there's really nothing stopping you from pooling all your points into 1-2 uber maneuvers.
As the Moves are effects-based, there are no special rules for weapons and similar equipment (with maybe one exception later on). If your Fighter is say a spearman, you just build a couple Moves with increased reach and damage, and maybe a pole-vaulting move.
Basic Moves are your Light Punches and Heavy Kicks from the video games. Simple and, well, basic attacks that everyone knows how to pull off (of course modified by their fighting style). The only thing you really need to worry about with Basic Moves is their visual description, as they all function the same under Fight! rules, being Level 1 Moves (requiring 1 Control to use) and having a base damage of d4.
Mechanically, there is really only one Basic Move (which you obviously already start with), though the GM can spice things by allowing Sweeps (a low-hitting Basic Move that is harder to pull off, but knocks down; a less optimal version of what you could buy as a Special Move), Basic Taunts (a Basic Move that does nothing apart from giving you a bit of Glory), and one or more Basic Throws (which are actually proper Special Moves you get for free).
Your Hadokens and Shoryukens. These are gonna take up the majority of your character sheet. They have a minimum level of 2 and are rarely above 5, with a base damage of d6. Level 9 is not unheard of, but that's already rather hard to perform. Anything above that is just silly.
Level 2 Special Moves are called "Command Moves". They cost as much as a Level 3 Special Move to buy, since their low Control cost makes them very spammable.
All Special Moves get slots based on their level, which you can slap Elements on to customize the Move. If you run out of Elements, you either have to increase the level or add Liabities to the Move. There are two exceptions to this rule, which we'll get soon enough. Several Elements and Liabilities can be bought in ranks to increase their effect, or modified with sub-elements.
Special Move levels become really interesting when you want to convert stuff from a fighting game. Even in the predecessor games, it was rather hard to eyeball the relative power between say a Shoryuken and a Ground Flame short of looking at their frame data on a wiki, especially if you want to keep things balanced. Does this "level" thing ease the pain? Of course! See, there's a neat little advice given to the nature of levels, which may or may not blow your mind:
A Moves' level equals the amount of buttons you would have to press in a fighting game (except for quarter-circle motions which count as 2 button presses due to their fluidity). Writing down your Move's controller input is encouraged if you're into that sort of flavor.
The same info box goes into a bit more detail, like how most 360° motions are actually fine with 270°, or how "button-mash" Moves like E.Honda's flurry punches can be eyeballed with either Level 2 or 3 depending on how sluggish they are to activate. Charge moves are a slightly different thing and handled with an Element.
The two most basic Elements and Liabilities are "Increased/Decreased Accuracy" and "Damage", modifying a Move's accuracy bonus from its base of +0 and its damage, respectively. Of particulary note is that it costs 3 times as many slots to increase accuracy than it is to decrease it (a positive accuracy bonus is that important), and that there is a slight "slot tax" to increasing damage in that even ranks in this element don't increase damage all that much (outside of a lucky damage roll), making it a bit more attractive to pick another Element instead.
A lesser, but much more cheaper way to boost your accuracy comes in the form of "Subtle", "Hard to Evade" as well as "Hits Low" and "Unblockable". These give you an accuracy bonus if the opponent is defending with a specific skill (Tactics for Subtle, Evasion for Hard to Evade, Defense for Hits Low and Unblockable). Naturally, these lose their effectiveness once the oppponent remembers that your Special Move has one of those, but they can still prove useful in forcing him to pick a certain Defense skill, or punishing him for over-specializing.
As there are a lot of Elements and Liabilities, I'll just go over the most interesting ones.
First up are normal Liabilities:
: This Special Move cannot under any circumstances bring an opponent below 1 Life Bar. This is probably the tamest Liability, unless you go overboard with it.
: If you want to convert a Special Move with a certain quirk you can't find anywhere else, this is the Liability for that.
: Modifies another Element in the same move to only go off 50% of the time. Can really gimp a ranged attack if you add it on the Ranged Element, though that's always good for a laugh.
- Slow Recovery : Lots of recovery frames put you at a disadvantage if you miss.
Major Liabilities are especially nasty, and therefore count as 2 Liabilities:
: Turns a Special Move into a pure utility move. Certain Elements that make no sense as part of an attack already have this.
: You either suffer damage or get stunned from your own Move.
- Super Energy : The energy cost of a Super Move without the oomph.
Now onto the normal Elements.
Always Does Damage
: Rare in the actual video games, this forces an opponent to lose some FS or Life Bar on a miss. Pretty nasty for opponents running low on either.
: These two are pretty similar, so I bundle them here. Quite expensive, but the only way to hit multiple fellow Fighters at the same time. Can be very taxing on your Fighting Spirit.
: The Guile Element. Has the disadvantage of increasing the Move's Control cost if you're just using it as is, but it makes you a very effective turtler. For flavor reasons, Charge Fighters are encouraged to add this Element to most if not all of their Special Moves.
: The opposite of Slow Recovery. You hit, you get an advantage on the next turn, making it easy to set up longer combos or keep on the pressure.
: Launch someone in the air for improved combos. Can be further modified with other Elements to make it more effective, but a lot of those require a successful Tactics check due to their tricky timing.
Ki and Strength
: An Element for Ki-heavy Fighters, changing the base damage to that of a ranged move. Can be used to emulate stuff like Ken's fiery Shoryuken.
: A classic trick to deny the opponent his turn. More on that later.
: For all those Special Moves that cover a lot of ground. There's a more powerful version in the form of "Teleportation".
: Boosts damage by either spending more Control or reducing your own Life Bar.
: For all your fireballs and guns. You obviously attack at range, with the base damage depending on your Ki skill. This as well as Ki and Strength are the only way a Special Move will improve after purchase (excluding outside modifiers like Combat Bonuses), though it takes a while for those Moves to eclipse normal ones. Even then, you've spend quite a lot of points that you could've used for a more well-rounded defense, higher combos or more Fighting Spirit. There are a lot of sub-Elements with which you can simulate Sakura's fireball or Scorpions classic "Get over here!"
: This simulates stuff like "Super Armor" or invincibility frames, which are useful for dealing with counter-happy opponents. Pretty costly, though.
- Throw : A classic Element for all your short-ranged, hard to avoid attacks. Aside from its sub-elements, it's mainly just a package of existing Elements and Liabilities bought much cheaper due to it being incompatible with a couple of other Elements.
Lastly, we get to "exotic" Elements that are a bit weirder/crazier. A lot of these can be traced back to a famous fighting game character or two.
: Absorb a ranged attack to either turn into energy or use yourself.
: A cheaper, but trickier area attack.
: The CPU Shang Tsung Element, allowing you to turn into a clone of another Fighter. Each specific Fighter to clone requires a different Special Move, and your own original Special Moves will have one less slot.
: The Kirby Element. Instead of dealing damage, you can use one of your opponent's Special Moves for a limited amount of time.
: The Sub-Zero Element. It's a bit like Knock Down with different properties.
: Allows you to fly for a short time, making it easier to evade but limiting your Move choices.
: Heals some Life Bar, usable in an attack move (making you Ragna the Bloodedge) or pure utility move.
: Crazy ninja duplication tricks to confuse attackers.
: The Reptile Element. Acts as a general buff to Initiative and/or Control for a short time, or until you're hit if you upgrade it.
: For Special Moves that do nothing but beef up a specific set of other Special Moves. Think Jam from Guilty Gear.
A bit like Absorbs Attack, but this one shoots back immediately.
: The Gen Element. Your moveset is split into different styles, which you have to change back and forth to with style change Moves. The advantage of this is that you get additional slots for all of your Special Moves depending on how many styles you have. To avoid potential abuse, each style has to have at least one other Special Move (or have to be filled ASAP if you start with "empty" styles), and the free slots aren't applied retroactively.
Super Move Enhancer
: Effectively gives you tempoary Super Energy when it comes to one specific Super Move, though your stunned after using it.
: One of those very annoying Moves that prevents you from moving and/or using Special Moves for a short time.
- Taunt : A more powerful version of the Basic Taunt. Can be modified to gain Super Energy or add a specific Element to your next Special Move.
With exotic elements also come exotic Liabilties:
: The Kyo/K'/Dynasty Warriors Liability. You can only use the Special Move immediately following another specific move (either inside the same combo or in the following turn if you win Initiative), allowing you to create a kind of pre-defined combo tree.
: The "Rolento's staff twirling" Liability. It is a more limited Move Sub-Set in that any single Special Move can only have one other Move "attached" to it.
: The Cody Liability. The Special Move requires some kind of item you can lose under certain circumstances, preventing you from using the Move again unless you can pick the item up or perform a specific "get item back" Move.
- Random Move : The Faust Liability. A randomily-rolled modifier is applied to the Move before each use. The Move can fail outright, but most results either make it harder or easier to land a hit. Damage is also a bit fluctuating.
The default flavor of Fight! is your classic 2D fighting game with lots of "pretzel motions". But how about traditional 3D fighting games like Tekken or Virtua Fighter that rely more on a laundry list of pre-defined basic combos? Well, this is what Attack Strings are for, as an optional rule you can apply to your campaign.
Attack Strings are a special sort of combo that only consists of Basic Moves, and you can trade in "hits" of this combo to add certain Elements to the overall attack. Overall, it gives you more flexibility. And since these Attack Strings count as a normal Special Moves, you can combo while you combo. Saying "Yo Dawg!" while doing this is optional.
On the downside, you now have to spend points on two Combo skills (Attack String and the now much more expensive Combo skill), and your "normal" Special Moves cost more to purchase.
The big ones. They cost as many Move Points as a Special Move of the respective level (though Super Moves have to be at least Level 5), but there is a hard cap on how many you can have based on your Power Level.
Super Moves have acces to new Elements and Liabilities, have a higher base damage (d8 vs d6), and they get so many slots compared to Special Moves (Level x 2 vs Level + 1) that picking expensive stuff like Increased Accuracy is finally feasible. In fact, you have to spend at least half of your slots in Accuracy, Damage, and the Super-exclusive Breakthrough and Invulnerability Elements (unless you're Super Move doesn't actually deal any damage, of course).
The list of new customizations is rather short, so here it is:
: This represents a Super's massive hitbox or large number of individual attacks, making it very hard to evade completely and/or dealing lots of chip damage. The Super Move will still deal half damage on a miss, provided the margin of failure isn't too great.
: If the Super Move has a buff or debuff of sorts, you can increase the duration by spending more Super Energy.
: Not actually new, but you can boost your accuracy and base damage even higher compared to Special Moves.
Increased/Decreased Super Energy Cost
: Modidifies the Super Energy cost from its base value of 10. Not technically allowed according to RAW, but I would allow these for Special Moves that cost Super Energy.
: The mother of all buffs. For a short period of time, you can ignore Super Energy cost for some deadly combos. Requires GM permission.
: Lots of invincibility frames. You can essentially steal initiative to perform the Super Move if the difference in initiative is not too big, making this a favorite for slower Fighters.
: The Street Fighter 3+4 Super Liability. You only have access to one kind of Super Move per fight, choosable before said fight. Naturally, you have to apply this to every one of your Super Moves.
- Unique Super Move : By default, a Super Move has to be based on one or more existing Special Moves, inheriting all the Elements and Liabilities. With this Element right here, you are freed from this restriction and can therefore surprise your opponents a bit more.
Super Energy to pull these wonderful Moves off is gained similar to most fighting games: Lose health, use an attack (even if you don't hit anything; reminds me of Street Fighter Alpha), and successfully pull off combos. You also recharge some Super Energy passively with each turn, depending on your energy maximum.
There's quite a bit of tinkering you can do with how your campaign's Super Energy bar works, though the two standards presented in this book are a simple no-frills bar capable of storing 10 or more points, and the Street Fighter Alpha 3-tier system where you can store up to 3 full bars of Super Energy and where every Super Moves comes in 3 variations with increased power and energy cost. You also have to decide on whether or not Super Energy carries over from round to round.
Another optional rule applied to everyone. This turns Fight! into Bloody Roar. It gives everyone a "Beast Energy Bar" with which you can turn on your Warbeast form, Hulk out, activate your Devil Trigger or go Super-Saiyan. A big, juicy buff that lasts till you run out of energy, basically.
Aside form this relatively simple modification, you can add a Liability to Moves that are only usable while transformed, and you can burn your energy even faster for an even bigger buff.
CharGen continued: El Oso's Moveset
Now it's time to add some meat to our luchador bear. At PL 1, we get 10 Move Points to play with. This is enough to give him one Level 4 Moves and a combination of two Level 2 or 3 Moves (I'll go for two Level 3s). Since Super Moves aren't available before PL 3, we can't buy anything related to Super Moves or Energy yet.
Since they are so common in fighting games, I'll assume the campaign allows for Sweeps, Basic Taunts and a single Basic Throw. The only thing we can customize here is the Basic Throw, as a that is a proper Special Move with slots left unspent (a L2 Move as 3 slots, with the required Throw Element taking up 2). To keep it basic, I'll call it a Suplex , with the added Element of "Position Shift", which is handy when the arena features some environmental hazards to interact with (a given for a wrestler). I could add some Liabilities to get more slots, but I want to keep this one simple.
Before spending points on the 3 Special Moves we can start with, I have to think of El Oso's general strategy and theme. His Tall Quality gives his Basic Moves a longer reach, so we can assume he's usually standing upright (maybe a bit hunched over) and raking stuff with his forearms. As a wrestler, he should also have at least one other throw to start with. Overall, he seems to favor a mix of short- and mid-range attacks, so it would be useful to also have one Move to cover the distance.
L3 Bear Rush (d, db, b + P)
El Oso launches himself towards his opponent, counting on his sheer mass to get through whatever he has in stock for him.
As this one cover some distance, I give it the Mobile Element. There are several choices for how this Element affects the Move, but I'll pick the "2 ranges before movement" variety (making the Move cover as much distance as a jump, and it can go even farther if we decide to not attack with the Move). This costs us one of 4 available Element Slots. The remaining three will be spend on "Temporary Invulnerability", allowing El Oso to just power through counters, interrupts or attacks from simultaneous initiative (more on that later). It heavily discourages the opponent from trying any funny tricks, is all I'm saying.
For added flavor, I also pick a rank in "Increased Damage", balanced with the "Slow Recovery" Liability. It hurts more than your normal Special Move, but it's also hard for El Oso to stop if he misses.
L3 Improvised Weapon (d, df, f + K)
El Oso quickly grabs whatever random object he can find and attacks with it, be it a 2x4, a steel folding-chair or a bouquet of flowers.
Obviously, this one's going ot use the "Random Move" Liability, giving us 5 slots to play with. I pick Reach (since he's holding a weapon), a whooping 3 ranks of "Increased Damage" (to counter the fluctuating damage of "Random Move" and because most improvised wrestling weapons hurt a lot ) and the "Critical Hit" Element, which has a certain chance of staggering the opponent for some added randomness.
L4 Bear Hug (b, d, bf + P)
Being a bear and all, El Oso "hugs" his opponent and squeezes the life out of him.
This is another Throw, with the sub-element of "Sustained Hold" that allows El Oso to carry over the move to the next turn with a good chance for an auto-hit. This whole packages costs 4 slots, leaving us with only one left, which we use for a rank in "Increased Damage".
Some tactics you can do with this moveset include a mid-range combo using the Improvised Weapon with Basic Moves, or a Bear Rush followed by a weapon or basic attacks (throws sadly don't work in combos unless the combo already starts at short range)
Overall, the system's pretty darn nifty. It's straight-forward and relatively quick (unless you really want to tinker with a Special Move to get it "just right"). Most of the stuff you see in the source material is covered, lending Fight! well for conversions. And most importantly, there ain't much room for abuse, which is always good in a game where the players create their own powers/moves/etc.
Next Time : Combat rules that may or may not be mortal (I think I made this joke before...)
CombatOriginal SA post Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
Chapter 5: Combat
This chapter is not only the most important one (it's a fighting game RPG, after all), but certainly the most interesting, as Fight!'s combat rules are quite unorthodox at times, so we'll tackle it one at a time.
Note that any tournament fight conventions like "best 2 out of 3, one round lasts till one man goes down or the timer runs out" can be expected to still apply to "real" fights outside of a tournament, with the time between rounds used for some dramatic dialogue. Since Life Bars are restored between rounds, you can emulate the classic "Half-dead hero suddenly gets a second wind and starts pummelling the bad guy" shtick with this.
Roleplaying is also encouraged during combat, as every turn ends with the players narrating the events (I think Know Your Role does that, too, or at least its spiritual successor Wild World Wrestling ).
At its core, Fight!'s combat system is a pretty simple "Everyone rolls initiative every turn, and hits are rolled with d6 + Accuracy modifiers vs the defender's Defense Total" system. Why just a d6? Because a Fighter's inherent Accuracy and Defenses don't increase all that much (unless you want to turtle, which does get better with your PL). If he doesn't go too crazy with Fighting Spirit or turtles like crazy, an "endgame" Fighter won't have the passive stats to become unhittable. Things will look much worse if he's outnumbered, as he'd have to spend Fighting Spirit for every incoming attack.
Fight! uses die shifts for a lot of stuff. Your Basic Qualities work with that, and most (de)buffs and modifiers do this, with the big exception of Accuracy and Defense. The default die size for most things is d6, and they can shift down to 1 or up to 12. Damage rolls can go even further, with ever additional shift becoming a +1.
Aside from damage rolls, every Fighter can generally spend Fighting Spirit on any combat roll he does (except for damage), and he can add the points to his Accuracy and/or Defense. Fighting Spirit is also used to activate certain elements and perform whatever techniques the GM allows for the campaign. Super Moves also eat up a Fighting Spirit, but you can still do them if you've run out.
As you can't spend more Fighting Spirit on any single thing than your Power Level, this is what really separates higher-level Fighters from lower level ones (if they're willing to spend that much Fighting Spirit, that is).
Control & Time
The thing that makes Fight!'s combat stand out is how it introduces unpredictability in areas where you wouldn't really expect it, namely when it comes to your action economy and the passage of time. While anyone can make one action per turn (with one exception), what exactly you can do if you want to attack is limited by your Control. The higher it is, the more powerful Special Moves and combos you can pull off. Control is rolled every turn just like Initiative, so you can't make long-term plans for your actions and have to make the most out of what the die gives you. If you like to combo a lot or focus on high-level Special Moves, better put some Combat Bonus points into Control and shift that die up.
Time is measured in counts (which are more or less seconds), with each round of combat typically lasting 99 of them. The thing is that turns take a variable amount of counts to finish (more precisely the amount of time needed for everyone to perform an action), determined by a die roll that any participant can shift around by spending Fighting Spirit. Why is this important? Well, all buffs and debuffs last a certain amount of counts (with a minimum of 1 turn), giving you incentives to either pick up the pace or try to buy some time. This can also work well for special timed conditions like a doonsday countdown or if you're just trying to survive for a certain amount of time.
All in all, Fight! feels a lot more real-timey than your more rigid turn-based combat. You have to flexibly react to your shifting Control, and the variable turn length can lead to calm moments followed by hectic bursts of punches and kicks.
Movement is probably where you see the most direct influence from the video games: If it's a 1-on-1 fight, you only track the relative distance - or Range - from each other (with a distance of 0 being throwing range and 5 being "pretty much out of combat"; most Special Moves can reach up to 2 Ranges, and movement can cover up to 3). Fights between more than 2 combatants are duked out on a one-dimensional grid with 6 squares. In such multi-man matches, one can add a bit of depth by having a Fighter try to stay away from someone else independent from their actual Range, or two guys can decide to have themselves a fair duel apart from the rest.
This one-dimensional grid is not only close to the source material, but detailed enough for some tactical depth while keeping it abstract enough as to not require the use of miniatures. You can also use the rules as-is to have DBZ-style fights where people punch each other from one continent to the next.
Things get a bit crunchier with Environmental Hazards, which are you walls, ring-outs, electrified fences and similar stuff. Unless you simplify the basic stuff like walls and ring-outs, Environmental Hazards don't really exist on the grid. Instead, you track their distance from each Fighter separately, with various rules devoted to change that distance. Suffice to say, don't try to use too many of these, or things might get a bit confusing.
If you're attacked, you have to decide how you want to avoid the attack. This is where the 3 Defense Skills come into play:
is your plain fighting game block. Boring, but reliable. While it is the only Defense Skill with two elements it is weak against ("Hits Low" and "Unblockable"), those are significantly weaker against the other Defense Skills. Still, they can be quite nasty in situations where you're forced to block, one of which we'll cover shortly.
covers evading attacks through ducking and jumping. A succesfull evasion allows you to either move towards or away from your opponent, or get into a better position for some Accuracy bonus. You can also pull off a "crouch block" (or "air block", if the GM allows that in the campaign), which is basically a synergy bonus between Defense and Evasion. On the downside, the element "Hard to Evade" is quite common in the source material.
is the wild card. It is used for a lot of other stuff (like elements whose effects requires precise timing, or anything related to maneuvering around people on the abstract grid), but you can also avoid attacks with it. Tactics requires the usage of a "Defensive Response", a defense option that usually allows you to immediately retaliate with an attack of your own if the opponent misses. The most straightforward of these Responses is the Interrupt Response (aka "I try to hit him before he hits me"), which you can do with a Basic Move or a Special Move that has the Interrupt Element. The advantage of such a Response is that you'll force the opponent to block at half his skill. And since Control is never actually spend to perform Moves (it's more of an upper limit), you can make a full attack with each successful Response, giving you multiple attacks if you're outnumbered (though doing such a response attack costs you your normal action that turn if you haven't already acted ).
As there are quite a lot of Defensive Responses, there are some more unique ones, like the classic Counter Response that actually uses Defense instead of Tactics, or the Ranged Response that isn't actually a counter-attack of sorts, but just allows you to defend with your Ki against other Ranged attacks. This makes Ki-heavy user pretty hard to hit with Hadokens and such, but you can slap an element on your ranged moves to make this Response useless (simulating projectiles that are actually spikes protruding from the ground, for example).
To counter these useful Responses, you don't have the same kind of synergy bonus you can get with the other defense options, making them a bit more risky.
Damage & Combos
Damage rolls are die-shifted according to the attacker's Strength and the defender's stamina (Strength 2 vs Stamina -1 hurts ). Much to my delight, we finally have a fighting game RPG with Hit Stun, which reduces your Control with every hit you take, which can result in you losing your turn. You also suffer Knock Back, bringing some distance between you and your opponent.
Other nasty things that can happen to you is a Knock Down (forcing you to waste a turn getting up, though nobody can hit you while you're down; if the GM allows Breakfalls, you can essentially pay Fighting Spirit to cancel the Knock Down), and getting properly Stunned (wasting two turns, unless someone hits you before). Similar to what you see in most fighting games, it gets harder to stun someone in a fight the more he has already been stunned.
Combos! These allow you to dish out more damage than you could with any single move. Just pick a combination of Special Moves and/or Basic Moves that doesn't require more Control than you have and doesn't include more individual moves than your Combo Skill. There are of course some combos that are prohibited (Moves that knock people down can generally only be used as the last Move, for example).
Interestingly, Combos in Fight! work opposite of how the work in Thrash. In that game, you make combos do decrease the total Action Point cost (if the combo is pre-made) and make it harder for the opponent to evade the following attacks if the first move hits. Here in Fight!, longer Combos actually increase the Control cost of Special Moves included, and you get Accuracy penalties based on the number of hits. Also unlike Thrash, Combos are done as a single attack, making partially successful combos only possible narratively (when you keep comboing from turn to turn, for example). You either hit with everything, or miss completely. You still roll damage for every move involved, but the damage of everything after the first Move is cut in half, and whatever Combat Bonus you add to damage is added to the total sum, not each hit individually.
Overall, they are handy for some sweet damage spikes, balanced by a handful of drawbacks that can make them quite risky to use.
By default, a Fighter's Life Bar and Fighting Spirit is completely restored after every fight or round of combat. You can use an optional rule for a much more gritty recovery rate, but even then nobody actually dies or gets injured unless the plot demands it.
Team Combat happens in two very typical forms: Traditional King of Fighters rule where the two teams duke it out a 1-on-1 match where a defeated Fighter is replaced by the next teammate.
The much more fun-sounding alternative is Tag Team Combat, where you can tag in mid-combo to rack in lots of hits.
Just like with the "2 out of 3" rule, team combat can happen in actual combat, either because of honor reasons or because the heroes are facing a boss character who isn't too far above their Power Level and might end up getting hit stunned to death if the PCs are allowed to attack simultaneously.
The chapter ends with the so-called "combat sub-systems", which comprise one addon of sorts to normal combat and an alternate set of combat rules.
The first combat sub-system, aka "rules for cannon fodder". A Thug is anyone who isn't a bad enough dude to be considered a Fighter. They are rated in levels from 0 aka Normal (non-combatants) to 5 (an elite mook that is not far behind a PL 1 Fighter; also used for tanks and stuff), with what is essentially Level 0 for non-combatants. They are greatly simplified stablock compared to a Fighter, with neither Fighting Spirit, fancy defensive options or a Life Bar (they use a Life Save, essentially a Saving Throw vs. getting KOed). Thugs can be customized by shifting some numbers around or giving them Qualities depending on their level, which can be used to make them more Fighter-like, boost their stats or customize the only Move they can use.
Thugs of the same typ are condensed into groups of up to 10 Thugs each. The groups are a bit like swarms, able to attack anyone in range (up to the number of Thugs), but unable to attack any single opponent more than once. Using combos against a Thug Group allows you to hit multiple Thugs at the same time.
Thug Thrashing is where we see more skill use: Your Thug Thrashing skill gives you extra actions against Thugs, and you can use your Agility skill to dodge ranged Thug attacks. Especially the latter can be quite useful, as Thugs have access the the "Gun Element" that allows their attacks to hit people beyond Range 5, effectively giving them at least one free attack before combat actually starts.
To spice things up, every Thug Group rolls on a random event chart each turn, with the roll modified by the number of Thugs and their level. The results can vary from a total rout to some beefy buffs.
For out-of-combat stuff, we get rules for Thug skill use, for those situations when you try to sneak past some guards or want to know just how good your hacker bufdy really use.
Lumped together with the Thugs are rules about temporarily picking up weapons and guns, which essentially beef up your Basic Move (unless your Fighter actually uses such a weapon as part of his fighting style), meant to be used as a sort of "power-up" against Thug groups.
These are more cinematic combat rules, meant to either replace the normal combat rules entirely, or be used instead of the normal rules for more dramatic occasions. They essentially remove a lot of crunch from the core rules (no combos, no Control, Hit Stun is simplified), cut Life Bars in half and have everyone accumulate Action Points, which you can spend on performing special actions, like making a freeze frame attack, pushing your limits or doing a classic Kamehameha clash. This is also the combat system with the most skill use, allowing stuff like mind control, a last-ditch desparation attack or spiritual combat. Lots of neat alternatives to Basic Moves for low Strength characters.
Special Moves are handled quite differently under Dramatic Combat. They are noticably more powerful here, but they are also used much rarely as you have to spend Action Points to use them. Said cost is quite cheap when using a Special Move for the first time during a combat, but further usaes are prohibitively expensive. This mimics how animated versions of Ryu don't just spam Hadokens all day.
For a more "epic" combat, the GM can give everyone normal Life Bars and increase the amount of Action Points gained.
Fight! certainly delivers on the video game adaption department. Important fightnig game concepts are logically adapted, and there's just the right amount of crunch for the kind of mind games you see in the games. Heck, your fighting game skills even translate into helping you come up with good tactics.
The rules certainly take some getting used to, but they're not actually hard, just different. Thankfully, the book provides one example for each of the 3 combat systems.
Next Time : The Worlds of Fight! aka the GM section.
The Worlds of Fight!Original SA post Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG
Man, I've been slacking off, and it's only this chapter. Let's get serious!
Chapter 6: The Worlds of Fight!
As far as settings go, while fighting games prefer a modern-day setting, you can really use about anything and mix-and-match to your hearts content. Now here's an idea for a Torg revival: The King of Cosms!
The book goes into a bit of detail about how the fighting game genre could be best described as "comic book superheroes with hyper-charged martial arts and a bit of anime/manga thrown it, except for most of the complex relationships because most fighting game characters are a bit too insane for deep social interactions", which isn't too far from the truth.
What follows next are a lot of archetypes and tropes you see in fighting games. You pretty much always have a comic relief character and a "normal" boring martial artist dude. The people running the tournament are always evil, and they're probably out to somehow weaponize martial artist skills for world domination or something. Nothing to surprising here.
Before things get running, the GM has of course lay down some ground rules, like the scope or realism of the campaign, and whether or not there's an actual tournament going on or he's planning to do something like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue where people just end up fighting each other because they ran into each other and are a bit nuts. The weirdest part is the "visuals" of the campaign, aka whether the hypothetical video game would be in 2D or 3D. This mainl affects the choice of whether or not Attack Strings are in use, though things have gone a bit fuzzy now that more and more traditional 2D franchises are moving over into the 3rd dimension without changing their core gameplay.
Fight! can be played with just one player and a GM, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun. 2-4 players are recommended. More is possible, but that can make it hard to include everyone into a tournament-style fight. Unless its a medieval tournament or something.
Making NPCs is where the GM will probably spend most of his prep time. Team-based tournament campaigns can easily require two dozen individual NPC Fighters (maybe less if the GM uses a lot of recurring Fighters). Fight! follows a sandbox-like advice of "don't create anything until its needed", which is a lot easier to do at the start of a campaign because low-level Fighters can be made relatively quick. More experienced character have significantly more points to play around with, so I'd say making up some templates in advance can help a lot. The numer of required NPCs can most likely also be reduced if you're going for a more PvP-style campaign.
For a bit of inspiration, a couple campaign seeds for various fighting game sub-genres are listed. The most interesting and unique is Avignon , aka "The Western Schism meets Dynasty Warriors. Also theological disputes are won with fisticuffs".
Campaign pacing is an interesting beast, as a Fighter's Power Level is not an absolute measurement of his experience. Instead, it signifies his importance in the story. Once the PCs have reache level 8, it's time to confront the main antagonist.
When it comes to such boss fights, there are a few tricks the GM can employ to have the players gang up on him. He could force the PCs to fight as a tag team, or he might multiply his Life Bar and maybe even his Fighting Spirit by the number of PCs. To make extra-sure that he's dangerous, there are the boss-exclusive Power Levels 9 and 10, which mainly focus on amping up his defense. You can even go beyond Level 10, but that only gives a small bonus to Life Bar and Fighting Spirit.
These goodies are not exclusive to the main antagonist, nor does the main antagonist need to be the most powerful bad guy. These guys are "secret characters", meant for some potential after-campaign action.
If you hate railroady 90's RPG philosophy of "We put up some impossible tasks and don't tell you what to do when the heroes naturally fail", you will be pleased to know that Fight! does talk about what to do when the final showdown ends with the boss curbstomping the PCs, which ranges from "Give them another shot" or "Let's see how the next campaign's heroes will fix this mess". The PCs are supposed to win, but it's good to see that this is not a given.
Things get interesting when the heroes do win. They can continue to have some "endgame" fun with those "secret characters", but things can naturally get a bit boring now that the PCs can no longer improve (not to mention that having to come up with even bigger bad guys gets silly fast). Here's where the relativity of Power Levels come into place: Since the heroes have already fulfilled their purpose, a new storyline will have them start back at Power Level 1. Not because they suddenly forgot how to do most of their moves, but because they don't see a need to use all of their tricks yet. For consistency, the GM can make up some restrictions when it comes to leveling up this new old character, like having to stick to his Basic Qualities and/or having to buy at least half of his old moveset throughout the new campaign.
An alternative to normal campaigning are OVAs, aka one-shot adventures where everyone has a set Power Level.
Before the appendix (which includes 20 example Special Moves, a good chunk of them being more or less inspired by Street Fighter), we get ourselves two example characters, namely the two ones on the cover.
The guy is Hideki Douglas , a combo devil fighting for great justice who somehow feels guilty for offing his father (whose main hobby was domestic violence). The girl is Shine Holly , a rich British girl with mysterious powers and a very fast fighting style.
Well, that's it. Took a bit longer than expected (stupid Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate), though I'm not sure if I'll add an extra entry with a combat example (that doesn't seem to be a thing here, anyways). Rest assured that Fight! is probably the most robust and flexible fighting game RPG around, even if the combat system is a bit abstract and unorthodox.
Other books in the line include Round 2 (ye olde booke of options) and Challengers (the bestiary, basically), but that's a story for another time. I've just realized that I have yet to write anything d20-related. So tune in next time when I tackle my second favorite retro-clone that isn't actually a retro-clone!