posted by Doresh Original SA post

And now time for me to step into the ring myself.

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Ooh! There's a second arm growing out of my elbow!

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with Ewen Cluney, or at least his work. He's the creative mind behind Magical Burst (aka "Not Madoka Magica: The RPG") and the translator of Maid RPG (aka "Why does my fun and whacky harem RPG have creepy hentai stuff every couple pages?"). Pretty cool dude, all in all.
His earliest success goes back all the way to around 1998 with Thrash, a spiritual successor to White Wolf's Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game (or SF:STG, as I will abbreviate it). It was one of the homebrew systems in the late 90's to early 00's, spawning several fansites and quite a lot of fan-made content. It also helds a special place in my cold heart for being my second RPG system and my first homebrew experience.
Compared to Ewen's later output, Thrash has a lot of crunch, is a bit vague at times and a tad bit on the broken side. But we'll get to that later (seriously, the actual rules start at Chapter 6 )

So without much further ado, let me bow down to my personal homebrew hero by riffing his earliest smash hit. Hey, you gotta start somewhere .

(I'll be doing Thrash 1.8 for this. There's a Thrash 2.0, but that one never went beyond Beta status, does not represent Thrash at the peak of its popularity, and is generally better thought out and not as riffable.)

Chapter 1: Introduction


"Violent fighting to begin again..."
-- King of Fighters '96
In the world of Thrash, we apparently quote sentence fragments of anthropomorphic video game personifications.

I'm not sure if this can even count as a chapter as it's barely over a page long. It doesn't have a "What is a roleplaying game?" section you see in every commercial production, and the very first paragraph has some weird bits in it.


Capcom’s Street Fighter II changed the face of video games forever by introducing the world to a new style of game, where two characters faced off in a one-on-one fight to the finish. This has since spawned countless other similar games, to the point that it has created an entire genre of video games, collectively known as Fighting Games.

So after claiming that SF2 invented the fighting game genre (I presume SF1 was a sim game or something), the text goes on to state that Thrash is a "book-and-dice" RPG about the kind of crazy martial arts as seen in anime and fighting games. This game only covers the core rules without any sort of setting, but it informs us that there will be sourcebooks converting popular fighting games - which is actually true. Nifty.


The Thrash system is heavily based on the now out-of-print Street Fighter Storytelling Game from White Wolf, as well as Mekton Z, and, to a lesser extent, Ninjas & Superspies.

I don't know anything about Ninjas & Superspies, but the other two games make this sound very "promising". Sadly, it doesn't mean that we will be able to demolish our foes with an Infinite Burst Value Cartwheel Kick to the head location. It just means the game takes several elements from the Storytelling Game and bundles them with Interlock-ish resolution mechanics (Attribute + Skill + d10, to spoiler a bit).
It also goes on to inform us that this game is about hyper-charged martial arts. Not that you would expect realistic depictions of martial arts styles if you can breathe fire and teleport all over the place.


Thrash is not intended to be a particularly complex or in-depth game. The object in roleplaying is to have fun, but in Thrash that may at times be the sole concern. furthermore, the rules are designed to play relatively quickly, since the game is intended to simulate extremely fast-paced martial arts combat. To play Thrash you will need only this book, some pencils and papers, and some dice (10-sided and 6-sided)

Keep the "not particularly complex" and "relatively quickly" parts in mind. Also, the game uses plenty of d4s and even a d12 at one point, though no d8s, which is a bit odd IMO.

There's a bit of historical background to Thrash, which apparently started as a homebrew sourcebook for SF:STG called "Warrior's World", which I can't for the live of me find anywhere anymore.


Design Theory of Thrash
One of the most important things to remember about Thrash they [sic] way the system is designed to work. It functions in much the opposite of how other RPGs do. Rather than picking items from a list in the book to define your character, you create your character and their abilities in story terms, and then create that using the rules.

This might make it sound like some kind of freeform FATE-ish kind of deal, but you're actually still "picking items from a list in the book", but with customization options. It's essentially a semi-effects-based game, with specific maneuvers (aka moves) instead of general effects/powers.


Thrash is not a game for munchkins! Admittedly the rules are easy to abuse.

At least he's honest about it

So anyways, a short talk about how storytelling is more important than making broken characters, using a short rant about a Athena Asamiya conversion one guy did as an example. Okay...

On to sourcebooks! At time of the PDF's first release, there were two "official" sourcebooks in the form of Karyu Densetsu (an original campaign setting, currently only available with and a generic Thrash Sourcebook.
Planned future sourcebooks were to include Street Fighter (did happen), Ranma 1/2 (did sorta happen, there's a fan-made anime sourcebook with heavy Ranma tones), DarkStalkers (nope), King of Fighters (did happen, but again fan-made), Samurai Shodown (dito), Metal Rage (the Mekton Z crossover that never happened, though there is a fan-made mecha supplement) and Road Thrash (the combat racing sourcebook that also never happened. Man, I miss Road Rash ).

Sure, there aren't nearly as many "official" sourcebooks as planned, but man, there's A LOT of unofficial stuff.

After a version history, a now defunct homepage link, a couple thanks and a disclaimer, the first chapter ends! Took up a bit more space than expected o_O

Oh well, next post then!

The Martial Arts

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Chapter 2: The Martial Arts


"Once there was a man who tried to make his skill ultimate. Because of that, it was no wonder he was involved in the troubles."
-- Samurai Shodown II
Knitting is serious business

This is a lot like that early chapter in SF:STG were the setting was drawn in broad strokes. Here, it's even broader because the game doesn't have a default setting. I'll just summarize it for you as it's not too interesting.

Realism and Lack Thereof : The game is not an "accurate" simulation of fighting games, but is intended to be a bit more realistic, like an anime adaption of a fighting game. So no spamming Hadokens all day, or blocking guns and swords with your arm (except when you buy block maneuvers that do allow just that).

The World : Just a reminder how most fighting games are set in the modern day (because you don't have to waste time on stuff like worldbuilding).

Goals : Nobody here learns martial arts for self-defense or other lame things. It's all about revenge, cash and other cool stuff.

Styles : Something about external/hard and internal/soft martial arts styles. Not that this has much of an effect in-game.

Honor : The same stuff you read in SF:STG about how honor is super important for most martial artists. Think of fighting tournaments as being Ned Stark conventions.

The Power of Chi : The main excuse for all those Hadokens and Sonic Booms. Like its predecessor, it separates chi into good/positive, and bad/negative chi. And unlike its predecessor, it actually has rules for having strong ties to either side of the chi.

Tournaments : Tournaments make for an easy excuse to have people beat the crap out of each other, which is why most fighting games revolve around one. They can range from 1-on-1 battles, oldschool King of Fighers elimination matches, tag team matches or all-out brawls. Most tournaments tend to have a problem with weapons (especially firearms). Funny how they never have problems with people throwing energy blasts at each other, or covering their body in fire. There's also the typical stuff about illegal gambling, managers fans, prizes, and so on.

Tournament Match Rules : Apart from reminding us that tournaments are generally dicks to normal people just trying to fend off the scary Hadoken-slingers and mutants with a stick, this little sections talks about the typical ways a match can end. Apart from the typical candidates of the time running out or one opponent getting knocked out, a figher can also just give up, which would make for a lulzy feature in an actual fighting game.

Teams : This is a roleplaying game, so of course the characters will usually form a team.

Women and the Martial Arts : Ugly chicks don't exist in the fighting game world. You're either doki doki kawaii desu ka, a hot waifu, or both. At least you're not required to run around like Mai.

Retirement : Boring stuff about what fighters tend to do after their career, using Terry Bogart as an example - because it's not like he's still appearing in every bloody King of Fighters game.

Weird Powers : Fighting games tend to include a lot of very strange poo-poo, like mutations, cybernetics and supernatural powers. All which is apparently more legal than using a bloody stick. For some reason, these things are only covered in an appendix at the end of the book, instead of being closer to the chargen chapter like everything else.

And with that the book fluidly moves on to the next chapter - by which I mean that the formatting does not separate the right column into chapter 2 and 3. Nice.

I will wait with making an example character till I covered the various styles available, which is Chapter 4. Suggestions are welcome, though I already have plans for a character exploiting the easiest trick in the book.

Character Creation

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Chapter 3: Character Creation

Sadly doesn't come with a weird quote. There were a couple throughout the last chapter, but that would've been overkill.

Anyhow, Thrash is one of those games that presents you the entire character creation process before you even know how to do anything. Oh well, let's roll with it!

And roll we shall, because the points you spend on the game's 8 attributes amount to 6d10+20. Randomized point-buy - everyone's favorite !

The 8 attributes range from 1-10 like in Interlock (though you can raise the maximum later) and are as follows: Intelligence , Focus , Charisma , Will , Strength , Agility , Stamina and Appearance . They mostly explain themselves, apart from Focus, which is your mental strength.
A somewhat strange order for a game centered mostly around physical combat to be honest. And if you're wondering if Agility is just as much of a god stat as Reflexes is in Mekton Z: almost, since you don't have a giant robot to take and dish out the hurt for you.

Unspent attribute points are converted into Character Points, which you use to buy everything else (so why just not use Character Points for both?). There are also optional rules for "Heroic Attributes" for more powerful starting characters, which is just a fancy name for "just give them a fixed amount of attribute points".

When you're done with your attributes, it's onwards to your Secondary Stats (shouldn't that be "Secondary Attributes" ?):

Base Action Points (APs) : Acts as your initiative and is spend to do stuff, which kinda reminds me of FASA's Star Trek RPG. The base formular is [8 + your ranks in whatever styles you have].

Chi : Used for all kinds of supernatural moves. Equals [Focus x 2 + Will]

Health : The big bar floating over your head during fights. Starts out at [Stamina x 4].

Dizzying Threshold : How long people have to punch you before you might get dizzy/stunned. [Stamina + 8].

Rage Threshold : Unlike SF:STG, Thrash has super moves! It models this by borrowing from the first two or so Samurai Shodown games where you would get enraged as the bar filled up. This threshold is therefore calculated as [Stamina + Will + Focus], meaning that raising these three attributes actually makes it take longer to pull off super moves, as you are less likely to hulk out. Makes sense I guess, but still weird. Thankfully, there's a little something coming later which allows us to ignore this stat alltogether!

Basic Damage : Your damage bonus you add to all your maneuvers. You have one based on Strength (physical attacks) and Focus (chi attacks). It is determined by one of my favorite charts of all time:

Quite the indirect way of saying "Attribute - 4", isn't it ?

As an optional rule, we can further divide the physical Basic Damage into Upper/Lower Body Strength. It's a way to increase your Basic Damage for kicks or punches by decreasing your Basic Damage for the other one, turning you either into Popeye/a gorilla or a dude with elephant feet. They can thankfully not be more than 4 points apart, but there's still no reason to not go all out. It's not like there's much of a drawback in specializing in one kind of attack while ignoring the other.

Onwards to Character Points (CPs)*! You start with [Intelligence + Agility + 40], because we can't have anyone get the same amount of points!
You can spend these CPs on Skills, Disciplines (Feats you can raise like skills), Styles (the closest thing to a race/class, also raised like skills), Maneuvers (your moveset), as well as Advantages & Disadvantages.

Unspent CPs are converted into experience points, though that's not a good deal as this is one of those point-buy games where just about everything's cheaper during character generation.

As yet another optional bunch of optional rules, you can spend CPs to boost your starting APs, Chi, Heatlh and Dizzy Threshold, which sounds rather tempting for the former and latter, as those can't actually be raised directly later on.
You can also customize skills with Specialisations and Concentrations. Specialisations are your normal "You're better when doing X" deal, while Concentrations mean "You're way better when doing X, but suck everywhere else". You can also leave a couple CPs unspent to later pull of that shounen action shtick of "Damn, I didn't want to use IT so soon..." that is totally not a sign of hack writing. This does however cost additional CP to do, so it's not too effective.

After a character generation example, we get a paragraph on converting video game characters. It basically boils down to "It's just an interpretation, so don't get too obsessed about finding out Ryu's exact lifting capacity" and "Don't worry about point costs because normal starting characters are supposed to suck compared to the big guys, anyways".

Next are skills, a rather long list with the usual suspects like Cooking and Intimidation, with a few notable ones:

On to Disciplines. They are a bit like D&D Feats if you could take several levels in a feat. Some are also like those various powers found in White Wolf games, in that they give you one new trick per level (up to their maximum, which is usually around 8 or so).

I find it a bit odd that the Chi and Vital Points Disciplines aren't "Weird Powers". I'm also a bit sceptical on those Disciplines that give you exclusive Chi-powered bonuses to your rolls. Reminds me of D&D casters going nova during the first battle of the day and then deciding to rest.

Lastly, we have Advantages and Disadvantages, some of which have mutliple levels. Most is the usual stuff of "You're stinkin' rich", "You know some people that might help you", "You have better sense than most" and "You have an easy excuse to beat people up". I'll just list the most notable ones:

Next time, we'll be looking at the actual styles. Then we can almost make a character!

*) For some reason, Action and Character Points are the only thing in the entire book to get abbreviations.


posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Chapter 4: Styles


“The way of Koukugenryu Karate is invincible! Real tough!
– Takuma Sakazaki, King of Fighters '95“
I would like to make a clever retort here, but I don't wanna mess with Mr. Karate

Just like SF:STG, creating a character involves picking a style. Unlike SF:STG, you can have multiple styles if you want, like Gen from Street Fighter!

Styles in Thrash are not something you just pick once and be done with it. Like Disciplines and some Advantages, Styles come in levels, which directly affect your Accuracy (basically your skill used for attack and defense) and Action Points. A bit like a D&D class in that regard.
Styles are also a bit like a D&D race in that you get a small Attribute bonus and a couple more or less severe benefits and flaws, usually cost modifiers along the line of "X Maneuvers cost Y CP more/less". You also get a small selection of starting maneuvers to go with, in addition to the basic maneuvers everyone has.

Not all Styles are born equal. Because of this, some Styles are considered Discipline Styles . They're the dirty peasants among the Styles who are barely allowed to hang out with the others, usually having their flaws outweight their benefits or just being plain worse than other Styles. Buying and raising them however is just as cheap as a Discipline (hence the name), allowing for cheap Accuracy boosting. Unfortunately, they increase Action Points much slower than proper Styles (+1 every 2 levels, instead +1 per level), ultimately leaving their user in the dust when it comes to speed.

Having multiple Styles requires nothing fancy, just buy more than one and you're good to go. Every maneuver you buy has to be tied to one of your styles, and it will only ever use that Style's Accuracy and be affected by its cost modifiers. Keeping every Style's Accuracy high is very pricey, but every Style still raises your universal pool of Action Points, making this a no-brainer at high level.

In case you don't want to have to raise multiple Styles, you can slam two Styles together and have yourself a Hybrid Style , taking everything from both Styles (or the best in case of overlap). Doesn't give you twice the Action Points though, and it's more expensive to raise your level aka Accuracy (though not as expensive has having seperate Styles). There's also no reduction in cost if one or both Styles are Discipline Styles, so forget about including those.

I guess this as good as anytime to give a short summary on the various maneuver categories (the book takes its time with that):

Now on to the Styles themselves. They all have a quote from a "typical" practitioner, but there's really only one that's any interesting.

The chapter then ends with telling us how Appendix 3 has guideline for style creation, and how you can make your boss characters cheesier by giving them broken Styles. Yay !

Now I just have to slog through the maneuvers chapter before we actually learn how to play the game. Though I suppose I can already start making a character. If you can't convince me otherwise, I'm going for a Scottish girl (because why settle on "racial stereotype" or "otaku magnet" if you can have both?) using the ancient art of "Fist of the Highlands" (aka "I'll be using the Generic Style out of spite") to see how much I can break the system.

Interlude: Here Comes A New Challenger!

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Man, dandypunk sounds rad.

And this whole situation gotta mess with German public opinion. We don't have much love for our military, though having to deal with daily attacks of demons and cyborgs would probably change that a little.

Halloween Jack posted:

Eh, you would just pick a "Primary" style.

As for combinations, it could be a godsend to the weaker styles--putting 3 points in Kabaddi and 2 points in, say, Kung Fu gives you access to Kabaddi's great cost breaks on some Focus maneuvers, but enough good cheap maneuvers from Kung Fu to get you through until you have some XP under your belt. But it's probably a better idea to just make crap styles not crap, which is easy--just put some more good maneuvers on that list.

Oh well, White Wolf has already balance problems with stuff that is rules legal. It's a small wonder this can happen if you make house rules.

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Interlude: Here Comes A New Challenger!

So imagine you're in the design team of a long-running fighting game franchise, working on the newest entry. You've already borrowed from your rivals in the past, and people are starting to get tired of your archaic practice of re-releasing the same game every couple months with a more ridiculous name and tweaks/content that normal people would just sell as DLC.
You've decided to aim for nostalgia bait by designing a new character the "classic" way (aka "he's a very stereotypical bloke from some random country"), with him being a Scotsman being an obvious choice as they basically design themselves (just give him a kilt and a funny dialect). Sadly, the fighting game genre ain't as big as it used to be, so to make sure that sales are alright, you decide to make it a young lady to attract the otaku crowd. This is the result:

Sherry McTappington

After some martial artists decided to have some fun by smashing up every last barrel of her father's whisky distillery - leaving the poor guy shocked through his core in a way he has yet to fully recover from -, then 16-year old Sherry abruptly ditched school and returned to her family's home, located near Loch Lomond in the Scottish Highlands. As her father's only child, it was up to her to continue her clan's age old tradition of cold-blooded revenge.
She spent the next 2 years learning the ancient arts of "Fist of the Highlands" from the village elder. It's essentially boxing, but much more potent since training involves lifting logs, throwing logs, catching logs and punching logs, combined with a strict diet of haggis and porridge.
With her training complete, she decided to leave her home, joining tournament after tournament in search for the barrel breakers. Little did she know that she will eventually face a nefarious organization that is somehow trying to conquer the world in a way that requires holding martial arts tournaments across the globe...

Looks : She has long, braided reddish-brown hair and essentially wears a fetishized mixture between a British school uniform and traditional bagpipe player getup. Her fists are rarely not raised during combat (except when she punches, of course). And of course, she wears very thick glasses for some meganekko bonus.

Personality : She is actually quite cheerful, but has no warmth to give to her opponents, who she tries to demoralize with colorful Scottish taunts. She likes cooking and playing musical instruments, but Scotish traditions for either one don't find much love outside of her homeland...

Quote : "Ye shoold've eaten mair haggis!"

To start out character creation, We have to first roll to see how many attribute points we get. The 6d10 come out as... 31, which is a tiny bit below average. Oh well, a total of 51 has to suffice.

I distribute those as follows: Intelligence 6, Focus 4, Charisma 4, Will 6, Strength 8, Agility 10, Stamina 8, Appearance 6

(The free +1 gained from the Generic Style went into Will, since I don't feel like min-maxing too hard yet)

She is below average in terms of intelligence, looks and willpower, a bit below average in terms of social aspects (she's a bit peculiar), maxed out Agility (because Mekton Z teaches us to do so) and generally very high physical stats because Scots are tough as nails.
We don't plan on doing anything fancy in terms of optional stuff, apart from maxing out her Upper Body Strength by lowering her kicking power (which we won't use, anyways).
With the above stats, we have 56 Character Points (CPs) to play with. Wanting to emphasize her punching power, getting 3 levels of Iron Fist for that +1 damage sounds like a good deal. We also get 4 levels of Body Hardening because Scots are tough.
We can't forget to put points in her Style. 4 ranks sound about good for a start, giving us a +4 on all maneuver rolls and a total of 14 Action Points.

Sherry's advantages & disadvantages are rather straightforward:

We then spend a couple points on the skills First Aid, Intimidation, Lore (Scotland), Survival, Swimming and Taunt, and get the language skill for her native tongue for free at level 3. No Cooking or Musical instrument (bagpipes) here to reinforce the stereotypical joke.

With that out of the way, her character sheet looks like this:

Sherry McTappington
Attributes : Intelligence 6, Focus 4, Charisma 4, Will 5, Strength 8 (10/6), Agility 10, Stamina 8, Appearance 6
Base APs : 12
Chi : 13 Health : 32
Dizzy Threshold : 16 Rage Threshold : 17
Base Damage : Strength : +4 (+6/+2) Focus : +0
Skills : First Aid 1, Intimidation 3, Language (Scottish) 3, Lore (Scotland) 3, Survival 3, Swimming 2, Taunt 4
Advantages & Disadvantages : Area Specialisation (Punch), Delusion (minor, "Scootlund is th' best!"), No Kick Training, Pacifism (no killing)
Disciplines : Body Hardening 4, Iron Fist 3
Styles : Fist of the Highlands (Generic Style) 4

(This is the official character sheet formatting, and it could really use some more abbreviations)

But our future munchkin is far from finished! We still have 28 CPs to spend on maneuvers, so join me next time when we tackle the maneuvers chapter and get our first glimpse at breaking the system!

(Hint: The secret is hidden in her name )


posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG 

Chapter 5: Maneuvers


"You'll have to defeat my Dragon Punch to stand a chance!"
-- Ryu, Street Fighter II
Is anyone else here reminded of Yu-Gi-Oh?

This chapter starts of by saying that "maneuvers" encompass anything used to hurt your opponent. Apart from the occasional skill, maneuvers are in fact the only actions you can do in combat.

In order to get a maneuver, you have to purchase it with CPs, with the maneuver's cost modified by your styles and other factors, as well as the various modifiers you can slap on it for customization purposes. You can then add in some visual effects to the move and give it a unique name, similar to designing a power in most super hero / universal RPGs.
There's also a paragraph on naming your maneuvers, with the most common choices being of course something in English or Japanese, with the latter mentioning how Japanese special moves tend to sound a bit weird in English (Hadoken = Wave Motion Punch). There's also a very handy Japanese-to-English chart with which you can make your own (more or less grammatically correct) Japanese maneuver names!


These are the various benefits and drawbacks you can add to your maneuver to tinker it as much as you want. They generally modify basic stuff like damage and the Action Points cost. Some positive modifiers are not entirely drawback-free, as some of them do things like increase the AP cost or increase the Chi cost (in most cases adding a Chi cost to an originally normal maneuver).
Some modifiers come with Prerequisites, which range from laughably low to pretty hefty.

Once you own a maneuver, you can buy others based on the same vanilla maneuver at a reduced price. You just have to pay 2 CP before any modifiers, or 1 CP if that's the maneuver's base cost. You can also create maneuvers based on your basic maneuver, in which case you just pay the price for the modifiers.

The list is as follows (CP cost modifier in paranthesis):

Combo Maneuvers

Who doesn't like pulling off combos in fighting games? If you do, here are three ways to represent them in Thrash:

Combo Maneuver : A predefined combo you have to buy with CP (the cost being the number of maneuvers -1) that is treated like a single maneuver in its own right, which does allow you to apply modifiers to the combo as a whole, though the book never goes into detail how this affects the individual maneuvers in the combo. Does something like Power Strike affect every single one? Just the first? Or the last?
Anyways, the main reason to buy such a combo is to reduce the AP cost (which is 80% of the total of all maneuver involved) and to make it harder for the opponent to defend. If the first maneuver hits, he suffers a -5 penalty on all attempts to defend against the rest. Has a limit to it in that the maneuvers inside it can't surpass [number of maneuvers x 7] in total AP.

Spontaneous Combo : This is a combo you just pull off on the fly, including up to your Agility in maneuvers. You don't get the AP cost reduction of a Combo Maneuver, but you do get the nice -5 defense penalty. The drawback of this whole deal is that you have to declare all the maneuvers in advance, though you can abort if the first strike is a miss (though that costs AP, too).

Simultaneous Combo Maneuvers : You pull of 2 to 3 maneuvers at once. You take the highest AP cost and damage, increase the first based on the numbeer of maneuvers and add your usual damage bonuses (aka Strength) from the other maneuvers. You can probably pull of something silly with low AP maneuvers, but this won't be necessary to break the system.

Team Attacks

Just some rules about how to cross the Chi streams and how you can make a combo consisting of maneuvers from multiple characters.

Maneuver Descriptions

Now onto the real meat of the chapter!

As already seen above, all maneuver cost AP to perform, and may or may not also eat up Chi. They have Accuracy which is added to your combat roll, and deal Damage (usually 1dx + whatever, which is further modified by your Damage Bonus and other modifiers).
Maneuvers also have Move, which determines how many hexes you can go while using the maneuver (so I guess you can make hit-and-run tactics?). If your opponent is still out of reach, you can combine the maneuver with a movement-related maneuver like the aptly-named Movemnt. There are however some limitations in place: You can't move farther than your Agility in a turn, and maneuvers that have their Move written out (like "One" or "None") give you just that and nothing more.

Basic Maneuvers

These are maneuvers that everyone knows from the start. You get your typical setup of Light/Heavy Punch/Kick (used by pretty much everyone except Capcom and whoever's responsible for developing Skullgirl this week). This might just be a good opportunity to showcase the typical maneuver formatting in the book:

Looking at Heavy Punch, you might be wondering why having worse Accuracy, Move and taking more than 3 times as much time compared to Light Punch is worth an average of +1 damage. Let's just say that the book kinda underestimates the usefulness of low AP maneuvers.

You can also Grab , which doesn't deal damage on its own, but is rather used to start a combo, as grapples are a bit harder to defend against (we'll get to that in a moment).

For movement, you have Dash (aka running around) and Movement , which is less of an independent maneuver and more of a spontaneous modifier (+1 AP per +1 Move).

Defending also requires the usage of a maneuver. Everyone starts out with Dodge (avoids an attack entirely) and Parry (reduces the damage by the result of your parry roll, with a minimum of 1 damage).

Basic Weapon Maneuvers

These are basic maneuvers you can only use with a weapon. You have your typical weapon fighting game setup of Light/Medium/Heavy Strike , with a defensive maneuver called Block . I really think Parry and Block should swap their names. Makes more sense IMO.

Strangely, the Strike maneuvers don't have a damage dice, but instead just -3/+0/+2. We'll get to that when weapons are actually covered.

Now onto the maneuvers you can actually buy! I'll just give you a highlight reel, seeing how this post is already pretty long without commenting on every variation of "kick stuff".


These all involve jumping around and/or doing crazy acrobatics tricks. They are easily the maneuvers with the highest Move, whichs requires high Agility to really take advantage of.


Basically give you different versions of Parry (which really should've been called "Block") with added utility, like being able to Parry projectiles and weapons (which Parry already can do, though the result of the parry roll is halved). Most of these are a bit pointless. If you have high Agility and get some Increased Speed onto your Dodge, you can probably ignore most of these maneuvers altogether. Blocks generally have high Accuracy, but you will always take at least 1 point of damage.


Only 3 maneuvers here, all about avoiding stuff.


The crazy supernatural stuff. Pretty much anything here costs Chi, so don't rely too much on it.


Grappling maneuvers are a bit special in that blocks do nothing here. You have to perform a special action that costs 2 APs and has +0 Accuracy (much lower than your typical block).

Apart from that, there isn't really anything special here. Just a bunch of maneuvers with high AP and low Move, as well as two defensive maneuvers (one to counter throws, one to get out of a sustained hold).


Hurting foes with your legs!

Also nothing too notable here. Kicks are generally slower and less accurate than punches.

Multi-Kick : Chun-Li's signature move. A bit like the Multiple Strike modifier, but you don't add your Strength to any of the kicks. This makes this maneuver very, very pointless, as you could just make a combo of normal kicks.


Now here are some interesting things:


Unlike the basic weapon maneuvers, these actually have damage dice. It's like you totally suck at using weapons unless you get yourself a maneuver.

Super Attacks

The big ones, only usable if you hulk out.

Yeah, apart from Chi Star, Super Attack Combo and especially Rage Burn, this is quite a mixed bag of super moves to be honest. You'd think Mega-Attack would have something to reflect the invincibility frames and large hitboxes you tend to get in fighting games.

Sooo, now on to finalizing your example character!

Here Comes A New Challenger - Again!

When we last left our Scottish heroine, we had 28 CPs left to spend on maneuvers, as well as the 7 CPs we get from the Generic Style, which we'll spend first.

I'm not sure if you can spend these 7 CPs only on vanilla maneuvers, but every other style is doing just that. I'll stick with that to be on the safe side.

We'll spend the 7 CPs on Head Butt (Scots are tough), Knuckle Fist (just to have a little maneuver variation example) and Uppercut (a Knockdown maneuver for 5 APs sounds nice). We also note down the Iron Fist maneuver we got for free as part of the Discipline of the same name.

Before we go into modifying stuff, we'll buy a couple vanilla maneuvers, namely Jump (because everyone has it), as well as Kippup (because ignoring Knockdown sounds awesome) and Circular Parry (as it's nice to have). These thre cost us 7 CP, leaving us with 21 CPs.

For Sherry's bread-and-butter move, I have devised the Quickening Knuckle , a running Knuckle Fist to the face. We take the Knuckle Fist manuver we already know (so we pay 2 CP instead of the normal 3 CP for that maneuver) and add the Dashing Move modifier (which costs +5 CP) for a total of 7 CP. This changes the move like this:

Quickening Knuckle
Accuracy : +2
Action Points : 2
Chi Cost : None
Damage : 2d4
Move : 6

Note that Sherry's Area Specialisation (Punch) changes this further to Accuracy +3 and AP 1. This is also true for using the maneuver inside a combo (combos specifically mention that each hit is handled individually, and you can make combos using maneuvers from all kinds of categories). With an Agility of 10, we can create a Spontaneous Combo of 10 Quickening Knuckles, each dealing 2d4 + 6 (our Damage Bonus) + 1 (from Iron Fist), which is very hard to avoid - especially if we pull this off after say using Displacement (for a total of Accuracy +6).
Suffice to say this is ridiculously fast, seeing how most maneuvers are at around 5 to 8 AP. Damage ain't to shabby either as even the hardest-hitting maneuvers only have like 1d10 + bonuses. The only maneuver with a noticably higher base damage is the Chi Star with 1d10+12.

Speaking of Displacement, that's exactly what we're going to buy next, costing 3 CP. For an additional +3 CP, we add Increased Speed to it, bringing the AP cost down from 4 to 1, allowing us to spam this all day long. We call this creation the Lightning Step .

The remaining 8 CP all go into Sherry's only super move: Gaelic Rage . It's the already amazing Rage Burn (4 CP) with 2 levels of the Decreased Chi Cost modifier (+ 4 CP), reducing the Chi cost from 10 to 8. Not terribly useful right now as Sherry has only 13 Chi and nothing else to spend it on (so she can only pull this move off once per fight either way), but it will surely come in handy once we boost her Chi.

With this long chapter over, we'll finally learn the actual rules in the next chapter! Then we will find out whether all this dry theory is as gloriously cheesy and broken as planned!

(I'll probably pick one of the generic NPCs at the end of the book for a test fight. I could look for a writeup of an actual fighting game character, but those tend to be a bit too experienced, aka they have very high style levels. Maybe I'll do both to see how broken Sherry is).


posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Chapter 6: Rules


"All things will die and everything will be broken; that is the law of the samurai."
-- Samurai Shodown II
Valar morghulis

After being more than halfway through the book, we're finally getting into how to actually play the game! Keep in mind how the introduction told us that the rules are supposedly designed to "play relatively quickly" and be "not particularly complex".

The rules start with a short paragraph on the "Rule Zero", or "If a rule annoy you, ignore it", as the writer quotes from the Project A-ko RPG (wow, that's a thing?). Common sense, basically.

Success Tests

The resolution system is Interlock. 1d10 + Attribute + Skill plus whatever. It even has the typical Interlock target numbers increasing in increments of 5, though a TN of 25 is strangely skipped.
Ties are generally considered a stalemate, unless you really need a winner, in which case both sides roll an unmodified 1d10, with the highest one winning.
There's also "Contested Difficulty", meaning that in some cases, one side of the contest might have an advantage, forcing the other side to win the roll by a certain margin to win. It's just a more complicated way of saying "Side A has an advantage, so side B suffers a -2 to their roll".
The example used for this is about a 500 pound wrestler pinning a 120 pound karate dude, with the weight difference making it harder for the karate dude to escape. This is the only time weight has any factor anywhere (unless you're using this weight reduction Focus maneuver).

Combat (cue Guile's Theme!)

Combat starts out as your typical affair, with everything being separated into turns that last "a few seconds". A bit weird how we have such a vague reference if anything in combat cost Action Points, but whatever. Moving on.

Initiative is based on your Base Action Points. At the beginning of every turn, you roll 1d10 and add the result to your Base APs. This tells you how many APs you can spend that turn, as well as your initiative order. Note that the order is always based on your current APs, so initiative can go back and forth several times per turn. You can perform a maneuver that requires more AP than you currently have, but the difference will carry over to the next turn.
This really reminds me of that FASA Star Trek RPG, or other clunky RPGs from the same era. An action-points-based combat system might work for the old Fallout and X-COM games, but those use a computer to deal with all the clunky parts.

The general nature of "initiative by current APs" also makes Combos very attractive, as they count as a single maneuver, allowing you to perform the whole combo even if the individual maneuvers would make you lose initiative around halfway through. Though should the opponent survive this onslaught, he might just have a big AP advantage.
There's also a certain problem arising from the "APs as initiative"-nature of the rules. Certain Disciplines/Advantages/whathaveyou modify "Initiative", almost as if it was its own thing. I would assume this affects your APs, but then you have the Intimidation skill that can give your opponent a -4 on initiative and cut their APs in half. I guess initiative modifiers only apply to that AP roll at the start of the turn, but it's still weird O_o


Battles are fought on a hexgrid (with 1 grid = around 3 feet or 1 meter), with the grand majority of attacks only being able to hit stuff on the same hex. So if you want to use miniatures, better make sure the grids are big.
As noted in the last chapter, you can't generally cover more hexes per turn than your Agility. Any character with Agility 1 might as well be an immobile statue.

Attacking and defending is handled similar to a skill roll, except the "skill" in question is "your maneuver's Style + Accuracy", and ties actually go to the attacker. Block maneuvers generally always "fail", as their roll is just there to find out by how much you reduce the incoming damage (dammit, I might've misrepresented this last chapter. Foiled again <_<). So unless your Style + Agility is noticably lower than your opponent's it's usually better to try to evade, as that prevents damage entirely.

As defensive actions are also maneuvers that eat up AP, being spammed by 1 AP attacks makes it very likely for you to never gain initiative unless you give up and let yourself get hit a couple times.

Speaking of getting hit, should the attacker succeeds, he rolls the damage for his maneuver, adds his damage bonuses (cue a repeat of that funny Basic Damage chart that amounts to "Attribute - 4"), and then the defender makes a Soak Roll to see how much damage he actually takes.
The Soak Roll amounts to 1d10 + Stamina (plus other factors like Body Hardening or armor). You then divide the total by 4, round down and reduce incoming damage by that amount.
I don't know how you feel, but "random damage reduction involving divisions and rounding" does not strike me particularly suitable for a "realtively quick" anime-ish fighting game combat system. You can probably speed up combat big time by just taking the average roll and write down the final result on your sheet.

There are rules for aborting a maneuver (saving half the APs in the process), but I'm not sure when this would ever come up, unless your opponent defends with something really scary or something.

You also have Berzerker Attacks and Desperate Defense, your typical All-Out Attack / Total Defense. Berzerker Attacks are a bit special in that you need to have reached your Rage Threshold, wish will be explained shortly.

Stunning (or "Dizzying", as it is called here) is a thing in just about every fighting game, so it of course is featured here (though Hit Stun is strangely absent). Whenever you take more damage in a single turn than your Dizzying Threshold, you have to make a Stamina Roll against a Target Number of 20, with a failure making you unable to do anything the following turn (where you may or may not get light punched to death).
Note how this only happens on the following turn. Apparently, if you take lots of damage early on in the turn, you don't notice it until the turn is over.

The Mekton Z influence can be felt when we reach rules for facing, complete with AP costs for turning and accuracy penalties for attacking stuff behind you. I think I will just ignore this one.

You can also try to fake a maneuver, baiting your opponent into wasting APs for defense. Failing this however gives you a heavy defense penalty for the counter attack, so I don't think this is really worth it, especially if ou can just have the opponent spend those APs by actually attacking.


Whenver you're hit, the total damage (before any reduction like soak) is added to your pool of Rage Points. Once you reach your Rage Threshold, you hulk out, with several effects: You can use super maneuvers, though pulling off even one has your Rage drop back to 0. While raging, your non-supers become stronger (+2 Damage), and you also speed up (+3 AP).
You can keep this state going for as long as you want, but after a number of turns equal to your Focus, you start losing 2 Rage Points per turn, until they reach 0. Not that this is much of a problem unless you avoid getting hit even once after that. You don't even have to get hurt all that much in the process. Just block like once to keep the rage flowing.

There are some roleplaying hints about how Rage can affect your character, also going into how story events can have you gain or lose Rage. Think about how Goku went nuts when Krillin was killed by Freeza, or how calming it is to see a bunch of kittens.
Seeing how performing a super maneuver immediately drops your Rage to 0, you can always calm down immediately by super-punching the air.

As an optional rule, you can continue to gain Rage beyond your threshold, but once you're over 150%, you start to go berserk, giving your offensive bonuses, defensive penalties, and an irresistible urge to make at least one attack per turn, even if this would mean attacking your friends.

We also get a short section on stunts, which basically amounts to "let the GM fudge everything".
We also get a reminder on stun damage, noting how any physical attack can be set to stun with a -2 Accuracy penalty. Not really sure why this is necessary. We get some guidelines later in the chapter on when someone generally dies (Health falls below negative Stamina x 2), but the GM can always have them survive if he wants.

After a random Lifting chart (Strength in Thrash is roughly twice as good as Mekton's Body stat, with our Sherry being able to bench press 525 pounds), we get to weapons!

Weapons come in three categories (melee, missile, firearms), with the former being the most common.


The basic weapon strikes are designated Light Strike and Heavy Strike, and use the same modifiers as Light and Heavy Punch (see the maneuvers section), but with the modifiers of the weapon added in.
But what about those Light/Medium/Heavy Strikes we saw earlier ?!

Oh well, having it based on your basic punches at least makes somewhat sense. Those basic strike maneuvers we saw earlier didn't even have dice to roll, making that version of the Light Strike much weaker than a Light Punch, which is just weird.

Melee weapons come with 5 stats: The amount of hands needed to carry them, their reach and their Accuracy, AP and Damage modifiers added to any weapon maneuver they're used with.
Ranged weapons are a bit different as they don't use basic maneuvers. Their stat block already includes their maneuver. Most ranged weapons are also not muscle-powered, so they don't have a damage modifier, but rather the total damage already listed.

Weird weapon-related things include:

With weapons around, it only makes sense to also have a couple pieces of armor to wear. The list consists of medieval stuff, samurai armor, a flak vest and "high-tech armor". Anything but the flak vest comes with an encumbrance penalty to your Agility, though that's where the Armor Fighting discipline comes into play.
The actual rules for armor a bit clunky. They add to your soak roll, but different amounts based on the type of atack (Impact, Thrust, firearms). There's also a "Coverage" stat which you have to roll under on a 1d10 to see whether the enemy actually hits an armored part, adding another unnecessary roll to the process.

The highest Soak Bonus for impact damage (aka what you're mostly going to face) comes from the High-Tech Armor with +16 (aka -4 damage). Not sure if this is actually useful, as this will just make it more attractive to just spam low AP attacks.

Suffice to say, Riddle of Steel / Blade of the Iron Throne, this is not.

Epic Battle Rules

This is a little optional modification for the big boss fights, where the fighters may or may not go Super-Saiyan beforehand. The changes are:

I don't think the Dizzy Threshold can quite keep up with the crazy triple-damage shenanigans going on once someone hulks out.

We then go into the typical stuff about recovery (recovering from a fight can take days unless you use cinematic healing rules and meditate a lot), non-combat damage source, social interactions (aka "fame has its drawbacks") and what to spend your experience on. There's a somewhat neat rule about Training, which nets you Training Points that you can spend like Experience Points, provided that 50% of the points spend are proper Experience Points. So no sitting at home waxing your car till you're able to curbstomp Omega Rugal or that incredibly cheap bloke from Samurai Shodown VI.
The chapter finishes with like the third version of learning stuff spontaneously so far, this one allowing to go into negative Experience Points or just getting a maneuver for free, provided there's an adventure revolving about learning the maneuver or something.

Phew, I think this is getting a bit too long for an example fight. Thankfully, Chapter 7 (the GM section) is rather short, so I can probably do both in one post.
After my last post, I also remembered how the character creation chapter had an example character. Let's see how Sherry fares against a normal starting character!

GM Section (and Combat Example)

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Chapter 7: GM Section (and Combat Example)

Now we've reached the final proper chapter (which doesn't say much seeing how the appendices take up the last third of the book), but before that, a little interlude...

Combat that may or may not be mortal!

In her quest to find the nefarious barrel breakers, Sherry McTappington has just entered her first tournament and is now facing Tomiko Yamada - aka that Judo girl that served as the example character for the character creation chapter! Let me quote her background:


Now comes the fun part. ^_^ Okay, her name is Tomiko Yamada. She is an 18-year-old judo fighter, originally from Kyoto, where she learned judo from her grandfather, despite his total inability to keep different quantities straight. Tomiko began entering tournaments only this year, after she was attacked by and defeated the infamous Pigeon Eddie, a ruthless criminal mastermind and practitioner of the Saiiko style of Karate, whose evil she now wishes to put an end to. Tomiko is friendly and outgoing, but never puts up with any injustice, to the point of occasional megalomania… She is fairly short and rather cute, and has short green hair for no apparent reason. In combat she wears her judo gi, which is bright blue in color.
It's reassuring to see that my example character is totally in line with the creator's intent.

Now on to her character sheet. I've taken the liberties to write down the total soak roll, and I made a handy little table for her entire move list with all bonuses already factored in so i can just pick and roll:

Tomiko Yamada
Attributes : Intelligence 5, Focus 7, Charisma 5, Will 7, Strength 4, Agility 9, Stamina 7, Appearance 8
Base APs : 12
Chi : 32 Health : 28
Dizzy Threshold : 15 Rage Threshold : 21
Base Damage : Strength : +0 Focus : +3
Skills : Computer 3, Cooking 2, Language: English 4 (Japanese is native language), Taunt 5
Advantages & Disadvantages : Mentor 3
Disciplines : Blind Fighting 4
Styles : Judo 4
Soak Roll : 1d10 + 7

Maneuver		Acc	APs	Chi	Dmg	Move	Notes
Great Talon Shredder	+13	10	5	1d10+3	None	Projectile (Range 1)
Screaming Eagle Shot	*	24	*	*	*	Combo Maneuver (Body Flip, Screaming Eagle Shot, Soaring Hawk Crusher)
Soaring Hawk Crusher	+11	12	-	1d6+2	None	Grappling maneuver

Body Flip		+13	7	-	1d6	1	Grappling maneuver
Foot Sweep		+12	8	-	1d6	1	Crouching, Knockdown
Heavy Kick		+10	9	-	1d6+2	None
Heavy Punch		+13	7	-	1d6	None
Light Kick		+14	3	-	1d4+1	1
Light Punch		+15	2	-	1d4	1
Tackle			+10	10	-	1d6	4	Knockdown for both

Breakfall		-	-	-	-	2	Add Agility to Soak vs Knockdown
Dash			-	4	-	-	6	
Dodge			+13	5	-	-	3	Evasion
Grab			+13	3	-	-	2	Grab stuff for combos I guess
Jump			+16	3	-	-	9	Aerial, +2 Dmg while jumping, Evasion vs projectiles
Movement		-	1	-	-	1	Maneuver Modifier
Parry			+14	2	-	-	2	Block

A few things of note here: Every character starts with a skill level of 3 in his/her native language. Tomiko her is therefore more fluent in English than she is in Japanese. Must be some kind of reverse-Otaku...
Her "Great Talon Shredder" is your standard Chi Blast, with the "Short Blast" modifier. This is one of the worst modifiers you could possibly take, as it reduces the Blast's range from Focus + Will (which would be 14 in her case) to 1 . All this because of 2 friggin' CP.
Her "Soaring Hawk Crusher" is just the vanilla maneuver "Leaping Slam" retitled, which is fine and all, if a bit bland.
Oh, and her Combo Maneuver is also not rules legal, as the base maneuver's combined AP are larger than the allowed limit (number of hits times 7). I think I will just treat this as a Super Combo (which has no limit). She doesn't have one, anyways, and it's not like she would use this very often (premade combos can't be aborted AFAIK, so she's kinda screwed if she misses).

I also just noticed that Breakfall is another of these maneuvers that doesn't actually work like a maneuver and is more like an Advantage. Whoops.

Anyways, this is looking fine and all. Now here's Sherry with her expanded sheet:

Sherry McTappington
Attributes : Intelligence 6, Focus 4, Charisma 4, Will 5, Strength 8 (10/6), Agility 10, Stamina 8, Appearance 6
Base APs : 12
Chi : 13 Health : 32
Dizzy Threshold : 16 Rage Threshold : 17
Base Damage : Strength : +4 (+6/+2) Focus : +0
Skills : First Aid 1, Intimidation 3, Language (Scottish) 3, Lore (Scotland) 3, Survival 3, Swimming 2, Taunt 4
Advantages & Disadvantages : Area Specialisation (Punch), Delusion (minor, "Scootlund is th' best!"), No Kick Training, Pacifism (no killing)
Disciplines : Body Hardening 4, Iron Fist 3
Styles : Fist of the Highlands (Generic Style) 4
Soak Roll : 1d10 + 20

Maneuver		Acc	APs	Chi	Dmg	Move	NotesGaelic Rage		-	2	8	-	-	Super; For 4 turns 2x APs, +2 Move & Acc to all maneuvers 
Lightning Step		+16	1	-	-	3	Evasion, can use Punch with AP <= 6 immediately afterwards with +3 Acc
Quickening Knuckle	+17	1	-	1d6+7	6

Head Butt		+15	6	-	1d6+7	1	
Heavy Punch		+15	6	-	1d6+7	None	
Iron Fist		+14	8	-	1d6+10	None	
Knuckle fist		+17	4	-	1d6+9	1	
Light Punch		+17	1	-	1d4+7	
Uppercut		+16	4	-	1d6+7	1	Knockdown, Counter vs Aerial

Circular Parry		+17	5	-	-	3	Block, 1 use lasts entire turn
Dash			-	4	-	-	6	
Dodge			+14	5	-	-	3	Evasion
Grab			+14	3	-	-	2	Grab stuff for combos I guess
Jump			+17	3	-	-	10	Aerial, +2 Dmg while jumping, Evasion vs projectiles
Kippup			+16	3	-	-	1	"Get out of Knockdown for free" card
Movement		-	1	-	-	1	Maneuver Modifier
Parry			+15	2	-	-	2	Block

Note that Sherry doesn't have Light and Heavy Kick because of her No Kick Training. She has a replacement maneuver for when she really, really needs to kick stuff, but that one's so crappy I'm not even going to bother.

(Why does Kippup have Accuracy, anyways? It's a purely reactive maneuver that works every time according to the description o_O )

As you can see, Tomiko's low Strength and focus on high-AP maneuvers seem to put her at a severe disadvantage. Not to mention that high-AP maneuvers also tend to have low Accuracy. Oh well, it'll be fun anyways.


"The Wheel of Fate is turning... Rebel 1... Action!"
-- BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
This one's not in the book. I just always wanted to quote this glorious display of Engrish

I'm not going to use a hexgrid for this 1-on-1 duel. I might do that for something like BattleTech or Heavy Gear, but in this case, I think that keeping track of the relative distance should do the trick just fine, and it's kinda closer to the source material.

Turn 1

Since both have a style level of 4, it come down to the 1d10 initiative roll... which ends up at 10 for both. Well, I guess another roll to determine who goes first... Sherry 3, Tomiko 5. So the judo girl goes first!

Sherry : AP 22, Health 32, Rage 0
Tomiko : AP 22, Health 28, Rage 0
Distance : 5

With APs so close and 5 hexes to cover, Tomiko doesn't really have much options here (sure was a good idea to make that Chi Blast short ranged...), so she goes for the noob tactic of "jump and kick combo" (in this case a light kick so save APs). Sherry could counter this with her Uppercut, but she has better things to do, namely her Lightning Step!

The combat rolls are 1d10+14 for Tomiko's jump kick (based on the kicks's Accuracy. Jump's Accuracy is only used for dodging projectiles) and 1d10+16 for Sherry's Lightning Step... 15 and 21! As Tomiko lands where Sherry stood mere moments ago, she suddenly spots the Scottish girl right besides here, with a very big grin on her face and a raised fist, performing an immediate Quickening Knuckle with a +3 Accuracy Bonus as per Displacement's description (*insert dramatic shounen anime freeze-frame stuff here*).

A bit tacken by surprise. Tomiko immediately blo... err. parries, seeing how it would be pretty hard to beat a 1d10 + 20. She instead reduces the incoming damage by 1d10 + 14. Seeing how the Quickening Fist deals 1d6 + 6 damage, this would turn out to be 1 damage anyways, but we need to roll to see how much Rage Tomiko gains... 9. And has Parry has a move of 2, she decides to dash back that may hexes.
(Neat. Blocking strong dudes a couple times raises your Rage like crazy. Let's see if that helps her in any ways.)

Sherry : AP 20, Health 32, Rage 0
Tomiko : AP 14, Health 27, Rage 9
Distance : 2

With initiative gonig over to Sherry, it's time for a spontaneous 10-hit Quickening Knuckle combo extravaganza!
As Sherry has to announce this beforehand, Tomiko has time to go "Oh crap!" and consider her options. All she can really do here is bloc... err, parrying like there's no tomorrow, as dodging would eat up her AP fast. Even then, chances are she'll run out of APs...

(I'll just roll the damage as her parries will reduce anything to 1, and even then I'll only be doing it till she becomes enraged.)

Hit 1: Damage 11
Hit 2: Damage 8 => TOMIKO SMASH (Rage Threshold reached, resulting in AP net gain of +1) !

Sherry : AP 18, Health 32, Rage 0
Tomiko : AP 13, Health 25, Rage 21
Distance : 0

Enraging doesn't help her much this turn apart from the AP boost. With all her remaining AP, she can parry 7 further maneuvers, pusing her AP into negative -1 territory, which will carry over to next turn.

Hit 3 - 9: Nothing to see here...

Sherry : AP 11, Health 32, Rage 0
Tomiko : AP -1, Health 18, Rage 21
Distance : 0

What's this? Sherry can still do 11 more Quickening Knuckles, without Tomiko being able to do anything? Let the fun commence!

Hit 1: Damage 11, Soak Roll 8 (aka -2 Damage) => Health 9
Hit 2: Damage 12, Soak Roll 8 (aka -2 Damage) => Health -1 KO!

(The other hits won't be rolled, but are still performed as some kind of finisher because why not)

Long story short: To win in Thrash, you have to be Kenshiro .

Unless your opponent also min-maxed a defensive maneuver down to 1 AP, he'll eventually run out, leaving him wide open. You can kinda discourage this attack spamming with a sped-up Power Block (which deals your Strength Bonus in damage back to the attacker), but you will still lose Health faster than your opponent with that, and you'll be building up his Rage which will just end up making his attacks stronger.

Oh well, now back to the chapter I'm supposed to cover here!

GM Section


-- M. Bison, Street Fighter: The Movie
I personally would've gone for Bison quoting that bible verse. Quoteception

This chapter boils down to listing various fighting game genre convetions (aka tropes) and possible deviations.

Being Creative: Aka "Stop using tournaments so you don't have to make dozens of NPCs, and come up with a setting that is not modern day Earth"

Elements : Fighting games tend to be very action-packed and offer more or less humor. There are also lots of subplots involving rivalries and stuff, and don't make the overall Power Level too ridiculous because we've all seen what happened with that DBZ Fuzion RPG.

Cliched Enemy Types : All your stereotypical villains, though they all basically amount to "super powerful jerk".

Roleplaying Anime : As Thrash is geared more towards Anime fighters, we get a paragraph what this can mean for your campaign. You basically invoke the "Rule of Cool" a lot and be extra careful about the story. Because if anything is known for riveting storytelling, it's fighting games.

Roleplaying Vs. Kicking Ass : Aka "Don't forget the roleplaying part, and make NPCs more than a bunch of numbers". Standard stuff, really.

Send In The Clones! : Mirror Fights in fighting games exist. Use them for Thrash, you can.

Other Genres : Thrash supposedly also works for Action Movies, Anime (didn't we already have that a couple times?), Fantasy and Mecha, with the Anime and Mecha genre having their own sourcebook by a guy called Rob Pool. The former happened, the latter not so much, though there was another mecha sourcebook based on Rob's ideas or something.

Monsters : You could have the PCs fight dragons and other monsters, but this seems unlikely seeing how this section just goes "Have the GM wing everything ".

That was a bit short and bland, to be honest. Though I guess some of this could be useful if you're new to roleplaying and know little about fighting game or anime tropes (raising the question why you would download this pdf then). I would've liked something like a guide how to make boss characters challenging for the whole group. If they don't have Circular Parry, they kinda run out of AP fast, and we've just seen wha thappens then.

Next time : The first and biggest appendix: Weird Powers (aka "Stuff that should've been in the character creation chapter but isn't, because being psychic is apparently not as 'realistic' as being able to throw energy balls, even though most of these Weird Powers actually give you an excuse for being able to do that")!

Appendix 1: Weird Powers

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG 

Appendix 1: Weird Powers

Little addendum from last time: the Knuckle Fist and its derivatives actually do 2d4 base damage instead of 1d6 (making it even more broken than in the demonstration). Got kinda carried away with all those 1d6 maneuvers. Me fail, and sorry

Anyhow, let's move on to Weird Powers, which give you all kinds of freakish powers to hopefully make your character even more ridiculous!



"What are 'ya?! Some kind of bottom-feeding scum-sucking algae eater?!"
-- Duke Nukum [sic]
Any chance of him appearing in Mortal Kombat?

This short paragraph gives some general guidelines for alien characters (or really any character that is more or less non-humanoid). It amounts to pre-defined attribute bonuses/penalties and generally coming up with new maneuvers, styles and possible Advantages/Disciplines to factor in their alien physiology (as say tentacle monsters can't really punch or kick). A bit vague, but at least there are style/maneuver creation rules in a later appendix, and many of the following Weird Powers have some unique abilities you can use as a guideline (or pick directly).


Cyborgs do pop up in fighting games, but they tend to be a bit rare outside of Mortal Kombat (weird how this section mentions Fulgore and Omega Rugal, but not Jax or any of the cyborg ninjas. Oh well, you can't please everyone). In terms of roleplaying, cyborgs get the short end of the stick as other fighters tend to see them as "cheaters" (because teleporting, throwing fireballs and slicing stuff up with your fingers is totally fine), and some tournaments won't even allow them in.

In game terms, being a cyborg is an advantage with levels, each of which replacing one of your body parts until your almost 100% machine at level 6. If you want to make an actual robot however, you have to wait for the Thrash Sourcebook.
As a cyborg, your Strength will be set to 9 if you originally had a lower score (allowing you to safe a lot of attribute points at character creation if you just go with Strength 1 and then buy this advantage), and you can bump your Strength to 15 (the maximum Attribte score) without paying extra CPs or having to get that Advantage that raises your current limit from 10. Neat, though I'm not sure how that Strength minimum comes from. Do cybernetic implants give off steroids, or is an overdose part of the surgery?
You also add your Cybernetics level to your Soak Bonus, which means this will at most stop 2 additional points of damage. You'd think a mostly metal body would do more here.
Lastly, your artifical body parts allow you to cheat when it comes to purchasing stuff, substitution your Cybernetics level times 2 for any attribute requirement. This is about the cheapest way to get that amazing Flash Strike modifier without having to bump Focus and Will to pretty high levels.

Cyborgs can also buy "Cybernetic Systems", which are a couple unique Advantages to get for your character - at least I think they're advantages, which is kinda important if you get those after character creation because everything's more expensive after that.


While you can already throw around fire, lightning and whatnot by taking modifiers and changing some descriptions, some characters are a lot more in tune with their elment of choice. This seems to be quite comming in the King of Fighters franchise, with characters like Kyo Kusanagi (magical pyrokinesis) or Kula Diamond (cryokinesis through science!).
Being such an elemental gives you a passive bonus and access to special maneuvers related to your element (earth, air, fire, water, wood, metal, ice and electricity), one of which being the free Elemental Aura that does something different depending on your element, and you can get the Rage Burn super maneuver for 1 CP cheaper. I hope this is worth it, because as a 9 CP Advantage, this is pretty expensive. Could be a CP tax to enforce the rarity of multi-elemental characters.

I'll follow the book and sort the elemental stuff in general maneuvers and elemental-specific maneuvers. The individual elements already appear in the general section to notify of their unique traits, but I'll move that information into its "proper" section.

General Elemental Maneuvers

I'll skip the Elemental Aura and Elemental Form maneuvers here, as they heavily depend on your element in question.

Air Elementals

Air elementals can buy some maneuvers like Air Jump and Levitation cheapter than normal. Their Elemental Aura comes in the form of a protective wind current that gives you a soak bonus of +8 and can cause attackers to get thrown away from you. The elemental form is the same, but with a bigger soak bonus (+15).

Earth Elementals

The power of the earth again makes a couple maneuvers cheaper, half of which are restorative maneuvers. The Elemental Aura gives a hefty Soak Bonus of +16, but reduces Agility by -2. Elemental Form makes that +24 and -3, respectively. I think I'd rather use something that does not reduce the game's god stat.


This one does not make some maneuvers cheaper, but instead makes all your Chi Blasts electricity-based for free (aka +1 Damage, - AP), and you can get Power Strike for just +1 CP.
Elemental Aura sounds pretty nifty as it damages anyone hitting you based on your Focus and boosts all of your physical attacks by +1d6. Elemental Form is again the same, better.


Fire grants the same passive bonuses as electricity (with Flaming Blasts granting +2 Damage instead of electricity-based ones, of course), but also makes Fire Breath cheaper. Elemental Aura and Form also work the same as electricity's.


All Chi Blasts are Ice Blasts (+2 Damage, Dizzy lasts 2 turns), and you can upgrade them to Ice Crystal Blasts (+3 Damage, +2 Chi) for just +1 CP. Elemental Aura and Form are like earth's.


Doesn't come with anything passive apart from the cheaper Rage Burn everyone gets. Other than that, it's like earth.


Also doesn't have passives apart from Rage Burn. Elemental Aura and Form work like with air, with the added bonus of fitting through small holes while in Elemental Form.


It's basically the same as earth, with one fewer cheap maneuver and the option of turning the Elemental Aura into a "Leaf Shield" that works like the air version of Elemental Aura.

I tell ya, having D&D-esque spells written like fighting game maneuvers is weird .


Nothing here of substance, except for "wait for that DarkStalkers sourcebooks that either never existed or at least does not exist anymore".

Mutant Animals

You're a furry, with access to further advantages to represent your animalistic abilities. I'm really not sure why this book makes so many distinctions between creatures. All the stuff you can get here would work just as well for aliens and monsters.

And here are three maneuvers your furry fighter can have:


Everyone knows that psychics like M. Bison or Athena don't really use telekinesis and mind reading, but are rather some kind of "psychic elemental" using lots of energy-based attacks - though that doesn't stop the book from presenting all those more traditional psychic powers.
Like everything before in this appendix, being a psychic is an advantage, more specifically one that comes in levels like being a cyborg. You can buy focus maneuvers as psychic maneuvers, which are cheaper and use your Psychic level in place for Focus. Power Strike is also cheaper. Not really sure why you couldn't make this an advantage without level and have your Focus work normally. Sounds needlessly complicated.

On to psychic disciplines. They're your standard affair, with telekinesis being called "psychokinesis" for some reason. And of course you get Telepathy which at high levels allows you to mind control people and trap them in a hallucination, killing them while their unconscous or just mess with them. Fun stuff.

Now onto Psionic maneuvers (shouldn't that be "Psychic maneuvers"?)!


These are a bunch of "Magic Paths", aka Disciplines that give you magic stuff to toy with. Some spells are require hour-long rituals, whereas most are fast enough to be used in combat - though those should be better prepared as scrolls beforehand, as spontaneous casting kinda blows here (spend 11 APs for 2 turns vs a scroll's 4 AP).
Being a sorcerer requires lots of studying, and you get what is essentially Read Magic for free. To be really good as casting, you can get yourself the Sorcery "Style", which is priced like a style, but doesn't actually work as one. It's just a fancy Discipline boosting your spell rolls and Chi total. It also makes focus maneuvers cheaper and gives you a lot of meta-magic- and anti-magic-esque abilities, including an energy absorbtion ability that can easily make you completely immune against energy attacks, at no real AP cost from your side.

The Magic Paths in question are 7 (at least according to the text; it's actually 9) total:

So far, the best course of actions seems to be to start as a nerdy weakling, only to then become a cyborg necromancer with Wood maneuvers (a cybernecrodruid, if you will), min-maxing your Strength and giving your the best debuffs in the book that will make your opponent very useless . Add Telepathy for extra lulz

Next time, we look at the last 2 very short appendixes to give a final verdict!

Appendix 2+3: Miscellaneous & System Notes

posted by Doresh Original SA post

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG

Appendix 2+3: Miscellaneous & System Notes

Now on the the last two appendices!

Animal Compantion

Characters with the Animal Companion are like Nakoruru and Galford from Samurai Shodown in that they have a loyal animal to occasionally help them out.
The level of your Advantage determines how easy and fast you can call your animal companion. I would also allow the level to act as the animal's style, as they don't really have one.

Your choice of animal consists of alligator, bird of prey, camel, dog, elephant, horse, panther, boa, poison snake, tiger and wolf. Panthers and tigers have the best attributes (8 in Strength, Agility and Stamina). Elephants are extremely strong and tough (Strength 14, Stamina 20), but their Agility is only 3, which means that they can't hit for poo-poo and can't hope to dodge anything. Even parrying ain't that great as that is also based on your Agility. Sherry could totally own one, which I guess is always good for a laugh.

Seeing how they can't really punch and kick, animals get their own set of maneuvers, like Claw or Bite (which is a lot better than the mutant animal version for some reason). Boas can of course Constrict, but I don't see that being useful seeing how Boas only have a Strength of 5, and contested Strength rolls are required to keep squeezing.

All in all, animal companions are not nearly as good at fighting alongside your character than in D&D. Still there are some special maneuvers you can get for more utility.

So yeah, elephants may be worthless in battle, but you can just park them outside and enjoy your extra 24 Chi and 60 Health.


A bunch of example artifacts, a lot of which are greatly inspired by D&D. Note that you can start with any of these if you're willing to pay the CP.

I think you should be very careful with these artifacts. They range from "occasionally useful" to "absurdly large boost to your combat abilities".

The Palladium Book of Weapons, Armor and Castles

These are 2 short conversion tables for the "invaluable general sourcebook on ancient weapons and other tools of war from all over the world". I'm not going to copy these tables here as I've heard Palladium Books is kinda sue-happy.

Generic NPCs

A bunch of generic cannon fodder that doesn't pose much of a challenge thanks to mostly low Agility and styles. They range from beat cops and thugs all the way to SWAT officers and "warrior thugs", the latter two being closer to a poorly-optimized starting character. Kinda handy if you want a quick brawl.

Appendix 3: System Notes

This single page appendix gives you guidelines for creating your very own styles and maneuvers, both using a points system. The weaksauce Discipline styles all cost 0 points, and Jeet Kune Do and the Generic Style are both 10 (even though Generic is more versatile). The most expensive style is Wu Shu with 19 points, which I guess is kinda accurate as that style increases both Agility and AP.

Wanna play a fun game and see how much CP a Light Punch costs? It's 8, making it the most expensive vanilla maneuver along with Dim Mak (which is both slower and less accurate and therefore not as good).

Can we fix it?

I must admit, Thrash has some interesting ideas. The AP system is a bit crunchy, but it's fitting for the source material and allows to emulate stuff like "frame advantage" (the difference in recovery time between your attack and the opponent's block). It certainly has a rather action-packed turn flow.
However, the big problem comes with the AP costs themselves. It is always better to go for low AP maneuvers. The price in AP and low Accuracy you have to pay for the "stronger" maneuvers is just not worth the tiny increase in damage.
After modifying the crap out of your maneuvers so they cost just 1 AP, fights against "normal" characters are already won, as they are toast when they run out of AP. Modifying also creatly encourages you to just take as few maneuvers as possible so you can pimp them up the whazoo.

It's nice the book tries to give roleplaying justifications for the ominous "super meter", but most fighting games themselves don't really deal with that. Tying this to your overall state of rage doesn't fit a couple fighting game settings. And the optional rule of going crazy when your rage becomes too high doesn't quite work out as parrying high-Strength opponents fills up your threshold fast. Who goes into a frenzy from blocking three punches?

So yeah, can we fix it? Well, I suppose the system could already benefit from just taking the average of your Soak roll. The roll is just a pointless extra step, with damage rolls already providing enough randomness.
Most importantly however, you probably need to redo most if not all maneuvers from scratch to make the slower ones actually viable. It probably helps to make the AP costs much closer to each other, with maybe a range of 5-8 used for everything.
When it comes to modifiers, I'd ban the AP-reducing ones, or at least drastically reduce the amount of AP they cut.
Styles should be generalized into what is basically a Base Attack Bonus, or make the Generic Style the only one allowed. More detailed styles just introduce balancing issues, and several games just don't really lend themselves well to such a format.
Abilities could also benefit from having less of an impact. Agility is a god stat, and if you're Strength is too low, it doesn't really matter with what you're hitting your opponent (making low AP maneuvers again rule supreme).

With all said and done, The system's quite fun to goof around, but things get ugly once you exploit and break stuff. Kinda like a crazy fighting game with very poor balance.
As for Ewen Cluney, he has moved on to much different and better projects, and I hope we haven't seen the last of him.