🎨 Creative [It's (Not Actually) My Birthday] Hit me with some weird kung-fu!

Greg 1

Some Guy
Validated User
This is an RPG setting I made that entirely revolves around martial arts in general and kung fu in particular: The World of Kung Fu


While some weird style are described, including many "animal styles", the emphasis is on weirding martial arts styes that already exist. Each popular martial art is a faction with its own political agendas, alliances and feuds. Whether you master Karate, Taekwondo or Tai Chi, you are at war with someone because of it.


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Sometimes we have music that goes with our games. This is especially true in my chronicles. Two that come up often in my Kung Fu Martial Arts chronicles.

Kung Fu Fighting
I have run five chronicles that focused on the Martial Arts. We have spent a lot of time in and around Chinatown and Japantown in our gaming career. We don't always play this song, but it usually comes up some time during the chronicle.


1st runner up
Mortal Kombat
This comes up in one form or another, as combat background music for all these chronicles (after the first... as it predated Mortal Kombat).


In case you were wondering how we incorporated music into my game....here is the link to an article I wrote on it.
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Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
Validated User
It is impossible to defend against an attack that you cannot comprehend. Simple to say, but difficult to put into practice... and yet a few dedicated fighters have done so. Somehow. We think.

Since the practitioners of this style do not reveal their secrets, and even those who have seen it in action find it impossible to describe, its true name is unknown to the world and a valueless placeholder is used. Hence this so far undefeated style is called Martial Arts Smurfing.


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I put this on my blog

It is a nice addition to my martial arts sequence

Martial Arts: Building a Martial Art/System

Inigo: You're using Bonetti's Defense against me, huh?
The Man in Black: I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo: Naturally. You must expect me to attack with Capo Ferro!
The Man in Black: Naturally. But, I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro. Don't you?
Inigo: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa...[Does a front flip over The Man in Black and lands behind him] Which I have.

The Fight Scene

This is one of the classics of the fencing scenes. It is a bit tongue in cheek in spots, but it is a great scene in gamer/action theatre. Watching it always makes someone in a game group want to do a fencing character.

Then they encounter the fencing rules or the lack of fencing rules in most games. You can expand that problem to martial arts, armed and unarmed in general.

Still there are ways around games without combat arts or martial arts skill. You can add a sub system or adapt an existing system (my prefered option). In that D20 world, a set of feats (and a feat tree) that can only be taken practitioners of a given martial art/ school (or Class). Taking a martial art Gift might give you an extra bonus or two in unarmed or armed combat. Martial artists might unlock a special martial combat sub-rules the GM might of made up. There are ways to mechanically make some martial arts effects no matter the system.

Even if your game system has martial arts sub-rules, it might not have the martial art you want to play. A player wants a French character to know Savate (A French Martial Art based on Kicks), but there are no rules for it. A player can want a dual wielding samurai, but the particular nippon rules being use is missing that. As a GM, I want a swords martial arts in my fantasy game based on The Dragon Men of Old, for my Dragon Monks and their students. (See 1*) Things will have to be made (and sub-rules in place) to use these.

So the mechanics can vary, but the concepts for making a martial art are always the same.

We always start with The Conception. This starts with some anchoring ideas/bits (an art that we kick with or use a long and short sword) or maybe a visual (Giant leaping attack!). It then should have a historical anchor, showing its origins and how it came to be (The dock toughs took to kicking each other in their heavy boots. Some historical fighter developed the two weapon skill and taught it to a select few. A technique with giant leaps was developed by people who lived in the high mountains.) Remember, nothing should just "exist", there should be a reason for everything.

Once you have the basics of the conception down, these bits might inspire more elements and other pieces to use. Take all the ideas you have and move on to the actual making.

Theme and Primary Tactic
One thing that comes from the conception is the martial arts theme and primary tactic. The theme is answer to the question, "How do they do this art". The primary tactic is the answer to the question, "What do they do?". Savate for example was use the feet/boots, thus they mostly kick their targets. So there theme is footwork, their tactic is a variety of kicks. The Dragon Wing art is flying motion with the primary tactic of "moving by" targets. Finding these concrete applications of the conception will help the designer make a good art.

Gives you bonuses to offense or defense or special bonus
This determines if your martial art is strong on offense or defense. The theme helps with this deception. This helps determine the mechanics you will have to build to represent the martial art. These can be simple bonuses of attack or to defense, or it could be a special offensive move (reposte, an attack of opportunity if the enemy's attack misses/ attack after a successful block) or defensive (such as an aikido throw, taking the punching arm and moving it out of balance - taking the attack with it.)

The art itself could just grant a bonus in certain conditions. Water sword art grants bonuses to fighting in and around water (up to waist height, more only with special feats).

Special moves basics
Martial arts should give you more options than the simple "I attack" or "I defend". Actions with small variations (attack that does more damage, but a minus to hit, attack that grants defense for that turn, a fully defensive stance that will give me a bonus to attack next round.) help make combat mechanically more interesting and the use of techniques and tactic important. Note: most of the basic special moves can be shared by any martial art.

Gives you ability to branch out into cool special moves.
Bonetti's Defense allows a bonus to avoid tripping or advantages taken from uneven ground. Capo Ferro is an attack that causes targets to move backwards if they avoid the attack (thus giving tripping chances, especially on uneven ground.) This can have another move of following the defender. Thibault allows one to stand their ground and not be moved. The arts of leaping allow you to keep moving and keep the bonus for capo ferro.

Other special moves can be much more "Flashy". Fire Wing Casting for fire breath. Certain power moves could be an option. Breaking weapons in the block. The move is up to you and something to be taken once X number of basic gifts/ actions have been taken.

Key to unlock. Abilities against other arts are possible. Does the art have a special bonus against an art or a weakness? We could just have the Capoferro style have an advantage over most styles, but thibault could negate that bonus (as a special move).

Do not forget bits of chrome and some plot hooks (The master of our art killed your master). Cool names for basic and advanced moves is a lot of fun.

Once you have all the ideas and some basic mechanics, it is time to formally write up the martial art. This is work out what the actions and advantages really are and how they are enacted mechanically. (I would playtest the art a little bit in some mock combats, just to see if it works as well as you want it to.) Once it fits your expectations, it is time to put it into your chronicle packet as an option.

Dragon Wing: This martial art was originally developed by the Dragon Men, but other flying races have developed similar arts. The Dragon Men are gone now, passing their wisdom on via scrolls and to various temples in the high mountains. The monk-knights of the Dragon Spirit temple have perfected this art, using magikal cloaks to fly and magikal collars to spit fire. A character must be able to fly to use this art. A "tail" trait grants a +2 when using that appendage.

The Signature move is a Moving Attack, allowing you to move into or through a target and continue on.

Manuvers common to the art are various leaping/acrobatics (used in flight), escaping grasp, head butt, doing extra damage (it is a powerful art), multi target moving attack, and knocking opponents down.

Dragon Wing Fire Casting: This is the fire casting component to the flying martial art. If a character has Dragon Wing, and can breathe fire in some way, it can learn these techniques. These are the only traits that can be used with the firecast.
Req. Dragon Wing art
The manuvers include combat focus (superior aim), multi attack, strafing, and multi-attack to everyone around you.
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