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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180221


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Martial Arts: The Hoods -
A anime-ish/ sentai-ish chronicle

Ideally it is set in The City in a medieval period. (This could be a Japanese medieval city and somewhat realistic, but I have thought of it as western-ish looking. It could be placed to a specific place or time, or left vague.)

In a strike worthy of the words Lightning War, The Warlord and his forces have taken over The City and the Lands Around. His forces are making progress against the other Cities and Lands around it.

The Warlord who now controls The City is cruel and ruthless. People are terrified. He is using magic in addition to armies to control things in The City and the Lands Around. His Goons are powerful, and many are less than human. He has changed them to be Shadowforms. He has "generals" that are hanging around advising him... and sometimes taking "matters into their own hands" with their own shadowed magics and shadow abilities.

That is all background. A stranger who seems familiar appears in the poor part of town. He seems to be looking for someone or some thing. He eventually finds them and arranges for them all to be brought together and to be tested.

An old man has magic coins. He gives them to five young people….(with attitude)

These youth can use the magic coins (coins that are magically bound to them). Using them, they can summon forth “The Hoods”, cloaks (of variable length)/hoods/facemasks, in dark primary colors (Crimson, Midnight Blue, Deep Green, Dark Purple, Burnt Umber). They gain super thief skills (with a touch of monkish martial arts). Each one gets its own magical thiefsword (knife) and special ability (near inviso, super leap, combat skills, other disguises, ability to open portals/ doors).

One can see the plot forming. The young coin carriers will attempt to defeat The Warlord and his forces, to free their people, perhaps even restore the rightful ruler to the throne (which is probably a coin wielder or the father of one of them). They will soon find out that The Warlord is really the least of their worries. It is the Evil Wizard (one of those generals and advisors) that "works for him" that is the real threat to the world. The Wizard and his Demons anyways.

(We all know he will depose the Warlord for real during the course of the campaign. And who is this Yellow Knight (dark mustard) and whos side is he on? (He seems to be really bad... but..))
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Yes, it is a sentai inspired setting, but it has a bit more anime flavor elements. Very few Sentai have fantasy elements, (The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog being one of the few). So while much of this chronicle would play out from a "ranger" handbook, there would be some fantasy components that would be unique. (Thieving and stealth vs superior fighters. They need to steal taxes, grab magic items stolen from the people, being chased across the town (rooftop vs streets) and fighting only when caught.)

All Sentai shows and games have a martial arts component to them. That comes from the Japanese action traditions. Many of the series, thus any game based on them, have a mix of "monsters of the week"/ "monsters of the series" and what are recognizable as Martial Arts plot points (self development, overcoming your own obstacles, learning to be brave, learning the next "super move" from your mentor, etc). (Don't forget the giant robots fight in martial arts status.) While Sentai tends to be simplified, as it is "kid oriented" in US and "family with younger kids" oriented in Japan, the plots and tropes are still there.

Every Character should have one to three Goals that they should achieve over "the season". They goals can be easy or lofty. No matter which goals they choose, they need to define "the next concrete step" to achieve that goal. These are milestones to aim for. This keeps the players focused on what their characters needs. This is great concept for sentai and martial arts chronicles.

Sentai Martial Arts chronicles tend to have lots of personal and group milestones to achieve. Once reach and overcome those events, they tend to "unlock" new abilities. (Either EPs saved up waiting for it or a milestone/ level experience system). The GM will often have a "track" for experiences... Learning Super Movies, Using Certain powers, finding/ developing/ learning how to use the next cool piece of equipment.... that all "rangers" will follow with special options for certain rangers. So plotting options for advancement is a GM requirement for Sentai Gaming.
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Speaking of skills and items that come up for each "ranger"/ martial arts character, we must discuss niche protection. Each character must have something that makes it truly unique in combat. It would be unique weaponry, a different set of tactics/ maneuvers, different style of combat (which combines a bit of weaponry and maneuvers). This helps keep each character effective in different way and makes their play in combat different. The players need to keep their characters fairly unique so they can be descriptive in their combat roleplay. So there may be some restrictions on the advancement of some characters (no, you can't have that maneuver... it is Ace's... maybe later in the season). Remember, character creation is an ongoing process.

Niche Protection of sorts is handy in every group. This every character a time to shine (Oh, we are being detectives... where is Alex? Oh we have a technical challenge, where is Axel? Oh we need "the face", where is April). However, the right character can not always be there, so having other characters who are the back up detective, tech, face, or whatever. They may not be the as good as the primary detective, tech, or face, but at least the scene does not stop or crash because the wrong character is there.

The same would be there for fighting. So While Yellow would be the "mook mangling" whirlwind fighter, having another team member who would also take on "the crowd of mooks" (but not as well). (And yes, the rest of them could mangle mooks, but they would strike one or two at a time, instead a whirlwind fighter taking on six or seven at a strike.)
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Now some people would say this is not a "martial arts game" because of semi-magic Thiefsword. (Most players will opt to use their powerful weapon rather than punching/ kicking in their view.) Fencing (with all three weapons) is a martial art, as well as several schools of knife fighting. There are systems of weapon fighting that are tactical, detailed, and focused. Tactical, detailed, and focused is the hallmark of any martial arts system; with many martial arts systems including weapons. As long as their are notable tactical options that extend beyond "roll to hit" maybe combined with "roll to block/ defend", they fall into the martial arts genre. The Thiefswords (knives) will still include lots of leaping around, slashing, blocking, and strange/ special moves.

Just to point out, that Star Wars has Light Sabers. The fighting with said wonderful weapons is obviously a martial arts and that the many/ most of movies (stories) have martial art movie tropes/ story arcs.

About half the movie versions based on "The Three Musketeers" (including 4 and 5 musketeers) center on martial arts revenge and redemption stories with a protect the crown mcguffin. They do Fencing as a martial art.
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Weapons or no weapons, and fantasy, science fiction, historical, or modern, the concepts of martial arts gaming are there to be used. They are very gamable. They are very fun to play with. They just require The Troupe invests themselves in the points and pieces I have gone over in these pieces to make this genre work at the table.
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