Chi

Martial arts are the most complex of the three core discretionary subsystems.  They rely on a variety of character building blocks.  The following elements combine to build a martial artist character, although characters can "dip in" and just dabble, taking just some of the following items.
  • Combat skills, including martial arts, boxing, wrestling, and brawling.
  • The CHI attribute.
  • Martial arts careers, such as kung fu or boxing, which may need to be intermingled with other careers like ninja, or athlete.
  • Exploits including throw or flying kick.
  • Stances and techniques.

Shaolin monks and bushido samurai are masters of chi (though the latter might call it ki), but they are certainly not the only users of this mystical energy and not all characters will completely understand what it is. Despite this ignorance, chi can be central to how action stars perform their stunts, extreme survivalists push to the next plateau, soldiers carry on with multiple bullet wounds, and countless other heroic feats. The names of chi techniques are simply designations (largely focusing on martial arts) but can be interpreted as the GM sees fit—a boxer might have a lightning jab instead of slashing zephyr, a mutant might do a dimension hop rather than step beyond, and so on.

Be it heart, ki, aligned chakras, a reservoir of rage, the eye of the tiger, or simply holding one’s focus in times of stress, chi plays a critical role.

CHI Points

Characters have a number of CHI points equal to their CHI attribute. Using CHI techniques depletes this store.

Once per day, characters can meditate (or imbibe alcohol, or rock out to their favorite tunes, or some other task that puts them in the right frame of mind) for five minutes to regain all their CHI points.

Using CHI

CHI COST Difficulty
1

Routine [10]

2

Challenging [13]

3

Difficult [16]

4

Demanding [21]

5

Strenuous [25]

A CHI technique usually requires an attribute check and expends CHI points whether successfully executed or not.

  • Check. If the technique affects the character using the technique, or a willing target, use the difficulty table to the right.
  • Attack. If the technique affects an unwilling target, then make an attribute attack vs. the target's appropriate DEFENSE score.

For techniques with a duration or range, this duration is typically based on the WIL attribute. The following standard ranges and durations are used.

  • Short range is 5' per die in your WIL dice pool.
  • Medium range is 10' per die in your WIL dice pool.
  • Long range is 100' per die in your WIL dice pool.
  • Short duration is one round per die in your WIL dice pool.
  • Medium duration is one minute per die in your WIL dice pool.
  • Long duration is one hour per die in your WIL dice pool.

Stances

Stances are broad groupings of techniques.  Each has an associated attribute which is used to execute the techniques found within the stance.

Stance Attribute Meaning
H̄in STR Mountain
Daichin STR War, warrior
Wéifēng AGI Wind, breeze
Phanyu AGI Storm, lightning, tempest
Toka END Rock, stone
Sūrya END Sun
Umfula WIL River
Yuèliàng WIL Moon
Kanohi INT Eye
Ma-eum LOG Mind
Gèxìng CHA Soul, awe
Nami REP Wave, destiny

Any martial art can include any stance, but techniques from the following stances gain a 1-point CHI discount.  Jujutsu (Japanese) and Kung fu (Chinese) are considered "core" martial arts, and therefore have the broadest range of associated stances.

Martial Art

Stance Discount

Aikido


Bare-knuckle

Daichin

Boxing

Daichin, Phanyu

Brazilian jujutsu


Capoeira


Gun fu


Jujutsu

Daichin, Umfula, Yuèliàng, Kanohi, Ma-eum

Krav maga


Kung fu

H̄in, Sūrya, Umfula, Yuèliàng, Kanohi, Ma-eum, Gèxìng

Muay Thai

Toka

Ninjutsu

Wéifēng, Yuèliàng

Northern Shaolin

Wéifēng

Pankration

H̄in

Savate


Southern Shaolin

Phanyu

Learning Techniques

You may learn a number of martial arts techniques equal to your CHI attribute. You must learn them in ascending order in any given stance, and may not miss out any steps.

H̄in Stance [STR]

The strength of your chi manifests in an incredible sense of balance and resilience for physical stress. You are as indomitable as a mountain, able to bear incredible weight, make parts of your body invulnerable, and strike with so great a focus and force that nearly any object will shatter under your blows. Your opponents learn that you are well-suited to suffer a flurry of strikes, and to fear the power of your own.

Granite Back (check; 1 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI to move great weight. Carry double your capacity without any negative effects for a long duration; or you may expend this immediately by adding your CHI dice pool to your next STR check to lift one object.

Foot of the Mountain (attack; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to make an attack that sends your target flying. If you use a Knockback exploit before your next turn, you do not need to pay the cost, and the distance the target is knocked back is equal to a short range.

Hard as Rock (check; 3 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI to become more durable to attack. Gain a SOAK score equal to your CHI attribute for a short duration.

Tumbling Boulder (attack; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to execute a ferocious charge. Move your SPEED and attack at the end of it. You may add your CHI dice pool to the damage roll.

Heart of the Mountain (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI to destroy any object. On your next action you gain a number of bonus attack dice equal to your CHI dice pool.

Daichin Stance [STR]

our soul is that of the warrior, destined to compete, to fight, and to win. When your chi surges forth it can be incredibly deadly, able to reach preternatural heights of physical awareness that turns you into a legendary combatant. Your opponents quickly become wary of the precision of your blows, your amazing reflexes, and how closely you can bring both body and mind into perfect attunement.

Focused Meditation (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to meditate swiftly. Gain 1d6 bonus CHI. These CHI must be spent on Strength-based techniques.  You may only do this once per day.

Focused Strike (attack; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to make a momentous attack. Add your CHI dice pool to your next melee damage roll; you must make this attack before moving.

Infuse Weapon (check; 3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to charge weapons with mystical precision and power. A number of weapons equal to your CHI dice pool become more accurate (+1d6 to attack), do more damage (+1d6 to damage), and double their range. Targets of these weapons do not benefit from anything less than total cover.

Strike The Soul (check; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, striking beyond armor and scale, at the core of your target. Ignore SOAK equal to twice your CHI attribute for any unarmed attacks you make until the end of your next turn.

Attune (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, bringing your mind and body into perfect alignment. Increase your PHYSICAL DEFENSEs and MENTAL DEFENSE to the highest of these values for a short duration.

Wéifēng Stance [AGI]

When using your chi you become lighter, faster, and fleeter than any normal human could ever be, able to move with the silence of a subtle gust of wind, run across water and tree branches, dash with incredible speed, and dodge so quickly as to become a blur. Your opponents are impressed by your reflexes and rattled by how talented you are at dodging their attacks.

Walk as Wind (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI to move without making any noise at all. On a success you do not emit any noises unless you intend to do so for a short duration.

Feet of the Zephyr (check; 2 CHI). Focusing your CHI while running to travel across the surface of a liquid at full speed. On a success you may travel across a surface that would not typically support your weight until the end of your turn (at which point this technique’s effects disappear).

Dragon Sprint (check; 3 CHI). Focusing your CHI, you can temporarily sprint much faster than you should normally be able to. On a success, your SPEED score is doubled for a short duration.

Step Beyond (check; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, moving so swiftly that you step through the space in between. On a success, you briefly cross the backdoors of existence, teleporting up to a medium range.

Zephyr Dancer (check; 5 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, dashing so fast that you seem not to exist at all. On a success, you can ignore a number of attacks equal to your WIL dice pool until the beginning of your next turn. You must take your full movement during your turn.

Phanyu Stance [AGI]

Your fists and feet are like lightning, and when using chi you strike your enemies in the blink of an eye with explosive force. Dodging attacks is second nature to you, and your response of battering blows is nearly invisible to the naked eye. Your opponents are brought down quickly by your aggressive flurries, if they even see them coming at all.

Slashing Zephyr (check; 1 CHI). Focusing your CHI, you move faster than even your eyes can detect, striking a target so swiftly that they cannot see it coming. On a success, your melee or ranged attack goes unnoticed; anyone that fails a Demanding [21] INT check cannot be certain of the source of the attack (though if the weapon typically emits noise, like a gun shot or crossbow thwack, it may give you away).

Gusting Step (attack; 2 CHI). Focusing your CHI, you charge your body and wait to dodge an attack until the very last possible moment, moving so fast that you seem not to move at all. On a success, you negate a melee attack using the charge exploit and gain a free melee attack against the target.

First Wind (check; 3 CHI). Focusing your CHI in an unsettling rush, you spring into action with a moment’s notice.  On a success, you immediately move to the top of the initiative order.

Swift Strike (check; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, channeling the intensity of a tempest into your strikes. On a success, you gain a bonus to melee and thrown ranged attacks equal to CHI for a short duration.

Storm of Battle (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, turning into a veritable whirlwind of deadly fists and feet. On a success, you gain one extra attack action for a sort duration.

Toka Stance [END]

You are as enduring as rock and tough to the core, and your chi manifests by protecting you from harm. Your skin and limbs can harden like stone, and eventually you learn to stand against any force, no matter how great. Your opponents are dumbfounded by your resilience and defeated by your unwillingness to falter against their attacks.

Heart of Stone (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, enhancing your constitution to temporarily overcome illness. On a success, you can ignore a mild condition or treat a severe condition as its mild counterpart for a medium duration. Outside of combat, this duration increases from rounds to hours.

Skin as Granite (check; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, making your body remarkably resilient to attack. On a success, you gain SOAK equal to your CHI attribute for a short duration.

Rock Fist (check; 3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, turning your limbs into truly deadly weapons as hard as any blade. On a success, your unarmed attacks do an additional 1d6 slashing or piercing damage for a short duration.

Granite Soul (check; 4 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, becoming partly invulnerable to the elements. On a success, you gain immunity to one energy type for a short duration.

Become Stone (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, becoming completely unmovable. On a success, you cannot move or be moved by any force for a short duration.

Sūrya Stance [END]

The essence of your chi is as pure as sunlight and you can manifest it to be just as nourishing. You are able to heal wounds, alleviate the pains others, and even bring the recently deceased back to life. Enemies are frustrated by your presence on the battlefield and confounded when your allies are restored by your abilities.

Shining Soul (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, taking the wounds of another on as your own. On a success, you restore the HEALTH of a target within mediumr range by a number of points equal to your CHI attribute, taking half as many points of damage to your HEALTH.

Lend Essence (check; 2 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, granting some of your own resilience to another. On a success, your SOAK is cut in half, and a target within medium range gains SOAK equal to half your CHI for a short duration.

Healing Mantra (check; 3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, healing the injuries of a creature. On a success, your target gains HEALTH equal to your CHI. This does not grant any bonus HEALTH beyond the target’s maximum value.

Strike at Death (check; 4 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI directly into a corpse, restoring the remnants of life within. On a success, you return a creature that has died within a medium duration to 1 HEALTH.

Shining Mantra (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, spreading a warmth of energy that mends wounds and heals injuries. On a success, you restore HEALTH equal to your CHI to a number of targets equal to your WIL dice pool. You may only target creatures within medium range.

Umfula Stance [WIL]

Your chi makes you intimately familiar to the energies that flow through all living creatures, and your incredible awareness allows you to bend them to your whim. You are able to sense the chi of another, align the minds of your allies, and express supreme concentration in the face of attacks that would leave the mind of any other person completely destroyed. Your opponents are disturbed by your cerebral fortitude and undone by their own mental assaults.

Sense Soul (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, studying a target and determining its potential. On a success, you determine the CHI score of a creature or object within sight.

Salmon Soul (check; 2 CHI). You focus your CHI to manipulate energies direct at you, slipping by them instead. On a success, you force a target to reroll an attack against your MENTAL DEFENSE.

Be the Wave (check; 3 CHI). You focus your CHI against your attacker, swirling the power they wield against you and gracefully turning it back. You make an attack vs. your target's MENTAL DEFENSE immediately when attacked. On a success, you reverse an attack from a creature that has successfully attacked your MENTAL DEFENSE back onto your attacker.

Washing Tide (check; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, lending some of its stability to another creature. On a success, you remove a condition from target creature (this may be a permanent condition).

Flow as the River (check; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your chi, temporarily becoming one with the energies of life itself. On a success, you gain immunity to attacks targeting MENTAL DEFENSE for a medium duration.

Yuèliàng Stance [WIL]

You can physically manifest your chi with surprising ease, using it to perform feats that defy belief. You are able to wield it as a weapon that harms the souls of other creatures, or gather it for deadly attacks that can level buildings. Your opponents are bewildered and taken aback by your supernatural powers.

Lunar Bound (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, soaring high into the air. On a success, multiply your JUMP values by your CHI for a short duration.

Exploding Soul (check; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, wrapping your fists in mystical energy to punch your target's very soul. You make a physical attack, but against your target's MENTAL DEFENSE.

Tide Strike (attack;3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, extending your essence outward and vastly increasing your reach. You may make a single melee attack against a number targets equal to your CHI score. These targets must be within short range of both you and each other.

Devastating Wave (attack; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, creating a ball of energy that explodes away from you to destroy whatever it hits. You may make a single ranged attack against a target within long range. This attack deals your regular unarmed damage. This attack must be made during your next available action.

Charged Devastating Wave (check; 5 CHI). Focusing your CHI, you pool your essence into a monolithic nexus of energy that explodes with mystical power when it strikes. On a success, you may charge a Devastating Wave (see above); each action spent charging a Devastating Wave increases the amount of damage it does by your CHI dice pool, for a maximum number of rounds equal to a short duration.

Kanohi Stance [INT]

Chi can be responsive and in the right hands, molded like clay—you are a master sculptor. Your otherworldy awareness allows you to perceive the environment around you with senses you do not have, fundamentally understand the fighting style of your opponents, and even copy the attacks and defenses of your enemies. Your opponents are disturbed by how swiftly you dismantle their assaults, and infuriated by having their own methods used against them.

Perfected Senses (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, drawing in everything from your surroundings with incredible accuracy. On a success, you gain +1d6 to any one kind of INTUITION check (auditory, visual, etc.) for a long duration.

Sense Technique (check; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, analyzing your opponents’ movements and fighting style. On a success, you determine what Stances a creature knows techniques from. By spending an additional action using Sense Technique (no extra chi cost) you can determine a number of specific techniques it knows equal to your CHI score.

Mystical Sense (check; 3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, tapping into an awareness you don’t naturally have. On a success, you gain the ability to see the presence of CHI within 30' and one of the following: immunity to blindness, immunity to deafness, or scent (3d6). This technique lasts for a medium duration.

Chameleon Technique (check; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, quickly adapting your techniques to emulate your opponent’s. On a success, you can copy a CHI technique you see used within a medium range. You must pay the normal CHI cost to perform the copied technique, and you must perform it within a short duration.

Master Chameleon (check; 5 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, perfectly replicating the style of others. On a success, you can copy a combat or career exploit you see used within medium range. You must have any weapons or equipment required to do so, and you are only able to use the exploit once (within a medium duration).

Ma-eum Stance [LOG]

Your understanding of chi has revealed the void behind all things, and you have attained some mastery over this oblivion. You are able to hamper the chi of others, take it away from them, or even negate the use of mystical power nearby. Your opponents are left powerless before you, defeated in the wake of your control over the nothing that is all.

Impede Chi (check; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, using it to obstruct the flow of energy within an opponent. On a success, the difficulty of any CHI technique performed by target creature this round increases by one step. By spending an additional action when performing this technique, this increases to two steps.

Lend Chi (check; 2 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, providing it to another as mystical fuel instead. On a success, you transfer 2 CHI to a target you can touch, plus an additional number of CHI equal to your WIL dice pool.  CHI instilled this way deplete at a rate of one per day.

Negate Technique (attack; 3 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, turning it into a specialized cage that inhibits your opponent from drawing on their own mystical power. On a success, the target creature is unable to utilize a CHI technique for a short duration. If you do not name a chosen technique or if the target doesn’t know the technique you choose, the next technique it attempts automatically fails instead.

Draw Chi (attack; 4 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, using it to siphon power from another creature. On a success, you transfer 4 points of CHI from a target creature within short range. Creatures with no CHI or CHI attribute are immune to Draw Chi; creatures that have a CHI attribute but don’t have enough CHI take 3 points of CHI damage for CHI point "drained" beyond their current total.

Negate Stance (attack; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, creating a power matrix that disrupts the techniques of your choosing. On a success, choose one Stance; any creature that attempts to perform a CHI technique from this Stance within medium range of you automatically fails their focus check. This technique lasts for a short duration.

Nami Stance [REP]

Your CHI is the most subtle of all, manifesting to make it seem as if destiny itself were laid out before you. Your reputation almost always precedes you, and the world often works in your favor. Your opponents have heard countless rumors of your abilities, and spread the tales of your exploits themselves far and wide.

Known Unknown (check; 1 CHI). You focus your CHI, extending it through the trail of your life to touch upon places unexpected. On a success, you may have your REP treated as 2 points higher when determining whether or not someone has heard of you.

Favorable Currents (check; 2 CHI). You focus your CHI, willing the universe to look upon your efforts with grace. On a success, you reduce the time required to use your REP dice pool (usually an hour) by half. This technique may only be attempted a number of times per day equal to your WIL dice pool.

Fortunate Undertow (check; 3 CHI). You focus your CHI, influencing destiny and stacking the odds in your favor. On a success, you may recharge a LUC check (i.e. reset it after use so that it may be used again). This technique may only be attempted a number of times per day equal to your WIL dice pool.

Legendary Distinction (check; 4 CHI). You focus your CHI, spreading resolve or fear to even those whom have no connection to you. On a success, you may make any sentient creatures within short range instantly recognize who you are.

Rumor Leyline (check; 5 CHI). You focus your CHI, sending it cascading across the world to insinuate in places far from your tread. On a success, your REP is doubled for a long duration. This technique may only be attempted once per week.

Gèxìng Stance [CHA]

Your control over CHI opens windows to the souls of those you look upon. By utilizing your abilities, you can manipulate the emotions of others, completely conceal your own, and empower others to reach further and fight harder. Your opponents are simultaneously filled with both wonder and great malice when in your presence.

Intuitive Understanding (attack; 1 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, touching briefly upon the soul of another creature and creating a kinship with it. On a successful attack vs. MENTAL DEFENSE, you give one living creature within earshot the beguiled condition toward you until shaken off.

Inspire Awe (check; 2 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, spreading feelings of good will and ambition to those around you. On a success, you grant a single-use +1d6 bonus to a number of creatures equal to your CHI. These creatures must be within short range of you and of each other, and they must use this bonus dice within a short duration.

Impossible Truth (check; 3 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, forcing yourself to believe a lie with so much conviction that to all others it is an unquestionable truth. On a success, you tell a perfect lie. This can be as outlandish as you like and creatures are allowed to disbelieve it, but no technique, technology, magic, or test can reveal that you are not speaking the truth.

Instant Icon (attack; 4 CHI). Spend one action focusing your CHI, making such a powerful spectacle that creatures are compelled to witness it. On a successful attack vs. MENTAL DEFENSE, you put a number of living creatures equal to your CHI and within short range into the addled condition for 1 round. You may continue performing this technique (at no additional cost) for a short duration, but if any attacks are made within short range of an addled creature, the technique’s effect immediately ends.

Awesome Command (attack; 5 CHI). Spend two actions focusing your CHI, enforcing it onto another creature to do as you will it to. On a success, you may target a creature within short range with a CHA attack vs. MENTAL DEFENSE.  Targets successfully attacked become your thrall, gaining the dominated condition, doing as you mentally for a short duration.