Skill and Attributes:
The measure of a character's abilities are broken into Attributes (which correspond to the eight trigrams of the I Ching) and Skills (which correspond to the hexagrams of the I Ching). Skills are further broken down into five Classes, which correspond to the Five Elements.
Attributes are ranked from 1 to 3, and characters have 16 points to distribute between them.
Characters select two classes and eight skills to be trained in,.
Each skill is based off of a combination of two attributes.
If a skill is not trained and not a class skill, both attributes are simply added together.
If a skill either trained or a class skill, one attribute is doubled.
If a skill is both trained and a class skill, both attributes are doubled.
This will generate a total skill value between two and twelve, with two being considered total incompetence and twelve being considered world-class mastery.
Core Attributes: Trigrams Edit
Kun – ::: (earth)
Vigor is the measure of strength, speed, and athleticism. Used for movement, evasion, and melee damage. Important for warriors and physically focused characters.
Associated Skills: Hand to Hand, Melee, Athletics, Acrobatics, Evasion. (5)
Gen - |:| (mountain)
Vitality is the measure of endurance, health, and how overall alive a character is. Particularly important for many mystical skills.
Associated Skills: Athletics, Fortitude, Survival, Internal Alchemy, Breath. (5)
Qian - |||(heaven)
Whereas Vigor is a measure of physical prowess, Finesse is a measure of physical grace; balance, coordination, fine motor skills, and so on. Useful for many stealth and technical skills.
Associated Skills: Hand to Hand, Melee, Sharpshooting, Explosives, Stealth, Security, Sleight of Hand, Acrobatics, Piloting, Craftsmanship. (10)
Dui - :|| (lake)
Perception is the both the accuity of the physical senses, as well as a measure of a character's overall mindfulness.
Associated Skills: Sharpshooting, Explosives, Initiative, Stealth, Awareness, Animal Handling, Empathy, Internal Alchemy, Divination, Mentalism. (10)
Zhen - ::| (thunder)
Valor is a measure of courage, willpower, and spiritual strength. Used for combat skills, maintaining composure, and resisting damage.
Associated Skills: Evasion, Initiative, Fortitude, Animal Handling, Piloting, Bravado, Sorcery, Fortune. (8)
Li |:| (fire)
Cunning is the measure of a character's natural intelligence. Used for many technical and social skills.
Associated Skills: Security, Awareness, Survival, Deception, Streetwise, Engineering, Medicine, Alchemistry, Sorcery. (9)
Xun - ||: (wind)
Grace is a measure of charisma and ability to work with people. Key for social skills.
Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Deception, Empathy, Linguistics, Streetwise, Scholarship, Shamanism, Mentalism. (8)
Kan - :|: (water)
Whereas cunning represents innate intelligence, wisdom represents education, maturity, and enlightenment. Key for technical and magical skills.
Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Linguistics, Scholarship, Craftsmanship, Medicine, Engineering, Alchemistry, Shamanism, Breath, Fortune. (10)
Main Table: The Skills
Hand to Hand
Sleight of Hand
Martial Skills: The Way of the Warrior Edit
The term wuxia literally translates as "martial chivalry", and as such, martial skills are key. Even those characters who focus primarily on Subtle and Civil skills are advised to have some martial training, as violence is an inexorable part of the jianghu. In general, one is advised to have at least a few points in Evasion, Fortitude, and one weapon skill.
Hand to Hand: Vigor+Vitality
This is your skill with boxing, wrestling, and unarmed combat. Hand to Hand specialists eschew external armaments in favor of honing their own body into a weapon. Though not quite as damaging as swords and guns, a Hand to Hand expert is never unarmed, and are capable of a wide versatility of combat maneuvers. Hand to Hand checks may be used to attack, parry, or execute a variety of grappling maneuvers.
Attacking: Hand to Hand attacks deal damage equal to (Vigor)+(Hand to Hand skill ranks)+(boxing style)+(misc). Hand to Hand attacks may include everything from punching and kicking to throwing and grappling maneuvers to slamming someone's head into a wall.
Parrying: When attacked in close quarters combat, either by armed or unarmed foes, you may use your Hand to Hand skill to defend against incoming attacks.
Pinning: In place of dealing damage, you may use your skills to hold a foe in place, either pinned to the ground or standing. Make an opposed hand to hand check as an attack action; if you succeed, your foe is pinned. While pinned, the only actions the target may take are trying to break free, via a hand to hand check on their own round.
Additionally, pinned targets are all but incapable of dodging, and subtract your Hand to Hand skill from their Evasion pool. As such, pins are ideally suited to combination stunts.
Throwing: Rather than dealing damage, a combatant may choose to hurl his opponent to the ground. Generally speaking, this is done to make use of the environment in some way; tossing foes off over balconies, out of windows, and so on. Trip attempts are made via the Hand to Hand (or in some special cases, Melee) skill. If the attackers goal is only to deal damage rather than to reposition his foe (ie, hip tossing someone through a dinner table, or suplexing them onto their neck), resolve as a normal hand to hand attack, and assume the defender recovers his feet.
Disarming: In place of doing damage, you may strip the weapon from your foes hands. Make an opposed Hand to Hand check against an adjacent armed target; if successful, their weapon is either hurled to the ground or ends in your hands.
Additional advanced grappling maneuvers may learned via certain Talents.
This is your skill with all manner of close combat weapons. It is used when attacking with a weapon, and can be used for Defense in close quarters combat. Requires strength and agility.
Melee can be used to attack and defend in close quarters combat. Additional maneuvers may learned via Talents.
Attacking: Attack value is calculated at Melee Total+Weapon Attack Value.
Parrying: In close quarters combat, you may use your melee skill (adjusted by weapon finesse) to defend against attacks.
The use of ranged weapons. Requires a steady hand and a sharp eye. Sharpshooting is used for bows, crossbows, firearms, and thrown impact weapons, such as throwing knives.
Attacking: Sharpshooting is used to make attacks with ranged weapons in combat. Sharpshooting attacks are generally opposed by the target's Evasion value.
Taking Cover: The Sharpshooting skill can be used for defense against ranged attacks. When taking cover, one gains a +0 to +3 equipment bonus depending on terrain and weather.
The setting of demolitions and the use of explosives in combat. This covers everything from laying explosives to throwing grenades and firing rockets. Requires a good sense of timing and a steady nerve.
Attacking: The Explosives skill is used for attacking with hand grenades, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and similar high-tech weaponry.
Taking Cover: The Explosives skill can be used for defense against ranged attacks. When taking cover, one gains a +0 to +3 equipment bonus depending on terrain and weather.
Setting: The Explosives skill is also used for the setting of explosives for the setting of ordinance as either a trap or for demolition purposes.
The skills of horsemanship, falconry, and otherwise dealing with animals.
Equestrian: Huntsmanship is rolled whenever giving chase or performing stunts while moving on a horse or other riding animal.
Attack Animals: Huntsmanship is rolled as a combat skill sending a hunting bird, attack dog, or otherwise trained animal to attack a foe.
Tracking: When using a bloodhound or otherwise tracking animal, huntsmanship is rolled against the target's Stealth to track them down.
Hunting and Fishing: Huntsmanship is used to forage for food and shelter while in the wild.
Fortitude determines your ability to resist poisons and similar affects, as well how much damage you can take. Requires physical and spiritual toughness. Fortitude is given a bonus by armor.
Maximum wound total: Fortitude determines the maximum number of wounds a character can take before being disabled. If a character's wound penalty excedes their Fortitude total, they are dead, unconcious, or otherwise unable to fight.
Damage Threshold: Whenever physically damaged, a blow that deals more damage than one's current fortitude disables the target.
Resisting poison: When poisoned or drugged, the target rolls Fortitude vs the attacking skill to see if they are effected.
Subtle Skills: The Way of the Rogue
Subtle skills are the province of spies, thieves, assassins, detectives, and anyone else who works in the shadows. Many of them deal with stealth and movement.
The skill of not being noticed. Requires keen senses and a light touch.
Hide: A character can hide himself in his environment. Armor penalties do not apply when hiding and remaining still. Another character can detect a hiding one via an opposed Stealth vs Awareness roll.
Move Unnoticed: A character can move unnoticed at half his normal speed. Armor penalties apply while sneaking and moving.
Tricks of manual dexterity and thievery, including pickpocketing and escapology. Requires a manual dexterity and an ingenious mind.
Pickpocketing: You can make an opposed Larceny vs Awareness check to steal a target's keys, jewelry, money pouch, or otherwise possessions. On a failed check, the target notices the theft before the item is stolen. This skill may be used in reverse, to plant small items on another person (such as incriminating evidence or small explosives) without their notice.
Burglary: When attempting to pick a lock or break into an area unnoticed, roll Sleight of Hand, opposed by the Engineering of the architect of the facility.
Escapology: You may make a Larceny check to escape from ropes, manacles, or other bindings. Similarly, when tying up an opponent, use Larceny to set the difficulty of escaping the bindings.
Concealment: Larceny checks are made to conceal weapons and other items while being searched. Chinese clothing tends to be loose and voluminous, making such deception easy. Whenever being searched or checked for weapons, make an opposed Sleight of Hand versus Awareness check.
The ability to move in unorthodox ways, including jumping, climbing, tumbling, and moving on precarious surfaces. Requires strength and balance. All acrobatics checks are affected by armor penalty.
Horizontal Jump: Leaping great distances is part and parcel of the Wuxia genre. For determining a character's standing long jump, distance is equal to twice the acrobatics total.
Vertical Jump: For determining a character's standing vertical jump, distance is equal to half the acrobatics total.
Climbing: Characters may quickly move up the sides of walls, grabbing onto handholds and jumping off of footholds. A character can climb two feet per success of an acrobatics check in one round. Typically, one story of a building is about ten feet. This applies for both vertical movement (scaling the side of a building) and horizontal movement (climbing alongside the rails of an airship).
Falling: A character normally takes one point of damage for every ten feet he falls; every success on his acrobatics check lets him negate on point of this.Dodging: Acrobatics can be used to stay on the move and avoid attacks in combat. It can be used for defense against ranged and close quarters attacks.
The ability to run, swim, and lift heavy objects. Requires physical strength and endurance.
Running: When engaged in a foot chase, make an opposed Athletics check to gain ground or lose ground on your target. If chasing a mounted foe, you will need two successes for every one of those theirs to succeed. A character's base running speed in combat is their Athletics total times 10 feet, or Athletics times 2 MPH.
Lifting: Athletics checks are made to lift exceptionally heavy objects; for every success on an athletics check, a character can lift fifty pounds up to his waist, or half as smuch over his head. This does not include lifting and tossing foes in the midst of combat; that falls under the purview of Hand to Hand.
Carrying: When carrying heavy loads and running, subtract five feet from your movement total for every twenty-five pounds. A typical person weighs approximately one hundred and fifty pounds; thus, a character running while carrying an injured comrade suffers a -6 penalty to his speed.
Swimming: A character can swim at a rate of 1 MPH per Athletics total, or Athletics x5 feet in a combat round.
Diving: A character can hold his breath underwater (or elsewhere) for thirty seconds for every success on an athletics check.
The ability to notice small things in your surroundings. Requires a sharp mind and keen senses.
Awareness checks are typically made in reaction to other subtle skills, such as Stealth and Sleight of Hand.
The knowledge of a city's streets, both figuratively and literally. Takes a level head and people skills.
Navigation: Streetwise is used to find one's way around the big city; finding back alley short cuts, the closest butcher shop, and so on.
Rumors: Streetwise is used to collect information on local rumors. Such checks are usually made for exposition purposes, to introduce new information to the players.
Reputation: Upon meeting someone in the underworld, one can make a streetwise check to see if they know them by reputation. The The extant of information revealed by the narrator is tied to the number of successes scored on the Streetwise check.
Civil Skills: The Way of the Gentleman
Civil skills deal with social knowledge and interaction with others. Diplomacy, Bravado, and Deception are you're three core civil skills, and it is recommended that characters have at least a few points in one of them.
The ability to appeal to someone's desires. When attempting to bribe, negotiate, or seduce, roll Persuasion.
Bribery: Whenever trying to try to win someone over by offering something they want, roll Persuasion, opposed by their Manipulation.
Negotiation: Whenever bartering or trying to hammer out a deal, roll Persuasion.
The ability to bully, bluster, and intimidate, and to face the like. Requires a strong spirit and charisma. Whenever you're trying to inspire fear, anger, or awe, you're probably rolling Bravado.
Intimidate: Bravado is used to bully and frighten others. Intimidation checks are opposed by the target's Bravado or Composure.
Provoke: Bravado can also be used to lure foes into a fight. Provocation checks are opposed by Insight.
Inspire: Bravado checks can be used to inspire fellows into action with stirring words. Inspiration checks are opposed by a target number set by the narrator.
Bluster: Bravado checks can be made to resist other Bravado checks.
The fine art of concealing the truth. Requires social finesse and quick thinking.
False Pretenses: Whenever making a Persuasion or Bravado check, a Deception check can be added to offer something or threaten with something the character doesn't actually have. For example, trying to bribe someone with non-existent money, or threaten them with a fake gun.
Disguise: Deception checks are made to assume another identity – both the physical act of changing one's appearance and the affectation of their demeanor. Opposed by Empathy.
The ability to understand others. Requires keen observation and an understanding of people.
Empathy: Empathy checks can be made upon meeting new people to get a read on them; a basic explanation of their values, their fears and desires, their personality, and so on. The extant of information revealed by the narrator is tied to the number of successes scored on the Insight check.
Social Defense: Empathy is used to see through deception and maintain composure against mind-altering drugs, magic, and social manipulations.
Dodging: Insight can be used to read foes and stay alert to danger in combat. It can be used for defense against ranged and close quarters attack.
Knowledge of the sciences and humanities, and the ability to win an argument about them. Requires both knowledge and natural intelligence.
Academia: Scholarship covers any realm of knowledge in academia – art, history, philosophy, literature, religion, astronomy, mathematics, and so on. Technical expertise – such as chemistry and engineering – is not covered by this skill.
Languages: For every total point in Scholarship that a character has, they speak one language and can read one script. Thus, a character with six points may be able to read two scripts (say, Chinese and Mongolian), and speak four languages (such as Chinese, Mongolian, Manchu, and Tibetan).
Law: Knowledge of laws and how it relates to the players actions.
Bureaucracy: The ability to navigate bureaucracies and find officials or departments the heroes may need.
Artistry: Finesse + Grace
All manner of creative, leisure, and performance skills. Requires both physical and social grace.
Performance Art: Artistry covers music, dance, acting, and any other performance.
Gaming: When playing at Mahjong, cards, dice, or any other gambling or gaming contest, artistry is the skill used.
Item creation: Artistry is the item creation skill for creating clothing.
Technological Skills: The Way of the Inventor Edit
The Two Kingdoms are the technological and industrial centers of the world, and as such, technology plays a key role in the lives of many. It is not uncommon for inventors, scientists, and craftsman to end up in the jianghu.
Most technical skills revolve around the character's relationship to his equipment, allowing him to procure equipment at lower costs and higher qualities.
Traditional crafts, such as blacksmithy, sewing, and carpentry. Used for creating weapons, armor, clothing, and buildings. Requires knowledge and a strong body.
Item Creation: Craftsmanship covers the creation of melee weapons, armor, and clothing. For full rules on item creation, see Equipment.
Repair: Craftsmanship is rolled when fixing structures or equipment.
Sabotage: Craftsmanship can also be rolled to break or sobotage equipment and structures.
The ability to understand and high tech machinery. Used for crafting ranged weapons, tools, and equipment enhancements. Requires education and and a sharp mind.
Item Creation: Engineering covers the creation of mechanical devices, such as firearms and vehicles. For the full rules on item creation, see Equipment.
Combat Gadgetry: Attacks made using certain high tech devices - such as tasers or grappling hook guns - may use Gadgetry in lieu of a combat skill for their attack roll.
Your understanding of chemical substances and science in general. The ability to create exposives, corrosives, adhesives, and other dangerous chemicals. Requires Requires education and very careful measuring.
Item Creation: Alchemistry covers the creation of explosives and chemical compounds. For the full rules on item creation, see Equipment.
Combat Alchemistry: When attempting to light someone on fire, douse them in acid, or otherwise attack via a purely alchemical means, Alchemistry is can be rolled as the attack roll.
The ability to heal the wounds of others. Takes a steady hand and a wide body of knowledge.
Item Creation: Medicine covers the creation of performance enhancing drugs. For the full rules on item creation, see Equipment.
Treating Injury: Medicine checks can be used to treat injuries, getting allies back into fighting shape. The difficulty of treating a wound is equal to the damage roll that inflicted the wound. Thus, someone with an injured leg created by an attack that dealt six damage would need six successes on a Medicine check to be healed.
The injured individual must expend their personal energy as well; it costs one point of Breath to recover from a light wound, and two points to recover from a heavy wound.
The art of creating detrimental drugs and poisons. Requires a devious mind and a wide base of knowledge.
Item Creation: Toxicology is used to create poisons.
Combat Poisoning: Whenever attempting to inject someone with a drug, deploy a poison gas, or otherwise attack via purely pharmacological means, Pharmacology can be rolled as the attack roll.
This is your skill at operating and maintaining vehicles. Requires accute senses and nerves of steel. Piloting checks are not necessary for basic commuting, but rather whenever trying to do something risky in a vehicle - making a crash landing in an airship, jumping an autocycle off a ramp, and so on.
Item creation: Piloting is used to create and repair vehicles.
Chase: A successful opposed Piloting roll is used to gain ground or maneuver in combat. See mounted combat in Mechanics.
Mystical Skills: The Way of the Adept Edit
Mystical skills involve the various esoteric and spiritual traditions of China, used to affect seemingly supernatural results. They vary from speaking to the heavens and laying down curses to unlocking the potential of the body and mind.
Mystical skills are deeply tied to religion; most mystics are going to be shamans, Buddhist monks, Taoist adepts, or otherwise religious ascetics.
Generally speaking, to make use of any mystical skill, a character must have both skill points and related talents. Whereas technology can confer and advantage to anyone, mysticism requires much of it's devotees to be of utility.
Internal Alchemy: Vitality+Perception
Your ability to bypass your own bodily limitations and control your internal processes. Requires intense physical conditioning and attunement to one's own self.
Internal Alchemy functions by calibrating the yin, the yang, and the Five Elements within one's own to affect internal changes, allowing for superhuman physical feats. Of all the mystical skills, Internal Alchemy is by far the most widely practiced in the Jianghu,being part of many a warrior's basic training. Via an Internal Alchemy check, one can control breathing, heart rate, blood circulation, body temperature, and other physical processes,
To utilize Internal Alchemy, one requires the proper talents as well as skill training (see "Talents" chapter).
Many Internal Alchemy abilities expend Breath to grant superhuman physical abilities in combat - Iron Body, Poison Skin, and so on - these abilities require one point of Breath per round to maintain.
The ability to control the mind and the minds of others. Takes composure and spiritual awareness.
Whereas Internal Alchemy focuses on the unlocking the potential of the body, Mentalism unlocks the potential of the mind. Similarly, just Internal Alchemy talents augment many physical skills, Mentalism talents augment mental and social skills, expanding awareness and bridging the gaps between one mind and another.
Mentalism is rare, and most commonly practiced amongst Buddhist ascetics, who develop mental powers through rigorous mediation.
To utilize Mentalism, one requires the proper talents as well as skill training (see "Talents" chapter).
Many Mentalism abilities involve some level of hypnosis - implanting or erasing memoeries, creating hallucinations, and so on. Doing so requires intimate verbal contact - the mentalist must be able to speak clearly and make eye contact with the peson they're affecting.
The ability to commune with the world of ghosts and spirits. Requires enlightenment and a strong will.
Just as Mentalism deals with the mind, Shamanism deals with the soul. Shamans interact directly with gods and spirits, calling on them for favor and and wisdom. Shamanism can be seen as the white magic to sorcery's black, though the lines are not always clear, especially when Shamans interact with demons and evil spirits. Shamans tend to be increasingly marginalized as society progresses, though the Islamic and Christian societies outside of China tend to give their clerics much more social status.
To utilize Shamanism, one requires the proper talents as well as skill training (see "Talents" chapter).
Black magic. Requires willpower and a devious mind.
Whereas Internal Alchemy harmonizes the energies in one's own body to augment it, Sorcery disrupts the energies in another's body to do harm. The sorcery skill refers to witchcraft, necromancy, and black magic. Due to it's inherently malicious nature, sorcery is the rarest and most taboo of mystical skills, and ancient societies often passed laws against it's practice. Sorcery is more tied to folk religion than any organized practice, and sorcerers tend to be on the far margins of society.
To utilize Sorcery, one requires the proper talents as well as skill training (see "Talents" chapter).
To use a Sorcery talent, the user must be able to link his life force to the target's. This can be done either through physical contact or through a sympathetic bond. Making physical contact against unwilling targets requires either a Hand to Hand or Sorcery roll. To form a sympathetic bond, the sorcerer needs a sample of the target's body - some of their blood, hair, semen, and so on. Once a sorcerer has the sample they need, they can cast curses on the target with no chance of missing from any distance, even thousands of miles away. Typically, an ounce of bodily fluid or a lock of hair is needed to cast a spell; when it used, the link is destroyed - the hair burns away, the blood turns to dust, and so on. As such, most sorcerer's tend to be either accomplished thieves or gongfu experts; either stealing blood and hair from unsuspecting victims, or combining their black magic with boxing maneuvers.
The magic of nature. Requires enlightenment and attunement to the natural world.
Geomancers harmonize the energies in their own bodies with the energies of the natural world – the earth, the sky, the sea. By balancing the yin and the yang within the five elements, geomancers can affect incredible feats, controlling the weather and forces of nature.
Geomancy is deeply tied to Daoism and Daoist understandings of the world. Chinese folklore has a long tradition of Daoist adepts who could control the weather, ride on clouds, and other feats of Geomancy.
To utilize Geomancy, one requires the proper talents as well as skill training (see "Talents" chapter)
Most Geomancy abilities have some sort of martial application, making geomancer's fearsome enemies in combat. Lightning can be called from heaven, the earth can swallow enemies, and so on. When attacking a foe with a Geomancy ability, make a single Geomancy roll for both attack and damage, just as you would for a Melee or Sharpshooting roll. Most abilities have special effects - setting enemies on fire, pinning them, and so on. For full details, see the Geomancy Talents section. All geomancy attacks are considered to have to be Long ranged (Geomancy x100 feet) and can be used to make Area attacks. Fire, lightning, and cold attacks bypass normal armor, but may be negated entirely by specialized armor.
Breath is the measure of a character's internal energy reserves. Requires a healthy body a healthy mind.
Breath functions differently from other skills; one does not roll Breath checks. Instead, a character has a pool of points equal to their total Breath. Every time they use a mystical talent - and certain non mystical talents - they must spend a point of Breath. Additionally, Breath has several uses in combat:
Fight through the Pain: By spending a point of Breath, a character may ignore their injuries for one round, allowing them to ignore any wound penalties. Note that this refers to a single character round, not a full round of combat - thus, if a player spends a point of Breath to ignore their penalties while attacking, they would still incur those penalties when defending on an enemy's round (unless they spent another point of Breath to ignore their wounds on that round as well).
Regather Strength: A character who has been stunned via a failed Fortitude roll may spend a point of Breath act on their round anyway.
Pull Through: A character who has been disabled via a critically failed Fortitude roll may spend a point of Breath to hold themselves together, reducing the effects of the failed roll from disabling to stunning. Note that a character may -not- spend two points of Breath to Pull Through and Regather Strength in the same round. Also note that a character who has been disabled via accumulated wounds cannot Pull Through.