To play you'll need to create and write down your character (p3, p9), know the rules (p5), and get a feel

for how the game should go (the rest of the booklet).

This is a game of martial arts competition and secret goals.

The Great Tournament

In The Story

The tournament is broken up into days, with each contestant having but a single tournament bout each day. At the beginning of each day, all the players' characters find themselves eating breakfast (plain rice) at the same table. Eagerly or reluctantly, they share their tales of the previous day's events. Even those who are knocked out of the tournament stay to see the end, and still have the chance to accomplish what they desire. When you tell the day's story, other contestants will often speak up to ask questions, especially when events seem tricky or impossible. One might question your strength or skill; another might ask how you resisted your opponent's wellknown Fire Fist technique. Perhaps you tell a tale of seducing a great beauty, and others know of her vow of chastity. You will need to explain how you overcame these things or were defeated by them. At the end of the tournament, with only two characters remaining, the temple's sparring grounds can no longer contain the contest. A fight breaks out at the breakfast table, and even one who was previously disqualified has a chance to prove that their art is supreme.

In Game Terms

In each day of the tournament you are given one suit of cards, ace through king. You pick six of these and place them face-down in front of you. Each time another player challenges your story, they must play a card. You reveal one of your own cards and the person with the higher card wins the challenge. You can combine two (but not more) cards in order to beat a higher card. You must narrate the result, whether the challenger won or not. When you have no more cards left to flip over, your character's day is done. He or she rests, watching other bouts, eating in the mess hall, sulking in the temple, or just sleeping. If two players face each other in the tournament, treat it like a normal day in all ways. Only one of the players can tell the story of the bout; the other must tell a story that seeks to accomplish a different goal. When the final day comes, each goal you accomplished yields a number of cards equal to its importance. All players take turns narrating their attacks and techniques, playing cards to represent their prowess. The player whose cards add to the greatest total defeats all the others, and is named champion of the tournament.

This is a tiny, folded storytelling game. You portray a martial artist come to compete in the greatest tournament that will ever be held. But what are your real goals? Not everyone is simply here to win! Pull up a seat at the breakfast table and find out what your fellow martial artists are really competing for. Honor? Respect? Revenge? You'll find out soon enough, grasshopper.

Only one will stand victorious!




As a group of players, you should decide whether the martial arts are merely excellent training, involve supernatural talents, or provide near-godlike power.
2 3

All characters are accomplished martial artists, skilled and wellranked. If there is a feat that the martial arts can accomplish, surely your characters can do so. Having few to no equals in their homelands (all over the world or even beyond it), they each bring a unique style to the Tournament. Each martial artist comes to the tournament with things they want to accomplish. Write down three of these for your character and rank them 3-5 (5 is the most important).

Your Art

You should also name the style of martial arts you practice, and what its most famous techniques are. This is to help the other players when they interact with your character. It has no effect on the game.

Goals and Styles

Good Goals to Strive For
The obvious goal, that of winning the tournament, is assumed. Don't write it down. Pick goals that will make your character act. Also, pick goals that will let you introduce other characters, both contestants and non-contestants. You should keep your character's goals secret from the other players, lest they be forewarned. Consider implying several possible goals in your tale. You should build up to your goal during your story, not attempt to accomplish it immediately. Conversely, waiting until the final card may result in an anticlimactic tale, so develop a sense of timing. Defeat _________. Earn the love of _________. Throw the match against _________. Make _________ look good in combat. Make _________ realize his mistakes. Take revenge on _________. Learn the secret technique that _________ uses. Steal _________, the temple's hidden treasure. Kidnap _________. Be punished by _________ for my wickedness. Seduce _________ with my art. Convince _________ to train me. Embarrass _________. Break _________ free of the demon that possesses him. Disarm _________ and take his weapon.

A Sample of Play

(Sei, out of the tournament, has just successfully snuck into the temple in pursuit of the Sword of Ji Feng. His rival Yu Long seeks the sword as well. Other player characters are Xi and Bu.) Sei: “When I entered the inner chamber, my enemy Yu Long was there. He spotted me, shouting out a challenge. I took up the Hurricane Stance and waited for his assault.” Xi: “You must have faced his Lightning Kick.” (plays a 7) Sei (reveals a 5): “Sadly, yes, and it proved a match for me. I fell back and changed my approach, going on the offensive.” Bu: “A defensive fighter attempting an all-out assault? Foolish. I assume you paid a harsh lesson.” (plays a 4) Sei: (reveals a Jack) “Hardly. Yu was completely unprepared, and I quickly knocked him to the ground. Free to wander the inner chambers, I saw many treasures beyond belief – jade statues, garments woven of gold... Finally, I came to where the Sword of Ji Feng lay.” Xi: “Ji Feng died mysteriously. I am surprised that his ghost did not try to keep you from stealing his sword.” (plays a 9) Sei: (reveals a 6, his last card) “The same thought ran through my mind. Whether the ghost was there or not, I will never know, for I ran from the chamber in fear and shame.” Sei's player reveals his goal: Defeat Yu Long (4). In the final day he will draw four cards because of this.



Storytelling Technique

The game will flow best if you couch what you say in terms of what you attempted instead of what you accomplished. Remember that everyone has the opportunity to interrupt you with challenges and questions. Say not, “I threw him to the ground and defeated him!” but instead, “I moved to grapple him and throw him to the ground.” You do not need to put all your high cards face-down. Doing so will allow your opponents to succeed, as you will be unable to stop them. Consider having a goal that requires you to fail at what you seem to be attempting, and allows you to put down lower cards once in a while. This game does not require a GM but it may have a Sensei. The Sensei gives a voice to the game's NPCs, describes the tournament grounds and temple, and acts as timekeeper. The Sensei receives no cards and does not tell a story. The tournament's length should be chosen by the players at the beginning of the game. Five days is the standard. Even if you have accomplished your goal, continue to tell your story until your cards are gone. Only reveal your true goal and its success or failure at the end.

Goals: 3: 4: 5: Martial Arts Style:

Character Sheet

Name: ___________________________ Player: ___________________________ Accomplished?

Famous Technique: Written by Colin Fredericks. CC-BY-NC 3.0 License.


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