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ISBN: 1-58366-001-1 DOJHERO101 $24.99

Author: Steven S. Long
Editor/Developer: Darren Watts
Cover Art: Storn Cook
Interior Illustration: Andrew Bates, Peter Bergting, Storn Cook, Andrew Cremeans,
David Fooden, Je Hebert, Kraig Horigan, Steve Lawton, Bryce Nakagawa, Eric Rademaker,
David Schrader, Greg Smith, Manny Vega, Pat Zircher
Layout and Design: Andy Mathews
Special Thanks: All all the HERO System players and GMs
whose interest in gaming martial arts made this book not
only desirable, but necessary.
Dedication: As before, so again: I would like to dedicate this
book to Andy Ghost Eye Mathews, master of gaming mar-
tial arts, creator of Couch Potato Kung Fu, selecter of really
bad martial arts movies, and true friend.

I owe a great deal of thanks to the following people, who
answered my questions about martial arts styles, provided me
with information or research material, gave me ideas for things
that needed to go in this book, debated with me about the best
way to do various things in the HERO System, allowed me to
create my own versions of something they rst thought up, or
helped with playtesting: Aaron Allston, Chris Avellone, Scott
Bennie, Tim Binford, Garrett Charnaw, Cli Christiansen, Earl
Cooley III, Storn Cook, John Cooper, Kim Cooper, Amy Crit-
tenden, John Case of Swords Cunningham, Mike Dean, Sean
Fannon, Morgan Flo, Thom Foster, John Grigni, Scott Jamison,
Greg Kerner, Eric Livengood, John Losey, Andy Mathews, Dave
Mattingly, Riley McLaughlin, Rob Miles, Greg Morero, Bryce
Nakagawa, James Pinkerton, Marcus Pritchett, Bob Quinlan,
Scott Sigler, Greg Smith, Geo Speare, Steve Stone, Michael
Surbrook, Jason Walters, David West, Eric Wylie, Doug Young,
various online commentators, and, most especially, Greg
Devils Advocate Lloyd and Je I have a license from Japan

The Ultimate Martial Artist Copyright 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
All rights reserved. means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except Character
HERO SystemTM is DOJ, Inc.s trademark for its roleplaying system. Sheets for personal use only), recording, or computerization, or by any informa-
HERO System Copyright 1984, 1989, 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All tion storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Pub-
rights reserved. lisher: DOJ, Inc., #1 Haight Street Suite A, San Francisco, California 94102.
Champions Copyright 1984, 1989, 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All Printed in the U.S.A. First printing March 2002.
rights reserved. Produced and distributed by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games.
Justice Inc., Danger International, Dark Champions, Fantasy Hero, and Star Stock Number: DOJHERO101
Hero Copyright 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All rights reserved. ISBN Number: 1-58366-001-1
Introduction Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/ Pankration .................................. 48
Cinematic Brawling ................... 23 Pankration Maneuvers .......................48
How to use this book ....................... 6
Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/Cinematic Pentjak-Silat ............................... 49
Authors note ................................... 6
Brawling Maneuvers..........................23 Penjak-Silat Maneuvers .....................50
Fencing ...................................... 24 Qwan Ki Do ................................. 52
Chapter One Fencing Maneuvers ...........................24 Qwan Ki Do Maneuvers .....................52
The Way of the Hero ........................ 8 Gatka ......................................... 26 Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee ....................... 53
Style Descriptions ............................ 8 Gatka Maneuvers ..............................26 Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee Maneuvers ...........53
Style Disadvantages ...................... 8 Generic Martial Arts ..................... 27 Saijutsu ...................................... 53
Martial Arts Maneuvers .................... 8 Generic Martial Arts Maneuvers .........27 Saijutsu Maneuvers ...........................53
Hand to Hand Maneuvers ....................9 Hapkido ...................................... 27 Savate ........................................ 53
Ranged Martial Maneuvers ..................9 Hapkido Maneuvers ..........................27 Savate Maneuvers ............................53
Maneuvers and Weapons ............... 10 Hisardut ...................................... 27 Sevillian Knifefighting................... 54
Ranged Martial Arts and Hisardut Maneuvers ..........................28 Sevillian Knifefighting Maneuvers .......54
Weapon Types .......................... 10 Hsing-I........................................ 28 Shurikenjutsu .............................. 54
Learning Martial Arts...................... 10 Hsing-I Maneuvers ............................28 Shurikenjutsu Maneuvers ..................54
Learning Martial Arts from Scratch .. 10 Hwarang-Do................................ 29 Simgomdo .................................. 55
Maneuvers and Weapons ..................10 Hwarang-Do Maneuvers ....................29 Simgomdo Maneuvers.......................55
SIDEBAR: Modifying and Building Jailhouse Rock ............................ 29 Sumo Wrestling ........................... 55
Styles ...............................................10 Jailhouse Rock Maneuvers ................29 Sumo Maneuvers ..............................55
Rate of Learning .......................... 11 Jeet Kune Do .............................. 30 Tae Kwon Do ............................... 55
Learning New and Multiple Jeet Kune Do Maneuvers...................30 Tae Kwon Do Maneuvers ...................56
Styles ....................................... 12 Jujutsu ....................................... 30 Tai Chi Chuan............................ 56
Building New Maneuvers Jujutsu Maneuvers ............................31 Tai Chi Chuan Maneuvers ................56
and Styles ................................ 13 Jukenjutsu .................................. 32 Tang Soo Do ............................... 57
Belts and Ranks ............................ 13 Jukenjutsu Maneuvers ......................32 Tang Soo Do Maneuvers ....................57
SIDEBAR: Belts and Ranks ................13 Kalaripayit ................................... 32 Thai Kick-boxing.......................... 58
Real World Martial Arts .................. 15 Kalaripayit Maneuvers .......................32 Thai Kick-boxing Maneuvers ..............58
Jutsu vs. Do .................................. 15 Kampfringen ............................... 33 Thang-Ta .................................... 58
Aikido ......................................... 15 Kampfringen Maneuvers....................33 Thang-Ta Maneuvers ........................58
Aikido Maneuvers .............................15 Karate ........................................ 33 Than Vo Dao ............................... 59
An Chi ....................................... 16 Karate Maneuvers .............................33 Than Vo Dao Maneuvers ....................59
An Chi Maneuvers............................16 Kenjutsu ..................................... 35 Vovinam Viet Vo Dao .................... 59
Arnis/Kali/Escrima ....................... 17 Kenjutsu Maneuvers..........................35 Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Maneuvers ........59
Arnis/Kali/Escrima Maneuvers ...........17 Krav Maga .................................. 37 Weapons Combat ........................ 59
Arte dellAbbracciare ................... 18 Krav Maga Maneuvers.......................37 Weapons Combat Maneuvers ............60
Arte dellAbbracciare Maneuvers........19 Kuk Sool Won .............................. 37 Whipfighting................................ 60
Bando......................................... 19 Kuk Sool Won Maneuvers ..................38 Whipfighting Maneuvers ....................61
Bando Maneuvers .............................19 Kung Fu ...................................... 38 Wrestling .................................... 61
Bersilat ....................................... 19 Kung Fu Maneuvers ..........................39 Wrestling Maneuvers ........................61
Bersilat Maneuvers ...........................20 Kuntao ........................................ 43 Wrestling, Professional ................ 62
Bojutsu/Jojutsu ........................... 20 Kuntao Maneuvers ............................43 Wrestling, Professional Maneuvers .....62
Bojutsu/Jojutsu Maneuvers................21 Kyujutsu ..................................... 43 Yu-Sool ....................................... 62
Boxing, Ancient ........................... 21 Kyujutsu Maneuvers ..........................43 Yu-Sool Maneuvers ...........................62
Boxing, Ancient Maneuvers ................21 Lua............................................. 44 Zipota ......................................... 63
Boxing, Modern ........................... 21 Lua Maneuvers .................................44 Zipota Maneuvers .............................63
Boxing, Modern Maneuvers ...............21 Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu .................. 45 Other Styles ................................ 63
Capoeira ..................................... 22 Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu Maneuvers ......45 Fictional Martial Arts ..................... 64
Capoeira Maneuvers .........................22 Ninjutsu ...................................... 45 Brick Tricks ................................. 64
Commando Training ..................... 23 Ninjutsu (Taijutsu) Maneuvers ............46 Brick Tricks Maneuvers......................64
Commando Training Maneuvers .........23 Pakua ......................................... 47 Dancing Spider............................ 64
Pakua Maneuvers .............................48 Dancing Spider Maneuvers ................65
Drunken Clown Kung Fu .............. 65 Pulp Era Martial Arts ...................... 85 Helpful Elements ...............................99
Drunken Clown Kung Fu Maneuvers ...66 Science Fiction/Far Future Restrictive Elements ..........................99
Ghost Eye Techniques .................. 66 Martial Arts ................................. 86 Element Descriptions ................. 100
Ghost Palm Techniques ................ 66 Maashira .................................... 86 SIDEBAR: Mixing HTH and
Golden Demon Kung Fu ............... 67 Maashira Maneuvers .........................86 Ranged Maneuvers .........................100
Golden Demon Kung Fu Maneuvers ...67 Zero Gravity Combat .................... 87 The Complete Mongoose Style ..... 101
The Paths of the Seven Zero Gravity Combat Maneuvers ........87 Moongoose Style Maneuvers ...........101
Ghost Sisters ............................ 67 Superhero Martial Arts ................... 87 Additional Notes on Martial Arts
The Paths of the Seven Ghost Wild West Martial Arts .................... 87 Styles and Elements .................. 101
Sisters Maneuvers ............................68 Designing New Martial Arts ........... 88 Extra Damage Classes ............... 101
Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu ....... 68 Designing Martial Arts Styles .......... 88 SIDEBAR: Maneuvers and
Resplendent Dragon Kung Style Conception ......................... 88 Hit Locations...................................101
Fu Maneuvers ...................................69 Style Building Blocks ...................... 88 Weapons .................................. 102
Silken Blade Kung Fu ................... 70 Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers ... 89 Other Ways to Build Martial Arts ... 103
Silken Blade Kung Fu Maneuvers .......70 SIDEBAR: Redundant Maneuvers ......89 Power Advantages for
Speedster Martial Arts ................. 71 Maneuvers Basis ..............................90 Martial Arts ................................ 104
Speedster Martial Arts Maneuvers ......71 Element Descriptions ................... 91 Point Value of Bases .................. 104
Splendid Fist ............................... 71 Helpful Elements ...............................91 Point Value of Bases........................104
Splendid Fist Maneuvers ...................71 Restrictive Elements ..........................92 Modifier Value of Other
Takijutsu ..................................... 72 Mongoose Style ............................. 97 Elements ................................ 104
Takijutsu Maneuvers .........................73 Extra Damage Classes ............... 104
Ranged Martial Arts ....................... 99
Thunder Dragon Kung Fu ............. 73 Martial Arts Maneuver
Designing Ranged Martial
Thunder Dragon Kung Fu Maneuvers ...73 Element Value .................................105
Maneuvers .................................. 99
Zen Riflery .................................. 73
Maneuver Basis ................................99
Zen Riflery Maneuvers.......................74
Advanced Ninjutsu ......................... 75
Ninja Package Deal ........................ 75
Ninja Package Deal ...........................75
Variant Styles of Taijutsu................. 76
Korogi Taijutsu............................. 76
Korogi Taijutsu Maneuvers .................76
Mist Viper Taijutsu ....................... 76
Mist Viper Taijutsu Maneuvers ............76
Silent Path Taijutsu ...................... 77
Silent Path Taijutsu Maneuvers ..........77
The Way of the Night Dragon........ 77
Night Dragon Taijutsu Maneuvers .......78
Ninja Special Abilities ..................... 78
Mundane Ninja Abilities................ 78
Mystic Ninja Abilities .................... 79
Ninja Gear and Equipment .............. 82
Climbing Equipment .................... 82
Infiltration Equipment ................... 82
Water Equipment ......................... 82
Miscellaneous Equipment ............ 83
Ninja from other Lands................... 83
Martial Arts in Other Genres .......... 84
Cyberpunk/Near Future
Martial Arts ................................. 84
Razor Dancing ............................. 84
Razor Dancing Maneuvers .................84
Fantasy Martial Arts ....................... 84
Poluraathkaa ............................... 85
Poluraathkaa Maneuvers ...................85
Horror Martial Arts ......................... 85
Endurance and Martial Chi Powers ....................................134 Decreasing Knockback .............. 161
Advantages............................. 105 Disadvantages ............................. 135 Pushback.................................. 161
Examples .................................. 105 Mystery Damage ......................... 162
SIDEBAR: Determining Maneuvers Chapter Three Sequence Attacks ........................ 163
Point Value: Steps ...........................105 SIDEBAR: Unstructured Sequence
Combat Manuevers...................... 142
Attack Example ...............................163
Bind ......................................... 142
Chapter Two Block ........................................ 142
Weapon Lengths.......................... 164
Weapon Ranges .......................... 164
Martial Arts Archetypes ............... 107 Choke Hold ............................... 142
OCV Penalties ............................. 164
Alien Martial Artist Archetype...... 107 Cover........................................ 142
SIDEBAR: Structured Sequence
American from Orient Archetype ... 107 Disarm...................................... 142
Attack Example ...............................164
Avenger Archetype .................... 107 SIDEBAR: Binds in Fantasy HERO ....142
Weapon Lengths and
Brick Martial Artist Archetype ..... 107 Flying Kick ................................ 143
Enclosed Space ......................... 165
SIDEBAR: Mixing and Matching Grab ......................................... 143
Enclosed Space and Weapon Length ..165
Archetypes .....................................107 SIDEBAR: Redefining Block .............143
Wounds ...................................... 165
Fulfiller of Prophecy Archetype ... 108 SIDEBAR: Roleplaying Combat ........144
Targeting Injured Areas .............. 165
Honorable Ninja Archetype ......... 108 SIDEBAR: Grabbing and Combat
Twisting the Blade ..................... 165
Irritable Student Archetype ......... 108 Values ............................................145
SIDEBAR: Weapon Length Example ...165
Kickboxing Champion Archetype ... 108 Grab Weapon ............................ 146
SIDEBAR: Targeting Wounds
Kickboxing Cop Archetype .......... 108 Joint Locks and
Example .........................................165
The Kid Archetype ..................... 108 Related Maneuvers ................. 147
Zero Gravity and Martial Arts ........ 166
Knight-Errant Archetype ............. 109 Killing Throw ............................. 147
Master Archetype ...................... 109 Martial Escape .......................... 147 Martial Arts Weapons ................... 167
Modern Day Samurai Archetype.... 109 Move By/Move Through ............. 147 Ranged Weapons Table ...................168
Naive Hero/Heroine Archetype .... 109 Nerve Strike .............................. 148 Melee Weapons Table...............169-172
The Philosopher Archetype ......... 109 SIDEBAR: Vital Points Around the Notes and Key ............................. 173
Ronin Archetype ........................ 109 World .............................................148 Notes........................................ 173
Samurai Archetype .................... 109 SIDEBAR: AVLDs ............................148 Key........................................... 173
Serious Student Archetype ......... 110 Partial Maneuvers...................... 149 Master List of Weapons ................ 174
Sidekick Archetype .................... 110 Root ......................................... 149 SIDEBAR: Concealed and Inobvious
Super-Soldier Archetype ............ 110 Shove ....................................... 149 Weapons ........................................174
Unwilling Fighter Archetype ........ 110 Standard Maneuvers ................. 150 Armor ......................................... 186
Vigilante Martial Artist Archetype ... 110 Sweep ...................................... 150 Full-Contact Karate Armor ............ 186
Warrior-Monk Archetype ............ 110 Takeaway.................................. 152 Full-Contact Karate Armor ...............186
The Career Path of the Throw ....................................... 152 Kendo Armor ............................. 186
Martial Artist ............................. 110 Throw Modifiers Table .....................152 Kendo Armor ..................................186
SIDEBAR: Glossary of Martial Leather Hand-Wrappings ........... 186
Special Cases and Optional Rules ..154
Arts Terms ......................................110 Leather Hand-Wrappings.................186
Blinded Characters and Martial Arts .154
Rawhide Hand-Wrappings.......... 186
Skills ............................................ 112 Bound Characters and Martial Arts ...154
Samurai Armor .......................... 187
Aanlyze Style Table..........................113 Casual STR Versus Barriers .......... 155
Samurai Armor ...............................187
SIDEBAR: Non-Weapon Concealed Weapons and Gadgets ...155
Creating Weapons ....................... 187
Combat Effects ...............................114 Critical Hits.................................. 156
Powers Used in Weapon
Perquisites ................................... 117 Disabling Attacks ......................... 156
Creation .................................... 187
Disabling Results Table ....................157
Talents ......................................... 118 Hand-to-Hand Versus
Nerve Strike Imparing/
Powers ......................................... 119 Killing Damage .......................... 187
Disabling Time ................................157
SIDEBAR: Clinging Examples...........121 New Limitations ........................... 187
Disguising Damage ...................... 157
SIDEBAR: Damage Reduction Healing ....................................... 158 Bibliography................................. 189
Examples .......................................122 Hindering Circumstances and Index ............................................ 190
SIDEBAR: Damage Resistance Martial Arts ............................... 158
Examples .......................................122 Hit Locations ............................... 160
Power Advantages ....................... 131 Ignoring Opponents ..................... 160
Limitations .................................. 133 Interposing .................................. 160
Power Frameworks ...................... 133 SIDEBAR: Interposing Example ........160
Martial Arts Multipower ...................133 Knockback and Martial Arts .......... 161
Kiai Powers ....................................134 Increasing Knockback ................ 161
6 The Ultimate Martial Artist

his is the Second Edition of The Ultimate I think I did the job well. However, theres always
Martial Artist, or UMA for short. The HERO something to add I seem to pick up new martial
System has changed a lot since this book arts references frequently and even more impor-
was rst published in 1994. Theres a 5th Edi- tantly, it was necessary to revise the abilities in the
tion now, and it incorporated many of the new rules book to bring them into line with the rules of the
introduced in the rst UMA. That meant a couple of HERO System 5th Edition.
changes for UMA. First, I had to revise all the power I started revising the text of UMA in June, 1999
write-ups to make them compatible with the 5th Edi- with the goal of making the book compatible with the
tion. Second, since the deletions and changes freed up HERO System 5th Edition and of updating and revis-
some space, I had room to add some new material, ing the material. This meant not only deleting parts of
thus improving the books value for those who own the book which the 5th Edition incorporated into the
the rst version. Whether youve got an earlier edition core rules of the system, but reviewing the entire text
of UMA or not, I think youll nd plenty of new and with an eye towards improving the general quality
enjoyable material in this volume. of the writing. Since I wrote UMA, Ive improved my
writing skills, and I think youll see the results in the
more polished text in this book.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK In addition to its revised, 5th Edition compatible,
material, UMA has plenty of new information. Ive
Unlike most other books in the Ultimate series,
made every eort to include enough new and inter-
UMA has a prior history (of sorts) upon which to
esting material so those of you who own the rst ver-
build: the Ninja Hero genre book, the HERO System
sion of this book will nd youve gotten your moneys
book on martial arts-oriented campaigns. While
worth from buying this one.
the two books have much in common, their focus is
As before, I owe thanks to Aaron Allston and all
slightly dierent: Ninja Hero concentrated primarily
of the consultants listed in the front of this book.
on straight martial arts campaigns, whereas UMA
Their advice and suggestions, even when (for what-
looks at the use of martial arts in any genre, time
ever reason) I didnt take them, were invaluable. But
period, or setting. Nevertheless, much of the mate-
all mistakes are still my own.
rial in Ninja Hero was perfect for this book, and that
material is reprinted here (though updated for 5thEdi-
Steven S. Long
tion, of course).
January, 2002
As you read this book, remember that it looks
at martial arts for all genres, not just straightforward
martial arts campaigns. Thus, many of the rules
alterations, suggestions for GMs options, and simi-
lar material are made with Superheroic characters or
other genres in mind. Everything herein may not be
appropriate for every type of campaign; GMs should
examine the rules in this book carefully before allow-
ing their use.

When The Ultimate Martial Artist was rst
announced about ten years ago, it was greeted in
many circles with cries of trepidation and even out-
rage. Ninja Hero is widely acknowledged as one of
the best supplements Hero Games ever published,
and rightly so. Many HERO System gamers were dis-
turbed by the thought of it being redone or altered
in any way. I shared their concern, and worked hard
not only to create new and exciting rules and source
material for Hero gamers, but to preserve the spirit
and best parts of Ninja Hero as well.
Now, with several years perspective under my
belt and a new edition of the core rules to work with,
W hen warriors are in great danger, then they have no fear.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Know your enemy and know yourself and in a his chapter provides extensive information on dif-
ferent martial arts styles and maneuvers, in four
thousand battles you will never know defeat. parts.
The rst part describes over 150 real-world
Sun Tzu, The Art of War styles and variants from all over the globe and throughout
The second section includes approximately two dozen
ctional styles of the sort often seen in comic books and mar-
tial arts movies.
The third section deals with those ubiquitous villains, the
The fourth section discusses martial arts in various
genres, such as fantasy and science ction, and includes some
sample styles appropriate to such genres.
8 The Ultimate Martial Artist

his section discusses the rules and other Optional Rules: This section includes the optional
terms used to describe martial arts styles Hit Locations for appropriate maneuvers in the
and related matters in the HERO System. style.
Gamers interested in doing their own Special Abilities: This last section showcases some
research on these subjects should consult the Bibli- of the amazing (and even mystical) abilities attrib-
ography at the end of this book. uted to martial artists who practice the style. Most
are described in general terms only, with suggested
ways to create them using the HERO System 5th Edi-
STYLE DESCRIPTIONS tion rules; you may simulate these abilities in other
The basic terms used to dene the dierent ways, if you prefer.
styles are:
Maneuvers: The maneuvers and techniques which Style Disadvantage
comprise the style. The accompanying table contains
a master list of the maneuvers used. You can also Most styles betray something about a charac-
make up your own maneuvers using the rules on ters ghting abilities to a trained observer. In HERO
pages 88-101. System terms, a type of Distinctive Features Dis-
advantage called Style simulates this. See page 135
Skills: Skills commonly associated with the style. of this book and page 333 of the HERO System 5th
Those marked with an asterisk (*) are required: a Edition, Revised for more information. Not all styles
character cannot practice the style without buying qualify for this Disadvantage, but most do.
Elements: Elements are additions to the style. They
include Extra Damage Classes (which are never MARTIAL ARTS
required for a style, and so are listed separately) and
any Weapons the style teaches. Refer to the Maneu- MANEUVERS
vers And Weapons section, below, and the Designing The maneuvers (both Hand-To-Hand and
Martial Arts Maneuvers section on pages 88-101, for Ranged) in the accompanying list include most of
more information on using weapons with martial the ones used to construct the martial arts packages
arts maneuvers. in this chapter.
In the list, the Maneuver column gives the
maneuvers generic name. Typically, a name spe-
cic to the art replaces the generic name when the
maneuver appears in a style. For example, Martial
Strike becomes a Punch in one style, and an
Elbow Strike in another.
The next column, Phs, indicates how long it
takes to perform the maneuver. Most are Half Phase
Actions; some, like Haymaker, require a Full Phase
plus one Segment and land at the end of the Seg-
ment after theyre begun.
The next column, Pts, gives the maneuvers cost.
The next two columns, OCV and DCV, show
the Combat Value modiers of the maneuver.
In the Ranged Martial Arts Maneuvers list,
the next column, Rng, indicates the bonus or pen-
alty added by the maneuver to the standard Range
The last column, Damage/Eect, describes (in
short form) what the maneuver does when used
successfully. For explanations of the terms under
Damage/Eect, refer to the Designing Martial
Arts Manuevers and Combat Maneuvers sections
of this book.
Hero Games 9


Maneuver Phase Cost OCV DCV Effects
Basic Strike 3 +1 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
Charge 4 +0 -2 STR +2d6 +v/5 Strike, FMove
Choke Hold 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2)
Counterstrike 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6 Strike, Must Follow Block
Crush 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab
Defensive Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
Defensive Strike 5 +1 +3 STR Strike
Defensive Throw 3 +1 +1 Block, Target Falls
Disarming Throw 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +5 STR to take weapon away; Target Falls
Fast Strike 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
Flying Dodge 5 +4 Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove
Flying Grab 5 -2 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on; FMove
Flying Tackle 3 +0 -1 STR +v/5 Strike; You Fall, Target Falls; FMove
Grappling Block 5 +1 +1 Grab One Limb, Block
Grappling Throw 3 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike; Target Falls; Must Follow Grab
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA d6 (2 DC), Disable
Joint Lock/Throw 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls
Killing Strike 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Killing Throw 5 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC); Target Falls
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls
Martial Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Martial Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm; +10 STR to Disarm roll
Martial Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Aects All Attacks, Abort
Martial Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Martial Flash 4 -1 -1 Flash 4d6 (choose Sense Group)
Martial Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on
Martial Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Martial Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls
Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Oensive Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Passing Disarm 5 -1 -1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll; FMove
Passing Strike 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove
Passing Throw 5 +0 +0 STR +v/5; Target Falls; FMove
Reversal var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; Grab Two Limbs
Root 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort
Sacrice Disarm 4 +2 -2 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll
Sacrice Lunge 4 +2 -2 STR +v/5; FMove
Sacrice Strike 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
Sacrice Throw 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls
Shove 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove
Takeaway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to take weapon away
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls
Weapon Bind 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR


Maneuver Phase Cost OCV DCV Rng Damage/Effect
Basic Shot 4 +0 +0 +2 Strike, +2 DC
Defensive Shot 3 -1 +2 +0 Strike
Distance Shot 1+1 5 +0 -2 +6 Strike; +1 Segment
Far Shot 5 +1 -1 +4 Strike
Oensive Ranged Disarm 5 +1 -1 +2 Disarm, +10 STR
Oensive Shot 4 -1 -1 +0 Strike, +4 DC
Oensive Trip 5 +1 -1 +0 Strike, +v/5; Target Falls
Quick Shot 4 +1 +0 +0 Strike, +2 DC
Ranged Disarm 4 +0 +0 +0 Disarm, +15 STR
Trip 4 -1 -1 +2 v/5, Target Falls
10 The Ultimate Martial Artist
MODIFYING AND Second, if the style requires an Element (such
BUILDING STYLES MANEUVERS as Weapons Element), the character must buy it
Readers who practice AND WEAPONS next.
Third, a few styles require practitioners to
the martial arts may
have objections to the Characters can use some martial arts with purchase specic Skills (the ones marked with an
way some of the styles weapons. But not all maneuvers apply to all weap-
in this book are dened ons; a kick cant work with a machete, and holding
in HERO System terms. a spear doesnt improve a dodge. MANEUVERS AND WEAPONS
Hero Games has made The accompanying list provides general guide- Can Be Used With
every eort to make this
lines for which sorts of weapons work with which Maneuver Type These Weapons:
book as comprehensive
as possible, but limita- maneuvers. The GM should use common sense Basic Strike *
tions imposed by the when dealing with a weapon not found on this list Charge *
nature of research and simply compare it to weapons on this list and Choke Hold Staves, Weapon Shafts,
space in the book itself Garrotes, Chain & Rope
decide which one it most closely corresponds to.
make it impossible to Weapons, Nunchaku, Three-
When youre using non-martial Combat Section Sta, Shinobi-Zue
depict every maneuver
associated with every Maneuvers from page 384 of the HERO System Counterstrike *
style. 5th Edition, Revised, compare the non-martial Crush Staves, Weapon Shafts, Chain
To resolve this dilemma, maneuver to the maneuvers in the chart above. You & Rope Weapons, Three-
you can build your own can perform a non-martial Block with the sorts Section Sta, Shinobi-Zue
martial arts maneuvers of weapons used with the Defensive and Martial Defensive Block *
and styles, creating from Blocks; you can perform a non-martial Disarm Defensive Strike *
scratch (or modifying with the sorts of weapons used with Martial and Defensive Throw None
an existing maneuver or Sacrice Disarms; and so on. Disarming Throw None
style) to suit your own Fast Strike *
opinions and tastes. Flying Dodge None
To learn how, refer to
the Designing Martial
Ranged Martial Arts And Flying Tackle
Grappling Block
Arts Maneuvers section
beginning on page 88.
Weapon Types Grappling Throw Chain & Rope Weapons
Head-Butt Helmet Spikes, Other
A character with a Ranged Martial Art style Head-Worn Weapons
is trained in the use of a specic type of weapon, Joint Break None
and cannot use his Ranged Martial Maneuvers Joint Lock/Throw Chain & Rope Weapons
with other weapons unless he has received the Kick Ashiko
proper training (i.e., purchased the appropriate Killing Strike *
Weapon Element). In short, a character who knows Killing Throw None
Legsweep Staves, Tetsubo, Shinobi Zue,
Shurikenjutsu cannot use his Ranged Martial
Polearm Shafts, Nets
Maneuvers with a bow or rie unless he purchases Martial Block All Melee Weapons, Shields
WE: Bows or WE: Pistols. Martial Disarm *
Martial Dodge None
Martial Escape None
Martial Grab Nets, Whips, Chain & Rope
Building a martial artist at the start of a cam- Weapons,
paign usually poses few problems the character Shinobi-Zue
needs, typically, at least ten points worth of martial Martial Strike *
arts maneuvers from one style, an 8- roll in the Martial Throw Chain & Rope Weapons
Knowledge Skill of that style, and the Style Dis- Nerve Strike *, but only normal-damage
tinctive Feature. But things get a little more com- weapons
plicated when characters want to use Experience Oensive Strike *
Points to improve their martial arts or buy new Passing Strike *
Passing Throw Chain & Rope Weapons
martial arts abilities.
Punch All Melee Weapons
Reversal None
Learning Martial Root
Sacrice Disarm
Arts From Scratch Sacrice Lunge
Sacrice Strike
Sometimes an existing character wants to Sacrice Throw None
learn a martial arts style from the ground up. Find- Shove All Large (L) Melee
ing a teacher depends on plot and storytelling, Weapons, Shields
things for the player and GM to work out. But the Takeaway All Melee Weapons
actual acquisition of the abilities requires the char- Takedown Staves, Polearm Shafts, Nets,
Whips, Chain & Rope
acter to spend Experience Points, and that requires
rules. Weapon Bind All Melee Weapons, Shields
First, the character should spend at least one
point for a Knowledge Skill with his style. Charac- *: If dened as Punch, see Punch; if dened as Kick,
ters shouldnt learn any maneuvers before taking see Kick; if dened as Head-Butt, see Head-Butt
the KS.
Hero Games 11

asterisk [*] in the style write-ups). For example, style is obvious, and the philosophy that new Disad-
characters cannot learn Aikido and Jujutsu without vantages dont bring new points to the character.
knowing Breakfall, or Kenjutsu without knowing
WF: Blades. The character must buy all required Of these four approaches, the second choice,
Skills before buying any maneuvers. Allow the Character to Trade the Style Distinctive
A character can only start buying maneuvers Feature For Another Disadvantage, usually works
after hes satised all of these prerequisites. At that best. It has the advantages of giving a point-cost
point, he can learn one maneuver after another incentive to learn martial arts maneuvers without
until hes bought at least ten Character Points providing the character a lot of new points out of
worth of them. The GM may let him start using nowhere.
each maneuver as its learned, or require the char-
acter to wait until hes acquired ten points worth of
them before he can start using them. Rate Of Learning
The Style Distinctive Feature How fast should characters learn new martial
Ultimately, the character can take the Style arts?
Distinctive Feature for his style, which helps oset In the real world, a normal practitioner can
the cost of the Martial Arts style. He can only take earn a black belt in an average of four years. In the
this Disadvantage with the GMs approval, though. HERO System, that corresponds to an expenditure
The GM may not want to let him receive new Char- of only three or four Character Points per year on
acter Points for the new Disadvantage. Martial Arts maneuvers and skills, far too slow for
These are the dierent ways GMs may most adventure genre purposes.
approach this question in their own campaigns: However, also in the real world, some legiti-
mate martial arts champions have attained black
Allow the Character to Take the Style Distinctive belt rank in much less time. One famed heavy-
Feature: The character can add the Style Distinc- weight full-contact karate champion earned his
tive Feature to his list of Disadvantage and add the in only seven months more like spending
value of it to his Character Points. However, the two Character Points per month on Martial Arts
Style Distinctive Feature still cannot exceed the maneuvers and Skills.
Disadvantage point limits already set for the cam- Therefore, for game purposes, presume PCs
paign. For instance, if the campaign has a 75-point have taken anywhere from half a year to four years
cap on Disadvantage points, and the character to earn their belts. But when PCs learn new maneu-
already has 70 points of Disadvantages, if he adds vers and arts after theyve begun play, you should
the 10-point Style Distinctive Feature he only gets follow one of these approaches:
5 points worth of value. Likewise, if the campaign
has a 25-point cap on Disadvantage points from One CP Every Adventure: The character can spend
any one category of Disadvantage, and the charac- one Experience Point on Martial Arts maneuvers,
ter already has 25 points worth of Distinctive Fea- Skills, and Elements every adventure. This presumes
tures, then the additional Style Distinctive Feature hes receiving regular training in the campaign
gives him 0 points. setting. As a result, it takes quite a while (ten to f-
teen game sessions) to earn a black belts worth of
Allow the Character to Trade the Style Distinctive maneuvers and Skills. This approach works well for
Feature For Another Disadvantage: The charac- Heroic campaigns not oriented around martial arts,
ter can trade in another Disadvantage the player or for any campaign stressing realism.
has already been trying to buy down or buy o,
and take the Style Distinctive Feature in its place. Two or Three CP Every Adventure: The character
For example, recently the character has beaten his can spend two or three Experience Points (the GM
10-point Hunted in a climactic fashion, and its decides which) on Martial Arts maneuvers, Skills,
an appropriate time to get rid of that Hunted. The and Elements every adventure. This presumes
character erases the Hunted and substitutes the hes receiving regular, and extraordinarily inten-
Style Distinctive Feature for it. Note: GMs should sive, training in the campaign setting. With this
only allow this when a logical, plot-driven reason approach, it takes four to seven adventures for a
already exists to change the Disadvantage. Reasons character to acquire a competitive level of prowess
such as Im tired of it and I like the Style Distinc- in his style. This approach works well for Heroic
tive Feature better arent sucient. martial arts-oriented campaigns and any Superhe-
roic campaign.
Disallow the Style Distinctive Feature: The
character cannot take a new Disadvantage. Since a Spend Many CP During Training Breaks: If the
character doesnt receive points for a new Hunted campaign skips a lot of time, the character, with GM
when he makes a new enemy, or points from new permission, can spend any amount of Experience
Rivalries when he nds himself competing with a Points on martial arts. In other words, if the cam-
new character, he shouldnt receive points from a paign skips six game-months between adventures,
new Distinctive Feature, either. the character could conceivably drop quite a few
points into his ghting skills. Again, the character
Require the Style Distinctive Feature... But Worth must receive regular training within the campaign
Zero Points: The character must take the Style setting. A realistic expenditure rate equals 2 Experi-
Distinctive Feature Disadvantage, but its worth no ence Points every game month; an acceptable expen-
points. This reects both the fact that the characters diture for Heroic campaigns, presuming very inten-
12 The Ultimate Martial Artist
sive training, would be 4 Experience Points every and Sta for his Karate. He now learns the Kung
game month; in Superheroic campaigns, spending Fu Punch maneuver and the Kung Fu Weapons
6-8 Experience Points every game month is feasible. Elements of Clubs and Blades from a Kung Fu
teacher. He can use the Punch with his Karate
Weapons and Sta. However, he cannot use his
Learning New Karate maneuvers with Clubs and Swords.
And Multiple Styles However, if the practitioner knows two com-
Some characters want to learn new martial plete styles, he can use maneuvers from either art
arts styles in addition to their basic style, and some with the Weapons Elements hes purchased for either
just wish to purchase individual maneuvers from a art.
number of styles to supplement their basic style. This Example: Years later, Okamura Masao has
is ne, logical, and realistic, but you need a few rules learned both Karate and Kung Fu (he has at
to govern this practice. least ten points of maneuvers in each). He has
BUYING MANEUVERS OUTSIDE YOUR bought the Karate Weapons and Sta Weapons
STYLE Elements for his Karate, and the Clubs and
Blades Weapons Elements for his Kung Fu.
A character can learn a maneuver from a style Now, he can use his Karate maneuvers and
other than his own, or (if the GM allows) create a his Kung Fu maneuvers with Karate Weapons,
new maneuver using the maneuver design rules. A Sta, Clubs, and Swords.
character should know at least three maneuvers in
his original style before he buys an outside maneu-
The player must have an acceptable rationale for If a character already knows a particular mar-
his character to learn this outside maneuver, such as tial art (including having a KS in that art), and then
learning from a PC or established NPC. If he buys buys a KS in a second art, he may use any maneuvers
the maneuver after play begins, hes subject to the he has purchased which overlap both styles in the
time constraints chosen by the GM (see above), and fashion of either style. This can be a good way for
must have a logical way to learn the maneuver (i.e., a character to vary his ghting style to confuse an
access to a teacher and time to learn). opponent or avoid the eects of a successful Analyze
If a character wishes to learn only one or two Style roll. But remember, just purchasing a KS in a
maneuvers outside his style, he doesnt have to buy a style does not give a character access to any maneu-
KS in that style. vers he has not paid points for.

OUTSIDE MANEUVERS AND Example: Hitoshi knows Karate. He has pur-

THE WEAPONS ELEMENT chased all of that styles maneuvers and has KS:
Karate 11-. After a trip to Thailand, he becomes
If your basic style includes the Weapons Ele-
interested in Thai Kick-Boxing and begins study-
ment for a particular weapon, and you buy a maneu-
ing it. After a couple of months of hard work, he
ver from a second style, you still can use the new
knows enough to buy KS: Thai Kick-Boxing 11-.
maneuver with the weapons permitted for your style.
For example, if you know Karate and have bought Karate and Thai Kick-Boxing have several
the Weapons Elements for Karate Weapons and Sta, maneuvers in common: Killing Strike (called
then buy the Fencing Takeaway, you can use the Knifehand Strike (Chop) in Karate and Elbow/
Fencing Takeaway with both Karate Weapons and Knee Killing Strike in Thai Kick-Boxing); Mar-
Sta. tial Block (called Block in both styles); Martial
This is possible because the martial artist adapts Strike (called Punch/Snap Kick in Karate and
his new maneuvers to his old style. However, some Low Kick in Thai Kick-Boxing); and Oensive
restrictions exist. Strike (called Side/Spin Kick in Karate and
First, the maneuver must be appropriate for the Roundhouse Kick/Knee Strike in Thai Kick-
weapon. A Fencer who learns the Side/Spinning Kick Boxing). Since Hitoshi has a KS in both styles, he
cant use the kick with a blade. See the chart under may use either version of those maneuvers when
Martial Arts Maneuvers And Weapons, page 10 to he is ghting, without having to pay for each
determine which types of maneuvers work with maneuver twice.
which types of weapons.
Hitoshi soon has the misfortune to get into a
Second, a character with at least ten points of
ght with Seiki, another Karate practitioner.
maneuvers in one style can buy an outside maneu-
After a few seconds of ghting, Hitoshi realizes
ver and use that maneuver with his styles weapons.
Seiki has studied Hitoshis maneuvers and knows
However, he cant use all his original styles maneu-
enough about Hitoshis ghting style to defeat
vers with the Weapons Element from the single out-
him (in game terms, Seiki made an Analyze
side maneuver.
Style roll and used his Aid: Analyze Style power
Example: Okamura Masao knows Karate; he to gain extra DEX when ghting Hitoshi, and
knows ten points worth of maneuvers and has Hitoshi made a PER Roll to realize Seiki had
bought the Weapons Elements Karate Weapons the drop on him).
Hero Games 13

So, Hitoshi switches to using Muay Thai maneu- suces for gaming purposes. BELTS & RANKS
vers whenever possible. Seiki cannot analyze Remember, not all ghting styles rank practitio- Kyu (Grades) Grade
these new maneuvers (i.e., he fails to make ners with belts or other systems, although many do.
Belt Initiate: White or
another Analyze Style roll), so he cannot use Details of some ranking systems are given above, or Red Belt
his Aided DEX to increase his OCV and DCV in the style descriptions later on in this section.
8th Kyu: White Belt
whenever Hitoshi uses a Thai Kick-Boxing For gaming purposes, there are several ways for
7th Kyu: Yellow Belt
attack. Hitoshi can use his Killing Strike, Mar- players to simulate various levels of martial arts abil-
tial Block, Martial Strike, and Oensive Strike ity in the HERO System. 6th Kyu: Orange Belt
as Muay Thai maneuvers and limit Seiki to 5th Kyu: Green Belt
The Basic Approach
his regular DEX (without the benet of the 4th Kyu: Purple Belt
The basic way to determine if a character quali-
Aid) when attacking or defending against those 3rd Kyu: Brown Belt
es as a black belt is the one outlined in the HERO
maneuvers. However, if Hitoshi uses one of those 2nd Kyu: Brown Belt
System, 5th Edition, Revised, page 401: Characters
maneuvers as a Karate manuever, or if he uses 1st Kyu: Brown Belt
who spend at least 15 Character Points on the styles
any other Karate maneuver, Seiki still gains the
Martial Maneuvers, have a Knowledge Skill of the
benet of his Aided DEX. Furthermore, Hitoshis Dan (Degrees):
style on at least an 11- roll, and have bought at least
KS: Thai Kick-Boxing does not allow him to use All are Black Belts
one 3-point Combat Skill Level with the style can
that styles Fast Strike or Shove maneuvers, since Degree Name
be considered black belts. True mastery involves
he has never purchased either of them. (Japanese)
buying all Maneuvers and related Skills as well as
several [Combat Skill Levels] with the style. 1st Dan Shodan
Since UMA provides the opportunity to take 2nd Dan Nidan
Building New a more in-depth look at martial arts, this denition 3rd Dan Sandan
Maneuvers And Styles needs a little amending. In addition to those require-
ments, to be considered a black belt, a character
4th Dan Yodan
5th Dan Godan
A character can (with his GMs permission) must know all of the styles required Skills and
create all-new maneuvers or even entire styles with 6th Dan Rokudan
maneuvers (those marked with a * in the styles
the rules from the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers description). 7th Dan Shichidan
section (see page 88). This guideline is simple, straightforward, and 8th Dan Hachidan
A character who designs his own martial art, if easy to qualify for. It allows characters who arent 9th Dan Kudan
it turns out to be an ecient and competitive style, primarily martial artists to still achieve a high 10th Dan Judan
should eventually nd himself pursued by students degree of prociency at martial combat. 11th Dan Juichidan
who wish him to teach them and of gunghter- (Judo Only)
mentality martial artists who want to challenge him Alternate Approaches
If the basic approach doesnt satisfy you, try 12th Dan Junidan
to prove the superiority of their own style. (Judo Only)
The character who designs an all-new style and one of these options instead. Feel free to alter them
nds himself in demand as a teacher should buy to suit your personal preferences or campaign.
PS: Teacher and set up his own dojo (school). The Perk-based: Require a character who wants to be
campaign may involve many plots about the heros a black belt to purchase a 1-point Fringe Benet,
school, especially plots concerning the activities of
enemy schools.


Many martial arts, as practiced today, use a
system of ranks indicated by the color of the belt
worn by the practitioner. This belt-rank system is a
twentieth century invention, a tool used to motivate
students (especially Western students) to learn.
For Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean martial
arts, belt ranks typically come in two categories: kyu
(grade) and dan (degree). The accompanying sidebar
shows the belt arrangement for Karate; other Japa-
nese arts use variations on it (in fact, belt colors may
vary from school to school).
The term black belt carries a certain mystique
for some (particularly Westerners), who think it
signies a person with superhuman ghting skills.
It doesnt, really; it simply indicates a practitioner
whos trained long enough and hard enough, and
who possesses sucient knowledge of and skill with
a particular ghting style, for others to consider him
an expert at it. This denition is not, perhaps, the
same as the one applicable in the real world, but it
14 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Black Belt. This indicates hes recognized as a black kick. That one maneuver is gaming shorthand, if
belt by a governing body of his style (or some you will, for what may be a dozen or more dier-
similar organization) and has the right to refer to ent kinds of kicks. In a ght, a good martial artist
himself as an expert in that style. A character with player describes the dierent types of kicks hes
this Perk can often rely on members of the Martial using, depending upon how his opponent ghts,
World for work (i.e., teaching martial arts), shelter, even though hes using just one maneuver, Kick.
and the like. Thus, its not unreasonable for a character to have
The advantages to this approach are that its spent just 10 or so points to buy a small number of
simple and cheap. The drawback is that characters maneuvers, yet still be considered to know dozens
with wildly dierent levels of prociency with of dierent kicks, strikes, and defensive techniques.
martial arts can end up being black belts, making Skill-based: Increase the amount and/or level of
the rank seem worthless. Gamemasters may wish Skills a character has to buy before hes considered
to establish minimum requirements (such as those a black belt. For example, a GM might decide that,
outlined above) before allowing characters to pur- regardless of the raw number of points a character
chase this Perk. has spent on maneuvers and Extra DC, he cannot
Maneuver-based: Increase the amount of points be considered a black belt until he has at least a 14-
worth of maneuvers (including, at the GMs option, roll in his Knowledge Skill of his style. Professional
Combat Skill Levels with the style) a character has Skill: Instructor would allow the character to teach
to purchase before being considered a black belt. his style properly; a Science Skill in his style would
Twenty to thirty points should suce for most give him knowledge of the mechanical aspects of
styles. his ghting maneuvers. Either Skill might include
The advantage to this approach is that it some appropriate sports medicine techniques for
more clearly dierentiates the beginner with his common dojo injuries. GMs could also require a
10 minimum points of maneuvers from a higher- character to purchase a certain number of 3-point
level practitioner. The drawback is that it places Combat Skill Levels with his style before he quali-
undue emphasis on acquiring lots of dierent es for black belt status.
maneuvers. Remember that special eects are an
important element of the HERO System. When
a martial artist buys, say, a Kick maneuver, this
generally doesnt mean he knows just one type of
Hero Games 15

hen most Hero gamers think of their External or hard styles, on the other hand,

T he
characters learning martial arts, they concentrate on the development of the body and its
have some style from the real world, physical capabilities. They generally rely on power-
like Kung Fu or Aikido, in mind. To ful, linear attacks to overcome the foe. The Shaolin teacher
help you build such characters, this section includes Kung Fu styles, Karate, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Muay
descriptions of numerous real-world martial arts Thai, and similar ghting arts are considered exter- is as a needle,
styles in HERO System terms. These arts are not nal styles.
conned to the latter part of the twentieth century; the disciple is as
many date back into the rst millennium BC, or
perhaps further back than that. You can nd ctional Aikido thread.
martial arts styles in the next section. This is a Japanese art founded in 1942 by Miyamoto
Morihei Ueshiba and derived from the earlier Musashi, Go Rin No
Aikijutsu. It stresses discipline and a nonviolent
JUTSU VS. DO; attitude. The art, as practiced in combat, concen- Sho (A Book of
Five Rings)
INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL trates on balance, rhythm, and use of an opponents
force against him. It largely involves redirecting an
Martial artists have two ways of thinking opponents energies, especially in throws and take-
about their styles and how they work that you need down maneuvers.
to know about in advance. Aikidoka (practitioners of aikido) tradition-
The rst is the distinction between jutsu and ally wear a uniform known as an aikidogi. Students
do, two terms used in Japanese martial arts. Jutsu wear a uniform similar to a karate gi (see Karate,
means, roughly, technique or art; it signies a below). Masters wear a pair of wide pants (almost MARTIAL ARTS
martial art meant for actual ghting use. Do, mean- like a split skirt) called a hakama and a jacket simi- AROUND THE WORLD
ing way, signies just the opposite a philo- lar to the karate gi, except that the sleeves are less If youre looking for a
sophically-oriented approach stressing the moral, full. The color of the hakama and jacket sometimes martial arts style appro-
intellectual, sporting, and/or therapeutic benets priate for a character
of studying a particular ghting style. Do forms from a particular nation
are not generally meant for actual combat, though AIKIDO or region, heres where
the real-world arts
characters can use them that way. Over time, most Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect described in this book
of the jutsu forms have transformed into do forms. Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All come from:
Thus, Aikijutsu becomes Aikido, Jujutsu becomes Attacks, Abort
Africa: Re-e Areh-
Judo, Kenjutsu becomes Kendo, and so forth. The Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
real-world styles described in this book are almost Extend Ki 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist
all jutsu forms, since game characters intend to use Shove; Block, Abort The Americas:
them for combat. Hold 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 Capoeira (Brazil); Jail-
STR for holding on house Rock; Jeet Kune
The internal versus external dichotomy
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA Do; Lua (Hawaii); Pro-
(also known as soft versus hard) is described in d6 (2 DC), Disable fessional Wrestling
more detail in the Chinese styles, but exists in other Joint
arts as well. Styles identied as internal concen- China: An Chi; Hsing-
Lock/Throw 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 I; Kung Fu; Pakua; Tai
trate on the development of ones internal power, NND(7); Target Falls Chi Chuan
known as chi (China), ki (Japan), mana (Hawaii), Redirect 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
prana or ting (India), or by many other names. Chi Strike 5 +1 +3 STR Strike Europe: Arte
is often thought to reside in the tantien (or tanden, Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target dellAbbracciare; Fenc-
Falls ing; Kampfringen; Pan-
meaning cinnabar eld), a point just a few inches
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target kration; Savate; Sevillian
below the navel. Internal stylists try to keep it cen- Knifeghting; Weapons
tered there so it ows throughout their body in the Combat; Zipota
correct fashion and energizes them. Internal styles Skills
Breakfall* India: Gatka; Kalar-
generally concentrate on circular motion, yielding
KS: Aikido ipayit; Thang-Ta
in the face of attack, and using an enemys force
Enhanced Perception (Sight Group) Indonesia: Kuntao;
against him. Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing-I, Pakua, and
Aikido all qualify as internal styles. Internal styl- Pentjak-Silat
ists can sometimes manipulate their chi to perform Elements
Israel: Hisardut; Krav
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
astounding feats; in a gaming campaign, these Maga
+1 Use Art with Sta
abilities can become even more spectacular and +1 Use Art with Polearms Continued on next page
16 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Continued from last page indicates the ghters level of prociency.
Japan: Aikido; Bojutsu/
Since Ueshibas death, his followers have AN CHI
Jojutsu; Jujutsu; Juken- established their own forms of Aikido. Some of
jutsu; Kenjutsu; Kyu- these, such as Tomiki Aikido, are more philosophi- HTH
jutsu; Naginatajutsu/ cally- or sports-oriented; others, such as Yoshin Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Sojutsu; Ninjutsu; Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Aikido, stress combat realism and are more similar
Saijutsu; Shurikenjutsu; Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
to Aikijutsu. Attacks, Abort
Sumo Wrestling
AIKIDO NOTES Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Korea: Hapkido; Hwa- Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
rang-Do; Kuk Sool The Strike maneuver is not from Aikido as it
Won; Simgomdo; Tae Ranged
is normally taught today, but rather from the arts
Kwan Do; Tang Soo Do; Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Rng Damage/Effect
ancestor, Aikijutsu. Basic Shot 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC
Yu-Sool Some teachers of Aikido teach the relationship Defensive
Okinawa: Karate of the arts maneuvers to the use of blades, the sta, Shot 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon
and halberd-like weapons such as the naginata. Moving Shot 5 -1 +0 +0 Weapon; FMove
Philippines: Arnis/
Kali/Escrima Optional Rules: The Strike may be either a punch Quick Shot 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC
or a kick; the character can make this choice before Skills
Thailand, Burma, Combat Skill Levels with Ranged Attacks
Malaysia: Bando; Ber- each attack with the maneuver. If a punch, it takes
a location roll of 2d6+1; if a kick, it takes a location Contortionist
silat; Thai Kick-Boxing
Fast Draw
roll of 2d6+7; if it is not specied, it takes a location
Vietnam: Qwan Ki Do; KS: An Chi
Than Vo Dao; Vovinam roll of 3d6. None of the other maneuvers require Mimicry
Viet Vo Dao location rolls; those which do damage do general- SS: Pharmacology/Toxicology
ized damage. Survival
Boxing (Ancient Special Abilities: Various sources attribute many Tracking
and Modern); Com- dierent abilities and powers to Morihei Ueshiba WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons*
mando Training; Dirty WF: Common Melee Weapons
and, to a lesser extent, some of his followers. Some
Inghting/Fisticus/ WF: Common Missile Weapons*
of these abilities include: WF: O-Hand
Cinematic Brawling;
Generic Martial Arts; 1) The ability to ght against many opponents Elements
Whipghting; Wrestling without being harmed, or even touched (Defense Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Maneuver, Combat Skill Levels for DCV). +1 Use Art with Polearms
+1 Use Art with Sta
2) The ability to sense an attackers actions before
he even moved (Telepathy, Danger Sense, or Pre-
cognitive Clairsentience). are the most appropriate. At the GMs option, the
weapon in question could be the characters
3) The ability to move long distances in an instant throwing master ability, described below.
and virtually without being seen. For example, its
said Ueshiba could stand dozens of feet away from Optional Rules: The Strike may be either a punch
a man with his hand on a gun, then reach him and or a kick; the character can make this choice before
grab his wrist before he could draw the gun out of each attack with the maneuver. If a punch, it takes
the holster! This is best simulated in HERO System a location roll of 2d6+1; if a kick, it takes a location
terms as a form of Teleportation with the Limita- roll of 2d6+7; if it is not specied, it takes a loca-
tion Must Pass Through Intervening Space (-). tion roll of 3d6. The Nerve Strike does not require a
location roll; it does generalized damage.
4) The ability to paralyze opponents with but a
touch (a form of Entangle, Takes No Damage From Special Abilities: The lin kuei are said to be mas-
Attacks). ters of many dierent special abilities. Some of
these are simply highly-rened physical skills,
but others are mystical in nature and supposedly
An Chi derive from debased Taoist magical teachings. They
This style might best be referred to as Chinese
ninjutsu. Like Ninjutsu, it concentrates on the use 1) The ability to turn any small, throwable object
of deception, guerrilla warfare, tricks and traps, and into a lethal missile weapon. This ability is so
the like. Practitioners of An Chi usually carry many common among the lin kuei that the GM should
hidden weapons, and are masters with thrown consider making it a required purchase. It can
weapons they can even use common objects be bought as a two-slot Multipower, one slot an
as lethal missiles! The lin kuei, or forest demons, Energy Blast and one an RKA, each with the Limi-
Chinas equivalent of the Japanese ninja (and said tations OIF (available throwing objects of opportu-
by some to be the ninjas predecessors), were mas- nity; -) and Range Based On STR (-).
ters of An Chi. 2) The ability to become invisible (Invisibility).
AN CHI NOTES 3) The ability to hypnotize people (a limited form
The character should choose which weapon of Mind Control; see page 204 of the HERO System
he uses with the Ranged maneuvers when he 5th Edition, Revised).
purchases this style. Small, hand-held throwing
weapons like throwing knives, darts, and shuriken
Hero Games 17

buy the art usable with Blades. Students can later

Arnis/Kali/Escrima add unarmed combat and Karate Weapons via the
Arnis, Kali, and Escrima are related Philippine Barehanded and Weapons ele-
martial arts. They are very much weapons-oriented ments. Some prac-
arts, but they include barehanded techniques taught titioners of these
to more advanced students. styles learn to use
Malays settling the Philippines from the many unusual
second century BC onward were experts in knife- objects, such as
ghting techniques. Chinese eeing their native items of clothing,
land in the ninth century AD brought their martial yo-yos, and ropes,
arts to the area, and Kali emerged from the synthe- as weapons. Char-
sis of the two combat styles. acters can simu-
Arnis, or arnis de mano, the modern form late specialities in
of the art, utilizes 30 sticks in place of the knife a particular type
or sword-and-knife techniques of the earlier of weapon by
Kali. It is usually fought with two sticks (muton), buying 2-point
a single stick (solo baston), or one stick and one Combat Skill
knife (espada y daga). Practitioners have adapted Levels with the
the art to other weapons styles as well, especially weapon.
nunchaku, other karate weapons, and chain weap- A prac-
ons. However, one can still nd plenty of traditional titioner of this
Kali practitioners who are experts at using their style is known
art with bladed weapons. The styles other name, as a bastonero
escrima, comes from the Spanish term for to or estocador.
ght; the term arnis is a corruption of the Span- Male ranks
ish word for harness. are known as
The style below includes both the traditional lakan; ranks for
and modern-day elements of the art. For Arnis or female ghters
Escrima, buy the art usable with Clubs (the sticks); are dayang. Belts
thats the default version presented below. For Kali, with colored edges indicate
In any of its forms, this is a fast, ecient, brutal
ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA style of combat.

Art usable with Clubs Weapon Group; Clubs Weapon ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA NOTES
Group is free. The Kick, also known as a Sipat, may be
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect learned only after the character has bought the
Body Shift 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All Barehanded element to use the art with unarmed
Attacks, Abort combat. The Pattern Strike, Sinawali, and Redonda
De Cadena 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort are stick-ghting patterns.
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to The WF: Clubs Skill is not listed among the
Disarm roll
Skills for this package because characters have
Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Pattern Strike 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6 Strike, Weapon Familiarity with the Clubs Group at no
Must Follow Block point cost.
Redonda/ Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 location
Punch 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike roll. The Kick takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Nerve
Sinawali/Kick 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll unless the charac-
Takeaway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10
ter has learned to use the art with unarmed combat,
STR to take weapon
away at which time it takes a 3d6 location roll (since his
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target legs and feet are now also employed in that maneu-
Falls ver). The Pattern Strike, Redonda, and Sinawali take
Weapon Bind 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR a 3d6 location roll. The other maneuvers do not
Skills require location rolls.
KS: Arnis (and/or Kali and/or Escrima) Special Abilities: Many practitioners of this style
PS: Moro-moro Dancing strike so rapidly they can land many blows in the
WF: Blades space of a second. Characters can buy this as an
WF: Karate Weapons
Autore Energy Blast with No Range, as an Autore
WF: Chain & Rope Weapons
WF: O Hand Advantage for one of the arts strikes (see page 104),
or as a form of Two-Weapon Fighting.
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Many Arnis/Kali/Escrima practitioners blink as
+1 Use Art with Karate Weapons little as possible, since an attacker could land a blow
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope in the space of a blink. Characters can buy this as a
Weapons bonus to the characters Sight PER Roll which Only
Barehanded +1 Use Art Barehanded Works In Combat (-1), as a Combat Skill Level with
18 The Ultimate Martial Artist
De Cadena (the character keeps his eyes on the Repeticion ghters tactic.
enemy constantly, the better to anticipate and block To practice Repeticion, characters should buy
blows), or as one DCV Combat Skill Level. at least three of the following maneuvers: Disarm,
Finally, some Arnis/Kali/Escrima masters can Pattern Strike, Redonda/Punch, Sinawali/Kick. WF:
access a power called anting-anting, similar to chi O Hand and Skill Levels with OCV are also rec-
or prana. It makes them superhumanly strong (Aid ommended.
STR, Self Only [-]) and resistant to harm from Serada
weapons (Damage Resistance). However, for reli- Serada is a close-quarters ghting system (it
gious and mystical reasons, anting-anting doesnt concentrates on the punyo range, a term derived
work on Thursdays (a - Limitation). from the inch of stick that protrudes from the
SUBSTYLES OF ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA bottom of the exponents st). It mainly uses the
espada y daga form, with the knife held in the left
Hundreds of dierent substyles of these arts hand. The techniques concentrate on using the stick
(particularly Kali) are practiced throughout the to lock an opponents weapon so the practitioner
Philippines. Some of the more interesting ones can stab with the knife.
include: To practice Serada, a character should buy the
Doces Pares De Cadena, Takeaway, and Weapon Bind maneu-
Doces Pares is a very ashy, stick-oriented vers, and should also buy the Blades Weapon Ele-
style of Kali. The practitioner delivers strikes o- ment.
rete style, meaning that he usually accompanies Toledo
each strike with a second strike to the spot on the Toledo stylists, considered the hardest hitters
targets body that circles from the attackers wrist. of all Kali practitioners, use extra-thick sticks for
To practice Doces Pares, a character should training and for combat.
buy any two of the styles Strike maneuvers, and To practice Toledo, a character should buy any
should know WF: O Hand as well. OCV Combat two of the styles Strike maneuvers, with at least +2
Skill Levels with the style also help. Extra DC.
Lacoste Villabrille
Named after its founder, Jon Lacoste, this sub- Named after its founder, a four-time full-con-
style melds many forms and skills including, but tact stickghting champion in the 1930s, this sub-
not limited to, Moro-Moro, two forms of Cebu, and style emphasizes the use of barehanded maneuvers.
Occidental Negro. Lacoste is also renowned for its Many ghters get so used to being attacked with
extremely deceptive footwork patterns. the stick that they forget the hands and feet are also
To practice Lacoste, a character should buy powerful weapons, and the Villabrille stylist tries to
the Body Shift, De Cadena, and Disarm maneuvers, exploit this weakness.
and should also buy the Blades and Chain & Rope To practice Villabrille, a character should buy
Weapons Elements. any one of the styles Strike maneuvers, and must
Largo Mano buy the Barehanded Element as well. Levels with
Large Hand style, a long-range system, Hand-To-Hand Combat are also recommended.
stresses attacks to the hands and arms. (Many
Arnis/Kali/Escrima substyles do likewise prac-
titioners regard an attack to a mans head as an
Arte dellAbbracciare
attempt to kill him; damaging his hands merely Arte dellAbbracciare (art of the embrace) is a
defangs him.) Fighters try to maintain distance close-combat system developed in medieval Italy. It
between one another and ght defensively. features grappling, joint-locks and -breaks, tripping,
To practice Largo Mano, characters should striking, pressure-point attacks, and control tech-
buy at least three of the following maneuvers: niques focused on the opponents neck and head.
Body Shift, De Cadena, Disarm, Redonda/Punch, Most attacks have several variations, each used in
Takeaway, Weapon Bind. Levels with DCV are also response to specic maneuvers employed by the
recommended. opponent.
Arte dellAbbracciare seems to have often
Pekiti Tersia
been learned or practiced together with arte della
Sometimes known as Kali-Karate because
daga, a knifeghting art. Characters may learn
of its emphasis on patterns and its methods of
that art by buying a Weapon Element for Arte
instruction, this substyle includes a variety of
dellAbbracciare, or by buying maneuvers from the
maneuvers for the knife.
Sevillian Knifeghting style (see below).
To practice Pekiti Tersia, characters should
buy at least three of these maneuvers Body Shift, ARTE DELLABBRACCIARE NOTES
Disarm, Pattern Strike, Redonda/Punch, Sinawali/
Kick and the Blades Weapon Element. Optional Rules: The Strike and Pressure Point
Strike take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other
Repeticion maneuvers take location rolls.
This substyles philosophy is a constant, for-
Special Abilities: None.
ward-moving oensive. To overwhelm ones oppo-
nent with the sheer volume of ones strikes is the
Hero Games 19

ARTE DELLABBRACCIARE Optional Rules: The Punch (and its various sub-
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCVDamage/Effect forms), Panther Claw/Tiger Claw, and Cobra Strike
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort take a location roll of 2d6+1; the Kick/Knee Strike
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs and the Viper Strike take a 2d6+7 roll. The Scor-
Grapple 3 -1 -1Grab Two Limbs, +10 pion Strike takes a roll of 3d6. The Boar Headbutt
STR for holding on and Python Choke automatically target the head/
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA neck, and therefore get neither bonuses nor penal-
d6 (2 DC), Disable
ties for the location. The other oensive maneuvers
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
to STR for holding on do not take location rolls since they do generalized
Joint Lock/ damage.
Throw 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 Special Abilities: Bando practitioners are often
NND(7); Target Falls fast runners and strong leapers; extra inches of
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Running or Leaping would be appropriate for them.
Target Falls
Point Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) BANDO
Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Falls Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Strike 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
KS: Arte dellAbbracciare
Panther Claw/
Tiger Claw 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Bando Punch/Elbow Strike/Eagle Strike/Boar
Headbutt 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Bando is a ghting art from Burma. (Accord- Python Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
ing to some scholars, the proper name of the art, NND(2)
strictly speaking, is Thaing; Bando is the unarmed Python Crush 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush,
branch of the art [or one of its schools] and Ban- Must Follow Grab
shay the armed branch.) The word bando is Python Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
generally interpreted to mean art of combat or STR for holding on
Scorpion Strike/Cobra Strike/
systems of defense. Bando is thought to have
Viper Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
developed under various inuences, including Thai, Tackle 3 +0 -1 STR +v/5 Strike; You
Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian; each Burmese ethnic Fall, Target Falls;
subgroup has its own form of the art. The British FMove
banned the art in 1885, but practitioners continued Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
to teach it in secret; after World War II Bando was Falls
organized and taught more openly than in the past. Skills
Bando includes both armed and unarmed Breakfall
maneuvers. A fairly brutal style, similar in many KS: Bando
ways to Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), it stresses a WF: Common Melee Weapons
withdrawal at rst, then attacks to the body from WF: Sta
outside the opponents reach; a grab may follow Elements
these strikes. The head, shoulder, and hips are used Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
in addition to the hands/sts, feet, elbows, and +1 Use Art with Clubs
knees. There are twelve primary oensive forms +1 Use Art with Spear
or strategies, each named after an animal: Boar +1 Use Art with Sta
(rushes, knee and elbow strikes, headbutts and
other close-contact techniques); Bull (charges, Bersilat
tackles, power strikes); Cobra (attacking upper-
body vital points); Deer (alertness); Eagle (double- Bersilat is a martial art from Malaysia. Its
handed blocks and strikes); Monkey (agility); name means, roughly, to do ghting. Its origins
Paddy Bird (rapid movement); Panther (leaping, date to the 1400s. According to Malayan legend, its
tearing); Python (gripping, strangling); Scorpion founder was Huang Tuah of Malaca; some other
(nerve-point attacks); Tiger (clawing); and Viper legends attribute the art to a Menangkabau woman
(attacking lower-body vital points). of Sumatra. As its name suggests, Bersilat is very
Another Burmese ghting art, Lethwei, is similar to the Indonesian art Pentjak-Silat (q.v.) (in
considered even harder than Bando. It is often fact, some scholars believe Bersilat derives from
referred to as a form of boxing, but is much more Pentjak-Silat). It consists of both combative maneu-
similar to Thai Kick-Boxing than Western boxing. vers, called silat buah, and graceful dancelike move-
Characters who want to practice Lethwei can use ments (silat pulot) performed for entertainment
the Thai Kick-Boxing package, described below. purposes.
Bersilat is an acrobatic ghting style whose
practitioners use a lot of kicks; it also features
20 The Ultimate Martial Artist
leaping ability; extra inches of Leaping, particularly
BERSILAT with the Limitation Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-),
would be appropriate for them.
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort SUBSTYLES OF BERSILAT
Elak Mengelak Like many martial arts, Bersilat has a number
(Dodge) 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All of distinctive schools or substyles. They include the
Attacks, Abort
ones described below, plus Langka Silat, Lintan, and
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Finger Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Flying Kick 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Chekak
Hold 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 Chekak Bersilat emphasizes open hand strike
to STR for holding on
techniques and downplays kicks. To practice Chekak,
Sepak Terajang
(Kick) 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
a character must know the Block, Finger Strike, and
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Punch (Open Hand Strike) maneuvers.
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Kelantan
Kelantan Bersilat focuses on locking and grap-
Skills pling techniques instead of strikes. To practice Kelan-
Acrobatics tan, a character must know the Block, Elak Mengelak,
Escape, and Hold maneuvers.
KS: Bersilat
PS: Silat Pulot Dancing Terelak
WF: Blades Terelak Bersilat concentrates on muscular
WF: Sta strength and powerful attacks. To practice it, a char-
Elements acter must known the Escape, Flying Kick, and Punch
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades maneuvers.
+1 Use Art with Clubs
+1 Use Art with Sta

punches, throws, and holds (some styles are, in

fact, quite similar to various styles of wrestling). It The maneuvers listed below describe two dier-
teaches the use of weapons such as blades, stas, ent, yet similar, styles: Bojutsu (the art of the sta )
and sticks. Each state or region in the country has and Jojutsu (the art of stick-ghting).
its own distinctive substyle. Bojutsu, the art of the sta, uses the bo sta (also
Bersilat ghters wear a black uniform made up known as a rokushakubo, six-foot sta ). The ghter
of baggy trousers, a short-sleeved shirt, a headband, holds his sta two-handed. Sta-ghting was often
and a colored belt (bengkong) denoting rank: from used to help train warriors to use other weapons,
lowest to highest rank, the colors are white, green, since warriors can practice the sta without causing
red, yellow, and black. fatal injuries.
Jojutsu, the art of the stick, uses the jo, a short
sta or stick about four feet long. According to
Optional Rules: The Punch, Finger Strike, and legend, the art was developed around 1500 by Muso
Flying Kick take locations of 2d6+1; Gonnosuke. Muso, a samurai, was taking the part of
the Sepak Terajang takes a a mushashugyo (a samurai who travels the country,
2d6+7 location roll. testing his martial skills) to improve his Bojutsu
techniques, and was proving himself a superior war-
Special Abilities: Bersilat
rior. Because of his reputation, another
ghters are often known
undefeated warrior, the great swordsman
for their acrobatic
Miyamoto Musashi, sought him out and
challenged him, using only a bokken (wooden
sword). Miyamoto defeated Muso easily, but
spared his life. Muso, humiliated, continued his
wanderings. Eventually he dreamed of an angelic
being who told him to create a new, shorter sta,
and instructed him in the techniques of its use. Muso
went into seclusion and perfected the twelve tech-
niques of Jojutsu. Then he sought out Miyamoto,
challenged him, and beat him the only defeat
Miyamoto ever suered. A practitioner of Jojutsu
is known as a shijo; he wears a hakama and a
type of jacket called a haori.
You can also use Bojutsu to represent
medieval quartersta ghting and sta-
based arts from many other cultures, and
Jojutsu for many other stickghting arts.
Hero Games 21


BOJUTSU/JOJUTSU The Jab and Punch maneuvers may be used with the
Used with Staff or Clubs Weapons Group; that Weapon cestus; see the Weapons section of this book for infor-
Element is free. mation on this weapon.
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Optional Rules: The Jab and Punch both take loca-
Atemi Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) tion rolls of 2d6+1; the Block doesnt take a location
Bind 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR roll. Alternatively, if you wish to better simulate the
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort way boxing took place in classical Greece, you can say
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
that the Jab and Punch are automatically head shots
Disarm roll
Jab 5 +1 +3 Weapon but do no extra damage for striking the head (no
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 Weapon +1 DC multiples of STUN or BODY), since ancient Greek
Strike, Target Falls boxing blows were only directed at the head.
Shove 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove Special Abilities: Because they are accustomed to
Strike 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike the brutality of this style, some boxers may have the
Smash 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
ability to sustain incredible injuries without falling
Skills (Damage Reduction).
KS: Bojutsu (or Jojutsu, as appropriate)
WF: Sta (* for Bojutsu)
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Optional Rules: The Atemi Strike takes a 2d6+1 Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Hit Location; the Smash and Strike maneuvers take Clinch 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
to STR for holding on
3d6 rolls. The Legsweep automatically targets the
Cross 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
legs, of course, but does not suer any Attack Roll Hook 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
or damage penalties because of this. Jab 3 +2 +1 STR Strike
Special Abilities: Skills
KS: Boxing
1) Rapid-re attacks: A practitioner of Bojutsu and Paramedic
Jojutsu can sometimes make several attacks in rapid
succession before his opponent can react. You can
Weapons +1 Use Art with Cestus
buy this as a No Range Autore EB, as an Autore
Advantage for the Strike maneuver (see page 104), or
as a form of Two-Weapon Fighting. Boxing, Modern
2) Swordbreaking: Shijo are said to be trained to Modern Boxing evolved gradually from Ancient
break an enemys weapon with their short stas Boxing. According to legend, some eort at system-
(HKA, Only Works Against Weapons [-1]). izing boxing as a sport took place 700 years ago, when
St. Bernard taught it to youths to keep them from
kning one another. In England, the practice of prize-
Boxing, Ancient ghts began some 200 years ago, with contests fought
This is a martial arts style practiced by many with bare sts, though this sport was illegal and fre-
cultures in the ancient world (reaching into the quently raided.
Bronze Age and prehistory), especially the Greeks In 1865, the Marquis of Queensberry drafted
and (Asian) Indians. A form of boxing called chuan his famous rules for the sport; his rules called for the
po was known in China as early as 700 BC. Ancient use of boxing gloves and timed rounds in boxing
Boxing is simpler than modern boxing, nowhere near matches. It is around that time that this martial arts
as scientic or punishing in application. style becomes available to player characters; before
In the Greek form of the art, ghting stance con- the middle of the nineteenth century, characters
sists of the pugilist keeping his blocking (usually left) should buy Ancient Boxing
arm outstretched before him, with the hand usually if they want to box.
open, and keeping his striking hand cocked back for Nobody today
blows. teaches boxing
with the
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Jab 3 +2 +1 STR Strike
Punch 3 +1 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
KS: Ancient Boxing
Weapons +1 Use Art with Cestus
22 The Ultimate Martial Artist
the maneuvers work with a cestus, should someone
be mad enough to train with one. Therefore, the CAPOEIRA
Weapons Element remains in place in the Modern
Boxing package, though few boxers purchase it. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Players might consider replacing the Cross Armado da Costa Spin Kick)/Parafuso (Jumping
(a Martial Strike) with a Fast Strike instead. Many Spinning Kick) 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Bencao (Front Thrust Kick)/Asfixiante
modern boxers concentrate on power and speed
(Punch) 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
and are willing to take a few blows if they can land Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
a few. The Fast Strike, with its OCV bonus, better Cabeada
represents this strategy. (Head-Butt) 3 +1 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
de Quatro 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
Optional Rules: The Jab, Cross, and Hook take Attacks, Abort
location rolls of 2d6+1; the other maneuvers take Dedeira
(Eye Gouge) 4 -1 -1 Sight Group Flash 4d6
no specic location rolls. The Clinch will always
Meia lua de Frente/Queixada (Crescent
Grab the arms or head, never the legs. Kick) 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
Special Abilities: As Ancient Boxing. Rasteira/Banda/Tesoura/Arrasto (Legsweep/
Takedown) 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Target Falls
Capoeira Vo-do-morcego
(Flying Kick) 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
Capoeira is the national martial art of Brazil.
Its origins lie in Angola, where its ancestor was a Acrobatics*
type of ritual dance. The martial arts development Breakfall
began after 1530, when the rst Angolan slaves KS: Brazilian Music
were brought into Brazil; many of them escaped to PS: Dancing
live in free communities. Capoeira was the ghting PS: Play Instrument
style they developed to resist attacks by government WF: Straight Razor
forces. It was banned in 1707, and went under-
ground when its practitioners converted it into a part because it allowed capoeiristas to ght with
dance form, disguising its combat eectiveness. manacled hands; therefore, the art requires its practi-
Capoeira relies primarily upon kicks, take- tioners to take the Acrobatics Skill. Another example
downs, and dodges (to block attacks is rare). Among of this acrobatic skill is the use of the au, or cart-
the arts unusual features are its dance-like footwork wheel, to move across the eld of combat.
and the acrobatic prowess of the practitioners. For Capoeiristas also added razor-ghting tech-
many maneuvers, practitioners (called capoeiras or niques to their repertoire, so the art includes a
capoeiristas) stand on their hands and attack with Weapon Familiarity with razors. None of the listed
powerful kicks. This fea- maneuvers add CV or damage bonuses to razor
ture of the art arose attacks, however, so this is considered just an addi-
in tional skill, not a Weapons Element.
Capoeira is practiced to the accompaniment
of musical instruments, including the musical
bow, drums, bells, and tambourines, so skill with
those instruments is included among the Skills
for the style.
The Armado da costa maneuver can also be called
the Martelo (roundhouse kick) or, when performed
in acrobatic mode (with the capoeirista standing on
one or both hands) as the Meia lua.
Optional Rules: The Bencao, Armado da costa, and
meia lue de frente/queixada kicks have a standard
location roll of 3d6, unless the practitioner suc-
cessfully uses his Acrobatics Skill to stand on his
hands, in which case the location roll is 2d6+1. The
Asxiante and vo-do-morcego both have a 2d6+1
location roll. The Cabeada head-butt is backwards:
its normal roll is 2d6+1, and goes to a 2d6+7 if the
attacker stands on his hands. (If both attacker and
target are upside-down, the location rolls revert to
Special Abilities: Many capoeiristas buy DCV
Combat Skill Levels which Require An Acrobatics
Hero Games 23

Roll (-) to show o their acrobatic prowess. Acro- For characters who are not the sort of people
batics also allows them to ght without penalty if that would learn a dirty way to ght, you can
their hands are bound (they use kicks instead of characterize this style in two other ways. One is as
punches). Fisticus, the general ghting skill of the strong-
jawed hero so often
featured in pulp tales
Commando Training and comics. A character
Commando training is the quick-and-dirty with Fisticus is simply
art of elimination of the enemy. Its origins are with a good, all-American
the armed forces; many a Marine in World War II ghter; he doesnt have
was taught the principles of Commando Train- any formal training
ing. Today, systemized commando styles such as and doesnt ght
Combato are taught like any other martial art, and dirty. Alternately,
police departments, rape prevention activists, and some characters may
the like teach Commando Training maneuvers as want to know Cin-
self-defense combat styles. ematic Brawling, the
free-wheeling sort of
combat often seen in movies and on
COMMANDO TRAINING television. Like Dirty Inghting, Fisticus
and Cinematic Brawling cannot take the
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Style Distinctive Feature; they arent styl-
Aikido Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target ized enough.
Falls Not all streetghting characters need to
Boxing Cross 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike know Dirty Inghting it represents a character
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 with a lot of rough and dirty ghting experience.
You can simulate many characters simple ghting
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Hold 4 -1 -1 Grab Three Limbs, skills as a form of Brawling by buying HA +1-2d6,
+10 STR for holding perhaps with one or two Combat Skill Levels to
Judo Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to DIRTY INFIGHTING/FISTICUFFS/
Disarm roll
Chop 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC) Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Kung Fu Block/Chin
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Skills Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Breakfall Disarm roll
WF: Small Arms Eye Gouge 4 -1 -1 Sight Group Flash
Elements 4d6
Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs Hoist n
+1 Use Art with Knives Heave 5 -2 -2 Grab Two Limbs, +20
STR to Throw
Kidney Blow 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Characters can use the Karate Chop, Judo Disarm, Backhand 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
and Kung Fu Block with Clubs and Knives (if the Roundhouse/Two-Fisted
practitioner buys those Weapons Elements). Smash 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Optional Rules: The Boxing Cross and Karate Tackle 3 +0 -1 STR +v/5 Strike; You
Chop take location rolls of 2d6+1; the Choke Fall, Target Falls
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
automatically targets the head, but gets neither
bonuses nor penalties for doing so; the Throw,
Disarm, Hold, Escape, and Block take no location Skills
WF: Common Melee Weapons
Special Abilities: None Elements
Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs
Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/ reect a crude technique.
This is not a martial art, but rather a set of EMATIC BRAWLING NOTES
maneuvers skilled streetghters can learn. Its also
The clubs most often used with Dirty Inghting
taught to women as a series of rape-prevention
include bottles, pool cues, and other weapons of
maneuvers (especially the Disarm, Low Blow, and
Throw). Since its not a formal martial art, practitio-
ners cannot take a Style Distinctive Feature for it. The Block/Chin Block, Hoist n Heave, and Two-
24 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Fisted Smash are obviously found only in Fisticus/
Cinematic Brawling, since theyre far too color- FENCING
ful to have a place in a vicious street brawl. The
Block/Chin Block can either be a standard block Usable with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon
Element is free
with the forearm, or it can consist of the character
blocking the blow by taking it square on the chin Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
and shrugging o the eects Go ahead, mate, Ballestra 5 +2 -2 Weapon +4 DC
Strike; Half Move
take yer best shot! The Hoist n Heave is the classic
grab him by the shirt-front and toss him out the Cut 3 +2 +1 Weapon
window maneuver; it Grabs two limbs because Ceduto var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to escape
characters thrown in this fashion never seem able Bind
to use their arms to keep from being thrown. The Double a
highly unrealistic Two-Fisted Smash consists of Double 4 +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC
lacing your ngers together and striking the enemy; Strike, Must Follow
the Cinematic Brawlers ability to do this without Predefined Maneuver
suering intense pain is perhaps his only special Fleche 4 +2 -2 Weapon +v/5; FMove
ability. Froissement 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Disarm roll
Optional Rules: The Punch/Backhand, Round- Grypes 3 -1 -2 Grab One Limb, +10
house/Two-Fisted Smash, and Kidney Blow take STR disarm
location rolls of 2d6+1. The Disarm takes no Lunge 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC
specic location. The Low Blow is automatically a Parry 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Vitals shot, but receives no extra damage (no STUN Pasata Soto 3 +2 +2 Weapon + foes
multiples) for hitting the Vitals area. The Eye Gouge v/5 Strike, You Fall,
Response to Balles-
automatically hits the eyes, but receives no extra
tra, Fleche, Lunge
damage or Attack Roll penalties for doing so. The Prise de Fer 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR
Tackle does generalized damage. Riposte 4 +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC
Special Abilities: None. Strike, Must Follow
Slash 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
Fencing Takeaway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10
STR to Take Weapon
Fencing is a European sword-ghting tech- Away
nique which developed during the Renaissance (c. Thrust 5 +1 +3 Weapon
fteenth century AD), though some maneuvers (or Trip 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike,
at least the basis for them) may predate that time. It target falls
made use of long, light blades (especially rapier and Void 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
sabre) and knives (including daggers, stilettos, and Attacks, Abort
main gauches). In combat situations, fencers often Skills
fought in the round (i.e., not conning themselves KS: Fencing
to the imaginary straight line utilized by modern Sleight Of Hand
Two-Weapon Fighting
WF: Blades*
Modern-day fencing makes use of much WF: O Hand
lighter, springier weapons with capped tips (to keep
them comparatively safe); these include foil and do not utilize the Fencing weapon maneuvers.
epee. Fencing weapons are divided into thrusting Optional Rules: The Ballestra, Cut, Double a
weapons (foils, epees, rapiers, and smallswords) and Double, Fleche, Lunge, Riposte, Slash, and Thrust
slashing weapons (sabers and the like). In HERO take location rolls of 3d6 when used with a
System terms generally you dont have to reect medium or long blade, or 2d6+1 when used with
the dierences with dierent maneuvers, but GMs a short blade (like a dagger or short sword). The
desiring greater realism or detail may rename cer- Pasata Soto takes a 2d6+7 location roll. The other
tain maneuvers depending upon the class of weapon maneuvers do not take location rolls.
a character uses, or may restrict certain maneuvers
to certain types of weapons. You could also use two Special Abilities:
dierent Weapon Elements. 1) Flurry: A highly-skilled fencer can attack so
As a martial art, Fencing is automatically swiftly he strikes his opponent several times in the
designed for use with the Blades weapons group. (Its space of a second. You can buy this as a No Range
intended for use with lighter fencing weapons such Autore EB, or as an Autore Advantage for a
as the rapier, sabre, foil, and epee, but in swashbuck- favored Strike maneuver (see page 104).
ling campaigns characters can use it with heavier 2) Fighting Florentine: Skilled fencers may ght
cutlasses, broadswords, and so forth if the GM with a weapon in each hand (ghting Florentine
allows.) Characters may not buy Fencing maneuvers or with a case of swords). In HERO System terms,
for other classes of weapons (no polearms, no axes, this is a form of Sweep, but characters can buy the
and so on), or for use in unarmed combat. Fenc- Two-Weapon Fighting Skill and/or WF: O Hand
ers often do use other weapons especially such to simulate their skill with such maneuvers. One of
things as cloaks and bucklers but those weapons
Hero Games 25

the many maneuvers characters can perform with Lunge: A deep, powerful lunging step at the foe
this ability is the scannatura, in which the fencer with blade extended, most commonly used with
binds the foes weapon with his o-hand blade and smaller weapons such as smallswords.
strikes with his primary blade. Parry: The fencer blocks his foes blade with one of
3) False Disengage: Some fencers can perform false his own.
disengages to trick their opponents into react- Pasata Soto: The fencer must execute this compli-
ing improperly. You can simulate this with the use cated maneuver in response to a Ballestra, Fleche,
of the Sleight Of Hand Skill versus the opposing or Lunge. He drops to the ground underneath the
fencers PER Roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest. If incoming weapon, and, supporting himself with
the fencer attempting the trick wins the Contest, he his o-hand, performs a rapid thrust at the foe up
gains +1 OCV for his next Fencing maneuver per- and under the foes guard. Although athletically
formed that Phase or in his next Phase. demanding, and prone to leaving a fencer open
4) Colpo d Arresto: A colpo d Arresto is a fencers to other attacks if he cannot get back on his feet
way of living up to the old saying, the best defense quickly, it is an impressive and often deadly maneu-
is a good oense. In response to an attack, the ver.
fencer makes a rapid attack to hit the opponent Prise de Fer: The fencer presses
before the opponent completes his own attack. It his blade against his foes in
requires good judgment and split-second timing. such a way as to prevent the
In HERO System terms, this is the use of a Held foe from using his weapon to
Action, but the fencer can buy Combat Skill Levels attack. This is sometimes
to reect his skill at this very impressive maneuver. referred to as locking
FENCING MANEUVERS up the opponents
Fencing has many maneuvers, but few fenc-
ers buy them all. This results in a wide variance Riposte: The fencer
between the styles of individual fencers. blocks one of his oppo-
nents blows, then follows up
Ballestra: A rapid step or hop forward, followed
with a rapid counterstrike
immediately by a lunge to take advantage of the
before the opponent can
recover his guard.
Cut: Using wrist action, the fencer delivers a swift
Slash: A basic fencing
cut using the foremost edge and tip of his blade.
attack in which the
Fencers usually aim a Cut at the wrist or face.
fencer swings his
Ceduto: A disengage movement in which the blade at his foe
fencer ips the blade up or down while stepping using his whole
back or away. arm to power
Double a Double: This is a exible pattern maneu- the blow.
ver similar to a Riposte, except that instead of fol- Takeaway: The fencer disarms his foe.
lowing a Block, it follows a particular predened This may involve literally grabbing some safe
maneuver. At the beginning of a fencing match, the part of the weapon (such as its ricasso) and yanking
fencer must specify which maneuver his Double a it out of his hand, or a bind-like maneuver in which
Double follows (he can change this maneuver from he locks up his foes blade and then follows through
ght to ght, but not during a particular ght). This to force the blade out of his hand.
simulates the fencer setting up his foe for a devas-
Thrust: A rapid jab at the foe using the point of the
tating blow.
blade and without signicant forward motion on
Fleche: The fencer runs or leaps at his foe with the part of the fencer.
blade extended. It requires a Full Move, and the
Trip: Taught primarily in the English fencing
momentum allows the fencer to inict extra
school, this maneuver is a swift kick or tripping
movement aimed at the foe in an attempt to knock
Froissement: A disarming maneuver designed to him down.
knock the weapon from a foes hand. It ranges from
Void: The fencer steps to one side, or shifts his
a quick, strong slap at the base of the opponents
body out of the way of an attack. Unlike the other
weapon to complicated bind maneuvers in which
maneuvers in the Fencing package, a fencer can use
the fencer locks up his opponents blade and then
this one when he does not have a blade in his hand
yanks it out of his hand.
(in short, at any time).
Grypes: This grab/disarm maneuver is peculiar to
the English school (see below). The fencer grabs SUBSTYLES
his foes weapon arm and applies a lock/hold to Across Europe, dozens of dierent fencing
force the weapon from the foes hand. Of course, schools have taught students ways to use the blade.
this requires a free hand, so a fencer using a main Some of the best known schools include:
gauche or buckler cant employ it unless he drops
English School
that object.
An Englishman named George Silver devel-
26 The Ultimate Martial Artist
oped this style of fencing as a homegrown response
to Italian styles. Silver preferred heavy blades, such
as the broadsword, and a buckler to the ashy Ital- A martial art originating in the Punjab region
ian rapier-ghting. The English school emphasizes of northern India in, depending on which sources
steady, deliberate movements, strong stances, solid you believe, the fteenth, seventeenth, or eighteenth
blocks and parries, and cuts and slashes. It even centuries, Gatka was developed by the Sikhs to
incorporates some Wrestling maneuvers (bought defend against Mongol invaders and other enemies.
from that package if desired). To belong to the It is a weapons-based art, focusing on the sword, a
English school, a character must buy at least three one- to three-meter long stick, and exible weapons
of the following maneuvers: Cut, Grypes, Lunge, (such as chains, ropes, and whips). Practitioners
Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Trip, Void. also know how to use the chakram (a bladed throw-
ing ring) and the unusual chakar (a weapon like
French School
a wagon wheel with a weight at the end of each
The French school concentrates on maintain-
spoke, spun around to cause impact damage). Leg-
ing a distance between the two ghters, parrying,
ends tell of many battles in which a small number
and then counterattacking. French stylists should
of Sikhs used their Gatka skills to fend o much
keep most of their Combat Skill Levels (if any) in
larger forces.
DCV. To belong to the French school, a character
Gatka practitioners begin training sessions
must buy at least three of the following maneuvers:
with meditation, often accompanied by music. They
Ballestra, Cut, Fleche, Froissement, Lunge, Parry,
rst learn to use sticks, then progress to the sword
Prise de Fer, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void.
and exible weapons.
Italian School
Italian style fencing is known for its fast, GATKA
aggressive approach. Fencers typically concentrate
on attacks, often using a second weapon, such as a Used with Club Weapon Group; Club Weapon Element
main gauche, spiked buckler, or fo (a cloak with a is free
weighted hem). Many variants, such as the schools Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
of Vincentio Saviolo and Giacomo di Grassi, Bind 4 +1 +0
Bind, +10 STR
existed. To belong to the Italian school, a character Block 5 +1 +3
Block, Abort
must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Dodge 4 +0 +5
Dodge All Attacks,
Ballestra, Cut, Ceduto, Double a Double, Lunge,
Power Strike 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike
Parry, Pasata Soto, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Strike 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike
Void. Italian fencers usually put most of their
Combat Skill Levels (if any) into OCV.
KS: Gatka
Schlaeger Swordghting (Heidelberg School) WF: Common Melee Weapons*
This late nineteenth century style, popularized WF: Chain and Rope Weapons
by students of the German university at Heidelberg, WF: Chakar
WF: Chakram
is very physical. It involves holding the schlaeger
WF: Sta
sword at high prime (hand slightly above the WF: Whip
head, tip of the blade at mouth level). Duellists
often wear goggles to protect the eyes, and metal
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
caps on the head. The goal is not to kill or seriously +1 Use Art with Chain and Rope
injure the opponent, but to cut the opponent on his Weapons
head or face. In time the goal often became to earn +1 Use Art with Chakar
a duelling-scar ones self, as fellow duellists con-
sidered the scar a badge of honor. To belong to the GATKA NOTES
Heidelberg school, a character must buy at least
three of the following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Optional Rules: The Strike and Power Strike use
Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void. 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers do not
require Hit Location rolls.
Spanish School
The Spanish school emphasizes footwork Special Abilities: According to legend, many Gatka
and movement based upon an imaginary Mystic masters can ght equally well with either hand, or
Circle circle encompassing the fencer and his foe. sometimes with a sword in both hands. You can
Theoretically, by knowing where an opponent is in simulate this by buying Ambidexterity and/or Two-
relation to himself in the circle, the fencer can move Weapon Fighting.
at precise angles to his foe to gain a deadly advan-

tage. Spanish fencers move with steadiness and
grace, almost as if dancing. To belong to the Span- ct without doing,
ish school, a character must buy at least three of the
following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Ceduto, Fleche, work without effort.
Froissement, Lunge, Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway,
Tao Te Ching
Thrust, Void.
Hero Games 27

Generic Martial Arts HAPKIDO

This is a set of maneuvers for characters who Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
want to have martial arts but dont want to bother Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
with information on or comparisons between mar- Breaking
tial arts styles. Its also a good way to represent the Throw 5 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC), Dis-
ghting skills learned by characters who train with able; Target Falls
a number of tutors espousing dierent styles. Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Disarm roll
Since it is not a formalized style, it receives no
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
Style Distinctive Feature. Attacks, Abort
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
GENERIC MARTIAL ARTS Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA
d6 (2 DC), Disable
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort STR for holding on
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Attacks, Abort Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Sweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Target Falls
Falls Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Skills Skills
Breakfall Breakfall
WF: Common Melee Weapons KS: Hapkido
WF: Common Melee Weapons
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Optional Rules: The Punch takes a location roll of +1 Use Art with ClubsWeapons
2d6+1; the kick takes a location roll of 2d6+7; the
Block, Throw, and Dodge dont utilize locations rolls. Hit Location rolls or target specic locations.
Special Abilities: None. Special Abilities: Some Hapkido masters reputedly
can sense attackers and objects anywhere around
them, an ability known as mind like the moon.
Hapkido Characters can buy this as a form of Spatial Aware-
Hapkido (roughly, the way of coordinated ness.
power) is a Korean martial art a synthesiz-
ing several other styles, including Hwarang-
Do, Aikido/Aikijutsu, Jujutsu, Tae Kwon
Do, and others. It was developed by Hisardut is a ghting art
Choi Yong Suhl, a Korean martial artist developed in Israel. It was founded
who emigrated to Japan following the by Dennis Hanover, who adapted
Japanese occupation of his homeland techniques from several martial arts
in the rst decade of the twentieth cen- to form a practical ghting style
tury. In Japan he studied Japanese martial suited for modern-day combat.
arts (particularly Daito-ryu Aikijutsu) and Intended as a practical ghting
integrated some of their techniques with his and survival art, it has few sport-
Korean maneuvers. When he returned to Korea ing applications.
after World War II, he opened the rst Hapkido
school so he could teach his new style to others. HISARDUT NOTES
Hapkido is an art designed with ght- Optional Rules: The Punch/
ing, not sport or artistry, in mind. It attempts Elbow Strike takes a 2d6+1
to combine the best of the hard and soft location roll, the Kick a 3d6 roll,
ghting styles to form a versatile, well- and the Knee Strike a 2d6+7 roll.
rounded combat art. Like most The Headbutt and Choke Hold
Korean styles, it emphasizes kick- automatically strike the head, with-
ing over hand techniques. It grades out penalty or bonus. The other
students on a simple belt system: maneuvers do not require Hit
from lowest to highest, the ranks Location rolls.
are white, blue, red, and black.
Special Abilities: None.
Optional Rules: The Punch and
Nerve Strike take a 2d6+1 location roll, the Kick a
3d6 roll. The other maneuvers either do not require
28 The Ultimate Martial Artist
schools: Honan; Hopei (the most common and
HISARDUT least internal); and Shansi (the least common). Some
masters of these schools teach weapons such as
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect swords, stas, and spears, but this is relatively rare.
Choke Hold 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs HSING-I
Grab 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Kick/ Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Knee Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Defensive
Punch/Elbow Strike/ Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
Headbutt 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Eagle Claw 4 +1 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target STR for holding on
Falls Grappling
Skills Block 5 +1 +1 Grab One Limb, Block
KS: Hisardut Hand Strike/
WF: Small Arms Low Kick 4 +0 +2
STR +2d6 Strike
Monkey Slap 5 -2 +1
STR +4d6 Strike
Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1
2d6 NND(1)
Hsing-I Tiger Push 4 +0 +0
+15 STR to Shove
Takedown 3 +1 +1
STR Strike; Target
Hsing-I (or Xingyi), usually translated as
heart and mind or shape of mind, is one of the Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
three main internal styles of Chinese martial arts Falls
(the other two are Pakua and Tai Chi Chuan). Like
the practitioners of other internal styles, Hsing-I KS: Hsing-I
practitioners strive to unite the mind and the body KS: Chinese Healing
so the mind can freely command the bodys chi, KS: Chinese Philosophy
allowing the practitioner to perform amazing feats. WF: Common Melee Weapons
According to legend, the founder of Hsing-I Elements
was a Sung Dynasty general named Yueh Fei, who Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
lived from 1103-1141. He was supposedly +1 Use Art with Polearms
taught the basics of Hsing-I by a Taoist +1 Use Art with Spear
named Chou Ton. His success in warfare
was so phenomenal that jealous HSINGI NOTES
rivals had him imprisoned and
killed; he wrote the rst book Optional Rules: The Hand Strike, Monkey
about Hsing-I in prison. Slap, and Nerve Strike all take 2d6+1 Hit
Hsing-I has two basic Location rolls; the Low Kick takes
sets of movements or a 2d6+7 roll. None of the other
maneuvers. The rst set is maneuvers requires a location roll.
made up of block-strike Special Abilities: The internal stylists
patterns based on the ve ability to project his chi to generate powerful
elements: Metal (Pi Chuan), attacks and spectacular feats is legendary. You can
Water (Tsuan Chuan), Wood (Peng nd general information on these abilities below
Chuan), Fire (Pao Chuan), and Earth under Tai Chi Chuan. Some of the powers
(Heng Chuan). Each element has attributed to Hsing-I masters include the power
oensive and defensive aspects; in to project chi through their blows to badly injure
accord with ancient Chinese philoso- or kill an enemy (reected in the power of the
phies, an attack based on one element Monkey Slap maneuver), the ability to survive
(say, Fire) is subject to a defense based on the devastating blows unharmed, the ability to
element its vulnerable to (in this example, Water). run fast enough to keep up with horses, miraculous
The second set of maneuvers is based around twelve healing capabilities, and the like.
animal forms: Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Turtle,

Chicken, Phoenix (Tai Bird), Sparrow Hawk, Swal-
low, Snake, Eagle, and Bear (some masters use other hen you understand one
animal forms as well).
Hsing-I practitioners combine these basic sets thing through and through,
of maneuvers into attack patterns that typically
involve blocking an incoming attack, grabbing the you understand everything.
attacking limb, and then striking the attacker, usu-
Shunryn Suzuki
ally with the hand. Hsing-I tends to be much more
linear than the other internal styles, so its often the
rst internal style a student studies (then he moves
on to Pakua and Tai Chi Chuan).
Some scholars divide Hsing-I into three
Hero Games 29

takes a 2d6+7 roll. The Choke automatically targets

Hwarang-Do a head location, but receives no extra damage for
This ancient Korean martial art, which also being a head location. The Block, Joint Break, and
incorporates much healing knowledge, dates back Joint Lock do not use location rolls.
some 1,800 years. According to tradition it was Special Abilities: The shin gong, or mental powers,
developed by a Buddhist monk named Won Kwang of Hwarang-Do masters are said to be formidable.
Bopsa. He taught his technique to many young Their abilities include:
nobles of his day, who were called hwarang. The
hwarang were a combination of knights, statesmen, 1) Telepathy
and military generals. Legend has it they lived by 2) Clairvoyance
a ve-point code: loyal service to the king (or, in 3) A sixth sense (Danger Sense)
modern terms, to ones nation); lial piety; trust (in
ones peers) and trustworthiness; courageousness 4) Choemyonsul: The ability to put another person
and valor; and justice and discrimination in the use to sleep (a form of EB, NND)
of force, especially lethal force. 5) Unsinbbop: The ability to conceal ones self in
Hwarang-Do has four main branches of front of others (Invisibility)
study: external power (wae gong), internal power
6) Jusul: Disease healing chants (Healing with
(nae gong), weapons use (moo gi gong), and mental
the Extra Time and Incantations Limitations) and
power (shin gong) (see below). Its barehanded tech-
chants which cause disease (various forms of Drain
niques, the external power, include punches and
or Killing Attack)
kicks, blocks, joint locks and joint breaking, nerve
strikes, chokes, and many other techniques. The
internal disciplines were similar to those taught in Jailhouse Rock
some Chinese styles.
Hwarang-Do practitioners wear uniforms According to John Soets book Martial Arts
similar to Karate or Judo uniforms. Around The World, Jailhouse Rock is the stylized,
organized ghting art of the Black American, devel-
oped in prison. As its supposed origins indicate, it
HWARANG-DO is designed for eective use in close quarters and
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect against multiple attackers or ambushes.
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
Finger Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Hand Strike/Elbow Strike/ Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Snap Kick 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA Elbow Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
d6 (2 DC), Disable Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 Groin Blow 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(3)
STR for holding on Knee Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target
Throw 5 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC); Falls
Target Falls Skills
Skills KS: Jailhouse Rock
Breakfall WF: Prison Weapons
KS: Hwarang-Do Elements
KS: Korean Healing Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs
Paramedic +1 Use Art with Knives
WF: Common Melee Weapons
WF: Sta
Talent: Defense Maneuver JAILHOUSE ROCK NOTES
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades The sort of weapons used with Jailhouse Rock are
+1 Use Art with Clubs those commonly available in prisons: shanks and
+1 Use Art with Polearms shivs (homemade knives), various kinds of crude
+1 Use Art with Sta club-like weapons, and so forth.
Optional Rules: The Elbow Strike takes a 2d6+1
location roll, the Knee Strike a 2d6+7 roll. The
As with other unarmed combat styles which allow Groin Blow automatically targets the Vitals, but gets
weapons use, the Hwarang-Do practitioner can neither penalties nor bonuses for this.
learn to use his art with no weapons, with only one, Special Abilities: None.
or with several, as he sees t.
Optional Rules: The Hand Strike and Elbow Strike
take a location roll of 2d6+1. The Kick and Finger
Strike take a location roll of 3d6. The Snap Kick
30 The Ultimate Martial Artist


Jeet Kune Do (the way of the intercepting
st), or JKD as it is commonly known, is an eclec- (JUN FAN KUNG FU)
tic martial arts style developed by the late Bruce
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Lee. He created it after studying many dierent Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
martial arts styles and deciding all of them were Choke Hold 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
too limiting because of their reliance on a body of NND(2)
predened techniques. Thus, JKD depends on the Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
principles of simplication, versatility, practical- Attacks, Abort
ity, and usefulness. Lee himself described it as a Grab/
tight, versatile art, without patterns, forms, or rules, Joint Lock 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
which relies on broken rhythm to obtain the STR for holding on
advantage of unpredictability. (Note that Jeet Kune Kick/
Knee Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Do is actually the name for the governing concepts
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
of the art; the ghting style itself is more accurately Target Falls
referred to as Jun Fan Kung Fu.) Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Since Lees untimely death, the students to Punch/Elbow
whom he taught JKD and the students they have Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
taught have continuously debated what JKD means Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
and stands for, what qualies as JKD, and who is Falls
a true student of JKD. Anyone interested in this Skills
ongoing discussion can easily follow it in the pages Combat Skill Levels
of dozens of books and magazines. KS: Jeet Kune Do
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
To simulate the adaptability and unpredictability of +1 Use Art with Clubs
JKD, practitioners should consider buying several +1 Use Art with Polearms
+1 Use Art with Sta
Combat Skill Levels with the style. In
most situations they assign these to
This Japanese art (and its more philosophical
counterpart, Judo) grew out of the integration of the
DCV, but they weapons techniques of katori shinto ryu and grap-
can shift them around pling techniques during the fteenth century. The
as necessary to surprise an roots of the art lie even earlier, in the Heian period
opponent. (about 794-1185 A.D.), but until the fteenth cen-
tury warriors usually considered empty-hand tech-
Bruce Lees own work on niques an aspect of whatever major weapon form(s)
JKD, The Tao of Jeet Kune they supported, not as a separate jutsu. The name
Do, does not discuss the use jujutsu (or jiu-jitsu) was rst used in the late sev-
of weapons at all. However, he enteenth century. Knowledge of Jujutsu was spread
was skilled in many dierent weapons styles, world-wide by travelling Japanese practitioners in

including Filipino stick-ghting and Chinese the early years of the twentieth century; today one
aving no weapons styles, and according to his own tenets of of the most popular styles is from Brazil.
unpredictability and adaptability, practitioners may The usual Jujutsu technique involves bearing an
way is sometimes need to use weapons. Therefore JKD opponent to the ground and then pinning him there
instructors often teach various weapons; the Clubs
the way. Having element is especially popular.
or rendering him unconscious. The art utilizes hip
throws, sweeping throws, shoulder and neck locks,
no limitation is Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike and and a sacrice body drop. In the past, Jujutsu was
Nerve Strike take Hit Location rolls of 2d6+1. The more of a fully-integrated ghting art it included
your limitation. Kick/Knee Strike takes a roll of 2d6+7, since JKD a variety of punches, kicks, nerve strikes, and weap-
kicks are usually low and quick. The Legsweep and ons techniques. Some schools or substyles still teach
Bruce Lee Choke Hold have set targets (the legs and head/ strike-based maneuvers.
neck, respectively) and so do not require a location Judoka (and some jujutsuka) wear a gi like that
roll. None of the other maneuvers needs a location worn by karateka, but made of heavier cloth and
roll. without many seams (Judo is harder on the clothes
than many other martial arts).
Special Abilities: Some JKD practitioners can per-
form battleeld punches in which they hit their JUJUTSU NOTES
opponent as many as eight times in the space of a
second. Characters can simulate this by applying Only Jujutsu, not Judo, teaches the danger-
the Autore Advantage to their Punch maneuver ous Joint Break maneuver. The Strike and Atemi
(see page 104), or as an HA with Autore. Strike maneuvers, which represent several types
of punches and kicks, are from the older style of
Hero Games 31

Jujutsu; only certain schools teach them. Hakko-Ryu

Students of the older, more warlike form of Jujutsu Founded in 1941, Hakko-Ryu focuses on
could also learn the following Weapons Elements: neutralizing and discouraging attacks by attacking
Blades, Chain & Rope Weapons, Clubs, Polearms, pressure points and locking joints. The styles grabs
Stas. Some substyles are also designed for use by and holds emphasize the use of the little nger, and
armored warriors (optionally, take a +1 point Ele- are performed by bending the joints in a natural
ment, Use Art in Armor; refer to the discussion of direction, but so that the target suers great pain.
Hindering Circumstances in Chapter Three for Hakko-Ryus kicks are low (2d6+7 Hit Location
details). roll), and its hand attacks are usually made with the
open hand, not a st. (Characters who study this
Optional Rules: The Shime automatically targets substyle may buy the Knifehand maneuver from
the head, but receives no extra damage for this. Karate.)
The Strike and Atemi Strike take 3d6 location rolls. To practice Hakko-Ryu, a character must know
None of the other maneuvers take location rolls. at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi
Special Abilities: None. Strike, Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw, Strike, Take-
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Supposedly founded by a Chinese exile,
Atemi Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Gempin, in the seventeenth century, this substyle
Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort incorporates many dierent elements and philoso-
Breaking phies to create a ghting technique described as
Throw 5 -2 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA uid and supple. To practice Kito-Ryu, a charac-
d6 (2 DC), Disable; ter need only know any three Jujutsu maneuvers.
Target Falls
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Sosuishitsu-Ryu
Disarm roll Supposedly derived from the Takenouchi-
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Ryu by a samurai, Fugatami Hannosuke, in 1650,
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 this school takes its name from the pure owing
to STR for holding on waters of the Yoshino River. To practice this style,
Joint Lock/ a character must know the Escape, Joint Lock, and
Throw 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 Joint Lock/Throw maneuvers.
NND(7); Target Falls
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Takenouchi-Ryu
Target Falls This substyle was founded in the sixteenth
Sacrifice century by the samurai Takenouchi Hisamori
Throw 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, (also known as Toichiro Takeuchi). Legend has it
Target Falls
Takenouchi learned several secret techniques of
Shime 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
NND(2) immobilization and weapons use from a ghostly
Slam 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target yamabushi, or mountain hermit, who stressed the
Falls advantages of short weapons over longer ones.
Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Takenouchi used these techniques as a basis and
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target then added to them maneuvers from such ghting
Falls arts as Sumo Wrestling, an older form of wrestling
Skills called sumai, and kumi-uchi ghting (designed for
Breakfall* use by armored warriors). Thus he developed a
KS: Jujutsu style which stresses various techniques of immobi-
lizing ones opponent; it also teaches combat with
short swords (kogusoku) and daggers.
SUBSTYLES OF JUJUTSU To practice Takenouchi-Ryu, a character must
Historically, scholars have recorded more than know the Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw, and Shime
700 substyles of Jujutsu, ranging from very broad maneuvers.
ghting systems to styles concentrating on just a Tenjin-Shinyo-Ryu
few maneuvers or techniques. Many substyles are Also called Tenshinshinyo-Ryu, this substyle
so closely related to Aikijutsu, Sumo Wrestling, or is known for its holds, chokes, and atemi strikes. It
various weapon-based ghting forms that separat- does not teach any weapons. It was founded by Iso
ing them for gaming purposes is dicult, and in Mataemon (also known as Yanagi Masatari).
many cases pointless. A well-rounded medieval To practice Tenjin-Shinyo-Ryu, a character
Japanese warrior would probably know not only must know at least three of the following maneu-
one or more styles of Jujutsu, but many weapon vers: Atemi Strike, Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw,
forms (Kenjutsu, Naginatajutsu, Bojutsu, and so Shime.
forth), various styles of wrestling and/or Aikijutsu,
and many other combat-oriented skills. Yoshin-Ryu
Some of the more important and/or interest- This is the famous willow school of Jujutsu,
ing Jujutsu substyles include: so called because its founder, the seventeenth
century physician Akiyama Shirobei Yoshitoki of
32 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Nagasaki, used the image of a willow as an example
for his students: it bends before force, but springs KALARIPAYIT
back unharmed, whereas the sturdy oak is knocked
over. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
To practice Yoshin-Ryu, a character must know Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Dodge 4 +0 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
Strike, Block, Dodge, Joint Lock, Strike.
Flying Kick 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6
Joint Lock
Jukenjutsu (Kattaram) 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on
Jukenjutsu is the art of the bayonet. It was Knifehand
developed after the introduction of the rie in Strike 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Japan. Its primary technique is the thrust, but prac- Marman
Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
titioners also learn more complicated blocking,
trapping, and slashing maneuvers. Elbow Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Straight Kick/Roundhouse
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
JUKENJUTSU Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Used with Pole Arms Weapon Group; Pole Arms Weapon
Element is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Contortionist
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort KS: Indian Healing
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All KS: Kalaripayit
Attacks, Abort KS: Yoga
Slash 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC WF: Common Melee Weapons
Strike WF: Urumi
Thrust 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
Trap 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Skills +1 Use Art with Clubs
KS: Jukenjutsu +1 Use Art with Urumi
WF: Pole Arms*
special training compounds which double as places
JUKENJUTSU NOTES of healing. Training in these compounds usually
takes place early in the morning and again right
Optional Rules: The Slash and Thrust take loca- after dusk, and is often shrouded in secrecy. There
tion rolls of 3d6. The Block and Trap do not require is some religious signicance to these places; there
location rolls. are many ritual practices and devotions surround-
Special Abilities: None. ing Kalaripayit. The goddess Kali, in her aspect as
the goddess of war, is the patroness of Kalaripayit
Kalaripayit Kalaripayit is mainly practiced in the far
Kalaripayit (also known as kalari, kalaripayat, southern region of India, around the state of Kerala
and kalaripiyat) is a martial art developed in and Tamilnadu. There are two variants the
ancient times in southern India. The name means northern style, centered on the city of Calicut; and
battleeld practices. There is evidence of its exis- the southern style, centered on the cities of Nager-
tence as early as the sixth and seventh centuries coil and Madras. Although the maneuvers used
A.D. Some experts trace its roots to vajra-musti, in each variant are the same, the northern style
a style of boxing/wrestling used by the Brahmin involves a lot of high jumps and kicks, low, crouch-
caste. ing stances, and long strides; whereas the cruder-
Training in Kalaripayit encompasses four looking southern style involves more circular
stages: unarmed ghting (verumkai), which is the motion, more solid, higher stances, and use of the
basis for all other techniques; stick-ghting tech- arms and torso. Linguistic and cultural dierences
niques (silambam or kolthari); training with other also separate the two substyles. However, both styles
weapons, such as daggers (angathari); and, at its require suppleness and agility and involve a lot of
most esoteric level, training in knowledge of the leaping and crouching. Fighters of both styles often
108 secret vital points of the body (marma-adi) and cover their bodies with oil before ghting (this adds
how to exploit them in battle. (Practitioners can +1 to their Contortionist rolls to escape Grabs).
also study the vital points of the elephant.) KALARIPAYIT NOTES
Masters of Kalaripayit, known as gurus or
gurukkal, are not only skilled in the ghting aspects Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike, Flying
of the art, but are usually accomplished healers Kick, Knifehand Strike, and Marman Strike all take
as well, trained in the Ayurvedic system of native location rolls of 2d6+1. The Straight Kick/Round-
medicine (which relates closely to many of Kalar- house Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other maneuvers
ipayits ghting techniques). Masters often maintain do not require Hit Location rolls.
Hero Games 33

Special Abilities: Characters can simulate gurus

healing abilities with the Healing Power or the KS: KARATE
Indian Healing Skill.
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
Atemi Strike 4 -1 +1
2d6 NND(1)
Kampfringen Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort
Disarm 4 -1 +1
Disarm, +10 STR to
Kampfringen is a medieval German combat Disarm roll
and grappling art. Like Arte dellAbbracciare, it Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
involves a wide range of grapples, joint locks (and Attacks, Abort
breaks), and strikes (primarily short punches, Knifehand Strike
knees to the groin, headbutts, and the like). It also (Chop) 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
incorporates pain compliance techniques and a hip Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Target Falls
throw. It includes defensive techniques designed to
protect the ghter against Dolchfechten, or knife- Snap Kick 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
ghting techniques. Side/
Some sources present a more intriguing origin Spin Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
for Kampfringen, claiming it was developed by Skills
medieval Jews as a form of self-defense. According KS: Karate
to this theory, the art has some basis in kabbalistic WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons
meditation techniques and philosophies. WF: O Hand
KAMPFRINGEN Weapons +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons
+1 Use Art with Sta
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Arm Bar 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 Gichin Funakoshi introduced Okinawa-te to
NND(7); Target Falls Japan, teaching it in public schools. At that time,
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort its name was formalized as Karate. After World
Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs War II, American servicemen stationed in Japan
Grapple 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 learned the art, which helped to spread it world-
STR for holding on
Hip Throw 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target
Falls HERO System characters can buy Karate in
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA one of two ways. As Karate, it is an unarmed ght-
d6 (2 DC), Disable ing style. As Kobujutsu, it is an armed Okinawan
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 ghting style, using these weapons: bo (6 sta )
to STR for holding on and several shorter stas, sai, nunchaku, tonfa
Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
KS: Kampfringen

Optional Rules: The Strike and Pressure Point
Strike take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other
maneuvers take location rolls.
Special Abilities: None.

Karate arose from the same ancient tradi-
tions which led to the development of Kung Fu.
By the fth century AD, on the Okinawa Islands,
a weaponless combat system called te (hand)
had developed. Later, when the teachings of the
Shaolin Temple in China were carried to Okinawa,
some of the Shaolin techniques were infused with
the te art.
During the fteenth century, the Japanese
who occupied Okinawa forbade the natives to
carry arms and te began to ourish; at the time,
it went by several names, including te and karate
(a term which originally meant China hand, but
which in the twentieth century was redened to
mean empty hand).
In 1905, an Okinawan instructor named
34 The Ultimate Martial Artist
(threshing handles), kama (sickles), eiku (or chizi- KARATE SUBSTYLES
kunbo or sunakakebo) (boat oar), timbe and rochin Karate has developed several distinctive sub-
(tortoiseshell shield and hand-spear), suruchin (a styles, although not nearly as many as Kung Fu or
short, weighted rope), kue (hoe), and tekko (metal Pentjak-Silat. Most of these styles are not strikingly
knuckle-dusters). dierent; none of them require the character to buy
Karateka (Karate practitioners) can buy the particular maneuvers before he can call himself a
Weapons Element to learn Kobujutsu techniques, practitioner of that particular substyle. The most
and Kobujutsu practitioners can buy the Bare- prominent Karate substyles include:
handed element to learn empty-hand techniques
for their art. For game purposes, the two styles are Goju-Ryu
functionally identical. This style, which has both Japanese and Oki-
The traditional Karate uniform is the gi; it is nawan elements, relies primarily on hand tech-
also used by many other martial arts practitioners. niques and low kicks. It was created by Kanryo
The gi consists of the uwagi, or long-sleeved jacket, Higashionna in the late nineteenth century. As the
and zubon, or trousers. The obi, or belt, is colored; name goju (hard-soft) indicates, practitioners
the color indicates the wearers rank. Originally the attempt to maintain a balance of hard and soft
standard gi was beige; today it is white. Professional in their ghting styles, which gives this substyle a
Karate ghters wear gloves, foot-and-shin armor, greater internal element than most Karate sub-
and loose pants rather like warm-ups. They also styles. Many of Goju-ryus techniques are circular
wear athletic cups. Male Karate professionals go (unlike most Karate styles, which tend to empha-
bare-chested. size linear motion).
This Okinawan style, created by Tatsuo Shima-
Used With Karate Weapons Group; Karate
baku in 1954, stresses practicality and combat
Weapons Element is free
eectiveness. It eliminates owery techniques and
Maneuvers: Same as above; practitioner can
concentrates on short, natural stances and maneu-
only buy the Kick if he knows the Barehanded ele-
vers. Its attacks are evenly divided between hand
ment, below.
and foot strikes, but emphasize circular, owing
Skills: techniques.
Same as Above; WF is Required (*)
Elements Kajukenbo
Weapons +1 Use Art with Sta Kajukenbo is an eclectic martial art which
Barehanded +1 Use Art Barehanded takes its name from the four styles which it com-
The Knifehand Strike maneuver above may also bines elements of: Karate, Judo, Kenpo, and Bo (the
be interpreted as the Spearhand Strike, a thrusting latter is a form of Chinese boxing, i.e., Kung Fu).
maneuver. The Knifehand Strike was for decades It was developed in Hawaii after World War II and
popularly known in America as the karate chop. is taught strictly as a combat art. Characters who
want to practice this style can buy maneuvers from
The Side Kick and Spinning Kick are presented here Karate, Jujutsu (Judo), and Kung Fu.
as one maneuver.
Optional Rules: The Punch/Snap Kick, Nerve
Kenpo was developed by American Ed
Strike, and Knifehand Strike take location rolls of
Parker beginning in the 1950s as a modern form
2d6+1. The Side Kick and Spin Kick take location
of Shorinji Kempo (see Kung Fu, below). Parker
rolls of 3d6. The Block, Disarm, Dodge, and Leg-
methodically studied combat maneuvers and then
sweep do not take location rolls.
broke them down into a system for logical, progres-
Special Abilities: Karate is not surrounded sive instruction. Kenpo is an eective ghting style
by mysticism the way much of Kung Fu is, but suited to close combat; it uses rapid hand move-
master karateka can still perform amazing feats. ments, low kicks, and body checks.
For example, a technique sometimes developed
by Karate masters is a rapid-re punching ability Kickboxing
which characters can buy as an Autore HA attack Kickboxing is a form of modern American
or by applying the Autore Advantage to a martial sport karate. It combines karate-like kicks and other
maneuver (see page 104). Lastly, some karateka maneuvers with boxing punches. Characters who
supposedly possess genshin, the ability to detect an want to know this style should buy both Karate and
attack a split-second in advance and beat the enemy Boxing maneuvers.
to the punch (you can buy this as a limited form of Kyokushinkai
Precognition or Danger Sense, with Linked Light- This aggressive Japanese substyle uses close
ning Reexes or Combat Skill Levels). body contact to overcome fear of combat. Train-
Kobujutsu masters may have their own special ing concentrates on powerful, rapid attacks and
abilities. For example, they might be able to per- physical toughness. It also emphasizes tameshiwara,
form weapons ourishes which act as Damage breaking exercises.
Shields (see page 131). Another clever trick with
the eiku, or boat oar, is to use the paddle end of it Shito-Ryu
to ick sand or dirt into an opponents eyes (a Flash Founded in 1930 by Kenwa Mabuni, this major
with some Limitations). Japanese substyle emphasizes hard aspects over
Hero Games 35

soft, though it does contain some soft techniques.

Attacks are equally divided between hand- and
foot-based maneuvers. Kenjutsu is the samurais sword art. It requires
the use of blades (especially Japanese blades such as
the katana, wakizashi, and no-daichi); you cannot buy
Unlike almost all other Karate substyles, this
a Weapons Element to allow use of Kenjutsu maneu-
well-rounded Okinawan substyle makes use of
vers with other weapon groups or with unarmed
throws, takedowns, grabs, and joint-lock maneuvers
combat (except as noted below).
(characters may buy appropriate maneuvers from
The elements of the art originated some 1,500
the Jujutsu package). It also emphasizes the study of
years ago. By the ninth century AD (when Kenjutsu
karate weapons.
maneuvers rst become available to PCs), Kenjutsu
Shorin-Ryu schools ourished in Japan. Practitioners divide
One of the earliest and most inuential of the techniques into kamae (postures), kiri (cuts), tsuki
Okinawan substyles. It has strong roots in the Shao- (thrusts), and blocks and evasive maneuvers; each
lin styles of Kung Fu. It has three main branches, school favors its own particular types and combina-
the small forest school, young forest school, and tions of maneuvers.
pine forest school (each name refers to the forest One of Kenjutsus most famous practitioners and
where the Shaolin Temple is said to have been teachers was the samurai Miyamoto Musashi, author
located). With the GMs permission, characters who of A Book of Five Rings, a psychological guide to
study this substyle can also buy maneuvers from strategy and competition. Musashi lived, fought, and
the Kung Fu package. taught his famous two-sword (Nito-Ryu) technique
during the early seventeenth century.
In many ways, Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu (the art
This Japanese styles was founded by Gichin
of drawing the sword) intertwine. While Iaijutsu
Funakoshi, the Okinawan who introduced Karate
(the Skill Fast Draw, in HERO System terms) is not
to Japan. It concentrates on developing skill with a
required for Kenjutsu practitioners, most should
small number of useful, ecient techniques; it also
know it.
emphasizes balance and muscle control. Its strikes
Kenjutsu is known as kum do in Korea. A sport-
(mainly kicks) are primarily linear; they rely on
ing version of the art, kendo, has been taught world-
body momentum, such as shifting the hips, to add
wide since World War II.
power to a blow.
An Okinawan style, Uechi-ryu was founded
around the turn of the century by Kanbun Uechi, Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon
who had studied Kung Fu in addition to Karate. Its Element is free
elements bear some similarity to the Dragon, Tiger, Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
and Crane styles of Kung Fu. Its primary attacks Bind 4 +1 +0
Bind, +10 STR
include a single-knuckle punch (Punch or Atemi Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort
Strike), the spear-hand strike (Knifehand Strike), Disarm 4 -1 +1
Disarm, +10 STR to
pointed kicks (Snap Kick or Side Kick), and circular Disarm roll
Evade 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
blocks (Block). Kicks are generally delivered low, and
Attacks, Abort
should take 2d6+7 location rolls. Lightning
Wado-Ryu Stroke 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike
This Japanese style, whose name means way of Running
Stroke 5 +1 +0 Weapon +v/5; FMove
harmony, stresses inner preparation and strength
of character instead of simply concentrating on Stroke 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike
physical techniques. Its techniques include body Slashing
shifting (Dodge) and some joint-twisting maneu- Stroke 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
vers (use the Joint Lock from Hapkido). Takeaway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10
STR to Take Weapon

hen you do battle, even if Skills
you are winning, if you con- Fast Draw (Iaijutsu)
Defense Maneuver
tinue for a long time it will dull your KS: Kenjutsu
Sleight Of Hand
forces and blunt your edge. Two-Weapon Fighting
WF: Blades*
Sun Tzu, The Art of War WF: O Hand
WF: Thrown Sword
Barehanded +1 Use Art Barehanded (Bind, Block,
Disarm, Evade, Takeaway maneuvers
36 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Stroke and Slashing Stroke maneuvers.
Kage Ryu
This style, whose name means shadow, was
developed by Aizu Iko (1452-1538). It focuses on
reading an opponents facial expression and body
language to determine how he intends to attack,
then counteracting or beating his attack. In game
terms, a practitioner of this school must buy one
or more Combat Skill Levels with the Requires A
Skill Roll Limitation (the Skill in question being
either Analyze Style or a PER Roll).
A Kage Ryu stylist must know Block
and one Stroke maneuver.
NOTES Kashima Style
Optional Rules: Practiced (and perhaps founded) by the
The Lightning Stroke, legendary swordsman Tsukahara Bokuden
Sacrice Stroke, and (1490-1571), Kashima style concentrates on the
Slashing Stroke take loca- concept of hitotsutachione cut. The swords-
tion rolls of 3d6; the Run- man waits until the very last second, then coun-
ning Stroke takes a loca- ters an opponents attack (ideally, the opponents
tion roll of 2d6+1. The attack misses the practitioner by an inch or less).
Bind, Block and Takeaway Furthermore, the masters of the style maintain
do not take location rolls. that the last one-third of a blade does the most
Special Abilities: damage, and the innermost one-third the least;
Characters can buy Kenjutsu sword ourishes thus, by stepping into a blow a fighter can
as a form of Damage reduce, or even eliminate, injury.
Shield (see page A Kashima fighter must buy Light-
131). Also, given the mysti- ning Reflexes with his Kenjutsu (to
cal powers often associated with Japanese swords, a ensure he acts before his opponent), then
whole host of powers based around magic swords is Hold his Action. When his opponent attacks,
possible, if the campaign permits. he uses his Held Action to try to interrupt the
attack. He may buy Skill Levels with his DEX
KENJUTSU SUBSTYLES Roll to ensure he beats out his opponent each
Kenjutsu, throughout Japanese history, was time if he so desires.
usually taught by various schools or masters, each A Kashima stylist must know the Block,
of whom favored dierent kamae and swordsman- Evade, and one Stroke maneuvers.
ship techniques; some of these schools continue Mijin Style
today. If a swordsman character wants to belong Mijin style emphasizes power and speed; it
to one of these schools, he can buy maneuvers concentrates on leaping and running attacks. The
which pertain especially to that school. most famous Mijin maneuver is the Soaring Lark
A Kenjutsu practitioner does not have to stroke, a leaping ground-to-sky attack.
belong to any school, or can be built with many A Mijin stylist must know the Running
maneuvers and rightfully claim to have studied Stroke, which is the Soaring Lark stroke. Extra
several styles. inches of Running or Leaping are recommended.
Itto Ryu Muto Style
Created by the famed wandering swords- Muto is a style of fighting without the sword.
man Ito Ittosai, the Itto Ryu school teaches A Muto specialist buys the Barehanded element
practitioners to concentrate not on victory, but for his art; this allows him to use the Bind, Block,
on not losing. The idea is to use proper timing Disarm, Evade, and Takeaway maneuvers when
and skill to gain an advantage over an opponent. unarmed. It does not allow the character to use
The schools main technique is the kiri-otoshi, a the Stroke maneuvers unarmed. With this tactic,
maneuver which deects the opponents attack an unarmed swordsman can take his attackers
and makes a counterattack in one smooth motion. blade away and then use it on his attacker. This
In game terms, practitioners of Itto Ryu may buy is considered an advanced technique, one taught
this as a Defensive Strike (even though Kenjutsu only to the best students.
normally does not use that maneuver). They must The Muto stylist must know the Block,
also learn Block and one other Strike maneuver. Evade, and one Stroke maneuver, and buy the
Jigen-Ryu Barehanded element for his art. He often also
Developed in the 1500s by Togo Shigekura buys WF: Thrown Sword.
Bizen no Kami, this style concentrates on rapid The GM can forbid any player to take the
attacks and oensive maneuvers. It was favored by, Barehanded element; its supposed to be a secret
among others, the Satsuma clan. technique, and the GM has final say as to which
A Jigen-Ryu stylist must know the Lightning characters it may have been taught to.
Hero Games 37

Nito Style practicality, Krav Maga practitioners do not learn

The popularity of this two-swords style (also maneuvers for tournament ghting. However, it
known as juji dome) is attributed to Musashi Miya- does have a belt ranking system established by the
moto, Japans most famous swordsman. Miyamoto Krav Maga Association in Israel: from lowest to
was a swordsman early in the Tokugawa shogunate highest rank, the belts are white, yellow, orange,
in the rst half of the seventeenth century. green, blue, brown, and black.
The Nito stylist trains to deal with multiple
attackers. He can use his sword in either hand, or
can ght with two swords, one in each hand.
The Nito swordsman must know the Bind,
Block, and any one Stroke maneuver, and must have Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
the WF: O Hand Skill. The best Nito experts have Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
the Ambidexterity Talent and Two-Weapon Fight- Choke Hold 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
ing Skill as well, but these are recommended, not NND(2)
required. Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Disarm roll
Suio Style Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
The Suio (water) style has been popular- Attacks, Abort
ized in an acclaimed series of Japanese movies and Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
manga (comic books). All-out oense, speed, power, Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
to STR for holding on
and risk-taking characterize it.
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Required maneuvers are the Lightning Stroke, Low Kick/
the Running Stroke, and the Sacrice Stroke; the Knee Strike/
character should take, but is not required to take, Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Breakfall. Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
A special Suio technique is to stand knee-deep Falls
in water with the blade beneath the waters surface. Skills
The swordsman will strike from this watery posi- Breakfall
tion, using Sleight Of Hand to confuse his enemy as KS: Krav Maga
to his intent. In the game, the character must have WF: Common Melee Weapons
the Sleight Of Hand Skill to perform this technique, Elements
and the GM can assign OCV bonuses to such Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
attacks based on the success of the Skill Roll and +1 Use Art with Clubs
the overall situation.
Yagyu Shinkage School
During the Tokugawa era (early seventeenth Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 Hit
to mid-nineteenth centuries), the single most inu- Location roll; the Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The Low
ential school for Japanese fencing was the Shinkage Kick/Knee Strike takes a 2d6+7 roll.
school, which produced many excellent swordsmen Special Abilities: None.
from the Yagyu family.
The Shinkage style is cautious, compared to
many Kenjutsu styles, and emphasizes disarming Kuk Sool Won
Kuk Sool Won (Korean national martial arts
Required maneuvers are Block, Disarm, and
association) is a Korean ghting style founded by
any one Stroke.
In Hyuk Suh in the late 1950s. It is a synthesis of
maneuvers from three traditional Korean martial
Krav Maga arts: Sado Mu Sool (tribal martial arts); Buldo Mu
Sool (Buddhist temple martial arts; see Kung Fu,
Developed approximately 40 years ago for below); and Koong Joong Mu Sool (royal court
use by the Israeli Defense Forces, and later taught martial arts).
to Israeli police and Mossad agents as well, Krav Kuk Sool Won practitioners wear uniforms
Maga is designed for combat eectiveness (and patterned after the traditional uniforms of Korean
for quick, easy learning). It borrows techniques generals. A master of the style is known as a sah-
and ideas from many dierent styles, but teaches bumnim.
no katas, stances, or other predened movement
forms; instead, a Krav Maga ghter learns to ght KUK SOOL WON NOTES
from any position and adapt his skills to any situa-
Optional Rules: The Punch and Nerve Strike take
tion. The emphasis is on quick attacks and defenses
a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll; the Kick takes a 3d6 roll.
designed to win ghts, not to look impressive. Krav
The Legsweep automatically targets the legs and
Maga has been repeatedly studied and analyzed
feet, of course, and receives neither bonuses nor
(sometimes using computers) to make it as e-
penalties for so doing.
cient and powerful a ghting style as possible. Its
defenses against weapons are considered especially Special Abilities: Kuk Sool Won practitioners
eective. often buy extra inches of Running or Leaping to
Because of Krav Magas emphasis on combat make their maneuvers more spectacular.
38 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Karate). Kung Fu and unarmed combat were not
KUK SOOL WON conned to the Shaolin monastery; the rst martial
arts schools in China also began teaching during
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect the sixth century AD. This is the earliest period
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort when PCs can buy something resembling the Kung
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Fu style maneuvers; characters in the sixth century
Disarm roll
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All AD can buy the Block, Disarm, Dodge, Legsweep,
Attacks, Abort Punch, and Throw maneuvers, with the Punch
serving both as Punch and Kick.
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on A great deal of legend and mysticism sur-
Jonhwanbbop rounds the Shaolin temple. Supposedly its masters
(Throws) 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target were capable of a wide variety of amazing feats of
Falls combat and magic. Its course of study lasted many
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike years, and at the conclusion students had to pass
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; safely through a trap-lled maze to graduate. At
Target Falls the end of the maze they had to pick up and carry
Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) a red-hot 500-pound cauldron which would brand
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike their forearms with the symbols of the temple, a
Skills dragon (on the left arm) and a tiger (on the right
Acrobatics arm).
Breakfall The original Shaolin temple, which was located
KS: Kuk Sool Won
on the northern side of Shao-Shih Mountain, south
WF: Common Melee Weapons
of Sung San Mountain in Honan province, is said to
WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons
have been destroyed in 617 AD. Over the centuries
Elements it (and its great library of martial arts material)
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
was destroyed more than once, its surviving priests
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope
Weapons scattering to the winds and teaching their art in all
+1 Use Art with Clubs parts of the nation. Thus, uncountable variations
+1 Use Art with Polearms on the style developed over the next millennium.
+1 Use Art with Sta On those occasions when the Shaolin temple was
+1 Use Art with War Fan rebuilt, inevitably some enemy would nd it and
destroy it again. It was more or less destroyed for
Kung Fu (Wu Shu) good in the late seventeeth century by the Emperor
Kang Hsi. Only ve monks, the so-called Vener-
Kung Fu, in Chinese, simply means hard able Five, supposedly survived the massacre: Ng
work or skill. The name Wu-Shu (meaning war Mui, Pak Mee, Fung Do Tak, Miao Hin, and Gee
art) is the styles ocial name in China. Until Sin. They split up and hid themselves throughout
about 1928, it was also known as kuo-shu. China, passing on their martial wisdom in secret.
The origins of Kung Fu might date back as far Kung Fu was brought to the U.S. during mas-
as the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century BC), but sive Chinese immigration during the 1840s, though
most scholars conclude that it began to develop it was not popularly taught to non-Chinese stu-
sometime in the fth century BC. A swordsmans dents until the 1960s.
art which became prominent during the Chou A very fragmented art, Kung Fu has innumer-
Dynasty (770 BC-221 BC) may have contributed able dierent styles and techniques, many of which
to Kung Fu; so might have pankration (see below), are described below. The maneuvers and styles
from times when Alexander the Great took pan- presented here represent the external aspect of
kratiasts with him on his conquests (including his Chinese martial arts; the main internal styles, such
journey to India). The rst emperor of China, Chin as Pakua and Tai Chi Chuan, are discussed sepa-
Shih Huang-Ti, banned the practice of unarmed rately even though technically they fall under the
martial arts during his reign (in fact, he banned and rubric of Kung Fu. Practitioners generally divide
persecuted any thought or activity he considered Kung Fu substyles into northern styles, which
too close to free will or free thinking), but open are kick/leg-oriented (because of the prevalence of
practice resumed in 206 BC, after his death. horse-riding in northern China), and southern
In the sixth century AD, an Indian Buddhist styles, which are punch/hand-oriented (because of
priest named Bodhidharma (called Pu-Ti-Ta-Mo the prevalence of boat-rowing in southern China).
in China) came to the Shaolin Ssu (Young Forest A Kung Fu teacher is known as a sifu. The hall
Temple), in Chinas Honan province. The Shaolin where he teaches his students is usually called a
temple had been built in the late fth century AD kwoon. The traditional Kung Fu outt is a silk cos-
by Emperor Hsiao-Wen to honor another Indian tume consisting of a long-sleeved tunic with white
monk, Bodhiruchi. cus, dang lung fu (loose-tting trousers gathered
The Indian ghting style which Bodhidharma in at the ankles), and colorful sashes worn at the
taught there, blended with combat techniques waist (these do not denote rank). Alternatively,
already known to the Shaolin priests, became ghters wear a vest or shirt resembling a T-shirt
known as wai-chia; it eventually evolved into instead of the tunic.
both Kung Fu and Karate (see the entry above for
Hero Games 39

able; some relate to Taoist magic. Some of the

KUNG FU (WU SHU) powers more commonly mentioned include:

Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 1) Dancing swords: The ability to
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort wield a blade without holding
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to it, allowing it to attack on
Disarm roll its own (RKA, Continu-
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All ous).
Attacks, Abort
2) Fire Con-
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Flying Kick 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike trol: The abil-
Joint Lock/ ity to manipulate
Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 ame.
to STR for holding on 3) Food Creation:
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike The ability to pro-
Knife Hand 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
duce food.
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Target Falls 4) Hing
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Kung: The
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target ability
Falls to walk
Tien-hsueh without
Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
trace (see page 127).
Dragon Claw 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush, 5) Iron Palm: The ability, also
Must Follow Grab called the crushing hand,
Uproot/ allows a ghter to break objects with
Sand Palm 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove but a casual slap of the hand. Characters buy this as
Skills a Penetrating Hand-To-Hand Killing Attack with
Acrobatics the - Limitation Bonuses Are Calculated From
Breakfall EGO, Not STR STR bonuses to the HKA derive
Contortionist from the ghters EGO, not his STR. Characters can
KS: Chinese Healing
also use Iron Palm for an attack with the Indirect
KS: Chinese Philosophy
KS: Kung Fu Advantage, as described in Chapter Two. Tales
PS: Lion Dancing speak of masters knocking charging bulls dead in
Sleight Of Hand their tracks with a single Iron Palm blow.
WF: Common Melee Weapons 6) Iron Skin: The ability to resist attacks, even
WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons Killing Attacks, without harm. Buy this as Damage
WF: Hook Sword
Resistance for the characters PD. Also called Iron
WF: Three-Section Sta
WF: Wind And Fire Wheels Ox or Iron Shirt.
WF: O Hand 7) Kongjin: Empty force, i.e., the ability to strike
Elements someone without making contact. You can simu-
Weapons +1 Use Art with Axes/Maces/Picks late this as an Energy Blast of equal DC to the
+1 Use Art with Blades characters most powerful Strike maneuver, with
+1 Use Art with Chain Weapons the Advantage Fully Invisible (+1); characters could
+1 Use Art with Clubs also buy it as a limited form of Telekinesis with that
+1 Use Art with Hook Sword same Advantage. Some ghters call kongjin one
+1 Use Art with Polearms
nger or well st from the practice methods by
+1 Use Art with Sta
+1 Use Art with 3-Section Sta which students supposedly learn it.
+1 Use Art with Whip 8) Poison Palm/Red Sand Palm: These are other
+1 Use Art with Wind And Fire names for dim mak, the ability to kill someone with
Wheels but a touch (see page 123). Many styles, including
Eagle Claw and White Eyebrow, supposedly teach
KUNG FU WU SHU NOTES this technique, which can cause pain, numbness,
unconsciousness, illness, and/or death.
Optional Rules: The Knife Hand, Punch and Tien-
9) Summon Ancestral Spirits: The ability to
hsueh Strike take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Tiger
summon and control undead spirits.
Claw takes a location roll of 2d6+1, constituting
the location where the Grab landed; other Grabs do 10) Teleportation: According to some tales, Kung
not need a location rolled for them. The Kick and Fu masters can transport themselves instantly over
Flying Kick usually take a location roll of 3d6, but hundreds of miles.
in some styles (see below) the Kick takes a 2d6+7
location roll. The other maneuvers take no location
rolls. Hundreds of Kung Fu substyles exist; many
fall into certain broad categories. Rather than
Special Abilities: The powers and special abilities try to write every single one as a separate art, the
attributed to Kung Fu masters are almost innumer-
40 The Ultimate Martial Artist
package above includes the maneuvers common must observe all the other guidelines for the style
to most substyles. You can use the notes below to hes appending Drunken technique to.
help determine the maneuvers a character needs to To practice Drunken Style, a character must
know to practice a particular substyle. Of course, know the Acrobatics and Contortionist Skills and
a martial artist character doesnt have to choose a any three Kung Fu maneuvers.
Kung Fu substyle. He can remain a generic Kung
Eagle Claw
Fu practitioner and not worry about the plethora
This northern style, founded 800 years ago by
of specic substyles available to him. And even if
General Ouk Fay, simulates the powerful talons of
he does choose a specic Kung Fu substyle, he can
the eagle. It makes extensive uses of grabs, joint-
still buy maneuvers from the rest of the main list
locks, and takedowns; even some of its kicks have a
of Kung Fu maneuvers.
joint-locking function!
Bear Style To practice Eagle Claw Style, the character
This style simulates the fast, overpowering should buy at least three of these maneuvers:
strike of the bear. The practitioner uses the same Escape, Joint Lock/Grab, Legsweep, Punch, Tien-
hand for powerful open-palm strikes, blocks, and hsueh Strike, Tiger/Dragon Claw (called Eagle
counterstrikes, instead of striking with one hand Claw for this style).
and blocking with the other.
Hung Gar Style
To practice Bear Style, a character must know
Fighters developed this southern style for
the Block and Punch maneuvers. A Bear practitio-
use in close quarters such as narrow alleyways; it
ner often puts half or more of his Skill Levels into
works well for streetghters. It uses low stances
increasing the damage of the Punch maneuver.
and strikes which are relatively slow but powerful.
Chin Na Style Its primary weapons include the tiger fork, sta,
This style was developed in the early 1600s for and buttery swords.
use by soldiers and policemen. Its a good style for To practice Hung Gar, the character must
subdual and restraint of prisoners. It depends less know any three of the following maneuvers: Block,
on force than on knowledge of human anatomy; it Grab, Kick, Knife Hand, Punch, Tiger Claw (Tiger
achieves its damage by attacking vulnerable points Claw requires Grab).
known to medicine.
Long Fist
To practice Chin Na, a character must know
Long Fist (Chang Chuan) is a northern style
the KS: Chinese Healing Skill, at least on an 8-.
said to have been created during the Sung Dynasty,
He must also have at least three of the following
shortly before the year 1000 AD. It is a very pictur-
maneuvers: Block, Escape, Joint Lock/Grab, Knife
esque and open style incorporating long-reaching
Hand, Tien-hsueh Strike.
and sweeping st and arm maneuvers, low stances,
Choy Lee Fut and high kicks.
This southern style was developed in the early To practice Long Fist Style, the character must
to mid-nineteenth century. It is still a popular style; know the Block, Dodge, Kick, and Punch maneu-
its power makes it good for full-contact ghting. It vers.
often makes use of Weapons Elements, including
Monkey Style
Polearm, Whip (Chain Whip), Sta, and Swords,
The Monkey Style (Tai Sing) was developed in
and even teaches practitioners to use some unusual
the mid-nineteenth century by a jailed ghter, Kou
objects (such as small benches and smoking pipes)
Sze. He continually watched the monkeys around
as weapons.
the jail (monkeys were often used at jails, because
To practice Choy Lee Fut, the character must
they screeched when prisoners escaped), and even-
know any three of the following maneuvers: Block,
tually developed ghting maneuvers based around
Kick, Punch, Throw.
their actions.
Drunken Style The practitioner ghts from a crouching
This style is actually a variation on the other stance reminiscent of a monkeys. Tumbling, roll-
styles; a character can ght with just Drunken ing, tricky footwork, and comical postures are also
Style (for example, the extremely dicult Eight hallmarks of the Monkey Style.
Drunken Fairies [Tsui Pa Hsien] style), or can There are several substyles of this style,
learn Drunken Monkey, Drunken Crane, and so each based on a particular set of movements or a
forth. particular body type, allowing any kind of ghter
Visually, the style involves drunken staggering to use the art: Lost Monkey (in which the ghter
and swaying (requiring Acrobatics) and utilizes simulates panic to trick the enemy into overcon-
attacks which (because of the drunken stances and dence); Drunken Monkey (described above);
approaches) are deceptive and hard to see coming Stone Monkey (suited to ghters with large, strong
(hence the higher OCV). If the character has Skill bodies; involves less acrobatics than the other
Levels, more must go into OCV than DCV; if pos- substyles); Standing Monkey (suited to tall ghters
sible, the character must congure his Skill Levels with long arms); and Wooden Monkey (in which
so that his OCV exceeds his DCV. the ghter feigns retreat, luring his foe into pursuit
When performing Drunken Style, a character so he can launch an aggressive surprise attack).
doesnt have to make an Acrobatics Skill roll every A Monkey Style practitioner can use any of these
Phase (hes not always staggering that much), and substyles.
Hero Games 41

To practice Monkey Style, the character must Dragon Claw and joint-locking techniques.
have the Acrobatics, Breakfall, and Sleight Of Hand To practice Dragon style, the character must
Skills, and any three of the following maneuvers: know any three of the following maneuvers: Block,
Block, Disarm (dened as a kicking disarm), Dragon Claw, Joint Lock/Grab, Kick, Punch.
Dodge, Kick, and Legsweep. To use Dragon Style, the character primarily
Each Phase the character utilizes Monkey utilizes one of these two combinations: Block fol-
Style, he must make both his Acrobatics and Sleight lowed by the Grab, or Grab followed by Block fol-
Of Hand rolls. If he succeeds in both, the GM lowed by Punch. He also uses the Joint Lock/Grab
has the target make a Sight-based PER Roll (just maneuver and Dragon Claw (which is mechanically
like a Skill Versus Skill Contest). If the Sleight Of the same as the Tiger Claw).
Hand roll beats the PER Roll, the monkey stylist
Shaolin Leopard Style
gets an OCV bonus to his maneuver. The GM can
Leopard Style is a fast, rugged, up-close
apply this as a +1 to +3 bonus based on how clever
combat style. It concentrates on powerful attened-
he thinks the maneuver is (determined from the
st blows (representing the attacks of a leopards
players description of the attack), or he can give
the maneuver a bonus based on how much better
To practice Leopard Style, the character must
the Sleight Of Hand roll was than the PER Roll
know the Block, Dodge, and Punch maneuvers.
(with a maximum of +3 to OCV). As the opponent
When performing Leopard Style, if the char-
gets used to the characters ghting style, the GM
acter has only one or two Skill Levels, he must put
can optionally decrease the OCV bonus provided
both of them into OCV (during the Block and
by the style. Naturally, if the rolls tie, or the target
Punch maneuvers, not during the Dodge); if he has
made his PER Roll by more, or the attacker missed
more than two, he must put at least two into OCV.
either Acrobatics or Sleight Of Hand, no bonus is
awarded. Shaolin Snake Style
Monkey Style is also fought with the sta. This is a sinuous, weaving combat style. The
hands, simulating the snakes strike, are used for
Praying Mantis Style
ngertip strikes to the targets temples, eyes, throat,
This style, known as Tang Lang in Chinese,
and other vital regions; the style also uses kicks.
was derived from a ghters observation of the
To practice Snake Style, the character must
praying mantis in combat. It concentrates on
know the Block, Dodge, Kick, Punch, and Tie-hsueh
grasping, clawing, and punching maneuvers. It was
Strike maneuvers.
developed 350 years ago; many dierent substyles
(including the six harmonies, seven stars, and eight Shaolin Tiger Style
steps variants) have arisen since then. This style simulates the ripping action of a
To practice Praying Mantis, the character must tigers claws. The practitioner uses a rigid open-
know the Block maneuver, and at least two of the hand technique with ngers curled like claws, and
following maneuvers: Disarm, Joint Lock/Grab, makes use of palm-heel strikes and claw-hand
Kick, and Punch. strikes, both swung with downward arcs; he also
When ghting an opponent, the Praying uses palm-heel blocks and forearm blocks. There
Mantis stylist usually uses a Block against an are several subforms of this substyle, including
incoming attack and follows up (on his next Phase) White Tiger, Red Tiger, and Black Tiger; their dif-
with one of the other maneuvers. Typical sequences ferences are not important for gaming purposes.
include Block, Disarm; Block, Punch; and Block, To practice Tiger Style, the character must
Joint Lock/Grab, Punch. Alternatively, he delays, know any three of the following maneuvers: Block,
puts most or all his Skill Levels into DCV (with Dodge, Grab, Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike, and Tiger
the visual eect being that he blocks, rather than Claw. Tiger Style is also fought with the broadsword
dodges, incoming attacks) and responds to attacks (Darn-Do).
with any of the attack maneuvers.
Shorinji Kempo
Shaolin Crane Style Shorinji kempo is the Japanese pronunciation
This is an open, owing style. The practitioner of Shaolin chuan-fa, or Shaolin Kung Fu. According
shapes his hands like cranes beaks; the style adopts to tradition, Chinese monks visited Japan before it
many one-legged stances. Blocks are performed became closed o to foreigners in the seventeenth
with the backs of wrists or with the open hand. century and taught their Kung Fu art to the Bud-
To practice Shaolin Crane (pai-hao) style, the dhist monks. Today, the art, adapted to the Japanese
character must know the Block, Punch, and Tien- way of life and philosophies, still thrives. Its symbol
hsueh Strike maneuvers. is a counterclockwise-pointing swastika (the
reverse of the kind used by Nazi Germany), which
Shaolin Dragon Style
in Buddhism signies peace and unity.
This style simulates the coiling of the Chinese
In the HERO System, the Kung Fu style simu-
dragon; the practitioner moves with his waist loose
lates Shorinji Kempo; a Kempo practitioner can
and supple, and the style makes use of circular
buy any or all Kung Fu maneuvers and refer to
waist movements and hip-turning movements.
them as Kempo. Purists will note that this is a gross
In this style, the attacker grabs his target,
oversimplication of the real-world relationship
blocks attacks, and counterstrikes with fast
between Kempo and Kung Fu, but it suces for
punches. The style also involves a Grab called the
game purposes.
42 The Ultimate Martial Artist
White Crane Style or Buldo Mu Sool (a Korean Buddhist temple style,
This Tibetan style, which simulates the moves of supposedly derived from Shaolin ghting arts);
both cranes and apes, involves three basic principles: Cha Chuan (a style from Mongolia, popular among
evading attacks instead of blocking them (to increase Chinese Muslims and known for its acrobatics and
counterattack speed), confusing the target with many ying kicks); Cho Chiao (a northern style featur-
arm sweeps, and moving in to the opponent for a ing high kicks); Choy Mok (a combination of two
better angle of attack. It was rst developed in Tibet southern styles, Choy Gar and Mok Gar); E-mai
some 500 years ago, and was introduced into middle Shan Pai (a style supposedly created on the sacred
and southern China some 140 years ago. mountain of the same name; known in Vietnam as
To practice White Crane, a character must know Nga Mi Phai); Fan Tzu (a simple northern style);
any three of the following maneuvers: Dodge, Kick, Fong Ngan (the Phoenix Eye style, which relies
Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike. almost entirely on hand attacks, including a dis-
When a character uses White Crane, he must tinctive raised-middle-knuckle punch); Hop Gar
apply any Skill Levels he has so that his DCV exceeds (a practical ghting art derived from Tibet, also
his OCV; the high DCV allows the character to avoid known as Lama kung fu); Hung-Chia (a southern
using Dodges and continuously attack instead. style emphasizing powerful hand attacks deliv-
White Crane style is known as Bak Hok in Chi- ered from low stances, supposedly created by one
nese. of the Venerable Five); Hung Fut (a 300-year-old
southern style combining two other styles, Hung
White Eyebrow
Gar and Fut Gar; practitioners always use their left
This southern style, called Bak Mei in Chinese
hands to strike and are trained to use their cloth-
after the traitorous white-eyebrowed priest who
ing as a weapon); Kuo-Chuan (dog boxing, an
developed it, uses both soft and hard techniques. The
unpopular northern style in which the practitioner
arms and hands are kept soft and supple until they
stays low to the ground, barking and growling like
reach the point of impact, when they harden to
a dog, hoping to antagonize and distract his oppo-
deliver powerful blows. Internal and external strength
nent); Liang I (an internal northern style which
are both important in this style.
uses double-st attacks); Li-Chia Chuan (short
White Eyebrow stylists always wait for their
hand boxing, a southern style involving slapping
opponent to attack rst, then react to his attack and
and poking attacks, close inghting, and almost no
counterattack using their wit, or cleverness and
kicks; also known as Li Gar); Liu-Ho-Pa-Fa (six
perceptiveness. In the game, White Eyebrow stylists
harmonies, eight steps, a soft northern style); Mien
should normally hold their actions, then Block or
Chuan (cotton st style, a soft northern style); Mi
Dodge before attacking.
Tsung-I (the labyrinthine art, which uses rapid
White Eyebrow style incorporates some attacks
turns, changes of direction, and attacks to confuse
from Fong Ngan, or Phoenix Eye style, which is
the enemy); Poc Khek (a Malaysian style); San-
described briey below.
Hwang Pao-Chui (cannon st style, also known
To practice White Eyebrow, a character must
as Hsing-Kung-Chuan); Ta-Cheng Chuan (great
know any three of the following maneuvers: Block,
achievement, an internal style derived in part from
Dodge, Kick, Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike.
Hsing-I); Tan Tui (Deep Legs or Springing
Wing Chun Style Legs Kung Fu, which uses very low kicks and leg-
This style (whose name means radiant spring- sweeps); and Ti Tang (a ghting style which trains
time or everlasting spring) was developed in the the student to ght while on the ground).
eighteenth century by a ghting Buddhist nun named
Ng Mui. According to some legends she was one of As you can see, considerable overlap exists
the Venerable Five who escaped the nal destruc- between the maneuvers required for the various
tion of the Shaolin Temple. After creating the art, styles. If a character wishes, he can consider him-
she taught it to a young peasant woman named Yim self a practitioner of multiple styles if he knows
Wing Chun, from whom it takes its name. It was the minimum required maneuvers and Skills for
developed as an aggressive, practical style someone each; in combat, he can describe how and when
could learn in a relatively short amount of time. It he switches between styles. This will not, however,
involves up-close ghting techniques including short have an impact on an enemys Analyze Style roll; to
punches, low kicks, and leg sweeps. cancel the eects of such a roll, a character would
Wing Chun is so popular it has several substyles; have to switch to another style in which he has a
however, their dierences are inconsequential for separate Knowledge Skill.
gaming purposes. For more information on the main soft Chi-
To practice Wing Chun, the character must nese styles, refer to the descriptions of Hsing-I,
know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Pakua, and Tai Chi Chuan.
Kick, Legsweep, and Punch. The Kick takes a 2d6+7

W aiting is bad.
location roll.
Other Kung Fu Substyles
There are many other animal and non-animal Miyamoto Musashi, Go
Kung Fu styles, far too many to list extensively Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings)
here. However, in addition to the styles listed above,
several others deserve a brief mention: Bul Mu Do
Hero Games 43

Optional Rules: The Punch and Nerve Strike take
Kuntao (or kundao) is an Indonesian ghting
2d6+1 locations; the Kick takes a 3d6 location. None
style. It was developed before the birth of Christ
of the other maneuvers require location rolls.
by Chinese immigrants who transplanted Kung Fu
and mixed it with maneuvers from Pentjak-Silat Special Abilities: Kuntao masters special abilities
and Bersilat. There are many dierent substyles, are similar to those of Kung Fu masters, but are gen-
some favoring northern Chinese styles, some erally less powerful.
southern styles. Even today it is normally taught in
secrecy, and only to those of Chinese ancestry. Tra-
ditionally, practitioners of Kuntao are rivals with Kyujutsu
practitioners of Pentjak-Silat, which is one of the Kyujutsu is the Japanese art of the bow. In the
reasons that both arts have seen actual combat use modern era, under the name kyudo, it has become a
right up to the present day. highly philosophical form of sport with strong ties to
Zen Buddhism, but in the past it was a deadly battle-
eld art. It changed from a form of warfare to a sport
KUNTAO following the introduction of guns to Japan in about
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect the sixteenth century.
Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort In addition to learning standard archery, many
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, warriors were also trained in the art of archery from
Abort horseback, known as kyuba, soieijutsu, or yabusame.
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Kyujutsu practitioners use the yumi, the Japa-
Nerve Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) nese longbow, and the ya, or Japanese arrow (of
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
which there are more than a dozen varieties). See
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Chapter Three for information on these weapons.
Falls The Korean form of Kyujutsu is known as
Skills Kung-sool; its mounted counterpart is Ma-sool.
Acrobatics Kyujutsu cannot take the Style Distinctive Fea-
Breakfall ture.
KS: Kuntao
WF: Common Melee Weapons
WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons KYUJUTSU
WF: Chain & Rope Weapons
WF: Hook Swords Used with Bows Weapons Group; Bows Weapon Element
WF: O Hand is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect
Basic Shot 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope
Shot 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike
+1 Use Art with Clubs
+1 Use Art with Hook Swords
Shot 1+1 5 +0 -2 +6 Weapon Strike;
+1 Use Art with Karate Weapons
+1 Segment
+1 Use Art with Polearms
Far Shot 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike
+1 Use Art with Sta
Quick Shot 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC
Disarm 4 +0 +0 +0 Disarm, +15 STR
KS: Kyujutsu
PS: Bowyer
WF: Bows*

Optional Rules: All maneuvers take a 3d6 location
roll, except for the Ranged Disarm, which uses no
Special Abilities: Japanese legend and mythology
contains many stories of archers whose accuracy
allowed them to accomplish amazing feats. Kyujutsu
practitioners can simulate this sort of fantastic skill
with Combat Skill Levels and Range Penalty Skill
Levels (subject, of course, to any campaign limits on
CVs). Bows and arrows with magical properties are
also possible.
44 The Ultimate Martial Artist

Lua is a ghting style native to Hawaii. Its
name translates variously as hard and soft, dis- Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
location of joints, life and death, or the number Crab Pinch 4 -1 +0 Grab One Location;
+2d6 to Squeeze
2. It developed from the lomilomi massages given
Crab Throat
to boat paddlers, which gradually grew into a Pinch 5 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
wrestling style that in turn grew into Lua. By the NND(3)
fteenth century, twelve schools, each with its own Dolphin Nerve Strike/
specialty attacks, had been established throughout Shark Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
the islands to teach the art. Some Lua practitio- Dolphin Block/Eagle Block/Octopus
ners were inclined to ambush innocent people to Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
test out their joint-breaking and bone-breaking Eagle Grab 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
techniques, giving the art a bad reputation as pilau STR for holding on
(savage). Eagle Strike/Octopus
Strike 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6 Strike,
By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
Must Follow Block
Lua had virtually disappeared because of the lack Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA
of written records, the strict secrecy in which d6 (2 DC), Disable
the knowledge was kept (olohe-lua, master Moray Eel Hand Strike/
teachers, generally taught their complete Ocelot Claw 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
repertoire of techniques only to their rela- Mountain Pig Kick/Ocelot
tives), and, eventually, the inuence of Palm Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Christian missionaries (who banned Mountain Pig
many native practices). Even the Throw 5 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC),
establishment of several schools by Disable; Target Falls
King Kamehameha (ruled 1790-1819)
Sweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
did not succeed in Target Falls
reversing this trend. Octopus
The art was nally Poke 4 +0 +0 3d6 Sight Group
revived in the time Flash
of King David Spear Kick 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
Kalakaua Skills
(ruled 1874- Breakfall
91), who saw Contortionist
in it parallels to KS: Anatomy
Japanese ght- KS: Lua
ing styles. PS: Hula Dancing
Lua is a PS: Masseuse
WF: Common Melee Weapons
diverse style con-
WF: Garotte
centrating on attacks, WF: Sling
including punches, WF: Sta
hand and elbow
strikes, kicks, joint- Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
locks and joint-breaking, and throws. The ancient +1 Use Art with Cane
students of Lua were likewise students of anatomy; +1 Use Art with Flail
they were particularly skilled at dislocating and +1 Use Art with Garotte (Crab Pinch
breaking joints, and their modern-day counterparts and Crab Throat Pinch only)
often use the same tactics. Lua also involves the use +1 Use Art with Spear
of internal energy, or mana, which equates to chi +1 Use Art with Sta/Oar
or ki. ghter uses his ngers to ick or poke at the ene-
The version of Lua presented below is primar- mys eyes. Shark techniques involve short, powerful
ily the modernized version being studied by some jabs with the thumb or knuckles. Some masters
Hawaiians today. It uses a number of animal forms. teach maneuvers based on other animals, such as
Crab attacks involve the grabbing and pinching of the Tiger, Hawk, and Owl. The standard Lua attack
soft, vulnerable targets like the throat or vitals. Dol- pattern is to block an incoming blow and follow up
phin techniques use the back of the hand and wrist, with one or more appropriate attacks.
similar to Shaolin Crane Kung Fu. Eagle attacks
rely on the hands and elbows to deliver powerful LUA NOTES
blows. Moray Eel attacks use the nger and open
hand. Mountain Pig techniques include low kicks, The Spear Kick is a non-traditional maneuver and
stomps, some knee strikes, and a joint-breaking can only be learned by characters who received Lua
throw. Ocelot (or cat) maneuvers include not only training after 1965.
palm-strikes and slaps but legsweeps and take- Optional Rules: The Dolphin Nerve Strike/Shark
downs. Octopus techniques include rapid, interwo- Strike, Eagle Strike, Moray Eel Hand Strike/Ocelot
ven blocks and strikes and an attack in which the Claw, and Ocelot Palm Strike all take a 2d6+1 loca-
Hero Games 45

tion roll. The Mountain Pig Kick takes a 2d6+7 roll.

The Spear Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other attacks NAGINATAJUTSU
all target specic locations and so do not require
rolls (the Crab Pinch targets the throat, abdomen, Used with Polearms Weapons Group; Polearm Weapon
or vitals), but get no extra benet for hitting such Element is free
locations. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Atemi Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Special Abilities: Lua masters were said to com- Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
mand a number of special abilities. Primary among Slash 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
these were telepathy and the power to hypnotize Thrust 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike
people. Skills
KS: Naginatajutsu (or Sojutsu, as appropriate)
Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu Elements
Weapon +1 Use Art with Sta (for using
The maneuvers listed below describe two dier- weapons shaft)
ent, yet similar, weapon arts: Naginatajutsu (the art of
the halberd) and Sojutsu (the art of the spear). with the butt end of the weapons shaft.
Naginatajutsu (also known as chotojutsu) is the Optional Rules: The Atemi Strike, Slash, and
art of using the naginata, or Japanese halberd (includ- Thrust all take 3d6 Hit Location rolls.
ing its shorter version, the nagakami). From earliest Special Abilities: None.
times it was one of the weapons every warrior
was trained to use, and many war- rior-monks
favored it as well. Some of the schools Ninjutsu
or substyles which taught it were
the Anzawa-ryu, Gassan-ryu, Ninjutsu is a stealth and espionage-oriented art
Hoshin-ryu, Masaki-ryu, Seni- which saw its greatest development in the thirteenth
ryu, Tendo-ryu, Tento-ryu, and to early seventeenth centuries in Japan. Its practi-
Toda-ryu. tioners, the ninja, were warrior-assassin-spies; most
During the Edo Period belonged to the Iga and Koga mountain clans. They
(1603-1867), the naginata fell into were the supreme reconnaissance experts and sabo-
disuse and eventually disappeared teurs of their day.
from the battleeld, only to become the In the seventeenth century, a ban and crack-
main weapon of the homefront: many down forced the ninja to become even more secre-
women trained in naginatajutsu so tive about the practice of their art; the heyday of the
that they could defend their ninja was over, and most people believed the art and
homes while their husbands its practitioners were extinct. But in recent years,
were away. The naginata Ninjutsu has come down out of the mountains
soon came to be regarded again and been practiced more openly; it has been
as a womans weapon. In imported to and is taught in the United States and
modern Japan many women other countries. Additionally, several martial artists,
still study the sport form of especially in the United States, have set about rede-
the art, naginata-do. veloping Ninjutsu; they claim no association with
Naginatajutsu con- the historical Ninjutsu style, but practice most of
tains only a few techniques, but they are the same tactics and skills.
all eective. In pitched battles favorite targets The word ninjutsu refers to all the arts
usually include enemy horses and infantrymens and skills of the ninja; the combat ghting
legs. In addition to the standard slashing and thrust- style is more correctly known as taijutsu. It
ing maneuvers, practitioners are trained to reverse de-emphasizes the use of forms or other
the weapon and use the iron cap on its butt to strike a regimented ghting methods, concen-
targets vital points. trating instead on using whatever maneu-
Sojutsu (also known as Yarijutsu) is the art of vers or tactics work best in a situation. It is an
using the various types of Japanese spears, such as extremely practical and utilitarian ghting art
the yari. A ghter could use the spear as a form of (though like most traditional martial arts it also has a
sta, plus its spearhead allowed for deadlier attacks. philosophical side).
Spear-ghting was a particular favorite of the militant The ninja night-suit, the costume worn by the
Buddhist s-hei (warrior-priests). It died out after ninja during missions, consists of three principal
the introduction of rearms to Japan, but formed the parts: the igabakama (a long-sleeved tunic and the
basis of a later art, Jukenjutsu (see page 32). Characters trousers, with many pockets in the sleeves, legs, and
can also use Sojutsu to simulate spearghting skills the body; also known as a shinobifuku); the shinobi-
from many other cultures. zukin (the ninja mask); and the tabi (the split-toed
boots worn by the ninja for improved balance). In
NAGINATAJUTSU/SOJUTSU NOTES ancient times, the ninja night-suit was colored in
earth tones (green and brown), or white in winter
Characters cannot use the weapons shaft to strike
weather. Today, most ninja are represented as wear-
targets unless they buy the Sta Weapon Element;
ing black night-suits. It would be appropriate for
this includes the Atemi Strike maneuver, performed
a modern ninja to wear his night-suit in modern
46 The Ultimate Martial Artist
camouage patterns (either the green/brown forest
camouage or the mixed-gray urban camouage
patterns). Movie-style ninja can wear night-suits
of any color, including red and white; in the
lms, this has no eect on their stealth abilities.
In ancient times a ninja did not often wear his
night-suit; he usually went about in normal dress
or disguised as a common person a farmer,
merchant, or the like.
Optional Rules: The Kick maneuver takes
a location roll of 3d6. The Atemi Punch, Knife
Hand, and Punch take location rolls of 2d6+1. The
Choke Hold automatically targets the head, but
receives no extra damage for the head location. The
other maneuvers do not require location rolls.
Special Abilities: Refer to the section on the ninja
and their special powers and skills later on in this
NINJUTSU (TAIJUTSU) Modern-day Ninjutsu synthesizes a number
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect of dierent schools or substyles of Ninjutsu. The
Atemi Punch 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) following descriptions allow characters to pick a
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort school to specialize in if they prefer, but this is not
Breaking required.
Throw 5 -2-2 Grab One Limb; HKA
d6 (2 DC), Disable; Gikan Ryu
Target Falls The Gikan Ryu was founded by Sonyu Hangan
Choke Hold 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6 Gikanbo of Kawachi in the sixteenth century. It
NND(2) is a relatively oensive style whose practitioners
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All often buy OCV Combat Skill Levels. To practice
Attacks, Abort
this ryu, a character must know three of the follow-
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Knife Hand 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
ing maneuvers: Atemi Punch, Block, Dodge, Kick,
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Knife Hand, Punch, and Takedown.
Reversal var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; Gyokko Ryu
Grab Two Limbs
The school of the jewel tiger was brought
Throw 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall;
to Japan from China during the fall of the Tang
Target Falls Dynasty (around 900 AD) by a monk named Cho
Gyokko, making it the oldest of the Ninjutsu Ryu.
Takeaway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 The style was formally organized by Sakagami Taro
STR to Take Weapon Kunishige in 1532.
Away The primary principle of Gyokko Ryu is to
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target move the body around a central point in space
Falls dened by ones opponent. The ninja should stay
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target at the distance of frustration, barely out of the
opponents reach, so his foe isnt sure if he can
Skills hit the ninja or not. Gyokko Ryu concentrates on
Acrobatics koshijutsu (skin and muscle tearing techniques)
and shitojutsu (thumb pressure techniques and
KS: Ninjutsu
WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons*
nger-strike techniques). Advanced students of this
WF: Common Melee Weapons school are said to be able to knock a man down
WF: O Hand with one nger.
See the discussion of the ninja later on in this chapter. To practice Gyokko Ryu, a character must
Elements know at least four of the following meneuvers:
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Atemi Punch, Block, Choke Hold, Dodge, Reversal,
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Takeaway, and Takedown; practitioners should also
Weapons be allowed to purchase the Tiger/Dragon Claw
+1 Use Art with Fist-Loads from the Kung Fu package to simulate their koshi-
+1 Use Art with Karate Weapon jutsu techniques. Combat Skill Levels in DCV are
+1 Use Art with Polearms also appropriate for students of this ryu.
+1 Use Art with Sta
+1 Use Art with War-Fan
Hero Games 47

Gyokkushin Ryu down, and Throw. They may also buy the Grappling
The Gyokkushin Ryu was founded by Sasaki Block maneuver from the Hsing-I package.
Okormon Akirari and is known for its superior
Takagi Yoshin Ryu
use of the nagenawa (lasso). The Gyokkushin Ryu
The Takagi Yoshin Ryu, meaning raise your
is derived from the Gyokko Ryu, and has the same
heart to the high trees, was founded by Soun Ryu.
requirements for characters who want to be stu-
Its main principle is that of total body motion; it
dents of it. The lasso skill may be bought as a form
also teaches various elements of Bojutsu, Jujutsu,
of Entangle, or as Limited Stretching.
Shurikenjutsu, and Sojutsu. To practice this ryu,
Koto Ryu characters must know four of the following maneu-
This school (whose name means knock- vers: Block, Breaking Throw, Dodge, Reversal,
ing down the tiger) is derived from Gyokko Throw, Sacrice Throw, and Takeaway. They may
Ryu. According to kuden (oral transmission), it also buy the Grappling Block maneuver from the
originated in China and was carried to Japan by Hsing-I package.
the monk Chan Busho from what is now known
Togakure Ryu
as Korea. From him it was passed down through
The Togakure Ryu was established in 1185, at
several generations until the techniques of this ryu
the beginning of the Kamakura period. Its ninja are
were reorganized in 1542 by Sakagami Taro Kun-
known for their use of weapons, particularly the
shuko, metsubishi, and tetsubishi.
Koto Ryu specializes in koppojutsu (bone-
To practice the Togakure Ryu, the character
breaking techniques) and in atemi strikes. Char-
must know three of the following maneuvers:
acters from this school should buy the Joint Break
Block, Dodge, Punch, Reversal, Takeaway, Throw.
maneuver from Hwarang-Do; OCV Combat Skill
Levels are also appropriate for this ryu.
To practice Koto Ryu, a character must know Pakua
at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi
Punch, Block, Kick, Knife Hand, Reversal, and Pakua (also spelled Pa-Kua, Paqua, and Bagwa,
Takedown, and the Joint Break described above. meaning eight diagrams) is one of the three main
Chinese internal ghting styles. It is said to have
Kukushinden Ryu been learned by Tung Hai-chuan from an old
The Kukushinden Ryu was founded by Izumo mountain Taoist of Kiangsu Province in the late
Kanja Yoshiteru. Students of the Kukushinden 1700s or early 1800s, though its roots are centu-
Ryu style are known for their skill with weapons, ries older. It was originally called Chuan Chang,
including many unusual techniques. To practice or rotating palm. Tung used Pakua to defeat the
Kukushinden Ryu, the character should buy at least renowned Hsing-I master Kuo Yun-shen. Kuo tried
half of the Weapon Familiarities and Weapons Ele- for two days to defeat Tung, but on the third day
ments listed for Ninjutsu, and should know at least Tung beat him easily. This resulted in a life-long
three of the following maneuvers: Block, Breaking friendship between the two and a pact that stu-
Throw, Dodge, Kick, Reversal, Takeaway, and Take- dents of each style would learn the other style.
down. Combat Skill Levels for DCV are also appro- Pakua is based around the theories of
priate for this ryu. the I Ching, a book of Chinese philoso-
Kumogakure Ryu phy (and, some believe, prophecy and
The Kumogakure Ryu was founded by Hein- fortunetelling). The I Ching expresses a
aizaemon Ienaga Iga. This ryu seems to be closely belief that the universe is in a state of
related to the Togakure Ryu. It focuses on the constant change. In Pakua, changes
use of shuriken, sword, bo, hanbo, kusari-fundo, of direction, of the angle of the
kusarigama, kyoketsu-shoge, spear, naginata, shi- hand, of the placement of the foot
nobi-zue, kamayari, shuko, and metsubishi. To are all-important. Whereas Hsing-
practice this ryu, characters must know three of I is (relatively) direct and linear, Pakua is
the following maneuvers: Block, Breaking Throw, circular, and Tai Chi Chuan works both
Dodge, Punch, Sacrice Throw, Takeaway, and ways.
Throw. Pakua emphasizes motion and
footwork. The practitioner walks the
Shinden Fudo Ryu circle, an imaginary circle based
The Shinden Fudo Ryu was founded by Izumo on the I Chings eight-trigram
Kanja Yoshiteru (the same one who founded the pattern. He circles around his
Kukishinden Ryu). The Ryu was formally organized opponent constantly, rotating
by Genachiro Tameyoshi in the mid-12th century. his body, whirling and shift-
Shinden Fudo Ryu ninja are known for their ing direction unexpectedly,
use of, and skill with, swords. They also know Acro- using subtle evasive tactics,
batics, but do not know Breakfall (they wear the and making attacks from
daisho, or paired swords, so learning Breakfall is unusual angles. The pos-
impractical). tures used while walking
To practice the Shinden Fudo Ryu, charac- the circle include
ters must know four of the following maneuvers: several named
Dodge, Punch, Reversal, Sacrice Throw, Take- after animals:
48 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Bear, Dragon, Hawk, Lion, Monkey, Panther, Phoe- Optional Rules: The Palm Strike takes a 2d6+1
nix, Snake, Stork, Swallow, and Unicorn, among location roll. The Kick takes a 2d6+7 roll. None of
others. Although this motion may sound limiting, the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls.
in fact it is not; Pakua can be a very eective ght- Special Abilities: In addition to some of the gen-
ing style, with each step in the circle creating a dif- eral special abilities attributed to internal style
ferent angle of attack. masters (see Tai Chi Chuan, below), Pakua practi-
Pakuas attack techniques are primarily palm tioners sometimes display these powers:
strikes and other hand attacks. Through the projec-
tion of chi and the shifting of the angle of the hand 1) Rapid-re Striking: Some Pakua masters can
(such as from palm-up to palm-down, a technique launch as many as ten blows in a single second! This
called tzan szjin, reeling silk), the ghter can is bought as an Autore Advantage for the charac-
deliver very powerful blows which look like little ters Palm Strike (see page 104), or as a separate HA
more than light shoves to the untrained eye. The with Autore.
use of the palm as opposed to the st allows the 2) Chi Control: Some masters have such great
practitioner greater control over the chi he releases. control over their chi that they can damage specic
Some of the palm strikes have extremely pictur- parts of a person or object, rather than the whole
esque names, such as White Clouds Chasing the object. For example, a practitioner could Palm Strike
Stars, Swallow Penetrates Through the Forest, and his enemy and inict no outward injury while actu-
Scooping the Moon from the Sea Bottom. ally causing terrible harm to, say, his enemys liver.
Some Pakua masters teach the use of weapons, With the GMs permission, this is bought as an Indi-
such as swords, spear, and sta, and the unusual rect Advantage for the characters Palm Strike, or as
ring needle. However, this is relatively rare; most a separate HA with Indirect. It could also be bought
Pakua practitioners use only barehanded tech- as a Penetrating attack.

PAKUA Pankration
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Pankration (all-powerful) is an ancient Greek
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ghting style, one of the worlds earliest comprehen-
Defensive sive martial arts. There is some speculation, because
Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort Alexander the Great took pankratiasts with him on
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, his conquests, and they gave demonstrations during
Abort those travels, that Pankration might have had some
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs slight inuence on Eastern martial arts styles.
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 Pankration was performed in the Olympic
STR for holding on Games rst in the seventh century BC, though it
Kick 3 +0 +1 STR +2d6 Strike
could well be much older than that. It is a brutal
Palm Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Root 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist contest involving grappling, punching, stomach-
Shove; Block, Abort kicking, legsweeping, joint-locking and joint-break-
Sweep/Throw 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target ing. Pankration matches were fought until one con-
Falls testant acknowledged defeat (or collapsed); there
Skills were no timed rounds.
Breakfall Pankration has been redeveloped in the
KS: Analyze Style modern world and is being taught today by some
KS: Chinese Philosophy practitioners.
KS: Pakua
WF: Common Melee Weapons
WF: Sta
WF: O Hand
Elements Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Bend Joint 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(7)
+1 Use Art with Polearms Break Bone 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
+1 Use Art with Ring Needle Crush 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush,
+1 Use Art with Sta Must Follow Grab
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
PAKUA NOTES Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
to STR for holding on
The two attack maneuvers in this package do not Kick/Punch 3 +1 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
take the Half Move Required restrictive element. Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
However, Pakua practitioners are constantly in Target Falls
motion, walking the circle one way or another Sacrifice
Throw 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall,
around their opponent. A Pakua character should
Target Falls
almost always make a Half Move (consisting of
stepping around their opponent, not moving back- Skills
KS: Pankration
wards and forwards) in any Phase in which he takes
a combat action. Elements
Weapons +1 Use Art with Cestus
Hero Games 49

The maneuver listed as Kick or Punch is pre-
cisely that; the pankratiast can choose each round
whether he wishes to punch or kick. (This keeps the
practitioner from having to buy redundant Basic
Strike maneuvers, one for punch, one for kick.)
Pankratiasts often bought the Block from Ancient
Boxing; many knew the Jab as well, and so were
equally procient in Pankration and Boxing. Many
also studied Wrestling.
Optional Rules: The Punch takes a location roll of
2d6+1. The Kick takes a location roll of 2d6+7. The
Break Bone takes a location roll of 2d6+1, or 3d6 if
the target is on the ground, not standing. For the
Bend Joint, you can make a location roll of 3d6,
but you must ignore and re-roll any location of
10-13; however, the location is for visual eects instantly to the
only, and has no eect on the damage done by attack). Some styles use linear tech-
the maneuver. The Crush, Escape, and Grab niques, some circular techniques. In short,
take no location rolls. the substyles of Pentjak-Silat vary tremendously.
However, all ghters, regardless of style, are trained
Special Abilities: Similar to those for Ancient to keep their feet on slippery or uneven ground

Boxing. (simulate this with the Breakfall Skill). Also, all Silat
systems teach weapons, including (but not limited
he dense
Pentjak-Silat to) the kris, the Indonesian dagger. conquer
A teacher or master of Pentjak-Silat is known
Pentjak-Silat is the national ghting art of as a pandekar, guru, or maha guru. A silatist usually the diffuse; the
Indonesia. There are 157 recognized substyles wears ordinary street clothes, but due to the inu-
(and potentially hundreds more which are unrec- ences of other martial arts styles may wear a black full conquer the
ognized), making this art second only to Kung gi-like uniform for practicing or tournaments. The
Fu in its breadth and diversity. The name usually uniforms samping, or waistcloth, has a colorful pat- vacuous; the
translates as something like to do ghting for self- tern often matching the pattern of the turban-like
defense or to ght using skilled body movements. tengkokok worn on the head.
byways conquer
Pentjak-Silat was rst developed as a rela- Related to this style is Pokulan (or Pukulan), main roads; the
tively crude ghting form between 600 and 1000 which some authorities describe as a substyle of
AD, probably beginning on the island of Riouw Pentjak-Silat, and others term a separate indig- urgent conquer
and passing from there into the Menangkabau enous Indonesian ghting art containing many
kingdoms of Sumatra and out to all the islands. By techniques similar to Pentjak-Silat. A character who the slow; the
the fourteenth century, it was suciently devel- wants to practice Pokulan can simply buy maneu-
oped that the government saw t to restrict it: by vers from the Pentjak-Silat package. numerous
law, the Majapahit sultans of the islands and their
court ocials were the only ones allowed to learn
PENTJAKSILAT NOTES conquer the few;
Pentjak-Silat. However, ongoing Hindu-Muslim Optional Rules: The Killing Strike, Punch/Elbow the rested
conicts in that time period and thereafter kept Strike, and Rahasia Strike take 2d6+1 Hit Location
Pentjak-Silat alive among the populace. It was used rolls. The Kick takes a 3d6 roll, although in some conquer the
to ght the native wars of independence against the styles (see below) it takes a 2d6+7 roll instead. The
Dutch, and against the Japanese during World War Choke automatically targets the throat, and the weary.
II. It has remained in use for intertribal (and inter- Legsweep automatically targets the legs. The other
school) ghting right up until the present day. maneuvers do not require location rolls. Sun Pin,
Generally, experts can identify the substyles
Special Abilities: The special abilities attributed to Military Methods
from a particular geographic area by their tech-
Pentjak-Silat masters are almost limitless. Some a
niques and/or the emphasis placed on particular
master can do by himself, some require a kris.
types of maneuvers when ghting. Sumatran styles
use primarily kicks and leg-based attacks; styles 1) Self-contained abilities
from Borneo and West Java use mainly punches a) Kerojok (the ght of one against many):
and hand-based attacks; Central and East Javanese the ability to defend ones self against several
and Balinese styles mix hand and foot techniques opponents at once (Defense Maneuver).
evenly; and East Javanese, Sumatran, and Balinese
styles also emphasize grappling techniques. b) Telepathy.
Some styles are extremely acrobatic and c) Mystic healing powers (Healing).
involve a great deal of jumping, others are fought d) Precognition (Precognitive Clairvoyance).
very low to the ground (the latter tend to use two
postures called sempok and depok, in which the e) The ability to hypnotize the enemy (a limited
ghter virtually sits on the ground but can spring form of Mind Control)
50 The Ultimate Martial Artist
2) Kris-based abilities: all of these abilities take the
PENTJAK-SILAT Limitation Focus (OAF; -1).

Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect

a) Tuju (sorcery by pointing): the ability to
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort kill someone at range merely by pointing the
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 kris at them (Ranged Killing Attack, Fully Invis-
NND(2) ible (+1)). A related ability allows a master to kill
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to someone by stabbing one of his footprints (add
Disarm roll the Advantages Indirect, Increased Maximum
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, Range, and No Range Modier).
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs b) The kris warns its owner of danger by rattling
Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 in its sheath (sarong) (Danger Sense).
STR for holding on c) The ability to make the kris dance (i.e., ght
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike on its own) (Ranged Killing Attack, Continuous).
Killing Strike 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; d) The ability to draw re from one area to
Target Falls another (Transfer re from one area to another,
Rahasia Aects All Powers At Once (+2)).
Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
e) The ability to turn away wild animals (a form
Elbow Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike of Mind Control).
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target f) The ability to draw water from the kriss blade
Falls (Transform (air to water)).
g) The ability to create a swarm of hornets and
send it after an enemy (Summon swarm of hor-
PS: Dancing nets).
WF: Common Melee Weapons* h) The ability to extend the kriss hantu (guard-
WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons ian spirit) over the owner, and over people other
WF: Pendjepit than the owner (Force Field, Usable Simultane-
WF: Whip
ously by one other at range (+1)).
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades* i) The ability to cure the common cold (by
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope drinking the oil used to polish the blade) (due to
Weapons the law of supply and demand, it is impossible
+1 Use Art with Clubs to determine the point cost for such a useful and
+1 Use Art with Fist-Loads universally sought-after ability).
+1 Use Art with Karate Weapons
+1 Use Art with Pendjepit (Grab and PENTJAKSILAT SUBSTYLES
Killing Strike only) There are hundreds of substyles of Pentjak-
+1 Use Art with Polearms Silat. As with Kung Fu, it would be pointless to come
+1 Use Art with Sta up with a separate set of maneuvers for each one
+1 Use Art with Whip
of them. Instead, several of the major substyles are
f) The ability to withstand blows from weapons described here, so a player can pick one for his char-
without harm (Damage Resistance). acter if he wishes. A character need not have a sub-
style; he can simply be a general Silat practitioner.
g) The ability to catch thrown weapons and
throw them back at the attacker (Missile Reec- Baru Silat
tion, thrown missiles). Baru Silat is a Sumatran style from the Padang
h) The ability to ght eectively in total darkness area. It combines some of the techniques of Sterlak
(Combat Sense). Silat (see below) with maneuvers borrowed from
Japanese styles like Jujutsu and Karate. It emphasizes
i) The ability to paralyze the enemy with but evasiveness, blocking, and other defensive maneu-
a touch (a form of Entangle which Takes No vers.
Damage From Attacks (+)). To practice Baru Silat, a character must know
j) The ability to kill at a distance (Ranged Kill- the Block, Dodge, Grab, and Legsweep maneuvers.
ing Attack, Fully Invisible (+1)). Bhakti Negara
k) The ability to destroy objects with a powerful Bhakti Negara, founded in 1955, is a Balinese
shout (a form of Ranged Killing Attack with the style which synthesizes several Silat substyles and
Limitations Concentration, Extra Time (5 Min- some Japanese ghting arts. It relies on deceptive
utes), and Incantations). stances and actions to lure an opponent in close for
l) The ability to disable opponents by touch (a a punch or kick. Attacks are usually directed to a
No Range Entangle which Takes No Damage rectangular section of the body covering the throat
From Attacks (+), or a EB NND, No Range). to the vitals.
To practice Bhakti Negara, a character must
m) The ability to take on the characteristics of know three of the following maneuvers: Dodge,
certain animals. Escape, Grab, Kick, Punch.
Hero Games 51

Delima ground. Patai Silat practitioners wear a short jacket

This modern East Javan style is named after and very baggy trousers with a sash.
a type of fruit. It concentrates on kicks and leg- To practice Patai Silat, a character must know
sweeps; hand attacks are usually delivered open- three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge,
handed, rather than with sts. A Delima silatist Grab, Kick, Throw.
dodges and leaps around a great deal.
Pauh Silat
To practice Delima, a character must know the
This is a Sumatran substyle from the
Dodge, Legsweep, and Kick maneuvers.
Menangkabau area. It uses a distinctive footwork
Harimau Silat pattern. Practitioners who are ready to ght indicate
Harimau, or tiger, Silat, a Sumatran style from their readiness by slapping their thighs and then
the Menangkabau area, is an unusual ghting style. keeping the hand in position to block attacks to the
The combatants crouch very low to the ground, so groin. The main attack employs a form of locked-
low that they essentially crawl towards one another. thumb st similar to the phoenix eye st used in
This practice arose because of the stability the some Kung Fu styles. Fighters typically direct their
stance provides on wet and slippery ground. Once attacks to points along the center line of the body.
the opponents get within striking distance, they may To practice Pauh Silat, a character must know
stay on the ground, or they may leap at each other the Block, Punch, and Rahasia Strike maneuvers.
and attack from a more upright position. Silatists
Perisai Diri
who practice other styles sometimes learn Harimau
Perisai Diri (P.D.) is a popular Central Javan
stances because of the stability they provide.
style whose name means self-shield. Founded in
To practice Harimau Silat, a character must
1955, it currently forms the basis for the self-defense
know the Block, Legsweep, and Kick maneuvers.
training taught to most Indonesian military person-
The Kick is usually low, taking a 2d6+7 location,
nel. It synthesizes various Silat styles but does not
but if two Harimau stylist ght each other on the
incorporate maneuvers from any other ghting
ground the Kick takes its usual 3d6 location.
Kendari Silat P.D. techniques are mainly linear and usually
Based in the city of the same name in the do not involve the sempok and depok stances used in
Celebes, this substyle is known for its unusual cross- many other substyles. Many of its movements derive
legged stances, which are used to turn quickly and from animals, including the swallow, eagle, tiger,
evade an attack. Very little forwards-backwards otter, horse, dragon, and crane. Some movements
movement occurs in Kendari Silat; its suited for use are named after human archetypes, such as the
in narrow or cramped quarters, such as alleys or patriot, priest, and princess maneuvers. Attacks are
ships. directed at an inverted triangular area with its apex
To practice Kendari Silat, a character must at the enemys groin.
know the Block, Dodge, and Punch maneuvers. Perisai Diri uniforms consist of short-legged
Kicks are almost never used; if they are, they take a pants and lapelless jackets whose sleeves end above
2d6+7 location roll. the wrist. Students wear black uniforms, their pan-
dekars wear white.
Kumango Silat
To practice Perisai Diri, a character must know
Kumango Silat is a Sumatran style from the
three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge,
Menangkabau area. It emphasizes closing with the
Kick, Killing Strike, Punch, Throw.
enemy to employ grabs, strikes, and chokes. Kicks
are usually low (they take a 2d6+7 location roll). Prisai Sakti
Fighters normally make attacks to the center line of Also known as Perisai Sahkti, this substyle was
the body. founded in 1941. Its name signies holy shield. It
To practice Kumango Silat, a character must combines Javanese silat forms with maneuvers from
know three of the following maneuvers: Block, some Japanese ghting styles. Its philosophical and
Choke, Grab, Legsweep, Kick, Punch, Throw. religious roots tie it to Christianity and Indonesian
Prisai Sakti emphasizes kicks and leg tech-
Pamur is a Silat substyle from the island of
niques, but it also uses some hand techniques and
Madura. It was founded in 1951 by Hasan Hubudin.
Its techniques are taken mainly from several of the
To practice Prisai Sakti, a character must know
Sumatran styles. The styles emblem is a shield with
the Block, Grab, and Kick maneuvers.
a kris, cotton plant, and rice plant overlaid.
To practice Pamur, a character must know Sandang Silat
three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Sandang Silat is a Sumatran style designed to
Grab, Kick, Killing Strike, Punch, Throw. counteract the powerful Sterlak style (see below).
Even today it remains a very secretive style. It
Patai Silat
employs dodges and blocks to avoid and confuse a
Patai Silat is a Menangkabau style which was
Sterlak ghter.
founded sometime around 1900. Parrying, evasive
To practice Sandang Silat, a character must
footwork, and grabbing techniques characterize it. A
know three of the following maneuvers: Block,
ghter jerks a grabbed opponent forward (to unbal-
Dodge, Grab, Punch, Throw.
ance him), attacks him, and/or throws him to the
52 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Setia Hati ghting style with Sumatran inuences. It uses both
Setia Hati, meaning faithful heart, is a Cen- high and low postures. Its hand movements tend to
tral Javan silat style. It uses the hands to block and be circular, but its kicks are linear.
strike, and also employs a variety of kicks; Setia To practice Tridharma, a character must know
Hati practitioners are very dexterous. three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge,
To practice Setia Hati, a character must know Legsweep, Kick, and Punch.
three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge,
Legsweep, Kick, Punch.
Qwan Ki Do
Sterlak Silat
Sterlak Silat is a Sumatran style whose name Qwan Ki Do is a Vietnamese martial arts style
signies to attack with strength. It was developed whose name means way of the st and the energy.
in part to counteract the Harimau Silat style, and It was founded after World War II by Pham Xuan
emphasizes powerful attacks. Stories say skilled Tong. Qwan Ki Do resembles Karate in many ways,
Sterlak students can defeat tigers. but is more acrobatic and amboyant in nature.
To practice Sterlak Silat, a character must In addition to standard barehanded ghting tech-
know the following maneuvers: Block, Kick, Killing niques, the style teaches a number of weapons, such
Strike, Punch. blades, various polearms, and sticks and stas.

Tapak Sutji
Founded in 1963 by Ifan Badjam, this Central
Javanese substyle combines techniques from several Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
other forms of silat. Its practitioners turn on their Cung Thu
own axis every few seconds, so theyre constantly in (blocks) 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
motion and dicult to hit. Cuoc Phap
(kicks) 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
To practice Tapak Sutji, a character must know
Khao Go
the following maneuvers: Dodge, Legsweep, Kick, (locks) 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
Killing Strike, Punch. STR for holding on
Tjampur Silat Nghanh Phap/Cuong Dao
(sword-hand) 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
A Sumatran style, Tjampur (combined) Silat
Tao Phong Cuoc
synthesizes maneuvers from both Pentjak-Silat (sweeps) 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target
and Kuntao. It concentrates on aggressive tactics Falls
(launched from surprise, if possible) and close Than Phap
inghting. A Tjampur stylist is never supposed to (evasion) 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
take more than one step backwards during a ght. Abort
Attacks are delivered to the center line of the Thu Phap (hand techniques)/Phuong Duc
body, primarily with the elbows and knees. Because (elbow strike) 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
of the dangers involved in using this brutal style, it Vat (throws) 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
is usually only taught to students who have already Falls
studied other silat styles and proven themselves Skills
worthy of advanced training. Acrobatics
To practice Tjampur Silat, a character must Breakfall (Nhao Lan)
KS: Qwan Ki Do
know the following maneuvers: Kick (which takes
WF: Common Melee Weapons
a 2d6+7 Hit Location roll and can also be dened WF: Sta
as a Knee Strike), Killing Strike, Punch, and Rahasia
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Tjimande +1 Use Art with Clubs
This West Javan style relies primarily on the +1 Use Art with Polearms
use of the hands and arms, though it does have +1 Use Art with Sta
some low kicks. Fighting takes place at close range.
To practice Tjimande, a character must know QWAN KI DO NOTES
the following maneuvers: Block, Killing Strike,
Optional Rules: The Cuoc Phap (kicks) takes a 3d6
and Punch. Kicks in this substyle take a 2d6+7 Hit
Hit Location roll. The Thu Phap (hand techniques),
Location roll.
Phuong Duc (elbow strike), and Nghanh Phap/
Tjingkrik Cuong Dao (killing strikes) all take a 2d6+1 loca-
An acrobatic West Javan style, Tjingkrik tion roll. The Tao Phong Cuoc (sweeps) automati-
emphasizes evasiveness, open-hand attacks, and the cally target the legs but receives neither a bonus nor
use of the depok and sempok sitting stances. a penalty for this. The rest of the maneuvers do not
To practice Tjingkrik, a character must know require Hit Location rolls.
three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Special Abilities: Similar to those displayed by
Punch, and Rahasia Strike. Karate practitioners.
This northern Balinese style, whose name
means three honesty/peaceful, is a well-rounded
Hero Games 53

Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee Savate

According to Martial Arts Around the World, Savate (known as boxe Francaise savate or la
by John Soet, Re-e Areh-ehsee is a martial art boxe Francaise) is a French martial art; its develop-
from Eritrea, a nation of East Africa. This style ment began in seventeenth-century Marseilles.
relies on grabs, takedowns, and strikes with the Originally a type of kicking brawling style, early in
elbow, head, and knee. the eighteenth century it was synthesized with Eng-
lish boxing maneuvers. Today it is a full-featured
RE-EFI AREH-EHSEE and respected martial arts style.
Savate combines boxing-style punches with a
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect variety of kicks. The art also includes cane-ghting
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort techniques.
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
A savate ghter is called a savateur (fem. sava-
Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
STR for holding on teuse) or tireur. An inch-wide colored band around
Punch/Elbow Strike/Knee Strike/ the wrist of the savate glove indicates the ghters
Headbutt 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike rank; ranks from lowest to highest are purple, blue,
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target green, red, white, yellow, bronze, silver, and gold.
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Skills Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Breakfall Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
KS: Re-E Areh-Ehsee Coup de pied bas
(low kick) 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
REEFI AREHEHSEE NOTES Coup de pied chasse
(side kick) 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike takes Crochet
a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll, the Knee Strike takes a (Hook) 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
2d6+7 Hit Location roll, and the Headbutt auto- Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
matically targets the head and received no bonuses Disarm roll
or penalties for doing so. The other maneuvers Direct
either do general damage or do not require Hit (Jab/Cross) 5 +1 +3 STR Strike
Location rolls. Footsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Target Falls
Special Abilities: None. Skills
KS: Savate
WF: Blades
Saijutsu WF: Cane
Saijutsu is the art of the sai, a weapon resem- Elements
bling a metal rod with two upturned tines. A Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
ghter can use a sai to interfere with an opponents +1 Use Art with Clubs (Cane)
weapon, to strike, or to block. Characters can also
perform Saijutsu with the jutte (or jitte), which has SAVATE NOTES
only one tine, and the nunte, which has one tine To simulate the older, pre-boxing form of Savate,
reversed. do not buy the Direct or Crochet
SAIJUTSU The Coup de pied chasse
Used with Sai; Karate Weapon Element is free maneuver can also be
called the Coup de pied
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
fouette (round kick), Coup de
Bind 4 +1 +0
Bind, +10 STR
Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort pied en reverse lateraux (lateral
Disarm 4 -1 +1
Disarm, +10 STR to reverse kick), and Coup de pied
Disarm roll en reverse frontaux (front reverse
Strike 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike kick).
Skills Only the Crochet, Disarm, and
KS: Saijutsu Direct maneuvers work with the
WF: Karate Weapons Weapons allowed for Savate.
SAIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Coup de pied bas
has a location roll of 2d6+7,
Optional Rules: The Strike takes a 2d6+1 Hit the Coup de pied chasse has
Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require a location roll of 3d6, the
Hit Location rolls. Direct and Crochet have
Special Abilities: None. location rolls of 2d6+1.
Damage from the Foots-
54 The Ultimate Martial Artist
weep is general (no location), and the Block and ties of streetghters skilled with knives, Dolchfech-
Disarm dont require location rolls. ten (medieval German knifeghting), el cuchillo
Special Abilities: None. (Mexican knifeghting), and the like.
Sevillian Knifefighting Optional Rules: The Desjarretazo, Pualadas, and
Tajos all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. So does the
This is a Spanish and southern European
Cambio (literally, change), which involves shifting
knife-ghting art which employs weapons such as
the knife from one hand to the other so quickly that
the pual (a short stabbing and thrusting folding
the opponent misses it, leaving him open to attack.
knife), the navaja (a longer, heavier folding knife),
The other maneuvers do not use Hit Locations.
the cuchillo (a xed-blade knife), and similar armas
blancas (bladed weapons). Some schools also teach Special Abilities: Skilled knifeghters may be able
the use of canes and sticks. While the people of the to work knife-throwing techniques into their reper-
region (like those everywhere else in the world) have toire; these attacks can be bought as Ranged Mar-
always fought each other with knives, and the navaja tial Arts maneuvers or as separate powers.
itself was invented in the 1600s, the more system-
atized maneuvers of this style were probably not
developed until the nineteenth century. Practitioners Shurikenjutsu
are often referred to as navajeros. Shurikenjutsu is the art of throwing the
Sevillian Knifeghting includes several sub- shuriken, a type of bladed missile invented in Japan.
styles. The rst, baratero style, is a quick, straightfor- The principal users of shuriken were the ninja, but
ward style emphasizing self-protection. The second, many other warriors studied this art as well. Char-
gitano style, was developed by Spanish Gypsies. It acters can also use Shurikenjutsu with other throw-
uses ashy, stylized knife manipulations and maneu- ing blades, such as throwing knives. For more infor-
vers to confuse the opponent and create an opening mation on the dierent types of shuriken available,
(see Sleight Of Hand, page 116, for game rules on refer to Chapter Three.
how to do this). Lastly, theres the sevillano style, Shurikenjutsu cannot take the Style Distinctive
the most highly developed and sophisticated of Feature.
the three. Similar in some ways to Fencing, it uses
smooth, uid movements and swift attacks.
Characters cannot use this style Barehanded SHURIKENJUTSU
(except for the Dodge and Grab maneuvers). Its
not distinctive enough to qualify for a Style Distinc- Used with Thrown Knives/Axes Weapons Group; Thrown
tive Feature. By changing the names of some of the Knives/Axes Weapon Element is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect
maneuvers, characters can also use it to simulate
Basic Throw 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC
many other knifeghting arts military blade Strike
skills, the arte della daga of medieval Italy, the abili- Defensive
Throw 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike
Far Throw 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike
SEVILLIAN KNIFEFIGHTING Quick Throw 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC
Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element
is free
KS: Shurikenjutsu
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
(Foist) 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike
(Stab) 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike Optional Rules: All Throws take a 3d6 Hit Loca-
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All tion roll.
Attacks, Abort
Grab 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 Special Abilities: Some skilled Shurikenjutsu
to STR for holding on practitioners are said to be able to catch shuriken
Pualadas thrown at them and throw them back at their
(Thrusts) 5 +1 +3 Weapon Strike attackers (Missile Reection, thrown missiles).
Tajos Others can throw several shuriken in the blink of
(Slashes) 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike an eye (an Autore RKA).

Fast Draw
KS: Sevillian Knifeghting ppear where they cannot go,
Sleight Of Hand
WF: Blades* head for where they least
WF: O Hand
Talent: Ambidexterity expect you.
Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Hero Games 55

Simgomdo (Mind Sword Way) is a Korean
swordghting style developed in 1965 by Chang Sik
Kim. According to the history of the art, Kim, while
meditating in the Samgak Mountains, received a
vision of hundreds of martial arts sword forms which
he developed into Simgomdo.
Simgomdo practitioners use wooden swords
(like the Japanese bokken), though presumably the
styles maneuvers work just as well with an edged
metal blade. The training increases their strength,
speed, and accuracy through both constant practice
and a spiritual regimen of breathing and meditative
exercises. While meditating, they visualize martial
arts maneuvers for use in combat.
Simgomdo practitioners also learn certain
unarmed combat techniques, which they call sinbbop.

Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon
Element is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Disarm roll
Evade 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Attacks, Abort Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Rapid Strike 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab, +10 to STR for
Sacrifice holding on
Strike 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike Grappling
Slash 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike Throw 3 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike;
Skills Target Falls; Must
Fast Draw Follow Grab
KS: Simgomdo Root 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist
WF: Blades* Shove; Block, Abort
Shove 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove
Slap 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
Barehanded +1 Use Art Barehanded (doing STR
damage in place of weapons damage, Skills
as appropriate) KS: Sumo Wrestling


Optional Rules: The Rapid Strike, Sacrice Strike, This Korean martial art began systematic
and Slash all take a 3d6 Hit Location roll. development in the seventh century, when it was
called tang-su (meaning Tang hand, named
Special Abilities: None.
after the Chinese dynasty which was in power
when the Koreans adopted its principles). Later
Sumo Wrestling names for this art as it developed were subak and
Sumo Wrestling is a Japanese ghting form After the sixteenth century, the art continued
which developed in the century before Christ. It is development under the new name of tae kwon
traditionally practiced by huge, heavy ghters who (foot and st, or kicking and punching). The
train for years to have the physique and endurance art was forced underground in the rst decade of
of a sumo wrestler. the twentieth century, when the Japanese occu-
The object of Sumo Wrestling is to push the pied Korea. In 1953, well after World War II, when
opponent out of the ring or bear him down to the Korea was freed from Japanese rule, it became tae
ground inside the ring. Matches are usually very kwon do (the way of kicking and punching).
short, but are preceded by lengthy ceremonies. Tae Kwon Do is regarded as a powerful,
SUMO WRESTLING NOTES combat-intensive martial art, relying on forceful
punches and high circling kicks; it is also famous
Optional Rules: The Slap takes an automatic head for its colorful ying side kick.
location, but does no extra damage because of that. Schools teaching Tae Kwon Do are known as
The other maneuvers take no specic location. dojangs. Tae Kwon Do practitioners wear a gi-like
Special Abilities: None. uniform called a dobok.
56 The Ultimate Martial Artist
ghting maneuvers, to which he added maneuvers
TAE KWON DO derived from other natural movements (such as
the swaying of trees, the owing of water, and the
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect movement of clouds). The result is a ghting style
Arm Sweep combining soft, owing movements with rapid,
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort almost explosive attack forms. Due to the internal
energy (chi) employed by a skilled Tai Chi Chuan
Kick Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to ghter, the results achieved by an attack are often
Disarm roll far greater than the amount of visible force would
Flying Side seem to indicate.
Kick 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike The basis of Tai Chi is the Thirteen Postures,
Front Kick 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike which include eight actions (such as Ward-o,
Knifehand Push, and Pull Down) and ve directions (areas
Spearhand 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC) towards which one should look and/or move). In
Punch/Elbow combat, the ghter combines these into patterns
Strike 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike in which he avoids an attack (usually by blocking
Side or Roundhouse
it) and then uses an oensive maneuver (often a
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target grab, followed by a strike or throw of some sort).
Falls The maneuvers have beautiful, poetic names, such
as Lion Shakes His Head, Night Bird Returns To
Breakfall The Forest, Celestial Horse Walks In The Sky, Carry
KS: Tae Kwon Do Tiger To The Mountain, and Meteor Chasing The
WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons Moon.
Elements There are several substyles of Tai Chi Chuan.
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades The rst is the Chen style, supposedly developed
+1 Use Art with Clubs at the end of the Ming Dynasty. It is said to be the
+1 Use Art with Karate Weapons most martial of the Tai Chi styles. Yang style is a
+1 Use Art with Sta modied form of Chen which is more owing. The
two Wu styles are modied forms of Yang which
emphasize small circular motions and add throws
The Weapons and grabs to the Tai Chi arsenal. Lastly there is
Elements are the Sun style, which adds elements of Hsing-I and
not part of the Pakua to Tai Chi maneuvers. Some of these styles
traditional art, but
many Tae Kwon
Do instructors
teach weapons use Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
anyway. Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Optional Rules: The Front, Side Disarm roll
and Roundhouse Kicks take loca- Escaping
tion rolls of 3d6. The Flying Side Kick Throw 5 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs;
takes a location roll of 2d6+1. The Punch Target Falls
or Elbow Strike takes a location roll of Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
2d6+1. STR for holding on
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA
Special Abilities: None. d6 (2 DC), Disable
Palm Slap/
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Tai Chi Chuan Root 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist
Tai Chi Chuan (also spelled Taiji Quan, Tai Shove; Block, Abort
Chi Chuan, and many other ways) is the most Shove 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove
Strike 3 +1 +2 STR +2d6 Strike,
advanced of the Chinese internal ghting styles.
Must Follow Block
Although best known in the West as a yoga-like Sword Finger 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
type of exercise, it has martial applications as well, Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
as its name (supreme ultimate st or yin-yang Falls
boxing) indicates. Skills
According to the most popular legend, Tai KS: Tai Chi Chuan
Chi Chuan was originally developed by a Taoist WF: Blades
priest named Chang San-Feng who is said to have WF: Sta
lived during either the Sung, Yuan, or Ming Dynas- Elements
ties. One day he observed a snake and a hawk (or a Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
crane) ghting, and was struck by the eciency of +1 Use Art with Sta
their movements the fact that they could be both
loose and supple, hard and fast at the same time. teach the use of weapons, primarily the sword.
Based on his observations, he developed a series of
Hero Games 57

TAI CHI CHUAN NOTES ulate this ability with the attack maneuvers from
the martial arts package; at higher levels it should
Optional Rules: The Palm Slap and Sword Finger be bought as an HKA or high-damage HA.
take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls; the Kick takes a 3d6
roll. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Loca- 7) Kiai Powers: As described in Chapter Two,
tion rolls. under Aid and Multipower.
Special Abilities: Tai Chi practitioners are often 8) Breath EB: Some Tai Chi masters can expel
credited with many unique powers. Some of them their breath in such a way as to damage a foe and
overlap those of Kung Fu send him ying. Buy this as an Energy Blast.
masters or masters of other 9) Kongjin: Empty force, i.e., the ability to strike
Chinese internal styles. without making contact. Refer to the Kung Fu
1) Sword Finger: package, above, for details.
Some masters
reputedly can
use their Sword
Tang Soo Do
Finger maneuver Tang Soo Do (China hand
to aect ghosts. method) is a Korean martial art
Characters can combining traditional Korean
buy this as an kicks with some Japanese maneu-
Aects Deso- vers. It was originally called Soo
lidied Advan- Bahk Do. After the Japanese occu-
tage for that pation of Korea in the rst decade
maneuver (see page of the twentieth century, many Soo
104), or as a separate Bahk Do masters ed their homeland;
HA or No Range EB while they were in exile they studied
NND attack with that Chinese and Japanese ghting systems,
Advantage. including Aikido and Jujutsu, and added some
2) Push Hands: of their techniques to the Soo Bahk Do reper-
Tai Chi Chuan toire. In 1945 the styles name was changed by its
practice includes Grandmaster, Hwang Kee.
an exercise known as push hands Tang Soo Do uses many deceptive stances and
(toy sao), in which two students make arm contact techniques. For example, the practitioner hides one
and engage in a kind of pushing-yielding exercise. hand behind the other so he can use it for a sur-
The object of this is to teach exible movement and prise attack, or he might launch any one of several
the ability to yield correctly to force. Over time, the kicks from the same basic stance, making it dif-
student gradually becomes more sensitive to force cult to determine which one hell actually use. The
and to the movements of his opponent. Skilled attack maneuvers emphasize kicks, including ying
practitioners become so good at this they can eec- kicks.
tively stick to an opponent and maintain contact Traditionally, Tang Soo Do does not teach
with him no matter what he does to shake them weapons use.
o (even running, leaping, and acrobatics do not
help to escape). Characters can buy this as Clinging TANG SOO DO
(up to the maximum STR of the characters Shove Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
maneuver) with the Limitations Only To Stick To Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort
An Opponent (-1) and Cannot Resist Knockback Chop 4 -2 +0
HKA d6 (2 DC)
(-). Flying Kick 5 +1 -2
STR +4d6 Strike
3) Immortality: Many internal masters are said Joint Lock 3 +0 -1
Grab One Limbs, +10
STR for holding on
to have lived far longer than the average person
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
because of their control over their life force. (Life Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Support: Longevity.) Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
4) Iron Shirt: As the Kung Fu ability of the same Falls
name. In addition to its defensive aspects, some Tai Skills
Chi masters have developed this power to such an Breakfall
extent that anyone who hits them gets hurt! Char- KS: Tang Soo Do
acters can buy this as a Damage Shield with the
Limitation Defensive Use Only (-) (in other words, TANG SOO DO NOTES
if they Grab someone, that target doesnt take the
Optional Rules: The Punch, Chop, and Flying Kick
Damage Shield damage).
take a 2d6+1 location roll. The Kick takes a 3d6 Hit
5) Dim Mak: As the Kung Fu ability of the same Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require
name. rolls.
6) Fa-ching: This is a strike in which the practitio- Special Abilities: Similar to those for Karate
ner discharges his internal energy into the target, masters.
causing great harm. At its lesser levels, you can sim-
58 The Ultimate Martial Artist


This ghting style, called Muay Thai in Thai- Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
land, was developed sometime before the end of Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
the sixteenth century, but records of the art have Elbow/Knee
been lost and so it is not known just how long Killing Strike 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
ago it began. Refugees from the Yunnan province Foot Push 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove
of China ed south and merged with the Khmer Low Kick 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
people; as the populations grew together, so did
Strike 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
their two forms of unarmed combat, which became Roundhouse Kick/
Muay Thai. Today Thai Kick-Boxing is practiced in Knee Strike 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia both for
ghting and as a sport; it is also taught to the Thai KS: Thai Kick-Boxing
military in a form called ler dit. WF: Common Melee Weapons
This lean, economical, punishing, and very WF: Sta
brutal ghting style uses blocks, punches, elbow- Elements
strikes, knee-strikes, kicks, and foot pushes. It has Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
no throws. Some maneuvers, such as the knee +1 Use Art with Clubs
strikes, often involve jumping up +1 Use Art with Polearms
to add force to +1 Use Art with Sta
the blow and
Special Abilities: Thai kickboxers are well-known
to allow the
for their ability to withstand tremendous amounts of
ghter to strike
damage. Characters can simulate this with a high PD
targets in the upper region
or a small amount of Damage Reduction with appro-
of the body. In times past,
priate Limitations (see Chapter Two).
ghters sometimes wrapped
their hands in horsehair wrappings
stiened with glue; for some ghts Thang-Ta
ground glass was mixed in with the glue.
Treat the latter sort of hand-wrapping as a Thang-Ta (meaning sword-spear) is an
form of cestus (see Chapter Three for details Indian martial art somewhat similar to Kalaripayit.
on cesti). In addition to teaching unarmed techniques like
Muay Thai is a popular sport in Thailand. kicks and punches, it teaches weapons such as
Before each scheduled bout the ghters go spear, dagger, sword, bow, and dart. Thang-Tas
through a ritual with components known as wai unarmed ghting techniques involve saritsarat
kru (obeisance to the master) and ram muay (a footwork and evasion abilities designed not only
sort of dance). Knowledgeable ghters can often to avoid damage, but to put an attacker o-balance.
learn something about an opponents ghting style One substyle of Thang-Ta, Mukna, also incor-
and prowess by observing how he performs the porates wrestling grabs and throws. Characters who
ritual; allow kickboxers with Analyze Style to make wish to practice Mukna may buy maneuvers from
rolls after observing their opponents ram muay both the Thang-Ta and Wrestling packages.
ritual. During the ritual the ghter wears a cord
called a mongkon around his head; after the ritual the THANG-TA
ghters master takes it o of him. Professional Thai
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
ghters use special ghting names which include
Block 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
a boastful nickname and the name of the ghters Dodge 4 +0 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
training camp or school. In the ring, Thai kick- Abort
boxers wear gloves and shorts (with athletic cups); Knifehand
they go barefoot and wear no other armor. Strike 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
Muay Thai ghters often learn a related form of Marman
weapons combat, called Krabi-Krabong, involving the Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
use of swords, stas, polearms, and clubs in various Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
combinations. Rather than describing this as a sepa- Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
rate style, it is sucient for HERO System purposes Skills
to simulate Krabi-Krabong as Weapons Elements for Breakfall
Thai Kick-Boxing. Contortionist
KS: Indian Healing
KS: Yoga
Optional Rules: The Punch and Elbow Strike take a WF: Common Melee Weapons
location roll of 2d6+1; the Low Kick takes a location WF: Common Missile Weapons
roll of 2d6+7; the Roundhouse Kick, Knee Strike, WF: Urumi
and Elbow/Knee Killing Strike take a location roll of Elements
3d6. The other maneuvers require no location rolls. Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
+1 Use Art with Clubs
+1 Use Art with Polearms
Hero Games 59

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao
Optional Rules: The Punch, Knifehand Strike, and
Vovinam Viet Vo Dao is
Marman Strike all take location rolls of 2d6+1. The
a Vietnamese style developed
Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other maneuvers do not
in Hanoi in 1945 by Nguyen
require Hit Location rolls.
Loc. It combines striking and
Special Abilities: Characters can simulate gurus wrestling maneuvers to form a
healing powers with Healing. well-rounded combat style.
Vovinam Viet Vo Dao practitio-
ners wear a black uniform (Vo Phuc).
Than Vo Dao Beginners wear a white belt; higher-
This Vietnamese style, whose name means ranking students wear a black belt
spirit st way, is also known as Than Quyen. Its with colored bands. A master of this
roots lie in Buddhism and Taoism; it came to Viet- style is known as a Vo Sinh.
nam from Mongolia through China, Thailand, and VOVINAM VIET VO DAO NOTES
Than Vo Dao combines internal and exter- Optional Rules: The Dam, Cho,
nal disciplines and uses circular energy. It has a Chem, and Flying Kick take a 2d6+1
number of animal-based forms, including dragon, location roll. The Da takes a 3d6 Hit
phoenix, tiger, crane, monkey, snake, and eagle. It Location roll. The Goi takes a 2d6+7 Hit
also teaches some weapons. Location roll. The other maneuvers do
not require rolls.
THAN VO DAO NOTES Special Abilities: Similar to those
displayed by Karate practitioners.
Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 location
roll. The Kick takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The
other maneuvers do not require rolls.
Special Abilities: Than Vo Dao masters are said
to command at least two special abilities. The rst Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
is iron body (the same as the Iron Shirt power of Chem
Kung Fu). The second is mind-st, the power to (sword-hand) 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
place the mind on the st and detect an oppo- Da (kicks)/Goi
(knee strikes) 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
nents energy so as to anticipate his attack (bought
Dam (fist blows)/Cho
the same as the genshin ability of Karate masters). (elbow strike) 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Do (blocks) 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
THAN VO DAO Flying Kick 5
Grab 3
+1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
-1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect STR for holding on
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Skills
Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA KS: Vovinam Viet Vo Dao
d6 (2 DC), Disable WF: Common Melee Weapons
Joint Lock 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on Elements
Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Legsweep 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target +1 Use Art with Clubs
Falls +1 Use Art with Polearms
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Weapons Combat
Skills This generically-named art represents Euro-
Breakfall pean and Middle Eastern heavy weapons fighting
KS: Than Vo Dao styles from antiquity to the Renaissance. Its the
WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons fighting art of the armored warrior, whether he
WF: Common Melee Weapons be an eleventh-century knight, a third-century
Elements Roman centurion, a hoplite from Classical-era
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Greece, an Achaean juggernaut from the time of
+1 Use Art with Clubs the Trojan War, or some fighter Gilgamesh slew.
+1 Use Art with Polearms Of course, not all fantasy fighters have this mar-
tial art; its a skill possessed by very well-trained

and experienced warriors, not common troops or
hen people fall into danger, inexperienced fighters.
When buying Weapons Combat, the character
they are then able to strive chooses one weapon type (from the list of Weap-
for victory. ons Elements provided below) with which he can
use the maneuvers. That choice is free. Additional
Sun Tzu, The Art of War Weapons Elements, as usual, cost 1 point each.
60 The Ultimate Martial Artist
ment on a characters normal, non-martial attack
Usable with one Weapon Group; that Weapon Charge: This maneuver allows the character to
Element is free make an attack at the end of a Full Move; its espe-
cially apt for spearmen.
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
All-Out 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike Defend: The standard Martial Block maneuver,
Attack 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike useful for a wide variety of parries.
Charge 4 +0 -2 Weapon +2 DC Strike
+v/5, FMove Probe: A maneuver used by a character whos still
Defend 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort feeling out his opponents strengths and weak-
Probe 5 +1 +3 Weapon Strike nesses. It doesnt allow the character to do as much
Resist 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to resist damage as other maneuvers, but it gives him some
Shove; Block, Abort additional DCV, appropriate to a cautious ghting
Shove 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove approach.
Skills Resist: With this maneuver, a character can block
WF: Common Melee Weapons (the character must incoming attacks; the maneuver has a standard
know how to use any weapons for which he has taken
Abort function. It also allows a character to root
the Weapons Element, below)
WF: Stas himself in place and resist Shove attacks. Its espe-
cially appropriate for characters who play at being
one-man shield-walls.
Weapons +1 Use Art with Axes/Maces/Picks
+1 Use Art with Blades Shove: With this maneuver, the character places
+1 Use Art with Clubs his weapon up against his opponent and heaves his
+1 Use Art with Polearms opponent backwards. It requires a Medium or Long
+1 Use Art with Shields weapon; characters cannot perform it with a Short
+1 Use Art with Stas weapon.
There are no Bind, Disarm, or Dodge maneu-
The maneuvers work as follows: vers in this art, since those maneuvers just dont
All-Out: An all-oense attack which sacrices seem to belong to the heavy-weapons feel of
some of the characters DCV to get a blow in. It Weapons Combat. Characters can always default
does signicantly more damage than a more rou- to the basic Dodge and Disarm maneuver (and, in
tine attack. Fantasy Hero games, to the basic Bind maneuvers
used in the fantasy genre).
Attack: A Fighters cannot use Flail weapons with the
straight- Weapons Elements. Weapons Combat is suited
forward more for rigid weapons of all sorts.
weapons The GM should consider disallowing the use
attack. It of the All-Out and Charge maneuvers in campaigns
is simply which steer away from high damage values (char-
an improve- acters can still Push their Strength and use Move
Throughs, after all).
When the char-
acter uses Short weapons, attack
maneuvers take a 2d6+1 location roll. When the
character is using Medium or Long weapons,
attacks take a 3d6 location roll.

This is a style for ghters
who use the whip in combat.
Examples include several
whipghting styles from
Indonesia and other cul-
tures. Skilled whipghters
can use their weapon with pinpoint
accuracy, snapping weapons out of
hands and putting out eyes.
Whipghting cannot take
the Style Distinctive Feature.
Hero Games 61

WHIPFIGHTING Many dierent cultures all over the world have
their own dierent forms of wrestling. Some of
Usable with Whip Weapons Group; Whip Weapon Element
them include:
is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Asura
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 A type of Indian wrestling in which striking
NND (2) below the chest area is illegal, and the rst ghter to
Disarm 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to fall to the ground loses the match.
Disarm roll
Slash 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike Bno
Snap 5 +1 +3 Weapon Strike A Filipino wrestling form.
Trip 3 +0 +1 Weapon Strike +v/5;
Target Falls Cireum
This Korean form of wrestling (also spelled
KS: Whipghting Ssi-reum) resembles Sumo Wrestling in some ways.
WF: Whip* Dumog
WHIPFIGHTING NOTES Filipino wrestling in which a wrestler grasps
his opponents belt and tries to throw him down.
Optional Rules: The Slash and Snap both take 3d6 The losers back has to squarely touch the ground.
Hit Location rolls; the Choke automatically targets
the head/neck and the Trip the legs/feet, but neither Glimae
maneuver receives bonuses or penalties because of A form of Icelandic wrestling which uses
that. movements called tricks. Opponents grasp each
others leather belts (climubelti) and try to throw
Special Abilities: You can simulate a whip masters each other to the ground. The rst wrestler who
ability to strike targets with pinpoint accuracy by touches the ground with any part of his body above
buying Targeting Skill Levels. the knees loses.
Wrestling Indonesian wrestling.
Wrestling, as a martial art, dates back into Koshti
prehistory. In history, famous examples of wres- A type of Iranian wrestling which takes place
tling arts include the wrestling practiced in Greece, in the Zour Xaneh (house of strength).
China, and India from their earliest recorded histo-
ries. Wrestling continues as a popular collegiate and Mallayuddha
professional sport today. A form of Indian wrestling.
The package below includes several varieties Naban
of Wrestling practiced today, including modern, Burmese wrestling.
Greco-Roman, and Russian sambo.
WRESTLING An Indonesian form of wrestling from the
island of Madura.
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 Sambo
NND(2) Russian wrestling (also known as Sombo or
Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Cambo). Opponents wear a short epauletted jacket
Hold 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 (kurtka) tied with a blue or red belt. Armlocks,
to STR for holding on throws, pins, and other maneuvers are assigned
Reversal var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; points; to win, one wrestler has to have scored at
Grab least four more points than his opponent at the end
Slam 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target of the match.
Take Down 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Shuai-chiao
Target Falls Chinese wrestling, which dates back to the
Skills millennia before the birth of Christ.
KS: Wrestling Tegumi
Okinawan wrestling.
Optional Rules: None of the Wrestling maneuvers A Turkish form of wrestling fought in a hall
takes a location roll except for the Choke, which called a kirpinar.
automatically Grabs the head but gets no penalties
or bonuses because of this.
Special Abilities: None.
62 The Ultimate Martial Artist

Wrestling, Professional Yu-Sool

Professional Wrestling, though it has only recently Yu-Sool (soft art) is a Korean martial art
become a mania in the U.S., has been with us all derived from some Chinese systems. It was most
through the twentieth century. popular from the years 1000-1300 AD, and has
The package below is for a pro wrestler who has since declined, though it is still taught by some
real combat ability. Such a character would always pull masters. It concentrates on locks, throws, chokes,
his punches or do zero damage with attacks in the ring, and other grappling techniques.
relying on his Acting to make it look damaging, but
could still use his art to good eect in situations outside
the ring. At least one style of Professional Wrestling, YU-SOOL

T o be the Lucha Libre, which is popular in South and Central

Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
America, is performed full-contact, without any Acting.
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6
man, you One good way to give this art some color is to NND(2)
create your own unusual names for the maneuvers. Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
have to beat the For example, the Fist Smash becomes an Atomic Pile- Abort
driver, the Crush becomes the Bulgarian Death-Lock, Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
man. and so forth. Players can elaborate on the maneuvers Kuchigi
slightly, adding or subtracting an Element here or there, (grabs) 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
Ric Flair to STR for holding on
to create signature maneuvers for their Pro Wrestling
characters. Kuepso Chirigi
(nerve strikes) 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND (1)
PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING (throws) 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Falls
Body Slam 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6
Target Falls Skills
Crush 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush; Breakfall
Must Follow Grab KS: Yu Sool
Duck 4 -- +5 Dodge, Affects All
Attacks, Abort YUSOOL NOTES
Smash 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Optional Rules: The Kuepso Chirigi and Strike
Grab 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 take a 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Choke auto-
to STR for holding on matically targets the head but receives neither
Head-Bash 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike bonuses nor penalties for this. None of the rest of
Stomp 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike the maneuvers requires Hit Location rolls.
Skills Special Abilities: None.
Breakfall *
Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs (Fist/Forearm
Smash Only)


The clubs referred to under the Weapons Element
usually includes stools, chairs, microphones, and
other weapons of opportunity found around the
Optional Rules: The Fist Smash/Forearm Smash
takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Head-Bash is
struck with the head, against the targets head; it
takes an automatic head location but does no
extra damage because of the location. The
Stomp takes an automatic Foot location
if the target is standing (damage is not
reduced because of location); if the
target is prone, it takes a 3d6 location
roll. None of the other maneuvers
takes a location roll; they do general-
ized damage.
Special Abilities: None.
Hero Games 63

Koonomon Togip Baip: This is said to be a martial

Zipota art or arts native to the Aborigines of Australia. Its
This Basque ghting art (whose name means maneuvers supposedly derive from the movements of
shoe) resembles Savate in many respects. Its ori- native animals (kite hawks, kangaroos, emus, wedge-
gins are obscure, but likely date back at least as far tailed eagles, crocodiles, and the like), or from move-
as those of Savate. Like Savate, it employs many ments used in shing and other tasks.
kicks and jabbing punches; unlike the French style, Kuki-shin Ryu: A Ninjutsu-like secret ghting
it also incorporates leaping kicks, throws, and other style said to have been practiced by ascetic Japanese
energetic maneuvers. monks.
Zipota ghters often train in stickghting as
well. They use the makila (or malika), a 1.5 meter Kupigana Ngumi: A martial art developed in the late
long stick with an iron cap on one end, used in 1960s or early 1970s that supposedly synthesizes tech-
sheepherding. The handle unscrews to reveal a long, niques from a number of African ghting traditions.
sharp point. Moi-saree: A Malaysian ghting art.
Nabebutajutsu: The art of ghting with a saucepan
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
Damage/Effect Pakchigi: A crude Korean style involving head-butt-
Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort ing.
Kick 4 +0 +2
STR +2d6 Strike
Leaping Kick 5 -2 +1
STR +4d6 Strike Po Bok Sul: A Korean style using a rope to choke
Punch 5 +1 +3
STR Strike or bind an opponent; used by Korean palace guards
Side Kick 4 +2 +0
STR +2d6 Strike since ancient times.
Sweep 3 +2 -1
STR +1d6 Strike; Russian martial arts: In addition to sambo (see
Target Falls Wrestling), Russian martial arts include Systema,
Throw 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
Buza, Kulachnoi Boya, Samoz, Skobar, Spas, and many
KS: Zipota Sebekkha: A martial art supposedly practiced in
WF: Blades ancient Egypt (the name is said to mean Crocodile
Elements Spirit).
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Ta Merrian: A martial art from Africa said to derive
+1 Use Art with Clubs its maneuvers from totem animal movements and
spirit dances.
Tegasajutsu: The art of ghting with an umbrella.
Optional Rules: The Leaping Kick has a
2d6+1 Hit Location roll. The Kick, Punch, and Side Thanh Long: A Vietnamese style whose name means
Kick maneuvers all have 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The School of the Green Dragon.
other maneuvers dont require Hit Location rolls. Vietnamese schools: The following are mentioned
Special Abilities: None. in Louis Frederics Dictionary of the Martial Arts as
schools of Vietnamese martial arts; they may be
distinct styles or substyles of other styles: Doc Nhan
Other Styles (one-eyed school); Hac Ho (black tiger
The following styles are ones the author came school); Kime Ke (yellow cockrel school);
across while researching this book, but for which he Son Lam (from the mountain and from
lacked sucient information to create a complete the forest school); Tay-son Nhan (moun-
description. Players can do their own research or con- tain phoenix
struct their own versions of these styles if they wish. school).
Bandesh: An Indian style whose object is to allow an
unarmed man to lock up an armed mans weapon and
then disarm him.
Binot: An Indian style designed to allow an unarmed
man to defend himself against an armed one or
Cha-Yon Ryu: An eclectic modern art combining
aspects of Hapkido, Karate, and Kung Fu.
Cuong-Nhu: A Vietnamese style founded in 1965.
The name means hard-soft, and the art blends hard
aspects taken from Karate, Wing Chun, and Boxing
with soft elements from Jujutsu, Aikido, and Tai Chi
Chuan. It also incorporates elements from Vovinam
Viet Vo Dao.
Daletai: An ancient Chinese martial art combining
boxing and wrestling.
64 The Ultimate Martial Artist

his section details several completely squeezing him hard enough to keep him from
ctional martial arts styles. Characters breathing, but not hard enough to permanently
in the movies, comics, and other source injure him. The defense is not needing to breathe,
material often study styles bearing no or somehow being immune to such squeezing (for
resemblance to real-world styles. They also display example, because the character is wearing heavy
special abilities exceeding those demonstrated by armor).
even the most accomplished real-world martial Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 Hit
arts masters. The styles in this section allow HERO Location roll; the other maneuvers do not require
System gamers to simulate this sort of thing. If location rolls.
you dont nd any styles in this section suitable
the character you have in mind, use these styles as Special Abilities: None.
models to help you develop one of your own.
Brick Tricks Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
This martial arts package represents a few Bearhug I 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush,
combat moves commonly used by bricks (i.e., Must Follow Grab
Bearhug II 5 -2 +0 Grab Two Limbs, 2d6
characters whose primary abilities involve greater
than normal strength and resistance to damage). Grab 4 +0 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
The maneuvers rely on brawn and resilience, not STR for holding on
nesse and speed as with most styles. Punch 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
Slam 4 -1 -1 STR +2d6 Strike;
Grab Two Limbs;
The Bearhug II simply involves grabbing the Target Falls
target around the middle (pinning his arms in the Toughness 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
and Dancing Spider
The Dancing Spider style (Butkumojutsu),
developed centuries ago by certain Japanese tribes,
is easily recognized practitioners ght low to the
ground, usually on all fours. Its techniques include
various sweeps, grabs, and blows which strike
upward into vulnerable points (such as handstand-
kicks). Many ghters nd it dicult to defend
against this style, since they arent accustomed to
assaults from below.
Some scholars have theorized that the
Dancing Spider style was developed partly for
use in situations where the footing was bad (i.e.,
on ships or muddy ground), and partly for use
by a short people whose enemies were taller and
stronger. Some researchers have also made some
intriguing connections between the Dancing Spider
ghting art, Harimau Silat, and the worship of the
Melanesian spider-god Marawa (who according to
myth was responsible for making humans mortal).
Optional Rules: The Dread Blow of Tsuji Kenichi
automatically targets the vitals, but receives neither
bonuses nor penalties for this. Ikedas Surprising
Kick, a blow delivered while the attacker stands
on his hands, takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll (or
Hero Games 65

2d6+7 if ghting an oppo- nent who is basic technique involves rapidly tying up the oppo-
also standing on his hands). The Spinning nent with skillful application of the chain or rope,
Fist Technique takes a 2d6+7 roll. None of the then attacking him with the weapon attached to the
other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls, either chain (if any) or the sts.
because they target specic areas (the leg region) or Delightful Web Techniques: Entangle 5d6, 5 DEF,
because they do not involve Attack Rolls. Takes No Damage From Attack (only applies to
Special Abilities: characters attacks; +) (62 Active Points); OIF
1) Leaping: All Dancing Spider stylists must buy (any chain or rope weapon of opportunity; -),
at least +3 of Leaping. Extra inches of Running are Requires A DEX Roll (-), No Range (-). Total
also recommended. cost: 25 points.
2) Climbing: Some Dancing Spider masters are Players can develop other Delightful Web maneu-
such skilled climbers that they can move up the vers for their own use.
sides of walls with astounding speed and ease.
Characters can buy this as Clinging which Requires
A Climbing Roll (-).
Drunken Clown Kung Fu
Despite its comical name, this martial arts
3) Delightful Web techniques (Yorokobashii Orim-
style is a serious one a fact many overcondent
ono Jutsu): This term describes the special weap-
ghters have learned too late. Traveling actors, per-
ons techniques which Dancing Spider practitioners
formers, and acrobats who needed a way to defend
have developed for chain and rope weapons. The
themselves from bandits developed it centuries ago
by modifying their acrobatic skills into a form of
DANCING SPIDER ghting art.
The Drunken Clown style emphasizes acro-
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
batic ips and many other unusual techniques,
The Dread Blow of Tsuji Kenichi
5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
making its practitioners frustratingly unpredictable
The Essential Maneuver Shiomi Emiko opponents. It also uses the general Drunken Style
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, techniques of Kung Fu; refer to the description of
Abort Kung Fu, above, for more details.
Ikedas Surprising Kick
4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Shinozakis Felling Blow The Clubs used with this style include a large vari-
3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
ety of acting and juggling props.
Target Falls
Snatching Spider Maneuver Optional Rules: The Choke and Flying Choke
3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 both target the head/neck region automatically and
STR for holding on receive neither bonuses nor penalties for so doing.
Spinning Fist Technique The Passing Strike and Defensive Fast Strike take a
5 +1 +3 STR Strike 3d6 Hit Location roll. None of the other maneuvers
Tirayakis Human Web
require Hit Location rolls.
5 +1 +1 Grab Two Limbs;

STR Strike; You Fall, Special Abilities: None.
Target Falls hen an ordinary man attains
Acrobatics* knowledge, he is a sage;
Contortionist when a sage attains understanding,
KS: Dancing Spider Style
WF: Chain & Rope Weapons* he is an ordinary man.
Zen Saying
Weapons* +1Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons
66 The Ultimate Martial Artist
If a character has all these abilities, it becomes
DRUNKEN CLOWN KUNG FU almost impossible to blind him. Before a GM allows
a character to buy them, he should make sure they
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect wont unbalance the game.
Choke 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 According to legend, the Ghost Eye is taught at
a large monastery far to the west of China (possibly
Fast Strike 5 +2 +1 STR +2d6 Strike in Tibet). Its practitioners can be recognized by their
Defensive unique hand-signal (holding the hands in front of the
Disarm 5 -1 +2 Disarm, +10 STR to chest with ngers steepled, to create a stylized eye).
Disarm roll
Grab 4 -1 +0 Grab Two Limbs, +10 Ghost Palm Techniques
STR for holding on
The Ghost Palm (Yulng Sho) techniques were
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
Abort developed by the wizard Song Kuang. Song Kuang
Flying Choke 4 -2 -1 Grab One Limb; 1d6 was once an evil man, but after the near-death of
NND(2); FMove his beloved daughter due to his own wickedness, he
Flying Dodge 5 +4 Dodge All Attacks, reformed and went into seclusion to meditate and
Abort; FMove dedicate himself to the ways of truth and virtue. After
Flying Grab 4 -2 -2 Grab Two Limbs, +10 years of study, he learned a blow called the Ghost
STR for holding on; Palm of Song Kuang, which allowed him to strike
FMove ghosts, demons, and other intangible monsters. In
Grappling later years, he and his disciples developed an entire
Throw 3 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike;
portfolio of abilities to help them destroy evil Orien-
Target Falls, Must
Follow Grab tal monsters of all sorts.
Passing Thus, like the Ghost Eye school, the Ghost
Strike 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Palm is actually a collection of abilities and skills, not
Reversal var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; a ghting style. These abilities help the practitioner
Grab Two Limbs destroy evil creatures such as devils, vampires, malev-
Skills olent spirits, and evil dragons. The main Powers and
Acrobatics* Skills taught to Ghost Palm students include:
Breakfall* The Ghost Palm of Song Kuang (an HA or HKA
which Aects Desolidied)
PS: Clown (or Magician, Juggler, and so forth, as
appropriate) The Spirit Lock of Xian Lao Yu (Aects Desolidied
Sleight Of Hand for a Martial Grab; see page 104)
Elements Healing: Ghost Palm practitioners can heal the
Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs victims of Oriental monsters by giving the victim
some of their own life force: Healing 4d6 (40 Active
Ghost Eye Techniques Points); Only Works On Others (-1), Only Heals
Damage From Oriental Monsters Magical Attacks
The Ghost Eye (Yulng Ynjing) is not a style per
(-1), Character Takes 1 BODY Damage Per BODY
se, with its own maneuvers and martial techniques,
Healed And 1 STUN Per 2 STUN Healed (-1). Total
but a type of martial training emphasizing perception
cost: 9 points
and observation. It derives from two principles: rst,
how one strikes a target is not as important as where Detect Oriental Monsters, Targeting Sense (can also
one strikes; second, any attack one can sense, one can be bought as a bonus to Danger Sense withthe -1
stop. Limitation Only Applies To Dangers From Oriental
Students of the Ghost Eye usually develop these Monsters)
Talents and Powers: Find Weakness; Only Works On Oriental
Clairsentience (Sight Group, possibly including Pre- Monsters (-1)
cognition) Mental Defense (up to 10 points)
Combat Sense Power Defense (up to 10 points)
Danger Sense, out of combat, any attack, general area KS: Oriental Monsters
Find Weakness
Over the centuries, as man has become more
Flash Defense
technologically oriented, the number of Oriental
Mental Defense; Only Protects Against Mental Illu- monsters has decreased greatly, and consequently so
sions (-1) has the number of Ghost Palm practitioners. There are
Power Defense; Only Protects Against Draining/ few (if any) masters of the Ghost Palm techniques left
Suppression Of Perception Powers (-1) alive; perhaps one of the PCs could revive this style.
Ghost Palm stylists have a distinctive hand-signal
Spatial Awareness, 360 Degrees (a Zen-like awareness
which they use to identify themselves: open hands
of ones surroundings)
crossed, palms together, in front of the chest.
Hero Games 67


Golden Demon Kung Fu
Demons Claws (Zho Jng), a rare Oriental
A quick, vicious style of Kung Fu, designed
magical item, are made from the hands and claws
to eliminate an opponent as swiftly as possible,
of a demon. A pair of Claws level of power (i.e.,
Golden Demon (Lijng Chuan) supposedly origi-
its HKA DCs) depends on the sorcery invested in
nated deep in the Himalayas. Legends whisper of a
them by their creator; some pairs are extremely
Golden Demon Temple where assassins and brutal
deadly even in the hands of the untrained.
ghters go to train (hence the arts other name,
Xingshu Chuan, assassins st). Evil wizards Optional Rules: The Gilded Hand of Lu Sing
also often learn the Golden Demon style, because Hao, the Demonic Touch of Ba Yixiao, and Lo
they can use the feared Demons Claws, enchanted Kungs Demon Claw all take a 2d6+1 location
items of great power, with it. roll; the Diabolic Strike of Chang Kien takes a
3d6 roll.
Special Abilities: The same as those for the
GOLDEN DEMON KUNG FU Kung Fu package. Additionally, some masters of
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect this style reputedly have the power to summon
The Demonic Touch of Ba Yixiao demons; they sell their souls to some patron
4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) demon lord to gain this power. A few masters
The Diabolic Strike of Chang Kien possess other demonic powers, such as the ability
5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike to rapidly heal damage (Healing Regeneration),
The Gilded Hand of Lu Sing Hao virtual immunity to damage from re (Damage
4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Reduction, Only Works Versus Fire (-)), the
Lo Kungs Demon Claw
4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC) power to create illusions (Images), and the ability
Shield of the Seven Demons to change their shape (Multiform or Shape Shift).
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
The Paths of the
As Kung Fu package Seven Ghost Sisters
As Kung Fu package Legend has it this style was taught to a group
Weapons +1 Use Art with Demons Claws of Buddhist nuns on a pilgrimage through the
mountains. One night, as they sat around their
campre, the ghosts of seven sisters visited them.
The spirits claimed they and their family were slain
by a group of evil bandits. The bandits still plagued
the area, and would surely attack the nuns if they
found them. The ghosts oered to teach the nuns
secret ghting techniques if the nuns would nd
the outlaw band and destroy it.
After a long debate, the nuns agreed to the
sisters proposal. They entered the spirit world
and began training under the tutelage of the sis-
ters. They returned to our world after almost
a year of study, only to nd dawn barely
breaking after the night they rst met the sisters!
To fulll their promise, the nuns tracked
down the bandit gang and destroyed it, making the
area safe for years to come. They completed their
pilgrimage and then set out into the wilderness,
where they founded a temple. From time to time
a student nds his (or her) way to this unnamed
temple and undertakes the study of the nuns secret
ghting style, the Paths of the Seven Ghost Sis-
ters. Still, it remains one of the rarest styles in the
world today; some scholars believe only two dozen
people (at most) know this style.
Optional Rules: The Paths of Qing and Peihsi
both take a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll. The Path
of Jihong, a type of kick, takes a 3d6 Hit Loca-
tion roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit
Location rolls.
68 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Special Abilities: Each of the Ghost Sisters taught Flash Defense; +1); Incantations (-)).
a dierent special ability to the nuns, who have 6) Qing: Sister Qings All-Seeing Fist, the ability to
in turn passed knowledge of those powers on to strike before your foe can attack (Fast Draw and/or
deserving students. They are: Lightning Reexes).
1) Haixia: the Benecent Vision of Sister Haixia, 7) Xiulan: Sister Xiulans Stance of Stone (Clinging
the ability to see spirits and ghosts (Detect Ghosts) (STR +20), Only To Resist Throws (-1)).
2) Hseuh: Sister Hseuhs Warriors Eye, the ability
to detect danger of all sorts (Danger Sense, out of
combat, all attacks) Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu
3) Jihong: the Devastating Kick of Sister Jihong The Recorder of Things Strange has written:
(the Double Knockback Advantage (see page 104) In the time of the Emperor Chen, an old man
for the Path of Jihong, or an HA with Double dressed in the robes of a monk walked down out of
Knockback) the hills and came to the gates of the palace. There
he spoke to the guards who stood watch at the
4) Min: the Curtain of Air, an advanced ability to
gate: I seek an audience with the Emperor, he said
dodge attacks (Desolidication [aected by magical
calmly, as if he did not understand the enormity of
attacks or any maneuver specically designed to
the request.
overcome this ability], Invisible Power Eects (Fully
You? the guards asked scornfully. Why
Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Only To Protect
should we admit such a decrepit old man as you
Against Martial Arts Attacks (-1), Requires A DEX
to see the Emperor, who has all the cares of state
Roll (-). Total cost: 32 points).
before him?
5) Peihsi: Sister Peihsis Lovely Song (Hear- Because I ask you to, said the old man
ing Group Flash Attack 4d6 plus EB 2d6, NND politely. If the Emperor is a truly wise ruler, he will
(defense is being deaf or having Hearing Group see me.
With that, the guards burst into laughter. Be
THE PATHS OF THE o with you, old man! they said angrily. The old
man left and returned to the hills.
SEVEN GHOST SISTERS And so it happened for many days. Each day
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect the old man approached the guards, and each day
The Path of Haixia he was rudely rebued. Finally, after two weeks,
4 +2 +2 Block, Abort one of the guards brandished his halberd at the old
The Path of Hseuh man, thinking to scare him o for good. At this, the
3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
old man made a gesture which seemed casual and
The Path of Jihong slow but before anyone realized what was hap-
5 -1 +0 STR +4d6 Strike pening, the guard lay unconscious on the ground!
The Path of Min As the old man threw the guards halberd to
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, the side, the other guard sounded the alarm. Soon
Abort more than a dozen soldiers arrived to take on one
The Path of Peihsi harmless-looking old man. But the captain of the
4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC) guard was wiser than his men. He saw that the old
The Path of Qing man was not a threat, so he called o the alarm
4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike and personally escorted the old man to a luxurious
The Path of Xiulan
waiting room. Then he informed the Emperor of
3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
STR for holding on what had taken place.
Now the Emperor Chen was, like his captain,
a man of wisdom. He immediately granted the old
Breakfall man the audience he had sought for so long. The
KS: Buddhism old man made obeisance before the Emperor, and
KS: Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters when his turn came to speak he said, Your High-
Stealth ness, I come to you bearing both a message and a
WF: Common Melee Weapons gift. The message is this: the gods are well-pleased
WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons with your rulership and your treatment of the
WF: Hook Sword people, and they wish to reward you. Their reward,
WF: O Hand and my gift, is my service to you and your family
WF: Wind and Fire Wheels for as long as you shall require it.
Elements And what are these services, Sanctied
Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades Grandfather? the Emperor asked, recognizing the
+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope holiness of the man.
Although I am not so foolish as to call myself
+1 Use Art with Clubs
+1 Use Art with Hook Sword wise, in my time I have experienced many things.
+1 Use Art with Polearms I will teach what I know to you and your family.
+1 Use Art with Sta However, in return for my services to you, the gods
+1 Use Art with Wind and Fire demand three things. First, you must build a great
Wheels temple, greater than any in the land, here in your
Hero Games 69

capital. Second, you yourself must make the rst

oering each morning at the temple. And third, RESPLENDENT DRAGON
you, your family, and all of your retainers must at
once cease the sport of hunting the red deer that KUNG FU
run in the forests of your kingdom. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Now the Emperor Chen fancied himself a The Dragons Claw
good judge of character. He could sense no malice 4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
in this old holy man and from what the captain Dragons Tail Brushes The Ground
3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
of the guard said, the old man had much to teach.
Target Falls
Agreed! the Emperor said, and immediately The Fist of the Scarlet Dragon
arranged quarters for the old man. Work on the 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
temple began the next day. The Golden Dragon Strike
The old man taught the Emperor and his 5 +1 +3 STR Strike
family of the ways of the Tao and many other Hsu Paos Twisting Reversal
wondrous things. From him they learned a style 3 +0 +1 STR + v/5; Target
of boxing surpassing all other styles, which the old Falls
man said was a gift from the resplendent dragons The Moon Dragons Shining Scales
of the gods. And so the Emperors family began to 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
The Sublime Avoidance
call it the Resplendent Dragon style.
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
This course of instruction continued for over a Abort
year, and several of the Emperors sons and daughters Swooping Dragon Maneuver
became procient in the ways of the Resplendent 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove
Dragon. However, the middle son, Tsen, chafed under Skills
the restrictions his father had imposed on the family Acrobatics
at the request of the Sanctied Elder. Tsen was a great Breakfall
hunter who loved nothing more than the thrill of the KS: Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu
chase. The teachings and martial wisdom of the old WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons
man were for him a poor substitute for the hunt. WF: Common Melee Weapons
After more than a year had passed, he could WF: Dragon Sta
bear it no longer. He convinced himself the Sanctied Elements
Elders warnings were just the foolish prattlings of an Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
old man gone senile. Tsen gathered his men and his +1 Use Art with Dragons-Beard
hunting weapons and rode to the forest. His servants Hook
glanced at him fearfully, and tried to dissuade him, +1 Use Art with Dragon Sta
+1 Use Art with Polearms
but Tsen ignored their warnings, too. Before half a
+1 Use Art with Sta
day was over, he had chased down and shot two of
the red deer. He gathered his quarry and rode trium- forgiveness. He looked everywhere, but the old man
phantly back to his fathers palace. was nowhere to be found. Eventually one of the
When the Emperor saw the two dead deer, he palace guards reported seeing the old man leav-
cursed his son and ing the city. That was the last time the Emperor
ran to nd the or any of his servants ever saw the old man,
old man for search the hills as they might, they never
and beg found any trace of him. All that remained
his of him was the knowledge he had
imparted. In years to come
the Emperors sons used the
Resplendent Dragon style
to win many victories and
expand the size of their fathers king-
dom, but they never met the old man
Although the Emperors family
was fated never to nd the Sanctied
Elder, they were not the only ones who looked.
Over the course of centuries many young men,
inspired by this story, went in search of the Elder and
the martial knowledge that he could bestow. Only the
most worthy every found their way through the hills
to the Temple of the Dragon where the Elder dwells.
Whether the Elder is but one man with a lifespan
of millennia, or many men who in turn dole out the
teachings of the Resplendent Dragon to the deserv-
ing, no one can say.
The powerful and graceful Resplendent
Dragon style of Kung Fu (Cnlnde Lng Chuan) is
70 The Ultimate Martial Artist
thus an art rarely seen. It is taught in only one place, The Ground automatically targets the leg region, but
the mysterious Temple of the Dragon, by only receives neither bonuses nor penalties because of
one man, the Sanctied Elder. Legends say only this. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Loca-
one who is truly brave and truly wise can nd the tion rolls.
Temple and enter therein to train. Some scholars Special Abilities: In addition to those abilities dis-
claim the temple Emperor Chen built, which still played by other Kung Fu masters (see above), Silken
stands in Beijing, contains clues to the location of Blade masters possess a unique ability, the one after
the Temple of the Dragon in it somewhere. which their style is named. Using a simple piece of
The Resplendent Dragon style teaches one cloth as a focus, they can project their chi and turn the
unique weapon, the Dragon Sta. This is a normal cloth into a deadly weapon! Silk seems to work best
sta with a stylized dragons claw on either end. The for this ability, but any type of cloth will do. The most
wielder can either use it as a normal sta, or can do common types of clothing used are the following:
HKA d6 with its claws. Extremely procient war-
riors can attack twice in one round with the sta, Sash/Belt: HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Armor Pierc-
once with each end. ing (+) (22 Active Points); OIF (any appro-
priate piece of cloth of opportunity; -). Total
Optional Rules: The Fist of the Scarlet Dragon and
the Swooping Dragon Maneuver both take a loca- Robe: HKA 1d6 (plus STR) (15 Active Points);
tion roll of 2d6+1; the Golden Dragon Strike (which OIF (any appropriate robe of opportunity, -)
represents various kicks and punches) takes a 3d6 (total cost: 10 points) plus Armor (3 PD/3 ED)
location roll. (9 Active Points); OIF (any appropriate piece of
cloth of opportunity; -) (total cost: 6 points).
Special Abilities: In addition to any of the special
Total cost: 16 points.
abilities that Kung Fu practitioners can take, masters
of the Resplendent Dragon style sometimes display
Glove: HA +4d6 (20 Active Points); Hand-To-
one unique ability: the Dragons Flame.
Hand Attack (-), OIF (any appropriate glove
Some Resplendent Dragon masters have discov- of opportunity; -). Total cost: 10 points.
ered a way to focus their chi and cause their sts to
burst into mystic ame (hush lng, the Dragons
Flame). This ame allows them to strike opponents SILKEN BLADE KUNG FU
with devastating force. A few masters believe other
Dragons Flame powers are possible, and await the Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Celestial Dragon Reaches For The Moon
arrival of a truly gifted warrior to discover them.
3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
Cost Power END STR for holding on
22 The Dragons Flame: Multipower, 67- Clouds Cross The Sky
point reserve, Requires An EGO Roll 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Crane Defeats Serpent
(-), Increased Endurance Cost (x4
var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape,
END; -1) Grab Two Limbs
2u 1) HA +12d6; Hand-To-Hand Attack Crystal Wave Breaks On The Shore
(-), Requires An EGO Roll (-), 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1) 24 Abort
2u 2) HKA 3d6 (plus STR), Penetrating (+); Leopard Paws At The Ground
Requires An EGO Roll (-), Increased 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1) 28 Target Falls
Master Pengs Silken Fist
4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Silken Blade Kung Fu Meteor Kick
5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove
This northern form of internal Kung Fu, of Monkey Falls From Tree
uncertain origin, is well-known for its kicks, includ- 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target
ing the spectacular Meteor Kick, and for its other Falls
powerful ghting maneuvers. Silken Blade possesses Pheasant Kick
a combat orientation that seems out of place with 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
the internal disciplines at its heart. However, when Silken Hand Strike
4 +0 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC),
one considers that Silken Blade masters only teach
Must Follow Block
students with at least two decades of experience in
other internal styles, one realizes the ghting power Skills
displayed by a Silken Blade practitioner simply rep-
resents his total control over his own chi. Contortionist
KS: Silken Blade Kung Fu
Optional Rules: The Meteor Kick, Pheasant Kick, WF: As Kung Fu package
Silken Hand Strike, and Master Pengs Silken Fist Elements
all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. Leopard Paws At As Kung Fu package
Hero Games 71


Speedster Martial Arts
Optional Rules: The Passing Strike and Rapid
This package of martial arts maneuvers repre-
Punch both take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The
sents combat abilities displayed by characters able to
other maneuvers do not use Hit Location rolls.
move at high velocities comic book speedsters,
bird-men in fantasy campaigns, and the like. Natu- Special Abilities: None.
rally, most of the maneuvers incorporate the Full
Move Element.
The Flying Grab maneuver allows the speedster Splendid Fist
to run up to someone and grab him. The Flying This style, known simply as Genkotsujutsu (st
Throw maneuver allows the speedster to grab art) in Japanese, is a warriors style. Developed
someone and then throw him, using the speedsters during Japans feudal era by Shibata Eiji, a samurai of
own velocity to increase the damage (visually, the some renown, its a brutal and practical ghting style
speedster may pick up the target, carry him at high
speed, and then let him go so he smashes into a wall
and takes damage, or he may run past him and hit SPLENDID FIST
him with a sort of takedown maneuver using the
characters own velocity to augment the blow). The Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Passing Disarm involves running past the target and The Darting Fish Maneuver
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
snatching something out of his hand. The Passing
Throw maneuver allows the speedster to intercept The First Fist of Shibata Eiji
another moving character and trip or throw him, 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
so that the targets own velocity works against him. The Reliable Shield of Okano Akira
The Rapid Punch involves hitting the target several 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
times in the space of a second (while this could be Roundhouse Kick
bought as an Autore HA, it can also be simulated 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike
with one high-damage attack). With both the Flying The Second Fist of Shibata Eiji
and Passing Throws, remember that the v/5 Element 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
relies on relative velocity; see page 97. Spearhand Technique
4 -2 +0 HKA d6 (2 DC)
The Strike of Initial Defeat
3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike;
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Warriors Smile Technique
Flying Dodge 5 +4 Dodge All Attacks, 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Abort; FMove Disarm roll
Flying Grab 5 -2 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 Skills
STR for holding on; KS: Splendid Fist Style
FMove WF: Common Melee Weapons*
Flying Throw 5 -1 -2 Grab Two Limbs; STR WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons*
+v/5; Target Falls; WF: Common Missile Weapons*
FMove Weaponsmith
Passing Elements
Disarm 5 -1 -1 Disarm, +10 STR to Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
Disarm roll; FMove +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope
Passing Weapons
Strike 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove +1 Use Art with Clubs
Passing +1 Use Art with Fist-Loads
Throw 5 +0 +0 STR +v/5; Target +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons
Falls; FMove +1 Use Art with Polearms
Rapid Punch 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike +1 Use Art with Sta
72 The Ultimate Martial Artist
in which the practitioners only goal is to defeat his 3d6 location roll. The Strike of Initial Defeat auto-
foe by any honorable means possible. Even today it is matically targets the leg region, and receives neither
a erce and sometimes deadly combat art. bonuses nor penalties for so doing.
The Splendid Fist style emphasizes hand and Special Abilities: The greatest Splendid Fist prac-
st attacks over kicks. Masters claim hand attacks titioners possess a power called the Invincible Fist.
are quicker, more easily controlled, and easier to use. By channelling their ki into their sts, Splendid Fist
Students must also learn a wide variety of weapons masters can deliver blows of tremendous power.
techniques. Legends say Shibata Eiji commanded an Invincible
SPLENDID FIST NOTES Fist so powerful he could smash down castle walls
with it. Whether this is true, it is a recorded fact
Optional Rules: The First and Second Fists of Shi- that ghters who possess this ability are capable of
bata Eiji and the Spearhand Technique take 2d6+1 delivering st-strikes powerful enough to defeat the
Hit Location rolls. The Roundhouse Kick takes a toughest foe.
The Invincible Fist: HA +15d6 (75 Active
Points); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-), Concen-
tration ( DCV; -), Increased Endurance
Cost (x4 END; -1). Total cost: 23 points.

Takijutsu (waterfall art) is a Japanese ght-
ing style emphasizing internal disciplines and
forms of combat. Some ghters refer to it as Japa-
nese Tai Chi, and this observation is not far wrong.
The styles name derives from an ancient Oriental
saying about water, which yields before all force and
yet wears away the hard, unyielding rocks.
Takijutsu was developed in the nineteenth
century by Morioka Kenichi, a Japanese diplomat
who served his emperor by working in China and
took the opportunity to study Chinese martial arts.
After his retirement he returned to Japan where
he studied Jujutsu and the newly-created Judo. By
combining aspects of them with aspects of the Chi-
nese internal arts he had studied, Morioka created
a style which utilizes gentleness and non-resistance
in the face of aggression. The Takijutsu practitioner
lets an attacker defeat himself by taking aggressive
action, thus putting him at a disadvantage, which
the takijutsuka exploits to end the ght quickly and
as painlessly as possible.
Most practitioners of Takijutsu are Shintoists.
Optional Rules: The Touch of Tsukiyomi takes a
2d6+1 Hit Location roll; none of the other maneu-
vers require Hit Location rolls.
Special Abilities: In addition to the special abilities
possessed by Tai Chi Chuan masters (see above),
Takijutsu masters know a set of special abilities all
their own. First, the most devout often can converse
with kami (spirits), and, in some cases, call on them
for assistance in times of need. Second, many of
them can call forth divine light (kamihikari), a
sort of glow that surrounds their person and blinds
anyone who gets within hand-to-hand ghting
range (Sight Group Flash Attack Damage Shield).
Third, according to legend some masters have the
power to transform themselves into water, but no
living master has substantiated this.
Hero Games 73


TAKIJUTSU Optional Rules: The Roundhouse Kick and Snap
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Kick take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The Punch/Elbow
The Fortress Hand of Sohda Hiroshi Strike and Axe Kick take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls;
4 +2 +2 Block, Abort the Knee Strike takes a 2d6+7 roll. The other maneu-
The Gentle Grasp of Master Shiokawa vers do not require Hit Location rolls.
4 +0 +0 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on Special Abilities: In addition to the special abilities
Hayata Setsukos Hand of Passage available to Kung Fu and Thai Kick-Boxing practi-
4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove tioners, Thunder Dragon masters may also know the
The Response of the Stream following powers:

D o not
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, 1) Thunder-Kick: A kick accompanied by a loud
burst of sound that deafens and stuns the target:
The Touch of Tsukiyomi seek to
5 +0 +1 2d6 NND(1) Thunder-Kick: Hearing Group Flash 4d6, Trig-
The Waterfall Throw of Sakai Akemi ger (when character uses Roundhouse Kick, follow in the
4 +1 +1 STR +v/5; Target takes no time, immediately automatically
resets; +1) (24 Active Points); Linked (-1/2) footsteps of the
Skills (total cost: 16 points) plus Energy Blast 2d6,
Acrobatics NND (defense is being deaf or having Hear- wise. Seek what
ing Group Flash Defense; +1), Trigger (when
KS: Shintoism
character uses Roundhouse Kick, takes no time,
they sought.
KS: Takijutsu
immediately automatically resets; +1) (total Basho
cost: 30 points). Total cost: 46 points.
Thunder Dragon Kung Fu
2) Water-walking: By carefully focusing their chi,
This ghting style originated in Bhutan, land Thunder Dragon practitioners can walk upon water.
of the thunder dragon, hence its name. Legend has They buy this as Flight 5 (10 Active Points); Only
it a Buddhist monk named Jigme developed it after Works In Contact With Water (-1), Concentration
observing a crane struggling to capture a large sh. (0 DCV; -). Total cost: 3 points.
He taught the art to his fellow monks, one of whom
took it to Thailand and China when he traveled there 3) Weather control: The ability to manipulate the
as a missionary. He integrated elements of Muay weather. Characters buy this as a form of Change
Thai and northern Kung Fu styles into the art to Environment, and may also buy related powers (such
create a more well-rounded ghting style. as an EB reecting the power to call down lightning
Thunder Dragon Kung Fu (Lilng Chuan) bolts to smite ones foes).
relies on kicks as its principle attack form, keep-
ing the arms and hands in reserve to block or grab.
Most of its movements are circular, in imitation of
Zen Riflery
the sinuous body of the thunder dragon, giving its This ghting style is best referred to as the art
strikes great power. Thunder Dragon practitioners of the gun. Its tongue-in-cheek name is a joking
are also known for their ability to withstand blows reference to Kyujutsu/Kyudo (Zen archery).
that would knock other ghters unconscious. Some practitioners call it Gun Fu or Woojutsu. Its
a modern-day renement on several more or less
extinct Japanese arts, including Jukenjutsu (the art
THUNDER DRAGON KUNG FU of the bayonet), Hojutsu (the art of the arquebus),
and Kajutsu (the art of rearms and explosives, also
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
known as Kayakujutsu and Teppojutsu).
Crescent Zen Riery cannot take the Style Distinctive
Kick 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Feature.
Disarm roll
Grab 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10
STR for holding on The Club referred to above is the gun itself, used as a
Knee Strike 5 +2 +1 STR +2d6 Strike hand-to-hand weapon. In some cases this can damage
Legsweep 4 +2 +0 STR +1d6 Strike;
the gun. Practitioners can also learn special techniques
Target Falls
Roundhouse Kick/
for using the bayonet on a rie (they may also study
Axe Kick 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike true Jukenjutsu if they wish; see page 32).
Snap Kick/Punch/ Optional Rules: The Smash/Thrust takes a 2d6+1 Hit
Elbow Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Location roll. All other oensive maneuvers take a 3d6
Skills Hit Location roll.
As Kung Fu package
KS: Thunder Dragon Kung Fu
Special Abilities: Gun Fu practitioners have devel-
WF: As Kung Fu package oped a wide variety of abilities to simulate their skill
with rearms. They include:
As Kung Fu package 1) Deadly Accuracy: The character has such good aim
74 The Ultimate Martial Artist
that almost every shot is an instant kill. The characters
accuracy is simulated not with extra OCV, but with extra ZEN RIFLERY
damage, signifying his ability to hit vital areas with every
shot. RKA +2d6, adds to any rearm (30 Active Points); Used with Clubs Group; Weapon Element Clubs is free
OIF (any rearm; -), Does Not Work With Hit Loca- Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
tion Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-), No KB (-). Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Total cost: 15 points. Dodge 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
2) Mowing Em Down: The character is skilled with Smash/
Autore attacks, able to cut down numerous foes without Thrust 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike
suering CV penalties. Area of Eect (Radius, Selec- Takeway 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon,
tive) for up to RKA 4d6, adds to any Autore rearm +10 STR to take
(75 Active Points); OIF (any Autore rearm; -), Must weapon away
Use Maximum Number Of Autore Shots, Can Only Used with Pistols Weapons Group; Pistols Weapon Ele-
Hit One Target Per Shot (-), Does Not Work With Hit ment is free
Location Chart Or Anti-Targeting Levels (-). Total cost: Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect
37 points. Accurate
Shot 4 +2 -2 +2 Weapon Strike
3) Corridor of Death: The character can use an Autore Basic Shot 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC
attack to ll a hall, corridor, or similar conned space Strike
with a hail of lead. Area of Eect (Line, x2 length) for Defensive
up to RKA 4d6, adds to any Autore rearm (75 Active Shot 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike
Points); OIF (any Autore rearm; -), Must Use Maxi- Distance Shot 5 +0 -2 +6 Weapon Strike,
mum Number Of Autore Shots, Can Only Hit One +1 Segment
Target Per Shot (-), Does Not Work With Hit Loca- Diving Shot 3 +0 +2 +1 Weapon Strike,
Half Move
tion Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-). Total cost: 37
Required, You Fall
points. Far Shot 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike
4) Machine Gunner From Hell: The character is Leg Shot 3 +0 -1 +0 Weapon +2 DC
extremely accurate when using Autore attacks against Strike, Throw
a single foe. +4 OCV with Autore Firearms (20 Active Offensive
Points); Only Apply When Uses Autore Against A Shot 4 -1 -1 +0 Weapon +4 DC
Single Target (-), Must Use Maximum Number Of
Quick Shot 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC
Autore Shots (-), Does Not Work With Hit Loca- Strike
tion Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-). Total cost: 11 Ranged
points. Disarm 4 +0 +0 +0 Disarm, +15 STR
5) Quick Fire: The character can attack in a manner like to roll
the Rapid Fire maneuver, but hes so nimble he suers Trained Shot 4 +2 +0 +0 Weapon Strike
no DCV penalties when doing so. On the other hand, Skills
he suers the usual penalties associated with Autore Combat Skill Levels
if he does not buy Skills such as Accurate Sprayre and Demolitions*
KS: Gun Accessories
Concentrated Sprayre. Autore (up to 5 shots) for up to
KS: Zen Riery
RKA 4d6 rearms (30 Active Points); OIF (any rearm; Missile Deection (dodging bullets)
-), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Target- PS: Gunsmith
ing Skill Levels (-). Total cost: 17 points. PS: Create Ammunition
TF: Parachuting
WF: Pole Arms (for Bayonet)
WF: Small Arms*
WF: other modern weapons
Weapons +1 Use Art with Bayonet
Barehanded +1 Use Takeaway maneuver
Hero Games 75

ne of the most frequently encoun- families went into decline; their skills were not of
tered villains in just about any movie, much use in a peaceful Japan. According to some
comic book, or action novel these historians, the last true ninja used their skills in
days is the ninja the elusive assas- World War II, and no one practices genuine nin-
sin-spy of feudal Japan. Ninja clans and individual jutsu today. But other sources say some ninja fami-
ninjas are particularly popular in martial arts-based lies retained and handed down their skills until the
comics, but theyre used as villains in many other modern era, and their ninjutsu is still being taught,
stories as well. Even characters who arent true or even by Americans who have learned the art.
pure ninja have often received ninja training of
some sort.
Most works of ction portray ninja as seri-
ous enemies with skills so advanced they present Skills Cost
a credible threat to the most skilled PCs. With the WF: Common Melee Weapons, Common
addition of some unusual, or mystic, abilities, they Martial Arts Melee Weapons, Common Missile
can even go head-to-head with superpowered Weapons, Garrote, Blowgun, Fukimi-bari 9
humans. A few authors have made fun of this trend Ninjutsu or Karate maneuvers (characters
and shown that the ninja have humor value, too choice) 10
sometimes Our Hero cant even get near China-
KS: Ninjutsu or Karate (characters
town without stepping on hordes of the damned choice) 8- 1
things, and their ghting prowess is questionable
at best. Language: Ninja Clan Codes and Symbols
(uent conversation; literate) 3
This section of The Ultimate Martial Artist
takes a look at ninja their ghting arts, special Acrobatics 3
abilities, tools, and equipment. Breakfall 3
Climbing 3
Stealth 3
In feudal Japan, ninja were reconnaissance
experts, spies, and assassins. The principles of nin- Choose any two of the following: 6
Contortionist, Conversation, Demolitions,
jutsu began development as early as the seventh
Disguise, Fast Draw, High Society, Lockpicking,
century AD and reached their height during the Paramedics, PS: Dancing 12-, PS: Cartography 12-,
Tokugawa era (seventeenth to nineteenth centuries PS: Healer (Doctor) 12-, PS: Singing 12-, Riding,
AD). The earliest name for ninja was shinobi, or Seduction, SS: Meteorology 12-, Security Systems,
stealer-in (one who sneaks in), and their arts were Sleight Of Hand, Survival (3 points worth),
collectively known as shinobijutsu. Tracking, Weaponsmith (3 points worth)
Ninja belonged to extended ninja clans, most Total Cost: 44
of which were located in the Iga and Koga moun-
Optional Skills
tain areas. A clan was often associated with a spe- Bugging 3
cic noble family that utilized its services on an Electronics 3
exclusive or near-exclusive basis. Mechanics 3
Ninja fell into one of three ranks within their WF: Small Arms 2
families. The low man was the genin, the agent- Optional Disadvantages
level ninja who performed the dangers missions; Distinctive Features: Style -10
in Tokugawa times, known genin were the lowest Distinctive Features: Ninja Night-Suit (Easily
form of life in the Japanese social strata. The middle Concealed; Noticed and Recognizable) -5
man was the chunin, the functionary of the ninja (for feudal-era ninja, increase the Reaction to
clan, a subleader and planner. The top rank was that Causes Extreme Reaction (fear and loathing),
of the jonin, the ninja group or family leader who and the value to -15)
prepared, accepted, or refused contracts. Hunted: own ninja clan (or organized crime
group) 11- (Mo Pow, NCI, Watching) -10
Female ninja, called kunoichi, existed. They
(this Hunted is appropriate for a ninja whos
learned traditional ninja abilities but were espe- loyal to his clan [or for modern ninja, his
cially skilled at espionage through seduction and organized crime group]; you can change its
inltration. value by changing the frequency)
After the end of the Tokugawa era, the ninja
76 The Ultimate Martial Artist
great distance. They should buy at least an extra 5
VARIANT STYLES of Leaping. In some cases the extra Leaping may
OF TAIJUTSU Require An Acrobatics Roll (-).
2) Chch naku (to chirp): The Krogi ninjas
For players who want to be a little dierent with
ability to attack his enemies by expelling his ki as a
their ninja characters, here are four ctional styles
shout. It is equivalent to Kiaijutsu (see page 134).
of Taijutsu.
3) Krogitobu (The crickets leap): A powerful
attack ability: Leaping +20 (20 Active Points); Only
Krogi Taijutsu To Make Half Moves In Combat (-1) (total cost: 10
Developed by the elusive Mosoru ninja clan, points) plus HA +5d6 (25 Active Points); Hand-
Krogi (cricket) Taijutsu received its name for To-Hand Attack (-), Linked (-) (total cost: 12
two reasons. The rst and more obvious reason is points) plus +1 OCV (total cost: 2 points). Total
its visual element: Krogi Taijutsu involves a lot of cost: 24 points.
leaping, ying kicks, and other maneuvers not com-
monly used by ninja. The second (but perhaps more
important) reason is that, like a cricket at night, you
Mist Viper Taijutsu
may sense theres a Mosoru ninja near, but you can Mist Viper (Kiri no Mamushi) Taijutsu is
never nd and catch him. everything the Silent Path (see below) is not: hard,
The Mosoru have taught their art to several brutal, combative. Mist Viper ninja, of the Saito
Westerners they trust, but do not teach it openly. clan, are a secretive group known as lethal assassins
and top-ight combat agents. On the other hand,
their inltration skills are not nearly as well-devel-
oped as those of Silent Path practitioners. A great
KOROGI TAIJUTSU rivalry exists between these two families; the Saito
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect also despise practitioners of the Way of the Night
Atemi Strike 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Dragon and work to eliminate them. Few if any
Cricket Choke Westerners have ever learned this style.
Hold 4 -2 -1 Grab One Limb; 1d6
NND(2); FMove
Dodge 5 +4 Dodge All Attacks,
Abort, FMove Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
Cricket Kick 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Cricket Blood-Fist Of The Mist Viper
Escape 4 +0 -1 +10 STR vs. Grabs; 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike
FMove Death-Fist Of The Mist Viper
Punch 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike 4 -2 +0 d6 HKA (2 DC)
Spear Hand 4 -2 +0 d6 HKA (2 DC) The Neck-Throw Of Saito Junzo
Takedown 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target 5 -2 +0 d6 HKA (2 DC);
Falls Target Falls
Saito Masaos Invincible Grip
Skills 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
Acrobatics* NND(2)
Breakfall* Saito Yurikos Strike Of Revenge
Contortionist* 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike
As Ninjutsu package The Sting Of The Mist Viper
Elements 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target
As Ninjutsu package Falls
The Cricket Escape allows the character to make Elements
a Full Move during the process of escaping from a As Ninjutsu package
hold of some sort. The character must succeed with
his Escape (i.e., roll more BODY on his STR dice
than his attacker does) before he gets to make the MIST VIPER TAIJUTSU NOTES
Full Move; if he remains held, he cannot make the Optional Rules: The Blood-Fist and Death-Fist
Full Move. both take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. Saito Yurikos
Optional Rules: The Cricket Kick, Punch, and Strike of Revenge, a form of kick, takes a 3d6 loca-
Spear Hand all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The tion roll. The other maneuvers either do not use
Takedown does generalized damage and requires rolls, do generalized damage to the target, or target
no roll. The other maneuvers do not use Hit Loca- a specic location.
tion rolls. Special Abilities:
Special Abilities: The special skills of the Krogi 1) Kdokuso: Immunity to many dierent kinds of
practitioner include: serpent venoms (LS: Immunity).
1) Leaping: Practitioners of this style can leap a
Hero Games 77

2) Saito Serpent Form: Legends say the most puis-

sant of the Saito Clan ninja can take on the shape
of a serpent; they use this ability to gain access
to secure locations, hide from their enemies, and
deliver poisonous bites to their targets (Multiform).

Silent Path Taijutsu

The creators of this style, the Morioka ninja
clan, value stealth and movement skills over oen-
sive techniques. Consequently, the Silent Path
(Komichi Shizukana) contains few strikes, concen-
trating instead on blocks and defensive maneuvers.
Known primarily for their inltration and
escape skills, Silent Path ninja often prefer not to
use their abilities to kill. They are erce rivals of the
Mist Viper ninja (see above). Their ranks include
many Westerners who have learned the style while
in Japan.
Optional Rules: The Fifth and Sixth Paths both
take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers
do not require location rolls.
Special Abilities:
1) The Seventh Path (Supreme Defense): Defense
Maneuver I-IV
2) Various ninjutsu mystic arts of invisibility and
stealth (described below).
3) The Path Of No Path: The ability to walk with-
out leaving footprints (see page 127 under Gliding).
4) The Eighth Path (Supreme Movement): Telepor-
tation 10 (assumes character has Running 10; 20
Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-1/2), Only
To Vanish When No One Is Looking (-1/2), Can
Only Teleport To Places Character Could Normally
Go (-1/2), No Non-Combat Multiple (-1/4). Total
cost: 7 points.

SILENT PATH TAIJUTSU The Way Of The Night Dragon

Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Way of the Night Dragon (Yoruryujutsu)
The First Path (Avoidance) was developed by the Kagemura Clan during
4 +5 Dodge All Attacks, Japans feudal era. The clan strove to create a style
Abort which maintained the stealth techniques of nin-
The Second Path (Escape) jutsu while increasing the ninjas martial prowess.
4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
The Night Dragon style also incorporates several
The Third Path (Interception)
5 +1 +3 Block, Abort
mystic skills and abilities the Kagemura ninja found
The Fourth Path (Removal) particularly useful.
4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to In time, because of this styles emphasis on the
Disarm roll mystical, a religion developed around it. Its adher-
The Fifth Path (Subdual) ents worship the Night Dragon itself, and look
4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) upon him as the source of their abilities (especially
The Sixth Path (Conflict) the infamous Veil of the Night Dragon). Depend-
5 +1 +3 STR Strike ing upon who tells the tale, those who worship
Skills the Night Dragon are either honorable warriors
Stealth* devoted to an altruistic philosophical concept, or
As Ninjutsu package cruel assassins whose god lives by human sacrice.
The Jaws of the Night Dragon allows a character to
break free of a Grab in such a way that he strikes
78 The Ultimate Martial Artist
the person who grabbed him. The character rst
makes his STR Roll to see if he escapes. If he suc-
ceeds, he rolls in the normal fashion to see if the

Strike part of the maneuver hits. If the escape fails, Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
ne he must make an Attack Roll with the penalties and The Claw Of The Night Dragon
modiers described under Grab on page 386 of the 4 -2 +0 d6 HKA (2 DC)
HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. The Jaws Of The Night Dragon
var 5 +0 +1 +10 STR vs. Grabs;
defends when Optional Rules: The Sublime Fist Of The Night STR +2d6 Strike
Dragon, the Claw Of The Night Dragon, and Jeins Jeins Dragon-Wing Fan
his strength is Hand Of Shadow all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
The Jaws Of The Night Dragon does generalized Jeins Hand Of Shadow
inadequate; he damage; all the other maneuvers do not require Hit 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1)
Location rolls. Kinukos Puzzling Apprehension
attacks when it 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10
Special Abilities: STR for holding on
is abundant. 1) The Veil Of The Night Dragon: This is the Night Saigos Body Of Shadow
Dragon ninjas most feared power: the ability to 4 +5 Dodge All Attacks,
Sun Tzu, avoid detection by those who can sense danger.
The Sublime Fist Of The Night Dragon
The Art of War (Invisibility to Danger Sense (20 Active Points); 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
Requires A Stealth Roll (-); total cost 13 points.)
2) Eyes Of The Night Dragon: The ability to remain Acrobatics
completely aware of ones surroundings while Breakfall
asleep (Lightsleep). As Ninjutsu package
3) Will Of The Night Dragon: Equivalent to Saim- Elements
injutsu (see below). As Ninjutsu package


This section describes some examples of the
sort of special skills and abilities ninja characters
can purchase, including mystic or paranormal abili-

Mundane Ninja Abilities

This is a rapid-re shuriken-throwing ability
used not only by true ninja, but by some practi-
tioners of Shurikenjutsu as well. The ninja hides a
number of shuriken on his person, anywhere from
his feet to his head. (The usual number is nine,
which has special signicance for the ninja.) Then,
in an emergency, he can pull them out and begin
throwing them extremely quickly. To avoid present-
ing a stationary target and to build up momentum
for his throws, the ninja spins, moves, and ducks as
he draws and throws the shuriken. A highly-trained
practitioners moves are so uid they often seem
like a sort of dance, hence this manuevers name.
The Dance Of The Six Stars: HKA d6 (plus
STR), Ranged (+), Autore (up to nine
shots; +1) (25 Active Points); IAF (concealed
shuriken; -), No KB (-), Requires A DEX
Roll (-). Total cost: 11 points.
Note: with GM permission, characters could
add the Trigger Advantage, with the Trigger
dened as a reex action or something simi-
lar. A character with the Triggered version of
this ability should be limited to throwing no
more than three shuriken in a Phase.
Hero Games 79

THE DRAGONS CLAW allies. As such, characters can buy it as a Professional

The Dragons Claw (Ryu no Tsume) allows a Skill. Modern-day ninja might expand Noroshijutsu
ninja to inict rending and tearing damage upon an to include all forms of communication and signalling
enemy. Training for it consists of strengthening the (i.e., Systems Operation).
hands and wrists. In game terms, a ninja with this THE SLEEP OF ESCAPE
ability can buy the Tiger/Dragon Claw maneuver
This ability allows the ninja to reduce his heart-
from Kung Fu for his Ninjutsu package.
beat and rate of respiration, making him appear dead.
GENJUTSU However, his senses remain active on some level, and
Genjutsu (the art of illusion) is the ninjas skill he awakens when hes safe once more. Ninja often
at creating images and illusions using props and use this ability to escape from prison cells, hence its
other devices. For example, a ninja might set up a name.
lot of dummies and light some fake campres to The Sleep Of Escape: Simulate Death (character
make a besieging army look larger than it really is. awakens when danger has passed or other speci-
These illusions are relatively crude and take a long ed condition is met): 3 points.
time to set up or change.
Genjutsu: Sight and Hearing Group Images, -2
to PER Roll, 1 radius (19 Active Points); IIF Mystic Ninja Abilities
(various props; -), Limited Eect (Normal
In addition to their mundane skills, the ninja
Sight and Normal Hearing only; -), Set Eect
were credited with a wide variety of mystical powers.
Until Changed (-), Extra Time (1 Turn or
This oers players plenty of opportunities to custom-
more to set up or change an image, depending
ize their ninja characters and give them unique and
upon complexity; -1). Total cost: 6 points.
interesting powers, such as the ones described below.
Modern-day ninja could take advantage of
current technology (and maybe even holography)
to make their illusions more versatile and easy to By using this special power, a ninja can cause
work with. Additionally, in some campaigns Gen- his hands to burst into ame (allowing him to create
jutsu could represent a mystical ability allowing a light or cause damage in combat).
ninja to create true Images or Mental Illusions to Cost Power END
confuse his enemies. 56 The Blessing Of Ho-Masubi: Multipower,
3u 1) HKA 1d6, Damage Shield (covers
This is the ninjas knot-tying ability, with which
the hands only and so does not aect
they restrained prisoners. Knowledge of knot-tying
characters who Grab other parts of the
also helped a ninja escape when someone tied him
characters body; +), Continuous (+1);
up. Characters buy Hojojutsu as a Professional Skill:
No STR Bonus (-), No KB (-) 4
Knot-Tying. For every point a character makes
1u 2) Sight Group Images, Increased Size (8
his PS: Knot-Tying by, a character trying to escape
radius; +); Only To Create Light (-1) 2
from or undo the knots using another Skill (such
as Contortionist) suers a -1 penalty to his roll. THE BRIDGE OF THE TIDE DRAGON
Similarly, if a character with PS: Knot-Tying is tied While many ninja can use special devices to
up, his PS: Knot-Tying acts as a Complementary seemingly walk on water, a few ninja can do so
Skill to his Contortionist roll when he tries to untie unaided! These ninja know how to extend their ki
himself. so it supports them on the surface of the water. Of
THE MIRACULOUS SUNBURST course, this ability only works on relatively calm
water; ninja cannot use it in rapids or surf.
This skill teaches the ninja to use the reec-
tive surface of an object to temporarily blind an The Bridge Of The Tide Dragon: Flight 5 (10
opponent. Although its usually done so the ninja Active Points); Only In Contact With The Sur-
can make an escape, characters can also use it in face Of Relatively Calm Water (-1). Total cost:
combat. A ninja who knows this skill usually carries 4 points.
several reective objects on his person (a silver war
fan, highly polished pieces of jewelry or shuriken, CASTLE WITHOUT WALLS
and so forth).
One of the legendary powers of the ninja was
The Miraculous Sunburst: Sight Group Flash the ability to walk through walls and other barriers,
4d6 (20 Active Points); OIF (reective object of thereby gaining access to otherwise impenetrable
opportunity; -), Requires A Light Source To fortresses and strongholds.
Reect (-), Requires A DEX Roll (-). Total
Castle Without Walls: Desolidication (aected
cost: 9 points.
by any type of attack) (40 Active Points); Does
Not Protect Against Damage (-1), Only To Walk
NOROSHIJUTSU Through Walls (-1). Total cost: 13 points.
In ancient times, Noroshijutsu was the ninjas
skill of using signal-res to communicate with his
80 The Ultimate Martial Artist
THE FOLDED BLADE Knockback (-), or as Perching Clinging (see side-
This origami magic allows a ninja to spend bar, page 143, HERO System 5th Edition, Revised).
about a minute folding a piece of specially-pre- IRON BODY
pared paper into a functional dagger or other
This mystical power, similar to the Kung Fu
small weapon. Origami weapons are as vulnerable
masters power of like name, is the ability to with-
to most physical forces as their metal or wooden
stand blows from edged weapons without injury. A
counterparts, but disintegrate completely if they
ninja buys it as Damage Resistance for his PD.
contact water (but not blood).
Whispered tales speak of more advanced KUJI KIRI
forms of origami magic, in which the folder cre- Kuji kiri (nine ways cutting) is a form of
ates paper creatures which actually come to life! mystical meditation. A ninja learns nine dierent
However, if such magics exist, they are beyond the ways to interlace his ngers, each with its own sym-
purview of ninja wizardry. bolic signicance. By meditating on this gesture, the
Folded Dagger: HKA d6 (plus STR) (10 ninja evokes special abilities, strengths, and powers.
Active Points); OIF (piece of origami paper; The kuji kiri powers listed below are but one
-), No KB (-), Real Weapon (-), Extra set PCs could develop. Characters could also buy
Time (takes 1 Turn to fold into shape before it o the Extra Time and Charges Limitations once
can be used; -1), Requires A PS: Origami Roll they became procient with this power.
To Create (-), Susceptible To Water Damage Cost Power END
(-). Total cost: 2 points. 14 Kuji Kiri: Multipower, 40-point reserve,
all slots Gestures (-), Extra Time (1
Folded Shuriken: HKA d6 (plus STR), Turn; -1), and Requires A KS: Ninjutsu
Ranged (+) (15 Active Points); OIF (piece of Roll (-) (total -1)
origami paper; -), No KB (-), Real Weapon 1u 1) Rin (strength): Aid STR 4d6;
(-), Extra Time (takes 1 Turn to fold into Common Limitations (-1), Self
shape before it can be used; -1), Requires A Only (-) 4
PS: Origami Roll To Create (-), Susceptible To 1u 2) Kyo (direction of energy):
Water Damage (-). Total cost: 4 points. Telekinesis (20 STR); Common
Limitations (-1) 3
HANDS OF THE SPIDER 1u 3) Toh (harmony): Aid EGO 4d6;
Ninja climbing abilities sometimes exceed the Common Limitations (-1), Self
scope of the Climbing Skill. In fact, some ninja can Only (-) 4
actually stick to walls, ceilings, and similar surfaces. 1u 4) Sha (healing): Simplied Healing
Characters can buy this as Clinging, Cannot Resist 4d6; Common Limitations (-1), Self
Only (-) 4
1u 5) Kai (premonition): +6 to Danger
Sense roll; Common Limitations (-1),
1 Charge lasting 1 Turn (-1), Costs
END (-) 1
1u 6) Jin (knowing the thoughts of
others): Telepathy 6d6; Common
Limitations (-1) 3
1u 7) Retsu (mastery of time and space):
Teleportation 15; Common
Limitations (-1) 3
1u 8) Zai (control): Aid PRE 4d6;
Common Limitations (-1), Self
Only (-) 4
1u 9) Zen (enlightenment): Aid INT 4d6;
Common Limitations (-1), Self
Only (-) 4
The mystical power most commonly attributed
to the ninja was the power to become invisible. Invis-
ibility actually consists of several dierent abilities,
some as much skills as magical powers.
The Mantle Of Night (the ability to become invis-
ible in darkness or shadow): Invisibility to Sight
Group, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +) (30
Active Points); Only Works In Darkness Or Shad-
ows (-), Requires A Stealth Roll (-). Total cost:
15 points.
Hero Games 81

Ametori-no-jutsu (the art of silhouette distortion): ibility powers: he uses his ki to make his movement
eliminate the Fringe Eect for other types of Invis- absolutely silent. This power is for the ninjas normal
ibility (10 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll ground movement; characters can buy similar powers
(-). Total cost: 7 points. for swimming and other forms of movement.
The Paths Of The Cat: Invisible Power Eects
Hiding In Plain Sight (the power to create illusions (Hearing Group; +) for up to 10 Running: 5
to camouage the ninja): Images to Sight Group, points.
-3 to PER Roll, 1 radius (19 Active Points);
Requires A Stealth Roll (-), Set Eect (only to
camouage the ninja; -). Total cost: 9 points.
Saiminjutsu (the way of the mind gate, also
Mind Like A Pool (the ability to hide ones mind spelled Hsimenjutsu) is the ninja power of mind
from mental detection): Invisibility to Mental control. Ninja can use this power to control the
Sense Group (10 Active Points); Requires A minds of others, both in and out of combat; to
Stealth Roll (-). Total cost: 7 points. reverse the same sort of control which has been
imposed by another; and to cloud mens minds,
True Invisibility: Invisibility to Sight Group, No making him invisible to them.
Fringe, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +): 45 Cost Power END
points. 23 Saiminjutsu: Multipower, 40-point
reserve, all slots Gestures (-) and
ONIBI NO JUTSU Requires An EGO Roll (-)
The art of the demons re involves the use of 2u 1) Mind Control 8d6; No Range (-),
an enchanted demon mask. By putting on the mask, Common Limitations (-) 4
a ninja gains the demonic power to breath ame. The 2u 2) Suppress Mind Control 8d6;
masks, products of blackest ninja magic, are extremely Common Limitations (-) 4
rare; some people say anyone who touches or wears 2u 3) Invisibility to Sight Group, No
one who does not belong to the owners clan becomes Fringe; Common Limitations (-) 3
Onibi No Jutsu: RKA 2d6, Area Of Eect (12 This is the darkest and most feared of the ninjas
Line; +1) (60 Active Points); OIF (Demon Mask; magic abilities the power to steal the life force of
-), No Range (line must begin where character another. In its lesser form, the ninja simply drains the
is; -). Total cost: 30 points. victims life force, injuring or killing him; in its greater
form, the ninja actually steals the victims life force
PASS WITHOUT TRACE and uses it to make himself stronger!
Some of the most skilled ninja possess the power Soul Leeching (lesser form): Drain BODY 3d6,
to travel from one point to a nearby point without Ranged (+), Delayed Return Rate (points
passing through the intervening space. They most return once per Hour; +1) (75 Active Points);
often use this ability to escape pursuers or captors, but Concentration ( DCV; -), Requires A KS:
can also use it to secretly enter a secured area. Ninjutsu Roll (-). Total cost: 50 points.
Pass Without Trace: Teleportation 15 (30 Active
Points); Extra Time (Full Phase; -), Increased Soul Leeching (greater form): Transfer 5d6
Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1), Requires A KS: (targets BODY half to characters STUN, half
Ninjutsu Roll (-). Total cost: 11 points. to characters END), Ranged (+), Delayed
Return Rate (points return once per Hour; +1)
THE PATHS OF THE CAT (187 Active Points); Concentration ( DCV;
-), Requires A KS: Ninjutsu Roll (-). Total
This power is the counterpart to the ninjas invis- cost: 125 points.
82 The Ultimate Martial Artist
THE ULTIMATE DISGUISE blade for boring or digging); shikoro (a hand-
Perhaps the rarest of the ninjas mystical powers saw, either large [oshikoro] or small [koshikoro]);
is the ability to assume the shape of animals or other tsubogiri (crescent-shaped borers); and the yajiri
people (most commonly, that of the crow and the (another type of hand-saw).
wolf). This is bought as a Multiform or Shape Shift. Drilling devices: +1 to Lockpicking (2 Active
Consult the HERO System Bestiary for sample char- Points); OAF (-1). Total cost: 1 point.
acter sheets for many animals.
Door jammers: Many doors in feudal Japan were
opened and shut by sliding. Ninja would jam spe-
NINJA GEAR AND cially-shaped pieces of metal or wood called tojime,
EQUIPMENT shimeki, or kasugai between the two sliding panels to
prevent them from being opened, thus delaying any
The ninja used many dierent types of gear to pursuers.
perform their espionage and assassination missions
Tojime/Shimeki/Kasugai: Telekinesis (20 STR),
successfully. This section showcases some of their
Reduced Endurance (0 END; +), Uncontrolled
equipment. Modern-day ninja can use traditional
(removable by spending one Phase and making
gadgets of the sort described here, or develop modern
a DEX Roll; +) (60 Active Points); OAF (-1),
equivalents (which tend to be lighter, stronger, and
Only To Hold Sliding Doors Shut (-2). Total cost:
better). The choice often depends on training: an
15 points.
American ninja probably uses modern equipment; a
ninja trained by a secretive, tradition-bound clan in
Lockpicks: The ninjas lockpicks were known as
rural Japan, even in the present day, probably learns
kurorokagi and oseku; they do not provide bonuses to
to use archaic equipment.
his Lockpicking Skill; instead, he must have them to
use the Skill at all. If he doesnt have his lockpicks, he
Climbing Equipment either cannot pick the lock, or must attempt to do so
at a -5 penalty for lack of tools.
The ninja often had to climb walls, trees, and
other large objects, so they created several devices to
aid them. Collectively referred to as noboriki or toki, Water Equipment
these devices include: bashigo (collapsible ladders);
A ninja often has to operate on or around water,
various types of claw-like devices which also doubled
and employs a variety of gadgets to help him use
as weapons, such as the shuko, ashiko, and nekote
water to his advantage. Ninja water gadgets include
(refer to the Weapons section of Chapter Three for
boats, swimming aids, and water-walking equipment.
details); kagiwara or kaginawa (rope and grapnel);
kasugai (clamps a ninja could press into a wall to Boats: Traditional watercraft adapted to ninja pur-
form handholds or toeholds); katsushiya or kasha poses. Ninja could collapse them, or divide them into
(a pulley-and-rope device allowing a ninja to slide several parts, for easy carrying. Examples include the
from one area to another; bought as a limited form hasamibune (a collapsible oating platform for car-
of Swinging or Gliding); kumade (a hollow bamboo rying equipment); the kyobako-fune (a waterproof
sta with a rope running through the center; the chest which doubled as a type of boat); shinobibune
ninja pulls on the rope to stien the sta and make it (a boat which split into several sections for carrying
climbable); musubibashigo (a rope ladder with loops or hiding); and the tsubigune or tsugibune (collapsible
for footholds and a grapnel on one end); musubinawa boat). To use any of these craft properly, the character
(a horsehair rope, very strong and easy to hide); must know Transport Familiarity: Small Rowed Boats.
shinobikagi (a hollow sta containing a rope and Swimming aids: Ninja sometimes used mizukaki
hook which breaks down into a sort of rope ladder); or mizukakigeta, a webbed sandal which acted
shinobitsue (a hollow sta with a concealed hook and like modern swim ns, allowing them to swim
several rope toeholds); and tobibashigo (a bamboo- more quickly than normal. If they had to hide
and-rope ladder with a grappling hook at the top). underwater for extended periods, they used a tak-
Noboriki: +2 to Climbing roll (4 Active Points); ezutsu, or breathing tube (often disguised as a reed,
OAF (-1) or IAF (depending upon the obvious- and also called a mizuzutsu).
ness and accessability of the device, -). Total Mizukaki: Swimming +3 (3 Active Points); OIF
cost: 2 points (OAF); 3 points (IAF). (-). Total cost: 2 points.

Takezutsu: LS: Expanded Breathing (Expanded

Infiltration Equipment Breathing: Breathe Underwater) (5 Active
Points); OAF (-1), Only Works Close To The Sur-
The ninja employed a wide variety of devices to
face (-1). Total cost: 2 points.
aid them in picking locks and inltrating areas.
Drilling devices: Ninja used these devices to drill Water-walking devices: These devices allowed the
or bore holes through doors and walls. They could ninja to walk on water so that he could cross rela-
throw them as crude shuriken (doing 1 pip RKA) tively calm lakes and streams quickly and quietly. To
if necessary. They include: the kunai (a trowel-like use them properly, a character must know Transport
Hero Games 83

Familiarity: Ninja Water-Walking Devices. Examples

include: kama-ikada (a foldable one-man straw raft); NINJA FROM OTHER LANDS
kameikada (large tortoise shells attached to a bamboo Japan is not the only land in which stealth, espi-
frame; the ninja placed his feet in the shells and poled onage, and assassination missions were conducted by
himself across the water with a special collapsible corps of elite warrior-spies. Several alternate ninja
bamboo paddle called a shinobigai); the mizugumo are described below. In most cases, these warriors
(water spider, two groups of boards tied together in used tactics and ghting styles which are, for game
a circular pattern and placed under each foot); tarui- purposes, the same as those used by the ninja.
kada (similar to the kameikada, but using otation
pots instead of tortoise shells); and the ukidaru (two LIN KUEI
tubs joined by a cord, used like the taruikada). The lin kuei (forest demons) are the ninja
of ancient China. Some scholars believe the ninja
Water-walking devices: Flight 3 (6 Active
learned most of their techniques from the lin kuei,
Points); OAF (-1), Only In Contact With The Sur-
described by legends as Taoists who turned their reli-
face Of Relatively Calm Water (-1), Requires
gious martial training to the secular ends of decep-
A DEX Roll (-), Concentration (0 DCV; -),
tion, assassination, and prot.
Requires TF: Ninja Water-Walking Devices (-0).
The lin kuei used a style of martial arts known
Total cost: 1 point.
as An Chi (see page 16). This style emphasizes the
use of hidden weapons and gadgets, and of small
throwing weapons (similar to shuriken). The lin
Miscellaneous Equipment kuei were masters of the thrown weapon; char-
acters who have received lin kuei training should
Disguised footprints: By attaching special soles to buy a throwing master ability (EB and/or RKA
the bottoms of his sandals, a ninja could disguise his with an OIF, appropriate objects of opportunity
footprints (ashiaro) as those of an animal, a man walk- thus allowing the character to turn any small
ing the other direction, or the like. object into a deadly missile).
Disguised footprints: Cosmetic Transform 1d6 SULSA
(recognizable footprint into disguised footprint;
Standard Eect Rule applies) (5 Active Points); The sulsa are the ninja of Korea. They rose to
OIF (-). Total cost: 3 points. prominence during the Three Kingdoms period of
Korean history, in the rst millenia AD. They prac-
Hito Washi: A type of primitive hang-glider made ticed the art of concealment (also known as sulsa),
of cloth and bamboo which a ninja could use to glide and in many ways could be considered the opposite
over castle walls and other targets of observation. of the hwarang (young noble knights) just like the
Sometimes ninja also used this device to drop small ninja are the counterparts of the noble samurai.
bombs on the enemy. A similar device, more like a TRULKOR
large kite, was the yamidoko.
The trulkor is the Tibetan equivalent of the ninja.
Hito Washi: Gliding 5 (5 Active Points); OAF (- His ghting and espionage arts depended heavily on
1). Total cost: 2 points. the principles of deception and illusion the idea
that if a ghter could mask his intent from the enemy,
Kit-gan: a special type of pill which ninja used to the enemy was helpless.
delay thirst for up to ve days.
Kit-gan: Life Support: Diminished Eating (only The term modern American ninja refers to
has to drink once per week) (1 point); OAF (-1), 1 present-day Americans (and persons from other
Charge (-2). Total cost: 1 point. western nations) who have received ninjutsu training.
Modern ninja from Japan are often depicted as using
Lighting devices: Ninja devices for providing light ancient devices and weapons, perhaps because of the
include: the gando, a type of searchlight made by avor this gives them. American ninja, on the other
placing a candle inside a sort of metal tube; the mizu- hand, usually have no reluctance to use the technol-
taimatsu, a torch which continued burning even in the ogy of modern warfare and espionage. Modern
rain; and the ninshokudai, an L- or S-shaped candle American ninja are more likely than any other type
(and/or holder) which a ninja could wedge into or of ninja to use rearms, electronic devices, and simi-
hang from something to make others think he was lar high-tech gadgetry.
standing somewhere he was not.
Lighting devices: Images to Sight Group, 1 radius
(create light) (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only Other names that were sometimes given to
To Create Light (-1). Total cost: 3 points. the ninja include kuro hagi (black calves), nozaru
(mountain monkeys), rappa (disheveled waves),
Uchidake: The uchidake was a re-starter made out and suppa (crystal waves).
of a bamboo tube.
Uchidake: Change Environment 1 radius
(start re) (5 Active Points); OAF (-1). Total
cost: 2 points.
84 The Ultimate Martial Artist

ighting skills play an important role in punk games is to give some of the styles new names
many genres, from fantasy, to science in the cyberpunk patois. For example, characters
ction, to the wild west. This section might refer to Street Smarts instead of Dirty
explores some of the possibilities for Inghting; Kenjutsu becomes Samurai Diplomacy.
using martial arts in various genres. This helps to blend martial arts into the campaign so
they seem like an actual part of the world around the
characters, not just a tool for the PCs to use.
CYBERPUNK/NEAR FUTURE Heres an examples of a cyberpunk martial
arts style.
Most cyberpunk or near future settings include
the increased inuence of the Japanese, Chinese, and
Razor Dancing
other Asian cultures as an element of the setting. Developed by cyberware-augmented street
Wherever Asian inuence becomes so strong, the warriors to improve their odds of surviving in
martial arts prosper. The fact that cyberpunk worlds hand-to-hand combat, Razor Dancing focuses on
tend to be extremely violent places where people the use of various types of blades or spurs these
need to learn how to ght well doesnt hurt, either. ghters often possess (including small blades, or
One way to customize martial arts for cyber- hand razors, that project from beneath their n-
gernails, hence the styles name). Fast, deadly, and
graceful, Razor Dancing gives a trained ghter an
edge normal street brawlers lack.

Used with Hand Razors; Hand Razors Weapon Element
is free
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV
Block 4 +2 +2
Block, Abort
Claw 5 -2 +1
Weapon +4 DC Strike
Dodge 4 +5
Dodge, Affects All
Attacks, Abort
Jab 5 +1 +3 Weapon Strike
Slash 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike
WF: Common Melee Weapons
WF: Hand Razors*


Optional Rules: The Claw, Jab, and Slash all take
Hit Location rolls of 3d6.
Special Abilities: None.


Martial arts are both common and popular in
fantasy games. In fact, having a martial arts pack-
age of some sort is often one of the things which
sets a PC apart from his less talented brethren (i.e.,
most NPCs). Three primary avenues for introduc-
ing martial arts into a fantasy campaign exist.
The rst, and most important, is the use of
weapons. Muscle-powered weapons are a major
element in any fantasy campaign, and this provides
Hero Games 85

plenty of opportunities for the creation of ght-

ing styles. Some styles focus on a single weapon; POLURAATHKAA
examples from the real-world martial arts
description include Bojutsu/Jojutsu, Fencing, Ken- Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
jutsu, Kyujutsu, Naginatajutsu, Saijutsu, Sevillian Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Knifeghting, Shurikenjutsu, and Whipghting. Evasive
Strike 5 +1 +3 STR Strike
The broad Weapons Combat style adapts to many
Flying Strike 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove
types of weapons, and is perfect for many fantasy Snare 5 -1 -1 Grab Four Limbs,+10
campaigns and characters. Fantasy characters can STR for holding on
create similar ghting styles for their own weapons Strike 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike
(for example, Dwarven Axeghting or Elven Skills
Fencing). Some might even develop a martial KS: Poluraathkaa
arts style for use with a single weapon, such as a WF: Common Melee Weapons
unique enchanted sword. For instance, if a charac- WF: Chain & Rope Weapons
ter owned a soul-eating sword that drains the life WF: Nets
from someone with the merest scratch, he wouldnt Elements
nd it ecient to use standard swordghting Weapons +1 Use Art with Blades
maneuvers he could develop a style of sword- +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope
play intended not to wound the enemy, but simply Weapons
to nick him. +1 Use Art with Nets
You can also use martial arts in a fantasy game
to represent the distinctive ghting maneuvers to release the target so close to the earth that he
of non-human races. Intelligent creatures such as cant avoid hitting it (but of course must not get so
centaurs, gargoyles, mermen, and lizardmen would close that he himself cannot pull out of his dive in
develop ghting arts suited to their body struc- time to avoid crashing). To execute this maneuver
tures. Many of these martial arts would seem odd successfully, the character must succeed with a
to humans, and in many cases they couldnt even DEX Roll at -1 per 5 of velocity. Failure may indi-
learn them. Poluraathkaa (see below) provides an cate that both ghters did not crash, that the target
example of such a ghting style. did not crash but the attacker did, or that both of
The third way to work martial arts into your them hit the ground.
fantasy game is as an aspect of particular cultures, Optional Rules: The Strike and Flying Strike both
societies, or groups. Obviously, if your campaign take 3d6 Hit Location rolls.
takes place in an Oriental setting, or even near
psuedo-Oriental lands, martial arts will be rela- Special Abilities: None.
tively common. But even without such nations,
certain societies or groups might develop martial
arts styles. In some cases the style constitutes a HORROR MARTIAL ARTS
particular societys denitive ability, the way skill Martial arts are generally not a common ele-
with horses is the trademark of the horse-riding ment in the horror genre. After all, many horrors
nomad clans who populate many fantasy novels. are things characters cant ght with sts or blades,
Perhaps the best example of this is the Bloodguard, so martial arts training isnt of much use. How-
from Stephen Donaldsons novels about The Land, ever, there are some opportunities to integrate the
but there are plenty of others. two without much strain. The most natural way
Heres an examples of a fantasy martial is a horror story that takes place in Chinatown or
arts style. the Orient. Weird Oriental monsters may make
an interesting counterpoint to the usual run of
Western haunts and nightmares. The characters
Poluraathkaa unfamiliarity with Oriental monsters and magic
Poluraathkaa (pole-oo-RAHTH-kah), a ght- adds an element of ignorance and helplessness
ing style developed many years ago by the Winged which serves to increase the fear and desperation
Folk, has been adapted by many other winged they feel.
races since, such as the gargoyles of the Stony
Wastes and the feared vulture-men. Designed
by yers for use against ying foes, it cannot be PULP ERA MARTIAL ARTS
used by ghters on the ground. In addition to its Martial arts are an element of games set in the
unarmed maneuvers, the style teaches how to ght 20s and 30s, but are not as common as in some
with several weapons, including chain and rope other genres. Many of the strong-jawed heroes
weapons, which warriors use to entangle a target in of the era knew Boxing or Fisticus/Cinematic
ight and thus remove him from the battle. Brawling, and quite a few gangsters and other
POLURAATHKAA NOTES toughs knew Dirty Inghting or forms of knife-
ghting. The only time formal martial arts are
The Snare maneuver consists of grasping most of likely to crop up is with characters who have
the targets limbs, including his wings, so he cannot trained in the mysterious Orient (such as The
y. The attacker then dives straight for the ground Shadow), or with sophisticated characters who
86 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Alternately, a characters Analyze Style Skill
might only apply to martial arts developed by his
own species; he would have to purchase the Skill
for each species or region whose ghting styles he
studies (for example, Analyze Bandarian Styles,
Analyze Fomalhauti Cluster Styles, and so forth).
Here are two examples of science ction mar-
tial arts:

The Dukara, a quasi-reptilian species native
to the planet Khomura, have achieved an enviable
reputation throughout their home galaxy for their
ghting skills. Dukara mercenaries routinely
command greater rates of pay than mercs from
other species, and Dukara assassins are likewise
considered the best of the best.
Much of the Dukara reputation rests on their
speciess long tradition of hand-to-hand combat
arts. The most widely known of the hundreds
of ghting styles they have developed is
Maashira, a weapons-based art whose name
comes from a poetic term meaning shining
high, yellow hot (Dukara blood is yellowish).
Maashira practitioners begin by learning the yinali,
have studied Fencing (for example, The Shadow a weapon almost identical to a sword, but featur-
or The Spider). Occasionally youll also nd the ing two distinctive sharpened prongs about one
explorer type of character who has uncovered a handspan long projecting pointward from the hilt.
lost civilization and learned its ghting arts. Some never go beyond the yinali, preferring it to all
other weapons because of its versatility and simple
beauty. Others broaden their skills, learning how to
SCIENCE FICTION/FAR apply Maashira to spears, other polearms, various
exible weapons, and the sta.
As humanity expands out into the galaxy and MAASHIRA
begins to encounter other intelligent species, the Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element
opportunity to learn new and intriguing martial is free
arts styles increases dramatically. After all, a poten-
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
tial student now has not just dozens of styles to Avoidance 4 +5 Dodge, Affects All
choose from, but dozens of worlds worth of styles, Attacks, Abort
with all the variation that implies. Deprival 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to
Of course, some types of aliens are so non- Disarm roll
Human that mankind cannot learn their ghting Furious
styles. But in most science ction universes a sub- Charge 4 +2 -2 Weapon +v/5; FMove
stantial portion of the alien species are humanoid, so Jab/Thrust 5 +1 +3 Weapon
Humans can probably study their martial arts without Lunge 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC
much problem. At the GMs discretion, some maneu- Parry 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Reprisal 4 +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC
vers (such as Nerve Strikes) may only apply to a single
Strike, Must Follow
species (typically, the characters own species) when Block
learned; characters have to buy a Science Skill in the Slash/Chop 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike
anatomy of an alien species before they can use such
attacks successfully on members of that species. KS: Maashira
One option for science ction martial arts is Two-Weapon Fighting
to limit or abolish the Style Distinctive Feature. In a WF: Blades*
galaxy possibly featuring thousands of martial arts WF: Chain & Rope Weapons
forms, its extremely unlikely a particular ghter has WF: Common Melee Weapons
in-depth knowledge of more than a tiny fraction of WF: O Hand
them. Therefore the odds are against the Style Dis- WF: Sta
tinctive Feature actually being a Disadvantage most Elements
of the time, particularly if the character travels Weapons +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope
extensively. Therefore the GM should think about Weapons
giving fewer points for the Disadvantage, or even +1 Use Art with Polearms
disallowing its use entirely. +1 Use Art with Sta
Hero Games 87

Optional Rules: The Furious Charge, Jab/Thrust,
Lunge, and Slash/Chop all take location rolls of 3d6. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect
The other maneuvers do not take location rolls. Breakaway 4 +1 +2 Strike, +10 STR to
Special Abilities: Shove target; Target
Falls; Must Follow
1. Storm Of Tears: Maashira practitioners of great Escape
experience and skill strike so swiftly they can hit Choke 5 -1 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6
an opponent repeatedly before he can react. You NND(2)
can buy this as a No Range Autore RKA, or as an Escape 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs
Autore Advantage for a favored Strike maneuver Grab 4 -1 -1 Grab Three Limbs,
(see page 104). +10 STR for holding
2. Severing: Maashira ghters of some schools Joint Break 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; d6
train to disable and defeat their opponents by cut- HKA (2 DC), Disable
ting o limbs and heads. Their training focuses Nerve Pinch 4 +1 +1 2d6 NND(1); Must
on aiming and counterstrike techniques designed Follow Grab
to hit these targets with ease. You can buy this as Reversal 4 -1 -2 +15 STR to Escape;
Targeting Skill Levels (see page 66 of the HERO Grab
System 5th Edition, Revised). Skills
KS: Zero Gravity Combat
KS: Zero Gravity Operations*
Zero Gravity Combat Environmental Movement (no penalties in zero gravity)
Space Marines, space pirates, and other combat- Armor +1 Use Art in Armor
ive folk who are likely to nd themselves ghting in Gravity +1 Use Art in Gravity
a zero-G environment from time to time learn this
martial art. Because of the action/reaction eect of
launching attacks in zero-G, Zero Gravity Combat
concentrates on grapples, holds, and other attacks SUPERHERO MARTIAL ARTS
which require relatively little linear motion. Martial arts are just about as common in
A character can use Zero Gravity Combat superhero settings as they are in fantasy games.
maneuvers in situations where gravity exists, but will Super-samurai, mystic-powered ninja, Chinese sor-
suer -1 to his OCV and DCV unless he has bought cerers, and Westerners who have trained at ancient
the Element Use Art in Gravity. temples in hidden Oriental valleys parade through
For more information on ghting in zero-G the pages of thousands of comic books. Superhero
environments, refer to Zero Gravity And Martial Arts characters can learn any style described in this
on page 166. book, or make up their own just about anything
ZERO GRAVITY COMBAT NOTES ies in this genre. Many simply learn the Generic
Martial Arts package (page 27) to simulate their
The Breakaway maneuver is a form of push a ghter knowledge of basic ghting maneuvers.
uses to bleed o the momentum he builds up
when escaping from certain kinds of holds. It moves
the target away from the attacker, and also disorients WILD WEST MARTIAL ARTS
him suciently that the attacker can follow up with
Anyone whos ever watched the television
another attack while the target regains his balance
show Kung Fu knows its possible for characters to
(this is simulated with the Target Falls element,
use Asian martial arts in a Wild West setting. How-
since of course one cannot fall in zero-G).
ever, folks like Kwai Chang Caine are relatively rare.
Optional Rules: The Nerve Pinch takes a 3d6 Hit Fighting styles like Boxing and Dirty Inghting/
Location roll. None of the other maneuvers requires Fisticus/Cinematic Brawling are the only ones
Hit Location rolls. most Western Hero PCs will ever see, though occa-
Special Abilities: Many people who deal with zero- sionally a character might encounter someone who
G environments on a frequent basis buy their legs knows Fencing.
as Extra Limbs (5 points), so they can perform tasks

A man with outward courage

with them, like manipulating ship controls, typing, or
what have you. Such people can also use their legs in
Zero Gravity Combat, for example by performing a dares to die,
Choke maneuver with them. The two extra limbs are
a big advantage in a zero-G combat situation. A man with inward courage dares
to live.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
88 The Ultimate Martial Artist

f the dozens of martial arts styles presented The mongoose dances around in front of its
earlier dont include one thats quite what youre enemy, eluding the snakes lightning-swift
looking for, you can design your own styles and strikes, then darting in to bite the snake
maneuvers using the rules and guidelines in behind the head so the snake cannot reach it.
this section. Eventually the mongooses continued bite kills
the snake.

DESIGNING MARTIAL Therefore, as Andy envisions it, Mongoose

Style should concentrate on defensive maneu-
ARTS STYLES vers, such as Block and Dodge. It needs at
least one, high DCV, attack to simulate the
Designing a martial arts style is a three-step mongooses ordinary bite, and another for the
process: lethal damage the mongoose does when it gets
First: Come up with a style conception the its prey into a helpless position.
principles governing the martial art, what eect
those principles have on types of maneuvers the ENERGY FLOW
style includes, what those maneuvers look like, Fighters develop some styles around the con-
and so forth. cept of energy ow the direction and redirection
Second: Choose maneuvers corresponding to the of energy. Some styles concentrate on straight lines
principles in the style conception. In most cases of force, such as powerful, direct attacks; others
you should be able to pick maneuvers from the focus on circular motions and employ force more
standard list on page 9; sometimes youll have to indirectly, such as through redirecting an attackers
use the rules presented below to design all-new energy via throws and grabs. A few esoteric styles
maneuvers. depend upon the ebb and ow of the ghers inter-
Third: Now you design the style by taking the nal energy, such as chi, ki, or prana.
maneuvers, then adding special Style Elements, CONSTRAINTS
determining the Skills associated with the style,
Lastly, many martial arts arise to deal with
deciding whether the style qualies for a Style Dis-
constraints circumstances which ordinarily dont
tinctive Feature, and so forth.
allow for eective ghting. For example, Brazilian
slaves created Capoeira. Because slaves are often
Style Conception manacled, they designed Capoeira to allow ght-
ing while in chains (it uses the feet instead of the
The rst step in the design process is to hands in many instances). Therefore, capoeiristas
develop a style conception. This involves creat- dont suer the same penalties most martial artists
ing a common philosophy, approach, or theme do when their hands are bound. Similarly, slaves are
which relate all the styles maneuvers to each often watched, so early capoeiristas learned to dis-
other. Style conceptions typically fall into one of guise their ghting as dancing and tumbling, thus
three categories: the Animal Kingdom; Energy fooling their overseers. These restrictions require
Flow; and Constraints. capoeiristas to learn such things as walking on their
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM hands, kicking and ghting while upside down, and
tumbling and ipping which means they have to
Animal or natural motifs inspire many know the Acrobatics Skill.
martial arts. Such styles attempt to emulate
the animals movement, speed, and methods of
attack. When designing new styles, you can take
your inspiration from more fanciful animals
which havent inspired styles in real life or With your conception rmly in mind, you can
perhaps which, like dragons and phoenixes, are proceed to the second and third steps, which are
entirely mythic. to choose maneuvers (and if necessary, even build
them from scratch) and other style elements (Skills,
Example: Andy particularly admires the way Weapon Elements, and the like).
the mongoose can ght and kill deadly snakes, Of course, the GM has the nal say on whether
such as cobras. Inspired by this, he decides to any maneuver or martial arts style is appropriate
create a Mongoose Style martial art. for his campaign. Once he approves a martial arts
Hero Games 89

maneuver or style, he may later, after sucient SPECIAL ELEMENTS REDUNDANT

playtesting, decide he needs to revise it or drop These are two special style elements which MANEUVERS
it entirely because its too ecient or unbalanc- aect all maneuvers in a specic style. You shouldnt create a
ing. How can you tell if a maneuver or style is martial arts style with
too ecient or unbalancing? One good sign is if Extra DC: +4 points for +1 DC with all normal redundant maneuvers.
everybody in the campaign wants to buy it all of a martial arts attacks (also counts as + DC with all For instance, if the style
sudden. This means its so combat-ecient players K-Damage Martial Maneuvers and +5 STR with has a fast, damaging
are more than happy to trade in their characters Exert-based maneuvers). (but not too brutal)
punch, you might
individuality for an especially point-ecient attack. Weapons: It costs +1 point for the ability to use dene that with the Fast
When this happens, re-evaluate the maneuver or maneuvers in a style with one weapons group Strike maneuver. And if
style, determine whats too good, and modify (weapons-based arts sometimes allow characters to the same style has a fast,
things to reduce the styles eciency slightly but buy the Barehanded Weapon Element to use the damaging kick that falls
only slightly. Then, begin evaluating it again. style without weapons). short of the raw damage
of a roundhouse kick,
ARTS MANEUVERS to dene that as a Fast
A true martial arts style can, with the GMs
Once youve got your style conception in permission, include a Style Distinctive Feature
But thats putting the
mind, you need to choose the appropriate Martial (discussed on page 135). The GM should only give
same maneuver twice
Maneuvers for it. Pick as many as possible from his approval if all the styles maneuvers are built in the same martial
the list on page 9; it will save you a lot of time and around a consistent concept and he doesnt think arts style. A player isnt
eort. Most styles should require no new maneu- the style designer has created an unbalancing or going to want to buy
vers at all; you can nd everything they need on abusive style. the same maneuver
that page. twice, under two dier-
If you have a maneuver in mind which isnt ent names.
covered by any of the ones listed, you can design it DESIGNING MARTIAL ARTS If a real-world style
has two dierent
from scratch (with the GMs permission, of course).
See Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers, below, for MANEUVERS moves which, in game
mechanics terms, are
complete rules on designing maneuvers. If youve thought of a maneuver you cant the same maneuver,
simulate with one of the Martial Maneuvers listed put that maneuver in
How Many Maneuvers? the style once. If the
A Martial Arts style may not have less than on page 9, you can (with your GMs permission)
design your own maneuver. GM approves, give the
three maneuvers. Most should have at least ve maneuver both names
maneuvers, but a style can have as few as three. THE BASIC MANEUVER (for example, Punch/
(Of the real-world martial arts styles presented in Kick). Also with GM
Most maneuvers derive from the standard approval, assign a dif-
Chapter One, the only ones with fewer than ve
Strike maneuver (which all characters know see ferent optional location
maneuvers is Ancient Boxing, a primitive style, and
page 384 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). roll to each name (for
Naginatajutsu and Saijutsu, fairly simple weapons- example, the Punch
They take a Half Phase to execute; grant +0 OCV
based styles.) A style may theoretically have as taking a 2d6+1 roll, the
and +0 DCV; and do the characters STR damage (or
many maneuvers as its designers want, but youll kick taking a 2d6+7
weapon damage, if hes wielding one). As described
soon reach a point of diminishing returns, where roll) (if you dont want
below, characters can also use the standard Block to deal with that com-
each new maneuver overlaps others to such a
and Dodge maneuvers as Maneuver Bases. plexity, just assign the
degree its fairly worthless.
maneuver a 3d6 loca-
Remember, to purchase Martial Arts, a char- ADDING ELEMENTS tion roll instead).
acter must spend at least 10 points on maneuvers, Once youve got a base for the maneuver, you The temptation to put
which means a minimum of two 5-point maneuvers. add elements to it. For example, you can increase or in redundant maneu-
SKILLS decrease the damage it does, or the OCV or DCV vers occurs most often
modiers it applies. You can change the type of when someone adapts
Every martial art style described in Chapter a real-world martial art
damage it does, or Grab or Disarm an opponent
One includes a list of Skills. These are Skills a well- to the game. When a
instead of injuring him. Each addition, deletion, player designs his own
rounded practitioner of that particular style should
or change is called a Maneuver Element. Elements art from scratch, this
have. Most are not absolutely mandatory; a char-
which improve a maneuver are Helpful Elements; is much less likely to
acter usually can learn a styles maneuvers without
those which restrict or reduce its eectiveness are happen.
learning any of its associated Skills. However, a
Restrictive Elements. Another form of redun-
character must buy a Skill listed with an asterisk (*)
dant maneuver to watch
when he buys the style (even if he doesnt buy all of COST RESTRICTIONS out for is the maneuver
its maneuvers). For example, a character cant learn When creating maneuvers with this system, thats so similar to
Fencing without WF: Blades, or Capoeira without you should generally operate under one important another maneuver that
Acrobatics. restriction: they eectively dupli-
Most dedicated martial artists should have a cate each other. The
Knowledge Skill with their style(s) on at least an 8-. No Maneuver Can Cost Less Than best example of this is
3 Points or More Than 5. Martial Strike and Fast
Some styles include specic Weapon Familiarities, Strike. The only dif-
Acrobatics and/or Breakfall, and even such Skills as If your maneuver cost comes out to be less ference between these
Stealth, Climbing, or Streetwise, all depending on than 3, rewrite the maneuver or round the cost up maneuvers is where
the origins and special goals of that martial art. to 3. If, for example, you wanted a maneuver that they place the CV
was +0 OCV, +0 DCV, and gave +2d6 damage, this
would ordinarily cost only 2 points. But since the Continued on next page
90 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Continued from last page minimum maneuver cost is 3 points, you must MANEUVER BASIS
bonus. In most (but not either improve the maneuver to cost 3, or just When designing a maneuver, the rst thing to
all) cases, its pointless round the cost up to 3 without any improvement, as ask yourself is this: What is the purpose, or basis, of
to have both maneuvers you choose. the maneuver?
in the same style, since If your maneuver cost comes out to be more The HERO System martial arts design rules use
a character with a Mar- than 5, tone the maneuver down until it costs
tial Strike can spend the ten Maneuver Bases. Some are Exclusive, meaning
5 points or less. For example, you could build a a maneuver can only have one of them. Some are
4 points a Fast Strike
would cost him on two maneuver that gives +2 OCV, +3 DCV, and provided Non-Exclusive, meaning a maneuver can have just
Combat Skill Levels +4 Killing DC. However, this would cost 18 points, one or can have more than one of them. A Non-
with his Martial Strike and the listed maximum is 5. Youd have to tone the Exclusive Basis can be the only Maneuver Base in
(giving him +2 OCV maneuver way down in eectiveness and bring it a maneuver, or a maneuver can have both a Non-
and DCV for the same down to 5 points or less.
amount of points). Exclusive Basis and an Exclusive Basis.
This rule regarding the cost of maneuvers is
a general one you should follow in most circum-
stances. However, there may be special occasions
when martial artists, particularly Superheroic-level Exclusive
ones, might be allowed to design maneuvers which Basis Purpose of Bases
violate it. Such violations should be allowed only Bind Locks up an opponents
after great consideration. weapon
UNARMED VERSUS ARMED STYLES Block Blocks an incoming attack
Another thing to consider when creating Disarm Attempts to knock an
opponents weapon out of
a martial art is whether the style is unarmed or
his grasp
armed. Most are unarmed, but characters can only
use a few of them with specic weapons. Dodge Gives the character a DCV
bonus against attacks
Unarmed styles include what we traditionally
think of as martial arts: Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido, Flash Disrupts opponents senses
and other styles relying on empty-hand attacks, not Grab Weapon Gives the attacker a hold on
weapons, to do damage. Characters cannot use most the opponents weapon
unarmed styles with weapons (or they require spe- Strike Does damage to the
cial, additional, training if a character wants to use opponent
them with weapons represented by the Weapon Non-Exclusive
Style Element). For example, an Aikido practitioner Basis Purpose of Bases
cant pick up an axe and use his Aikido maneuvers Exert Uses non-damaging
with it. Unless otherwise listed or described, all mar- strength on the opponent
tial arts styles are unarmed. Grab Opponent Gives the attacker a hold on
Armed martial arts ghting styles reect- the opponent
ing a characters skill and training with a particular Throw Puts the opponent on the
weapon or weapons include Arnis/Kali/Escrima, ground
Fencing, Kenjutsu, Kyujutsu, and Naginatajutsu.
Characters may only use an armed style with weap- Youre familiar with Bind from the styles
ons from one or more 1-point Weapon Familiarity described earlier, and with Block, Disarm, Dodge,
weapon groups, specied by the styles designer or Strike, Grab, and Throw from the HERO System 5th
when they learn the style. Examples include the Edition. Note that the Throw Basis, in and of itself,
Blades Group, Karate Weapons, or Sta. Generally, does not do damage to a target; a Throw maneu-
a character cannot use an armed style without the ver could be gentle enough to do no damage at all
appropriate weapon; a fencer cannot make a Lunge to a foe. Refer to Martial Throw on page 400 of
with his st. However, the Barehanded Weapon Ele- the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised and in the
ment will allow characters to use some maneuvers Combat Maneuvers section of this book for more
in some armed styles while weaponless. information.
The cost of maneuvers remains the same, The Exert Basis means the character can exert
whether a style is armed or unarmed. An Oensive his Strength (usually with a bonus from the maneu-
Strike is an Oensive Strike, regardless of how you ver) on his target for one specic purpose, such
perform it. For information on how Martial Maneu- as to increase the chances of a successful Disarm,
vers add to the damage done by weapons, see the decrease the targets chances to break out of a Grab,
Adding Damage section of the HERO System 5th push the target backwards, or the like. Many Exert
Edition, Revised. maneuvers are listed in the maneuvers chart in on
If you create an armed style, note which page 9 of this book. The extra STR from the Exert
weapon (or, rarely, weapons) are appropriate for it. does not cost extra END.
When writing up the style, make sure to include the The Flash Basis means the character has some-
proper Weapon Familiarity under Skills and to put how temporarily blinded or disabled one of his
an asterisk beside it to make it mandatory for all targets senses. Common attacks of this sort include
practitioners of the style. The GM must approve any poking someone in the eyes, clapping their ears to
decision to make a style usable with a weapon or temporarily deafen them, and striking certain nerve
class of weapons. clusters to numb the sense of touch.
Hero Games 91


You can only use one Exclusive Basis in a Element Description Maximum
maneuver. You cant, for instance, create a maneu-
Abort +1 point if you can abort to maneuver Take Once
ver which performs both a Block and a Strike. A
maneuver doesnt have to have an Exclusive Basis; Bind +1 point to bind enemy weapon Take Once
some use only Non-Exclusive Bases. Block +0 points if maneuver is based on Block Take Once
You can use none, one, or several Non-Exclu- instead of Strike (Abort is Free)
sive Bases in a maneuver, and can create a maneu- DCV + +1 point per +1 DCV up to +2, +2 points for +3
ver which has both Exclusive and Non-Exclusive additional +1 DCV up to +3
Bases. For example, you could have a maneuver
where you establish a hold on a target and make Disable +0 points if maneuver is intended to disable Take Once
a limb
it hard for him to escape (the Grab Basis with the
Exert Basis), one where you throw a target roughly Disarm +2 points if maneuver disarms opponent Take Once
to the ground, doing him harm (the Strike Basis Dodge +0 points if maneuver is based on Dodge Take Once
with the Throw Basis), or one where you establish instead of Strike (Abort is Free)
a hold on a target and hit him simultaneously (the Flash +1 point per +1d6 Sense Group Flash up to 4d6
Strike Basis with the Grab Basis). +2d6, +2 points per additional +1d6 Flash; +1
Whatever you choose, this is all just the work point per additional Sense Group
of conceiving the maneuver and understanding
FMove +3 points if can attack after Full Move Take Once
the limitation of which bases you can combine to
create a maneuver. To actually build the maneuver, Grab Oppt +3 points if hit Grabs two of opponents limbs, Take Once
to buy the appropriate bases, you have to start shell- +1 point per additional limb
ing out Character Points for Maneuver Elements Grab Weap +3 points if hit Grabs targets weapon Take Once
(see below). K-Damage +3 points per +1 DC (Killing) +4 DC/K
TYPES OF DAMAGE N-Damage +1 point per +1d6 normal DMG up to +2d6, +4d6
Maneuver damage comes in three types: N- +2 points per additional +1d6
Damage (Normal Damage), K-Damage (Killing NND DMG +1 point per +d6 NND up to +1d6, +2 2d6
Damage), and NND (No Normal Defense Damage). points per additional +d6 NND
A single maneuver may have only one of these three OCV + +1 point per +1 OCV up to +2 +2 OCV
types of damage.
STR + +1 point per +5 STR up to +10 STR, +2 points +20
MANEUVER ELEMENTS per additional +5 STR
The accompanying table lists the Maneuver STR Strike +0 points if maneuver is based on Strike (+0 Take Once
Elements you can use to build your own Martial OCV, +0 DCV, does STR damage)
Maneuvers. Throw +1 point to throw opponent to ground Take Once
In the rst column is the name of the Element.
In the second column is the brief description v/3 +3 points to do +(v/3)d6 extra damage v/3
of the Element and its cost. v/5 +1 point to do +(v/5)d6 extra damage v/5
In the third column is the maximum amount
of the Element which may be added to a maneuver. maneuver which does damage or is in any way
To build a maneuver, simply take your Maneu- aggressive, which includes any maneuver with the
ver Basis (or Bases) and add the Elements which Disarm or Throw Elements. Therefore, you may only
will customize it (or them) to your satisfaction. build Abort into Blocks, Dodges, and Escapes (an
Then make sure that the cost is between 3 and 5 Escape is an Exert maneuver which uses the STR
points, and youll have a complete maneuver. bonus only for getting out of an enemys Grab).
Take Once means the Element can only be Bind
taken once in a maneuver. You cannot, for instance, Characters can only use this maneuver Ele-
take Fall three times for -3 points to the maneuver ment against a weapon. If successful, it binds the
cost, and explain that you fall down three times weapon, pushing it away or locking it into position
during the maneuver execution. Thats not just silly, somehow so its wielder cannot use it. The character
its rules abuse. using the maneuver does not suer any damage
from grabbing or touching the weapon (if thats
how the maneuver is dened).
Element Descriptions Bind is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with
These are the maneuver Elements: Bind may not also have any of the following Ele-
ments: Block, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab Weapon,
Abort Strike.
The character can Abort his next Phase to This Element adds +1 point to the cost of the
perform this maneuver on a Segment not normally maneuver.
his Phase. (See Aborting An Action, page 361 of the
HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). This adds +1 Block
point to the cost of the maneuver. This maneuver is based on the normal Block.
It grants basic modiers +0 to OCV and +0 to
Important Note: You can never Abort to any
92 The Ultimate Martial Artist
disable or cripple a particular limb, such as many joint-
RESTRICTIVE ELEMENTS breaks. It adds +0 to the cost of the maneuver because
it grants as many restrictions as it does benets.
Element Description Maximum
Like other maneuvers which target specic
DCV - -1 point per -1 DCV up to -2 DCV -2 parts of the body, maneuvers with the Disable Ele-
Fall -1 point if you fall Take Once ment do not suer Hit Location Attack Roll or
Follow -2 points if maneuver must follow other spe- Take Once
damage penalties or bonuses. For example, a Killing
cic successful maneuver Strike dened as a knee-breaking low kick built with
this Element would not be at -6 OCV, and the victim
Half Move -1 point if maneuver requires character to Take Once would take full damage not half BODY and a
Required make a Half Move; see text
x2 STUN Multiplier, as normally applies to the Leg
Lasting -1 points if the maneuvers penalties last for Take Once region. Instead, the victim takes whatever BODY and
Restriction +1 Phase STUN damage was rolled on the dice. Any possibil-
OCV - -1 point per -1 OCV up to -2 -2 ity of Impairing or Disabling eects, if the campaign
One Limb -1 point if Grab only Grabs one limb -1
uses those rules, could then be determined (refer
to the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 417,
Response -3 points if the maneuver can only be used Take Once and the discussion of Disabling Attacks on page 156
following a specic maneuver used by ones of this book, for more information on attacking to
Impair or Disable a limb).
STR - -1 point if maneuver is at half STR, -2 points if No STR The limb targeted by a Disable-based attack
maneuver uses no STR generally does not need to be chosen in advance.
Take Full -2 points if attacker takes full damage Take Once However, GMs should remember that attacks which
DMG Disable the Head do not aect the victims intelli-
Take Half -1 point if attacker takes half damage Take Once gence or his ability to move the rest of his body, they
DMG just prevent him from using his head as a weapon.
The drawback to using the Disable Element is
Time + -1 point if attack takes extra segment (landing Take Once
that a ghter can only use the attack on limbs. He
at end of next segment)
cant use it to do generalized damage, or against
Unbalancing -1 point if opponent automatically attacks rst Take Once non-limb-like objects. At the GMs discretion, a
in next Phase character can dene a single specic non-limb
DCV. As with the normal Block, it keeps attacks target (say, the Chest) for use with the Disable Ele-
from hitting the target, sets up the defender to ment if he can use the maneuver only against that
strike rst on the next Phase (assuming they both Hit Location and no other. Also at the GMs option,
act in the same Phase), and comes with a free Abort a character can use a Disable maneuver against
option. limb-like objects, such as tree branches.
A Block requires the character doing the Refer to the discussion of Grab maneuvers on
blocking to compare his OCV to the opponents page 386 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised and
OCV, rather than to his DCV. Once a character has page 144 of this book for more information on limbs.
decided to Block, he can block multiple attacks in Disarm
a single Phase. (See Block in the HERO System 5th A character who successfully performs a Disarm
Edition, Revised, page 383.) The Block Element adds can try to knock a weapon or other hand-held device
+0 points to the cost of the maneuver. from his opponents grasp. Both characters make STR
Block is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with Rolls, counting only the Normal Damage BODY.
the Block Element may not have any of the follow- If the defender rolls more BODY, he holds onto his
ing Elements: Bind, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab weapon. If the attacker rolls more BODY or the rolls
Weapon, Strike. are tied, the weapon goes ying d6 hexes in the
DCV - direction of the strike (which is the players choice,
This represents a penalty to the attackers DCV. subject to GM approval). (See Disarm in the HERO
Its used to build maneuvers which tend to expose System 5th Edition, Revised, page 386.) This Element
the attacker to counterattack. The maximum pen- adds +2 points to the cost of the maneuver.
alty you can take on a maneuver is -2 DCV. A char- Additional damage bought for the Disarm
acter may not have both DCV - penalties and DCV goes to increasing the characters Disarm strength,
+ bonuses on the same maneuver. not to doing damage to the target; a Disarm never
damages the target.
DCV + Disarm is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver
This represents a bonus to the attackers DCV. with the Disarm Element may not have any of
Use it to build maneuvers so fast, graceful, or the other following Elements: Bind, Block, Dodge,
unpredictable they make the attacker more dicult Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike.
to counterattack. The maximum bonus you can
take on a maneuver is +3 DCV. A character may Dodge
not have both DCV + bonuses and DCV - penalties This means the maneuver is based on the
on the same maneuver. Dodge maneuver instead of the Strike maneuver.
The character starts out with no OCV (this maneu-
Disable ver cant do damage), +3 DCV, and can Abort to the
This Element signies a maneuver intended to maneuver. This costs +0 points because it grants as
Hero Games 93

many restrictions as advantages. Additional DCV Attacks built with this

bought with the Dodge starts out costing 2 points Element do not automatically
per +1 DCV. You may not buy a Dodge maneuver have to take place at the very
with more than an additional +2 DCV (for a possible end of a characters move. For
total of +5 DCV). example,
You cannot buy down the OCV of a Dodge an
maneuver (in other words, you cant take the OCV
- Element on it to reduce its cost).
Dodge is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver
with the Dodge Element cannot have any of the
other following Elements: Bind, Block, Disarm,
Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike.
You automatically fall down, in the hex
where you performed the attack. This Element
subtracts 1 point from the cost of the maneuver.
In maneuver listings, this Element is normally
indicated by use of the phrase You Fall.
You use this Exclusive Basis to build
maneuvers which disrupt and temporar-
ily blind one or more of the targets Sense
Groups. The Flash Basis costs +1 point per
1d6 of Flash up to 2d6, and +2 points per
+1d6 thereafter, to a maximum of Flash 4d6.
The basic attack aects one Sense Group;
the character can purchase additional Sense
Groups for +1 point. However, the GM should be
wary of Flash maneuvers aecting more than one attack dened as a Strike made
Sense Group and allow them only when they are bal- while the character moves past
anced. Each Extra DC adds +1d6 to the Flash attack. someone (a Martial Move By,
In most cases, the appropriate form of Flash if you will) could take place at
Defense protects a character against a maneuver any point during the characters move. However, the
with the Flash Basis. However, there may be some GM should treat this aspect of the FMove Element
exceptions, adjudicated by the GM on a case-by- carefully and not allow players to abuse it; most
case basis. For example, a character whose Sight attacks with the FMove Element should still take
Flash Defense derives from his light-based powers place at or near the end of the attackers full move. If
(making him used to bright lights) wont have much used indiscriminately, the FMove Element can make
defense against a Martial Flash dened as poking some characters un-attackable, which unbalances
him in the eyes. the game.
The GM should also remember that there are Example: Nakada Shigeru knows Kenjutsu. He
many things which would prevent a maneuver with ghts a duel with another samurai and wishes
the Flash Basis from working, given its nature. For to use his Running Stroke maneuver (a Passing
example, a helmeted character usually is protected Strike). His opponent stands 5 away from him;
from Sight and Hearing Group Flashes, since its Nakada-san has 9 of Running. His FMove-
impossible for the martial artist to reach his eyes and based attack takes place 5 into his full move of
ears to aect them. 9, so when the attack ends, hes 4 beyond his
In maneuver listings, this Basis is indicated by opponent.
use of the phrase, [Sense] Group Flash d6.
Flash is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with If Nakada-san had been signicantly closer to
the Flash Element cannot have any of the other fol- his foe (say, 2-3 distance), the GM might con-
lowing Elements: Bind, Block, Disarm, Dodge, Grab sider forbidding the use of the Running Stroke,
Weapon, Strike. since it could unfairly place Nakada-san out of
the range of a counterattack (i.e., the attack, if
FMove used repeatedly in such situations, could aect
A character can perform a maneuver with this game balance, so the GM disallows it).
Element during or at the end of a Full Move instead
of just a Half Move. (This does not mean its a Zero- You cannot take this Element for a maneuver
Phase Action; if performed after a Half Move or no which already has the Time + Element.
move at all, it counts as a Half Phase Action.) For Follow
example, combining FMove with Fall, Throw, This means the maneuver must follow some
and v/5 creates a ying tackle a character can per- other specic successful maneuver (dened when
form at the end of a full run. This Element adds +3 you create the maneuver). An example would be a
points to the cost of the maneuver. maneuver which grants a bonus to Crushing STR;
94 The Ultimate Martial Artist
a character can only perform this maneuver on his could have +2d6 damage, costing 2 points, and +10
Phase following a successful Grab. Both maneuvers STR for holding on, costing 2 more points.
may not occur on the same Phase; the required For more information on Grabbing and its
attack takes place on one Phase, and the following eects on combat, see page 386 of the HERO
maneuver on the next. A Following maneuver may System 5th Edition, Revised.
also Follow itself; for example, a Crush may follow a
Grab Weapon
Grab or a previous Crush. For a Following maneu-
This Element allows the character to establish
ver to succeed, the character must have success-
a hold on his enemys weapon (or other item car-
fully performed (or maintained) at least one of the
ried in hand). The Grabbing character may, in the
maneuvers it Follows on his previous Phase.
same Phase as a successful Grab is executed, make
Since the Following maneuver does take place
a STR Versus STR Contest against the target; if he
until the next Phase, the character must make
wins, he wrests the held item away from his foe.
a new Attack Roll. Visualize this as the attacker
(If the target wins, the target wrests it out of the
having to change grips or angles of attack to
characters grasp, and if the roll is a tie, neither can
accomplish the maneuver. This applies even when
pull it away from the other.)
the maneuver Follows itself. With maneuvers fol-
This Element adds +3 points to the cost of the
lowing Grabs, the victim is at DCV. (At the GMs
option, the Following attack could occur without
You buy Extra DCs for this maneuver as addi-
requiring the character to make a new Attack Roll,
tional STR for wresting the weapon away.
but this should be rare.)
Half Move Required
Example: Thunderhead, a SPD 3 pro wrestler,
This Restrictive Element is taken for any
has a Crush maneuver, which must follow a
maneuver which by its nature requires the char-
Grab. On Phase 4, he successfully Grabs Joe Hall
acter to make a Half Move, usually to build up
The Wrecking Ball. On Phase 8, he may use
momentum. If the character cannot make a Half
the Crush maneuver, since it follows Grab, but
Move, he cannot use the maneuver (or, at the
he must roll to hit against Halls new, reduced
GMs discretion, can only use it to greatly reduced
DCV. If he misses, the Crush doesnt work, but
eect). This Element is similar to the Gestures
he maintains the Grab on Hall. Whether he hits
Limitation, because a character can only use a
or he misses, on Phase 12 he may use the Crush
maneuver with it if he can move freely and is not
maneuver again, since it can follow itself, but
conned or restrained. Flying kicks and similar
again he must roll to hit.
maneuvers may have this restriction.
This Element subtracts 2 points from the cost Half Move Required cannot be taken for any
of the maneuver. maneuver which has the FMove Element. It can
In maneuver listings, this Element is nor- only be taken once for any maneuver.
mally indicated by use of the phrase Must Follow The GM may, if he wishes, expand the deni-
[Name of Maneuver]. tion of what amounts to a Half Move to cover
any sort of requirement that a character make a
Grab Opponent
particular movement or have a certain amount of
This Element allows the character to get his
space available before he can perform a maneuver.
opponent in a hold. A character could dene a
For example, you can use Half Move Required
maneuver which uses it as a simple hold placed on
to simulate a maneuver which a character could
the enemy, a bearhug, an elaborate joint-lock, or
only perform if he had at least 1 of open space
anything similar. This Element adds +3 points to
around him on all sides. Similarly, if the maneu-
the cost of the maneuver.
ver required a character to make some specic
The basic Grab Element allows the character
motion, such as a cartwheel, before he used the
to Grab two limbs. Each additional limb costs +1
maneuver, you could also simulate this with Half
point. Most joint-lock maneuvers only Grab one
Move Required.
to two limbs; pins and full body holds may inca-
pacitate 4 or 5 limbs, thus preventing the character K-Damage
from moving or attacking at all. Of course, charac- This stands for Killing Damage. If the maneu-
ters can use multiple Grabs on a single character to ver does Killing Damage instead of Normal
successively pinion all of his limbs it just takes a Damage, additional damage costs +3 points per +1
few Phases and several successful Attack Rolls. DC, up to a maximum of +4 DC.
The Grabbing character may, in the same The characters STR also adds to the maneu-
Phase as a successful Grab is executed, apply STR vers damage, at +1 DC per 5 points of STR, but
damage to his opponent (crushing or strangling this added damage may not more than double the
him) or may throw or bear his opponent to the purchased damage for the maneuver (purchased
ground (for normal STR damage or no damage at damage includes Extra DC). For example, if a
all, as the player prefers). See page 144 of this book maneuver does +2 DC of K-Damage, and the char-
for further options. acter with the maneuver has STR 15, he could add
Characters may buy additional damage for +3 DC to the maneuver... except that this more
this maneuver as N-Damage (for crushing or than doubles the purchased damage of the maneu-
strangling), or as additional STR for holding on to ver. He can only add +2 DC to the maneuver, for a
a struggling target, or as both. A Grab maneuver total of 4 DC, or 1d6+1 K.
Hero Games 95

Important Note: You may not mix damage types NND DMG
in a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only This stands for No Normal Defense Damage
one of the following three types of damage bonus: (see page 265 of the HERO System 5th Edition,
K-Damage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneu- Revised). Each +1 point spent gives the maneu-
ver may have both K-Damage and v/5, where each ver +d6 NND, up to 1d6; each +d6 thereafter
5 of relative movement translates into +1 DC costs +2 points, up to its maximum of 2d6 NND.
of added K-Damage (HERO System 5th Edition, The characters STR does not add damage to this
Revised, page 406-07). maneuver, so NND DMG maneuvers must take the
STR - Element at the No STR level (for -2 points).
Lasting Restriction
As with any separately-purchased No Normal
A character can only take this Restrictive Ele-
Defense attack, this maneuver must have a rea-
ment for a maneuver which has at least -1 worth of
sonably common defense, such as Life Support
penalties to OCV or DCV. It signies that the CV
(Self-Contained Breathing) for a choking attack or
penalty lasts for one additional Phase beyond when
Armor for nerve strikes. See page 148 of this book
it would normally disappear. It does not matter for
for a list of suggested defenses.
purposes of this Element what maneuver is used in
that additional Phase, the penalty still remains. Important Note: You may not mix damage types
in a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only
Example: Chang wants to build a Sacrice one of the following three types of damage bonus:
Strike-like maneuver which simulates an all- K-Damage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneu-
out attack he has a dicult time recovering ver may have both NND DMG and v/5, where
from. He takes the Lasting Restriction Element each 5 of relative movement translates into +d6
on his Sacrice Strike maneuver, reducing its NND DMG. The added damage cannot more than
costs to 4 points but subjecting himself to the -2 double the base damage; if the maneuver normally
DCV penalty for an extra Phase. does 2d6 NND, then extra damage from a +v/5
Chang, SPD 6, gets into a ght with Jeung, Element cannot boost the maneuver up to more
SPD 5. Chang decides to try to nish Jeung o than 4d6 NND, no matter how fast the characters
quickly and uses his Sacrice Strike in Phase are going.
2. Unfortunately, Chang misses. Jeung also OCV -
misses in Phase 3. In Phase 4, Chang can act This Element indicates a penalty to the
again. Normally, the -2 DCV penalty from the attackers OCV. Its used to represent maneuvers
Oensive Strike would no longer apply, since it which are awkward and less accurate than ordinary
is a new Phase, but because he took the Lasting attacks. The maximum penalty you can take on a
Restriction Element on his maneuver, he will maneuver is -2 OCV. It subtracts 1 point from the
start at a base -2 DCV in Phase 4, regardless of maneuver per -1 OCV taken to the maneuver. A
what attack he uses. character may not have both OCV - penalties and
Lasting Restriction penalties do not accumu- OCV + bonuses on the same maneuver.
late if maneuvers with the Element are used in suc- OCV +
cession. Thus, in the example above, if Chang had This Element indicates a bonus to the attack-
used his Sacrice Strike again in Phase 4, he would ers OCV. You use it to represent maneuvers so fast,
be at -4 DCV (-2 from Phase 2, and another -2 for powerful, or unpredictable a defender is less able
the maneuver he uses in Phase 4). Then, in Phase to anticipate them or defend against them. The
6, he would start o with a base -2 DCV penalty maximum bonus you can take on a maneuver is +2
because he used a maneuver with a Lasting Restric- OCV. This Element costs +1 point to the maneuver
tion in Phase 4 not a base -4 DCV. per +1 OCV taken to the maneuver. A character
Lasting Restriction subtracts one point from may not have both OCV + bonuses and OCV -
the cost of the maneuver. It is most appropriate for penalties on the same maneuver.
maneuvers with DCV penalties, but you can use it
for maneuvers with OCV penalties as well. One Limb
This Restrictive Element applies to Grab
N-Damage maneuvers which only immobilize one limb. Many
This stands for Normal Damage, and adds joint-locks, choke holds, and similar maneuvers
damage dice to the STR used with the maneuver. take this restriction. This Element subtracts 1 point
It costs +1 point per +1d6 normal damage up to from the cost of a Grab.
+2d6, then costs +2 points per additional +1d6 up
to the maximum of +4d6 (therefore +4d6 would Response
cost 6 points). This Restrictive Element applies to maneuvers
which can only follow a specic maneuver used
Important Note: You may not mix damage types in
by ones opponent. The attackers maneuver can be
a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only one
dened in fairly general terms (such as a punch,
of the following three types of damage bonus: K-
a kick, or a Nerve Strike), but cannot simply be
Damage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneuver
dened as an oensive maneuver. The GM has
may have both N-Damage and v/5, where each 5
nal say-so over whether the attackers maneuver
of relative movement translates into +1d6 added
has been dened properly; the more specic or
detailed a denition, the better.
96 The Ultimate Martial Artist
This Element subtracts 3 points from the cost also sustain 6d6 damage when he successfully per-
of a maneuver. In maneuver descriptions this Ele- formed the maneuver.
ment is indicated by the words Can Only Be Used With NND DMG and K-Damage attacks,
After X, where X is the attackers maneuver. the character takes an equivalent DC of Normal
Damage (Physical). For example, if the attack does
2d6 K (6 DC), the character sustains 6d6 Normal
The character using a maneuver with this Ele-
Damage, and if the attack does 2d6 NND (4 DC),
ment cannot use some or all of his STR with the
the character sustains 4d6 Normal Damage.
maneuver. It subtracts 1 point if he can only use
half his STR with the maneuver, or 2 points if he Take Half DMG
can use none of his STR with the maneuver. A char- This Element is exactly like the Takes Full
acter may not have both STR - penalties and STR + DMG Element, except that the character perform-
bonuses on the same maneuver. ing the maneuver only takes half damage, not full
damage. It subtracts 1 point from the cost of the
The character may add to his STR for this
maneuver. This Element costs 1 point per +5 STR Throw
up to +10 STR, then it costs +2 points per addi- Successful use of a maneuver with this Non-
tional +5 STR up to the maximum of +20 STR. Exclusive Basis throws the opponent to the ground;
Important Note: This STR must be dened as in maneuver listings, this is indicated with use of
being for one purpose only. For example, it may be the words Target Falls, He Falls, or Opponent
Only For Holding On With Grab, Only For Shov- Falls, instead of Throw. Throws are typically
ing, Only For Escaping Grab, Only To Resist Shove, bought as Strikes, so the target takes the attackers
and so forth. STR damage from impacting the ground. This Ele-
A Grab maneuver may have both an N- ment adds +1 point to the cost of the maneuver.
Damage bonus and a STR + bonus; the N-Damage Throws have an additional eect if both
would augment the STR damage done if the char- characters have their next Phase in the same Seg-
acter decides to apply STR to hurt the victim, while ment, they allow the character who makes the
the STR + bonus would improve his chances to Throw to attack the Thrown character rst in their
hold onto the victim. At the GMs option, a charac- next Phase regardless of relative DEX, similar to a
ter may also have an NND DMG bonus and a STR Block. This represents the disadvantageous position
+ bonus, where the STR adds only to the Grab Ele- of the Thrown character (either because hes on the
ment; ordinarily, this would not be allowed, since ground, or because he has to do something to get
NND DMG maneuvers take the STR - Element back on his feet). At the GMs option, the Thrown
at the 0 STR level. If the GM allows a character to character can avoid this eect if he makes a Break-
purchase such a maneuver, the character cannot fall roll by half (a straight DEX Roll may be substi-
take that Restrictive Element, but the maneuvers tuted, if the GM prefers).
STR + bonus still does not add to his NND DMG. Refer to page 152 of this book for more infor-
A character may not have both STR + bonuses mation on Throws and their eects, including an
and STR - penalties on the same maneuver. explanation of the relationship between Throws
and simultaneous attacks (note that Throws do not
Strike automatically Block incoming attacks).
This maneuver does damage to the target. It
starts out with +0 OCV, +0 DCV, takes a Half Phase Time +
to use, and does the characters normal STR damage A maneuver with this Element takes extra time
to the target. Even if the maneuver is built in such to perform. A character cannot move in the Phase
a way that it does no damage to its target, it counts in which he prepares or performs this attack. It sub-
as an attack (i.e., the character cannot follow it with tracts 1 point from the maneuver cost if the attack
another action in the same Phase). is not launched until the end of the next Segment.
Its possible to add the STR - Element to the You cannot take this Element for a maneuver which
maneuver so that it does little or no damage, which already has the FMove or Half Move Required Ele-
is especially appropriate with Throw maneuvers ments.
which do no harm to the target. This Element is especially appropriate for
The Strike Basis is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuvers where the attacker must prepare himself
Strike maneuver may have none of the following for a second or two before launching the attack. Its
bases in it: Bind, Block, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab best used to simulate maneuvers where you have to
Weapon. stand in one place to summon a lot of power into a
strike, and is sometimes taken with the DCV - Ele-
Take Full DMG ment. In maneuver listings, this Element is indi-
The character takes full damage from the cated in the Phase column of the chart, where 1+
maneuver. This is especially appropriate for colli- is listed instead of .
sion-based maneuvers. This Element subtracts 2
points from the cost of the maneuver. Unbalancing
For example, a STR 15 character performing a Take this Restrictive Element for maneuvers
STR+3d6 Tackle with the Take Full DMG Element which tend to throw the user o-balance. Because
on it would do 6d6 damage to his victim and would of this, the users opponent gets to attack him rst
in the rst Segment in which they both have a
Hero Games 97

Phase, regardless of relative DEX sort of the maneuver involves using the targets own momen-
opposite of the eect of a Block or Throw. tum against him (such as Martial Throw), then only
However, unlike a Block or a Throw, this eect the targets velocity matters.
still applies even if the characters rst Phase in Important Note: v/5 may also be added to NND
common is not their next Phase if necessary, it DMG and K-Damage attacks. It adds +1 DC (d6
carries over and applies on Segment 12, when all NND or +1 DC killing damage) per 5 of veloc-
characters move. (If this were not so, characters ity to those maneuvers (HERO System 5th Edition,
could take this Restrictive Element on maneuvers Revised, pages 406-07).
and then use them only on Phases when they knew
the restriction wouldnt aect them, because their
next Phase would not coincide with their oppo- MONGOOSE STYLE
Y ou can
nents.) The eect does not carry over beyond
a Phase which the characters normally have in Now, as an example of use of these rules,
common, but which they do not have this Turn lets put together the Mongoose Style maneuvers observe
because one of them Aborted that Phase. described earlier in this section.
We decided earlier that the Mongoose Style a lot just by
Example: A SPD 3, DEX 14 character and a would have a Block, a Dodge, a high-DCV attack to
SPD 4, DEX 20 character are ghting each simulate the mongoose bite, a grab, and a maneuver watchin.
other. In Phase 3, the SPD 4 character uses to perform damage on a held foe. Well add another
a maneuver with the Unbalancing Restric- maneuver: an Escape, appropriate for the high-DEX, Yogi Berra
tive Element. Since the two characters do not wriggly mongoose. Now, lets build these six maneu-
have a Phase in common until Segment 12, vers.
the penalty from the maneuver carries over According to our earlier denition, most or all
until Phase 12, when the SPD 3 character gets of the Mongoose Style maneuvers will be high DCV.
to attack rst, even though his opponent has a
higher DEX. If the SPD 3 character Aborts his Mongoose Bite: This maneuver, a crushing tech-
Phase 12 (say, to Dodge the SPD 4 characters nique using the hands, is performed after the
Phase 9 attack), the maneuver penalty van- Mongoose Grab: the attacker proceeds to
ishes, since the SPD 3 character voluntarily crush the defenders skull and break bones.
skipped his own Phase 12 by Aborting. Its a Killing Damage attack. OCV -2
(-2 points), DCV -2 (-2 points), K-
This Element subtracts one point from the cost Damage +4 DC (12 points), Follows
of a maneuver. Grab (-2 points), Time/Extra Seg-
v/3 ment) -1 point). Total: 5 points. If you use
This Element is identical to the v/5 Element the optional location rules, the Mon-
(see below), but does more damage. goose Bite takes a 2d6+1 location roll;
this indicates where the Grab landed.
A maneuver with this Element gets a damage
bonus based on the relative velocity of the two
combatants. The maneuver does +(v/5)d6 normal
damage, where v is the relative velocity. This Ele-
ment adds +1 point to the cost of a maneuver, and
may only be bought once.
Relative velocity means the relationship
between the velocities of the attacker and his
target sometimes they add together, some-
times they cancel each other out. For
example, if two attackers rush together
at 8 each, their relative velocity is 16;
the attack gets +3d6 normal damage. If
one runs toward the other at 6, the relative
velocity is 6 and the attack gets +1d6 normal
damage. Even if a character only makes a Half
Move, his velocity counts as if its his full
movement speed, because characters can
accelerate to their full running speed with
a Half Move. Therefore, if a character has
Running 8 and makes a 4 Half Move,
count his velocity as 8.
GMs may alter this rule if they feel it
makes the v/5 Element too powerful. For example,
you could distinguish the eects of v/5 based
on the type of maneuver: if the maneuver uses
the attackers impact to injure the target (such as
Flying Tackle), velocities should add together; if the
98 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Mongoose Block: Unlike the ordinary Martial Mongoose Grab: This is what enables the Mon-
Block, this maneuver is high-DCV but nothing goose practitioner to get his hands on his foe. Its
special for OCV, even though the Block is an not even as accurate as the normal Martial Grab
OCV versus OCV attack. So, we take +0 OCV but still gives the martial artist a DCV bonus.
(0 points), +3 DCV (4 points), Block (0 point, OCV -2 (-2 points), DCV +2 (2 points), Grab (3
includes Abort). Total: 4 points. If you use the points). Total: 3 points. If you use the optional
optional location rules, the Mongoose Block location rules, the Mongoose Grab is normally
takes No Location. counted as taking No Location. If its followed by
Mongoose Dodge: This is the ordinary Martial a Mongoose Bite, you check for the location of
Dodge: OCV not relevant, DCV +5 (maneu- the Grab and Bite with a 2d6+1 location roll.
ver starts with +3 DCV; +2 more DCV costs Mongoose Strike: This is a fast blow that does
4 points), Dodge (+0 point), Abort (+0 point only the characters normal STR damage. OCV
because its part of the Dodge element). Total: 4 +0 (0 points), DCV +3 (4 points). Total: 4 points.
points. If you use the optional location rules, the If you use the optional location rules, the Mon-
Mongoose Dodge takes No Location. goose Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll.
Mongoose Escape: This is similar to the ordi-
nary Martial Escape, but has a slightly better Those are the basic maneuvers of the style.
DCV. OCV +0 (0 points), DCV +1 (1 point), +15 They give the character what we described
to STR versus Grabs (4 points). Total: 5 points. originally: a fast, highly defensive style allow-
(The extra DCV doesnt help during the Escape, ing the practitioner to stay loose, grab his target,
but does help if the character is attacked in the and destroy the target with the fearsome bite.
same Segment once he is free.) If you use the See how to incorporate those maneuvers into a
optional location rules, the Mongoose Escape HERO System martial arts style on page 101.
takes No Location.
Hero Games 99

ot all martial arts involve the use of only
hand-to-hand weapons. Some, like Kyu-
jutsu, Shurikenjutsu, and An Chi, focus on
ranged weapons like the bow or throwing Element Description Maximum
knives. This section presents rules for creating Martial DCV + +2 points per +1 DCV +2
Maneuvers which work at range. In almost all cases
such maneuvers involve a weapon of some sort. As Disarm + +1 point per +5 STR up to +10 STR; +20 STR
always, these rules are optional; if the GM feels they +2 points per additional +5 STR
are inappropriate or unbalance his campaign, he N-Damage +1 point per +1 DC up to +2 DC; +4 DC
should change them enough to make them acceptable, +2 points per +1 DC per additional +1 DC
or simply forbid them entirely. OCV + +2 point per +1 OCV +2 OCV
Rng + +1 point per +1 OCV vs. Range up to +4; +8 OCV vs.
DESIGNING RANGED +2 points per additional +1 OCV vs.

MARTIAL MANEUVERS Strike +0 points if maneuver is based on Strike Take Once

You create ranged martial arts using rules based (+OCV, +0 DCV, does STR damage)
on the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers section, Throw +2 points to throw opponent to ground Take Once
above; readers should refer to that section for gen-
eral information on this subject. Most of the rules v/5 +2 points to do +v/5 extra damage v/5
described in that section, such as the one requiring martial arts maneuvers is shorter than the list of
martial arts maneuvers to cost from 3-5 points, apply hand-to-hand maneuver Elements there are fewer
to Ranged Martial Maneuvers as well. things a character can do to an opponent at range
MANEUVER BASES than to one within hand-to-hand ghting distance. Its
not possible, for example, to grab someone standing a
Like hand-to-hand Martial Maneuvers, Ranged
hundred feet away from you.
Martial Maneuvers have Maneuver Bases. There are
Even though there are three types of damage a
Exclusive Bases, which a maneuver can have only one
character can do using hand-to-hand martial arts,
of; and Non-Exclusive Bases, which a maneuver can
there is only one type at range: Normal Damage
have more than one of. You can include one or more
(N-Damage). This is because the ranged martial arts
Non-Exclusive Bases in a maneuver with an Exclusive
design system is intended primarily for building styles
Basis. See above for further information.
involving missile weapons such as bows, guns, and
shuriken. The N-Damage bonuses simply add DCs to
MANEUVERS BASIS the weapon, as explained on page 406 of the HERO
System 5th Edition, Revised. If for some reason a player
Basis Purpose of Bases wants to design a barehanded ranged martial arts
style involving Killing Damage and NND DMG (and
Disarm + Attempts to knock an
can get GM permission to do so), he can import the
opponents weapon out of
his grasp K-Damage and NND DMG Elements from the hand-
to-hand Elements chart on page 91.
Strike Does damage to the
Basis Purpose of Bases Element Description Maximum
Throw Puts the opponent on the DCV - -1 point per -1 DCV -2 DCV
Half Move -1 point if maneuver requires character to Take Once
MANEUVER ELEMENTS Required make a Half Move
The accompanying table lists the Elements, or OCV - -1 point per -1 OCV -2 OCV
building blocks, used to construct Ranged Martial Rng - -1 point per -1 OCV vs. Range -2 OCV vs.
Maneuvers. The various Bases are Elements, as are Range
bonuses to CV and various other abilities which you Time + -1 point if attack takes an extra Segment Take Once
use to customize each maneuver. to perform (landing at the end of the next
The list of Elements you can use to build ranged Segment)
100 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Element Descriptions This Restrictive Element reects the inherent
MANEUVERS Elements not described here work exactly the diculty or inaccuracy of a particular maneuver
A character can, with same as the corresponding hand-to-hand Element over distance. Rng - points add to the standard range
GM permission, have a (see above). modiers imposed by the HERO System rules (refer
martial arts style with to the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 373,
both hand-to-hand DCV + for information). For every 1 point of Rng -, theres
and ranged maneuvers. DCV bonuses are a relatively rare Element an additional -1 OCV at Range for the maneuver.
For example, a skilled in ranged martial arts maneuvers. They indicate Characters may take a maximum of two points
knifeghter might want a maneuver which the character has practiced so
to add a Ranged Martial of Rng - for a maneuver, at a subtraction of -1
much and is so procient with that he can move point each from the total cost of the maneuver. A
Maneuver to his Sevil-
around and avoid enemy attacks while still aiming maneuver may not have both the Rng - and Rng +
lian Knifeghting style
to reect his skill with accurately at his target. DCV + costs 2 points per Elements.
thrown knives. Some +1 DCV (with a maximum of +2 DCV). A charac-
of the styles described ter may not have both DCV + and DCV - Elements Rng +
in Chapter One, such in the same maneuver. Buy Rng + for maneuvers which are inherently
as An Chi, have both more accurate than normal over a distance. Rng +
hand-to-hand and Disarm + points add to OCV to counteract the standard pen-
ranged maneuvers. A Disarm maneuver is used to knock a alties for ranged attacks.
Provided the GM does weapon out of an opponents grasp. Determining Rng + costs +1 point per point for the rst
not think this unbal- whether a ranged attack knocks a weapon out of four points, and +2 points per point for the next
ances the campaign, someones grasp is a two-step process. First, con-
its perfectly accept- four points, for a maximum of +8 OCV vs. Range.
vert the Damage Classes of the attacking weapon A maneuver may not have both Rng + and
able. However, just like
Extra DCs (see below), to STR (1 DC equals 5 STR); second, make a STR Rng - modiers.
3-point Combat Skill Versus STR Contest in the standard method for
Levels with a hand-to- the Disarm maneuver. For example, a 1d6+1 RKA Throw
hand style do not aect arrow has 4 DC, which equals 20 STR for Disarm Characters use this Element for ranged attacks
ranged maneuvers in purposes. While a ranged Disarm of this sort does designed to trip an opponent or knock his feet out
that style, and vice- not take the usual -2 OCV for a standard Disarm from under him.
versa. Five-point levels With larger weapons (such as arrows, spears,
maneuver, the shooter suers OCV penalties for
with a particular style
(not with Hand-To- targeting the weapon (typically -6, as for targeting and throwing axes), the Throw Element usually
Hand Fighting, with the hand, but shooting at larger weapons such as means the weapon snags the opponents feet and
a specic style, such ries or greatswords may entail lesser penalties). trips him or knocks him down. This form of Throw
as Karate) do aect to The Disarm + Element adds STR to a ranged does no damage to the opponent other than the
both hand-to-hand and weapons disarm ability. This reects the attackers damage from the fall itself, as with a Martial Throw.
ranged maneuvers in accuracy with the maneuver and his general skill With smaller weapons (such as bullets, shuriken,
that style.
at disarming opponents with his ranged attack. A and throwing knives), this maneuver involves hit-
maximum of +20 STR may be added; the rst +10 ting the opponent in the legs or feet, thereby cut-
STR costs 1 point per +5 STR; all STR thereafter ting his feet out from under him or knocking him
costs 2 points per +5 STR. down.
A disarmed weapon usually ends up d6 In the description of a maneuver, a Throw
inches away from its former holder in the direction is indicated by the use of the word Falls, as in
the disarming attack travels (disarming players Target Falls.
choice, within reason). The GM decides whether The Throw Element costs 2 points.
the disarmed weapon suers damage; the Disarm +
Time +
Element itself does no damage to the weapon.
Some ranged maneuvers take an extra Phase
N-Damage to perform, simulating the characters need to care-
This stands for Normal Damage, which adds fully aim the attack. This Restrictive Element sub-
DCs to the damage done by the missile weapon the tracts 1 point from the cost of the maneuver. In a
character uses. Remember, it takes two DCs to add maneuvers description this Element is indicated by
one DC to a Killing Attack weapon. For this reason the words +1 Segment.
characters usually buy N-Damage maneuvers
with +2 DC or +4 DC, since odd numbers round
The maneuver gets a damage bonus based on
down (for example, +3 DC rounds to +1 DC when
the velocity of the target (not on the relative veloc-
used to increase a Killing Attack). See page 406 of
ity of the attacker and his target, like the hand-to-
the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for a more
hand v/5 Element). V indicates the targets veloc-
detailed description of adding DCs to K-Damage
ity. In most cases, ranged martial arts maneuvers
maneuvers and weapons. N-Damage costs 1 point
built with this Element do only v/5 damage, not v/5
per +1 DC up to 2 DC, and +2 points for every +1
plus the weapons damage or the characters STR,
DC thereafter, to a maximum of +4 DC. Thus, +4
since the eect is one of tripping somebody, not
DC would cost 6 points.
of knocking them down. Characters may take v/5
OCV + once, at a cost of 2 points.
OCV + is the same as the hand-to-hand ver-
sion, except that it costs 2 points per +1 OCV
taken, to a maximum of +2 OCV.
Hero Games 101

Today, Mongoose Style remains a fairly

THE COMPLETE obscure ghting art. One isolated Buddhist mon- MANEUVERS AND
MONGOOSE STYLE astery still teaches a pure form of the style, and
rumors say that sects of Mongoose-stylist Thugs
In the style write-ups
As an example of how to assemble a fully survive in the dark and shadowy corners of India. earlier in this chapter,
eshed out martial arts style, here once again is the But mostly the art is taught by Indian martial art- you saw that many
Mongoose Style. ists, especially in larger cities such as Calcutta and maneuvers utilize Hit
You already know the maneuvers. That leaves Location rolls other
Bombay. A few instructors have migrated to the than the standard 3d6
Skills, Elements, special abilities, and some back- United States or Great Britain, and so some large roll. Your GM may or
ground. Western cities have Mongoose schools. may not adopt this
Skills: In addition to the basic KS: Mongoose optional rule. If the
Style, Acrobatics is appropriate to represent the campaign does not
mongooses agility. Since mongooses have short but ADDITIONAL NOTES ON use Hit Location rolls,
this rule automatically
sharp claws and teeth, it would also be appropriate
for practitioners to learn how to use short blades
MARTIAL ARTS STYLES does not apply. Even if
the campaign uses Hit
(including the shuko, page 182) with the art. AND ELEMENTS Location rolls, the GM
does not have to permit
Elements: No style requires Extra DC, so those its use. If the campaign
arent listed. Using the art with the short blades uses Hit Locations, and
mentioned above is appropriate. Extra Damage Classes the GM permits its use,
you should assign each
Special abilities: Mongoose practitioners are fast, Youre familiar with Extra Damage Classes maneuver one of the
both in terms of agility and general speed, so some (DCs) from the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, following location rolls:
extra Running is common among them. page 400. On the Martial Maneuvers Table (page 2d6+1, 2d6+7, 3d6, No
384 of that book), its listed as +1 DC in the bottom Roll, and No Location.
So, the Mongoose Style looks like this: of the chart. The Adding Damage section of that If youre using this rule,
book (page 405) discusses how Extra DC add to maneuvers suer no
MONGOOSE STYLE a maneuvers damage with unarmed and armed OCV penalty based
on the targeted loca-
Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect tion (even though, for
This section discusses Extra DC to summarize example, 2d6+1 and
Bite 1+ 5 -2 -2 HKA 1d6+1, Follows a few facts and clarify some points.
Grab, Extra Segment 2d6+7 ordinarily suer
Block 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort
a -2 OCV [see page 277
Dodge 4 +5 Dodge all attacks, DAMAGE Edition]).
Escape 5 +0 +1 +15 STR vs. Grabs Extra DCs add to damage from martial arts 2d6+1: This is a High
Grab 3 -2 +2 Grab Two Limbs maneuvers. They add both to armed and unarmed Shot. Most st strikes
Strike 4 +0 +3 STR Strike martial arts maneuvers. If the maneuver is a st (punches), elbow strikes,
punch, Extra DCs apply; if the maneuver is a Mar- and head-butts should
Skills be assigned this loca-
Acrobatics tial Strike requiring the use of a sword, Extra DCs tion.
KS: Mongoose Style apply.
2d6+7: This is a Low
WF: Blades They do not add to any other sort of damage: Shot. Its best suited to
Elements not to damage used with non-martial arts maneu- kicks which normally
Weapons +1 Use Art with Small Blades vers, not to unarmed attacks bought with the HA or center around the stom-
+1 Use Art with Shuko HKA Powers, and so forth. ach, groin, and legs.
Here is how Extra DCs add to maneuver 3d6: This is the normal,
MONGOOSE STYLE NOTES damage: all-around location roll.
Its suitable for kicks
Optional Rules: The Strike and Bite take 3d6 loca- Each +1 DC from Extra DCs Adds: which can range from
tion rolls. None of the other maneuvers take loca- 1) Normal Damage: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs head to foot (which are
tion rolls. common in martial arts
adds +1d6 to Normal Damage maneuvers (armed styles) and for attacks
Special Abilities: Many Mongoose practitioners or unarmed). This is true of both unarmed maneu- from long weapons
buy extra inches of Running to reect their speedi- vers and armed maneuvers for Normal Damage (such as swords, whips,
ness. weapons you can use with your martial art style and staves).
Mongoose Style developed in India sometime (see Weapons, below). No Roll: The maneuver
during the ninth and tenth centuries AD, but was 2) NND Damage: Each +1 DC from Extra automatically hits a
specic location usu-
known only to a few Buddhist monasteries. But in DCs adds +d6 to NND maneuvers (armed or ally the head or vitals.
the late seventeenth century, a Mongoose stylist unarmed). This is true of both unarmed maneuvers However, the damage
turned away from his faith and began worshipping and armed maneuvers for NND Damage weapons is not modied by the
Kali; he joined an order of Thugs (Indian strangler- you can use with your martial art style (see Weap- location, either. If the
assassins) and taught them his ghting skills. ons, below). attack automatically hits
Mongoose Style was nearly wiped out during the head (as a Choke
3) Flash eects: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds Hold and some head-
the British Empires crackdown on the Thugs +1d6 to Flash maneuvers (armed or unarmed). butts will), you do not
during the nineteenth century, but did survive multiply the maneuvers
among descendants of the Thugs. Some of them left 4) STR bonuses: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds damage because of the
the path of Thuggee and practiced the art solely for +5 STR to the STR bonuses from maneuvers built
self-defense and exercise. with the Exert Basis. Continued on next page
102 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Continued from last page Each +2 DC from Extra DC Adds: System 5th Edition, Revised), they can, of course, Push
location. If the attack 1) Killing Damage: Each +2 DC from Extra DCs their STR to do extra damage with a maneuver to
automatically goes to a adds +1 DC to the damage of Killing Attack maneu- which Extra DCs apply.
hand (as some nerve- vers (armed and unarmed). This is true of both
pinches could), do not
unarmed maneuvers and armed maneuvers for Kill-
halve the maneuvers Extra DCs are never a required part of any mar-
damage because of the ing Damage weapons you can use with your martial
tial arts style theyre options the GM may allow.
location. art style (see Weapons, below).
Therefore, the Extra DC Element isnt listed with any
No Location: The LIMITED EXTRA DCS style.
maneuver hits no loca-
tion at all it doesnt You cannot take Limitations on Extra DCs (for EXTRA DC AND OUTSIDE MANEUVERS
need one. Either it does example, to restrict them to only one or two maneu-
Extra DCs apply to all martial arts maneuvers
no damage, so that no vers in a martial arts style). Allowing that would
location roll is needed you have bought (excepting ones like Blocks and
create signicant game balance problems, so its for-
(for example, a Dodge Dodges, where it has no function), whether or not
or Block), or it does those maneuvers all belong to the same style. If a
damage in such a gener- RANGED MARTIAL ARTS AND EXTRA DCS character knows maneuvers from several styles, his
alized fashion theres no Extra DCs aect every one of them. It does not aect
chance of the damage Characters may buy Extra DCs for ranged mar-
tial arts styles. They cost 4 point apiece, just like hand- the ordinary combat maneuvers every character
being aected by the
locations hit (as is the to-hand Extra DCs. However, Extra DCs for a ranged knows (i.e., normal Strike, normal Disarm, and so
case with many throws martial arts style are relatively rare; ranged martial forth).
and takedowns). arts styles rely on accuracy rather than on power in For instance, a Kung Fu practitioner who has
Generally, ranged mar- most instances. Sometimes, though, a few Extra DCs Kung Fu maneuvers with Extra DCs, who then buys
tial arts maneuvers use simulate a characters ability to hit particularly vul- a Kenjutsu maneuver, can apply his Extra DCs to the
a standard 3d6 roll to nerable locations on his target. Kenjutsu maneuver.
determine Hit Loca-
tion. A few of them, If a character has both hand-to-hand and
such as maneuvers with ranged martial arts maneuvers, Extra DCs bought for
hand-to-hand maneuvers do not add to the ranged
the Disarm or Throw
Elements, may target maneuvers, and vice-versa. Characters must purchase Martial arts styles are initially built for use
a specic location. As Extra DCs for ranged martial arts separately. unarmed, or with one 1-point Weapon Familiar-
usual, such maneuvers ity category of weapons (see page 76 of the HERO
do not suer Hit Loca- PUSHING EXTRA DC System 5th Edition, Revised). By spending +1 point for
tion OCV or damage Characters cannot Push Extra DC damage. In
penalties or bonuses. a Weapon Element, a character can use the appropri-
appropriate situations (see page 427 of the HERO ate maneuvers of his style with a specic 1-point
melee weapons group. For arts which normally
require the character to use a weapon, the Bare-
handed Weapon Element allows him to use appropri-
ate maneuvers unarmed.
To buy a Weapons Element for a weapons group,
you must already have bought Weapon Familiarity
with that group. A +1 point Weapon Element does
not include a WF with that weapon group; the char-
acter must still buy that separately. Once he has both
the WF and Weapons Element, he can use the appro-
priate maneuvers from his style with that weapon
A character must purchase a separate +1 point
Weapon Element for each 1-point Weapon Familiar-
ity weapons group. Unlike the WF Skill itself, a char-
acter cannot pay +2 points for the ability to use all
Common Melee Weapons with his martial art he
has to spend +1 point for Clubs, +1 for Axes, Maces,
and Picks, +1 for Blades, +1 for Pole Arms, and +1 for
Two-Handed Weapons, for instance.
When performing a Martial Arts maneuver
with a weapon, the character gets the maneuvers
OCV and DCV bonuses and penalties in addition
to the weapons. He also adds any damage bonus
from the maneuver (see Adding Damage, page
Hero Games 103

using the normal
Dodge, you would
405 in the HERO have +11 DCV
System 5th Edi- enough of a bonus
tion, Revised, for to make most Super-
more information). heroic-level attackers
Naturally, a character blanch. When using
can use normal (non-martial arts) maneuvers with the normal Grab,
weapons for which hes bought Weapon Familiar- you could add
ity; the martial arts Weapons Elements has no parts of it into
bearing on this. OCV or DCV
as before, or again could be used to increase the
damage of the attack (the squeezing part of the
OTHER WAYS TO BUILD Grab) by up to +4d6, or to an amount equal to that
MARTIAL ARTS done by the characters normal STR, whichever is
There are a couple of other ways to build This is a perfectly viable arrangement. You
Martial Arts-like abilities in the HERO System. cant do some things that Martial Maneuvers can,
Remember, the special eect matters most in the but you can achieve much higher OCVs and DCVs
HERO System, not how you dene an ability in for a similar expenditure of points.
game terms. The Martial Arts Skill isnt the only However, if your campaign limits characters
way for a character to simulate a high degree of to a maximum OCV, the Skill Levels martial art
prociency at hand-to-hand ghting. still cannot exceed that maximum. If the campaign
limits characters to OCV 13, then a character
THE COMBAT SKILL LEVELS cannot buy eight +1 Skill Levels unless he has a
MARTIAL ART normal OCV of 5 or less (or, if he buys that many,
One way to represent a somewhat limited he cannot allocate them in such a way as to violate
but still very eective martial art is to structure it the campaigns ground rules).
entirely with Skill Levels not using any maneu- Additionally and this is an absolute restric-
vers. For example, a three-point Combat Skill Level tion you cant buy a batch of Skill Levels, dene
gives you a +1 CV with three maneuvers. Lets them as a martial arts style, and then take a Style
say you pay 24 points to buy eight of them, and Distinctive Feature for them. Characters can only
you specify that they apply to the normal Strike, take Style for styles built with Martial Maneuvers.
Dodge, and Grab maneuvers. You call this a martial
arts style. Heres what you can do with this style. POWERS AS MARTIAL ARTS
When using your normal Strike, you could A character can construct martial arts abili-
have +8 OCV, or +8 DCV, or +4 OCV and +4 DCV, ties with Powers. Examples include extra STR
or any other combination adding up to +8. You which only works to Grab or Disarm; Hand-To-
could also use some or all of the levels to increase Hand Attacks bought with Advantages to simulate
your damage, at +2 Skill Levels per +1 DC; if you mystic attack powers; inches of Knockback Resis-
put them all into damage, youd have +0 OCV, +0 tance to reect the characters acrobatic ability to
DCV, and +4d6 normal damage (though the added avoid taking damage from Knockback; and so forth.
damage cant exceed the maneuvers maximum In many cases these abilities can be placed in Power
damage from your STR; youd have to have STR 20 Frameworks to make them more aordable. Chap-
to use this eectively). ter Two, Character Creation, includes many ideas
for martial arts Powers and Power Frameworks.
104 The Ultimate Martial Artist

ome characters may want to apply Power
Advantages to Martial Maneuvers to
achieve certain eects or create certain
powers. This section contains rules for Basis Point Value
doing so. These rules are strictly optional; the GM Bind Maneuvers total STR -10
does not have to allow them in his campaign. Block 5 points per +1 OCV and +1
CAVEAT Disarm Maneuvers total STR -5
Two warnings are appropriate before the Dodge 5 points per +1 DCV
reader explores this section fully. Exert Maneuvers total STR -5
First, adding an Advantage to a Martial Flash Same as equivalent Flash
Maneuver is a way of giving a character a special,
Grab Opponent Maneuvers total STR -5
often unique, ability. It should not become common Grab Weapon Maneuvers total STR -5
in the campaign for characters to buy martial Strike Same as an equal number of
Advantages. DC of Energy Blast
Furthermore, and this is an absolute restriction, Throw 25
characters must purchase each martial Advantage
The rationale for these values is relatively
separately a character cannot buy a + Armor
straightforward. Maneuvers which add STR for a
Piercing Advantage for his base STR and apply it
certain purpose have that amount of STR, modied
to all of his Martial Maneuvers. That Advantage
by an appropriate Limitation reecting the limited
aects the characters basic Strike maneuver, but
nature of the maneuvers purpose, plus the charac-
not his Martial Maneuvers. He should purchase
ters own STR as their base value. The characters
the AP eect for each maneuver individually. Since
own STR gets no Limitation value for this purpose,
characters cant put naked Power Advantages
since it is not Limited in any way.
in Power Frameworks without GMs permission
Grab Weapon is about the same as Disarm, but
(HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 244), this
Disarm is less disadvantageous than Bind (because
gets expensive.
in a Bind, the target maintains control over his
Second, GMs should not allow characters to
weapon); hence the values for their point subtrac-
use the point gures in the accompanying tables to
tions. The values for Dodge and Block derive from
add eects to their STR or other abilities. A charac-
the cost of Combat Skill Levels with DCV (the +3
ter cannot gain the ability to Throw someone with
DCV a basic Dodge maneuver provides), and Throw
every punch simply by paying 15 points. He must
is considered roughly equivalent to them. Strike
buy a GM-approved martial arts package with an
is based on the cost of an equivalent Energy Blast,
appropriate maneuver to gain that ability.
Flash on the cost of an equivalent Flash Attack.
If a maneuver has multiple Bases, add their
Point Value Of Bases point values together to get the overall value of the
maneuver before applying Advantages.
To calculate the cost of an Advantage on a
Martial Maneuver, rst you must determine the
Character Point value of the Base or Bases in the Modifier Value
maneuver. With some Bases (such as Strike or
Exert), this is relatively easy; with others (like Block, Of Other Elements
Dodge, or Throw), its a little more dicult. The The other elements used to build Martial
solution is to assign standard Active Point values Maneuvers are simulated as either additions or sub-
to such Bases. The accompanying table sets out the tractions to the total Active Point value of the Bases
value of the various Bases; GMs may adjust these in the maneuver. The accompanying table lists the
values as appropriate for their campaigns. modier values for them.
The minimum point value of a maneuver
involving the application of STR (such as Bind
or Disarm) is the characters base STR. In other Extra Damage Classes
words, a STR 10 character cant build a +5 STR Bind
Extra Damage Classes for a maneuver either
maneuver and then use a point value of 5 (STR 10
add to the damage or increase the STR usable with
+ 5 - 10) to add an Advantage to it; his STR 10 is the
a maneuver, and should be gured in according to
minimum point value.
how they increase the Bases used with the maneuver.
Hero Games 105

This Oensive Strike has a simulated cost of 55 DETERMINING A

MARTIAL ARTS MANEUVER points: a base of 60 points for his 12 DC Strike MANEUVERS POINT
attack, -10 for the -2 OCV, and +5 for the +1 VALUE: STEPS
ELEMENTS VALUE DCV. A 55-point Armor Piercing (+) power
Element Value costs 82 points (55 x 1.5). 82 - 55 = 27 points,
1) Calculate value of
Abort +10 so thats what the Advantage costs him. He uses Base or Bases.
DCV + +5 points per +1 DCV 3 END every time he uses this ability. To make
DCV - -5 points per -1 DCV the Advantage cost 0 END would increase the 2) Calculate additional
Disable +5 points from other Ele-
cost to (27 x 1.5) = 40 points.
Fall -5 ments.
FMove +20 Example: Emiko wants to add a Damage Shield a) Add any points from
Follow -10 Helpful Elements and
to her Martial Escape maneuver, so she can
Half-Move from Extra DC.
Required -5 injure people who Grab her as she breaks away
from them. She has a STR of 15. The maneuver b) Subtract any points
Lasting for Restrictive Elements.
Restriction -5 adds +15 STR, and she has bought +4 Extra
K-Damage See below Damage Classes, which add +20 STR, for a 3) Take the nal total
N-Damage +0 total of +35 STR; however, given the nature of from Steps 1-2 and apply
NND DMG See below this Exert-based maneuver -5 is applied to the the Advantage(s) you
OCV + +5 points per +1 OCV +35 STR, reducing its cost to 30. Therefore, the wish to add.
OCV - -5 points per -1 OCV point value of the maneuver is 15 + 30 = 45 4) Subtract the Step 2
One Limb -5 points. Forty-ve points with a + Advantage total from the Step 3
Response -15 total. This is the cost of
equals 67 points, 67 - 45 = 22 points.
STR + Same as STR added to the Advantage, from
maneuver, with appropriate which you determine
subtraction (see above) Example: Snake wants to make his Killing Strike how much END it costs.
STR - Same as STR in maneuver an Autore Double Knockback attack (Snake is
(if STR is halved); STR is not a little disturbed). He has a STR of 15. He has +2
used to calculate Extra DCs for his Killing Strike, making it a 1d6
Active Point value if it is not HKA equivalent, worth 15 points. Thus, the total
part of a maneuver at all. point value of the maneuver is 20 points (15
Take Full DMG -10 STR. plus 15 points for a 1d6 HKA, -10 for the
Take Half DMG -5
decrease in OCV). 20 points multiplied by +1
Time + -5
Unbalancing -5 worth of Advantages becomes 45 points; 45 - 20
v/5 +10 = 25 points cost. It costs Snake 2 END for every
punch he throws with this Advantage (thats 2
Flash maneuvers, Killing-Damage attacks, an
END per Autore shot, not 2 END total).
NND DMG attacks are handled slightly dier-
ently than other maneuvers. Calculate the cost
of the maneuver as equivalent to the cost of a Example: Snake also wants to make his Nerve
Flash of the appropriate Sense Group, an HKA Strike an Indirect attack so his opponents cant
(plus the characters STR), or an NND EB, Block it. He has a base 2d6 NND(1) attack, and
respectively. See below for some examples. with his +2 Extra DCs, it becomes a 3d6 NND(1)
attack. A 3d6 Nerve Strike is the equivalent of
Endurance And a EB 3d6 NND, which costs 30 points; +1 DCV
adds 5 points, -1 OCV subtracts 5 points, for a
Martial Advantages nal cost of 30 points for the maneuver. Since
Although Martial Maneuvers themselves cost the STR - Restrictive Element means no STR
no END, Advantages applied to them do cost END, adds to this maneuver, Snakes base STR does
at the standard rate. If the character wants the not gure into this point value. To make a 30-
Advantage to be 0 END, he must pay for Reduced point power Indirect costs 15 points (30 x 1.5
Endurance on the cost of the Advantage. = 45, 45 - 30 = 15). This special ability costs
Snake 1 END every time he uses it.

Examples Example: Henri Ption, a fencer, wants to add

a Trigger Advantage (takes no time; +) to his
With the information in these two charts, cal-
Martial Disarm maneuver so it goes o the rst
culating the cost of adding an Advantage to a Mar-
time someone tries to Block his sword in a duel.
tial Maneuver becomes a relatively simple matter.
He is STR 10, and the bonuses from the maneu-
Calculate the cost of the maneuver without the
ver and his Extra DCs add +40 STR to this, for a
Advantage, then with the Advantage, and subtract
total STR of 50. He applies the -5 subtraction for
the rst number from the second to give you the
added Disarm STR and derives a base value of
point value of the Advantage itself.
45 points; the OCV/DCV modiers cancel each
Example: Kickmaster wants to add the Advan- other out, for a nal cost of 45 points. 45 x 1.5 =
tage Armor Piercing to his Oensive Strike, 67 points, 67 - 45 = 22 points, which is what this
which does 12d6 damage (4d6 from his 20 STR, special ability will cost Henri.
plus 4d6 from the maneuver, +4 Extra DCs).
P erceive those things which cannot be seen.
Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings)

One committed to dying can be slain. his chapter explores various aspects creating martial
artist characters (besides choosing their ghting
styles). It includes character archetypes and notes
One committed to living can be captured. on various Skills, Powers, Disadvantages, and other
building blocks of the HERO System as they apply to martial
artist PCs.
One easily angered and hasty to act can be

One obsessed with being scrupulous and

untainted can be shamed.

One who loves the people can be troubled.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Hero Games 107

artial artists in movies, comics, and some other Eastern MIXING AND
popular literature often fall into one or religion and, of course, he practices Oriental MATCHING
more of several character archetypes. ghting techniques. He may mix in a few distinc- ARCHETYPES
Working from an archetype helps tive Americanisms, but its clear where most of his Not every character
many players get a handle on a character (particu- sympathies lie. represents a pure
larly a beginning character) and establish a basic An interesting variant on this archetype is the archetype. In many
games, few if any char-
personality from which to further develop the PC. American From Chinatown, who has spent a great acters t into an arche-
Some of these archetypes are described below. Note deal of time learning about Asian (usually Chinese) type perfectly; most mix
that not all archetypes are necessarily appropriate for culture in his home citys Chinatown. Hes often an and match elements of
all genres; a realistic modern-day action campaign expert on Oriental organized crime, and acts as a two or more archetypes
probably wont feature any Alien Martial Artists. sort of guardian of Chinatown. to create a unique PC.
A character could be a
The Avenger martial artist and gadge-
The Alien Martial Artist teer, or a Kid whos also
You should have killed me a Modern-Day Samurai.
I have come to test my skills when you had the chance.
against your best. How you create a char-
Bai In-Su, the Avenger acter like this depends
Tal Varntep, from Planet 10 on what you consider
This character has been wronged in the past his primary focus.
This martial artist is from another planet. He and now his life is a continuing quest for ven- If the characters mar-
practices an form of martial arts from his own geance. Often the campaign centers around clashes tial arts abilities are his
world, one he typically considers superior to native between this hero (and his friends) and the group main schtick, then
you should design him
Earth ghting styles. He usually has special abilities or clan who wronged him in the past, though this is rst and foremost as a
deriving from his alien physiognomy or high tech- not a good approach to take if the other characters martial artist. Build his
nology. Oftentimes, hes come to Earth to test his dont want always to ght this one heros Hunted. identity around the style
martial prowess against humanitys best ghters. Any other character stereotype can become you choose for him,
The Avenger for a single storyline. All it takes is a and spend a generous
The American From nasty or treacherous attacked aimed at someone the portion of his Charac-
The Orient ter Points on Martial
PC loves.... Maneuvers and martial
My parents were missionaries. The Avenger character tends to have martial arts-related Skills and
So I guess Im Zen Baptist. arts skills including brutal, devastating maneuvers. abilities. Then add on
Elwood Coggin, American He may have many weapons-related abilities. He the things you need to
may have a Psychological Limitation such as Code round out the rest of his
This archetype is a Westerner who has spent of Vengeance (see page 137). personality and abilities,
extensive time in the Orient so much time that such as a bunch of Sci-
A variation on the Avenger is the Maimed ence Skills and a small
hes an expert on Oriental culture and customs, Avenger, who has a Physical Limitation (usually a Variable Power Pool for
including martial arts. missing limb or eye) for which he wishes to exact your martial artist-gad-
Usually the American From The Orient actu- vengeance. geteer.
ally grew up in an Oriental country his parents On the other hand, if
were diplomats, international businessmen, military The Brick Martial Artist your character is only
personnel, or something similar. While they were I will crush you... now! secondarily a martial
too busy to pay much attention to him, he learned artist and many such
martial arts from a servant, wandered into a new Yokozuna, Hero of Tokyo characters exist then
section of the city and was befriended by a martial de-emphasize his mar-
tial arts abilities. Buy his
arts master who taught him to ght, was seduced This character is a martial artist with comic other Skills and Powers
by an evil cult that taught him to be an assassin book-level Strength. He may have gained his super- rst, and then use the
and from whose clutches he later escaped, or the strength after learning a martial arts style, or a remaining points (or a
like. Alternately, he might have traveled to Asia as teammate may have taught him martial arts after smaller percentage of
a young adult, been taken in by the wonders of the his points) to buy his
he gained his powers so he could vary his usual
Orient, and stayed there for years before returning Martial Maneuvers and
I smash puny enemy! ghting style. The most other ghting skills.
to the West. common styles for Brick Martial Artists to use are Unlike the primary
In either event, the characters lifestyle and Boxing and Wrestling, but other are not unheard of martial artist, who prob-
philosophies are typically Eastern rather than West- (such as Brick Tricks, on page 64). ably has several Combat
ern: he furnishes his home in an Asian style; he Skill Levels, the second-
collects Oriental art and weapons; he lives by the ary martial artist may
tenets of Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, or have none at all.
108 The Ultimate Martial Artist

Fulfiller Of Prophecy an 8- KS roll with his art, and the Style Disadvan-
My destiny is written in the tage). He often has no other useful skills, and usu-
stars. Can you hope to stop me? ally has a Psychological Limitation such as Aggres-
John Wa, the Monkey King sively Impatient (Common, Strong; 15 points).

This character fullls, or is the culmination of, The Kickboxing Champ

some centuries-old prophecy. The prophecy can My style is impetuous, my
be a good one (A great champion will be born to defense impenetrable.
your people...) or a bad one (The seventh son of Meow Yen, World Champion
your seventh son will be cursed to destroy all he
touches), but in either event its a central part of
the characters being. Even if he tries to deny it, it The character is a professional kickboxer
inuences his actions, his views on life, and/or the (probably using full-contact Karate, though any
role(s) he chooses for himself. His special destiny martial art with a professional sports version is
may grant him mystical powers (particularly if hes appropriate). He may be an active contender, the
fated to be the defender or savior of his people). current champion in his weight division, or a
retired ghter.
Many of his adventures revolve around him
The Honorable Ninja discovering that his pals or competitors on the
My motives are as pristine as professional circuit have gone bad and begun using
the darkness of this night. their arts for crime. Sometimes the police may call
Katso Sho, Ninja on the character to act as a consultant in martial
arts-related crimes.
The Kickboxing Champion tends to have a
This character could have been born into a well-rounded martial arts style, a few Combat Skill
Japanese ninja clan, or adopted into one. He could Levels, and Skills related to the business: Streetwise,
have been an a gaijin (an outsider or foreigner) Gambling, and the like. He often has the Psycho-
whom the clan agreed to train; or he could be a logical Limitation Overcondent.
practitioner of a type of modern ninjutsu which
claims no ties to historical ninjutsu, but which The Kickboxing Cop
works to redevelop the art. Either way, the character
When you walk these streets,
is a ninja... but one with an honorable soul, whos
you need an edge.
more than a ruthless assassin and spy. Adventures
involving him should deal as much with espionage Detective Jessica Stinnett, HCPD
and stealthy assaults as with all-out martial arts
combat, and should occasionally bring his honor- This character is a policeman, federal agent,
able nature and loyalty to his clan into conict. or private investigator who just happens to know
a martial arts style. In most campaigns, hes more
The Irritable Student independent than peace ocers are supposed to be:
hes much less prone to report all the details of his
This is foolishness, you teach
me nothing! investigations, or the fact that hes just kicked three
Van Harris, Student minor hoodlums to pieces in the course of his case.
(This helps streamline his reports and keeps his
martial arts friends out of trouble.)
Although a promising physical specimen who The Kickboxing Cop usually has a spare,
knows some martial arts and is eager to learn more, stripped-to-the-bone martial arts style (three or
this character is saddled with a teacher who seldom four maneuvers and a few Combat Skill Levels) and
teaches him anything directly related to ghting. numerous Skills and abilities related to his profes-
Instead, the teacher makes him perform excruciat- sion: Deduction, Criminology, WF: Small Arms,
ing and meaningless exercises and chores, hardly Fringe Benet: Police Powers, Contacts, Favors,
ever showing him actual blows or moves, speaking Streetwise, Enhanced Perception, and so forth.
in meaningless aphorisms all the time. Naturally,
the student becomes frustrated and irritable. (Of The Kid
course, the master is using these exercises and Get between me and that dress
chores to condition his body and instill reexes and Ill put you into a wall.
important to his art, but the student is as yet inca- Alice Ono, 10th grade student
pable of realizing this.)
For a character to be the Irritable Student,
the campaign must feature a prominent PC or A brash youngster with an astounding anity
NPC master who trains him (and perhaps other for the martial arts, the Kid is usually in his early
PCs) throughout the course of the campaign. The to mid-teens when he enters the story. He quickly
Student himself should be built with high physical becomes known for his ghting skill, often annoy-
Characteristics and a minimal amount of maneu- ing personality, snide comebacks and rude remarks,
vers (give him the minimum black belt equivalent: and ability to combine Eastern disciplines and
three maneuvers valued at 10 points or more total, philosophies with Western materialism and get the
Hero Games 109

best of both worlds. The Kid is often a Fulller of streets. Hes gullible and susceptible to the wiles of
Prophecy as well. swindlers, con men, and spies.
The Naive Hero/Heroine often has good
The Knight-Errant martial arts abilities (numerous maneuvers and
My cause is just, my heart is Combat Skill Levels) and some profession-related
pure. I cannot be denied. skill. This character should take the Psychological
Kyokt, questing knight Limitation Naive (Common; 10 points) and role-
play it to the hilt.
This martial artist is a classic adventurer: he
travels, seeking out trouble and setting it right The Philosopher
How can you think and
wherever he nds it. He tends to be a professional
hit at the same time?
adventurer; he has good martial arts abilities, but Yogi Barrett, Zen Master
his choice of other Skills reects the campaign
setting. In a modern campaign, hell probably
have several travel-related skills (Combat Driving This archetype, relatively uncommon among
or Piloting, TF: Skiing), numerous Contacts and PCs, is a thinker rather than a doer. He prefers non-
Favors, and Skills related to some adventuring pro- violent solutions to problems, even though his skill
fession (private investigator, spy, or the like). with martial arts makes even seasoned ghters wary
of him. His approach to life is generally dictated by
The Master some school of religious or philosophical thought,
It is in acknowledging our igno- such as Taoism or Buddhism, which he interprets as
rance that we gain wisdom. calling for passive acceptance of most fates, nonvio-
Zong Hop, Master lent responses to violence, or what have you.
But the Philosophers not an ineective milque-
toast. When push comes to shove, as it usually does
This character is a teacher of martial arts and in these stories, the Philosopher sheds his cloak
the philosophies of his style. Hes often built with of nonviolence and uses his ghting skills to their
most or all maneuvers from his style, and perhaps utmost. Although often trained in one of the internal
maneuvers from other styles, making him a very Chinese ghting styles, he can learn any style that
versatile ghter. Often he has somewhat lower is not overtly aggressive (i.e., he shouldnt take Thai
physical Characteristics than the younger heroes he Kick-Boxing or some other brutal ghting styles, but
teaches, but lots of Combat Skill Levels to make up most forms of martial arts are acceptable).
for the decit.
He may have the Age Disadvantage (though The Ronin
he doesnt have to). Hes also likely to have the Psy- My master has fallen; but my
chological Limitation Inscrutable (Common; 10 sword has blood yet to taste.
points); this makes him reluctant to explain why Torii Saru, Ronin
hes ordering his students to do the things theyre
doing, which continually frustrates them.
An unemployed samurai, this character is
often forced to wander and undertake short-term
The Modern Day Samurai assignments (many of them nasty, or which put
My soul was forged in the past. him in moral dilemmas) to make his living.
My katana is state of the art.
Tajiri, Robo-Samurai The Samurai
The reputation of 1,000 years
A modern-day version of the feudal Japanese may be determined in one hour.
samurai or ninja, this character lives by his role Shin Toju, Samurai
models codes of conduct, practices their ghting
arts, and tries to conduct himself as they would. This character is normally a samurai in the
Some versions of this archetype combine ancient employ of a lord in feudal Japan; adventures involv-
training with modern technology and equipment, ing this character generally involve him trying to
but just as often the character limits himself to low- achieve his personal goals (such as revenge) while
tech weapons and gear. meeting his obligations to and achieving the goals
of his lord (which may directly or indirectly con-
The Naive Hero/Heroine ict with his own goals).
I will not sit still while my
home is under attack.

Nabo Rai, Heroine
he Way of the warrior is res-

This character is a prime physical specimen olute acceptance of death.

with a ne command of his martial art; his greatest
Miyamoto Musashi,
problem is his naivete. He may have been sheltered
all his life; hes certainly never spent time on the Go Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings)
110 The Ultimate Martial Artist
A GLOSSARY The Serious Student
OF MARTIAL The Unwilling Fighter
ARTS TERMS I am an empty vessel for my You have started what
masters instruction. I must now finish.
Terms in this Glossary Ba Mingxing, Student Aaron Bailey, ex-Delta Force
are in Chinese (C), Japa-
nese (D), and Korean
(K). This character, like the Irritable Student, This character, though he is a master of the
ai (J) harmony appears in campaigns featuring a teacher as an martial arts, doesnt want to ght. He has other
important PC or NPC. Unlike the Irritable one, this goals, such as the pursuit of philosophy or the
aiki (J) harmony of
eort, harmony of force character is sober and studious (and, usually, more desire to be a humble gardener.
boring than the Irritable Student). The Serious For some plot-driven reason, he becomes the
bu (J) military, mar-
tial Student is built much like the Irritable Student, but target of the villains (perhaps he doesnt let the vil-
without Aggressively Impatient. lains maim or kill his employers, which gives them
bushi (J) warrior
ts). Finally, the villains actions against him and
chambara (J) his-
torical-period samurai The Sidekick those he protects drive him over the edge, and for
lms, usually quite Kid-Hostage? Bruce Lee a brief and bloody period of time he becomes The
bloody; name comes started as a sidekick! Avenger (see above).
from chan-chan bara- The Unwilling Fighter is usually an excellent
Kid-Quick, Sidekick
bara, the spoken sound martial artist, having many Skill Levels and at least
eect for swords clash- four or ve maneuvers. But the martial arts are not
ing This character is a buddy of one of the other his profession; he must have Skills pertaining to
chi (C) spirit; breath; characters; if the campaign centers around a school, whatever he does to make his living.
energy hes another student at the school. A variation of
chuan (C) st, boxing the Sidekick is the Comic Sidekick, whos a bit goofy,
-do (J, K) the way of; foolish or stupid.
Vigilante Martial Artist
when applied to the end This is a demanding role to play, because (by Can crime really pay this
of the name of a mar- well? -- CRACK --
denition) the Sidekick is not as good a martial Nightwalker, Vigilante
tial arts style, it implies
artist as the character who is his friend. He should
philosophical teachings
as well as martial arts have a minimum number of martial arts maneu-
training (for example, vers and fewer Skill Levels than his friends have. If The Vigilante Martial Artist uses his ghting
karate-do means the no player is willing to have distinctly less ghting skills to ght crime and clean up the streets. On his
way of the empty hand) versatility than the groups standard, the Sidekick own he often acts as the protector of a particular
dojang (K) training should not be a PC if he appears at all, he should area or neighborhood (such as Chinatown); as
hall, school be an NPC (often either a DNPC or a Follower). a member of a team he usually functions as the
dojo (J) training hall, On the other hand, he could have a variety of abili- groups expert on gangs and Asian organized crime.
school ties which make him just as useful to the group as In either case his sts and feet have made him a
fa (C) the way of; the top-line ghter. He could have Streetwise and force to be reckoned with on the streets of the city.
Chuan fa means the dozens of street contacts, scientic and technical
way of the st skills the group needs, or the like.
gaijin (J) outsider,
The Warrior-Monk
foreigner; often a derog- Man at his best, like water,
atory term The Super-Soldier serves as he goes along.
giri (J) duty, obliga- God and Country! Brother San Jung-mo, Monk
tion Right will prevail!
American Eagle, WWII Hero
gup (K) grade; ranks
below black belt in
This character is the Buddhist priest with
Korean martial arts This character became the ultimate soldier martial arts training. Usually, the Warrior-Monk
hapki (K) harmony after treatments he received from the government role is combined with another role, such as
(or some private benefactor) made him quicker, Monk/Avenger, Monk/Knight-Errant, and Monk/
hwarang (K) ower-
ing youth; an ancient stronger, or tougher than the average human. He Unwilling Fighter.
term for a korean may also have cybernetic implants, similar technol-
knight-general caste ogy, or even magic to aid him.
hyung (K) forms, In addition to the abilities he gains from his THE CAREER PATH OF THE
exercises, formalized
training movements
treatments, the Super-Soldier is trained to ght, and
ght well. He usually adopts a straightforward (and
ju (J) compliance Western) ghting style, like Commando Train- The creation and development of martial arts
-jutsu (J) the art of; ing, Boxing, or Fisticus/Cinematic Brawling, but characters often follows a denite series of steps or
when applied to the end he can learn any style the player can justify to the stages. You can think of this process as the career
of the name of a martial GM. The Super-Soldiers combination of enhanced path of the martial artist character.
arts style, it indicates The rst step on this path is one all players have
that this is primarily reexes, superior senses, and superb combat train-
a combat system (for ing make him a match for even highly-trained mar- to take: the creation of the character and the selec-
example, karate-jutsu tial arts masters. tion of an interesting martial arts style for the char-
means the art of the acter to use. Often the selection of the style dictates
empty hand) other things about the character, such as his appear-
ance, philosophy of life, and goals. Unfortunately,
Continued on next page this is as far as many character designers get even
Hero Games 111

though there are several more stages of development. order is threatened, the main enemy of his masters Continued from last page
The second step along the path can happen enemies, the renowned leader of the art recognized -ka (J) sux mean-
when the character is rst created, or it may take anywhere in the Martial World, and so forth. He may ing practitioner of (for
place sometime later, such as when the player even be the last living practitioner of his art. This example, judoka means
rewrites or redenes the character after playing him aspect of the character may eventually crystallize judo practitioner)
a while. This is the establishment of a Hunted which into a major, large-scale plotline where something karate (J) empty
involves the characters martial art in some signi- threatens his styles very existence, and only he can hand (originally, China
cant way. For example, the Hunted might be opposed save it by relying on its virtues and strengths. hand)
to the characters martial arts order or school, a The fth and nal step along the martial artists kata (J) forms, exer-
practitioner of a corrupted or evil version of the PCs career path is when the PC becomes the master of cises, formalized train-
ing movements
style, or dedicated to some principle the PC opposes his art. Obviously, this wont happen to all characters
because of his style. or in all campaigns. It may happen when the PCs ken (J) sword
At this point, the character starts to develop master dies, disappears, becomes One With The Uni- ki (J) spirit; breath;
strong ties to his martial art. Its no longer a just a verse, or otherwise becomes unavailable. Depend- energy
means to an end (beating up bad guys). Instead, it ing upon the feelings of the player and/or the GM, kobu (J) old-style
becomes a Way of Life, something dening who he is reaching the fth step may signal that its time to ghting
outside of the combat arena. retire the character and have him devote himself to kuen (C) forms, exer-
The third step along the path takes place when preserving and promoting his art full-time. cises, formalized train-
ing movements
the player (sometimes with the GMs help) develops The career path of the martial artist usually isnt
a very detailed view of the principles and aims of nearly as pronounced in other genres as it is in the kumite (J) free spar-
ring training exercise
his martial art. He now begins to expand its base comic book superhero and martial arts genres. Other
of maneuvers, manifest special powers associated genres generally lack the opportunities to focus on kung fu (C) hard
work, well done
with it, and so forth. The GM now becomes more the martial artist and his world in the way superhero
involved with the characters development as he and pure martial arts campaigns can. However, this kwon (K) punching,
or hand
thinks about the characters role in the Martial World is not to say the career path is totally absent it
and begins to introduce more plotlines centered simply detours a little, based on the strictures of the kwoon (C) training
hall, school
around the character, his style, his fellow practitio- genre in question. For example, in a fantasy game
ners, and his enemies. the GM might have created a race or tribe with its kyu (J) grade; ranks
below black belt in
Furthermore, the PC is now procient enough own martial art. As a result of long-standing oaths Japanese martial arts;
to begin teaching students in earnest NPCs seek and customs, the best and brightest practitioners of also means archery
him out for instruction, perhaps at the behest of this art go to the king of a nearby powerful nation to (kyujutsu is the art of
the PCs own sifu or sensei, perhaps on their own serve as his guards and protectors. In this situation, archery)
initiative (depending upon the characters fame and the martial artist PCs career path might consist of obi (J) belt
reputation). These students may include former going out into the world to gain enough experience ryu (J) school, style,
enemies whom the PC defeated, who now recognize with his tribes ghting style so he can return to the or tradition (for exam-
his wisdom and seek to learn from him. tribe, prove his worth, and become a member of ple, Nito-Ryu means
At step four, the character gradually develops the Kings Guard. Whether this requires him to be Nito Style)
into the main defender of his martial art the removed from play would depend on the GM and sabom (K) teacher
champion his master sends for when the style or the player. sensei (J) teacher
sifu (C) teacher
tae (K) kicking, or
ti (K) belt denoting
wu shu (C) military
112 The Ultimate Martial Artist

his section reviews some special applica- ACTING
tions of Skills for martial arts characters. Martial artists can use Acting to simulate a
Many additional Skills, such as Defense greater injury than they have actually received.
Maneuver and Penalty Skill Levels, are This may make their opponent overcondent and
not mentioned here because they function nor- allow the character to make a Surprise Attack. To
mally for martial artists, but that doesnt make them use Acting this way, make a Skill Versus Skill Con-
any less appropriate for this type of character or test against the targets PER Roll. The GM decides,
campaign. based on how clever he feels the ploy is and how
ACROBATICS likely the target is to believe it (the Overcondence
Psychological Limitation usually comes into play
Acrobatics is a very appropriate skill for mar-
here), how much of an OCV bonus to give the
tial artist characters. It has several uses.
character. If the ploy is not really clever, or the
Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-) target knows the character does this all the time,
In some martial arts campaigns, characters buy or the target makes his PER Roll by more than the
the Leaping Power with the Requires An Acrobatics character makes his Acting roll, the character gets
Roll Limitation. Characters can also use this Limi- no bonus. (In fact, the GM may give the target an
tation for DCV Combat Skill Levels and similar OCV bonus, as the Acting character probably has
abilities. to reduce his mobility [and hence his DCV] to
make a fake injury look convincing.)
Acrobatics And Being Thrown Characters can also use Acting to imitate some
A character can use Acrobatics to resist being other characters personal ghting style. This ability
thrown by any maneuver which is supposed to doesnt necessarily have much use in combat, but
throw him to the ground (including both Martial may crop up in other situations. For example, sup-
Maneuvers and the good old Grab & Throw com- pose a villain with Acting wants to frame a PC for
bination). With a successful Acrobatics roll at a a crime. He could Disguise himself as the PC, then
-3 penalty, the character keeps his feet and is not perform some heinous crime before witnesses who
thrown down. swear it was the hero they didnt just recognize
However, this doesnt keep him from taking his face, they recognized his moves. This requires a
damage from the Throw maneuver. Some Throws Skill Versus Skill Contest pitting the villains Acting
are st-strikes hard enough to take a character o Skill against the PER Rolls of onlookers familiar
his feet; others are leg-sweeps where the damage with the real person. To do this, the actor must
comes from the attackers blow to the backs of the know at least two Martial Maneuvers in the same
characters legs; and the standard Grab & Throw style as the person hes mimicking. If the actor is a
still slams a character hard onto the ground even if karateka and hes trying to imitate a jujutsuka, and
he keeps his feet. Whether his roll succeeds or fails, does not have any Jujutsu maneuvers, hes out of
he takes full damage from the Throw maneuver. luck. A Knowledge Skill of the imitated characters
Acrobatics And Being Prone style can act as a Complementary Skill Roll.
A character who is thrown or knocked down, ANALYZE STYLE
one who isnt able to keep his feet, can use Acrobat-
ics another way. If he makes a half roll (e.g., if his A martial artist can buy the Analyze Skill as
roll is a 13, he must roll a 7 or under), he immedi- Analyze Style, which gives him the ability to assess
ately gets his full DCV, even though hes prone. If an enemys ghting skills. He may only use it while
he fails his half roll, he suers ordinary DCV modi- watching the enemy ght; he must observe his
ers for being prone. But on his next Phase, he can target ghting for at least one full Turn.
try again. The information the character can gain from
The character does not have to get to his feet to an Analyze Style roll depends on how well he suc-
have his full DCV when using Acrobatics this way. ceeds, as indicated in the accompanying table.
He may prefer to remain prone. For example, per- A character with Analyze Style gets a +2 to his
haps hes been injured so that one leg isnt working Skill Roll if his target possesses a Style Distinctive
right, thus keeping him from standing up hell Feature (see page 135). On the other hand, he has
have to stay down and use his Acrobatics to keep a harder time analyzing ghters who have Lack of
his DCV up. (Of course, he may suer a penalty for Weakness; each point of Lack of Weakness imposes
trying to use Acrobatics with an injured leg; this a -1 on the roll.
depends on the GM.) Analyze Style is the required Skill for the
Analyze Style Aid ability described under Aid on
Hero Games 113

page 120. In this context, the character analyzes the on a characters next action (see page 51 of the
ghting style of an opponent, then uses his own HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). If the Thrown
abilities to exploit his opponents weaknesses for a character makes a Breakfall roll by half, he avoids
brief time. this eect, so the characters act on their regular
Analyze Style also allows a martial artist DEXs, just like normal.
to take advantage of an opponents consistency. A character cannot perform a Breakfall roll
Some characters tend to favor one or two attack and an Acrobatics roll in the same Phase both to
maneuvers, usually because they oer high damage resist being thrown and to reduce the damage from
capabilities or some advantageous combination of being thrown: he can only use one of them against
CV bonuses. In this situation, a character can make a given Throw attack. However, a character could
an Analyze Style roll to prepare himself for this make one Acrobatics or Breakfall roll to avoid
favored attack. If he succeeds with the roll, he gets some of the eects of the Throw, and then make a
+2 DCV against that maneuver in this particular separate Breakfall roll to regain his feet instantly
ght. In later ghts the character has to make a new (without taking a Half Phase). He could make an
Analyze Style roll, perhaps at a small bonus because additional Breakfall roll in the same Phase to over-
he made it before. Characters can also use KS: Spe- come the rst movement next Phase goes to the
cic Martial Art (see below) this way. Thrower eect.
Breakfall is known as ukemi in Japanese and
ANALYZE STYLE TABLE nhao lan in Vietnamese.

Makes Roll By Information Gained COMBAT SKILL LEVELS

0 (Exactly) Whether the target is a poor, Characters can do several unusual things with
medium, good, or master-level Combat Skill Levels.
Clarication: 3-Point Skill Levels With A
1 or 2 How the target compares Martial Art
to the character in terms of If a character has bought 3-point CSLs with a
ghting prowess: i.e., Im far single martial art (say, Karate), and has purchased a
superior to him, It would be
Weapons Element for that art (for example, to use
a close thing but I think Id
win, Its anybodys guess who Karate Weapons with the Karate maneuvers), the
would win, He has the edge character can use those Skill Levels with weapons
over me, or I dont stand a used with his Martial Maneuvers. However, if he
3 or 4 Certain Physical Limitations
and Vulnerabilities possessed
by target (the GM decides
what Limitations the Skill can
detect; Lame would be, while
2 x BODY from Poisons would
not be, for example).
Half or Better Location of the targets open
Gate (if target has the Breath
Control power described
under Damage Resistance on
page 122.)

A character can use Breakfall to reduce the
damage he takes from any maneuver that throws
him to the ground. With a successful Breakfall roll,
he only takes half damage for the attack. However,
he suers a -1 penalty to his roll for every 2d6
damage in that attack. For instance, if the Throw is
supposed to do 6d6 damage, he suers a -3 penalty
to his Breakfall roll. If he makes it, he only takes
3d6 damage. If he fails, he takes all 6d6. The hard-
ness and evenness of the surface modify the roll
(see page 152).
This works even if attacker denes the Throw
attack as a strike strong enough to knock the char-
acter down; some but not all of the damage comes
from the strike, and the successful use of Breakfall
eliminates the half of the damage which comes
from hitting the ground.
At the GMs option, a character can make a
Breakfall roll by half to avoid the eect Throw has
114 The Ultimate Martial Artist
NON-WEAPON buys maneuvers from outside his art (say, a Ken-
COMBAT EFFECTS jutsu sword maneuver), he cannot use the 3-point
Flexible, Lengthy: Skill CSLs with his original art with the outside maneu-
Levels apply to Block, vers.
Choke Hold, Strike. In general, characters are better o buying
Rigid, Intricate, Bulky: 5-point CSLs with Hand-To-Hand Combat, since
Reduced OCV with these Levels apply to the Martial Maneuvers, other
damaging attacks; Skill maneuvers bought outside the characters style,
Levels apply to Disarm, ordinary HERO System Combat Maneuvers, and
Bind, Grab. weapons not used within the characters style.
Rigid, Simple, Bulky:
Reduced OCV with Combat Skill Levels with Non-Weapon Weapons
damaging attacks; Skill A character could buy 3-point CSLs with Non-
Levels apply to Block, Weapon Weapons. Heres what it means and what
Disarm, Bind. it does:
Example: A small When a character picks up a piece of furniture
bookshelf isnt a good or other unusual item a weapon of opportunity
weapon to hit people and slugs a target with it, the GM usually just
with; someone using determines what sort of club the item corresponds
it to Strike with
should suer about to and assigns damage based on that. But if a char-
a -3 OCV penalty. acter buys 3-point CSLs with Non-Weapon Weap-
But a character could ons, the GM should take a dierent approach. He
maneuver an attacker should consider the item being picked up and then
into stabbing at him decide which three maneuvers the characters Skill
between the shelves, Levels apply to when hes using this weapon. (As
and then rotate the
you know, 3-point CSLs normally only aect three Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-). Remember, each
bookshelf to Disarm
the weapon, Bind the maneuvers.) He should make his decision based two Skill Levels (10 Active Points) result in a -1 to
weapon, or lock the on the look of the item and how he imagines the the Acrobatics roll.
attackers arm. There- character can use it in combat. The accompanying
fore the GM decides sidebar provides general guidelines for types of Hand-To-Hand Levels Versus A Specic Style
the character gets his non-weapons and what combat eects they might These CSLs apply Only Against [Specic
OCV/DCV bonuses have. Martial Arts Style] (-1). They simulate a charac-
with Bind, Disarm, ter who has studied a particular style extensively
and Grab maneu- Alternately, a character could buy a 1-point
Weapon Element with specic objects (Use Art and learned its weaknesses. Characters may also
vers. Small bookcases
arent much good for with Bicycle, Use Art with Sawhorse, and so forth). take the Limitation Requires A KS: [Specic Style]
hitting people, so the That allows him to use the object normally with his Roll for these Levels. This sort of CSL is especially
GM might give it 2d6 Martial Maneuvers. appropriate for a martial arts villain. He can use his
Normal Damage. Levels to easily defeat the PCs in an early encoun-
COMBAT SKILL LEVELS BOUGHT AS ter; later, after the PCs have gotten additional train-
Example: A sawhorse POWERS ing or learned ways to mask the weaknesses the
also doesnt look like
much of a striking Though its not normally appropriate to buy villain exploited, they can return and defeat him.
weapon, though its Skill Levels as Powers, sometimes its all right to do
better than a book- so to construct certain abilities or powers. Remem-
shelf; give it a -1 OCV. ber that Combat Skill Levels bought with Limita- In Japan, this Skill is called iaijutsu; its the
Like the bookshelf, it tions only aect OCV (or, very rarely, only aect samurais ability to unsheathe his sword instantly
does have small areas and attack without hesitation. Tradition attributes
DCV); see the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised,
the character can use the creation of Iaijutsu to one Hj Jinsuke, who
to trap an incoming page 53, for further information.
limb or weapon, and
developed it as part of a quest to avenge his fathers
Hand-To-Hand Skill Levels Which Cost END murder.
its shape is suited
to blocking attacks. In the movies especially, a character may go Warriors often regard Iaijutsu as a martial
Therefore the GM out to ght, nd his opponent was tougher than he art in itself, but its sucient for game purposes to
decides the character thought, and begin really concentrating on the ght describe it as a companion art to Kenjutsu. It has
can use his skill levels ghting above himself, tiring himself out faster, four basic techniques: nukitsuke (the sudden draw-
with Bind, Block, and but ghting more eectively. ing of the blade); kiritsuke (the cut(s) used to injure
Disarm maneuvers. To simulate this, characters can buy 5-point
Sawhorses have rigid or kill the opponent); chiburi (the shaking of blood
legs with narrow CSLs for Hand-to-Hand Combat with the Limita- from the sword-blade; this maneuver is sometimes
points on them, so tions Costs Endurance (-) and Increased Endur- used to blind an opponent by icking blood into
the GM rules that ance Cost (x2 END; -). This creates CSLs that each his eyes); and noto (resheathing the sword). Other
the weapon does 3d6 cost 1 END per Phase to use. techniques dealt with countering surprise attacks,
Normal Damage. attacks by multiple opponents, ghting in the dark,
Hand-To-Hand Levels Depending On Acrobatics,
Example: A garden DCV Only and so forth. (Thus, to truly simulate Iaijutsu, a
hose would do neg- To simulate the incredible DCV acrobatic character should purchase not only Fast Draw
ligible damage, but martial artists have when using their Acrobat- but Combat Sense and Defense Maneuver as well;
it isnt clumsy; it Lighting Reexes is also recommended.) Knowl-
ics Skill, you can purchase 5-point DCV CSLs
for Hand-to-Hand Combat with the Limitation edgeable characters can identify dierent substyles
Continued on next page of Iaijutsu by the grips they teach, the ghters
Hero Games 115

emphasis on certain techniques, and so forth. wise Skill, but deals only with the world of the Continued from last page
Fast Draw has another function outside of martial arts. Streetwise doesnt do much good shouldnt impose an
combat: a character can use it to snatch things out among martial artists, because those who belong OCV penalty. A char-
of someones hand before he can close it a trick to the Martial World are rather insular and closed- acter can also use it to
often performed to impress someone. The character mouthed about it when talking to outsiders. catch incoming weap-
ons (blunt weapons
has the other person hold something in his open A successful KS: Martial World roll allows a only sharp ones
palm, and tells the fellow he can snatch the object hero to use the Martial World grapevine to hear would cut right
out of his hand before the fellow can close his hand. about unusual events and happenings in the Mar- through), to choke a
With a successful Fast Draw roll in a Skill Versus tial World, and to send messages to other people in foe, or to swing the
Skill Contest against the targets Fast Draw or DEX the Martial World. For example, if a hero hears that metal cap at the end
Roll, he can do this. If the character succeeds and an assassination was performed using an interest- at the target. There-
immediately makes an appropriate Presence Attack, ing but little-known Taijutsu technique, a successful fore the GM decides
the character can
grant him +1d6 for every two points by which he KS: Martial World roll might let him gure out who use his skill levels
beat the targets Fast Draw or DEX Roll. can reveal the culprits identity to him (or, simply, with Block, Choke
A character can also use Sleight Of Hand, if who the culprit is). This Skill also keeps the char- Hold, and Strike
he possesses it, to make a switch. With successful acter up to date about whos on top in the sporting maneuvers using the
Fast Draw and Sleight Of Hand rolls (the target competition forms of the martial arts and other hands (i.e., Punches,
can make a PER Roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest current aairs in the signicant martial arts schools not Kicks). Garden
hoses arent terribly
with the Sleight Of Hand), our hero can take the around the world. eective weapons; the
object o the other fellows palm and drop another GM rules they do 1d6
Knowledge Skill: Mon
in its place... without the target realizing whats hap- Normal Damage.
Mon are symbols and designs used to repre-
pened. The target feels the object in his hand and
sent Japanese families; every major Japanese family, Non-Weapon Weapons
thinks he won the contest. are all considered Clubs
especially the more traditional ones, has a distinc-
KNOWLEDGE SKILLS tive mon design. Knowledge Skill of mon gives a for purposes of a char-
acters skill with them...
The following Knowledge Skills are especially character a good grounding in the recognition of and everyone auto-
appropriate for martial artist characters. these designs. He can recognize famous designs matically has Weapons
automatically, and identify others with a success- Familiarity with Clubs.
Knowledge Skill: Chinese Healing ful Skill Roll. This can be important in martial arts
KS: Chinese Healing reects a characters campaigns centered around Japan, where recogniz-
knowledge of ancient Chinese healing techniques. ing a characters family by his mon can make all the
It corresponds, in game mechanics, to SS: Medicine dierence in determining who is friend and who is
and PS: Doctor. foe.
Chinese Healing uses a combination of herbal
medicine and acupuncture. It works to put the Knowledge Skill: Specic Martial Art
bodys internal systems back in balance to combat You saw in Chapter One that every martial arts
disease or cope with traumatic injury. In game style recommends purchase of a Knowledge Skill.
terms, it works just like PS: Doctor (a character This skill has several functions in the campaign:
with it must buy a 1-point License To Practice Medi- History: The character has a grounding in the his-
cine Fringe Benet separately if he wishes to prac- tory of his style. He knows the factors that led to its
tice medicine legally). development, the inuences which aected the art,
Characters can use Chinese Healing to undo and the names of the persons who contributed sig-
the eects of dim mak attacks (see Drain on page nicantly to its development. With a successful Skill
123). A character with KS: Chinese Healing can Roll, he can answer more dicult questions about
make a normal Skill Roll to detect that his patient the styles history.
is suering from dim mak techniques. To cure his
Philosophy: The character has an understanding
patient, he must succeed in a Skill Versus Skill Con-
of the philosophical side of his style. Most Eastern
test against the Chinese Healing Skill of the charac-
martial arts have a very important philosophi-
ter who performed that dim mak attack. If he wins
cal side to them, often grounded in Buddhism.
the contest, he turns o the eects of the dim mak
This is seldom important in an action-adventure
attack. This cure doesnt instantly heal the victim
game, though wise practitioners of the art are often
back to health; it just stops the progressive eects of
inclined to bae young adventurers with cryptic
the dim mak and allows the patient to begin healing
riddles and metaphors, which a successful Knowl-
normally. If he fails the roll, he can do nothing to
edge Skill roll can help unravel.
forestall the continuation of the dim mak eects.
Regional variations on this Skill include KS: Personalities: The character knows major practitio-
Indian Healing and KS: Korean Healing, which ners of the art, at least by name and reputation. If
are appropriate for some martial arts from those the art is practiced as a sport (for example, Karate
regions. has a full-contact sport as a sideline), he knows who
the current champions and contenders are with a
Knowledge Skill: The Martial World successful Skill Roll. In modern-day campaigns, he
In modern-day campaigns, the Martial World also knows what they look like due to appearances
is a worldwide martial arts subculture; you nd it in magazines covering the style.
in any nation or city where there are martial arts
schools or traditions. Schools: The character can, with a successful roll,
KS: The Martial World is similar to the Street- recognize the precise style of another practitioner
116 The Ultimate Martial Artist
of the same art. One karateka (Karate practitioner) through use of code-words and hand-signs casual
observing another in combat can make his Skill observers could not detect (or would not know
Roll; with a successful roll, he will know (or at the meaning of). A ninja in the eld can give tacti-
least have a good idea) of which branch of the cal commands to his subordinates through spoken
style the other character learned, and may (if he words and hand-signs. A ninja can bury an impor-
makes his roll by 3 or better) know exactly who tant object at a particular site and leave a mean-
trained this character. ingless scratch on a wall or tree nearby; a ninja of
Symbols: With a successful roll, the character can his own clan can interpret the scratches and nd
recognize the distinctive symbols used by many the buried goods.
schools or branches of his style. Where appropri- Consider this a complete language which
ate, he can recognize variations in the weapons may be performed at any time either with voice,
used by dierent branches of his style. For exam- or with hand-signs, or both. But its not a sophis-
ple, dierent ninja clans were supposed to have ticated language, so the GM can assign INT Rolls
dierent-looking shuriken; a character with KS: and INT Roll penalties to ninja trying to com-
Ninjutsu could, with a successful roll, determine a municate complicated thoughts or stories when
shurikens school or clan of origin (if any). using it.
Other Styles: With a successful roll at -2, the char- PROFESSIONAL SKILL: INSTRUCTOR
acter can recognize a style not his own. He might Characters who want to teach their martial
see a ghter in combat, make his roll, and recog- art to others should buy this Skill. Anyone can
nize that the other fellow was performing Savate teach, of course, but someone with PS: Instructor
maneuvers. The GM can apply additional penalties is more skilled at doing so, and better able to eval-
based on how unfamiliar he believes the character uate the best methods for instructing a particular
to be with the style hes observing. This use of the student or class, the progress of a student, and so
Skill doesnt allow the character to recognize spe- forth. This Skill includes knowledge of some very
cic schools or styles of the other art. basic sports medicine techniques to help with
Analyze Style: If the character has the Analyze Style common dojo injuries.
Skill, and has a KS of the same style being used by SCIENCE SKILL: SPECIFIC MARTIAL ART
the character hes analyzing, he can use his KS as a
A Science Skill in a particular style gives a
Complementary Skill to the Analyze Style Skill.
character knowledge of the mechanical aspects
LANGUAGE: NINJA CLAN CODES AND of his ghting maneuvers, including their kine-
SYMBOLS siology and the scientic principles which make
Only ninja who belong to ninja clans may them work. At the GMs option, this may include
learn this Skill. Its a series of special code-words, some appropriate sports medicine techniques
hand-signs, and commands that allow a ninja to for common dojo injuries and/or some very
communicate secretly and silently with one of basic knowledge of human anatomy. In appropri-
his own clan. Characters must buy it this way: 2 ate circumstances, this SS and PS: Instructor are
points in a language (Ninja Clan Codes), and 1 Complementary to one another, since oftentimes
point for Literacy (Ninja the more one knows about an art, the better one
Clan Symbols). Buying can teach that art to others.
more points in the SLEIGHT OF HAND
language doesnt
At the GMs option, characters can use this
do any good.
Skill as a Half Phase Action to perform feints
Each ninja clan
or foists in combat. This means the characters
has its own set of
trying to fake out his opponent, creating an
codes and symbols.
opening he can exploit. For every 2 points the
Consider each
character makes his Sleight Of Hand roll by, he
clans language
gains +1 to his OCV, up to a maximum of +3.
linguistically unre-
However, each time after the rst he tries this
lated to all other
against a particular opponent, he takes a cumula-
clan languages (or
tive -2 penalty to his Sleight Of Hand roll. Thus,
any other language,
sooner or later a recurring enemy learns the
for that matter) for
characters tricks and how to avoid them. Other
purposes of learning
characters who have watched the character ght,
more than one.
or who make the characters Reputation roll, may
Two ninja of
also know of his tricks, thus subjecting him to the
the same clan,
same penalty even if this is the rst time hes ever
sitting together,
fought them.
could hold an
If the character fails his Sleight Of Hand roll,
ordinary conver-
and his opponent makes a PER Roll at -2, the
sation with normal
attacker suer a -2 OCV penalty on his attack,
speech and
since his target has seen through the feint and
exchange secret
knows what to expect.
Hero Games 117

erquisites which are useful in martial arts Black Belt (1 point)

T he roots of
campaigns include: This optional Perk indicates the character is
recognized as a black belt, or expert ghter, by a
governing body of his style (or some similar orga- education
nization) and has the right to refer to himself as
Several types of Contacts often appear in mar- such. A character with this Perk can sometimes rely are bitter, but the
tial arts stories: on members of the Martial World for work (i.e.,
teaching martial arts), shelter, and the like.
fruit is sweet.
The Ex-Master: The martial arts expert who trained
the character. If bought as a Contact, he wont This Perk is strictly an optional one; its avail- Aristotle
normally come along with the hero on his adven- ability depends on the GMs ruling regarding how a
tures, but can often answer questions about the character qualies to be a black belt. Refer to Black
heros newest opponent or give the hero additional Belt Status In The HERO System, page 13, for details.
between-adventures training. Kirisutogomen (10 points)
The Old Buddy: This character was in the armed Only characters in feudal-era Japanese cam-
forced with the hero, was a co-student with him paigns can take this Fringe Benet. It represents a
back in the old days, or something of the sort. samurais right to kill anyone of a lower social class.
Hes often a lower-grade martial artist himself; In some periods, samurai all had this right, but dif-
frequently, hes also wealthy, or a weaponsmith of ferent samurai implemented it in dierent ways.
some sort. He can make (normal) weapons for the More calm and philosophical samurai exercised it
hero, or protect the rescued NPC when the hero only when deliberately oended; touchier samurai
doesnt need to be burdened with the presence of a killed anyone who accidentally stepped across their
non-ghter. blades, didnt bow down quite far enough, or oth-
erwise inadvertently bothered them for any reason.
However, characters should remember that daimyo
The most common type of Follower for a mar- (lords) tend to frown upon the indiscriminate kill-
tial artist to have is a student. Many martial artists ing of their subjects, peasants or otherwise.
attract non-ghters or beginning ghters who
wish to learn from them. The character can guide Right To Marry (1 point)
the students development by deciding how much This is a necessary Perk of Buddhist monk
to spend on his Follower Perk; when the Follower characters.
reaches an ample level of ability and its time for the Right Of Shelter (1 point)
characters to part, the PC can turn in his Follower This is a necessary Perk of Buddhist monk
and get his points back. He has to use those points characters. It doesnt mean the character has the
to buy o Disadvantages related to the Follower, or right to barge into peoples homes and demand
to buy other Followers, Bases, Vehicles, and such food and shelter, but rather that in predominantly
things he cannot spend them on Characteristics, Buddhist countries or regions, someone (usually
Skills, or Powers. a peasant or a monk from the local monastery)
FRINGE BENEFITS will always oer him shelter (if hes known to be a
Accredited Instructor (1 point)
This Perk indicates the character has received
accreditation as an expert and instructor in a spe- Martial arts campaigns are not about money,
cic martial arts style by a recognized body which and so a martial artist character should only take
regulates that style (for example, the World Kung the Money Perk as part of his background concep-
Fu Masters Federation for a Kung Fu practitio- tion. If hes a multi-millionaire whos also a martial
ner). This increases his prole in the Martial World artist, he should take Wealthy; if he has chosen a
and helps him attract students (should he wish to lifestyle where hes continually impoverished, he
teach). should take Destitute.
Since this Perk indicates someone whos an REPUTATION
expert and a qualied instructor, the GM should
Many martial artists have a Reputation reect-
ordinarily require a character to be a black belt (see
ing their ghting skill. They should buy this as a
page 13 for qualications), or possess a similar level
Perk, since it causes others to back down rather
of skill and learning, before he can buy Accredited
than ght them, makes it easier to intimidate
118 The Ultimate Martial Artist
punks, earns the character a measure of respect in with a base should also teach his agents, or stu-
appropriate circles, and so forth. The Martial World dents.
counts as a medium-sized group for purposes of Point-purchased special vehicles are very
buying Reputation. uncommon in martial arts campaigns.
The GM may decide that martial arts char-
acters in his campaigns do not get to buy bases or
The most common sort of base found in a vehicles with their own points theyre limited to
martial arts campaign is the school. Only masters the sorts of bases and vehicles bought with money.
and master villains have schools, so a character

any of the Talents from the HERO reduced by half (the typical eect of invisibility
System are very useful when build- on hand-to-hand and ranged combat) he can
ing martial arts characters. The most ght the invisible character with his full OCV. The
important ones include: character can get bonuses to his roll if he gures
out clever ways to reduce the eects of the invis-
ibility (making his opponent ght in an area with
Many martial artists train to ght when a lot of dust in the air or water on the oor, for
blindfolded or blinded; you can represent that example).
ability with Combat Sense. It can be a life-saver Remember that standard Combat Sense
for a martial artist when the lights go out, his stands on its own it isnt subject to the Simu-
opponent blows some dust into his eyes, hes been lated Sense Rule. Characters can link it to a Sense
successfully Flashed, and so on. Blind martial art- Group if they wish. This greatly reduces its cost,
ists also have this Talent. but also makes it much more likely their Combat
Combat Sense also proves useful if the char- Sense will be Flashed or otherwise blocked.
acter has to ght an invis-
ible foe. A martial DANGER SENSE
artist who makes a Like Combat Sense, Danger Sense can alert
Combat Sense roll the martial artist to an attack even when theres
will not have no obvious sign of that attack coming. This is a
his OCV Talent of skilled masters, intuitive martial artists,
and characters with animal-like senses. However,
as with all stop-sign Talents, it requires special
permission from the GM.
In a martial arts battle, he who strikes rst
often triumphs. Thus, many martial artists buy
this Talent to reect the almost supernatural
quickness they develop through their training. In
some cases, characters can apply the Limitation
Requires A Skill Roll (-) to it; possible Skills
include Sense Chi (see below), Analyze
Style, KS: opponents martial arts style, or
a DEX Roll.
This is an unusual, but not unheard
of, ability among martial artists. Its most
often learned by masters who have total
control over their bodies.
Hero Games 119

- if one or more
haracters can use many HERO System members of a specic team (the team may have
Powers to create interesting abilities, up to seven characters total) must be present. The
powers, and super-skills for martial OCV/DCV Only Limitation means the charac-
arts characters. In Superheroic games, ter doesnt change his place on the Combat Order
they can even use Powers to create abilities deriv- Sheet; this helps to keep the power from irritating
ing from ancient Chinese sorcery or many other the GM.
strange sources. (5) The character can apply the Delayed Return
AID Rate Advantage to decrease the loss rate for the Aid,
up to wearing o at a rate of 5 Character Points per
There are many uses for Aid for martial arts
Minute (+).
characters, including the ones described below.
Battles are often unpredictable things, which is
If characters in an Array become separated in
why characters should build the abilities described
combat beyond the 5 range, they cannot use their
in this section with Aid Aids eects are similarly
Aid bonus at that moment... but it does not wear o
unpredictable. However, some players nd this
instantly. If the characters get back within range of
unpredictability frustrating they can never know
one another before the Aid wears o, the Aid bonus
precisely how much increase a Characteristic will
is instantly restored.
receive from an Aid, making it dicult to plan or
use certain tactics. If you feel this way, apply the Example: Jiro and Eiko are a brother-and-sister
Standard Eect Rule to your Aid powers, or per- ghting Array. Each of them buys the following
haps substitute Combat Skill Levels for Aid (char- power: Aid DEX 3d6, Invisible Power Eects
acters can take many of the Limitations applicable (Fully Invisible; +1) (60 Active Points); Self
to Aid, such as the need to remain close to your Only (-), Usable Only Within 5 of Sibling (-
partners for an Array, on the CSLs). 1), Only Increases OCV And DCV (-). Total
cost: 22 points.
An Array is a ghting style where two or more If they later become part of a larger ghting
ghters have trained together so long and so well team, one with ve members, they could either
that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. decide the ability works only when all members
When ghting together, the partners in the Array were within 5, or when any one other member
are much more formidable than when ghting was within 5. Assuming they choose the latter,
alone or ghting alongside someone who is not the ability becomes: Aid DEX 3d6, Fully Invis-
their partner. ible (+1) (60 Active Points); Self Only (-),
A character can buy an Array as an Aid DEX Usable Only Within 5 Of Any Member Of
for himself with these Advantages, Limitations and Five-Man Team (-), Only Increases OCV
restrictions: And DCV (-). Total cost: 27 points.
(1) Array Aid powers should be limited to a maxi-
mum of Aid DEX 6d6. Chi Aid
Because martial arts characters often tap
(2) Characters cannot increase the maximum
into their inner strength, or chi, they can buy Aid
number of Character Points they can add to a
powers (with numerous Limitations) dened as
Characteristic; i.e., if you have an Aid 6d6, you
summoning ones chi. The following guidelines
cannot add more than 36 Character Points to the
apply to Chi Aid abilities:
aected Characteristic (this translates into a limit
of +12 DEX). (1) Chi Aid powers are limited to 2-4d6 Character
Points of Aid (see below).
(3) The power must have the following Advantage:
Invisible Power Eects (Fully Invisible; +1). (2) Characters cannot increase the maximum
number of Character Points which they can add to
(4) The power must have the following Limita-
a Characteristic; i.e., if you have Aid STR 3d6, you
tions: Only For Increasing OCV And DCV (-), Self
cannot add more than 18 Character Points to STR.
Only (-); Usable Only Within 5 Of [Specic Other
Person(s)] (-1 to -). The Specic Other Persons (3) All Chi Aid abilities must take the Invisible
Limitation is worth -1 if all members of a specic Power Eects Advantage (Fully Invisible; +1).
team must be present; -1 if only one specic other (4) All Chi Aid abilities must take the Self Only
person (a permanent partner) must be present; or (-) Limitation.
120 The Ultimate Martial Artist
(5) The following Limitations are recommended or the Power Frameworks section, below, for more
appropriate, but not required unless the GM says information).
so: Activation Roll, Concentration, Extra Time,
Gestures, Incantation, Increased Endurance Cost. A sample of a Kiai Shout power might look
(6) Characters can buy Chi Aid to aect one or like this:
more of the following Characteristics: STR, CON, Example: Aid PRE 4d6, Invisible Power Eects
EGO, PRE, REC, END, and/or STUN at a maxi- (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Self
mum of Aid 4d6; or BODY, PD, and/or ED at a Only (-), Only To Make Oensive Presence
maximum of Aid 2d6. Aid BODY powers must take Attacks (-), 4 Charges (-1), Costs END (-),
the Limitation Aid Can Only Raise Characteristics Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1).
To Starting Values (-1). See Kiai Aid, below, for Total cost: 16 points.
options for PRE Aid powers.
This represents the sort of Kiai Shout a char-
(7) Characters cannot buy Chi Aid to aect DEX, acter might buy initially. As he gains experience,
INT, COM, or SPD. hed doubtless buy o the Charges Limitation, buy
(8) Characters cannot take the Delayed Return down the Increased Endurance Cost, and perhaps
Rate Advantage for this Aid. Chi Aids must wear increase the dice of eect.
o at the standard 5 Character Points per Turn rate
Aid With A Skill Roll
(though they could wear o sooner, if appropri-
Sometimes characters who make a successful
ately Limited).
Skill Roll can gain combat advantages against their
(9) You can only put Chi Aid powers into Power opponent. In HERO System terms, you can simulate
Frameworks with the GMs permission (refer to the such bonuses by Aiding certain Characteristics.
Power Frameworks section, below, for more infor- Sense Chi and Analyze Style are the most common
mation). Skills used for this ability, and DEX is almost
Example: Aid STR 3d6, Invisible Power Eects always the Characteristic Aided. The examples
(Fully Invisible; +1) (60 Active Points); Self given below assume Analyze Style is the Skill used
Only (-), Activation Roll 14- (-), Increased and DEX is Aided.
Endurance Cost (x5 END; -2). Total cost: 15 Here are the Limitations on the power:
points. (1) A Heroic-level character may only buy up to
Aid DEX 2d6 (which results in a maximum of 12
At the GMs discretion, some of the restric-
Character Points of DEX, or 4 points of DEX). He
tions described here may diminish or vanish in
may increase the amount of Character Points his
campaigns which are wilder, Superheroic, or more
Aid give him, up to 48 Character Points of DEX (or
oriented toward martial arts.
16 points of DEX). Superheroic characters may buy
Kiai Aid up to Aid DEX 4d6, and may increase the amount
A kiai is a war-shout a mighty shout which of Character Points the Aid gives him, up to 63
surprises opponents, upsets their timing, some- Character Points (or 21 points of DEX).
times even stuns them. In HERO System terms, (2) Characters must take the following Limitations
a kiai is best represented as an Aid PRE bought for a Skill Roll Aid: Self Only (-), Requires An
according to the following guidlines: Analyze Style Roll (-), Extra Time (Full Phase;
(1) Characters cannot buy a Kiai Aid PRE shout -), Must Watch Target Fighting Someone Else For
with more than 8d6. One Full Phase Per Skill Roll (-), Failed Skill Roll
Or Interruption Prevents Further Skill Rolls At
(2) Characters cannot increase the maximum
This Time (-), Concentration ( DCV; -), Only
number of Character Points they can add to a
For Increasing OCV And DCV (-), Only Versus
Characteristic; i.e., if you have Aid PRE 3d6, you
One Observed Foe (-1). Total Limitation: -4.
cannot add more than 18 Character Points to PRE.
(3) Characters may, if they wish, use Delayed
(3) All Kiai Aid abilities must take the Invisible
Return Rate to increase the time period over which
Power Eects Advantage (Fully Invisible; +1).
the Aids eects wear o to as much as 5 Character
(4) All Kiai Aid abilities must take the Self Only Points per 5 Minutes (a + advantage), but no
(-) Limitation. higher.
(5) The following Limitations are recommended
or appropriate, but not required unless the GM In play, what happens is this:
says so: Activation Roll, Charges, Only To Make A character with the power observes his
Offensive Presence Attacks (-), Increased enemy fighting. (Often, he asks one of his friends
Endurance Cost. or orders his student to confront the enemy so he
can observe.)
(6) Characters cannot take the Delayed Return Rate
Each Phase the character watches his target
Advantage. Kiai Aids must wear o at the standard
ghting, he may make his Analyze Style roll; with
5 Character Points per Turn rate (though they
each successful roll, he can activate his Aid power.
could wear o sooner, if appropriately Limited).
Each application of his Aid increases his DEX,
(7) You can only put Chi Aid powers into Power but only to improve his own OCV and DCV, and
Frameworks with the GMs permission (refer to only against this one opponent. It doesnt improve
Hero Games 121

his SPD, his placement on the combat order list, his

Agility Skill Rolls, or anything of the sort. If he ghts
a character other than his target, he doesnt get the
DEX bonus; however, if he nishes with the other
character and returns to his target before his DEX
Aid wears o, then hell still benet from the power.
If he fails a Skill Roll, or something interrupts
his concentration (e.g., someone attacks or distracts
him), he can make no further Analyze Style rolls
against this opponent during this ght. (The exact
length of a ght varies, but its long enough for all
hostilities to cease and for the characters Aid bonus
to wear completely o. Until both conditions are
met, consider the ght to remain in eect.)
This means once he misses a roll, or some-
thing interrupts his observation, or he simply stops
making his roll for any reason, hes gotten all the
benet from his power he can get; he should then
start attacking his target (or running away, if thats
whats called for). Hell ght his enemy with his
OCV and DCV substantially improved. Gradually,
his Aid wears o; this corresponds to his opponent
guring out how to compensate for the weak spots
in his own ghting style.
Heres an example of how this power is built:
Example: Aid DEX 2d6, can hold up to 48
Character Points of DEX (equalling +16 DEX),
Delayed Return Rate (points wears o at 5 per
5 Minutes; +) (72 Active Points); Self Only (-
), Requires An Analyze Style Roll (-), Extra
Time (Full Phase; -), Must Watch Target
Fighting Someone Else For One Phase Per
Skill Roll (-), Failed Skill Roll/Interruption
Prevents Further Rolls (-), Concentration
( DCV; -), Only For OCV/DCV (-), Only
Versus One Observed Foe (-1). Total cost: 14
points; -7 to Analyze Style roll.

Armor is inappropriate for most martial arts
characters or campaigns. If characters want Resis-
tant Defenses, they can buy Damage Resistance (see
below); limited forms of Damage Reduction also
work well. Characters can, of course, buy Armor as
equipment (see Chapter Three of this book and the
Weapons and Armor section of the HERO System CLINGING
5th Edition, Revised for details). EXAMPLES
Superheroic martial artists can buy Clinging in Clinging (normal STR)
the usual fashion. So can characters in wild style (10 Active Points);
martial arts campaigns, who sometimes display the Requires A Climbing
Roll (-), Sideways
ability to run up walls and along narrow rooftops
Move At Ground Rate
eortlessly. (-), No Ceiling Or
For Heroic characters, the GM should consider With the rst Limitation shown above, a char- Angles Less Than 80o
imposing one or both of the following Limitations acter is about as slow going sideways as he is going (-). Total cost: 5
on Clinging (perhaps in addition to Requires A up. With the second Limitation, the character can points.
Climbing Roll): scale shallow inclines, steep inclines, vertical (90o)
Sideways Movement Is At Ground Movement inclines, and even overhangs up to 80o ... but not WIRE-FU
Rate: - any steeper overhangs. WALL-SCALING
Heroic characters should not be allowed to Clinging (normal STR)
No Ceiling Movement Or Angles Of Less Than buy up the STR of their Clinging; their base STR is (10 Active Points);
80o: - quite enough. Requires An Acrobatics
Roll (-). Total cost: 7
122 The Ultimate Martial Artist

DAMAGE DAMAGE REDUCTION a character to make himself much more resistant

REDUCTION Martial arts characters absorb an incredible to damage by closing o certain vulnerable energy
EXAMPLES amount of abuse in the movies and ction, then points called Gates, thus protecting most of his
come back for more. You can simulate this with a body against Killing Damage. However, one Gate
RESILIENCE I limited form of Damage Reduction. must always remain open, leaving the character
Physical Damage This ability is especially appropriate for char- vulnerable to attack there; the character must dene
Reduction, Resistant, his open Gate when he buys Breath Control. When
50% (30 Active Points), acters in martial arts campaigns. Having this power
can mean the dierence between being a good, a location is actually two locations (for example,
Must Be Aware of Attack
(-), Activation Roll (- eective minion-type character and being a master location 7 is forearm, and the character has two,
, assuming a 12- EGO martial artist or damage-resistant hero. Therefore, right and left), the player can dene which one it is.
Roll), Does Not Work only PCs and the best NPC martial artists (aged If he wishes his open Gate to be in his right hand,
Against Dim Mak (-). teachers, master villains, powerful minions, and the he denes it as Location 6 (Right). In combat, when
Total cost: 13 points. someone attacks him and hits the proper location,
like) should have this ability.
The GM should consider imposing the fol- unless he specically aimed for the proper one, he
RESILIENCE II lowing Limitations and restrictions on this form of must roll 1d6; a 1-3 means he hit the left limb, a 4-6
Physical Damage Reduc- Damage Reduction: means he hit the right.
tion, Resistant, 50% (30 Rules for buying Breath Control:
Active Points), Must Be (1) Characters can buy a maximum of Damage
Aware Of Attack (-), Reduction, Resistant, 50%. (1) The character may only buy Damage Resistance
STUN Only (-), Does to Physical attacks.
(2) Characters can only buy Physical and Energy
Not Work Against Dim (2) The character must take the following Limita-
Mak (-). Total cost: 15 Damage Reduction (or Physical only, for Heroic
characters); they cannot buy Mental Damage tions for the power: Does Not Work Against Guns
Reduction. (-; Breath Control only works against attacks
from hand-to-hand, thrown, and muscle-powered
(3) The Damage Reduction must take these Limi- weapons); One Hit Location Left Undefended (-)
tations: Character Must Be Aware Of Attack (-), (or 15- Activation, if youre not using Hit Loca-
DAMAGE Does Not Work Against Dim Mak (-). tions).
RESISTANCE (4) Optional Limitations include: STUN Only (3) If the campaign uses the Hit Location chart,
EXAMPLES (-); Activation Roll (equal to characters EGO and the player chooses as his open Gate a Hit
BREATH CONTROL Roll; -1 to -) (the character must make an EGO Location which reduces the damage of an attack
Roll whenever he takes damage, and if he fails his (Locations 6-8, 15-18), then he must take the fol-
Damage Resistance (8
PD) (4 Active Points); roll he takes full damage). (At the GMs option, the lowing Vulnerability: 2 x BODY To Attacks To Gate
Does Not Work Versus character may substitute other appropriate rolls, (Uncommon), 10 points. This only gives him points
Guns (-), Location 3 such as a CON Roll.) to spend if he bought Breath Control when he was
(Forehead) Left Unde- rst created. If he buys Breath Control after charac-
fended (-). Total cost: With this arrangement, the character must
3 points. ter creation, and denes his open Gate as being in
know hes being attacked (this is automatic for one of the limb locations, he still gets the Vulnera-
most attacks from the direction hes facing, but can bility, but he doesnt get any Character Points for it.
require a PER Roll, or even Danger Sense roll for
surprise attacks). In one form of the power, he must GMs Note: Breath Control is a very inexpensive,
force himself to ignore the pain, hence the Activa- very useful ability. If you allow it in your campaign,
tion Roll (EGO Roll) requirement. just about every character will want it. It makes
Characters with this arrangement cannot buy small bladed weapons next to useless; only martial
their Activation Rolls up higher than their EGO arts, large weapons, and guns remain eective. If
Rolls. This may make them want to have strong you prefer to keep your PCs respectful of lower-
EGOs, which is appropriate for martial arts heroes. powered Killing Damage weapons, do not allow this
If a character has an EGO Roll of 13-, he can buy a power in your campaign.
14- Activation Roll, since there is no 13- Activation DESOLIDIFICATION
Roll limitation.
Characters can use Desolidication as a defen-
DAMAGE RESISTANCE sive ability a style of blocking or parrying incom-
Characters in martial arts campaigns can buy ing blows which is so adroit, no one can penetrate it
Damage Resistance, with this Limitation: Only to actually hit the defender. This sort of Desolidica-
Versus Unarmed Martial Arts Killing Attacks (-1). tion is vulnerable to mystic attacks and to martial
(In campaigns where unarmed Killing Attacks are arts attacks specically intended to overcome it.
less common, increase this Limitations value to -2.) Example: Desolidication (aected by magical
This allows the character to resist the worst eects attacks or any maneuver specically designed
of martial arts Killing Attacks, but provides him to overcome this ability), Invisible Power Eects
with no extra defenses versus the knife of a mugger, (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Only
the claws of a bear, the gun of an assassin, or any To Protect Against Martial Arts Attacks (-1),
other type of Killing Attack. Requires A DEX Roll (-). Total cost: 32 points.
Damage Resistance: Breath Control The GM must dene which attacks are speci-
Breath Control is a form of Damage Resistance cally intended to overcome this power. A martial
available to Superheroic martial artists and char- arts ability bought with Aects Desolidied (+)
acters in martial arts-oriented campaigns. It allows would certainly qualify (characters take Aects
Hero Games 123

Desolidied at the + level in this instance to reect

the fact that the attack only aects a single, limited
form of Desolidication). Another possibility is any
martial arts attack with the Indirect Advantage.
A character can buy a Dispel to give himself
the ability to use his martial arts to break small
gadgets and items of equipment. Small
gadgets are typically dened as those with
20 or fewer Active Points in them and/or
which take the Fragile Limitation.
Example: Hitoshi wants to be able to break
minor gadgets and similar items, since he
considers it unfair for someone to use weap-
ons and equipment against him when he only
uses his bare hands. He purchases the following
Dispel ability:
Shattering: Dispel 5d6, any small gadget power
one at a time (+) (19 Active Points); No Range
(-). Total cost: 13 points.
Hitoshi encounters an attacker wearing a tinted
motorcycle helmet (dened as 5 points of Sight
Group Flash Defense). Hitoshi, a generally non- simulate the eect of the victims body wasting away.
violent person, would prefer to end the ght (2) Characters may not buy more than a Drain 10d6.
quickly by using Martial Flash, but the motor- If they Link non-BODY Drains to the BODY Drain,
cycle helmet oers his opponent a full defense the Linked Drains cannot exceed 6d6.
against that attack. Hitoshi decides to use his (3) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the
gadget-breaking power to smash the helmet. following Advantages: Invisible To Sight And Hear-
He successfully hits his target and rolls 12 on ing Groups (+), Time Delay (+), Delayed Return
his Dispel dice. This exceeds the 5 Active Points Rate (BODY returns at the rate of 5 Character Points
in the gadget, so the helmets faceplate shatters. per Week; +1). (They can improve this last Advan-
Hitoshis attackers eyes are now fully exposed tage further, to 5 CP per Month or per Season, if they
to attack. wish to spend the points.)

DRAIN (4) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the
Gradual Eect Limitation, at either the 1d6 of eect
General Uses per 6 Hours (-1) or 1d6 of eect per 1 Day (-1)
Characters can use Drain to create a wide level. The damage of a Dim Mak attack doesnt take
variety of martial arts attacks which weaken, numb, eect all at once; the victim sickens before dying.
or otherwise debilitate a target. Most such attacks Apply 1d6 Drain at each time increment (if the
buy down the recovery time so the target does not Dim Mak technique is built as several Drains for
recover quickly. Limitations such as Only Works On instance, a BODY, STR and CON Drain apply 1d6
Humans (-), Requires A SS: Anatomy Roll (-), or of each Drain at each time increment).
Requires A Sense Chi Roll (-) are appropriate for (5) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with
most Drain-based martial attacks. Characters can this special Limitation: Can Be Cured By Chinese
also use Drain to create feint maneuvers (refer to Healing (-). A character with the Chinese Heal-
Feints, below, for details). ing Skill might be able to cure a Dim Mak attack.
Drain: Dim Mak Techniques He cant make his roll to cure the victim until the
Dim Mak is the infamous delayed death touch, onset of the rst 1d6 of damage. Since Dim Mak
a nearly magical method of striking (or even merely practitioners must also know Chinese Healing (see
touching) an opponent, transferring chi energy into item #6 below), the GM should resolve this as a Skill
him, and causing an imbalance in his body which Versus Skill Contest between the two characters
eventually kills him. This is a Chinese technique, with Chinese Healing. (Also, if the victim is below 0
and not widely known; the GM should restrict its BODY, the character trying to heal him suers a -1
purchase so that only one or two PCs (at most) ever penalty to his Skill Roll for every 2 BODY the victim
learn Dim Mak. (If several characters know it, it is below 0 BODY.)
becomes mundane and boring, not the dangerous, (6) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the
mysterious art it should be.) following Limitation: Requires A Chinese Healing
In a Heroic campaign, characters buy Dim Mak Roll (no Active Point penalty, but 16+ automatically
this way: misses; -).
(1) Dim Mak is bought as a Drain mostly a Drain (7) The following Advantage is appropriate for Dim
BODY, though characters can add other Drains to Mak powers but may only be taken instead of (not
124 The Ultimate Martial Artist

in addition to) Time Delay: Trigger (Trigger can (9) Dim Mak powers are hand-to-hand and so may
change each time power is used; +). Usually, the not be bought with the Ranged Advantage.
Trigger is a certain number of steps taken by the A character struck by a Dim Mak attack who
victim: after three steps, 100 steps, 1,000 steps, or drops below 0 BODY can be treated by a character
whatever, the target begins suering the eects of with Professional Skill: Doctor. A successful Skill
the power. Roll merely means the character doesnt perish
(8) These Limitations are appropriate (but not swiftly (in other words, he wont lose 1 BODY every
required) for Dim Mak powers: Attacker Must Make Post-Segment 12 from being at 0 BODY or below);
A Special Sequence Of Blows Against Target (one Skills such as Paramedic and Professional Skill:
blow, -0; two blows, -; three blows, -; four blows, Doctor cannot keep the Dim Mak eects from con-
-; ve or six blows, -1); Attacker Must Make Very tinuing, though.
Accurate Blows Against Target (each blow is at -3 GMs should allow characters to buy Dim Mak
OCV for placement, -; each blow is at -8 OCV for attacks which far exceed the campaigns normal
placement, -1); Special Sequence Of Blows Does No Active Point limits. The Limitations on the power
Damage (-); Timing Must Be Perfect: Attacker May keep it from being as lethal as its Active Point totals
Not Miss A Phase Or A Hit (-1). In other words, the would otherwise indicate.
attacker must hit his target in several places around Heres one example of a Dim Mak attack as a
the body to set up the Dim Mak chain reaction. One PC might buy it:
(easy) way to buy it might be Five Blows (-1), no other Example: Dim Mak: Drain BODY 10d6
limitation; this means the attacker must rst hit his plus Drain STR 6d6, Invisible To Sight Group
target ve times, and on the sixth may apply his Dim And Hearing Group (+), Time Delay (+),
Mak attack. One (very dicult) way to buy it might be Delayed Return Rate (BODY returns at the
Five Blows, Each at -8, Do No Damage, Timing Per- rate of 5 Character Points per Week (+1)
fect (total Limitation: -3 ). The attacker would have (600 Active Points!); Gradual Eect (1d6
to hit his target every Phase with a 0-damage strike BODY and STUN Drain per Day; -1); Can
(no damage is rolled, and there is no other combat Be Cured By Chinese Healing (-); Requires A
eect), each blow at -8 OCV, not missing a single Chinese Healing Roll (no Active Point penalty,
attack (he cannot miss, he cannot be blocked, and so but 16+ automatically misses; -); Attacker
forth, or he will have to start over); only after all that Must Make Sequence Of Five Blows, Each At -3
is set up can he, on the sixth blow, apply the Dim Mak OCV, Blows Do No Damage, And Timing Must
touch. The player and GM should decide what these Be Perfect (-3); 2 Charges/Day (-1); Activa-
preparatory blows look like, what locations they must tion Roll 15- (-). Total cost: 75 points.
hit (with a -3 modier, the character can be presumed
to hit anywhere he wishes on the characters torso; Obviously, Dim Mak techniques are very
with a -8 modier, the character can be presumed to costly, as the heavily-Limited example above shows.
hit any target on the body he wishes), and the like. Theyre most appropriate for really evil villains or
very wise masters, but PCs can buy the technique
(if the GM approves). Player characters might
prefer to buy non-lethal versions which make the
target fall asleep, paralyze him, or the like.
Hero Games 125

ENERGY BLAST Example: Infrared Perception (Sight Group) (5

Characters can use Energy Blast to create Active Points); Costs END (-), Extra Time (1
an unusual form of martial arts attack: the NND Turn to activate, but requires no extra time to
Breath Attack. This is an unusual power not use thereafter; -). Total cost: 2 points.
entirely inappropriate for a martial arts campaign.
The owner of this attack lives on a special diet (a Mental Awareness: This, too, is a power permissible

to characters who are supposed to have achieved
Dependence Disadvantage is appropriate, but not
some sort of heightened awareness. However, the
he Way
required). When he wishes to, he may summon up
a huge breath of noxious, horrible stench which GM should limit things so that only one or (per- of the
overpowers, sickens, or knocks out enemies. This haps) two characters in a campaign have this power.
sort of attack comes as a great surprise. Its very Spatial Awareness: This is appropriate for charac- warrior is to
appropriate for villain characters its an attack for ters in martial arts campaigns, especially for mas-
a weird lieutenant or master criminal to pull out at ters who ght as well when blinded as not. Again, master the virtue
a dramatic moment. not all PCs in a campaign should have this power, of his weapons.
It can be bought in this fashion: but its cost is likely to discourage everyone from
Example: EB 6d6, No Normal Defense (defense
buying it. Miyamoto
is Life Support: Self-Contained Breathing; +1), Targeting Sense: Buying Targeting Sense for Hear- Musashi, Go Rin No
Area Eect (13 Cone; +1) (90 Active Points); ing is appropriate for a master ghter (see Spatial Sho (A Book of
4 Charges (-1), Extra Time (Full Phase; -), Awareness, above). Targeting Smell and Targeting
Taste are not as appropriate; dont use them in Five Rings)
Costs Endurance (-), Increased Endurance
Cost (x2 END; -), No Range (-). Total cost: Heroic campaigns.
22 points. Telescopic: Inappropriate for Heroic human charac-
ters. A generous GM might allow a character to buy
ENHANCED SENSES a maximum of +2 to PER rolls with the Limitations
Many Enhanced Senses are appropriate for described above for Infrared Perception.
Heroic characters in martial arts campaigns. Most Tracking: This is rare, and is perhaps more appro-
are bought with various Limitations. The list of priate for the boy raised by wolves sort of charac-
Enhanced Senses, and whether they are appropri-
ate, follows:
Active Sonar: It would be very unusual for a human
character to have Active Sonar, because of the
need for the character to emit some sort of sound.
Human characters have to take the Limitation Vis-
ible To Sound Group (worth a -0, since Visible, a -
Limitation, requires that the power can be detected
by three whole Sense Groups). Basically, the char-
acter whistles or emits some other regular noise
which acts as his sonar wave. This power is most
appropriate for blind master characters.
Analyze; Discriminatory: These is Sense Modiers
are appropriate for various Senses for characters
dened as having a higher awareness. Blind char-
acters often have Discriminatory Touch, for exam-
ple. No special Limitations are required.
Enhanced Perception: This is appropriate for any
alert character, but the GM should establish and
enforce limits on the amount of Enhanced Percep-
tion a character can take. A total bonus of +3 to a
Sense is more than adequate for most campaigns.
Increased Arc Of Perception: Characters can buy
this Sense Modier only for their Hearing Group or
a special Spatial Awareness. Its most ecient when
combined with Spatial Awareness, or with Active
Sonar or Targeting Hearing; this is common in
martial arts ction and cinema.
Infrared Perception: A martial artist character
could have this power, if bought with Limitations
like Costs Endurance (-) and/or Extra Time (1
Turn; -1). This represents a martial artists ability
to adjust his eyes to the darkness much faster and
better than ordinary people can; this ability must
result from some specialized training in his past.
126 The Ultimate Martial Artist
ter... but theres nothing that says such a character the location of his enemys open Gates (refer to
couldnt be a martial artist. Damage Resistance, above); and so forth. Often a
Ultraviolet Perception: Can be purchased with the character can Link other abilities, such as Danger
same Limitations as Infrared Vision, above. Sense, Lightning Reexes, or Combat Skill Levels,
In Superheroic campaigns, these restrictions to his Sense Chi ability or can use it as a Required
basically dont exist. Superpowered martial artists Skill Roll.
can take just about any sort of Enhanced Sense jus- At the GMs option, if a character makes a
tied by their character conception which the GM Sense Chi roll on himself in a particularly crucial
allows them to have. situation (such as right before a major test of his
martial abilities or an all-or-nothing attack on
ENHANCED SENSE: SENSE CHI which great stakes depend), he may receive a bonus
The concept of chi (or ki in Japanese) pervades to whatever he attempts an additional point of
many of the martial arts. Meaning literally breath OCV, an extra DC or two, or the like.
or air, chi signies a sort of life force or inner Although Sense Chi is a form of Detect, its
power that ows throughout the body. Skilled mar- called Sense Chi and not Detect Chi for a reason
tial artists can make their chi ow correctly and use its almost always bought as a Sense (+2 points),
their command of it to enhance their abilities. In not as a simple Detect. Detect requires a level of
some cases, such as the Monkey Slap of the Hsing-I concentration which a martial artist often cannot
style, one of a styles Martial Maneuvers reects the aord in the midst of combat, when the Sense Chi
practitioners ability to manipulate and/or project ability is most useful. Similarly, Sense Chi is almost
his chi; in other cases, its bought as a special abil- always bought so that its usable at Range (+5
ity or power known to masters of that art. Most of points).
the abilities listed in the Special Abilities section If the situation allows, a character usually takes
of each styles description could be considered chi extra time to gain bonuses to his Sense Chi roll. At
abilities, even if the style does not use that particu- the GMs option, he may gain other bonuses from
lar term for them. meditating, making an EGO Roll as a Complemen-
Some martial artists can sense the ow of tary Skill Roll, and so forth. If hes disturbed, emo-
chi within others, which has all sorts of potential tionally upset, Enraged/Berserk, suering from a
benets for them. In HERO System terms, this is a Dependence, or subject to similar forms of
form of the Enhanced Sense Detect (chi counts as stress (My mind and my spirit are going north
a 5-point Detect category, since it can have and south!), he suers a penalty to his Sense
a signicant eect on combat). A suc- Chi rolls, or maybe cannot make
cessful Sense Chi roll allows them at all.
a character to know what Example: Sense Chi:
chi abilities his oppo- Detect Chi, Range,
nent is currently using Sense. Total cost: 12
(and, if the roll is made points.
by enough, to know other
abilities that he possesses,
even if they are not
currently in use);
will tell the
Hero Games 127

EXTRA LIMBS Lasts For One Phase (-), and Only For Martial Arts
Characters with Extra Limbs often have an Feints (-1). If the target misses his PER Roll he suers
advantage in martial arts combat after all, its dif- -1 DCV for every two points he missed his roll by. If
cult to defend against a large number of attacks he makes the PER Roll, the attacker suers a -1 OCV
from a single source, particularly if the character has on the real attack which he makes that Phase (a -
Stretching and can launch some of them from behind Side Eect). When making the targets PER Roll, the
the target! To simulate this advantage, characters GM should not let the player know the eect of the
with Extra Limbs can buy Combat Skill Levels with attempted Feint until after he (the player) makes his
Hand-To-Hand Attacks. real attack.

FORCE WALL Example: Sight Group Images, -2 to PER Rolls,

1 radius, Trigger (+) (20 Active Points); No
A character can use this Power to create a nigh-
Range (-), DCV Reduction Only Works For
impenetrable defensive wall around himself, dened
Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts For
as his ability to block, deect, or dodge any incoming
One Phase (-), Only For Martial Arts Feints
attack. This sort of Force Wall should take the Limita-
(-1), Side Eects (if target makes PER Roll,
tions Self Only (-), since the character cannot use it
attacker suers -1 OCV on real attack; -).
at range or to protect others, just himself.
Total cost: 5 points.
A Feint is a false or deceptive move designed Combat Maneuver Feints
to trick an opponent into reacting the wrong way so At the GMs option, characters may not need
he exposes himself to the attackers real attack. In the to pay for Feints at all they may be a basic part of
HERO System, characters can simulate Feints with a the campaign rules, like Combat Maneuvers. If the
Drain DEX or with Images (also refer to the discus- GM prefers to take this route, he should come up
sion of Sleight Of Hand feints, above). with an appropriate list of Feints for the characters
to use. A character would have to have a KS of a
Drain DEX Feints particular Feint to use it; if the target has Danger
Characters can create a Drain DEX Feint with Sense or a KS in that Feint and makes his roll, he
the following Advantages: Invisible Power Eects realizes what the other character is up to and avoids
(Fully Invisible; +1) and Trigger (characters decision the eects of the Feint entirely. Each Feint should
to use the Drain DEX; +). The Drain also takes the be about 6d6 of Drain (enough to reduce the tar-
following Limitations: Only For Reducing Hand-To- gets DCV by 2 on the average).
Hand DCV (-1), DCV Reduction Only Works For
Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts For One GLIDING
Phase (-). The GM may also require the Advantage Characters in Heroic martial arts campaigns
No Normal Defense (defense is making a PER Roll, cannot y or glide (except with a boarding pass).
Danger Sense roll, or KS: Specic Style roll by 3 or However, they can purchase Gliding for one special
more; +), since Power Defense should not normally purpose only: walking without leaving any tracks.
apply against this sort of Drain; however, this may This technique is called hing kung in Chinese. All
have the eect of inating the cost of this ability they have to do is buy Gliding with the Ground
unnecessarily. Gliding Limitation (-) (see page 182 of the HERO
What these Advantages and Limitations give the System 5th Edition, Revised). That way they can
attacker is a Drain DEX that only aects the targets walk over rice paper or nightingale oors without
DCV. The reduction in DCV only works for the leaving a trace or alerting anyone. A character can
character using the Drain (the target gets his normal also buy hing kung as Invisible Power Eects (Fully
DCV against anyone else who attacks him), and only Invisible; +1) for his Running.
lasts for one Phase. Since characters usually have to
reset Triggers after using them, the GM might rule
that a character can only use his Feint once per battle; Characters can substitute HAs for Martial
he resets the Trigger between battles. Maneuvers in many instances. This allows the
character to put an Advantage on his attack (which
Example: Drain DEX 6d6, Invisible Power cant be done for a martial arts maneuver without
Eects (Fully Invisible; +1), Trigger (+) (135 GM permission) and to put his martial arts attacks
Active Points); Only For Reducing Hand-To- in a Power Framework. See page 408 of the HERO
Hand DCV (-1), DCV Reduction Only Works System 5th Edition, Revised for rules for purchasing
For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts Advantages for HAs.
For One Phase (-). Total cost: 38 points.
Note: a character could construct a similar abil-
In Superheroic campaigns, martial artists
ity using a Suppress which could not be continued
could buy Healing to aect both themselves and
(i.e., all points Suppressed would return after one
others. There are two rationales for this: kiai
(the ki-based shout of martial arts warriors, said
Images Feints to be able to heal as well as harm); and Chinese
An Images Feint is bought with the Advantage Medicine. Therefore, for a martial artist to buy this
Trigger (+) and the Limitations DCV Reduction power, he must take it one of these two ways:
Only Works For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only
128 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Kiai Healing: The character must take these Power object of opportunity Focus, as discussed on page
Modiers for his Healing: 292 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised.
(1) He can only buy a maximum of Healing BODY Example: RKA 2d6 (30 Active Points); OIF
or STUN (or Simplied Healing) 4d6. (appropriate objects of opportunity; -), Range
(2) All Kiai Healing powers must take Invisible to Based On STR (-). Total cost: 17 points.
Sight Group (+), Ranged (+).
(3) Kiai Healing powers may take the Increased
Endurance Cost Limitation, but this is not required. A character can buy Knockback Resistance to
simulate his ability to avoid damage from Knock-
Example: Simplied Healing 4d6, Invisible to back and similar occurrences: as a form of super-
Sight Group (+), Ranged (+) (80 Active Breakfall or super-agility, if you will. This means
Points); Increased Endurance Cost (x5 END; he uses his acrobatic talents to avoid the eects of
-2). Total cost: 27 points. Knockback, including the resulting damage. At the
GMs option, based on the nature of the attack used
Chinese Medicine Healing: Characters must buy against him, the character may actually be knocked
Healing based on the application of Chinese Medi- back several inches, but he wont take any damage
cine this way: from this and automatically bounces to his feet
(1) They can buy a maximum of Healing BODY or without taking any time or having to make any
STUN (or Simplied Healing) 8d6. The GM may, additional rolls.
if he wishes, also allow the character to buy up to
Example: Knockback Resistance -8 (16 points);
Healing 4d6 to other Characteristics listed on page
Nonpersistent (-), Requires A DEX (or Break-
119 under Chi Aid.
fall) Roll (-). Total cost: 9 points.
(2) All Chinese Medicine Healing powers must
take Invisible Power Eects (Fully Invisible; +1). LACK OF WEAKNESS
(3) All Chinese Medicine Healing powers must This Power is usually appropriate for martial
take these Limitations: Requires A KS: Chinese artist characters. Heroic-level martial artists may
Healing Roll (-); Does Not Work Versus Dim Mak buy up to 5 points of Lack Of Weakness, for just
Unless Skill Versus Skill Contest Succeeds about any defense they have; Superheroic ones may
(-); Extra Time (at least 1 Turn (-1); longer times buy as much as they wish and the GM allows.
are acceptable); OIF (either herbs or acupuncture
needles, characters choice; -1). LEAPING
(4) The following Limitation is optional; the GM In many martial arts lms, masters of martial
might permit a character to take a Healing power arts can leap prodigious distances, though this
exceeding the recommended limit if it has this seems to require acrobatic training. To simulate
Limitation: Healing Wears O Instantly When this, buy Leaping with the Limitation Requires An
Acupuncture Needles Removed (-1). In other Acrobatics Roll (-). Heroic-level martial artists can
words, the acupuncturist can apply his techniques only buy enough Leaping to double their basic leap.
to get a badly-wounded warrior back on his feet, Example: A STR 20 character can normally
but the recovery only lasts as long as the needles leap 4. Therefore, in a Heroic martial arts
remain in the body; a Grab or Disarm remov- campaign, he can buy no more than 4 of Leap-
ing a needle makes the Healing benet disappear ing. This costs 4 points, with a - Limitation
instantly. for Requires An Acrobatics Roll, resulting in a
Example: Healing BODY 4d6, Invisible Power nal cost of 3 points. Four Active Points does
Eects (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points), not result in a minus to the Acrobatics roll.
Requires A KS: Chinese Healing Roll (-), Does Superheroic-level martial artists have no
Not Work Versus Dim Mak Unless Skill Versus restriction on the amount of Leaping they can buy,
Skill Contest Succeeds (-), Extra Time (5 other than whatever limit the GM sets. In some
Minutes; -2), OIF (Acupuncture Needles; -). movies and comic books martial artists can leap to
Total cost: 20 points. the horizon; PCs should be allowed to have similar
abilities if it suits the campaign.
A character could buy a Ranged Killing Attack,
up to the campaigns limits, based on a Obvious Luck is a good Power for simulating char-
Inaccessible Focus dened as any weapon of oppor- acters who are blessed by the gods or who have
tunity (any Focus which he happens to pick up, and achieved such a state of enlightenment that are at
which the GM agrees is suitable to be used for a one with the universe and therefore things always
thrown Killing Attack). He cant use the power with seem to go their way.
an olive, a foam rubber ball, or a pastry but can MENTAL DEFENSE
use it with practically anything harder or sharper
Mental Defense is appropriate for martial art-
(including silverware, pebbles, broken-o chair
ists, who often have extraordinary willpower and
legs, playing cards, bicycle spokes, and so forth).
keen senses which help them resist most Mental
OIF, not OAF, applies to this power because its an
Powers. Heroic-level martial artists may buy any-
Hero Games 129

where from 5 points to a maximum of 10 points of This will protect them against the sort of abilities
Mental Defense; Superheroic ones can buy as many described under Drain, above, and Transform,
points as they wish, up the the maximum allowed below. At the GMs option this form of Power
by the GM. Defense might also oer protection against certain
kinds of Oriental sorcery.
Power Defense would normally work against
A classic cinema martial artist trick is to bat away Dim Mak, since that ability is built with Drain.
incoming arrows, thrown knives, shuriken, and so However, Dim Mak is supposed to be scary; for
forth even to snatch them out of the air and throw this reason, GMs should not let Heroic-level mar-
them back at the attacker. In HERO System terms, this tial artists buy Power Defense to protect them-
requires Missile Deection & Reection. selves against it, and should require Superheroic
Heroic-level martial artists can buy Missile martial artists to take a - (or -0, if the GM pre-
Deection up to the 10-point level, which lets fers) Limitation on the Power Defense because it
them deect arrows, sling stones, and other non- oers no protection against the death touch.
gunpowder projectiles. Many martial artists just
buy this Power at the 5-point level (versus thrown STANCES
objects only). Superheroic martial artists can buy Stances and footwork are very important in
Missile Deection to any level. Any character can many martial arts styles. Characters can, if they
buy bonuses to his Missile Deection roll, and wish, use minor applications of several Powers to
Deection to aect attacks not aimed directly at simulate stances and other body positioning. At
them, normally. To buy the +1 Advantage to deect the GMs option, a character can group his stances
attacks at range, the character will also have to have together into a Power Framework.
some sort of Focus (i.e., he throws objects in the The examples given here are taken from
path of incoming missile attacks to deect them). stances frequently used in Kung Fu, Karate, and
Martial artists can buy Reection, but for other common martial arts. Players are encour-
Heroic characters its only usable against thrown aged to research their characters style and devise
weapons. If a Heroic characters Deection aects a set of stances appropriate specically to it.
attacks other than throw weapons, he must apply a Cat Stance: A short stance in which one foot is
- Limitation, Only Works Against Thrown Weap- drawn up on its ball close to the other foot, so that
ons, to the cost of Reection. the character is ready to attack quickly: +2 Light-
Some characters prefer to buy Deection with a ning Reexes (3 Active Points); Costs END (-).
Focus; war-fans, swords, shields and other weapons Total cost: 2 points. (Alternately,
are especially appropriate for this. If a character Cat Stance could provide +1 to
takes the Focus Limitation with the explana- Fast Draw rolls.)
tion that he can use anything he
picks up to Deect incoming Crab Stance: A high stance in which the char-
attacks, he takes it as OIF since acter stands with his knees turned inwards
its an object of opportunity. and his sts on his hips: +1 OCV with
The classic cinema-ninja trick of Punch and similar maneuvers (some Kill-
catching an enemys thrown knife or ing Strikes, Nerve Strikes, and so forth) (3
shuriken and hurling it back at him would Active Points); Costs END
preclude use of the OIF Limitation; if (-). Total cost: 2 points.
you want that ability, buy the power Crane Stance: A high stance
without a Focus Limitation. in which the character draws
A typical purchase of Missile one knee up (so that he stands on
Deection & Reection might look one leg) and keeps his hands in front of his
like this: face and upper chest: +1 OCV with Block
(2 Active Points); Requires A DEX Roll (-),
Example: Missile Deflection (non-gunpow-
Costs END (-). Total cost: 1 point.
der projectiles); At Range (adjacent hexes;
+) (15 Active Points); OIF (objects of oppor- Horse Stance: A low, solid stance in which the
tunity; -) (total cost: 10 points) plus Reflec- character spreads his legs and squats down
tion, Can Reflect Attacks At Any Target (30 (so that he appears to be riding an imaginary
Active Points); Only Works Against Thrown horse): Knockback Resistance
Weapons (-); OIF (objects of opportunity; -1 (2 Active Points); Costs
-) (total cost: 17 END (-). Total
points). Total cost: cost: 1 point.
27 points. Phoenix Stance:
A low stance in
POWER DEFENSE which the character
Martial arts charac- bends his rear leg and
ters may purchase Power squats down on it while
Defense with the Limitation extending the other leg
Only Protects Against Drain- in front of him: +1
Based Martial Attacks (-1). OCV with Block and
130 The Ultimate Martial Artist
If the GM permits, a character could buy Tele-
kinesis, dening it as martial arts usable at range
through the characters extension of chi. Such
Telekinesis could not exceed the damage done
by the characters normal martial arts attacks, and
must take the Advantage Invisible Power Eects
(Sight Group; +). Remember that, at the GMs
option, characters can use their Martial Maneuvers
and any other Combat Maneuver theyve paid
points for with their Telekinesis (see page 230 of
the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). Characters
can only perform Nerve Strikes and other maneu-
vers requiring precise targeting with Telekinesis if
they have the Fine Manipulation Adder.
The GM might allow some accomplished mar-
tial artists to use Transfer to create abilities which
involve stealing an opponents chi and using it to
aid themselves.
You should use Transform to create any
ability which can permanently injure the
target in some way for example goug-
ing an opponents eyes out, Transforming
him from a sighted human to a blind
human. Other examples include attacks
which permanently deafen, cripple,
or weaken another character in some
A few characters (including some
lm ninja) can escape capture by digging
into soft terrain and then covering themselves
Legsweep (3 Active Points); Requires A DEX Roll with a thick coating of the earth. (They usually do
(-), Costs END (-). Total cost: 1 point. this when concealed by smoke from a smoke gre-
nade, by darkness, and the like.) To simulate this in
Snake Stance: A low stance in which the character Heroic campaigns, characters can buy a maximum
squats sideways with his legs underneath him: +1 of 1 of Tunneling, with the Limited Medium (soil;
OCV with Block and Dodge (3 Active Points); -) and Maximum Distance 1 (-1) Limitations.
Costs END (-). Total cost: 2 points. This means the character can dig his way into the
Tiger Stance: In this stance the character leans earth to conceal his entire body, but cant keep dig-
forward and keeps his hands up in a claw shape, ging a tunnel through the earth. Characters cannot
ready to take advantage of a momentary lapse in an buy the dig through +1 DEF for +3 points func-
opponents defense: +1 OCV with a Crush or Kill- tion; they can only dig through soft, 1 DEF mate-
ing Strike maneuver (depending upon the style) (2 rial such as sand, fresh-turned soil, mud, a bog, or
Active Points); Costs END (-). Total cost: 1 point. the like. They must buy the Fill In Adder, and must
always use that function.
At the GMs option, characters may not need To make the area he has dug into look natural
to pay for Stances at all they may be a basic part (i.e., undisturbed), a character should use Conceal-
of the campaign rules, like Combat Maneuvers. ment Skill; the GM can assign severe minuses on
If the GM prefers to take this route, he should terrain where its hard to conceal signs of digging
come up with an appropriate list of Stances for the (such as a neat grass lawn, where sod would be
characters to use. Each Phase during a combat, torn up and ung in all directions). Dusty and
characters declare what Stance theyre using; they sandy terrain is much better for this purpose.
may change or shift Stances in the same manner (Another option is to buy the Tunneling with
as Combat Skill Levels. Invisible Power Eects.)
Example: Tunneling 1; Fill In (15 Active
Points); Limited Medium (soil; -), Maximum
Distance 1 (-1). Total cost: 6 points.
Hero Games 131

no Hand-To-Hand Killing Attack, and hes den-

POWER ADVANTAGES ing his Damage Shield as a counterpunch, then the
See page 408 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Damage Shield should do 6d6 Normal Damage (or
Revised for rules regarding the application of Advan- less) not an HKA 2d6 or a HA +8d6.
tages to HAs, and page 104 of this book for informa- (3) Remember that the Attack Power used for the
tion on placing Advantages on Martial Maneuvers. Damage Shield must be Constant, or the character
AREA OF EFFECT must purchase the Continuous Advantage for it. In
either case, the character must take the Limitation
One Hex Power Stops Working Instantly If Character Is Stunned
Characters can use this Advantage to simulate Or Knocked Out (-). Ordinarily, such powers keep
an attack so swift and powerful the target cannot functioning until the end of the Phase; this one
avoid it except by Diving For Cover. Abilities ceases to work as soon as the character is Stunned
bought with this sort of Advantage should take or Knocked Out. Characters cannot buy counter-
the Accurate (-0) Limitation (and, possibly Can Be strike Damage Shields with the Persistent Advantage,
Blocked [-]). though they may buy Reduced Endurance.

Selective (4) Characters must take the Requires A Success-

One way to build a punch-several-guys-at-the- ful Attack Roll (-) Limitation for this power.
same-time ability is to buy an HA or HKA with the Counterpunch/counterstrike Damage Shields cant
Advantage Area Of Eect (One Hex, Doubled, Selec- hit automatically they depend on a successful
tive; +1). This way, the character could make one Attack Roll, just like any other attack. (However, an
attack each on every enemy in his hex and in sur- advantage to this power is that it doesnt take a char-
rounding hexes. Because its bought with Selective, acters attack action; after his Damage Shield coun-
the character doesnt have to hit everything in those terstrike, or even several, he still has an action left.)
hexes ... just enemies he wishes to target. Remember, (5) Characters may take the Limitation Not When
though, with Selective, he doesnt hit every target as Grabbed (-) for one of these Damage Shields, but
if it were DCV 3; he must attack against each targets are not required to. This represents the fact that if
normal HTH DCV. the character is restrained, he cant lash out with his
counterstrike or properly ourish his weapon.
Example: HKA 1d6, Area Of Eect (One Hex,
Doubled, Selective; +1). Total cost: 30 points. (6) If the ability depends on a weapon (i.e., its
dened as a weapons ourish), then it should
AUTOFIRE be bought with the Limitation Cannot Do More
Damage Than The Weapon Being Used Would Nor-
Applying Autore to an HA or HKA simulates mally Do (-). For example, lets say a character who
the quick-handed martial artist who can punch his can do HKA 2d6 with his katana buys a Damage
foe so fast and so often he looks like a blur. Damage Shield which he denes as a deadly weapons our-
for the attack should not exceed the characters usual ish. Hes limited (by note #2 above) to HKA 2d6
martial arts damage (and the GM may prefer for it to damage with the Damage Shield, and he does that
be one or two DCs less). damage when using his katana. However, during a
An example of such an attack might look like ght, he loses his katana and must use his dagger,
the following. Lets say a character has a STR of 20 with which he can only do HKA 1d6+1. His Damage
and gets +6d6 from his best maneuver (a Martial Shield only does HKA 1d6+1 while he uses the
Strike). For the character to have a similar Autore dagger. Later, in the same ght, he switches to a
attack, hed buy: greatsword with which he can do 3d6 damage.
Example: HA +6d6, Autore (5 shots; +), However, his Damage Shield is still limited to only
Reduced Endurance ( END; +) (60 Active HKA 2d6 thats what he paid for, so thats limit
Points); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-). Total cost: of his power. (In other words, characters who want
40 points (5 END per blow). to use a weapon ourish Damage Shield with any
weapon they nd should buy this ability for use with
DAMAGE SHIELD the highest-damage weapon commonly used in the
Damage Shield For Powers
Example: Counterstrike: HA +6d6, Damage
A character can purchase an HA or HKA with
Shield (+), Continuous (+1), Reduced Endur-
the Damage Shield (+) Advantage to simulate eec-
ance ( END; +) (82 Active Points); Hand-To-
tive counterpunch and counterstrike techniques, or a
Hand Attack (-), Requires A Successful Attack
weapons ourish.
Roll (-), Not When Grabbed (-). Total cost:
Some notes on the way to purchase this: 36 points.
(1) If the ability is bought as an HA, the character
must dene it as a Physical attack. Example: Blade Kata: HKA 2d6, Damage Shield
(+), Continuous (+1), Reduced Endurance (
(2) The damage done by the Damage Shield may
END; +) (82 Active Points); OIF (any weapon
not exceed the amount of damage the character does
of opportunity; -), Requires A Successful Attack
with the attack the power substitutes for. In other
Roll (-), Cannot Do More Damage Than The
words, if the character has a 6d6 Punch attack, but
Weapon Being Used Would Normally Do (-),
132 The Ultimate Martial Artist
Power Stops Working Instantly If Character Example: HA +6d6, Indirect (always comes
Is Stunned Or Knocked Out (-), Not When from the same location; +) (37 Active Points);
Grabbed (-). Total cost: 30 points. Target Must Be Touching Barrier (-1), Attack
Must Be Made Through Barrier (-). Total cost:
When a character with this ability is hit in
15 points.
HTH combat, the Damage Shield automatically acti-
vates. Use the characters base OCV, plus any OCV When placed on Martial Maneuvers or other
and DCV modiers from the weapon or situation. HAs, this Advantage has an extremely powerful eect
Combat Skill Levels must stay as they were arranged it prevents the attack from being Blocked (unless
before he was struck; other Skill Levels do not apply. the defender has bought the Advantage Hardened for
With a successful Attack Roll, the character coun- his Block maneuver). Particularly when combined
terstrikes his opponent; if his roll fails, the Damage with the Area Of Eect (One Hex) Advantage, which
Shield does no harm to the target. prevents an attack from being dodged, this Advantage
may create an attack which unbalances the campaign;
Damage Shield For Martial Maneuvers
GMs should be cautious about allowing its use.
Placing a Damage Shield on a Martial Maneu-
ver can lead to all sorts of interesting and potentially INVISIBLE POWER EFFECTS
game-unbalancing consequences. Imagine, for exam- Characters use Invisible Power Eects to create
ple, the eects of a Martial Throw Damage Shield martial arts attacks so swift an opponent cannot
every time someone attacks the character, the see them. If he applies this Advantage to an HA, the
attacker gets thrown to the ground! Not only will he character must pay for it for his STR as well as for
be hurt, hell be placed in a highly disadvantageous the HA, regardless of the Active Points involved. If
position, and the character with the Damage Shield he doesnt buy the Invisible Power Eects for his
may still have an action left in the Phase. STR, the attack is invisible only when used at its
Therefore, GMs should be very wary about purchased damage; whenever the character adds
allowing characters to take this Advantage for a damage from his STR, the attack becomes visible.
Martial Maneuver. At the very least, all restrictions This rule also applies if the Advantage is applied to a
and guidelines outlined above for counterstrikes Martial Maneuver (see Chapter One).
should apply. GMs should allow characters to buy Invisible
INDIRECT Power Eects for one Sense Group only. If theyre
allowed to buy a Fully Invisible attack (other than
When bought for an HA, HKA, or RKA, this
in the examples provided elsewhere in this book),
Advantage allows the character to simulate the
theyll be able to get away with murder (literally and
showo technique of stacking bricks, striking the top
guratively) in the campaign.
one, and leaving it unharmed while destroying one
of the bricks beneath. It has some pos- TRIGGER
sible combat uses as well (for example, This is another Advantage which can have
when a villain is on the other potentially devastating eects if added to a Martial
side of a wall, our hero Maneuver. Imagine a fencer whose Martial Disarm
could hit the wall is Triggered by his opponents attempt to block his
and transmit Martial Strike; a character whose Killing Strike is
all the damage Triggered whenever hes Grabbed; or a wrestler with
of his blow to the target, a Grab maneuver Triggered whenever a character
without the wall itself acting escapes from a Grab the wrestler already had him in!
as armor against the attack). Characters can use Trigger to create one-two
To buy this ability, start punches and similar combination attacks. Some-
with an HA and apply the times they can apply the Limitation Requires A Suc-
Advantage Indirect (always cessful Second Attack Roll (-) so that they have to
comes from the same location; make another Attack Roll to hit the target with the
+) and the Limitations Target second part of the attack.
Must Be Touching Barrier Since Trigger has the eect of giving a character
(-1), and Attack Must Be a Zero-Phase Action attack, often in addition to some
Made Through Barrier other attack, the GM should look long and hard at
(-). These Limita- any Triggered Martial Maneuvers. Those which seem
tions mean that unduly eective or which would adversely aect cam-
unless the target paign balance should be disallowed.
is touching the
barrier through VARIABLE ADVANTAGE
which the character Adding this Advantage to a Martial Maneuver
transmits the force of the attack, the attack wont or HA at the + Advantage level is quick and easy
work. As usual, a character may not buy this abil- way of giving a character access to a large selection
ity with more damage than the best of his normal of special attacks and powers, particularly in cam-
Martial Maneuvers. paigns which do not allow the use of Power Frame-
works. For the same reason, though, this Advantage
makes an attack unpredictable and possibly unbal-
ancing, so the GM should ensure its not abused.
Hero Games 133

a GM allow a character to buy his Armor Piercing

POWER LIMITATIONS HKA (a st blow), his NND Breath Attack, and his
Hing Kung Gliding in the same Multipower? No.
ACTIVATION ROLL Though theyre remotely linked by the buzzword
This Limitation is a good way to simulate Martial Arts, they are, in game terms, three wildly
attacks which require such precise targeting or dierent eects and should not be in the same
timing that they dont always work. The Attack Roll Multipower. They might, however, be allowed in an
indicates the character hit his target, the Activa- Elemental Control, depending upon the campaign
tion Roll indicates he hit the target in the right way. and the GMs standards for such things.
Other Limitations which characters can apply to The GM should never allow questionable or
this sort of attack are Concentration and Extra Time. potentially unbalancing powers in a Power Frame-

K nowl-
work. This includes some of the ones described in
GESTURES this section (such as Skill Levels bought with Limi-
As a Limitation on some martial arts powers, tations). They dont belong in Power Frameworks. edge
Gestures indicates the character has to have his Theyre already on the verge of being abusive; put-
hands (and/or feet) free to perform the ability. For ting them in a Framework denitely makes them studies others,
example, a Force Wall ability dened as the char- abusive. Just Say No.
acter blocking all incoming attacks might take this Wisdom is
Limitation, since the character cant do any block- MULTIPOWER
ing if hes restrained or Entangled. GMs should be Below are some examples of Multipowers self-known;
wary of allowing characters to take this Limitation appropriate for most Superheroic martial artists.
on oensive abilities, however, since some players
Muscle masters
The Multipower Martial Art Style
may try to take it on any martial arts attack (claim-
The following Multipower is (approximately) brothers,
ing they have to use their hands to punch, strike, or
a Martial Art. Essentially, its a series of attacks the
whatever). This leans towards abusiveness, so GMs
character denes as a Martial Art. This Multipower Self-mastery is
should almost always disallow it.
assumes a STR 20 character and a 10 DC cap on
REDUCED PENETRATION campaign damage.
A character can use this Limitation to create a This sort of Multipower doesnt count as a style Lao Tzu,
one-two punch special ability. He simply buys a for purposes of the character acquiring a Style Dis-
tinctive Feature. Characters may only take Style Dis- Tao Te Ching
large HA (or other hand-to-hand Attack Power) and
uses Reduced Penetration to simulate a rapid-re tinctive Features for martial arts styles built with the
two-punch sequence. This makes it easy to Stun a rules from the Designing Martial Maneuvers section.
foe without injuring him severely. He can take the
Limitation Separate Attack Rolls Required (-) on MARTIAL ARTS MULTIPOWER
this ability if he wishes, but its not required.
Cost Powers END
Example: Kagamite (Mirrorhand) possess
knowledge of a secret technique allowing him 75 Martial Arts Attacks:
to instantly follow a right-handed punch with Multipower, 75 point reserve
a left-handed punch, such that if the rst punch 4u 1) Slashing Fist: 0
connects, the second surely will as well! He buys HA +6d6, Armor Piercing
this ability as follows: (+), Reduced Endurance (0
END; +); Hand-To-Hand
Kagamite Punch: HA +7d6 (Kagamite has STR Attack (-)
25, so it is a 12d6 HA total) (35 Active Points);
Hand-To-Hand Attack (-), Reduced Penetra- 5u 2) Flashing Fist: 0
tion (-). Total cost: 20 points. HA +6d6, Autore (5 shots;
+), Reduced Endurance (0
With this ability, Kagamite has a good chance END; +1); Hand-To-Hand
of Stunning his foes (its a 12d6 HA for purposes Attack (-)
of calculating Stunning), but relatively little
3u 3) Whirlwind Fist: 5
chance of severely injuring them (the two 6d6
HA +6d6, Area Of Eect
attacks have their BODY applied to defenses
(One Hex Doubled, +);
Hand-To-Hand Attack (-)
4u 4) Yama Fist: 0
HKA 2d6, Reduced
Superheroic martial artists can put martial
arts abilities and attacks in an appropriate Power Naturally, used with a STR 20, all the HAs go up
Framework, such as a Multipower of HA attacks. to 10d6, and the HKA goes up to 3d6+1. Of course,
Heroic-level martial artists cannot do this without the character spends the END for his STR in addi-
the GMs permission. tion to any listed for the Multipower slot.
The GM should make sure all the powers in the This set of abilities is too expensive for most
Power Framework link together logically. Should games, but is not at all inappropriate for Superheroic
games... and it can be quite eective.
134 The Ultimate Martial Artist
The Kiai Multipower The Chi Multipower
Kiai, the art of shouting and utilizing ki (chi) As discussed elsewhere in this book, characters
energy, allows a character to do more than surprise can use chi to improve one or more of their Charac-
(Presence Attack) an enemy. A trained kiaijutsuka teristics for a brief period of time. A typical Multip-
can, according to tradition, knock an enemy out cold, ower using the Aid Power looks like this:
promote healing, and even injure or kill an oppo-
nent. A Multipower utilizing all of these abilities CHI POWERS
might look like this:
Cost Powers END
KIAI POWERS 27 Chi Powers: Multipower, 80
point reserve, all powers Self
Cost Powers END Only (-), Extra Time (Full