Just wanted to do a short post on how we handle martial arts styles in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate so people know what to expect.
Obviously there are a lot of ways to handle martial arts styles in an RPG. We opted to keep this simple. Early on Bill and I wanted to avoid things like Technique Trees. This was simply a matter of preference. Those approaches are perfectly fine and plenty of people enjoy them, but they have never been our cup of tea. Also I wanted to have the flexibility to emulate any wuxia movie or book I desired. So our approach was basically to not create a mechanic for styles. Rather we have a massive list of Techniques, many of which we designed in clusters knowing they would reflect a style in the setting. So you might have an Eagle Claw master who has a bunch of techniques that involve Claws, Leaping and other unarmed attacks or defenses. The style is put together by having him take the relevant Techniques.
Where the styles are most visible in the rulebook are the sects. Each sect has a listing of all its major techniques. These are freely available to members of the sects. So if a player character is part of the Zhaoze Sect he can expect to have access to many pressure point techniques and palm attacks (as well as a range of unique techniques made famous by the sect leader).
In terms of technique growth, we opted, in most cases, for automatic scaling as the character increases in Qi rank, rather than having trees where a character is eligible for a more advanced version of an existing technique when they meet requirements. So some techniques do more damage as your Qi level goes up, or have different effects depending on the relative difference in Qi levels between attacker and target.
Of course, one thing I've realized throughout this process is players and GMs often have very specific preferences around martial arts styles and techniques in RPGs. The martial arts system in Ogre Gate is what worked for our group and play testers through development. It might not be for everyone. This is one of the reasons we are releasing the Kung Fu Technique chapter into the public domain and encouraging people to create not just new techniques but new approaches to the technique system in the game. We may also release our own (just as we will be releasing alternative spell systems and spell books for Sertorius).