Tuesday, March 17, 2015



In wuxia characters get maimed all the time. In some instances these are crippling injuries that completely remove them from being active in the martial world, but in others these are challenges that shape their character and require them to develop a new and interesting approach to fighting. Fang Kang (The One-Armed Swordsman) and Yang Guo (Return of Condor Heroes) are both examples of the latter. Yang Guo's injury is especially shocking because it happens well into the story, after he has become a great martial hero with magnificent Kung Fu. Suddenly he seems to lose it all, only to improve under the guidance of a condor who teaches him to wield the large Iron Sword of Dugu Qiubai.

Personally I've come to identify strongly with these kinds of characters and I tried to bring some of that into the game with our Maiming, Combat Techniques and Flaws rules. However I also didn't want to gloss over the brutality of maiming because it really punctuates the potential cost of being a martial hero. So there is a real price to pay if you lose a limb or two (at least initially). 

In Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, maiming is a choice. You choose to maim a foe when you make attacks, they don't just happen accidentally. Still it isn't easy to maim someone, you need to aim your attack and get a bit lucky. For the moment here is how it works: 

To attempt to maim a target, declare your intention to do so on your attack. You make your attack at a -1d10 penalty as per the Targeted Strike rules. If you succeed and if you get two Total Successes on your Damage Roll, you may maim the foe as desired (blinding, chopping off their arm, etc). The individual so affected should then take the relevant flaw (Blind, Missing Limb, etc).


While maimed characters in wuxia often find their Kung Fu is weaker initially, in some cases they adapt and turn a perceived weakness into a strength. This is one of the reasons I personally find characters like the One-Armed Swordsman so appealing. We tried to incorporate this into the game itself. 

There are Combat Techniques available only to characters with flaws like Blind of Missing Limb. These are relatively minor bonuses to particular situations or a reduction of the penalties they would normally incur. However there are also Kung Fu techniques that only they can use effectively. So a Blind Character might take the Blind Swordsman Combat Technique, which will effectively put her at an advantage against others in dim lighting conditions. She could also take the Blind Strike Kung Fu Technique which allows her to use hearing to target opponents and then strike them. 

Beyond that, when characters become masterful martial heroes, they can take a Kung Fu Technique called Adaptation of the Maimed, that eliminates all penalties incurred from Missing Limbs or other such losses. 

However we built Wandering Heroes to be flexible. Gamemasters and Players are encouraged to go beyond the Kung Fu Techniques listed in the rulebook, making their own to suit their vision of what is possible. So these are just viewed as starting points for such characters. 

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