Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Fighting is tiring. One of the first things I discovered when I competed in martial arts, going from sparring to being pitted against someone who was going 100%, was how exhausted I was within moments. By the end of the second round, I couldn't imagine feeling more sapped of energy. People get better at dealing with the exhaustion and pacing themselves the more experienced they get. But exhaustion is still always a large factor and one that people viewing a fight can't necessarily see. When you are tired you can't protect yourself as well, your attacks are more reckless, you tend to get hurt more, you strike less precisely, you make worse choices, you forget techniques, and you feel like you want to collapse. Eventually it takes the fight out of you. That is a lot, and I wanted to try to capture that in a simple mechanic, but its quite impossible to do. So instead I am fiddling with a few different ideas here that escalate or can be combined in various ways to emphasize different aspects of exhaustion. This mechanic can be used as written, but it can also be taken in pieces. It works with Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate or Righteous Blood, Ruthless Blades

Kara Hui in Mrs K a martial arts action film that accounts for exhaustion 

This mechanic will not suit all styles of campaign. Martial arts genres frequently ignore or downplay the role of exhaustion with characters fighting and showing no sign of being tired, or at least not being impacted in a way that would translate into mechanical penalties or bonuses. This is really for use when you want a grittier style of play grounded in more real world concerns. This is also just in the idea phase. I haven't tested this yet. I may post an updated version once I've tried it out. 

Another still from Mrs K

Here is how the mechanic works. After the first round, exhaustion can set in. This can be automatic (i.e. the GM just begins imposing these every round) or rolled for. To roll, make an Endurance Roll against TN 8 beginning on the second round of combat and every round thereafter. If you fail the roll, your character takes one of the following Exhaustion conditions (determined by another d10 roll). These all stack and some can be taken multiple times for cumulative effect. 

ROLL 1d10

1-2: Lack of Defense: Your counters all suffer a -1d10 penalty 

3-4: Loss of Heart: Your Hardiness is reduced by 1. This can affect a character cumulatively over combat 

5-6: Reckless: You take 1 Extra wound anytime you are wounded 

7-8: Forgetful: In order to remember your Signature Abilites, Counters or Kung Fu Techniques, you must make a Reasoning roll TN 8. You cannot use the ability you want to use unless you make this roll (if you fail the roll you have to make a Mundane attack) 

9-10: Spent: Your attacks all suffer a -1d10 penalty (can be taken more than once, up to a max of -2d10 Penalty). 

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