Jump to content
arthurdiennet

Martial Arts - How does it work?

Recommended Posts

arthurdiennet

Hey everybody, new keeper here. Need some help with the Martial Arts skill. 

 

So, I've got a player who's got a very high MA skill but very low strength and it's pretty underwhelming for her. 

She has no damage bonuses because she's a very small character with average strength. 

 

Now, I've done a lot of research on the practically infamous 6e and earlier rules for Martial Arts and the massive DB and stacking bonuses they gave and I was wondering what the drawbacks of the old systems were and why they were changed?

 

And how does 7e Martial Arts work? Are there damage bonuses for different levels of success or is her damage bonus tied to her Martial Arts skill instead of strength, much like grappling? 

 

We're running straight-up Call of Cthulhu, not Pulp, so, I don't want to introduce something that will ruin immersion, but, I want to give her something that doesn't make it feel like she sunk her points into a useless skill.

 

Also, please let me know if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm being ignorant. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DarkDesigns

Her high skill means a greater chance of achieving an Extreme success, meaning more damage. A fist, kick, headbutt does 1d3 damage. The average character has 10-12 hit points.On an extreme success, she's doing 3 points. That might not seem like much, but her skill is not just about dealing damage. It's her defense  (and more possible damage) if she chooses to fight back instead of Dodge. That higher skill represents her speed and accuracy through her training. She is going to fare better than her peers in a standard brawl because she is less likely to be hit and will land her own strikes more often.

Now, even with an Extreme success, the odds of inflicting a Major wound is low because of the standard 1d3 damage she is dealing. To offset that, you can always use the optional knockout rule. But, if you want realism, I think the current system has you covered fairly well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoctorXer

I would have her read up on martial art techniques that don’t do damage. Then, she can use those as maneuvers. She could flip opponents, immobilize them, etc. 

 

Might be more fun then doing straight up damage. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
arthurdiennet

Hey guys,

 

Thanks to the both of you for the suggestions. I really appreciate it.

 

She’s gonna watch Jackie Chan’s Police Story tonight for inspiration. Shes just gotta think outside the box, you’re right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
klecser
4 hours ago, DoctorXer said:

I would have her read up on martial art techniques that don’t do damage. Then, she can use those as maneuvers. She could flip opponents, immobilize them, etc. 

 

Might be more fun then doing straight up damage. 

 

QFT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CdrVimes

I can't remember off hand the grapple rules but spending martial arts for holds and throws can be powerful.  In one of my games a character had this and was a demon in a melee against cultists on board a Nile ship.  He threw several over the side ending the combat quickly with zero deaths and little damage to the party.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Umpherous

Below is a list of martial arts that would have been practiced in the 1920s (not an extensive list and there are certainly others that might fit within the character's backstory). A quick look for videos on YouTube with the various MA names will give your player an idea of how they work. 

  • Karate (taekwondo)=  strikes, kicks, and blocking, some weapons (linear in tactics)
  • Ninjitsu = mostly weapons but also strikes and kicks (lots of deception in tactics)
  • Judo (hopkido) = throws, grappling, immobilization, no weapons (considered a sport rather than self-defense, but certainly useful)
  • Aikido = evasion, immobilization, and some weapons (e.g., bokken & jyo staff) (circular in tactics)
  • Jiujitsu = strikes, kicks, blocking, throws, grappling, some weapons (the parent Japanese martial art for karate, judo, aikido...)
  • Wing Chun Kung Fu (or many of the other varieties of Chinese martial arts) = block, strikes, and kicks.  Sometimes referred to as a 'soft martial art' because the block are not designed to damage as they do in karate.
  • Tai Chi = can be used for self-defense, similar to Wing Chun, but probably most useful to restore some sanity points!

And of course the mysterious Bartitsu, the preferred self-defense of Sherlock Holmes. Not sure what that includes for maneuvers. 

 

If I were a CoC player, I'd opt for something like Aikido -- escape an attack, disorient the attacker, often by throwing them, and then run for it!  Plus, it has the added benefit of not killing the opponent with the inevitable police investigation, criminal trial, and/or civil law suit. Or even better, have her create her own, as the creator of Bartitsu did: Hastur jitsu?  Cthulhudo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
arthurdiennet

Guys, thanks for all the fantastic responses. 

 

My player's really feeling the love and she's trying to go above and beyond to be more creative and just generally improve her PC and her RPing in every way, even in combat.  

 

Keep the suggestions coming if you want! These are invaluable!

 

Edit: And Umpherous -  the level of period detail here is immensely inspiring. Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Umpherous

Glad to be of assistance, arthurdiennet. One final thought -- in most throwing arts (aikido, judo), the student learns "ukemi." Ukemi is learning how to protect oneself when receiving an attack.  A "break fall" is the most typical form of ukemi.  Again, google it for some video and you'll get a sense of what it entails.  But for game play, the point is that the player could also use martial arts skill to lessen the impact (damage or disadvantage) of a fall, throw, dive, push, or some other damage from being projected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoctorXer

That’s awesome arthur, always cool when a player really starts to own their character. Love the co-creation.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Denis
7 hours ago, Umpherous said:

Below is a list of martial arts that would have been practiced in the 1920s

 

Nice list! I looked up Bartitsu, interesting. Just a nitpick but I believe that Aikido was only taught from 1931 and Taekwondo starting from 1955.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Umpherous
9 hours ago, Denis said:

Nice list! I looked up Bartitsu, interesting. Just a nitpick but I believe that Aikido was only taught from 1931 and Taekwondo starting from 1955.

 

True about Aikido (and Taekwondo), but if the character had traveled to Japan to study with Master Ueshiba in 1920, she would have learned his style of Aiki-jūjutsu and certainly much of the wisdom that would eventually become the system of Aikido.  I suppose what your keeper will allow depends on how historically accurate she wants to be.  If the player were a mixed martial arts fan (as in the current system practiced today) and wanted to invent her own style for the 1920s, then that would be cool too. 

 

I was making a joke before about a mythos-style martial art, but one could imagine, especially in a pulp campaign, a cult developing a martial arts style based on the mythos, esp. from kung fu, which is often based on animal movements.  Imagine a Chinese cult that bases its kung fu off of a Shoggoth where gloves are laced with a psychedelic.  Once the first punch lands,  the drug causes the victim to see phantom tendrils to waste a dodge or fight-back on while the cultist rains down punches and kicks.  The game mechanics would remain the same, but would add interesting nuance to a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
arthurdiennet

Do you normally run Pulp or standard horror Cthulhu? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Umpherous

I play standard, though I have the pulp rules -- haven't had the opportunity to play with them yet.  My group did play a Down Darker Trails scenario and it was a lot of fun.

 

What is your standard gaming mode?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
arthurdiennet

Standard.

We moved over to CoC from DnD for the heightened tension and for the faster battles and the incredible setting and lore.

Hits have so much OOMPH in standard. 

Encounters are horrifically tense. 

That's why I wanted to ask what everyone else does for something like Karate, which is relatively campy compared to the one-shot-you're-deadness of standard CoC

I didn't want to lose the tension by indulging my player. That's a tightrope I'm always walking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Umpherous

The 7th edition is quite deadly, to be sure.

 

I could see where throwing a gang of silk-robed, kung fu cultists at the players might change the mood in the haunted library.  But if you treat the martial art skill just as a brawl, but let the player add the dazzle, then it should be fine in moderation.

 

Player: I take out the cultist's gun with a spinning roundhouse kick.

Keeper: The cultist attempts to dodge; Roll your MA skill.

 

vs.

 

Player: I run up the side of the building, float over to the roof, throw a handful of poisoned darts from my ninja robes at the guard and land silently next to him. Roll martial arts!?

Keeper: Hmmmm......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoctorXer

That’s not the martial arts skill Umph, that’s “channeling ninja B movies” skill. Much harder to find someone to teach you that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
arthurdiennet

Considering one of my PCs stabbed and gutted one of the other PCs to death after Corbitt Dominated his mind in The Haunting, maybe my players could use a bit of a ninja power fantasy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to comment.

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...