Toward a Simplified Feng Shui

Although Feng Shui is definitely streamlined, at least compared to Nexus, it still has more detail than is actually meaningfully used. Some further simplification can be performed without significantly reducing character diversity.

Attributes

Most of the 14 seconday attributes are used only for skills, which means they barely matter, since primary skills have fixed AVs and archetypes can usually only add a point or two to attributes, so nonprimary skill AVs are mostly determined by the base values and free skill points.

Some of the other seconday attributes are redundant with others, and some are just plain not useful.

Bod:Con & Bod:Tgh - These are almost always the same, or within a point or two or each other, so can reasonably be combined. For large or carapaceous supernatural creatures, there can be a schtick that adds to the combined stat only for purposes of reducing damage.

Bod:Mov - FS has no battlemap, so Bod:Mov is almost never used, and could just as well be replaced with a flat value (which would also almost never matter) for those schticks that explicitly reference it.

Bod:Str - Used only for HtH damage; if damage is simplified, Str is no longer necessary (there can be a schtick for the Big Bruiser and hulking abominations).

Chi:For - Has an actual use - keep!

Chi:Fu & Chi:Mag - To first approximation, no one ever uses both of these, so there's not much point in having two stats if one is always 0. Combine these into one, and use it for all Sorcery, Fu, Transformed Animal, and miscellaneous schticks.

Mnd:Cha - Used only for skills and bust-size wars

Mnd:Int - Used only for skills

Mnd:Per - Rarely used (sometimes rolled against opposing Intrusion, but a raw attribute against an attribute+skill might as well not bother). Make this a flat 10, since heroes are good at detecting ambushes and whatnot.

Mnd:Wil - Used to resist some schticks, but see above about attribute vs attr+skill. Just make this a flat 10, since iron will is a standard attribute of heroes.

Ref:Agi - Used only for skills

Ref:Dex - Used only for skills

Ref:Spd - Used for initiative - keep!

This leaves us with four attributes: Toughness, Chi, Fortune, and Speed. Only Fortune and Chi have related derivations, and Fortune was broken out separately for all archetypes that had it before, so there is no good reason to link it to Chi now.

New Schticks

Strong as an Ox: You're really strong. You can lift heavy objects, bend bars, pop buttons off your shirt with a flex of your mighty thews, and otherwise display buffness beyond that of your pencil-necked companions. Your base HtH damage is also increased by +3 per level of this schtick, but you need an impressive weapon to get the bonus for being armed.

Big Bruisers get one level of Strong as an Ox free. It can also purchased as a Supernatural Creature power, up to two levels (which requires a REALLY BIG weapon to get the armed bonus).

If you need a number, consider each level a multiple of four in raw strength.

Abysmal Spines (improved): Since Strong as an Ox now gives a large bonus to HtH damage, Abysmal Spines needs to be upgraded to continue to be useful.

One level of Abysmal spines makes you always "armed", regardless of how many oxen you're strong as. A second level permits you to fling your spines to do base HtH damage at range, and a third lets your ranged attack do armed damage.

Tough as Nails: Whether because you're so big that the blows of lesser creatures don't mean much to you, or because you have impenetrable scaly hide, or just because you're habitually too high on Spronky-Cola to feel pain, you get a +2 bonus per level (2 levels max) to your Toughness for purposes of resisting straight damage (but not for making death checks or resisting poison or disease). This is a Supernatural Creature schtick; humans should just buy up their Toughness.

Skills

There are two new skills, to make up for the lack of certain attributes:

Alertness: The ability to notice subtle things like matchbooks from the villain's favorite restaurant, stitches in the manskin mask the abomination is wearing as a disguise, or ninja creeping up on your household pets.

Iron Will: Although mooks get bamboozled, seduced, mind-controlled or brain-shredded all the time, heroes are made of sterner stuff. Your Iron Will AV is the difficulty for anyone trying to use such skills or powers on you, and your AV for breaking out or cluing in if you do get taken. A roll on Iron Will might also be appropriate for frightening or emotionally traumatic situations, depending on the style of game the GM thinks he's running.

Damage

Even in the original edition, specialized ammunition, laser sights, and so forth didn't affect the mechanical performance of a gun; they were just flavor. Following that philosophy toward its natural conclusion, caliber no longer matters either. Nor does Bod:Str, because it doesn't exist.

Martial Arts Attacks

Base hand-to-hand damage for any character is 7. Someone armed with a substantial weapon (a sword or staff, not a sap or switchblade) does damage 10. Each level of Strong as an Ox increases base and armed damage ratings by 3, but raises the bar for what's considered a "substantial weapon".

Small thrown objects like rocks, knives, and shuriken inflict base HtH damage; large ones like javelins or springy ones like bows inflict armed damage.

These values are for trained martial artists; a normal person would inflict damage 4 (7 with a frying pan).

Gun Attacks

Black powder (1850s) pistols are damage 7; black powder rifles or blunderbusses are damage 10. Crossbows are normally damage 10; large seige versions that take a very long time to wind up might reach 13.

Modern pistols have a damage rating of 10. Modern rifles and shotguns have damage 13. Heavy weapons (eg, 12.7mm sniper rifle or machinegun) are damage 16, but cannot be used in normal combat by anyone who is not Strong as an Ox: they have to be mounted.

2056 firearms do the same damage as modern ones (but are lighter and higher capacity). Arcanologically or technologically advanced weapons might do more. Remember that abominations capable of using damage 16 weapons as small arms are pretty common.

Archetypes

The archetypes will need to be modified slightly to take the changes described above into account, but only slightly.

Attributes

Okay, attributes get modified a lot. Take the highest of Bod, Bod:Con, and Bod:Tgh as the initial value for Toughness, the highest of Chi, Chi:Mag, and Chi:Fu for Chi, Chi:For for Fortune, and the higher of Ref or Ref:Spd for Speed.

Any point that can be added to a primary attribute can be used as either an addition to an attribute or two free skill points; a point of addition to a secondary attribute turns into one free skill point. No attribute should be raised more than 3 beyond its initial value.

Skills

All skills are now just whatever AV they are; they are not additions to any attributes, and modifying attributes does not change the AVs. Fixed AVs, AV caps, and free skill points all work as before.

All archetypes get the skills Alertness and Iron Will at 10; these can be improved with free skill points to a beginning maximum of 15.

If you want to add a skill not already on the archetype, one skill point gets you the skill at AV 8.

Schticks

The Big Bruiser Archetype, having no Bod:Str to use in walloping people, gets one level of Strong as an Ox for free. With the GM's permission, the Bruiser's unique schtick can be swapped in for a level of Tough as Nails.

Most schticks function approximately the same way, although all that draw from a pool of points use Chi for that pool. Schticks that rely on no-longer-existing secondary attributes can use a flat value of 6, increasable to 8 or 10 by spending 1 or 2 extra points of Chi (for those schticks that use Chi; ones that don't are stuck with the 6). Ones that were formerly resisted by Mnd:Wil are now resisted by Iron Will.

Schticks that add to damage can be left unchanged, although in a perfect world they would be revamped to match the new damage system.


This file was last modified at 1119 on 08Jun01 by trip@idiom.com.