[MUD-Dev] [rpg-create] Martial arts rules (fwd)
J C Lawrence
claw at kanga.nu
Sun Jul 23 21:08:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2000
<<Message format slight edited for easier of reading>>
------- Forwarded Message
To: rpg-create at egroups.com
From: "Larry D. Hols" <crkdface at grapevine.net>
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 22:12:29 +0100
Subject: [rpg-create] Martial arts rules
Here are the core chapters from Street Angels.
Old school buds here:
RPG-Create on the web: http://theicemage.home.mindspring.com/rpg-create/
Chapter Three: Rules to Fight By
The Street Angels will often find themselves interrupting criminals
at work. In these circumstances, the Angels will want the bad guys to stop
what they are doing and cooperate in being arrested. The bad guys,
however, will rarely be of the mind to cooperate -- rather, they will be
entirely unappreciative of the Angels efforts. When push comes to shove,
the rules for combat will be necessary.
The focus of these rules is unarmed combat, meaning situations in
which the characters and their opponents have few choices of weaponry --
those at hand, so to speak. They may find odd bits and pieces lying around
to beat on each other with, and some may even carry basic weapons concealed
on their persons, but the game concentrates on the use of hands and feet --
mano y mano.
The rules for combat in the game, as with all of the other rules,
are guidelines to be used in regulating play. They are not writ in stone,
and if they are found to be cumbersome at times, ignore them. If a hero
really, really needs to beat up three well-trained goons and the hero isn't
REALLY a kung fu master, then he may just get incredibly lucky -- and
nobody will say a thing about the creative use the rules were put to.
These rules are meant to keep the game flowing smoothly while also allowing
the flavor of the martial arts to be appreciated. The Gamemaster may
adjust them to fit personal tastes.
These rules are not designed to provide the utmost in realistic
simulation of combat, either. They are crafted to provide a basic feel for
fighting in general and the martial arts in particular. These rules
provide greater detail than any other part of the game, but they were still
designed to prove relatively easy to use in play. The intricacies of the
martial arts are hinted at here, and an idea given of how formidable a
highly trained martial artist can prove to be.
The Action Round
Most fights happen quickly, with a victor generally being decide in
less than a minute. Because fights erupt and finish in such a short amount
of time, the basic unit of time used in the game during fight scenes is
fairly short in duration. Fights are acted out in increments called Action
Rounds, or combat rounds. A round is nothing more than a discrete unit of
time dedicated to playing out discrete actions. As mentioned in the
optional movement rules, a round is roughly 3 seconds in length.
The Flexible Round
Rounds don't really have to be any specific length. The three
second round assumed in the rules is simply a reasonable length of time for
all of the expected actions of the characters to occur in. Setting up and
executing a solid attack can happen in as little as a second or can take as
long as six or eight seconds. Three or four seconds seems to be a
reasonable, moderate length of time for a round.
The GM can use rounds of any other length to suit the needs of the
moment. If, to heighten tension in the storyline, minute details of a
scene would play better in "slow motion", then it would prove useful to use
shorter rounds of perhaps a second in length. The GM need only decide what
actions or responses would be appropriate in the shorter round and describe
the action in agonizing detail for full effect.
Likewise, if a longer round seems necessary, then, by all means,
use a longer round. Say, for instance, that the GM thinks that a PC and
important NPC are evenly matched, and their individual battle would last
far longer than the action around them. He can rule that the Big Fight
occurs in six- or nine-second rounds, with the participants choosing new
tactics and making rolls every second or third time the secondary fighters
act. This reflects the equal footing of the combatants and how closely
matched they are in story terms. The GM can describe the action in three
second increments, filling in the rounds that the two aren't choosing new
Order of Combat
The activity in an action round can be varied, but the order in
which actions occur is regulated simply. The following is the order of
combat for Street Angels fights:
1) The players decide what their PCs plan to do during the round.
The GM decides what the NPCs plan to do during the round.
2) Dice are rolled to decide who takes the initiative in the round.
3) All characters act in the order determined by initiative, unless
they are rendered unable to do so prior to their turn to act.
This cycle continues until all of the characters have acted and are
ready for the next round, or one side is victorious and the other side lies
at the victors' feet. All of the effects of combat -- damage, take downs,
knockouts -- are applied and recorded as they occur during the round.
Characters can engage in melee combat, whether hand-to-hand or with
weapons, or in ranged combat. Each of these encompasses different
situations and interactions, so will be dealt with individually.
To determine Initiative, each player rolls 1d10 and then adds a
bonus based on his character's Combat Awareness skill (as per the skill
description.) The characters then act in order from the highest Initiative
total to the lowest.
Here is the Combat Awareness Bonus Table from the skill
description. The higher the Skill Rating, the better the bonus.
Combat Awareness Initiative Bonus
0 - 10 + 0
11 - 15 + 1
16 - 18 + 2
19 - 20 + 3
21 + + 4
The advantage in having the highest Initiative total is fairly
basic. A character with the highest total can act before all other
combatants, and may incapacitate other characters before they get to act.
Because attacks in the round are not simultaneous (except for times of tied
Initiative,) a character that is rendered incapacitated before his turn to
act is unable to act that round.
Any characters having the same Initiative total will act
simultaneously (even if it means everybody acts at once!) If two
characters with simultaneous Initiative totals are engaged in conflicting
actions, a Stat or Skill Contest is rolled to determine which action should
be resolved first. The actions of the second may modify the chances of the
Spike and Gaunt both have the same Initiative total and are
attempting conflicting actions. Spike is attempting to shoot Gaunt while
Gaunt is attempting to dive behind a wall to avoid being shot. A Stat
Contest based on Coordination is rolled, with Spike winning. Spike gets
the shot off as Gaunt is in the air over the wall.
Because Gaunt's Initiative total is the same and the actions are
basically simultaneous, however, the Gamemaster rules that Gaunt's dive
does decrease Spike's chances to hit. The pistol barks and chips fly from
the top of the wall just under Gaunt's belly as he dives over it. That was
Modifications to Initiative
Initiative rolls may be modified by the fashion in which the
respective combatants are armed. If the opponents facing off are similarly
armed then Initiative is determined as outlined above. For instances where
different types of weapons are being used, then Initiative rolls are
further modified. Characters are either Unarmed, Armed with a melee weapon
of some sort, or wielding a Gun.
An Unarmed combatant is using his hands and feet as weapons of
mayhem and destruction. Small ranged weapons, such as shuriken, qualify as
type Unarmed in melee, due to their unsuitability for close fighting.
An Armed combatant wields a weapon suitable for close fighting,
whether it be a stout stick, a pine 2x4, or a machete. The weapon offers
greater reach than simply using a fist, and can make things quite difficult
for Unarmed opponents. Ranged weapons that are of suitable size and build
can qualify a user for Armed status in melee (eg. throwing knife.)
Using a Gun in combat, as some bad guys are wont to do, can make
things quite scary for any opponent. A trigger squeeze is quicker than
most other attacks, and makes an opponent waving a pistol around very
The following table shows the effects on Initiative that having different
types of armaments has:
Armament vs. Armament Bonus
Unarmed Unarmed 0
Armed Armed 0
Armed Unarmed +1
Gun Gun 0
Gun Un-/Armed +1 at Point Blank range
Gun Un-/Armed +2 at longer ranges
Gaunt decides to stay behind the wall to avoid Spike's bullets.
Spike decides to wait for Gaunt to move, so combat basically stops for a
short time. Spike then decides to flush Gaunt out and creeps up on the
wall. The Gamemaster rules that combat will resume when Spike reaches the
wall, and calls for Initiative rolls. Spike is using a Gun, but will be
basically at Point Blank range (both men popping up over the wall directly
across from each other), so he gains a bonus of +1.
Down the alley, Chad is confronted by a couple of Spike's lackeys.
Chad's player rolls a six for Initiative and is matched by the Gamemaster.
Chad is carrying a stout club, however, and the bonus for being Armed vs.
Unarmed opponents gives him the opportunity to act first.
Melee combat is simply combat that takes place up close and
personal. Fists, feet, and large sticks are mainstays in melee, and to
hurt an opponent one has to be very close to him. This is literally where
the knuckles hit the chin, so to speak, and most of the fights in the game
will probably consist of only melee combat.
Options in Melee Combat
There are many possible activities for characters to engage in
during a round of combat. Characters can Hold an Action, Ready a Weapon,
Attack, Defend, Disengage, or attempt a Miscellaneous Action.
A character may Hold an Action during combat. When it is the
character's turn to act in the round, the player may opt to Hold his action
until later in the round. The character may then decide to act at any
later time in the round, even interrupting another character's actions to
It is not automatic that the Holding character will actually be
successful in interrupting an opponent, if the actions are conflicting. An
interruption of this sort uses the same procedure as if the characters had
simultaneous initiative totals and conflicting actions. A Stat or Skill
Contest decides the issue.
Characters may also Ready a weapon they are toting and want to use.
This may mean digging nunchaku out from under a jacket, or stooping to pick
up a 2x4 from a pile of rubbish. A weapon already in hand is assumed to be
readied. This action also allows for weapons to be stowed away.
An Attacking character must choose an opponent that is within the
reach of whatever weaponry the character is wielding. If the character is
using only hands and feet in the fight, then obviously the target opponent
must be within physical reach of the attacking character. An attack
against a character that has not chosen the Defend action is a simple Skill
Test of Average Difficulty. Any of the character's Martial Arts subskills
may qualify as an attack (unless specifically disallowed by the
The Attack option assumes that the character is using his weaponry
to defend himself somewhat while attempting to smite the opponent, so the
weaponry involved in the fight has some influence on the success of the
action. It is more difficult to defend against a weapon if not wielding a
weapon of one's own, so a bonus of +1 is awarded to the combatant using the
weapon. This bonus does not apply to using ranged weapons to attack an
Attacking an experienced martial artist is also not an easy task.
To reflect this, melee attacks (unarmed or using hand held weapon) against
a Professional level martial artist are at a penalty of -1, and against a
Master a penalty of -2 accrues. This reflects the nuances of footwork and
body positioning that comes with great expertise in combat.
The armament the combatants are wielding affects Attacks, also. An
Unarmed character suffers a penalty of -1 to Skill Rating when attacking an
Armed character. An Armed character gains a Bonus of 1 to Skill Rating
when attacking an Unarmed character.
Using an empty hand skill while wielding a weapon is also not the easiest
feat in the world. Using the hands interferes with the weapon, and using
the weapon interferes with using the hands. To reflect this, a penalty of
- -2 to Skill Rating accrues when attempting to use an empty hand skill while
wielding a weapon.
An Attack may be called for a special purpose, also. It is
possible to knock an item out of an opponent's hand, or deflect the aim of
an item (such as a pistol) with a focused attack. When aiming at a small
target, such as a held item, there is a penalty of -4 to the Skill Rating
for the attack. This attack does minimum damage to the target, but will
indeed deflect hand and item to the side. If the target fails a Stat Test
for Strength, then the item is dropped as well.
The Attacking character may then grapple for control of the item
with the target character. Alternatively, the Attacking character may
attempt to remove the item from the opponent's hand. This struggle for
control of the weapon or disarming may be adjudicated as a Stat Contest
based on Strength or as a Test involving Martial Arts skill (Above Average
All characters that are involved in a fight are assumed to be
attempting to defend themselves. The Defend action, however, assumes that
the character is attempting to do nothing else but keep from being hurt.
He will not attack an opponent, nor will he try to flee the melee; he will
simply try to deflect or dodge every attack aimed at him.
The Defend option does not have to be declared at the beginning of
the combat round. The character may decide to Defend any time an attack is
launched at him, even if his Initiative turn has not arrived yet. The
character will spend the rest of the round Defending, and will not be able
to attack or disengage, even if one of those were the initial plan.
When a character is Defending, combat becomes a Skill Contest
between the attacker's weapon skill and the Defender's Defense Skill.
Defense Skills include Shield, Dodge, Martial Arts Parry, Block, defensive
skills, and all Melee Weapon skills. A character that is Defending defends
against all attacks targeting him that round, but for each Skill Contest
after the first he suffers a -1 penalty (cumulative.)
It is also much easier to defend against attacks from Unarmed
antagonists when wielding a weapon. Armed characters gain a bonus of +1
when Defending against Unarmed characters.
The study of martial arts will also benefit a character's ability
to defend himself. Not only does the character become more difficult to
attack successfully while actively fighting (see above), but the character
becomes much more difficult to hurt when actively attempting to avoid being
hit. As the character's proficiency increases in the arts, he gains
bonuses as follows:
Martial Arts Level Bonus
Capable + 1 to Defend rolls
Professional + 2 to Defend rolls
Master + 3 to Defend rolls
Note that these bonuses accrue when dealing with unarmed attacks,
or attacks using hand-held or thrown weapons. Against other weapons, such
as firearms, the arts can add little in way of defense.
Martial artists may also gain the ability to counterattack
opponents during a round in which they actively Defend. The martial artist
must be of Professional level, and the counterattack is made at a penalty
of -4 to Skill Rating. The character will Defend with a penalty of 2 to
Skill Rating and will be able to counterattack only if the opponent's
attack is unsuccessful.
If a character wishes to Disengage from the fight, he may make no
active attack or defense (the combat options) in the round. If he survives
the round, then he is considered to have successfully disengaged and may
escape from the fight. He may be hit with a thrown weapon while still in
range, but for him to be again engaged in melee would involve either him or
an opponent closing the distance (at least a full round after he
A martial artist may use his greater defensive prowess to expedite
Disengagement. A martial artist may Defend with a skill rating four points
lower than normal and still Disengage. If he has to work harder than that
to keep from being hurt, then he is Defending and may not Disengage.
Characters may also attempt to use other skills during a combat
round. It may prove to be useless to attempt to defuse a situation after
the first brick has been thrown, but other actions are possible. First Aid
may be administered to fallen combatants while the fight rages on around.
A hero may need to pick a lock open to allow the Angels to escape from a
bad situation while bodies fly around the small alley.
There will be times that players will want their characters to
attack an opponent that is not within reach of hand or foot. The opponent
may be halfway across the room or across a parking lot, and the player
still insists on having his character attack. He may pull a shuriken out
of his pocket and gracefully launch it or he may grab a handy rock and
heave it. These are both examples of ranged combat.
Ranged combat is not as personal an experience as melee. It can
prove, however, to be much more dangerous for a couple of reasons. First,
a character may not be able to respond to a ranged attack in kind, and
trying to close the distance for melee becomes a risky affair. Secondly,
guns are often the weapon of choice for those bad guys who use ranged
weapons. If this is the case, there is little a hero can do except to dive
The following section of the rules governs how ranged weapons are
used in the game. It actually begins with using ranged weapons in melee
situations, and then covers normal use of ranged weaponry.
Ranged Weapons in Melee
Characters engaged in melee combat (actively fighting an opponent)
may not use ranged combat without penalty. The character may throw a
weapon at a target other than the melee opponent, but the following rules
* The character must use a weapon already in hand (eg. knife)
* The character must win Initiative over his opponent
* The character launches the attack with a penalty of 2 to Skill
* The melee opponent gains a bonus of 2 to Skill that round
Alex has a shuriken in hand to use when a thug jumps from around a
corner and engages her. She really needs to stop the Big Boss and a toady
from escaping up a stairway to the roof, so she decides to throw the
shuriken at the boss if possible. She wins Initiative over the thug, so
she's able to find the room to set up and throw the shuriken. Her Skill
Rating with the shuriken is reduced by two to reflect the difficulty of
maneuvering around an immediate opponent. The opponent will have an easier
time of attacking her, though, as she is preoccupied with throwing the star.
The character may throw a weapon at a melee opponent, provided that
there is some room between the two combatants. For example, if the
character just swept the opponent to the ground, he may throw the knife
he's using at the fallen opponent to encourage the foe to not get back up.
If the fight is raging up close and personal, then a throwing a weapon is
not a viable option.
Frazier has picked up a brick to use in a fight. A gang member
attempts to wrest the brick from his grasp, and Frazier takes the
opportunity to sweep the gangbanger's legs from under him. While the gang
member is sprawled on the ground, Frazier thinks the guy makes a good
target for pitching practice and heaves the brick.
Options in Ranged Combat
Characters have a few options available to them as a matter of
course in regular ranged combat. They may Ready a Weapon, Load a Weapon,
Aim, or Attack.
Readying A Weapon
A weapon must be readied before it can be used in combat. A Ready
weapon is one that is in the character's hands, ready to use. For
firearms, this involves having the weapon loaded, a round chambered, and
the safety off. Knives and shuriken and such just need to be held properly
and have the arm free to move, prepared for delivery. Weapons can be
Readied (or stowed) in one round.
Loading a Weapon
A weapon may be Loaded in one round if a loaded clip or magazine is
available. Some weapons require reloading after a single shot (some
shotguns, zip guns), while others may fire several times before needing
loaded. Reloading weapons with a clip is a one round affair. Pushing
several shells into a shotgun will involve more than one round.
A character may gain a bonus for spending a round Aiming. This
assumes that the character is able to see the target for the entire round
spent aiming, and is able to bring the weapon to bear (or prepare his body
A Ranged Attack is a Skill Test based on a character's Skill with a
ranged weapon. The task Difficulty is based on the range of the attack,
and the following table shows exactly how this works out.
Range Task Difficulty
Point Blank +4 Very Easy
Short +2 Easy
Medium +0 Average
Long -2 Above Average
Very Long -4 Difficult
All ranged weaponry, for aiming purposes, have five ranges.
Point Blank range is defined for all weapons as being within or
just beyond arm's reach for those weapons that are launched or fired. For
weapons that are thrown, Point Blank range is defined as being just far
enough to throw to a couple paces distance (say, three to six feet.)
The other ranges -- Short, Medium, Long, and Very Long -- are
dependent upon the actual weapon, and the distances are listed in the
Ranged Attack Modifiers
There are other circumstances that will modify attack rolls for
better or worse. The next table will describe the circumstance and the
penalty or bonus to the attack roll. All of the modifiers are cumulative.
Modifying Circumstance Modifier
Target running - 1
Target partially concealed or prone - 2 (1/2 to 3/4 hidden)
Target fully concealed - 3 (> 3/4 hidden)
Attacker running - 1
Attacking small target (held item, etc) - 4
Attacker prone (with fired weapons) + 1
Attacker has scope on weapon + 2
Attacker spends one round aiming + 2
As with melee weapons, attacks with ranged weapons are assumed to
be made with the character's primary hand. An attack aimed/thrown/
launched with the character's off-hand suffers a penalty of one Skill
Level. Characters with the Second Hand skill can avoid part of the penalty
for off-hand use.
Alex is running down an alley in pursuit of a mugger. She decides
to throw a shuriken at the man in hopes of slowing him down enough for her
to catch up. She's running and he's running, which make the shot more
difficult, but the range is Medium. The shot is by no means improbable,
and with a good roll she will hit the man. Whether it stops the man or
merely makes him very angry is to be seen.
Using Ranged Weapons
Ranges for weapons are given in yards to give the Gamemaster and
players a sense of the accuracy and power of each weapon. It is best,
however, if the Gamemaster doesn't sweat over exact distances and uses a
more abstract approach to determine the ranges of weapons. Combat should
move as quickly as possible, and stopping to figure the exact range a
target is at can drastically slow the action.
This approach is also normally much simpler in play because, in
most instances, the range is fairly obvious. Most combat happens at fairly
short range, either inside an enclosed space, or in an obstructed outdoor
setting. Most ranged weapons will be used at Point Blank, Short, or Medium
In those encounters where longer ranges may come into play, such as
ambushes and running battles in an open field, it is best to use an
abstracted system for using ranges. Estimate the distance the opponents
are separated by, and note when the difference in weapons used will put a
character at a disadvantage. For example, if a bad guy is on a second
floor fire escape and shooting a crossbow at the hero, the hero is going to
have difficulty returning fire with only a pocketful of shuriken.
Make a reasonable guess of the range and assign the modifier to the
roll. If the action stays fast, furious, and reasonable, the players will
have little urge to pace off every range. The focus of Street Angels is on
martial arts and fisticuffs, so ranged combat is of only secondary interest
in any case.
Occasionally, the bad guys may have even nastier weapons to use on
the heroes. These weapons are firearms capable of automatic fire. There
are some weapons capable of both single shot fire and automatic fire, and
the weapon tables reflect both these modes.
Automatic fire weapons each have a designated Burst Factor. A
burst may be fired at a number of separate targets equaling the Burst
Factor. This reduces the chance of hitting any individual target, but
gives the firing character a chance of damaging all of the targets
involved. Each of the targets in the burst must be in same basic range, in
sight of the attacker, and be adjacent in the arc of fire.
A burst may be fired at a single target, and this will increase the
chances of damaging the target. Firing a burst at a single target will
also serve to increase the damage delivered on a successful burst.
Range Class Single Shot 1 Target
Point Blank + 4 Auto + 2
Short + 2 + 4 + 0
Medium + 0 + 2
Long - 2 + 0
Very Long - 4 - 2
Damage is rolled normally for single shots and multi-target bursts.
For bursts on single targets, the damage is rolled on the weapon damage
table and then multiplied by the Burst Factor of the weapon.
In addition to automatic weapons, occasionally the bad guys will
have shotguns. Shotguns spread their pellets at longer ranges enabling
them to damage more targets, but decreasing the damage done to any of those
Whenever a shotgun is used in play, the game master must decide who
is in the cone of fire. Unlike using automatic fire, the targets in a cone
of fire for a shotgun do not have to be in the same range band, just in the
cone of fire.
Range Class To Hit Dam Adjust Max Targets
Point Blank Auto x 4 1
Short + 4 x 2 2
Medium + 2 Normal 4
Long + 0 Roll 1d10 8
Very Long - 2 Roll 1d10 12
There will be times that the characters will find themselves in a
situation other than standing up and facing off against an opponent. These
special circumstances will modify the normal rules slightly. The
guidelines offered hereafter will serve as an example for Gamemasters to
use in other situations not covered.
Surprising an unsuspecting opponent with a blindside attack results
in one free attack with a bonus of +4 to the Skill Rating of the attack
used and, if the initial attack is successful, a bonus of +4 accrues to the
damage roll. The opponent also receives an Initiative penalty of -2 the
next round of combat.
In the midst of a street brawl, a character may find that his
opponent is unable to continue while other fights still rage on around the
victor and vanquished. In this case, the victorious fighter may want to
help a friend by blindsiding a different opponent. Attacking an unaware
opponent in the combat from behind gives the attacker an Initiative bonus
of +3 for the round of the blindside and a bonus of +4 to the Skill Rating
of the attack.
Frazier knocks out his opponent in a free-for-all behind a local
bar. He decides to assist Chad, the nearest Angel in the melee. He spends
a round grabbing a 2x4 off the ground (Readying a Weapon) and then steps up
behind one of the thugs accosting Chad. The Initiative Bonus of +3 allows
Frazier to attack before his target is completely aware of the new threat.
The attack bonus allows Frazier to easily clobber the guy, and another
combatant slumps to the asphalt unconscious.
Note that the Initiative bonus applied only to Frazier attacking
the opponent being blindsided. If Frazier had chosen at the last moment to
attack a different foe -- one aware of his imminent attack -- the bonus
would not have applied.
Attacking Downed Opponents
Some of the Martial Arts subskills in the game result in the
opponent being thrown to the ground. The advantage in having the opponent
in this predicament is fairly obvious, this situation providing the
attacker with many options. The attacker may:
2) Attack the downed character while staying up,
3) Jump on the downed character for ground fighting.
The first of these options includes fleeing and maneuvering. If
the character wishes to discontinue the fight, he may simply flee or
otherwise move out of fighting range. The downed character may only pursue
to close the distance after regaining his feet.
The attacker may move to gain advantageous ground for continuing
the fight after the opponent regains his feet, or may take the opportunity
to pick up a makeshift weapon from the surroundings. The thing to remember
is that the character has a brief respite from the fight and may act in
The character may also choose to attack the downed opponent.
During a round in which the opponent is down or regaining his feet, the
character may kick or strike the opponent with a bonus of 2 to the Skill
Rating. Successful attacks deliver normal damage, and give the opponent a
penalty of 1 to Coordination on attempts to stand up.
There will also be characters who choose to join the opponent on
the ground to continue the fight. Before the opponent regains his feet,
the attacker has a bonus of 2 with a Ground fighting attack.
Chad sweeps his opponent, dropping the man to the ground. Chad
really doesn't like grappling, so he chooses to attack from above. Chad
gains the Initiative, and attacks as the man struggles to regain his feet.
The bonus to Skill Rating allows Chad to hit the man easily. The foe
suffers a penalty to his Coordination Test (to stand up) because of the
attack, and is knocked to the ground again. Chad hopes to be able to keep
knocking the man down until the man can't get back up.
Note that if the opponent had won Initiative, Chad would have
gained the bonus to Skill Rating for the attack, but the opponent would
have Tested Coordination without penalty (to stand up.) The Coordination
penalty only accrues if an attack is successful prior to the Coordination
Fighting While Down
A combatant may also find himself on the ground in the middle of a
fight while his opponent towers over him. The character then has a few
options available to him. The player may choose to:
1) Defend using the Dodge skill,
2) Make a Coordination Stat Test to stand up in combat,
3) Attack the opponent to make room to stand, or
4) Attempt to trip the opponent.
The first option is self-explanatory.
The second option leaves the character vulnerable to attacks from
the opponent. The character may take additional damage, but will be
standing at the end of the round if the Stat Test is successful, barring an
attack form that would throw him back down.
The third option works for highly skilled characters. The
character may attack the opponent from the ground, and if successful, may
inflict half damage and gain room to stand up. The opponent was driven
back by a furious attack from the downed character, suffering minor damage
in the process but having to allow the downed one to rise. The downed
character suffers a -2 penalty to the Skill Rating for attacking from the
The last option is viable for almost any character. The downed
character may attack the standing opponent with kicks or strikes, with the
intent being to trip the opponent and bring him down. These attacks are
made with a -4 penalty to Skill Ratings. If successful, the opponent takes
no damage, but falls to the ground.
Chad now finds himself on the ground during a fight. He really,
really doesn't like fighting on the ground so he decides to clear out some
room to stand up in. He receives a penalty to Skill Rating of -2 in the
attack, and fails in the attempt. The opponent has a decided advantage in
attacking now, and Chad is still on the ground. Chad's player decides that
using a little Luck could be in order....
Once both fighters are down, through a take down, throw, or trip,
the fighting may continue while on the ground. There are martial arts that
prefer ground fighting to upright fighting, and practitioners of these arts
fight as well down as up. Characters with the ground fighting skill fight
at full Skill Ratings while on the ground. Others fight with a -4 penalty
to Skill Ratings.
Kicks and strikes used in ground fighting do not have the advantage
of leverage and torque imparted by the rest of the body during delivery.
This limits a character to only basic kicks and strikes while tangled up on
the ground. The lack of leverage from being on the ground also leads to
weaker strikes than standing attacks are capable of, so these attacks
suffer a penalty of 2 to damage rolls.
Ground fighting can result in one of the combatants being held in
some fashion, whether it be a wrist lock, arm bar, or choke. Characters
that are held in such fashion may attempt to escape by winning a Contest
based upon Skill or Strength (if the Contest is won by more than four
points, the hold can be reversed.) Characters being held are subject to
being damaged by strikes or by increasing the pressure on the held limb.
The basic rules assume that the combatants have full movement of
all of their body parts. Both hands are free to block and strike, both
feet are free to move on and kick with, and the combatant can move his body
freely during the fight. There will be situations when this is not the
case, however. Occasionally a character may find himself with his hands
tied behind him, or an arm in a sling, or a foot stuck in a hole. Fighting
at these times will prove to be a bit difficult.
If the use of one arm is restricted (note: restricted as in
unsuitable for use as a weapon -- sliced open and bleeding, for instance),
then the character suffers a penalty of -1 to his Skill Rating during the
fight. If use of one leg is restricted, then a penalty is of -2 is
suffered, unless the restriction also inhibits mobility (see below.) If
use of both arms is restricted (both hands severely burned and swaddled in
bandages, for instance) then the penalty is -4 to the Skill Rating. If
both feet are restricted in use (but still allow mobility) then the penalty
is -3 to Skill Rating. If one limb is all that can be used, the penalty is
- -4 to the Skill Rating.
If mobility is also restricted, then fighting becomes even more
difficult. If the character cannot step and move much at all (tied to a
post, severely sprained ankle/knee, etc) then a penalty of -3 to the Skill
Rating applies. This penalty is cumulative with the restriction penalties
Note that penalties for off-hand use may also apply in these instances.
Gaunt finds himself tied securely to a pole in the chop shop. He
mulls over the possibility of waylaying the nearby guard. Gaunt's hands
are tied behind him, leaving only his feet free to use. He is tied solidly
against the pole, so he has no effective mobility. Things look rough.
Gaunt's player decides that the cumulative penalty to Skill Rating
would make the chance of success against the guard tenuous at best. The
thought of the guard getting reinforcements decides the matter.
Gaunt shifts slightly, watching the guard. Even if the guard went
down easy, there was the detail of the ropes holding him. How would he get
out of those before more bad guys showed up? It seems best to wait for
help to arrive.
It is possible for characters to face more than one opponent during
a fight. Facing more than one opponent doesn't automatically mean the
character will lose the fight, but does make the likelihood of winning much
lesser. Characters with a much higher Skill Rating than the opponents will
find the fight much easier to end, but victory is not assured even in this
Initiative is rolled for normally in these situations, which can work to
the outnumbered character's advantage. If the character wins Initiative,
he may decide to stretch the combat out over a large area by leading the
opponents on a chase. Unless the character is slowed by fatigue or injury,
he can string the opponents out and deal with them one or two at a time.
The chase becomes a Contest between the character's Coordination or Running
Skill and that of the opponents. The Gamemaster should roll only once for
the opponents, however, and when the opponents win one round of the
Contest, one or two of the opponents have caught the character and some
melee will ensue. The other opponents will begin arriving on the scene a
couple of rounds later, at which time the character may once again break
for it. This assumes that the encounter begins with the single character
having an avenue available immediately to begin the chase.
If the character wins the Contest for the chase four rounds
consecutively, then it is assumed that the opponents have been shaken from
the trail for the time being. The opponents can pick up the trail again if
the character is unlucky or careless.
If the character gets trapped or surrounded, then there is no
option but to fight. The character may Defend against all of the opponents
(using the Defend rules) and keep in mind that some of the Martial Art
subskills can damage the opponents while the character is Defending (eg.
The character may also maneuver to take the fight to one opponent,
leaving the rest out of position to attack. If the character disables the
first, then he may only have to endure attacks from one other before the
next round, when he may attempt to maneuver in such fashion once again.
The character engages in a Contest pitting his Coordination Stat or
fighting Skill against the opponent's Stat or Skill. If the character
wins, he is successful in maneuvering the opponent to the appropriate spot.
Gaunt is now loose in the warehouse housing the chop shop. He is
exploring a storage space on the second floor when a door slams behind him.
He turns to find three thugs frowning at him. Gaunt knows that the only
way out of the room is through the door behind the bad guys, so a simple
escape is out of the question. The room is fairly large, though, and has
many crates and stacks of boxes in it. Perhaps he can use that to his
The GM calls for Initiative rolls, and one of the thugs wins
Initiative over Gaunt. He moves to close the distance, acting before
Gaunt. It takes time to move, though, so Gaunt may be able to move away
before the thug can engage him. The GM decides a Contest is in order (See
Movement and Distances) to determine if the thug can engage Gaunt before
Gaunt is able to pick out a stack of boxes to duck behind. Gaunt wins the
Contest, so a mini-chase can begin with the thugs chasing around the
storeroom after Gaunt.
Gaunt wins a Skill Contest (Martial Arts Skill) with the first
thug, meaning the thug moves to a spot keeping the other thugs from
attacking Gaunt. The next round sees Gaunt pausing to fight with the thug
briefly. If the thug goes down, then the chase automatically continues
with the other two. If the Gaunt doesn't take the first thug out
immediately, then another Contest is necessary to see if Gaunt can continue
to position the first thug between himself and the others.
Outnumbering a Foe
The other side in a numerical mismatch has a distinct advantage
over the single combatant. The multiple attackers in such a situation gain
bonuses to attack Skill Ratings when attacking the flank and rear of the
single opponent. The bonus for attacking from the defender's side is +2 to
Skill Rating, and the bonus for attacking from the rear is +4 to Skill
If one of the opponents manages to grapple the character, then the
rest of the opponents all receive a bonus of +6 to Skill Ratings to attacks
directed at the character. The character may attempt to escape normally,
but may not still be conscious the next round to do so.
The thugs in the warehouse now have Gaunt in a spot. He failed to put
down the first thug and lost the Contest to continue the chase. The other
thugs have closed in from the sides. Gaunt has managed to pick a spot
where his back is protected, but the bad guys can get bonuses of 2 to Skill
Rating in attacking him from the side while outnumbering him. Gaunt will
have to be very good or very lucky to survive this scrape.
Successful attacks all involve hurting an opponent. Whether a
character is punched kicked, hit with a club, stabbed, or shot, he gets
hurt. In game terms, the character takes damage. How much damage depends
upon the weapon used, and how it affects the character depends on a host of
other information. The next section examines combat damage.
Every weapon has a Maximum Damage (Max Dmg) rating listed for it.
It is the Max Dmg rating that determines how much damage the weapon is
capable of delivering. The actual damage delivered in a blow will vary, so
dice are rolled to generate the exact amount. 2d10 are rolled and compared
to the Damage Chart on the card that details the weapon. Whether the
character is using a fist or a knife or a chain, the damage is rolled using
the data on the appropriate card. Note that the Damage Table does include
an entry for a roll of 1; this is for those instances in which a modifier
is applied to the Max Damage Rating of the weapon.
The Master Damage Table is included in the rules to allow the
Gamemaster to add any weaponry to play that he wishes. Decide on an
appropriate Max Dmg rating for the weapon and use the Master Table to find
the actual damage. The table is found in Chapter Six.
Characters fighting unarmed -- that is, using hands and feet only
- -- dole out damage based on their Strength. The following table shows the
Maximum Damage generated by an unarmed character.
Strength Max Damage Strength Max Damage
1 - 2 3 11 - 13
3 - 4 4 14 - 16
5 - 7 6 17 - 20
8 - 10 10
A high Skill Level in a martial art allows a character to increase
the damage delivered in any given attack. A Skill Level of Professional
allows the character to add a bonus of +1 to damage. A Skill Level of
Expert allows the character to add a bonus of +2 to damage. These bonuses
are added to damage after the roll is made on the Damage Table. There are
special maneuvers that characters can learn that will have other bonuses.
Gaunt has a Strength of 5, so his Max Damage rating is 6. He hits
a thug and rolls for damage using the Max Dmg 6 entry on the Damage Table.
He rolls an 11, meaning he does 4 points of damage. His Skill Level of
Professional allows him a bonus of 1 point of damage, so the thug takes 5
points of damage from the strike.
Armor can be used to protect a character from weapon
damage. Each type of armor is rated with Armor Points. Each Armor Point
reduces the damage by one point, and if the damage is reduced to zero the
character is unscathed by the attack. Note that not all armor protects the
entire body. Bullet-proof vests, for example, do not protect the head or
the legs, so attacks that target these extremities are not reduced by armor.
After damage is totaled, the character being attacked subtracts the
damage from his Hit Point Total. The number of hit points figured for the
character at generation are the maximum hit points the character has when
uninjured. Taking damage during fights will temporarily decrease the
number of hit points the character has, with detrimental effects if the
current number of hit points drops low enough.
Any of the effects discussed immediately hereafter refer to System
Shock Tests. A System Shock test is merely a Stat Test based on the
character's Health Stat. These are Tested at a Difficulty of Average to
Difficult (0 to -4), generally.
If a character should take twenty points or more of damage in one
attack, then there is a chance that he will be heavily stunned. The
character must pass a System Shock Test (Difficult) or be capable of no
action except movement the next round. The character's ability to move is
impaired to one half normal also. This is in addition to any other System
Shock tests required.
If a character loses more than one half of his hit points in a
single combat round, then he must check for System Shock (Above Average.)
If the character fails the test, the character falls unconscious.
Once the character has lost three quarters of his Hit Points, he
must make a System Shock Test (Average) every time he takes more damage.
Again, failure means that the character falls unconscious.
Seriously wounded characters may suffer damage from blood loss.
For characters losing more than ten points of damage due to attacks from
weapons (or long falls -- over twenty five feet), blood loss leads to loss
of 1 Hit Point every five minutes unless the wounds are tended. First Aid
skill is not required for such bandaging, and the character can bandage his
own wounds provided he can reach them. Holding a pad against the wound
serves the same purpose as bandaging, but no other action is possible for
the character holding the pad.
Once a character is reduced to one Hit Point or less, he is
unconscious. The character will continue to lose Hit Points (if he is
bleeding) and once he reaches a Hit Point total of -10, he dies.
Note that this is speaking of damage inflicted by weapons. Damage
from unarmed attacks is not normally so lethal. Characters knocked
unconscious by unarmed attackers (those using fists and feet) will not
continue to lose Hit Points after unconsciousness. Only the use of special
martial art skills or continued beating of an unconscious character would
lead to a beating fatality.
Gaunt falls off a roof, taking 10 points of damage in the fall. He
has 20 Hit Points at Max, so him taking 10 points in one round requires a
System Shock Test for consciousness. His Health is 5, so he needs to roll
an 8 or less on the dice to remain conscious. His player rolls a 12, so
Gaunt lies unconscious in the alley where he fell. Because the damage is
from a short fall, no hit point loss from Bleeding occurs.
Unconscious characters may be revived using the First Aid skill.
The task is Average Difficulty if the unconscious character has lost less
than three quarters of his Hit Points, and Above Average if more than three
quarters of his Hit Points are lost. Using the Medicine skill, the tests
are one level easier.
The binding of wounds will not save characters reduced to zero hit
points (or fewer) by normal weapons damage; these characters need regular
Alex finds Gaunt lying unconscious in the alley (What a stroke of
luck!) She has First Aid skill, and attempts to revive him. Gaunt has
lost less than three quarters of his hit points, so the Skill Roll is at
Average Difficulty. Alex's player rolls an 8, so she revives Gaunt easily.
Once a character has been injured, he will probably want to heal
the damage so he can go get beat up again. The rate at which he heals the
damage depends upon the treatment he receives.
A character receiving no special treatment will heal at a rate of 2
Hit Points per game week he spends resting. Physical activity hinders the
recovery of points in this fashion, but Mental Skills may be studied and
improved during this time without penalty to healing.
If the character gets treated after the combat with the First Aid
or Medicine skills, he regains 2 Hit Points immediately, and will continue
to heal 2 Hit Points per week of rest. A character treated at a hospital
will heal 4 points immediately and regain 4 points per week of
A character reduced to zero Hit Points must receive emergency care
from someone of Professional Level skill in Medicine to survive, unless the
damage was from normal hand-to-hand attacks. Emergency surgery and such is
required, so the treatment must take place in an environment conducive to
treatment, and the Difficulty of the test is dependent upon the victim's
wounds. If the emergency treatment is successful, the character will be
restored to 1 Hit Point and then can recover normally.
Hit Point Level Task Difficulty
Above 0 Average
0 to - 3 Above Average
- 4 to - 6 Difficult
- 6 to - 10 Very Difficult
Some of the Martial Arts subskills in the game list a special
effect as an outcome for an attack. The special effects are Stunning and
Unbalancing. These effects help to determine the flow of the fight.
Stunning does not refer to a character becoming punch-drunk and
stumbling around. The stunning referred to in the rules denotes a slight
hesitation brought on by a disruption of the character's neural system.
This hesitation is exhibited by slowed reactions by way of a penalty of -3
to Initiative the round after being stunned. The character will also be
hampered by a penalty of -4 to Skill Rating the round after being stunned.
Characters may occasionally be stunned twice in the same round.
Should this occur, the GM may rule that the character becomes heavily
stunned. This results in the character suffering an Initiative penalty of
- -4, and a Skill Rating penalty of -6 in the next round. One round after
that, the character still has penalties of -1 to Initiative and Skill.
Unbalancing can occur to a combatant, and reflects a break in
balance and the time necessary to fully recover. An unbalanced character
suffers a penalty of 1 to Initiative and is slightly easier to hit in
combat (a bonus of 1 for attacks directed against him.) There are some
subskills that are geared toward exploiting an unbalanced opponent, and the
explanations of those skills may award a larger bonus for an attacker.
Using Luck in Combat
Since an Attack or Defense is a Skill Test or Skill Contest, the
player may choose to use some of his Luck. The Luck Points are used in the
normal fashion, with each point of Luck being spent altering the roll by
one. The minimum expenditure of five Luck Points still applies.
If Luck is spent on using the Defend option, the character will
spend enough Luck points to beat the opponent's Attack roll by one point
(with at least five being spent.) An Attacker using Luck will spend enough
points to land a successful attack.
Note that the two characters facing off in an engagement may not
both spend Luck in the same round. If a Defending character announced
early in a round that he was using Luck, he may use Luck to defend against
later attacks and the later attackers may not use Luck points to aid their
attacks. If the Defender had not announced that he would be spending Luck
Points on his Defense, then later attackers may spend Luck freely, and the
Defender is unable to use Luck that round. When there is any question
about declarations, such conflicts are always decided in favor of the
The use of Luck Points on normal defending (the opponent making an
Average Skill Test and the target character is planning on attacking later)
is possible only if the character has acquired the Martial Moves skill.
The character may then use Luck to alter the opponents' attack skill rolls.
See the description of the Martial Moves skill for a more lengthy
The player may also use Luck to reduce damage delivered by an
opponent's attack. The player announces that he will use the Luck prior to
the damage roll being made. Five Luck Points will be expended to decrease
the damage roll (not the Damage Points) by five. The Luck will be expended
even if the damage roll were minimum to begin with.
All Attacks and Defenses are assumed to be made with the
character's dominant hand (player's choice.) Any Attack, Defense, or other
test of skill that requires a character to rely on his off-hand reduces the
character's effective Skill Level by one full level (-4 to Skill Rating.)
A character who has nothing more than Familiar Skill Level is reduced to
using the skill based upon the controlling Stat alone.
Obviously, characters that are ambidextrous have no such
limitations. Other characters may develop their off-hands by rigorous
training, eventually reaching the point where they are almost as capable
with their off-hand as they are with their primary hand. See the
description of the Second Hand skill for more details.
Chapter Four: Standing Against the Tide
Characters in role playing games (RPGs) exist only in the
imaginations of the players of the games. Each player creates the
character that he will play during the game. RPGs must have the
characters defined in some fashion, however, or it would be impossible to
fairly judge the results of interaction of the characters with each other
and the world setting around them. This section of the rules will
describe how characters are created and defined.
There are two areas that must be considered in creating a character
for this game. The personality and position of the character must be
defined. A group of numbers must also be created for use in mechanical
game systems. In Street Angels, as in the rest of the PlainLabel line, the
emphasis is on the personality of the character because it is this
information that tells the players how the character should act and react
toward other characters and situations.
The steps to be followed in the character creation process are:
1) Describing the character
2) Generating the character's Statistics
3) Choosing the character's Abilities
4) Choosing the character's Disabilities
5) Choosing the character's Skills
6) Recording all basic information
Each of these steps will be described in detail in this chapter. It is
advisable that the players read through the chapter before beginning their
The Importance of Character
We'll get on to creating the character in just a moment. It would
behoove us, at this point, to speak a bit about characters and the creation
of characters. The most important point that can be made about character
creation can be summed up in one key phrase:
"Characters are not mechanics."
Characters are not mechanics. That is, characters are not just
collections of numbers for use in game mechanics. Characters are not their
Stats. Characters are not their Skills. Characters ARE imaginary people.
People do not have numbers on their foreheads detailing what they are
capable of doing.
People are beings with wants, needs, desires, training, education,
and ambitions. They think they are capable of this or that, but they won't
know for sure until they've actually finished the task. They are confident
of this ability, but unsure about other capabilities they may have. Treat
your characters with this in mind. Treat them as people first, and as
characters in a game, with ratings and such, only afterwards.
Describing the Character
The first thing to consider when developing a character is what his
role will be in the game. In real life, there are people who are doctors,
lawyers, and accountants. There are nurses, secretaries, firefighters,
students, soldiers, carpenters, programmers, and game designers. There are
a lot of roles that different people fill in society. In the game, though,
play focuses on certain types of activities and so most of the roles filled
by people in the real world would not be useful. Imagine an accountant
attempting to perform brain surgery; his skill in accounting would be of
little use in the operation. Likewise, Street Angels stresses
investigation of and interference with criminal activities and the like;
being a hair dresser would be of little use.
There are several types of roles that will prove to be useful in in
the game. Characters may be called on to perform several types of
missions, so a variety of different skills would be useful.
- Security systems of all types will be encountered, so knowledge of
these systems would prove to be useful.
- The ability to pick locks can be useful.
- Clearance documents for undercover work may need to be forged;
skill at printing and forging signatures would pay off.
- The bad guys may decide to chase the heroes or attempt to flee. A
skilled driver would have a good chance of losing or catching them.
- A knowledge of camping and the outdoors in general may be useful
when investigating a company site deep in the wilds.
- Somebody has to know how to deal with various bureaucrats to
get paperwork done and clearances granted.
- There is always the need for somebody to provide muscle in case
things get really nasty. Serious combat training could provide an
- There will be phones to tap and bugs to plant. An electronics whiz
could find lots of stuff to amuse himself with.
- And so on....
As can be seen by the list above, there are a lot of roles that can
be chosen that will be useful in the game. Decide what kind of role you
want to play. Remember that you are not stuck in this role permanently.
If you decide that you want to play a different role, then you can create a
new character with the new role. Remember, also, that the game stresses
unarmed combat and the use of martial arts; a character that would oppose
all violent conflict (a priest, perhaps) would have difficulty matching the
basic concept of the game.
There are many types of people that would have some of the skills
mentioned and would also prove easily suitable for play:
Martial Arts Instructor
Former Military Personnel
Former or Activist Cop
Teacher or Professor
Former Corporate Engineer
Former Anarchist or Militia Member
Then there are those people with a reason to get involved that can
prove to have some surprising usefulness:
Teenage Recruit or Hanger-on
Widow or Widower with grudge
Fugitive from trumped-up charges
Angry Street Person
An electronics Hobbyist once victimized brutally
All of this is not to say that a hairdresser or priest could not be
viable characters in the game. Playing characters of this sort would,
however, present a greater challenge to the GM and player alike, simply
because the primary skills are far removed from those required often in
play. The hairdresser could be great with makeup and disguises, while the
priest has leadership and organizational skills. An Angels chapter could
be well served by both of them.
Once you have decided what the character is going to do in the
game, you should think about his background. What did his parents do for a
living? What kind of people were they? Was the character close to them?
Are they still alive? Does the character visit them? Are there any
brothers or sisters? What did the character do prior to working for the
agency he's at now? Does he have many friends? Lovers? Rivals? Enemies?
Write out a background that is as rich in detail as you can. Work with the
Gamemaster on this; he can provide information on the setting and learn
about your character at the same time.
A detailed background provides a couple of advantages. First, it
gives you a solid handle on how you should shape the numbers that help to
define the character. It gives you a good idea of how to play the
character during an adventure. It also gives the Gamemaster material to
work with in creating adventures, something that makes the job of game
You may start with a few notes about the character or a few
paragraphs. The character's background may be filled in during play or
between adventures as you decide more about the character. Here is an
example of a character background:
Thomas Gaunt, private investigator and Street Angel
Thomas Gaunt has been described by many different people in many
different fashions. His ex-wife accused him of being distant and uncaring,
his brother maintained that Thomas was too intense, and a college roommate
said that Thomas was erratically moody when they roomed together. His
platoon sergeant in the service nicknamed him "Cornball" but also stated
that Gaunt was a "damn fine soldier."
Gaunt attempted to fit in several places after leaving the service,
but finding a place for him to feel comfortable proved difficult. He had
as many problems relating to those he worked with as he had relating to his
family. He was never belligerent or hostile to anyone, he just found
himself unable to fill the role that others expected of him.
He finally decided to start in business for himself and opened a
sporting goods store. His store was burglarized soon after the Grand
Opening, and the police were at a loss in the investigation. Gaunt took
matters into his own hands and eventually brought the burglars to justice.
He decided he liked the challenge of the hunt and the thrill of the chase
much better than being a merchant. Besides, bringing criminals to justice
seemed a bit more useful than selling cook stoves to campers.
Gaunt hung out a shingle for his PI agency and worked to put many
wrongs to right. He has angered many hoodlums in the process, but none
more so than the ring that burglarized his old sporting goods store. He
has had to deal with them on other occasions, always getting the best of
In the few paragraphs above, we have learned a great deal about
Gaunt, and left the Gamemaster a number of "hooks" to use in future
adventures. Each of the characters in a playing group will have a
background developed like this, providing many different motivations for
individual actions and reactions.
Once you know something about the character's background, you
should decide what the character's personality is like. How does he
usually act in a given situation? Does he have any oddities, quirks, or
phobias? How does he react to certain types of people? What does he think
about himself? The answers to these questions will provide a guide to
playing the character.
Once the other characters in the group are created, you should
begin a listing what your character thinks of them, as well. This will
change over time, of course, but gives gives you cues to interacting with
them. If your character doesn't know the other characters very well, his
reactions may be superficial at first, based on initial reactions. Later,
however, he may learn about the other characters and change his opinion of
them, just like people do in real life.
Once you know something about the character's background, it is
time to start putting some numbers down on paper to represent the
character. The character will need a rating in each of the four
Statistics: Strength, Coordination, Health, and Intellect. These Stats
help to determine what the character is capable of, so much thought should
go into assigning these numbers. If the character you have conceived is a
small, quiet, bookish sort, chances are pretty good that he has not
developed great physical strength. His intellect, however, is
well-developed and he possesses much knowledge.
The number of Stat Points that each character receives is
determined randomly. 2d10 are rolled and the total divided in half,
rounding up. 15 is added to this number. This gives a range of 16 to 25
Stat Points to be assigned to the four Stats. These Points may be assigned
to the Stats in any combination, as long as at least two points are
assigned to each Stat, and no more than ten points are assigned to any of
Once the Stats have been assigned, the character's Hit Points are
figured. The Hit Point total is a measure of how much damage the character
can take before dying. The following table will explain how to generate a
character's Hit Points:
Health Rating Hit Points
1 - 3 (2.5 x Strength) + Health
4 - 6 (3.0 x Strength) + Health
7 - 9 (3.5 x Strength) + Health
10 (4.0 x Strength) + Health
A character's Health Stat determines a multiplier for the
character's Strength Stat. After the Strength rating is multiplied, the
character's Health rating is added in to gain the Hit Point rating.
Gaunt is not a large man, possessing only average Strength. He
does have quick hands and a keen sense of balance, though, and reads a wide
range of materials. An 8 is rolled, giving 23 Stat Points to distribute
among his Stats. His final Stats look like this:
Strength = 5; Health = 5; Coordination = 7; Intellect = 6
Hit Points = ((Strength) 5 x 3.0) = 15 + 5 (Health) = 20 Hit Points.
Abilities and Disabilities
Abilities are special characteristics that set one person apart
from another, but are not reflected in the basic Stats. As mentioned in
the Basic Rules chapter, Abilities are those neat things the character can
do that cannot be learned.
Disabilities are much like Abilities, but they are not beneficial.
Disabilities are merely characteristics that restrict the character's
actions in some fashion. Disabilities can be physical (such as a limp or
severe allergy) or mental restrictions (such as a phobia or compulsion.)
Abilities and Disabilities are rated by the Gamemaster with a point
value that varies with the amount of effect the Ability or Disability will
have on the character in the game. The ratings range from 0 to 3, with
0-point traits having little effect on play and 3-point traits having great
Zero-point traits are those that the player and Gamemaster agree
are appropriate for the character, but have very little effect on game
play. These may be chosen simply to enhance the role-playing potential of
the character. A character with a slight lisp would qualify as having a
zero-point disability, because the lisp would have very little effect on
the character's success or failure in game situations. The lisp does help
to define the character for role-playing.
One-point Abilities and Disabilities are the most common, with
two-point traits less common and three-point traits rare. Gamemasters
should restrict the use of three-point Abilities and Disabilities, allowing
them only when the character conception demands them, and they won't
endanger the campaign planned for play. For example, an Immunity to Toxins
is a very powerful ability, and would serve to unbalance a campaign in
which the Gamemaster has planned many encounters with assassins
specializing in the use of toxins. Blindness is an example of a
three-point Disability which can prove to be a burden to the entire group
of heroes, and so should be allowed only in special circumstances.
In most campaigns, the characters will be assumed to be real people
in a realistic world. They can have both Abilities and Disabilities, only
an Ability or two, only a Disability, or no traits of either type.
Characters in Street Angels need to have their character's traits balanced,
so that the character is neither too strong or too weak in relation to
other characters. They may not have more than three points' worth of
Abilities or Disabilities, and the traits must be balanced. A two-point
Ability can be balanced by a two-point Disability or by two one-point
Disabilities. Likewise, two one-point Abilities can be balanced with a
Balancing can also be achieved by adjusting the character's Skill
Purchase Points (discussed in the next section.) A character with a
two-point Ability and no Disabilities can be balanced by subtracting two
points from the character's normal total of Skill Purchase Points.
Likewise, a character with three points of Disabilities and no Abilities
may add three Skill Purchase Points to balance the character.
Characters may have a single Zero-point Ability without being
forced to take a balancing Zero-point Disability or losing Skill Purchase
Points. Subsequent choices of Zero-point Abilities must be balanced as if
they were Abilities worth one point. There is an exception to this --
Zero-point Disabilities always balance Zero-point Abilities.
Taking a Zero-point Disability without a balancing Ability is
allowed, but it gains the character no Skill Purchase Points.
In some types of campaign, the Gamemaster may wish to allow the
characters to be unbalanced. Campaigns with a cinematic feel (the
characters are a bit larger than life) may allow characters that are
unbalanced by from one to three points. A +1 game allows the characters to
have one point more of Abilities than Disabilities, and is good for a world
where the characters are just a step above average in capabilities. +2 and
+3 games allow for much greater derring-do and swashbuckling, and are
wonderful for "pulp fiction"-style characters.
The following list of Abilities and Disabilities is intended as a
guideline for campaigns where characters stay reasonably close to
characteristics of normal people. Gamemasters may add to this list and
alter point values as they see fit.
Gaunt is assigned the following Abilities:
0 pt. Absolute Timing
1 pt. Alertness
1 pt. Reputation -- for being tough on criminals
The Abilities are then balanced with the Disabilities:
1 pt. Overconfident
2 pt. Obsession -- with putting away bad guys
Gaunt has two points of Abilities and three points of Disabilities.
This yields an extra Skill Purchase Point for use later.
Abilities and Disabilities List
Resistance to Disease
Resistance to Toxins
Immunity to Aging
No Sense of Smell
Low Pain Threshold
Explanation of Abilities and Disabilities
Absolute Direction: Characters with Absolute Direction have a
knack for figuring out which way is north. Any time they need to figure
out which direction is which, an Intellect Stat Test at Easy will "bump"
them in the right direction. It is difficult for these characters to ever
become truly lost, because they can figure out which way they were
traveling and reverse it.
Absolute Timing: Characters with this ability have a clock running
in their head. They can concentrate on counting time and be accurate
within a second every minute. Even if not concentrating on time, they have
a knack for estimating time elapsed to within one minute every ten.
Speed reading: A character with this ability reads at about twice
the speed of the average person, while still retaining as much of what he
has read. He receives no bonuses to Research skill rolls, but may do
Research in half the time it would take another person. A character with
both Speed reading and Photographic Memory can make Research rolls at one
Skill Level higher than their actual Skill Level, if research is done in
books or other printed material, due to the sheer volume of material they
can digest in a short time.
Acute Hearing: Characters with Acute Hearing receive a bonus of 1
to their Intellect for any Notice/Observe skill where sounds may be
involved, including all rolls for ambush surprise (since sounds like
shuffling feet or a gun being cocked are the most likely ways an ambush
would be revealed). A character with this Ability also has the penalty for
combat actions (only) in darkness reduced by 1. The Gamemaster should
apply other similar bonuses as appropriate.
Acute Vision: Characters with Acute Vision receive a bonus of 1 to
their Intellect for any Notice/Observe skill where a clue or object is
visible. This does not include ambush surprise (since an ambush is done,
by definition, from hiding) unless the ambushers provide a visual cue, such
as shadows moving on a building wall as thugs move to position. The
Gamemaster should apply other similar bonuses as appropriate.
Alertness: This ability allows a bonus of 1 on any roll involving
perception. Alert characters are more likely to see, hear, feel, or smell
subtleties in the environment.
Ambidexterity: A character with this Ability can use either hand equally
well for jobs requiring manual dexterity, including wielding a weapon. A
character who has this Ability can use a weapon in either hand at no
penalty, for Attack or Defense. He can carry two one-handed weapons ready,
using either at his pleasure. If the character uses both weapons in the
same round, he suffers a penalty of one Skill Level on both actions.
Charisma: A character with Charisma is a natural leader. Others
will listen to him with less distrust and skepticism than to most people.
Listeners must pass an Intellect Stat Test to disregard any reasonable
suggestions the character may make. Explaining to an armed robber the
penalties for his crimes will NOT deter the criminal, but explaining about
the imminent arrival of police units may break up a gathering of wayward
Peripheral Vision: The character with this ability has a wider
range of vision than most of us. He is much more likely to notice objects
and movement at the edge of his field of vision, so the game master should
allow the character on clues that the other characters would miss. The
character gains a bonus of 1 to any Notice/ Observe skills that rely on
peripheral vision, and should be able to roll in some instances where the
other characters wouldn't.
Photographic Memory: Characters with this ability rarely forget a
fact once they learn it, and can remember anything they have had the
opportunity to study in detail. A person with this ability can look over a
table covered with objects, turn his back, and list the objects in detail
with great accuracy. After reading a book once, he will remember all facts
presented and even be able to quote passages verbatim. (This does not
guarantee that he will understand everything he has read.
The Gamemaster will allow a character with this ability to "recall"
specific facts and information from materials he has read or been exposed
to, even if the player cannot remember them. Characters perform Research
normally, but once learning the facts they will remember them in greater
detail than most people.
A character with both Speed reading and Photographic Memory can
make Research rolls with a bonus of one Skill Level (not Skill Rating), if
research is done in books or other printed material, due to the sheer
volume of material they can digest in a short time.
The Gamemaster is not obligated to remind the player to use this
ability. If the player should ask to be reminded of a fact, the Gamemaster
will give it to him; if the player does not ask, no reminder will be
given. Characters with a photographic memory can be as absent-minded as
anyone else -- remembering the date of someone's birthday, for example,
does not mean remembering to send a card.
Reputation: A character with a Reputation is known in his
community, and known for a distinct reason. He may be regarded as one of
the meanest hombres on the streets, the most diligent on patrol, or the man
to turn to to get things done. Whatever the reason, a Reputation marks a
character, and he receives accolades from one part of the community and is
disliked by another part. The game master will decide where the Reputation
is a good one and where it is cause for hostility.
Resistance to Disease: Characters with Resistance to Disease are
much less likely to catch a disease, and will recover from ailments they
contract much faster than a normal person. Persons with this roll to avoid
catching a disease at one Difficulty Level lower than normal. They also
cut all recovery time in half, and reduce all recovery rolls by one
Resistance to Toxins: Characters with Resistance to Toxins are
less susceptible to poisons and harmful drugs than other people, usually
because their metabolisms tend to rid the body of such things rapidly. A
character with this Ability rolls only 1D10 on the damage table when
exposed to toxic substances. If a poison is normally effective for more
than one turn after exposure, the character rolls damage for one turn less
than is normal.
Strong Will: A strong-willed character is less susceptible to being
coerced into any activity -- even if being tortured or sweet-talked. The
character gains a bonus of 2 in any Contest aimed at provoking action. In
combat, the character gains a bonus of 2 to the Target Number on System
Shock Tests for unconsciousness.
Danger Sense: A character with this ability gets "a bad feeling"
much of the time when things are about to get ugly. Allow the player to
Test against his Intellect when things are about to get hairy for the
character. The character had no idea what is going to happen, just that
something is going to happen. The feeling could presage the arrival of
reinforcements (for the bad guys, of course) or the blowout of a tire
during a chase.
Immunity to Aging: A character with this ability does not suffer
from the passage of time. His appearance will change little over the years
from the time he reaches maturity to extreme old age, and he will not
suffer from the physical infirmities that strike most people as they grow
older. The character is not immortal, but he will retain his vitality and
youthful vigor throughout his natural life. Certain martial arts masters
seem to have this ability.
Rapid Healing: The ability of Rapid Healing lets a character
recover Hit Points much faster than other people. If injured, the
character will regain one point of damage within an hour of the injury.
Further points are regained at twice the speed of normal characters. Those
with Rapid Healing stop bleeding quickly, and so never lose additional Hit
Points to blood loss, even after a serious wound of 10 or more points.
Characters with this ability do not gain any more Hit Points from First Aid
or other healing methods than anyone else.
Toughness: A character with this ability resists bodily damage.
All damage inflicted on the character is reduced by two points. The
character does not heal any more quickly than a normal character, just
isn't hurt quite as easily.
Intuition: A character with this ability has a knack for making
correct choices with little information to act on. If the players are at a
loss as to what to do next, or faced with many options, the character's
Intuition may serve them. The character must pass an Intellect Stat Test
for the game master to steer him in the proper direction. NOTE: This is
not for players to use to continually have the game master walk them
through adventures. Allow its use only when the players seem to be
stumped, and they have flailed about uselessly for a time (or are about to
do something really silly.)
Regeneration: If a character has Regeneration, he recovers one
point of physical damage immediately upon the end of the combat or
situation in which the injury occurred. He then will regain one point per
day when healing. Characters with Regeneration stop bleeding quickly, and
gain a bonus of two to the Target Number on a System Shock Test. They are
very hard to kill, requiring reduction to -20 Hit Points before death is
Absent Minded: An Absent Minded character is always misplacing
items, or forgetting things. This is a very good disability for adding to
role playing in the group. "Sure, I've got the keys right here.... uh,
wait a minute."
Mild Allergy: Characters with a Mild Allergy will sneeze, itch, or
(in the case of a food allergy) grow mildly ill when exposed to the
material to which they are sensitive. This can be inconvenient, but it
does not incapacitate the character.
Characters who are exposed to a very small amount of the
allergen suffer as if their allergy was one step less severe. Likewise,
those who are exposed (usually deliberately) to a massive dose of an
allergy-causing material will suffer as if they had the next most dangerous
variety. A character with a Mild allergy exposed to a very small amount of
allergen would suffer no effect; if exposed to a great deal of the
allergen, then the character would suffer as if having a Severe Allergy.
No Sense of Smell: These characters are unable to savor the aroma of
freshly baked bread or enjoy the scent of lilacs in the garden. Of course,
they also aren't offended by charnel houses and unbathed winos. They are
unable to identify a place or person by smell, and if odor is a clue to
events or whereabouts they remain clueless.
Odious Habits: A character with this disability is a slob, or
obnoxious, or crude, or smelly. The character has some habit of dress or
behavior that people find mildly offensive. Although they will work with
the character in large groups, they try to avoid being stuck in close
proximity to the offensive character.
Slight Limp: A Slight Limp is an inconvenience at times, but this
level of disability is not enough to significantly reduce a character's
walking or running speed. A limp is noticeable, however, and may draw
attention to the character at times when he wishes to remain unnoticed.
When a character with a Slight Limp attempts to move undetected, all
Notice/Observe rolls regarding him are at one Difficulty Level lower than
Speech Impediment: Characters with a Speech Impediment have a
recognizable hesitation or speaking restriction, such as slurred speech, a
pronounced lisp, or an inability to pronounce certain sounds. The
restriction does not prevent them from communicating normally with others
who are native speakers of the same language, but it would make it very
difficult for the character to disguise his voice. Other characters who do
not speak the language very well may have problems understanding a person
with a Speech Impediment, as they are not as instantly familiar with the
sound patterns of the language. Such characters may require a
Notice/Observe roll to figure out what a person with a Speech Impediment is
saying, especially if the speaker is in a hurry or the area is noisy.
Bad Temper: A character with this disability has poor control of
himself in stressful situations. He flares up quickly under provocation
and will insult or act against the source of the provocation unless he
passes an Intellect Stat Test.
Compulsion: Characters with a Compulsion have a fixed idea,
behavior, or belief that is very important to them and that sometimes
affects their behavior despite their rational desires. A compulsion can be
an all-consuming hobby or pursuit, a strong emotional feeling, or any sort
of strong drive that might direct a person's actions. When faced with a
situation involving a Compulsion, a character must pass an Intellect Stat
Test to ignore the Compulsion. If not, he must take some action of the
player's choice (with the Gamemaster's approval) that acts on his
Fear: A Fear is a person, class of people, place, object, or
situation which makes a character strongly uneasy. A Character who has a
Fear will need to pass an Intellect Stat Test to willingly enter a
situation that causes him to face that Fear. If he cannot avoid his Fear,
he can deal with it, but will get away from the situation as soon as it is
reasonable and practical to do so. If faced with his Fear by surprise, he
requires a Stat Test roll as before not to reveal his Fear through a
shocked or scared reaction.
Hearing Impairment: Characters with a Hearing Impairment have some
hearing capability, but it is limited. They receive a penalty of 1 on any
Notice/Observe skill roll where sounds may be involved, including all rolls
for ambush surprise (since sounds like shuffling feet or a gun being cocked
are the most likely ways an ambush would be revealed). A character with
this disability also has the penalty for combat actions (only) in darkness
increased by 1. The Gamemaster should apply other similar penalties as
Impulsive: A character with this disability much prefers action to
planning. Failure of an Intellect Stat Test means the player must have the
character act in some fashion, whether it is in the character's or group's
Overconfident: Overconfident characters will gladly grab a tiger
by the tail, thinking they are up to the taskof taming it. Players of
these characters should have the characters taking risks gladly and biting
off more than they can expect to chew regularly. Game masters may need to
prod the characters into thinking confidently on occasion.
Severe Allergy: Characters with a severe allergy will grow ill
when exposed to the substance that triggers their allergy. The illness (a
severe rash and swelling, difficulty in breathing, or stomach pain,
depending on how the substance is encountered) will begin within 1D10
minutes of exposure, and will last 1D10 hours. During the time the
character is affected, he will make all Skill Rolls at one Skill Level
lower than usual because of the discomfort.
Characters who are exposed to a very small amount of the
allergy-causing substance suffer as if their allergy was one step less
severe. Likewise, those who are exposed (usually deliberately) to a
massive dose of an allergy-causing material will suffer as if they had the
next most dangerous variety.
Severe Limp: A character with a Severe Limp is significantly
slowed by his injury. This character suffers a one Level penalty in all
Skills when used where he is required to walk or run. This does not affect
simple combat maneuvers such as wielding a staff, or any manipulation
skills. It does affect all uses of the Dodge skill, however, and limits
the character to kicking with only one leg (ala Bill "Superfoot" Wallace.)
Vision Impairment: This character's vision is quite poor without
corrective lenses. Without the use of glasses (or contacts) the character
can see very little clearly, being unable to notice details in the normal
range of vision. The character may be able to see clearly at very close or
very distant objects, but most of the range of vision is clouded. While
without glasses, the character will suffer a penalty of -4 using
Notice/Observe Skills that rely on vision.
Most of the time the character will have his glasses available, but
occasionally they will be fall off or be knocked off in a fight. The game
master needs to check after any melee attack that has a chance of knocking
the glasses free to see whether the character keeps them in place. The
points of damage that the attack generated serve as the Target Number in a
Test; if the test is passed, then the glasses are knocked loose.
Weight Problem: Overweight characters have problems with movement
primarily, not being exceptionally quick on their feet. They have a
penalty of 1 to Initiative and suffer from a penalty of one in situations
involving physical reaction times (such as stepping around a corner and
having to dodge a brick thrown at them.)
Dangerous Allergy: A character with a Dangerous Allergy is in
danger of losing his life when exposed to the allergen. The character will
fall seriously ill with 2D10 minutes of exposure, and will continue to
suffer from the effects and be completely incapacitated for 2D10 hours.
Each hour during this time, he must roll 1D10. If he rolls below his
Health Stat, he takes no permanent damage. If he rolls his Health stat or
above, he takes one point of damage. This damage must heal as normal wound
damage after the incapacitating effects of the allergic attack wear off. A
character with a Dangerous Allergy who is of poor health, already weakened,
or who suffers from a lengthy attack may die from an allergic reaction.
Characters who are exposed to a very small amount of the
allergy-causing substance suffer as if their allergy was one step less
severe. Likewise, those who are exposed (usually deliberately) to a
massive dose of an allergy-causing material will suffer as if they had the
next most dangerous variety. Dangerous Allergy sufferers who have the bad
fortune to be exposed in massive doses suffer twice as long, roll at half
their normal Health Stat, and take double the normal amount of damage.
Some drugs (late 20th century antihistamines) will reduce the effect of
allergy attacks by one level, if take before or soon after the exposures.
Deafness: A character with the Deafness disability cannot hear sounds at
all. They may not attempt a Notice/Observe Skill Roll where sound is the
major component, and suffer only a -3 penalty to all rolls for ambush
surprise. They also have the penalty for combat actions (only) in darkness
increased by 3.
Use of the standard American Sign Language (ASL) or other form of
sign language is considered a language skill. Lip Reading can be
considered a special Knowledge skill. Someone with Capable level skill or
more will be 100% accurate with lip reading if the subject is nearby and
speaking directly to them. A person with Professional skill or better will
be able to read the lips of a person across a small room with almost 100%
accuracy. Gamemasters may require that players use gestures or writing to
communicate with a player whose character is deaf and cannot lip read or
Illiteracy: In a world where the vast majority of people can read,
illiteracy is considered a disability. A person with this problem can
understand speech, but cannot recognize more than the most basic of simple
words when encountering them in print. An illiterate person may learn to
drive a car, hold a job, and get through in modern society without the
ability to read, but it is very difficult. The more advanced the society,
the more difficult it is to survive without the ability to read.
Limited Manipulation: Characters with Limited Manipulation have a
physical restriction which prevents them from effectively using one hand.
This may take the form of paralysis, muscular damage, or a missing hand or
arm. The use of two-handed melee weapons is, of course, prohibited.
Rifles and other two-handed firearms must be specially modified for the
character's use, and they are fired at a penalty of one Difficulty Level in
any case, unless well braced or supported in some manner. The Gamemaster
must rule on what actions a character cannot do, and which require a
penalty be applied.
If a character has had this limitation for at least three months,
the hand and arm that are unrestricted are always considered to be
dominant. Otherwise, if the character has lost the use of his dominant
hand, he will suffer the standard penalties for off-hand use of weapons and
other off-hand manipulations for the first three months after the
Limited Movement: Limited Movement is a disability in which a
physical restriction prevents the character from moving faster than a slow
walk without assistance. The character may have a leg in a cast and be on
crutches, or could be old and infirm, using a walker. For characters with
Limited Movement, any task requiring them to walk or run beyond a simple,
slow movement is rated at Difficult, and the Gamemaster may rule that
certain tasks (such as Acrobatics or climbing ladders) is simply
impossible, no matter what skills they possess.
This disability is not conducive to wild fight sequences, but the
fighting skills possessed by one so obviously infirm could prove to be
interesting. Kicking is not a viable option, but hand strikes and locks
and some throws are not out of the question. A cane in the hands of a
master can prove formidable, also.
Low Pain Threshold: Characters with a Low Pain Threshold feel pain
much more sharply than do normal folks. They suffer more from the shock
value of wounds; on any System Shock Tests, these characters suffer a
penalty of -1 to their Health Stat for figuring Target Numbers.
Mute: A Mute character cannot speak at all. It is recommended
that players who have a Mute character be restricted to using gestures and
writing to communicate with other players, unless both the mute character
and the other person both understand an elaborate sign language, such as
Obsession: An Obsession is a more severe form of Compulsion. It
is very hard for a character to ignore the object of his Obsession when
confronted with it. If directly confronted with a chance to act on an
Obsession, a character must pass an Intellect Stat Test, with a penalty of
- -5, or be forced to act immediately and decisively on the Obsession.
Even the possibility of acting on an Obsession requires a character
to make an Intellect Stat Test. If the Test is failed, he must inquire
after the possibility that has been raised.
A person with an Obsession will not usually take an action which
will immediately lead to his ruin, but he may do things that are very
unwise when in the grip of his desires. The game master should be careful
that objects of Obsessions are neither too common nor too uncommon.
One Eye: Characters with only One Eye have a multitude of small
problems. Their depth perception is faulty, making judgement of distance
and velocity a very tricky proposition. Any time such judgement is
required in play (dodging speeding cars or thrown garbage cans,) the
character suffers a penalty of -1 on those rolls. In combat, the character
also suffers because of difficulty in tracking moving limbs -- the -1
penalty applies to combat rolls, also.
Finally, Notice/Observe rolls based on vision are more difficult.
These rolls also suffer a -1 penalty.
Phobia: A Phobia is a stronger sort of Fear. A character must
pass an Intellect Stat Test, at a -5 penalty, to willingly face a Phobia
situation. If trapped or forced into a confrontation, his fearfulness will
be noticeable, and he will remove himself from the situation as soon as
possible, even if that is otherwise very inconvenient.
A surprise encounter with a Phobia requires the character to Test
vs Intellect (with a penalty of -5.) Failure of the Test will cause the
character to panic. A panicked character will immediately try to escape
the thing he fears. If he cannot, he will be paralyzed with terror.
Either effect will last 1D10 seconds (or combat rounds).
Addiction: The character is addicted to some substance. The
character must receive a regular dose of the substance or suffer from
withdrawal. The game master must regulate this disability closely, as the
character will suffer ill effects while under the influence of the
substance, and also while suffering from withdrawal. The game master must
decide the exact effects of these situations and also decide how often a
fix is needed.
Blindness: The character cannot see. Needless to say, any
Notice/Observe rolls based entirely on vision will be failed by this
character. Combat is likewise a very risky proposition, as is any skill or
situation that requires eyesight.
The game master may allow blind characters to hone their other
senses to the point that he may operate normally under normal conditions,
much like Master Po from the TV series "Kung Fu." The specifics of how
this is to be done will be left to the game master.
Combat Paralysis: A character with this disability freezes when
confronted with violence. If a fight breaks out in the immediate vicinity
of the character, the character will freeze, unable to do any more than
hunch over and cover his head or curl up against a nearby wall. Given an
opportunity to flee, the character will do so at the earliest opportunity.
To avoid freezing and fleeing during a violent confrontation, the
character must pass a Stat Test based on Intellect with a penalty of -5.
If the original opponent is beaten, the character must pass another Stat
Test (no penalty) to help a comrade fight an opponent, or a Test with the
penalty to engage another foe alone.
Restricted Movement: A character with Restricted Movement cannot
walk at all in any circumstances without mechanical assistance, such as a
wheelchair or other mobility aid. Deprived of their mobility aid, they can
only crawl, and all Skill use depending on walking or running is denied to
them. Mobility devices used by characters claiming this Disability must be
simple devices similar to a wheelchair. Please remember that people who
use wheelchairs are perfectly capable of driving a car and operating
normally in areas where there is room for their mobility devices. It is
only in places where mobility devices are restricted (on stairs, over
broken terrain, in close quarters, etc.)where they will suffer mobility
Terror: A character who has a Terror will not willingly face the
object of that Terror, no matter what the circumstances. If the character
is forced to do so, he will be unable to concentrate or do anything
effective; he will only be able to tremble and shake until he is removed
from the situation, and must pass an Intellect Stat Test or simply faint
from fear. If faced with a Terror suddenly, the character must pass an
Intellect Stat Test with a penalty of -5 to avoid fainting, and will run or
be paralyzed with fear for 2D10 minutes in any case.
Mania: At it's most severe, a Compulsion or Obsession becomes a
Mania. A person with a Mania pursues it all his life, and must exercise
great self control to avoid dealing with it at every turn. This tends to
warp a person and make them hard to live with (which is where the term
"maniac" comes from.) For this reason, a Gamemaster may rule that a player
character cannot take a particular Mania as a Disability. Those who have a
Mania must pass an Intellect Stat Test at -5 to control themselves whenever
faced by a hint of the focus of their madness. If directly confronted with
a choice which affects their Mania, they must pass a Test at -8 or be
overwhelmed with passion and frenzy, no matter the risk. A Gamemaster may
rule at any time that a Mania overwhelms a character's common sense any
time the Gamemaster feels that the player is not pursuing the Mania with
enough role playing fervor.
It through the purchase of Skills that the character gains
capabilities in the game. Stats and Abilities show what the character has
some talent at doing, but the skills chosen show those things that the
character can do with some degree of assurance. A well-coordinated
character can throw things with a reasonable degree of accuracy; a pitcher
with a professional baseball team can throw things with a very high degree
The method used for determining a character's skills is quick and
easy. It also provides an advantage in that it is just as easy to develop
the skills of an older, experienced character as it is a young,
inexperienced character. The player need only decide how old the character
is when describing the concept and the number of skills and the level of
ability in each is easy to determine.
This method also provides for other advantages and disadvantages
associated with the aging process to be provided for. The various stages
of human development can be represented easily in game terms.
There are seven stages of development detailed for use in the
character generation process. All of these stages are not appropriate for
use in developing player characters, but are included to assist the GM in
creating non-player characters. It is recommended that players generate
characters using the Young Adult, Adult, or Mature stages, as most Street
Angels will be in this part of their lives.
Adolescent characters are those that have reached puberty, but
aren't old enough to have developed any significant skills. Characters age
16 or younger qualify as Adolescents. These characters begin play with few
skills and added physical vitality.
Young Adult characters have a bit of an advantage still in terms of
physical vitality, but not as much as younger folk. They do have the
advantage of being better skilled than adolescents, and range in age from
17 to 21.
Adult characters are the default characters in the game, and it is
highly recommended that most members of an Angel chapter be adults. These
folk are ages 22 to 40, and receive no bonuses or penalties on physical
Mature characters are those aged 41 to 60. They have lived long
enough to accumulate a great deal of knowledge, but also have seen the
decline of the body begin.
Elder characters suffer the effects of aging more noticeably than
mature characters, but also have the benefit of knowledge available to
them. Having lived for many decades--ages 61 to 80--they are reknowned as
being masters in their fields.
Aged characters, those up to 100 years of age, have greater mastery of
knowledge but suffer more from aging. These character rarely involve
themselves in any activity more strenuous than a daily stretching and
toning routine, and little involve themselves in the hectic lives of
Ancient characters have suffered the ravages of time fully.
Although they have accumulated vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom over
the ages, their bodies have but a feeble grasp on life and their remaining
time is short.
Skills and Attributes Table
The following table provides the number of skills available to
characters being created and what skill levels those skills are developed
to. The table also provides a bonus or penalty to be divided among the
physical Stats--Strength, Health, and Coordination.
Stage Age Fam Cap Pro Exp
Adolescent 12 - 16 4 1 0 0
Young Adult 17 - 21 5 2 0 0 + 1
Adult 22 - 40 6 3 1 0 0
Mature 41 - 60 6 3 2 0
- - 1
Elder 61 - 80 6 4 2 1
- - 3
Aged 81 - 100 6 4 2 2
- - 5
Ancient 100 + 6 4 3 2
- - 7
Skill Purchase Table
These skill levels can be adjusted to further individualize
characters, if desired. The basic concept in generating the number of
skills and the skill levels is one of purchasing skills with purchase
points (this was briefly mentioned in the section on advantages and
disadvantages.) Using this basis, the skill levels of initial skills can
The Skill Purchase Table provides the cost in purchase points of
the various skill levels. A quick perusal of this table shows that a
player could trade two Familiar-level skills for two purchase points, and
use those purchase points to increase another skill in level from Capable
to Professional. A Professional-level skill could likewise become two
Capable-level skills, and so on. Trading in this fashion cannot, however,
result in a character having a skill of a level greater than his age allows
for, e.g. an adult could not end up with an Expert Level skill.
A player could also have a point or two imbalance from advantages
and disadvantages the character has. An imbalance of this sort requires
that the skills the character is due be modified. If a character has a
bonus purchase point after advantages and disadvantages are chosen, that
point can be used to purchase an additional skill at Familiar level. The
point could also be applied to any skill to indicate additional training
and and decrease the development time to raise a skill level.
Skill Level Bonus Cost
Familiar + 1 1
Capable + 4 2
Professional + 8 4
Expert +12 8
The time has come for Gaunt's player to choose starting skills for
the character. Gaunt is an adult, and the Skills and Attributes Table
shows that he starts with 6 Familiar skills, 3 Capable skills, and 1
Professional skill. Gaunt also gained a bonus Skill Purchase Point earlier
in the character generation process, so he can use it to learn an
additional Familiar-level skill or increase a Familiar-level skill to
There are many different Skills that can be learned by characters
in the game. When choosing the Skills for a character, pay close attention
to the character's job and hobbies when picking Skills. The character must
have some training for use in mundane life, although these skills may also
be useful in combating crime. And don't forget that each Street Angel
should have some training in the martial arts -- a Capable Skill Level if
possible, although Familiarity will do in a pinch.
The list of skills offered here is not intended to be exhaustive.
Indeed, it would be a simple matter to expand the list a few more pages.
This list can be expanded or altered by the Gamemaster for individual
campaigns, although the Gamemaster should keep in mind that the focus of
the game is hunting down criminals at work and bringing them to justice
(and kicking their butts while doing so.)Expanding the computer skills
available, for instance, probably would not serve to enhance the experience
of confronting bad guys and bringing them in.
Personal Skills (Bonus added to appropriate Stat)
Physical Skills (Bonus added to Coordination)
Hand to Hand Weaponry
Martial Arts (see next section)
Sleight of Hand
Mental Skills (Bonus added to Intellect)
Brawling (Strength): Brawling is a basic unarmed combat skill,
representing raw punching without much in the way of finesse. The Brawling
skill can be used to clobber someone, but it cannot be used as a Defense
skill. Thus, brawlers cannot choose the Defend option in melee combat.
For more refined and trained versions of unarmed combat, a character must
choose a Martial Arts skill.
Convince (Intellect): This skill gives the character the ability
to persuade others and tell convincing stories, whether they are true or
not. The Difficulty of a task involving this skill depends on how much
evidence exists to support the story, and the beliefs and prejudices of the
person hearing the story. A person is more likely to believe a story which
fits with what he wants to believe, coming from someone who he has reason
to like or believe.
The listener is also more likely to believe someone when belief
carries some concrete or psychological reward for the listener. A filthy
wino, thrown in a cellar, has little chance to convince the guard that he
has important connections and should be freed immediately. First, there is
no evidence to support the story. Second, the guard has no reason to like
or believe the beggar. Third, there is no incentive for the guard to take
a risk on the beggar's behalf. If the beggar should show the guard a note
pulled out of a dumpster, share a hoarded cigarette with his captor, and
offer to cut him in on any payments from the boss, the guard may be more
willing to help out.
Dodge (Coordination): This is the ability to avoid things that are
thrust or thrown, such as swords, chairs, or thrown rocks. It is often
used as a defensive skill in combat, although it can be used in other ways
in special situations, such as dodging a falling object. One cannot dodge
projectiles such as sling stones, arrows or bullets without an appropriate
Ability that allows one to react and move faster than a normal human.
Jumping (Strength): This score tells how well the character can
jump, applying both to jumping up (high jump) and jumping out (broad jump).
Of course, anyone can jump, but a person with this skill has training in
jumping, and can get the maximum performance for his natural ability.
Instead of measuring jumps by length or height, the Gamemaster should
assign a Difficulty to a jump based on how hard it would be for the average
man to succeed.
Lifting (Strength): This skill is tested whenever a character
attempts to lift a heavy weight, whether the character is a weight lifter
going for a bench press or a desperate hero trying to get a fallen beam off
a trapped friend. Again, the Gamemaster should measure the Difficulty of a
lift by how hard it would be for the average man, rather than dealing in
Notice/Observe (Intellect): The innate ability to notice things
that are out of place, or see the finer details of a situation. A
character will often use this skill to test whether or not he sees
something in the game.
Research (Intellect): This is the ability to find whatever factual
knowledge the character needs, when a source is not immediately obvious.
It would allow the character to find information in a library, through
experimentation, or by interview. Task Difficulty should be determined by
the availability of research materials and the obscurity of the facts being
pursued. Finding the current statistical information about a country would
be an Easy task at any public library. Proving that a particular
individual was the long-lost heir to the fortune of the Drake family would
be a Difficult task, even with access to the County's birth records or the
State archives, and perhaps impossible without such materials.
Running (Strength): Of course, any character can run, but a
character with the Running skill has training in running, allowing him to
make the most of natural abilities. Included in this skill is the ability
to pace oneself and run for longer distances without tiring.
Teaching: This skill allows the character to pass along any
knowledge or skills to any other character, according to the rules for
learning and improving skills. Any character can try to instruct another,
but a trained teacher has a better chance of passing along useful knowledge
efficiently. The teacher would also have to have a Skill Level higher than
his student in the subject (skill) he was teaching, not just a higher Skill
Rating. For example, a person with Professional level skills can teach a
person with no skill, or someone with Familiar or Capable level skill. But
a Professional cannot teach another Professional, even if the teacher's
specific Skill Rating is higher.
Physical Skills (bonus to Coordination Stat)
Acrobatics: This skill determines just how agile the character
really is. Using this skill, the character can perform flips, twirls, and
specialized jumps. If the character wanted to dive into a room, tuck and
roll, and come up throwing, he would use this skill to determine whether or
not he ended up where he wanted to be in preparation for throwing.
Disguise: This is the ability to make yourself appear to be someone
(or something) else. The character can use make-up and costuming, and can
also change his stance and walk to deceive others.
Escape: The ability to get out of traps, bonds and similar
restraints capable of holding a normal person. A character who was tied
securely to a chair or locked in handcuffs would use this skill to free
Forgery: This skill allows the character to copy any type of
writing style, counterfeit money, and create fictitious documents. A
character with this skill would also be adept at determining whether or not
a document was a forgery.
Gambling: Both the knowledge and the moves required for almost any
form of gambling. A Physical skill primarily because it can be improved by
practice and experience.
Hand to Hand Weaponry: This covers all types of hand-held weapons.
A character cannot buy Hand to Hand Weaponry as a skill. It is, instead,
broken into sub-skills such as Knife and Staff. Each of these sub-skills
is treated as a separate skill and each is purchased separately.
Lockpicking: Used to open any kind of lock. For combination
locks, the character will need no tools, but most other locks will require
some from of lock pick. Using improvised tools (such as hair pins or
needles) will make the task more difficult.
Martial Arts: This is trained unarmed combat ability (as opposed
to just pummeling, which is a Personal Skill). Martial Arts at any level
can be used as a Defense skill (allowing the character to choose the Defend
option in melee combat). At Professional level, it also gives the
character a +1 to his bare hand damage, and Expert level gives the
character a +2. The details of Martial Arts subskills are located in the
next section of rules.
Missile Weaponry: This skill covers all weapons that shoot. As
with Hand to Hand Weaponry, the character may not buy this as a skill, but
must buy each sub-skill separately. These include Bows, Handguns, Rifles,
Crossbows, Shotguns and Submachine Guns.
Mountaineering: Using this skill, a character will know how to
climb up rocks, mountains, elevator shafts, and similar vertical expanses.
The character will also be able to rappel down similar vertical faces.
This skill also includes the knowledge of all equipment required for
climbing and rappelling.
Pickpocket: This skill allows the character to pick pockets and
Riding: The ability to ride an animal or similar mount. The type
of mount should be specified, such as horse or donkey. Each type of animal
requires special techniques and the ability to ride each is treated as a
Sleight of Hand: This skill is not only useful for stage magic and
illusion, but is also used in cons (the old shell game or three card monte)
and can even be used to keep a captor from seeing an important object such
as a lock pick or other small object.
Sports: Each time this skill is selected, the character must
choose a sport in which to specialize, such as Football, Basketball, Roller
Derby, or professional Wrestling. Note that some sports, such as
Gymnastics, Swimming, Riding, Track and Fencing are covered by other skills.
Stealth: This skill allows the character to move around silently
and unobtrusively. The character also knows how to take advantage of
available cover. This skill can be combined with Swimming and Scuba to
allow the character to enter the water and swim silently.
Swimming: The character knows how to move and maneuver in the
water. This skill is used in a similar fashion to Running, but is not
automatically known. Note: A character may opt to have NO knowledge of
swimming (Skill Bonus + Coordination = 0) and gain an extra Purchase Point
for something else. Should the character ever find himself in deep water,
however, he will certainly drown unless someone is there to support him.
Thrown Weaponry: This skill allows the character to throw objects
in such a way as to inflict damage on some target. As with other weaponry
skills, the character may not buy this as a skill, but may not buy any of
the sub-skills. The Thrown Weaponry sub-skills are Knives, Spears and
Small Objects. Note that throwing knives are specially made blades that
are balanced for throwing. Thrown Weaponry: Knives also covers throwing
stars and throwing axes. Small Objects includes such things as rocks,
bricks, and any other object that is compact and relatively dense.
Vehicle Operation: This is the ability to drive or operate
different types of vehicles. Each vehicle type is considered a separate
skill. Examples of the sub-skills are Automobile, Large Truck, Airplane,
Mental Skills (bonus to Intellect Stat)
Animal Handling: This is the knowledge of how to train animals.
Artistic Expression: Each type of artistic expression is
considered a sub-skill, and must be purchases separately. Sub-skills
include Music, Painting, Drawing, Dance and Writing.
Civil Engineering: This skill includes the ability to design and
construct structures such as bridges and tunnels, and would give the
character insights into the weaknesses of such structures, and what to look
for to find any flaws in their construction.
Combat Awareness: The training to spot weaknesses in enemies, and
advantages for the character and his allies. All characters with this
skill may roll against it at Difficult level after they have been in combat
with that opponent for at least four rounds. If the roll succeeds, the
character receives a +1 bonus to all combat rolls against that opponent.
The bonus will continue to apply every time the character faces that same
opponent while the opponent uses the same weapon or attack type.
Combat Awareness also gives a bonus to Initiative Rolls in combat. The
following table lists the bonus gained:
Combat Awareness Initiative Bonus
0 - 10 + 0
11 - 15 + 1
16 - 18 + 2
19 - 20 + 3
21 + + 4
Computer Operation: This skill allows the character to operate a
computer. The character will be able to navigate through a computer's
menus or structure, but cannot alter its programming or repair a damaged
component beyond simple replacement (swapping hard drives, changing cables,
Computer Programming: This is the ability to actually program
computers. The character may even be able to change the programming in a
computer, if he has the access.
Computer Technology: The ability to diagnose, repair, and design
Criminal Investigation: The knowledge of what to look for and how
to look for clues and information at the scene of a crime.
Demolition: This skill allows the character to set or deactivate
explosive devices and traps, and gives the information about where to place
charges for maximum effect.
Electronics: The ability to diagnose and repair electronic
circuitry. The character can also design specialized circuits and build
them. This skill can be used instead of Computer Technology at a -2 skill
First Aid: Used to repair minor damage and keep injuries from
becoming more severe. See Physical Damage and Healing Damage for more
Inventing: This is the ability to put two ideas together and come
up with something new, as it applies to technology or gadgetry. An
inventor need not be expert in the theory behind the technology he works
with. He is not developing new theory, only recognizing and exploiting
existing developments in a new way. This skill might be used by someone
attempting to create an improved form of drive gear for a bicycle, or
modifying a car to make it watertight for use as a boat. It would not be
used to develop something outside known science (like a time machine), or
to make a breakthrough in a highly technical field (like building an atomic
bomb that can fit inside a wristwatch).
Journalism: The character knows how to research, document and
write news stories.
Knowledge: A general skill that breaks into sub-skills, this is a
specialized knowledge in any area. As with other general skills, each
sub-skill would be purchased separately. Examples of knowledge sub-skills
include Occult, Baseball Teams/Players, Pottery, Civil War, Ancient Egypt,
Languages: Another general skill, each sub-skill purchased would
represent a different language. (Note: All characters are fluent in their
native language.) If a non-native character has been in a certain area for
at least five years, he will gain a special bonus of +5 to the skill of
that area's language, if he chooses to purchase it. Thus, a native
speaking German who had spent at least five years in the United States and
bought English Language at Capable Level would add 9 to his Intellect
rather than just 4, and the cost would still be only 2 purchase points.
Law: This is general knowledge of the law. It may be broken into
sub-skills to represent specialization in different types of laws, or laws
for different countries or lands.
Lip Reading: This skill allows the character to read the lips of
anyone he can see. The character must be able to understand the language
of the talker.
Mechanic: General knowledge of how to fix machinery. Each
sub-skill represents a different type of machine such as Automobile, Light
Aircraft, Rotary Aircraft, and so on.
Mechanical Engineering: This skill gives the character the ability
to design and build mechanical objects. For example, an Automobile
Designer would need this skill.
Medicine: This is the more advanced version of First Aid. A
doctor would have at least Professional level in Medicine skill, while a
nurse would only require Capable level.
Merchant: This skill allows the character to value merchandise,
and bargain for it.
Navigation: The ability to plot a course from point A to point B, using
tools appropriate to the period. Sub-skills would include Ocean, Aircraft
and Starship Navigation.
Performance: A general skill, sub-skills would include Acting,
Singing or a specific Musical Instrument.
Photography: The ability to clear, accurate, and artistic
photographs. This would include knowledge of lighting and developing the
Poisons: This skill is the knowledge of poisons, how they work,
what their symptoms are, and how to treat them.
Scrounging: Similar to some aspects of Streetwise, this skill
helps the character find almost anything he might be looking for, even when
a source might not be immediately obvious. This might include locating and
dealing with the local black market, acquiring materials through military
channels, or finding an obscure form or an item at a particular shop. The
task difficulty when using this skill should be based on the rarity of the
item sought and the likelihood of a source being available. A scrounger
would not be able to locate a walkie-talkie in the middle of an empty
desert, for example, but should an Arab caravan pass by, he'd have a chance
of finding one that the nomads wouldn't mind selling.
Seamanship: This is the ability to operate a sailing vessel.
Social Grace: This is the knowledge of how to blend in with higher
social circles. It would include etiquette, knowledge of fashions, and the
proper forms of address in all situations.
Streetwise: This skill is the knowledge of where to find things
and how to get things done in an urban setting. Finding a fence or
locating something on the black market are tasks performed with this skill.
Survival: This is the ability to find shelter in the wilderness.
Each sub-skill would equate to a different climate such as Arctic, Desert,
Temperate or Urban.
Tracking: The ability to follow the traces, tracks or spore of any
other creature. A character with this skill would be adept at spotting the
small signs that his prey had been in the area.
Traps: This skill can be used to find, set and disarm traps. It
could be used to trap prey animals in the wilds, or to set or disarm
non-explosive booby-traps in a military situation.
Veterinary: This skill is the equivalent of Medicine for animals.
A character with this skill could treat humans in a very basic fashion in a
pinch, with a -2 modifier applied and no complex or lengthy treatments
Martial Arts Skills
The Martial Arts skills are discussed separate from the general
skills for a couple of reasons: first, the use of martial arts is what the
game focuses on; and secondly, the martial arts skills are acquired in a
slightly different fashion than the other skills. Most of the skills in
this game are fairly basic and straightforward -- eg. skill in Handguns
applies to the use of all handguns. Martial Arts skills are treated
differently, in that not all martial artists possess the same skills.
There are many different arts that may be studied, and many different
special skills that martial artists may learn in their study of the arts.
Because of this, the Martial Arts skill is being broken down into subskills.
It would be impossible to list all of the individual skills that
are taught with each and every art. Indeed, if all of the skills from even
one art were to be listed in these rules, the rule book would become rather
unwieldy and expensive. This detail would be interesting, perhaps, but it
would certainly not lead to increased enjoyment during play. So, while the
Martial Arts skill is being broken into subskills to provide varying
approaches to the arts in play, the subskills are grouped according to
general approaches to fighting. Additional skills are available that may
be learned by stylists of any approach. The study of martial arts weaponry
is covered after the empty hand rules.
The three approaches to Martial Arts, or general Styles are: Hard
Striking Arts, Soft Striking Arts, and Grappling Arts. For game purposes,
all of the individual arts that may be studied fall into one of these
groupings. For example,Shotokan Karate would be classed as a Hard Striking
Art, Tai Chi Chuan would be a Soft Striking Art, and Jujitsu would be a
All of the individual arts in a general Style share some very basic
characteristics. They teach a lot of the same principles, with differences
occurring in fine points of execution, the rate at which students are
brought along in training, which principles are stressed over others, and
other such distinctions. Taekwondo is a Hard Striking Art that stresses
the use of the foot as a weapon, differentiating that Korean art from
Japanese styles of karate which use the hand primarily. Kenpo is another
Hard Striking Art, and it stresses the execution of a series of techniques
- -- a "flow." All of these arts have a great deal in common, however, and
so are grouped in a general Style.
Learning the Arts
The Skill Purchase Points that a character has a few enough in
number that a player creating a character will not have many Points to
spend on individual skills in the Arts. Indeed, keeping track of all of
the individual Skill Levels and Ratings if each were to be learned
individually would soon lead to letter bombs being mailed to the game
designer and publisher. So.... the way martial arts subskills are learned
is being kept simple.
The player spends Skill Purchase Points in usual fashion during
character creation, allotting points for the martial arts as he sees fit.
The Martial Arts Skill Level for the character is then at the Level listed
on the Skill Purchase Table. (ie. Familiar, Capable, etc.) This is where
the subskills of the arts begin to accumulate.
Each style of Art has several subskills available for study. The
Skill Level of the character determines how many of those skills have been
learned well enough for the character to use in times of crisis. The
greater the Skill Level of the character, the more options he has available
for use in a fight.
*At Familiar Level, the character will have 3 subskills for use.
For each increase in Skill Rating, the character gains another skill. This
means that by the time the character gains a Skill Level of Capable in
Martial Arts, he will have four more skills available for use.
Professional Level martial artists will have eleven skills available. This
constitutes all of the basic skills.
There are also Special Martial Skills that can be learned by the
characters. These skills are not associated with only one style of the
Arts, and may be learned by any given stylist. These skills are not
learned through the natural increase of ability with the Martial Arts Skill
and must be learned individually, spending Purchase Points on them as with
normal skills. These Special Skills are available only to martial artists
of Capable Level or above.
Players may also want their characters to learn subskills from one
of the other styles. This is allowable (indeed, there are certain eclectic
arts that borrow from all styles) and is not to be discouraged by the
Gamemaster. Advancement in the arts when studying additional skills in
this manner is not as quick, so to reflect this, each additional subskill
learned from a different style must be purchased by spending a Skill
Purchase Point. The skill is then available for use at the character's
normal Skill Rating.
Some of the subskills are useful if a player has chosen the Defend
option in combat. These skills can be used to discomfort attackers and
will be listed as Defensive Skills in the description.
The Style Packages
A Style Package is a listing of the subskills that are learned in
the study of the arts in the style. The Package will list the three basic
skills learned at Familiar Level, and then the advanced skills that can be
learned later. Note that some of the advanced skills can be learned only
after others have already been learned.
Hard Striking Arts Package
Soft Striking Arts Package
Grappling Arts Package
Locks and Bars
Explanation of Hard Striking Art Subskills
Simple Strike: The simple strike is the basic hand blow, whether
it be a punch, knife hand, ridge hand, or palm strike. This has no special
properties. The damage is normal for the character's Strength.
Simple Kick: This is the basic foot attack. It is a normal blow,
much the same as the Simple Strike.
Hard Block: This is a Defensive Skill. The use of this while
Defending helps the martial artist set up an attack in the next round of
combat. A successful Hard Block stymies an opponent's movements to the
point that the opponent suffers a penalty of 2 to Initiative the next
round. This can only be used against opponents that attack the character.
Hard Strike: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) This hand attack
gives the character a penalty of 1 to Initiative and a penalty of 2 to
Skill Rating, but allows for a bonus of +2 damage with at least half damage
Heavy Strike: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) The character has a
penalty of 1 to Initiative the round this strike is used. A successful
Heavy Strike will cause the opponent's balance to be broken momentarily,
leaving the opponent unbalanced the next round, and giving the opponent a
penalty of 1 to Initiative the next round.
Nerve Strike: (prerequisite: Professional Level in Skill)
Through the use of a Nerve Strike, an attacker may stun an opponent. To
use a Nerve Strike, the character suffers a penalty of 2 to Skill Rating
and a penalty of 1 to Initiative. The strike does minimum damage, but the
opponent must pass a Strength Stat Test or be stunned the next round.
Multiple Strike: The character may launch attacks at more than one
opponent at once. The opponents must both be in close proximity to the
attacking character, within reach of the attacking weapons (hands, feet.)
One attack roll is made, with a penalty to the Skill Rating, and applied
toward each attack. The table below shows the penalty for the attack
Attack Combos Penalty
Hand / Hand - 2
Hand / Foot - 2
Hand / Hand / Foot - 3
Both Feet (jumping) - 3
Note that these attacks are simultaneous. All of the targets MUST
be in position to be attacked at the same time. This is considered a
Jump Kick: (prerequisite: Simple Kick) A Jump Kick elevates the
attacker to enable him to bring his mass to bear better (with the aid of
gravity) and to allow the kick a better angle of attack at the head and
torso. An attack of this type has an Initiative penalty of 1, and if
successful will cause an additional point of damage (with minimum half
damage.) The character will also have a penalty of 1 to Initiative the
Spin Kick: (prerequisite: Simple Kick) A Spin Kick is a
powerful attack, the torque from the rotation adding to the effect. An
attacker using this suffers a penalty of 1 to Initiative and a penalty of 1
to his Skill Rating. If successful, the kick adds a bonus of 2 points to
damage. If unsuccessful, the opponent has a bonus of 1 to his Skill Rating
if he is the next to attack (later in the current round or first in the
Indirect Strike: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) An Indirect
Strike is much more difficult to defend against than direct attacks, giving
the attacker a bonus of 2 to Skill Rating. The attacks are slower to
develop, so a penalty of 2 to Initiative also applies. The damage from a
successful attack is rolled normally.
Indirect Kick: (prerequisite: Simple Kick) This is much the same
as an Indirect Strike.
Explanation of Soft Striking Art Subskills
Simple Strike: Basic Strike, as with Hard Style.
Simple Kick: Basic Kick, as with Hard Style.
Parry: This is a Defensive Skill. A character Defending with the Parry
has the opportunity to redirect the opponent's attacks to set up a counter
attack. A successful parry allows for a penalty of 1 to the opponent's
Initiative the next round and a bonus of 1 to Skill Rating for an attack if
Initiative is won by the Parrying character. The opponent is also
unbalanced, for sweeping and throwing purposes.
Cavity Strike: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) Using a Cavity
Strike will allow the attacker to do some extra damage to the opponent. An
attacker suffers a penalty of 2 to Skill Rating when attempting a Cavity
Strike, but will do at least half damage if successful. The opponent must
pass a Strength Stat Test or be stunned the next round.
Multiple Strike: This is the same as the Hard Style subskill.
Nerve Strike: (prerequisite: Professional Level in Skill) This
is the same as the Hard Style subskill.
Indirect Strike: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) This is the same
as the Hard Style subskill.
Indirect Kick: (prerequisite: Simple Strike) This is the same as
the Hard Style subskill.
Spin Kick: (prerequisite: Simple Kick) This is the same as
the Hard Style subskill.
Sweep: An attack of this type looks to knock an opponent off his
feet. Against an unbalanced opponent, this attack uses the attacker's
normal Skill Rating; against characters not unbalanced, the attack is made
with a penalty of -2 to Skill Rating. The damage from the attack is
minimal (as if Strength of 3), but the opponent is prone afterwards. The
swept opponent must pass a Coordination Stat Test or be stunned the next
Trap: A character may Trap, with a penalty of 2 to Skill Rating,
when Defending or in place of a normal Attack. A successful Trap closes
the distance between the combatants, and protects the character from any
attacks made by the opponent after the Trap (Defending with a Trap will not
stop the opponent from attacking.) The next round, the opponent suffers a
penalty of 2 to Initiative. The Trapping character may Sweep or Throw the
opponent at -1 to Skill Rating, or may Strike with a bonus of 2 to the
This is a Defensive Skill.
Explanation of Grappling Subskills
Simple Throw: A character may Attack with a Simple Throw. The
Simple Throw skill allows for two types of attack: the opponent can be
thrown for damage, or the opponent can be unbalanced to set up another
Attempting to Throw an opponent entails a penalty of 2 to Skill
Rating, unless the character is already unbalanced. Throwing an unbalanced
character entails no penalty to Skill.
When Throwing for damage, a character will inflict normal Strength
damage on the opponent. If using the skill to unbalance the opponent, no
damage is done.
Breakfall: A character with this skill may use the skill when
thrown, swept, or falling. If used successfully, the character suffers
minimum damage from the fall, and need not check for stunning.
Ground Fighting: This is the skill needed for grappling and
wrestling while rolling about on the ground. A successful Test means that
the character wrapped his opponent up and is pretty much in control of
things. The following round, the character gains a bonus in obtaining a
Lock, Bar, or Choke of +1 to Skill Rating. The character may instead
Strike the held opponent with the bonus. If the opponent is skilled at
Ground fighting or wrestling, the combat becomes a Contest, with the winner
having gained advantage.
The held opponent may attempt to Defend against the strikes OR
attempt to escape from the hold. He uses his Ground fighting or wrestling
skill, at normal Skill Rating to Defend himself, or at a penalty of -2 to
Locks and Bars: Successful use of this skill allows the character
to immobilize the opponent. Normal use allows the opponent to attack
first, then the offending limb is seized and locked; this is a normal Test
of skill. Against a Trapped opponent, the character can act according to
Initiative and Lock a limb. A stunned opponent allows a bonus of +2 to
SkillRating when attempting a lock or bar.
An opponent held in a lock or bar may attempt to escape in a
Contest. The opponent may pit his Strength or Skill Rating against the
character's Strength or Skill (whichever is higher.) The character holding
the lock has a bonus of 2 added to his Target Number in the Contest.
Chokes: It is difficult to gain position to Choke an opponent.
The character using this has a penalty of 2 on Initiative and a -2 to Skill
Rating. If the choke is successful, the opponent must pass a Stat Test vs
Strength after 10 rounds or pass out. If this Test is passed, the opponent
must pass a Stat Test each round thereafter or pass out, and each round
adds a penalty of 1 to the Target Number.
The opponent may escape using his Wrestling or Martial Arts Skill
with a penalty of -5 to the Skill Rating.
Trap: This is the same as the Soft Style subskill.
Parry: This is the same as the Soft Style subskill.
Takedown: (prerequisite: Simple Throw) The character may opt to
attempt to take the opponent to the ground as quickly as possible to
continue the fight. A successful take down ends with both combatants on
the ground. If the take down was successful, the opponent suffers a
penalty of 1 on Initiative the next round. If unsuccessful, the opponent
receives a bonus of +1 to Skill Rating if he attacks next (last in current
round or first in next round.)
Hard Throw: (prerequisite: Simple Throw) The Hard Throw is much
the same as the Simple Throw, but a successful throw does 2 points extra
damage (minimum half damage) and the opponent must pass a Strength Stat
Test or be stunned.
Simple Strike: This is the same as the Hard Style subskill, but
with a penalty of -1 to damage (minimum of 1 point.)
Simple Kick: This is the same as the Hard Style subskill, but with
a penalty of -1 to damage (minimum of 1 point.)
Special Martial Skills
The Special Martial Skills, as mentioned above, are not intrinsic
to the study of any given style of art. They are studied and used by
practitioners of many different arts in all styles.
Martial Movement: The character may use Luck Points to alter
attack rolls that opponents make. The character may spend as many points
as he wants the opponents' rolls altered, with a minimum of five points
spent. The character must successfully pass a Skill Test of Above Average
Difficulty to use the skill versus an opponent he is facing. To use the
skill versus opponents that the character is not directly facing (circling
gang members, for instance) requires a Test at Very Difficult.
This is a Defensive Skill.
Second Hand: The character has trained his off-hand (and foot) to
the point that he is almost as capable with his off-side as he is with his
primary side. As each Level of Skill is gained in this skill, the
character gains a bonus of one to rolls with the off-side. A Familiar
Skill Level gains a bonus of +1, and a Master Skill Level gains a bonus of
+4 (basically removing the one Level penalty for off-hand use.) Also for
Critical Damage: The character has an attack (or several attacks)
that are capable of doing damage that causes seriously wounded opponents to
lose blood from wounds, internally or externally. The bleeding rules from
the combat section apply to victims. The GM will decide which attacks are
capable of this.
Martial Counter: The character may, if he has superior Initiative,
draw the opponent into attacking recklessly, setting the poor fellow up for
a serious counterattack which could very well end the fight immediately.
This requires passing a Skill Test at Average if against an untrained
opponent, and increasing a step in difficulty for each Level of training
the opponent has.
If successful, the character gains the following benefits with
Martial Counter: +2 to Skill Rating; on successful attacks a damage bonus
of +2 applies (with a minimum of half damage), the opponent must pass a
Coordination Test (Above Average) to remain standing, and pass a Strength
Test or be stunned.
Priest Feet: The character may balance on narrow ledges, leap from point
to point, and even fight while maintaining balance on poor footing. The
character may also walk silently, without disturbing soft surfaces. A
successful Skill Test allows the character to move in the fashion desired.
Martial Arts Weapons Skills
There are many, many weapons used in martial arts the world over.
As with the empty hand skills, to even attempt to list them all would be
far beyond the scope of these rules. What we offer is, instead, guidelines
on the skills packages possible with a few basic weapons. The GM may use
these or disregard them at will, for the basic focus of the rules is on the
unarmed combat skills.
As the unarmed combat rules show, martial artists are not content
to just learn a basic strike and perfect it. The approach to weapons is
much the same. One can become quite good with a basic weapon strike, but
studying many different strikes adds to the array of techniques usable in a
fight. Such a variety of choice increases the likelihood of success for
the martial artist.
The weapons detailed in these rules are:
The weapons skills are only taught in conjunction with training in
the empty hand arts. The weapons skills are not taught until the student
has reached a Skill Level of Capable in empty hand training and will lag
behind the empty hand training until the student becomes an Expert. A
character's Skill Rating with a weapon will always be at least on less than
his Skill Rating in the empty hand art.
A martial arts game wouldn't be complete without some sort of
martial arts weapons skills being outlined. The problem with including
such, however, lies in the realm of abusive play. Many players will simply
decide to use weapons in lieu of empty hand fighting simply due to the
increased damage potential of weaponry.
Historical martial artists studied both to prepare for times when
they needed one or the other. Samurai could break their blades and need to
fight unarmed. Peasants were often prohibited owning weapons and unarmed
skills became paramount. Most people did not carry weapons unless they
expected to have to use them, so unarmed skill was important.
In the Street Angels setting, all weapons are restricted in some
fashion. Firearms possession leads to long confinement, but possession of
lesser weapons -- knives, clubs, sai, shuriken, etc. -- also means legal
problems for any caught carrying them. It would even be possible for thugs
to cause legal problems for Angels with allegations of weapons use by the
It is recommended that the GM strictly enforce such laws in play to
further discourage players from having characters walk around with
bandoliers of shuriken or designer staves. A tip to police can have the
PCs pulled over and searched for weapons -- a couple of weeks in jail may
cure the players of the problem.
After all, the good guys should be willing to do things in the
old-fashioned mano y mano style. The weapons rules offered in the rules
are for the bad guys in large part, and for those extraordinary scenes
involving the good guys and the really bad guys in some secret hidden
The packages available for those studying these weapons follow. As
with the empty hand packages, the subskills available are accumulated as
Skill increases. There is a difference, though:
* At Familiar Skill Level, a character receives only 1 subskill,
the basic strike for the weapon. The character may accumulate further
subskills when Capable Skill Level is reached, choosing one new subskill
for each increase in Skill Rating thereafter.
Lock / Bar
Lock / Bar
Disarm / Break
Explanation of Weapon Arts Subskills
Basic Strike: This is the basic weapon blow used to deliver
damage, whether it is an overhand strike, a thrust, or a horizontal snap.
The Basic Strike delivers the damage listed on the weapon card for it.
Parry: This is a Defensive Skill. A successful Defense with this
skill leads to the opponent having a penalty of 1 to Initiative in the next
round, and the parrying attacker gains a bonus of 1 to Skill Rating for an
attack if winning initiative.
Hard Block: This is a Defensive Skill. A successful Hard Block
leads to the opponent suffering a penalty of 2 to Initiative the next round.
Hard Strike: A Hard Strike is performed with a penalty of 1 to
Initiative, and if successful will deliver at least half damage.
Heavy Strike: The Heavy Strike is performed with a penalty of 1 to
Initiative. This strike does normal damage, but, as with the empty hand
version, leaves the opponent unbalanced and suffering a penalty of 1 to
Initiative the next round.
Nerve Strike: (Prerequisite: Professional Level) A Nerve Strike
may stun the opponent. It does minimum damage, but the opponent must pass
a Strength Stat Test or be stunned the next round.
Twin Weapon: (Prerequisite: Professional Level) The character
may use two weapons of this type simultaneously. In general, this allows
the character to attack or defend with a bonus to Initiative of 2. The
weapons are used in conjunction with each other, effectively as a single
This also allows for the two weapons to be used independently. In
this case, the character may declare one weapon to be used in one fashion
(eg. Defending,) and the other in a different fashion (eg. Hard Strike.)
If used in this fashion, the character's Skill Rating suffers a penalty of
- -2, in addition to which the penalties for off-hand use will apply to one
of the weapons.
Lock / Bar: This skill allows the character to use the weapon to
gain leverage and position to lock the opponent's limbs in such things as
wrist locks and arm bars. The opponent is immobilized as described in the
empty hand skills description.
Hand Combination: This skill allows the character to coordinate
the use of the weapon smoothly with empty hand skills. A successful test
of the Hand Combination Skill allows the character to then use an empty
hand skill without penalty (eg. Parry with weapon followed by a Jump Kick.)
Choke: The character may use the weapon to choke the opponent.
Using this skill, an attacker suffers a penalty of 2 to Initiative and
Skill Rating, but if successful has the opponent held in a choke. The
opponent can attempt to escape using his Martial Arts, Wrestling, or
Brawling skill at a penalty of -5 to Skill Rating.
If the choke is successful, the opponent must pass a Stat Test vs
Strength after 10 rounds or pass out. If this Test is passed, the opponent
must pass a Stat Test each round thereafter or pass out, and each round
adds a penalty of 1 to the Target Number.
Disarm: This skill allows the user to disarm a weapon-wielding
opponent. The Disarm attempt suffers a penalty of 2 to Initiative and a
penalty of 4 to Skill Rating, but if successful will cause the opponent to
drop their weapon. The weapon will land a distance of from 1 to 10 feet
Disarm / Break: The Sai is designed to deal with bladed weapons,
and has the ability to break sword blades. Against such a weapon (sword,
long knife), the Sai can be used to break the weapon in place of a regular
Disarm attempt. The attempt suffers the same penalties as a Disarm and
requires a Strength Stat Test be passed. If all is successful, the blade
of the opponent's weapon is broken, decreasing its effectiveness.
Explanation of Shuriken Subskills
Basic Toss: This is the basic attack with the shuriken, delivering normal
damage to the target.
Snap Toss: This is the skill of readying and throwing a shuriken
in one motion. A character using this skill has an Initiative penalty of 2
and a penalty to Skill Rating of 2.
Rear Toss: The character may throw at a target to his rear, if he
has observed the target shortly before the toss. He suffers a penalty of 2
to Skill Rating when using this skill.
Twin Toss: The character is able to attack with two shuriken at
once, in simultaneous or quickly-consecutive fashion. The primary hand
suffers no penalty, but the off hand suffers from normal off-hand-use
Rapid Toss: (Prerequisite - Snap Toss) The character is capable
of launching a series of shuriken attacks in a single round. The number of
attacks is equal to the Skill Rating divided by 3. The results of these
attacks are figured according to the rules for firing automatic weapons.
Critical Target: (Prerequisite - Expert Level) The character is
capable of targeting critical areas of the body with shuriken attacks.
These attacks suffer a penalty of -4 to Skill Rating, but do maximum damage
and require System Shock rolls by the victim to maintain consciousness.
Other Character Information
To this point we have determined the character's Background and
personality, Stats, Abilities, Disabilities, and Skills. Little remains to
finish the character creation process.
All characters begin with 15 Luck Points. The Luck Points a
character has stay with the character until they are used in play; they do
not "disappear" between play sessions.
A character may accumulate a maximum of 30 Luck Points. Any Points
awarded that would increase the total beyond this are lost.
Each character will begin play with a week's average salary for
their chosen profession in available cash. Inflation will have changed the
prices of goods and services by 2028, but if everything is still listed at
roughly current prices and wages, few will care. In any case, no
character should begin with enough available cash to buy a new vehicle or
The player can now determine some information that will be of use
whenever the character gets in a fight. Record this information with the
rest of the character data to keep it handy.
First, record the character's Initiative Bonus due to Combat
Awareness, if the character's Rating is high enough to receive a bonus.
Next, figure the character's Max Damage for Unarmed attacks using the chart
provided in the Chapter Three. Also record all bonuses accruing for
special martial arts skills or high skill levels in the arts.
Characters in Street Angels do not start the game using any
weapons. Gamemasters should discourage the players from acquiring weapons
immediately, although the use of martial arts weaponry (staff, nunchaku,
shuriken, tonfa, sai, etc.) can be introduced into the campaign as the
Gamemaster sees fit. If the players seem to be out for blood, using the
most lethal weaponry they have available, then the Gamemaster should make
such weapons less available. The focus of the game is unarmed combat, and
the fewer weapons used by the heroes, the better.
Characters may start play with any equipment and resources the
Gamemaster deems reasonable. A collection of rare samurai swords would be
allowable, if they are mounted for display and the character wouldn't think
of using them. Heavy clothing, large flashlights, first aid kits, and the
like are all acceptable items to begin play with. The Gamemaster must
decide what would be reasonable in his campaign and inform the players of
The group of characters will need a "home base" of sorts to use for
training and organizing. The Gamemaster should describe the place in
detail for the players -- the condition and size of the building, the
normal inhabitants and activities, the training area and equipment, the
neighboring buildings and their inhabitants, the neighborhood in general.
The base may be a martial arts school open to the public, or just a private
training area for the Angels in the community. The Angels may have sole
use of the space or may have to share it, using it only outside of normal
"As I've often stated, it's intolerable being tolerated."
Henrick sings in "Later" from _A Little Night Music_
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