[Let’s Study Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade] Part 2 – Character Creation

Posted: July 3, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games, Wu Xing

Now that we’ve had a chance to explore the setting elements and the ninja clans of Wu Xing, let’s try putting together a character for the game.

For a character concept, I feel like creating a ninja from the Will of Iron Clan. The idea of clandestine enforcers that strike from the shadows in the name of justice is pretty good.

Now I have to select a Passion. Passions are character motivations or loyalties, things that they consider valuable or important. As such characters who act in accordance to the demands of their Passions gain additional experience points. Furthermore, the character also gains a +2 bonus to any check that aids in the character’s effort to achieve their Passion in some way. Likewise they suffer a -2, if they attempt to deny or refuse their Passions.

For my currently unnamed ninja, I’ll be taking the Code of Honor passion. It seems to make a lot of sense for someone from the Will of Iron Clan to adhere more strictly to a code of honor. For ease of use, I’ll assume that his code of honor is similar to that of Bushido, the Japanese warrior code.

With that, I move on to selecting the Element of my ninja. All characters are born of one of five different Elemental Souls in Wu Xing, which influences their personality as well as bestowing various mechanical benefits like starting Chi, a minor combat advantage, and drawbacks associated with having too much or too little Chi.

I’m not going for too much originality here, so I’m choosing Metal as my primarly element. Characters with the Metal Element are brave, disciplined and have an overwhelmingly strong sense of justice. Sounds apt.

That said, my Starting Chi is: Yin 2, Yang 1

I also gain a +1 Damage bonus to my ninja’s attacks for each successful attack that his enemies land on him in a Round. This bonus is reduced to 0 at the beginning of the next Round.

A Metal Imbalance (meaning too much Metal) results in the character becoming cruel and destructive too often acting on impulse rather than careful deliberation. My ninja must make a Moderate (20) Insanity check or lose all mercy.

Metal Depletion (lack of Metal) results in the ninja becoming quiet, shy and paranoid. The character overthinks even the simplest situation leaving them with analysis paralysis. My ninja must make a Moderate (20) Fear check or lose the ability to speak out and respond quickly (-4 Initiative)

Now that we’ve noted those all down, it’s time to move on to Attributes. Wu Xing has six Attributes: Power, Agility, Vigor, Intellect, Insight and Charm. These attributes are rated from 1-10 with 4-5 being the average. I get to distribute 30 Attribute points among them, with levels 1-8 costing one Attribute point, and 9 and 10 costing two Attribute Points per level.

This is what I came up with:

6 Power
4 Agility
6 Vigor
4 Intellect
6 Insight
4 Charm

Derived Attributes:

Base Damage: 1
Combat Modifier: 0
Extra Actions: 0
Bonus Skill Points: +4

Nothing too drastic, I’m afraid. I tend to gravitate towards more balanced builds, opting for flexibility as opposed to specialization.

Now for skills. Each character begins with 30 Skill points (plus bonus skill points equal to their Intellect Score) leaving me with 34 points to spend on my ninja. In addition, every Izou ninja begins with the following Skills:

Discipline 1
Legerdemain 1
Stealth 1
Survival 1
Primary Fighting Style 1 (In this case I’ll go for Tiger Style)

Skills are rated from 1 to 15, and skill levels 1 to 10 cost one skill point, and levels 11 to 15 cost two skill points per level.

I find it strange that rather than splitting off the basic mechanics earlier on in perhaps a separate chapter, the author chose to place it just after Skill. I can guess at why it was placed here, but for the sake of ease of use, I feel that having a basic mechanics chapter before the Character Generation rules might be a better option.

That said, a standard Check in Wu Xing is a 1d20+Attribute+Skill roll. Unskilled checks don’t suffer a further penalty, but you’re only limited to a 1d20+Attribute roll. Rolling a Natural 20 or a Natural 1 results in a Critical Success and Critical Failure respectively. There are also Skill specialties upon hitting levels 5, 10 and 15 in a skill, which grant a +2 bonus on applicable rolls.

So, back to skills. I’ll be spending my Ninja’s 34 Skill points on the following:

Athletics 3 (+1 Strike +1 Throw +1 Grapple)
Discipline 5 (Specialty: Concentration)
Empathy 3
Fortitude 3 (+1 Roll, +3 Health)
Intimidation 3
Legerdemain 1
Perception 3
Stealth 3
Survival 3
Travel 2
Tiger Style (Primary) 5
Wildcat Style (Secondary) 3

The next step is Wushu selection. Wushu in wu Xing is the term for mystical attacks and effects used by the ninja by harnessing their Chi (as opposed to the full-contact sport martial art). In character creation, each player selects 5 levels of Wushu in any combination from their Favored Wushu.

Looking at my Clan, I get to pick from Way of Heaven’s Judgment, Way of Metal and Way of the Warrior.

After taking a look at the Wushu descriptions, I figure that Sense the Guilty (lvl 1) and Hunt the Guilty (level 1) are both appropriate. for the remaining three points, I decide to grab the Cage Wushu from the Way of metal.

As you may have noticed, my ninja also has points in two Fighting Styles, with Tiger Style as primary and Wildcat Style as secondary. Fighting styles bestow bonuses that modify any checks made during combat, and each level’s bonuses stack with the ones prior to it.

Characters also begin play with 2 Actions per Round.

Fighting styles are more than just static bonuses however, upon reaching levels 5, 10 and 15, the character may also select a Technique. As my ninja has 5 levels in Tiger Style, this means that he gets to pick 1 technique for that style.

For the sake of this character, I figure I’d pick up the Damaging Block Technique. Also, I’ll take note of the stacked bonuses for my styles:

Tiger Style: +1 Action, +2 Damage +2 Health, +4 Strike, +4 Throw, +4 Roll, +3 Grapple, +2 Dodge, +1 Parry
Wildcat Style: +3 Strike, +3 initiative, +3 Dodge, +2 Roll, +2 Throw, +1 Parry

At this point I feel that having a table with the bonus types as columns, and skill levels as rows could have been more helpful. As currently presented, it’s easy to lose track or make a mistake in adding all of the tiny bonuses for each skill level.

Finally we get to the Gifts and Drawbacks. Characters start play with 10 Bonus Points which can be spent on Gifts on a 1-to-1 basis. Drawbacks on the other hand, give back Bonus Points. No more than 10 BP can be gained by taking Drawbacks.

I’ve decided to take the following:
Connections 3 (Magistrates)
Good Reputation 3 (Citywide)

I spend my last 4 points on pumping my attributes by two points for a total of:

6 Power
5 Agility
6 Vigor
4 Intellect
6 Insight
5 Charm

Derived Attributes:

Base Damage: 1
Combat Modifier: 1
Extra Actions: 0
Bonus Skill Points: +4

For Drawbacks I’ve decided to go for 3 points of Phobia (Drowning), to buy 3 more points of Rank: Magistrates

The last steps for my ninja is to calculate his sub-attributes.

Health is (Pow+Vig)x2)+10 or 34
Stamina Points are at 6

Combat bonuses are derived from multiple sources, but are mainly drawn from the Fighting Styles, though other Attributes like Power, Agility and Vigor are  all good for additional bonuses.

Initiative for my ninja is Agility+IQ, for a result of 9

Movement stats are also pre-calculated.

Character creation in Wu Xing isn’t particularly complicated as it is rather involved. I was surprised at the decision to slip the basic task resolution inside the section on Skills, but I do feel that it was supposed to help in introducing the concepts slowly as the reader progressed. It took me a bit of time to work my way through the Fighting Styles, and I had completely missed out on the Wushu selection portion until after I was done with the Drawbacks.

I think that with enough practice, generating characters will be much easier, but just looking at the character sheet alone, I’m getting the impression that the combat system will be a major chunk of the game. The way that Wushu and Fighting Styles interact should be very interesting. Though a little part of me is fearful that it might end up having a thousand different subsystems again and end up being like Exalted.

Still, I’m enthusiastic about this endeavor, Wu Xing lives up to the impression of being a game with a unique take on things. Tomorrow we’ll review the basic task resolution, and combat rules. I’m hesitant to do a sample combat until I’ve gotten a chance to really study the system in earnest.

  1. I small thing. There actually is a Fighting Style bonus table in the back of the book. It is right after the index. 🙂

    Otherwise, very good review….

    • Well, what do you know? I didn’t even notice that! Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂

      That said, I’m thinking that it would be great if the book used these tables instead rather than the ones in the Fighting Styles section. This seems so much cleaner and easier to grasp.

  2. […] Steven Anyong (4/5) – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part […]

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