I jump, grab a red paper light fitting, swing across the room and boot the first mook through a flowery paper wall, I roll with the momentum over a sloshing fish tank and connect my fist into the face of another.Wushu Open is an action movie roleplaying game system. A system that encourages you to do that. A system that rewards you for doing that. Wushu Open is the no-frills-and-free, creative commons version of the commercial-but-indie Wushu system. Ideal for action movie settings from Hong Kong action theatres to derivatives such as the Matrix. The rulebook is plain but I implore you to forgive that and read it; as the system breaks preconceptions in the most mind shattering manner.
Put reality away for a minute...Daniel demonstrates that realism isn't always good. In most systems realism causes negative modifiers to outrageous acts of heroism. Negative modifiers make cool stuff less likely and so players are rewarded less. A good point, I think. I've certainly seen the benefits of chaining up reality in the cellar when playing with my Shared Pool system. In Wushu, the core mechanic is based on that principle.
It's a core mechanic, you say?Everyone describes what they are doing and then everyone rolls. What you describe will automatically happen, how it advances the scene depends on the roll. A solid storygame mechanic. You're aiming to roll under your character's most appropriate trait (rated 1-5) on a D6. Here's the clever bit: you roll a D6 for each cool detail you include. For my example earlier:
I jump, grab a red paper light fitting [D6], swing across the room and kick the first goon through a flowery paper wall [D6], I roll with the momentum over a sloshing fish tank [D6] and connect my boot into the face of another mook [D6].My pool is 4 dice. The GM and player decide what a die-worthy detail is and you limit the number of dice to speed up or slow down a scene (for dramatic effect). I find that this kind of reward works brilliantly with players who are engaged at the table as there is a tangible benefit for coming up with entertaining and interesting actions.
Choppy and KickyWhen in combat, you fight Mooks and Nemeses. Mooks can be dispatched without an opposed check and damage ticks down their "Chi" as a group. When Chi runs out, the remaining Mooks take to their heels or are all unconscious or realise they're the bad guys and surrender. Either way, the scene moves on.
Nemeses are taken on mano-e-mano basis. Nemeses are like player characters. When rolling combat, you split your dice between attack dice for doing damage (called Yang) and defence dice for soaking up damage (called Yin). Every success removes a point of Chi until you're exhausted. Choosing a balance between Yin and Yang gives a clever tactical choice.
FreedomsAs damage relies on narrative, you can choose whatever weapons fit your character and the setting. There is no initiative or advancement either. Your character begins with a Weakness trait that gives your character depth too.
Stuck between free and a paid placeWushu Open feels unfinished. The system itself is complete but as a game, it needs expansion to get over that hump to finished. And here lies the difficulty: if the free game was complete then there would be little need to buy the full price game (which isn't expensive). I would like more examples, an evocative layout, sample adventure, contents page and some images.
The reviewer runs up a chair onto the table and launches a simile laden paragraph at one reader while slapping the foundations of another.As the game has a Creative Commons variant, so there is no reason that someone else couldn't take Wushu Open and make these updates. However, you could well argue that a well put together Open redux would affect sales of the core Wushu game; as the sort of person who would do a redux, I would not like to sour Daniel's goodwill. This issue is not unique to Wushu Open but any free RPG that is shoulder to shoulder with a paid product.