Far West: New Skills & Stunts

Basing the Far West system on the existing FATE system has required tweaks here and there — for example, certain skills and stunts, originally designed for an early-20th-century time period (for Spirit of the Century) aren’t appropriate to the setting of this game.

Here are two new skills created for Far West, as well as the stunts that accompany them:

Qi (pronounced chee) is the “breath of life” — the inner energy flow of every living thing. Think of it as spiritual energy, life, The Force, etc. The main thing that seperates Xia (…and by the way — if anyone has a suggestion for a Far West -appropriate version of this term, I’m all ears. “Heroes” doesn’t quite cover it. I may just end up using “Xia” the same way that I’ll also be using “kung fu” and, well “Qi”, for that matter…) from other people is awareness of this flow — the ability to direct it within their own bodies, as well as sense it in others.

The main in-game use of Qi, outside of stunts, is as a combined skill, complementing the use of other skills. For example, Qi can be used to complement Alertness, in order to detect that an NPC you just met is strong in qi, and hence is also a Xia. Or, channeling your qi into a strike can result in the skill being used as a complement to Fists.

Qi Stunts: A brief look at the stunts associated with Qi….

Inner Flow:The character may spend a fate point, and swap a single incoming check mark between the two stress tracks — in other words, he can opt to take composure stress instead of injury, or vice versa.

Breath of Life:(requires Inner Flow)The character may spend a fate point, and remove move any single check mark from the injury track.

Self-Healing: (requires Inner Flow) The character may remove consequences via the expenditure of fate points: 1 pt for a minor, 2 for a moderate and 3 for a major.

Perfect Balance: The character, by adjusting the qi flow within her body, can balance anywhere — on a bamboo stalk, a fence post, a rope, the end of an opponent’s weapon, etc.

Qi Armor: (requires Breath of Life and Self-Healing) The character can harden himself against attack by fortifying with qi — an expenditure of a fate point gives a -2 stress reduction against incoming attacks for a single combat scene.

Healing Others:(requires Self-Healing) — As Self-Healing, but usable on others.

Put simply, Ride is the Far West version of the Drive skill, as well as taking on board all of the equestrian facets of the Survival skill. Obviously, the main in-game use will be the characters travelling via horseback.

Ride Stunts: A brief look at the stunts associated with Ride….

Born in the Saddle:The character is a gifted horseman, and gains +2 on all Ride rolls.

Trusty Steed:Your character has a horse as a companion. This companion is designed using four advances. This companion operates only with a “physical” scope, and must spend at least two of its advances on “Skilled” or “Quality”. Any “Skilled” advances must be taken from a short list: Athletics, Fists, Might, Stealth, and Survival. You may take only one skill outside of that list, within reason, as based on the animal type. In addition, you may use your horse’s own Athletics skill instead of your Ride skill when attempting manuevers.

Trick Pony: (requires Trusty Steed) Somehow, no matter what crazy stunts you attempt, you always seem to pull it off. You’re always able to make very tight turns, amazing jumps and ride through very narrow spaces without suffering any sort of increased difficulty due to environment, unless it is in fact physically impossible for your horse.

Fast Mount: You can mount your horse and ride off as a single action, taking no supplemental action penalty.

Hands Free :You can do all sorts of things from the back of your horse. Riding your animal never causes a supplemental action penalty when you’re doing something else from the saddle.

Hell Bent for Leather :You know how to get the best speed out of your mount. Any sprint action you take using Ride while mounted is done at +2. If you’re using your mount’s Athletics skill instead (as with Trusty Steed, above), the +2 is applied to the mount’s Athletics roll.

Breaking it In:Your character receives a +2 on all efforts to break in a new mount. If successful, he gets a +1 to all Ride rolls on a creature he has broken for the duration of that session.

I’m headed out to NYC for a writer’s conference next week, but I’ll try to get another entry posted on Monday or Tuesday. I’m not sure what it will cover — is there anything you’d like to hear about?

Speaking of hearing…..

Musical Inspirado:

Zang Ziyi – “Jia Ren Qu (The Beauty Song)” (from House of Flying Daggers)

Juno Reactor – “Pistolero.”

12 Replies to “Far West: New Skills & Stunts”

  1. That’s not bad…..The problem that I have is that I wanted something that equally applied to “bad guys” as well as good.

  2. Gallant, as a noun, just means “young men of fashion,” and I don’t think implies moral behavior. Also, wuxia fiction originally didn’t really have a clear divide between good guys and bad guys. The moral ambiguity of stuff like Shuihu Zhuan is part of its appeal, at least for me.

  3. I’m massively looking forward to this too. Yet another wickedly cool teasing preview.

    But trust me, FATE beats Savage Worlds hands down.

  4. Is there anything you’d like to hear about?

    I’d like to hear about alchemy — I assume it’s a skill?

    One thing I’ve been wondering about is anything in this setting make rainmaking possible? It is part of the mythology of the west, after all. Of course, it might be too much like magic to be real in the setting; in which case I would expect it to be one of the Jade’s standard rackets.

  5. Re: Is there anything you’d like to hear about?

    First, I guess I should say that I’ve been following Far West ever since I saw the teaser post appear on rpg.net.

    Personally, I’d like to hear more of about the Random Generators. At this point in my real life and gaming life, I dig anything that lets me get into the game with easy prep or little prep (like SotC’s adventure style or even Savage World’s Plot Point campaigns).

  6. This explains something. I’ve been reading Outlaws of Marsh (a 14th Century Chinese novel set in the 12th Century) off and on, and one thing had puzzled me: they keep describing this motley lot of cold-blooded killers, highwaymen and cannibals as the “Gallant Fraternity”, and I was beginning to wonder just what the translators meant by this. This wasn’t a use of gallant I was familiar with, either.

    (The other thing I keep wondering about is what is the actual weapon they keep translating as a “halberd”.)

  7. Yeah, the Shuihu Zhuan I mentioned above IS Outlaws of the Marsh :)

    There’s a strong Chinese tradition, at least in the popular literature of the masses (which is very different than the stuff the elites read), to honor those who live beyond the law, who are basically little more than bandits, but who generally use their power to help their friends and hurt those who oppose them. They embody the peasants’ desire to take matters into their own hands and give the elites the finger, though few peasants, of course, really have the ability to do that.

    So that’s why they’re the heroes, not because they act in a moral fashion (which is what hero implies in the West), but because they uphold the values of the common people in a corrupt society.

    As for the halbard, I guess this thing:

  8. Qi Damage?

    Is there a way damage Qi? Or would that just be a Maneuver that places the Aspect “Blocked” or “Poisoned” on someones Qi?

    This looks to be a great game. I’ve been working on converting my Qin:Waring States game over to FATE 3.0 and you’ve given me a bunch of ideas. Really looking forward to it.

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