Oddly Shaped Dice

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Oddly Shaped Dice

I started played old-school pen-and-paper RPGs when I was around twelve years old. I did the old Marvel Superhero game, then first edition AD&D, then Top Secret S.I. and AD&D 2nd Edition . . . over time, I transitioned from playing every week (circa 1989) to playing every year or so. But a lot of my nerdly musings still take the form of . . . this would make a great one-shot (i.e., a game session which is not intended to lead to subsequent follow-up adventures). And in that spirit . . .

Pulp Era Tournament Fighter

I’m a big fan of martial arts movies, particularly “Enter the Dragon”, and of pre-war pulp adventure, so this is a natural. The idea would be to take the familiar trapping of the tournament fighter genre and pulp it up — lost cities, Tibetan masters, Fu Manchu, etc. Sort of like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “The Quest” but with better execution. Ideally, this would be a multiple part adventure, as the heroes travel from San Francisco to Shanghai, across Central China to the Lost City of Shangri-La. It might make sense to start with an all-American cast of characters (a boxer, an ex-Legionnaire savatuer, a Chinese-American Shaolin master, maybe an Olympic wrestling champ) and have them move into increasingly unknown territory.

By | 2017-03-17T01:05:18+00:00 July 16th, 2007|Categories: Article|Tags: , , |5 Comments

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  1. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Oh, I dunno…10th level seems pretty manageable. I recently saw some variant rules that mostly eliminate multiple attacks and encourage more movement, and that would certainly be genre-appropriate.

    In d20 Modern terms, Rocky is most likely a Tough Hero / Dedicated Hero, maybe with some levels of Strong Hero. Tough because "It's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can GET hit and keep getting up." Strong because he's a puncher. Dedicated because "Though his body says stop / His spirit cries 'Never!'"

    [I guess you could say he picked up a level or two of Fast Hero from training with Apollo in III, although in that final fight scene, he mostly seems to be relying on his Tough Hero levels]

    Under the Blood & Fists rules, he would be a Strong Hero / Boxing Master. That's easy enough.

  2. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    D. Central China
    Do the Magnificent Seven, with the PCs (now pursued by German and Japanese agents) free a small village from an oppressive local warlord.

    E. The Lost City
    The big crazy finale. Bad guys catch up to the PCs, they fight in the tournament, wackiness ensues.

    Oh, and there should be plenty of training opportunities along the way so the the PCs can become well-rounded fighters. The Hawaiians teach them ancient lua grappling, a fallen Shaolin in Shanghai teaches the Iron Fist, they rely upon traditional weapons in Central China, and learn to transcend their physical limitations from a Tibetan hermit.

  3. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    As for running a "Quest" campaign…since the bulk of the campaign would be traveling to the Hidden City, that's plenty of opportunity to mix things up.

    A. San Francisco
    Maybe start with the "Regional Finals" or otherwise establish that the PCs (and maybe a couple of NPCs) are all going to be traveling to the Great Tournament. This being the 1930s, you could start with a nice Mafia vs. Tong turf war for the PCs to stumble into.

    B. Hawaii
    Well, you gotta do something with a cursed tiki. Like the Brady Bunch. The PCs end up short on traveling funds and end up finding the lost treasure of King Kamehameha.

    C. Shanghai
    The most exotic city on earth, back in the 1930s. The PCs get involved in espionage featuring the Nazis from the local German consulate, and maybe some officers of the Japanese Imperial Army.

  4. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

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  5. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    "The Quest" setting would make a decent one-shot. Not sure how it would extend into a campaign without getting repetitive.

    What level would you start these guys out with a one-shot? Seems like they should have a hefty level of competence if they're going to compete in these events. Although, there's nothing to say they have to be the absolute best.

    Having recently watched through the Rocky series, I wonder where he would stat out through the movies. In the first couple movies, he wouldn't be a very high level, but he'd have to have a lot of hit points. Certainly by III, he had leveled a couple times and in IV he reached his peak.

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