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Thursday, 5 June 2014

How to make a good LotW character?

I realises recently a lot of people are having issues with character generation in some of my favourite Wuxia systems. Which is a shame, because both Legend of the Wulin and Weapons of the Gods are great!
I actually like the WotG setting marginally better, but it's still a very close call. And I'm going to talk about the LotW chargen now.


So, let's just follow the steps on p.15 and the next few. I'll make another character as we go, for the sake of example.

Step 1: Concept.
A female xía character who fights to improve the lot of women in Shen Zhou would be nice. (And to insert a touch of reality, she has learned how to use the advantages of women when it comes to violence, and her teachers taught her to negate the female weaknesses...much like a male character would have to do, too).

Step 2: Rank:
Starting rank is Fourth Rank. Lake 7, River 2, Chi Replenishment 2, maximum Chi Aura
2, and a maximum Skill Bonus of +10.

Step 3: Archetype
She's bucking all the expected roles. I pick Warrior, as that's the least likely in Shen Zhou. Therefore, she starts with Hardiness, and begins play with Secret Arts of the Warrior.
(That's going to be fun. Just believe me).

Step 4: Skills
I've got 20 points to spend.
• Confidence 5, because she's got to be confident. And because she's got to have some defence against Courtiers.
• Finesse 10
• Hardiness 10, Chi Breath, Injuries
• Might 5 - years of training, people. When everybody is assuming your might is weak, you'd better learn to us it...I'd put 10 on it, but Finesse is more useful, and I want Stealth, too.
• Perform, Politics - not at the start.
• Stealth 5
• Tactics 10

Step 5: Virtues
Well, what do I see her striving towards? I want to give higher ratings to these, in order to get more Joss and Entanglement from them, whenever I get a Deed.
She's trying to improve the lot of women. 
Benevolence (Kuan) 4


She's efficient, not bloodthirsty. Yet she wants to prove her strength, but not by killing, and wouldn't mind proving it without having to beat anyone.
Ferocity (Bao) 1
Force (Ba) 4
She's also quite selfless, as I see here.
Individualism (Si) 2
Honor is a strong point. She is trying to persuade people to make the lot of half the people in the setting, remember? So she would try to push for laws at some point.
Honor (Xin) 4
She's not obsessively pursuing things, though.
Obsession (Chan) 1
However, she is supremely loyal!
Loyalty (Zhong) 4
Revenge is another "bloodthirsty" Corrupt Virtue. We leave it down.
Revenge (Chou) 1
I can see her dealing with law-breakers, but that's not her main goal. And I haven't got more points anyway.
Righteousness (Yi) 3
Well, that's easy. We said she's not ruthless. And pursuing the goal of "better fare for the women in Shen Zhou" "at the expense of others"...well, let's say I don't want a MRA stereotype, mmmkay?
Ruthlessness (Hen) 1

Step 6: Disadvantages
None. I'll pick some in play, or from Loresheets, in order to be sure they'd come up.

Step 7: Kung-fu
External: Subtle force. She's into ending it with minimum casualties...and just as importantly, this is a style that fits very well with Secret Arts of the Warrior!
Her Internal is, of course, Fox-Spirit Song! The most neglected style I know...with no good reason.
Which also means she starts with 11 Normal Chi so far.

Step 8: Final Touches
...I want Flexible, but it's not useful with Subtle Force. So she will take a sword, because classics. And she can always revert to Unarmed.

Step 9: Additional Destiny (and Entanglement)
I've got 20 more Destiny. That's easy: I go to my External first. I take Correct Approach and Heart-Cutting Strike for a total of 4 Destiny. I can inflict temporary injuries with my attacks, even with the sword.And I can stab you in the meridians to inflict a Disrupt Marvel, using my Attack roll.
Then I go to Secret Arts. I get Secret Art of Battle.
I get immediately Unassailable Battle Saint Technique, and Controlling Outer Force, for another 8 points. What this means is that, A) I can start with a Fire combat approach that gives me a +10 Action bonus, and B) If I succeed critically on a roll to inflict a Disrupt marvel, I can Flood a die to increase the penalty to -10. Now, check my External again?
Yeah, she can do that with her Strike. Good luck defending that!
I've got 8 Destiny left.

Next, Internals! I get Fox Leaves No Tracks for free, because the first technique was given when we choosed the Internal in Step 7.
I also get  Mirthful Fox Plays With Her Shadow and Parting the Grass for 4 points without a second thought. One of them gives me a Dodge bonus, and the other one gives me a Laughs at and Fears bonus on my attack. Granted, it's just a +10 bonus (usable for Disrupts!), but more importantly...
It denies the enemy any chance to use a Laughs at in this defence (Subtle Hand has no Fears)! Oh, and it means it stacks with other Internal Strike boosters. Which is very good, because normally, you only take the highest Internal modifier.
Also, normally Subtle Hand can't get a Laughs At bonus at all (the price for having no Fears). Internal techniques disregard that, though...

After some consideration, I decide to go for a Formless technique instead, and take a - you got it - a level 4 Strike Booster!
Now, if I feel confident, I can activate all my attack techniques, and I'd get a +20 total attack, while the defence can't get Laughs At and Fears bonuses. My total Strike is +45 in this case, after accounting for the Combat approach.
Not bad, given that I'd have the same if I had joined the Small Forest sect, too. Granted, it would have been cheaper in Chi, but within 3 Destiny, I can get another Technique, and become more efficient in picking whether to use any Internals. Then I can get a 4th-level technique that adds a +20 to my Disrupt and Disorient attempts. Somewhere along the way I should pick Disrupting Inner Force, in order to screw up Secret Artists that try to use Quickwork. And there are other Secret Warrior Techniques, too - one of them allows me to transfer my Combat Approach on an ally (useful if the ally was going to have a duel). And one of the most important parts of LotW is to have everyone in the party be a Secret Artist that gives you Action Bonuses and Chi Breath for the times when it really matters (Predictionists rule, since they can also stack your enemies with penalties, before even meeting them - no wonder they need to expend Joss at that).
Oh, and the best news? All 20 Destiny goes towards my Cultivation, raising my Chi.
I've got now 12 Chi.

Entanglement:
Well, I buy the Loresheet for The Resplendent Phoenix Society for 3 Destiny. I spend another 3 Destiny on Status (Deeds would no doubt raise that). And I get a discount tor Daoist Sexual Techniques, which I'm planning to put to good use later - but I'm not getting it yet. When she has a partner that needs help with his or her Cultivation, she could learn it, though. (I haven't decided on her orientation yet, but I'm leaning towards hetero-Lesbian Stripper Ninja are overdone! And it would reinforce the theme that she doesn't hate men, she just wants the women that aren't Xia to be treated better!)
I could get Sun-Draining Talons, because it's a nice complement to my Unarmed combat, should I ever need to use it. But the truth is, I want to use other Loresheets!
Then I go to the Loresheet I was inspired by. The Woman's life, and "The Three Solutions", of course!
I get the Warrior's solution. She's the successor of the green-eyed daughter!
In practical terms, it means I get a +10 bonus to make people I have fought smitten with me after the fight. She's not a Courtier all right... but fighting her tends to make people well-disposed towards her!

I also decide she has 3 Corrupt Joss, because I'd expect her to gain Virtuous Joss more easily.

She's done, and ready to kick ass for greater equality!