All characters start with four High Fantasy schticks, which can be used to purchase interesting backgrounds, membership of anything from guilds to demihuman races, and unusual talents.
One schtick should be good for +1 AV modifier in a situation about as broad as one secondary characteristic. These schticks should be used to round out a high fantasy style character: carrying around a broken magic sword, being the sole remaining member of a noble family, ... Package deals should be fine when appropriate.
Some schticks with innate powers associated with them may be associated with nonhuman blood or chaos warping in the character’s past. I heartily encourage stealing from all manner of other games and novels.
I’ve stolen a bunch from the Pulp Schticks and Pulp Flaws at T3.
All demi-human races come with a set of attribute modifiers. (If you want to be completely nonhuman, play a Supernatural Creature.) Attribute modifiers can take attributes above the “=” limit of ordinary archetypes, but any skills depending on those attributes should keep the same AV as before. (This means that starting AV’s are comparable between humans and demihumans, but the demihumans do get to enjoy their advantages regardless of archetype.) If an attribute minus would drop a attribute below zero, that character must buy up that attribute as if it were as many points higher as the absolute value of the attribute below zero.
If there are any here you’d like to play, talk with a gamemaster. There’s no reason why we can’t have medieval-era Klingons and Kzinti running around with the elves and orcs, and there are plenty of centaurs to choose from.
Elves cost three schticks, and get +2 Agility, +2 Manual Dexterity, +1 Charisma, –1 Toughness, –2 Willpower, physical immortality, and night vision that lets them see in starlight as well as daylight, and under dimmer conditions 50’ perfectly and 100’ adequately. Half-elves cost two schticks and get +1 Agility, +1 Manual Dexterity, –1 Willpower, long lives, and see as elves do (save that the starlight vision extends only 500’.) Elves get four free completely useless Info skills at +4 to represent the arts and crafts that they spend so much time on during their long lives; half-elves get two such skills.
Dwarves cost one schtick, get –2 Move, +2 Constitution, +1 Toughness, +1 Willpower, and –2 Magic. They can see 10’ in total darkness, 50’ perfectly in dim light, and 100’ adequately. They can live for several centuries. Dwarves get two free Craft skills at +4 from their upbringing.
Halflings, also called hobbits, cost one schtick, get –2 Move, +2 Manual Dexterity, +1 Constitution, +2 Agility, –2 Strength, –1 Willpower. Halflings get Info/Pipe-weed +4, Info/Cooking +4.
Catran (feline humanoids, one subspecies for every feline species in existence, ranging from housecatoids five feet tall to tigers eight feet tall) get Elven night vision, +1 Speed, –1 Manual Dexterity, +1 Agility, –1 Willpower, and claws that do extra damage in melee combat. They cost two schticks.
All minor schticks cost one high fantasy schtick. In general, they should be helpful about as often as adding one to a single secondary attribute.
Hobby. Take an Info or Craft skill at +3.
Knighted. Doesn’t come with lands.
Noble Blood. Noble blood runs in your veins, though it doesn't necessarily come with wealth or power. Take Info/Nobility at +3, covering the etiquette and politics of the upper class.
Guild Background. This is not necessary if your archetype should automatically be a member of this guild. Take a Craft skill at +2; note that Hobby does not come with guild membership, and that you can get in trouble with the local guilds if you start practicing a craft for pay.
Conspiratorial Background. You are a member of a conspiracy. Take Info/[Your conspiracy] at +3.
Criminal Background. This is not necessary if your archetype should automatically be a member of the Thieves’ Guild, the Brotherhood of Assassins, etc. Take an Info skill regarding this criminal organization at +3; you have been initiated into this criminal organization and can make contact with its members, use its protocols, etc.
Animal companion. Relatively mundane, non-battleworthy, e.g. a cat or hawk, trained or useful in some way (e.g. a ferret who can bring you shiny keys and gnaw through ropes).
Animal friend. You get along well with one particular type of animal (dogs, cats, bats, horses)— you know their ways, they like your smell. You have a +3 to rolls to handle, tame, train, and ride such beasts, where applicable.
Action Banter. Each sequence, you get a free 3-shot action that can only be used for verbal interaction. You can take this extra action at any time, even before your normal first shot. It is normally an Intimidation stunt, though Deceit and Seduction can be used as well.
Cold Fish. You are immune to Seduction and charm, even magical charm, when you spend a Fortune point. This lasts for a scene.
Fearless. You are immune to Intimidation and Fear, even magical fear, when you spend a Fortune point. This lasts for one scene.
Inspirational Leader. You have an extra pool of Fortune points equal to your Leadership value, that you can only spend to improve the actions of unnamed characters under your command. You can thus greatly improve the efficiency of your goons. You must be present to use this ability. You may not spend these points when you take actions to direct them, only when they use their own skills or abilities.
Good secondary attribute. Add +1 to a secondary attribute. You may not exceed any = or Max on your archetype, or your racial maximum.
Long-lived. You can expect to see four hundred. Your spirit will only hang around your body for five minutes times your Chi before proceeding on to other realms, limiting the time during which you are available for a battlefield resurrection.
Stuntman. This is the Karate Cop schtick #2: +2 AV to using Martial Arts to perform acrobatic maneuvers that are not direct attacks on opponents in combat.
Good Looks. You look great. This is not merely a matter of charisma or seduction skill; you can be obnoxious and rude, but there is something special about how you look. (This could also be animal magnetism.) You never have any trouble getting into private parties or clubs, and can get close to people simply because they like to have you around. Everyone will consider you beautiful, but some people really fall for you. The GM may use this as he sees fit, but if you want a rule, you may roll a Charisma roll whenever you initially meet somebody who might fall for your charm. You can spend fortune on this roll. If the result is exactly equal to their Charisma, they fall for you. This is not seduction; you need not play up to them at all.
Good Looks may not be turned off, and can sometimes give you trouble. An additional schtick lets you turn your good looks off.
Acute Sense. You have a +2 to your perception AV with one particular sense.
Ambidexterity. You take no penalty for wielding your primary weapon with either hand. (Normally, there is a –2 penalty for being forced to use your off hand.) This is not required to use two-weapon styles such as rapier-main gauche.
Clear thinker. You have a +3 to all rolls to resist confusion and befuddlement.
Visions. (as per Ars Magica)
Bump of direction. You have a talent for figuring out which way is north.
Mutation. You have a concealable Deformity with an accompanying Creature Power. (A third eye that can perform a Brain Shredder attack, or retractile claws.) Use your best combat skill bonus + Magic – 3 for Creature Powers.
Past life. You have occasional flashes of insight into a previous incarnation. Resonances from your past life will occasionally turn up in your present one, and the flashes of insight may help you cope with them.
Quiet magic. You have a +2 to negate penalties from quiet spellcasting.
All minor problems provide one extra high fantasy schtick. In general, they should be somewhat more hindering than subtracting one from a single secondary attribute.
Outlaw. There is a price on your head in a very well-travelled location.
Infamous. You have a bad reputation throughout an entire major island, and travellers tell tales about your perfidy.
Dishonored. You are an outcast from an important social grouping. You may deserve it, or you may be searching for a way to clear your name.
Social handicap. For some reason— morose temperament, offensive body odor— you have a –2 penalty to all social interaction skills.
Deformity. Due to odd ancestry, chaos warping, or other defects, you have an unusual appearance that can be concealed without major effort. (A third eye.)
Poor secondary attribute. Subtract 1 from a secondary attribute. It is not advised to drop below an = on your archetype.
Deep Sleeper. You have a –2 penalty to rolls to wake up when disturbed, and are at –1 for the first half hour or first sequence of combat after waking.
Paranoia. All adventurers have some of this. You have enough of it to be a problem.
Bad Temper. You start fights with very little pretext.
Berserker. Berserking gives a +1 AV on attack and –1 AV on defense.
Creepy. You have an otherworldly creepy air to you that hampers social interactions with those who are not case-hardened to deal with supernatural creatures.
The Bard’s Tongue. This should be taken with some degree of divinatory talent. On a regular basis, you find yourself speaking prophesies that most people don’t want to hear, and it is very difficult to restrain yourself from doing so...
Magic addiction. You are addicted to the thrill of magical power rushing through you. From merely making your life easier to showing off to people, you have great difficulty resisting the urge to use your magic. Why walk when you can fly? On occasions when it might better to be discreet in wielding your magic, the GM can require that you make Willpower checks to avoid using magic.
All significant schticks cost two high fantasy schticks. In general, they should be helpful about as often as adding one to a single primary attribute.
Animal companion. Relatively mundane and battleworthy, such as a trained warhorse or tiger buddy, or magical and non-battleworthy, such as a talking winged cat. The latter could be a familiar to a wizard.
Leader. Separated from an existing group that you may later find and benefit from (a temple full of warrior monks, the underground resistance in the country you’re the exiled crown prince of, ...).
Well-travelled. Even if you have no applicable social skill, you are never at less than your Intelligence or Charisma (as appropriate) in a social situation. You have Common Sense regarding the variations in island cultures and physical laws.
Big. You may only buy this if you have bought up your Body attribute to 10. This gives you an extra point of Body and an additional point of Toughness and an extra ten hit points, just like a Big Bruiser.
Good primary attribute. Add 1 to a primary attribute. You may not exceed any = or Max on your archetype, nor your species maximum.
Elven starlight vision.
Warping. Though it is not obvious, due to chaos warping or unusual ancestry, you have a Creature Power.
Major Warping. You possess a nonconcealable deformity and two creature powers.
Immortal. You will not die of old age. Your spirit will only hang around your body for a number of minutes equal to your Chi before proceeding on to more distant realms, limiting the time during which you are available for a battlefield resurrection.
Dash. You have hidden reserves of energy that come out when you run for it. Your running Move is three times your normal Move instead of double your Move.
Guts. When the going gets tough, you get going. When other characters would get impaired due to damage taken, you really get going. Ignore all impairments for wounds. With two significant schticks in Guts, you get an Action Value bonus instead of impairment when you are hurt. This bonus is +1 at 25 Wound Points and +2 at 30 Wound Points. You still look like shit and take Death Tests as normal.
Natural linguist. You pick up accents with unconscious ease and learn languages by immersion one stage faster on the time chart.
Indomitable. Your Willpower is 2× value regarding attempts to influence and control you.
Healthy. Your Constitution is 2× value for resisting disease.
Jack of All Trades. For each schtick in this, you take one less point of penalty for not having a skill. Maximum of three schticks, giving you an effective skill bonus of +0 in all skills.
Animal empathy. +3 to handling animals.
Awareness. (as per White Wolf’s Mage) You can see into the mystical layers of the universe, seeing auras and active magic. Take a Perception-based skill, Awareness, at +1.
Magical focus. You have a +1 to your magical AV when a particular condition is met, and a –1 when that condition is not met. This condition should be easily met and broken: holding an attuned wizard’s staff, for instance. (Attunement would be a process requiring several days, and might cause the staff to warp and become knobbly— I’m stealing from Irene Radford here.) Other examples would include the time being day or night, etc. (Seasonal variations do not count— you could just avoid trouble then.)
Danger sense. You may make Alertness rolls against danger itself; the GM sets the difficulty.
Intuition. (as per White Wolf’s Mage) You have a talent for making decisions based on no information whatsoever. Take a Perception-based skill, Intuition, at +1.
Lucky. You have a +2 bonus to rolls made to resolve boxcars.
Magic resistant. +3 penalty to using or being affected by magic.
Mutation. Single Supernatural Creature schticks, caused by chaos mutation, may be purchased with GM permission. (You cannot buy more, like a Supernatural Creature.)
Aura. (T3.) There is something impressive about you. You are very ugly, majestic, holy, crazed, helplessly innocent or otherwise special, and people tend to leave you alone because of it. It is great for the Master Villain or Romantic Interest.
As long as you remain passive (neither attacking or running away, though leadership and limited interaction is OK), you will not get attacked. This works as long as the situation warrants it; if your goons have been defeated and your Master Plan revealed, you may have to follow the gentleman escorting you to prison. But he will be polite.
In dramatically appropriate situations it is possible to try and penetrate your Aura, make an Opposed Willpower vs Charisma roll as a 3-shot action. You may defend against this.
This can often work as a stunt using Seduction or other relevant skill for characters who lack the schtick.
Fade. (By Mark Means.) This schtick gives a sort of anonymity. Your features are average and forgettable (even if you’re attractive). Gamemaster characters have trouble remembering just exactly what the character looked like when giving a description. (“He looked kinda’ tall, in a short way. I just can’t remember.”) They know someone was there, but they just can’t think of what he looked like. Maybe they weren’t paying attention or however else you want to explain it.
Blunder About. You can, at any time, say that you are blundering about (this is a 3-shot action). If there are any hidden hideouts, secret doors, traps, hidden clues, ambushes or other surprises (good or bad) that the GM has planned or feels like springing, you stumble into them. You can spend a Fortune point on this ability, and the GM will either twist the outcome in a favorable way or introduce some such feature if at all appropriate.
Jinx. Whenever something really bad happens to you, you may spend a Fortune point to invoke this schtick. The bad thing will not happen, but something else will happen instead. If you are about to fall off a cliff, you will instead drop your gun over the cliff. If you are about to be shot in the heart, your new watch takes the bullet. If you use this schticks several times in one session, the GM is encouraged to invoke worse and worse events on you, so that in the end you may actually be worse of for invoking your luck.
The Book. (By Mark Means.) You’ve heard that old saying, “that’s the oldest trick in the book,” right? Well, you’ve read the book. You’ve been around and have some experience. You know how to spot cons, from the simplest tricks to the most complex confidence games. You also know “new angles on old tricks” and can fool even the most experienced grifter. This could be for PCs who have been around for a while, such as the Old Master), know how the criminal mind works, (Any of the Cop templates, Masked Avenger) or just have a shady past. Game terms: By spending a Fortune Point, the GM will tell you if you are being conned. The player must think of a way that the con-man could’ve slipped up and describe it to the GM: no description, no benefit.
All minor problems provide two extra high fantasy schticks. In general, they should be somewhat more hindering than subtracting one from a single primary attribute.
Renegade. There is a well-known price on your head from an organization you have betrayed. You may have to slaughter them all to get rid of the hunters, or bring down the organization entirely.
Poor primary attribute. Subtract 1 from a primary attribute and all its secondary attributes. It is not recommended to drop below an = on your archetype.
Unhealthy. Your Constitution works at 50% value (round down) for resisting diseases.
Weak-willed. Your Willpower works at 50% value (round down) for resisting attempts to dominate you.
Unconcealable deformity. Chaos warping or other problems have given you an unconcealable deformity.
Compulsion. You have no control over your tendency to perform an activity that can get you in very hot water. You may be a kleptomaniac, regularly pickpocketing anyone around you; you may have no control over your tongue, saying whatever comes into your head, no matter how insulting. The GM will assign a difficulty to your Willpower checks for restraining yourself on each occasion.
Poor linguist. You'll never shed that accent from the sticks, and you learn languages by assimilation at one level down on the time chart.
Amnesia. A large portion of your past is missing...
Geas. There is a condition you must fulfill, such as “never eat the meat of a dog” or “never strike an innocent person”. If you break this geas, you suffer a penalty.
Magic vulnerable. You have a –3 to resist magic of any sort.
Dark Pact. Some of your power comes from
Unlucky. You have a –2 penalty to rolls made to resolve boxcars.
All significant schticks cost three high fantasy schticks. In general, they should be somewhat more helpful than adding one to a single stat.
Animal companion. Magical and battleworthy, such as a unicorn, Valdemarian Companion, or Gandalarian sha’um.
All major problems provide three extra high fantasy schticks. In general, they should be major pains in the butt.
All Gun Schticks from Feng Shui are available. Note the new one in Thorns of the Lotus.
By spending 1 schtick, you guarantee that you never run out of ammo for your bow or crossbow. With 2 schticks, you will always have the best arrow or crossbow bolt for cool archery tricks: Y-headed arrows for cutting ropes, grappling hook arrows, arrows that bite into rock or wood, silk rope or cord to tie onto the arrow, etc.
What follows are the various weapon schticks available to characters who have them listed in their character type. Melee schticks allow characters to do a variety of spectacular and deadly maneuvers and tricks with non-firearm weapons. They are, by and large, very similar to the gun schticks, and characters may take multiple schticks in certain abilities to do gain cumulative benefits. The Feng Shui rulebook only lists a few different types of melee weapons. Rather than try to produce an exhaustive list of those weapons here, Game Masters and players are encouraged to add the weapons of their choice to the game. It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out the damage ratings of weapons. Just compare them to the weapons already listed, and find the closest match.
Characters can acquire new melee schticks during the course of play by spending experience points. The cost to acquire a new melee schtick is (8 + x) per schtick, where x equals the number of weapons schticks you will have once you acquire the new one. Characters who have a current Action Value of 11 or less in their Martial Arts skill can’t melee weapon schticks during the course of play.
The following archetypes may swap gun and/or fu schticks for melee schticks during character creation at a 1:1 basis:
There are also some more gun schticks at John Harper’s site that you could use for inspiration.
Each schtick in Blind Fighting offsets the penalties for lack of vision in combat by two. Two schticks means the character is just as good in hand-to-hand as someone with good eyes.
This schtick allows characters to do all kinds of flashy maneuvers using paired weapons, and to put a serious hurting on an opponent by hitting him with those two weapons at once. The character needs to be using a paired set of weapons. Any two weapons that can be used one handed are okay, such as two swords, two knives, sais, nunchaku, tui-fu, and so on. Ideally, the character should be using the same weapon in each hand, but the GM may want to let this slide (e.g., sword and dagger combos). When you successfully hit an opponent with the Both Blades Flashing schtick, the number of wound points suffered by the opponent is figured as follows:
Total damage rating of both weapons – (opponent’s Toughness × 2) + Outcome = wound points suffered.
If you buy only one schtick’s worth of Both Blades Flashing, any attacks you make with it are at a –2 Action Value penalty. If you buy two schticks in it, the penalty is –1. If you buy three schticks, the penalty is 0. For each additional schtick you purchase, you gain a +1 Action Value bonus when using Both Blades Flashing.
For each schtick spent on Quick Draw, add 1 to your initiative result at the beginning of each sequence. If you add to your initiative result in this manner, you must attack with a melee weapon as your first action of that sequence.
You have extremely keen senses, and you are always aware of what is happening around you, even when you appear to be distracted. You are rarely surprised by ambushes, traps, and hidden dangers. When the GM makes a check on your behalf to see if you spot such things, you get a +2 bonus to your Perception Action Value for each Razor-Edged Senses you’ve purchased. If you succeed in a Perception check and can usefully respond to the situation by using a melee weapon or dodging, the Outcome of that check is applied to that first Martial Arts task check.
Purchasing this schtick allows a character to deflect bullets fired at him back at the character that shot them. The defending character must declare that they are actively parrying. Then, if the parry is successful, the character must make a Martial Arts task check with his opponent’s dodge value as the difficulty number. If the check is successful, the shooter is hit by his own bullets. The damage inflicted is equal to the normal damage of the gun plus the outcome of the Action Result from the Martial Arts check, minus the shooter’s toughness of course. Note that this all takes place during the same shot, though the character using the Ricochet Strike incurs a shot penalty of –1, since the use of this schtick requires an active parry.
The use of this schtick requires a melee weapon with which to parry. If the weapon is four feet or longer, there is a +1 bonus to the parry check. If the weapon is two to four feet in length, there is no bonus or penalty. If the weapon is less than two feet in length, there is a –1 penalty. GM’s will have to rule whether or not characters using this schitck can deflect and redirect other projectile weapons, such as arrows, sorcerous blasts, energy weapons, and so on. If you purchase one schtick in Ricochet Strike, you receive a –2 Action Value penalty to both the parry and the Martial Arts check. If you purchase two schticks in Ricochet Strike, you receive a –1 Action Value penalty. If you buy three schticks, the penalty is 0. For each additional schtick you purchase, you gain a +1 Action Value bonus when using Ricochet Strike.
For each schtick spent in this ability, you can select one specific melee weapon as a signature weapon. This weapon might be an ancient ceremonial katana, a “lucky” pearl handled buck knife, his first real set of nunchaku, the sword handed to you by a retired crusading paladin, and so on.
If you have one schtick in Symphony of Slaughter, you can subtract 1 from the shot cost of any attack on an unnamed character or characters. If you have two schticks in Symphony of Slaughter, you can subtract 2 from the shot cost of any attack on an unnamed character or characters. Shot costs cannot be reduced to 0 or a negative number. If you have three schticks in Symphony of Slaughter, you put down unnamed characters on an Outcome of 4 or more. If you have four schticks in Symphony of Slaughter, you put down unnamed characters on an Outcome of 3 or more. You can’t spend more than four schticks in this ability.
You are especially skilled at finding the tiny chinks in your opponent’s armor. For each schtick you spend in True Strike, you can ignore 2 points of an opponent’s armor. True Strike cannot be used to ignore an opponent’s toughness.
Characters who have purchased this schtick are masters of the body, human and otherwise. They have studied both the scientific and Chi-related aspects of living beings, and they know how to exploit this knowledge to strike at the weakest part of a human body. Characters who use this schtick must focus intently on their opponents during combat, waiting for just the right moment to strike an exposed vital area. This means that characters using this schtick may not actively dodge in combat, and that they have a –2 penalty to their passive dodge Action Value. Attacks made by this character are rolled as normal, but if the attack is successful, the character using the Vital Blow schtick ignores his opponent’s toughness entirely when figuring damage. This schtick always has a minimum length of three shots, and it may only be directed against named characters. If you purchase one schtick in Vital Blow, you receive a –2 Action Value penalty your Martial Arts check. If you purchase two schticks in Vital Blow, you receive a –1 Action Value penalty. If you buy three schticks, the penalty is 0. For each additional schtick you purchase, you gain a +1 Action Value bonus when using Vital Blow. You may never reduce the penalties to your passive dodge Action Value, no matter how many schticks you purchase.
Your character has dedicated himself to the study of one particular type of weapon. As a result, he is especially proficient in its use. Characters who take this schtick may select one type of hand to hand weapon (e.g., katana, nunchaku, sai, etc....) That character inflicts +2 damage when using any weapon of that type. For each additional schtick spent on Weapon Master, you may select an additional class of weapon. Note that Weapon Master is only superficially similar to the Signature Weapon schtick. Although the character gets the bonus on a wider range of weapons (all katanas instead of just one specific katana), they gain none of the other benefits afforded by a Signature Weapon. Further, if a character has a Signature Weapon and the Weapon Master schtick, and the Signature Weapon is of a type for which the PC gets a bonus from the Weapon Master, the PC only gets the bonuses afforded by the Signature Weapon for that particular weapon, and not the bonuses from the Weapon Master schtick. In other words, they only get +3 damage with their Signature katana, not +5 damage because they’ve also chosen katana as their Weapon Master schtick.