Tian Xia Character Basics

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You will need access to a copy of the Fate Core RPG system to use the following rules.

Character Creation

TianXia characters are built as typical starting Fate characters, except with +1 Refresh. Specifically this means...

  • Refresh 4
  • Three free stunts
  • Five aspects (high concept, trouble, three more)
  • Skill pyramid with one +4, two +3, three +2, and four +1 skills

Skills

TianXia uses the standard list of skills from Fate Core p. 97, plus two new ones.

Alchemy*
Athletics
Burglary
Chi*
Contacts
Crafts†
Deceive
       Drive‡
Empathy
Fight
Investigate
Lore
Notice
Physique
       Provoke
Rapport
Resources
  Shoot§
Stealth
Will
* New skill, explained below.
† Among other things, includes healing herb preparations, and is thus how to treat physical consequences.
‡ Covers driving an animal-drawn wagon, riding a mount, and piloting a boat.
§ Covers thrown weapons as well as archery.

The two new skills are:

Alchemy

May only be learned by alchemists. Feel free to become one! See TianXia Alchemy for prerequisites and rules.

Chi

Anyone may learn this skill, which lets you cultivate and manipulate your internal energies or spiritual power. Use it to overcome yin/yang imbalances, focus yourself before attempting difficult wuxia, to invoke Chi Armor (below), and to recover quickly from consequences.

Chi Armor: At the beginning of a conflict, you can use Chi to create a "Chi Armor" advantage as a free action! This advantage can only be used to soak damage; each free invocation reduces the damage you take by 2. You may roll again to "refill" your Chi Armor mid-fight, but as an action.

For more rules and details on Chi skill, see TianXia pp. 60-61.

Learning Techniques

TianXia also introduces the concept of "techniques," unique stunts linked to a specific martial or mystical ability. Once you are trained in such an ability (or abilities), there are two ways to add techniques:

  • You may trade in one point of Refresh for two techniques. If you are trained in multiple abilities, these do not have to be for the same type; e.g., you could trade one Refresh for a kung fu technique and an exorcism technique.
  • You may trade one of your free stunts for one technique. Yes, this is a poor deal compared to the above, intentionally so.

(This does not necessarily apply to Lost Techniques, pp. 99-101. Those each have their own, specific cost, as described.)

Stunts

For the most part, characters will use the existing Fate stunts or just create their own. There are a few premade setting-specific stunts worth noting, however. Feel free to rename them to something more evocative or accurate!

Distant Grace

You may use your kung fu techniques when attacking with Shoot instead of Fight. You and the GM may have to work together to ensure that this always makes sense; the rules assume that most fighting will take place face-to-face!

Grappling Finesse

See Grappling in Fate Core House Rules.

Natural Fighter

You are a dangerous opponent in a fight, despite never having studied kung fu (or an equivalent ability). You are treated as being Jianghu rank 1 for all purposes. Feel free to rename this to something more appropriate; e.g., "Brutal Fighter."

Note: This stunt does not stack with other ways to obtain Jianghu rank. It is a fixed effect, not a rank bonus.

[Weapon] Master

Normal weapons do not give bonuses of any sort; a xia is as deadly with bare hands as with a good weapon. You, however, are a master of one particular type (e.g., Sword Master or Spear Master). When using this type of weapon, you have +1 to your attack rolls and +1 to defend. Try to avoid being disarmed!

For some weapons, other benefits are more applicable. The player and GM should work out the details. Examples include:

  • Hook-Blade Master: When wielding a weapon with hooked blades, such as deer horn knives or hook swords, you have +1 to defend and +1 to create disarming advantages.
  • Chain Master: You have +1 on attack rolls made with a chain or rope weapon, such as the chain whip, rope dart, or kusarigama. Also, when wielding one you may use Fight instead of Physique to create grappling advantages.

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