Feb. 29th, 2016

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This isn't a full how-to post - it's just a quick overview to help create an impression of what the game plays like.

FS2 is a system inspired by Hong Kong action cinema - the movies of John Woo, Jet Li, and Tsui Hark. Rules are fairly light, characters are created quickly and simply but get fleshed out through play. Realism is given a passing nod from time to time, but after that you're free to run up a stream of bullets and punch the shooter in the face.

Most rolls in Feng Shui are the same - they run on a pair of six-sided dice in different colors. One die is the Positive die, the other the Negative die. When you try to do something, you check some kind of base value, then roll both dice, adding the Positive Die and subtracting the Negative Die - so if you have an Action Value of 7, and you roll a positive 5 and a negative 3, your final result is a 9. Both dice explode on a six - if either die rolls a six, roll it again and add the two results together. So, if you roll a six, then roll again and get a five, your final roll on that die is an eleven. The distance between that result and your action value - the sum of all dice rolled, added and subtracted from each other - is called the Swerve.

When you're trying to do something, it has a difficulty - the difference between the Difficulty and your result is the Outcome. Outcome 0 means a narrow, skin-of-the-teeth success, positive Outcome is a more dramatic success, negative Outcome is a failure. If you roll boxcars (double sixes), something amazing is guaranteed to happen, win or lose.

Characters all have a pool of Fortune points - some call it Chi, Magic, or Genome, but those are just subsets of Fortune. In addition to other uses from your Archetype and Schticks, you can always spend a point of Fortune to roll an extra Positive Die on a check.

Fights are split into Sequences and Shots. At the start of each Sequence, everyone makes an Initiative Check, rolling a single non-exploding positive die and adding Speed. The highest initiative rolled is the shot number on which the sequence begins.

When the current Shot number is the same as your Initiative, it's your turn to act. When you act, your initiative drops, depending on the length of the action but usually by 3 points. So, If you roll an 11 for Initiative, you'll most likely be taking actions on Shot 11, Shot 8, Shot 5, and Shot 2. After each shot resolves, the Sequence counts down to the next lower Shot number, until Shot 1 is over - then a new Sequence begins, and you roll initiative again.

Some effects are based on Keyframes - if something lasts until the next Keyframe, it lasts until the same Shot on the next Sequence. For example, if you reload your gun on Shot 5 of the first sequence, you're free from having to make reload checks until the next Keyframe, meaning that you don't have to reload until Shot 5 of the second sequence.

Attacks are made using your Attack AV, rolled against your enemy's Defense AV. If you hit, take the Outcome, add your weapon damage, and subtract the target's Toughness, and the result is your inflicted damage. Add the damage to the enemy's Wound Points - If the result is now 25-29, they get 1 Impairment, growing at 30+ to 2 Impairment, which is subtracted from all Attack and Skill checks, and also reduces their Defense value. Once Wound Points exceed 35, you start having to make rolls to stay standing (called Up Checks), and also may start accumulating Marks of Death, which might kill you at the end of the scene.

Creating a character is quick. Pick an Archetype, come up with some fluff and flavor, write down a name, concept, and melodramatic hooks. Stats all come from your Archetype, further customization comes later. House Rule: You can optionally swap out two of your starting Schticks for others allowed by your Archetype. You can't swap out negative Schticks.

Stat Block
  • Attack AV: What you add to attack rolls. May be Guns, Martial Arts, Sorcery, Creature, Scroungetech or Mutant. You usually have two - one primary, one secondary.
  • Defense AV: How hard you are to hit.
  • Toughness: How hard you are to hurt.
  • Fortune: Or Chi, Or Magic, or Genome. Used for boosting rolls and using special powers.
  • Speed: How soon and often you strike during fight scenes.

Not comprehensive info here - each class has 3-6 Schticks, I've listed one.

You're a master of the bow and arrow. Precise, silent, beautiful. Fight with Guns (although the skill here applies to bows only), be awesome with Chi.

Wuxia Archery: Damge dealt by your arrows is 1 less than the highest damage value among all guns being used in the fight.

You survive in a harsh world through guile and determination. Rough, aggressive, risky. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Chi.

Rise of the Downtrodden: Spend 1 Chi and 1 shot when struck by an attack. The damage value of the weapon hitting you becomes the damage value of your hand-to-hand weapon.

Big Bruiser
You're huge, you don't hit often, but you only need to hit once. Big, tough, unstoppable. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Mounting Fury: If you miss a Martial Arts attack, +1 to your next one. Stacks cumulatively, then resets when you hit or the fight ends.

You specialize in getting your client from Point A to Point C without getting them killed at Point B. Professional, efficient, deadly. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

The Client: At the start of a fight, designate one ally as the client. Spend 1 Fortune when your client takes damage to reduce it to 0 and take 7 Wound Points in their place.

Bounty Hunter
You find people who need to be killed, and turn them in dead or alive. Violent, resourceful, relentless. Fight with Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome wtih Fortune.

Due Diligence: Your quarry's first attack against you in a fight always fails.

You died, you were rebuilt, now you're part man, part machine. Powerful, terrifying, inhuman. Fight with Scroungetech or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

On-board Flamethrower: Make ranged Scroungetech attacks with a Damage Value of 14. Each time you attack with it, take 3 Wound Points.

You wander in and out of adventures, always showing up where you're needed. Enigmatic, detached, noble. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

Like the Cavalry: When you're not in a scene when it starts, you can always show up any time after sequence 1, shot 4, without explaining how you got there.

You're the one with the car, and you can make it do anything. Cool, peaceful, competent. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

I Just Painted That: +2 Martial Arts against anyone who damaged your vehicle, even a tiny bit.

Everyday Hero
You're nobody special, but you've got a knack for dealing with trouble, and a lucky streak a mile long. Simple, earnest, determined. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Improvised Weapon Mastery: +1 Martial Arts when fighting with something you found at the scene. You lose it after 3 attacks, unless you narrate picking up another improvised weapon (shot cost 1).

Ex-Special Forces
You used to be a brutal killing machine, but you escaped from that life - now its ghosts still follow you to this day. Deadly, haunted, experienced. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Tiger Stance: When attacked with Martial Arts, spend 2 Chi to immediately make a Martial Arts attack against your attacker.

Exorcist Monk
You are trained in ancient traditions that let you banish supernatural evil. Wise, compassionate, merciless. Fight with Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Shred the False Veil: If you damage an opponent disguised by magic or sorcery, it reverts to its true form.

Full Metal Nutball
Not allowed in this setting.

You have a flair for getting into and out of trouble, and a natural lucky streak, using both to live a life of great risk and reward. Cool, sexy, reckless. Fight with Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Stack the Odds: Spend 1 Fortune to swap the results of your Positive and Negative dice on a roll.

Gene Freak
Your DNA has been modified by the radioactive backdrop of the wasteland, giving you strange and uncanny powers. Tough, weird, badass. Fight with Mutant, be awesome with Genome.

Push: 3-shot ranged attack, Damage 11, using Mutant. On a hit, the target flies 1 meter back for each Wound Point inflicted.

You died, but your soul is still anchored to this realm, due to some task you haven't yet completed. Tragic, otherworldly, dreadful. Fight using Sorcery, be awesome with Magic.

Insubstantial: Pass through solid matter with a Creature Power check of difficulty 1 per inch of material. Specify two types of material you can't pass through, the GM picks a third.

Highway Ronin
You wander the highways of a shattered world, fighting to survive or protect the weak. Selfless, hard, driven. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Dazed and Contused: If you ram a vehicle, people just emerging from it get +3 shot cost for their actions and 1 Impairment for the first sequence.

Karate Cop
You enforce what remains of the law with kung fu, a trusty revolver, and unyielding determination. Principled, persevering, punchy. Fight with Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome with Fortune.

Underdog Desperation: +2 Toughness VS opponents with fewer Wound Points than you.

You've worked as a hired assassin, and are just beginning to develop a conscience about it. Professional, lethal, compassionate. Fight using Guns and Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Carnival of Carnage: +2 Guns vs mooks. -1 shot cost on any attack on a mook.

Magic Cop
You bring supernatural threats to justice when nobody else can, and are a general weirdness magnet. Eccentric, aloof, righteous. Fight using Guns or Sorcery, be awesome with Magic.

Banishment: Spend 3 Magic and 3 shot, attack a creature with Sorcery. On a hit, the enemy flees. On a miss, you regain the spent Magic.

Martial Artist
You're a trained warrior in one or more schools of combat, seeking mastery, humility, and enlightenment. Skilled, disciplined, dedicated. Fight with Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Dim Mak: Any time after sequence 2, shot 6, spend 3 Chi and make a Martial Arts attack against a named enemy. Regain 2 Chi on a miss, and on a hit, set their Wound Points to 34 (49 for a boss).

Masked Avenger
You fight corruption from the shadows, striking fear into evildoers and dispensing justice where the law can't reach. Principled, terrifying, unstable. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome with Fortune.

Tremble, Evildoers!: When you attack and drop a mook, four mooks flee. If your positive die exploded, six flee.

Maverick Cop
You're always on the verge of being kicked off the force, but dammit, you get results. Gruff, merciless, badass. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

Blam Blam Epigram: Add 1 shot cost to deliver a sick one-liner before or after attacking. +2 Damage against non-Impaired targets, or +8 against Impaired targets.

You get in, kill the target, and get out using shadows, arcane power, and perfectly-honed skills, all without ever being seen. Silent, secretive, powerful. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

Panther Pounce: If you are the only PC in a scene and encounter a single enemy, spend 2 Chi (if it's a named character, 0 for mooks) to render them helpless. Lasts until you try to harm them or after five minutes.

Old Master
You've been around for a long, long time, and mastered the most difficult of martial arts principles. Your physical strength has waned, but your skills are as sharp as they ever were. Fading, wise, resilient. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome with Chi.

Flying Windmill Kick: Spend 4 shots to make a Martial Arts attack. On a hit, you can attack again at no shot cost, up to three hits.
  • King on the Water: When fighting in Torrential Rain, spend 1 Chi to get +2 Immunity bonus until end of fight.

    Private Investigator
    From your time solving other people's problems, you've seen the best and worst humanity has to offer. Jaded, clever, practical. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

    Needling Remark: When exchanging barbs with a character in a non-combat scene, spend 1 Fortune. Until the end of the adventure, they get +1 to attack you, and you get +2 to attack them.

    Redeemed Pirate
    Former pirate of the South China Sea (probably), you lived a life of looting and killing. You did what you needed to to survive, and now you've thrown in your lot with this band of misfits. Rough, self-serving, proud. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Swashbuckling: After performing any stunt involving rope-swinging or other classic pirate action, gain +2 to attacks until the end of the sequence.

    Scrappy Kid
    The grownups probably think you should go stay where you're safe, but you're not gonna let them tell you what to do. Plucky, obstinate, clever. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Distraction: Describe a distracting non-lethal assault on a target. Make a Martial Arts attack, but instead of doing damage on a hit, the target suffers 3 Impairment for a number of shots equal to your attack outcome.

    You use our martial arts training and knowledge of the human body to heal, rather than just harm. Peaceful, wise, compassionate. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Healing Chi: Spend 3 shots and 1 Chi to reduce a character's Wound Point total by the result of a Martial Arts check.

    Master of the occult arts, channeling chi energy as a supernatural force. Powerful, unstable, feared. Fight using Sorcery, be awesome using Magic.

    Chi Blast: As a 3-shot action, make a ranged attack with a blast of magical energy using Sorcery, Damage 9.

    You used to work stealing secrets from powerful people, then left under a cloud of suspicion, and now a trail of assassins hunt you wherever you go. Suave, skilled, mysterious. Fight using Guns or Martial Arts, be awesome using Fortune.

    Scoped Out: +1 to Guns, Martial Arts, and Defense against characters you exchange dialogue with in a previous scene.

    Supernatural Creature
    You're a creature from another realm, formerly living only to terrorize humanity, but now you serve a greater purpose. Uncanny, terrifying, vicious. Fight using Creature Powers, be awesome using Magic.

    Natural Weapon: Your Creature Powers attack at close range, using spines, claws, or other monstrous body parts, at Damage 13.

    Sword Master
    Long ago, you mastered the art of the sword, but you were discarded by those who didn't believe in your warrior ethos. Now, you wander the world seeking a worthy opponent. Skilled, aimless, noble. Fight using Martial Arts, be awesome using Chi.

    Blooded Blade: Add +1 Damage with swords for each mook you drop. Each time you hit a named foe, the bonus is reduced by half.

    You take things that don't belong to you, better than anyone else. You always have a plan, but something always goes wrong anyway. Prepared, competent, thrill-seeking. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

    Faster Learner: +1 Defense against any opponent who has already hit you during the current sequence.

    Transformed Crab
    You are, or one of one of your ancestors was, a magic crab taken human form, and now you live among humans. Sturdy, implacable, honorable. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Scuttle: +2 to Martial Arts against named foes, if your previous attack was against a different named foe.

    Transformed Dragon
    You're actually a dragon, or part dragon, and your power makes you awesome at basically everything (in theory). Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Chi.

    Innate Superiority: Your unarmed Martial Arts damage is one higher than the damage of the foe you're attacking.

    Two-Fisted Archaeologist
    You make a living by seeking ancient artifacts that nefarious forces would use to fuel evil machinations. Determined, educated, cynical. Fight using Martial Arts or Guns, be awesome using Fortune.

    Whip Master: If you're fighting with a whip at the start of a sequence, gain +1 Martial Arts or +1 Defense until the end of the sequence.
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