There are a bunch of martial arts themed fantasy RPG's out there but one of them stands head and shoulders above the rest. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about JadeClaw. A great game that I've had no success in getting my group into. And I've bought the damn thing twice!
What I've got here is the revised edition which is a lovely hardcover book with many full-color illustrations. The artwork in the book is honestly very uneven but the good pieces are absolutely gorgeous (mainly the illustrations of the races on p. 22-36 and the NPCs on p. 297-306).
The cover is also fabulous and was what sold me on it in the first place.
For those not in the know, JadeClaw us a so-called ”furries” RPG set in ancient China. Characters have Traits and Skills rated by a die type from d4 to d12 (and continuing after that with d12+d4 to 2d12 and then 2d12+d4 to 3d12 et.c). Tasks are resolved by rolling your skill die (or dice) and all applicable trait dice and using the highest individual dice roll as your result. All rolls are opposed, best roll wins. Beating the opposing roll by 5 or more means you succeed overwhelmingly.
Damage rolls work a bit differently in that you compare the attacker's best die to the defender's best die and the next best to the next best and so on. Each damage die that beats the defender's soak die usually causes one point of damage. Overwhelming the defender's soak die causes two points of damage.
Anyway, on to creating my character. I get six dice ratings (d4, d6, d8, d8, d10 and d12) to distribute over my character's six traits: Race, Career, Body, Speed, Mind and Will. But first, I must choose just what my character's Race and Career will be. Given the domain-name of this blog, I think the Race choice is a no-brainer. But what kind of career should my panda follow? Pandas are portrayed as being mellow and wise but given this is warpanda.com, I think I'll go against type and create a violent, belligerent panda. The again, I could go for a warrior type that's more mystical in nature: a Tomb Defender.
I note down that a Tomb Defender's career skills are: Weapon skill of choice (I'll go with Staff), Lore, History, Observation and Resolve.
A panda's racial skills are Camouflage, Climbing, Herbalism and Qi-Sao (Qi-based medicine, basically)
An error that still hasn't been corrected is that Pandas have Claws and Teeth listed as their racial weapons but they don't actually get Teeth as a natural weapon. SInce Bears do get Teeth and pandas are a kind of bear, I think they probably should have them so I'll assume my panda gets Claws and Teeth.
Pandas also get Strength+1 (which increases their Body by one die type but only for purposes of strength and not for endurance or toughness) and Night Vision which is pretty self-explanatory.
Their Racial Habitat is forest and their Racial Sense is smell.
What this means is that they get to include their race die with all attacks using their racial weapons, with all environment-based skills when in their racial habitat, with perception rolls with their racial sense and with all uses of any of their racial skills.
I also note that being a Panda will cost me 4 points plus 1 for the Teeth that I assume they should have had. More on this later.
For now, I need to distribute my trait dice. As useful as a high die type in Race would be, I suppose that my character's non-typical career choice suggests that he isn't really much of a Panda. So this is where I assign the d4. I'll put the d12 into Tomb Defender since this way it'll aid in two skills that a fighting Character will need a lot: My primary weapon skill and Resolve.
I figure my character (whom I now name Furious Pi) will rely mainly on brute force and skill over speed so I assign the d10 to Body and the d6 to Speed (which I'll probably regret later) which leaves me with d8's in Mind and Will. Furious Pi is neither stupid nor weak-willed.
Next, I calculate how many points I have to build the rest of my character with. Everyone starts with 20 points minus the cost of their race. Since it cost me 5 points to be a Panda, I now have 15 points left. I may spend up to 10 points on Gifts and I can gain up to 10 more points from Flaws. And I'm going to need every point I can get so I might as well start looking at those flaws.
I'll give Pi a Bad Reputation in the Panda community (for being rash and violent) which is worth 1 point. I'll also give him one level of Corpulent (Pi likes his meals) for another point. Wrathful kind of suggests itself and is worth 3 points. I also want Pi to be a hero. Heroic and Honorable are both good choices but I choose Heroic as it's the one that's most likely to spur him into rash action. That's another 3 points. Finally, I decide that Eerie seems like a suitable flaw for a Tomb Defender. That's my 10 points, so I can now spend 25 points. I may spend up to 10 of those on Gifts and I will. I'll start by spending 4 on Increased Trait to get his Body up to d12 as this will (with the Strength +1 for being a Panda) allow him to use the biggest staff as an Easy weapon.
I'll also take Belongings for 1 point so I can get a good suit of armor for Pi.
I'll spend the last 5 points that I may spend on Gifts on Martial Arts.
I'll select Parry Thrown Objects and Second Parry which will help Pi's defense along since he usually won't be using a shield and a staff gives a bonus to parry so this will definitely be his best defense. Finally, I choose Knock Down (an attack that, if succesful, knocks the target down instead of causing damage), Nerve Strike (which makes it possible, on an Overwhelming hit, to paralyze the target for 3 rounds or more) and Sundering Blow (which, on an overwhelming hit, lets Pi destroy his opponent's armor). I make a note that Nerve Strike requires a Qi-Sao die of d10 or better and since I only have a d4 (from being a Panda), I'll need to buy it with skill points, speaking of which ...
I have 15 points with which to buy Skills. 1 point gets me a d4, 2 get me a d6 and so on.
I know I'll need a Qi-Sao skill of d10 so that's four points spent already and I'd be a fool not to max out my Staff skill (d12) so that's another 5 points leaving me with a measly 6. I really want to have a good Resolve skill since this is what prevents me from being sent reeling when I get hit, so I spend 5 points on getting that up to d12. Finally, I spend my last point on a Dodge of a measly d4.
And this is when I realize that the default Special for a staff is Double Attack and not Concussion meaning I can't use it with Nerve Strike. So I'll select Tricky Maneuver instead (an attack that basically increases the stakes: any success or failure is considered overwhelming!). This means that I won't need that Qi-Sao skill of d10, so I'll increase Dodge to d12 instead and have a small chance of surviving an encounter with someone armed with a bow, crossbow or a sling.
I'll also need to select a favored use with each skill. When your favored use is applicable, you may reroll one die that comes up 1.
This, then, is Pi's skill list:
d12 Staff (my favorite staff)
d12 Resolve (when standing my ground)
d12 Dodge (arrows)
As I start looking at armors, I realize that a Brigandine (the heaviest armor that it would make sense for Pi to wear given he also has to carry a big staff and his fat gut) is only of average cost meaning he won't need the Gift of Belongings so I strike that and take Sure-Footed instead.
With his armor on, Pi's soak roll is d12 (Body) + d10 (Armor)
With his big staff, he causes d12+d4 (Strength) +d10+d8 (weapon) damage.
His attack dice with is staff are d12 (skill) + d12 (Career) + d6 (Speed)
His parry dice are the same but with a bonus (for the staff) which increases it to 3d12.
His Dodge dice are d12 (skill) + d6 (Speed)
His Resolve dice are d12 (Career) + d12 (Skill) + d8 (Will)
When Striking Sure, his attack dice are also 3d12
When Striking Hard, his damage dice are 3d12+1d6
When Guarding, his parry dice become 4d12+1d4 and his Dodge dice become 2d12+1d4
Edit: I've drawn up a character sheet for Furious Pi.