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Dice Pools

Wushu works its magic via a dice pool mechanic where the size of your pool depends on how elaborately you describe your actions. Each Detail you add to your description earns you a die. These could be separate stunts, witty one-liners, cinematic flourishes, pretty much anything that enhances your Wire-Fu experience. (You always get at least 1 die, just for doing something.)

For example, someone who says "I dodge to the side" gets 1 die. Someone who says "I dodge to the side / and grab his sword blade with my chopsticks / before punching him in the face" gets 3 dice. Someone who says "I catch his sword blade with my chopsticks / when its chisel edge is less than an inch from my face, / then twist it around with one deft motion, / jam it into the bastard's gut, / and whisper 'Can't you see I'm trying to eat, here?'" gets 5 dice. Thus, anything that contributes to the atmosphere and energy of your game become a smart tactic.

Of course, not every Detail is appropriate to every game. That's why GMs and players have the right to veto any Detail that rubs them the wrong way. To make this work, it's important to agree on the tone and style you want for your game before you start playing. (I usually reference a few of the movies I'm trying to emulate and make sure all my players have seen at least one or two of them.)

To control the pacing and tone of a game, GMs can put a pool limit on the number of dice any player can roll at once. 3-4 dice per turn usually results in faster, more brutal combat; it's a good limit for unimportant scenes or warm-ups that happen early in a game. When things get more dramatic, you'll want 6-8 dice per turn. This is especially true when fighting major villains; you'll want a high enough limit that you can attack and counter-attack many times before stopping to roll. However, that doesn't mean you have to earn the max number of dice every time. Trying to tack on an extra stunt or two at the end can really take the steam out of your description!

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Page last modified on May 23, 2006, at 11:16 AM