Obscuritus.ca A nerd making a nerdy blog

Kung Fu Drama

I am thinking about the way King-Fu drama is done, specifically in movies and my limited exposure to Hong Kong Cinema. During most wire-fu movies and other forms of martial arts, the fight is generally paced by the set pieces in it, and one person usually wins each of the set pieces.

For example, you often see a battle begin in someone's room, spill out into the streets, jump up onto a forest of drying poles, go onto the walls, and then into the forest. In the Iron Monkey the early battle where Wong Fei Hung is escaping a group of thugs, he starts on the ground, and is only barely cornered by thugs, and runs up a ladder, which begins a new mini-scene on the ladder, and then a new mini-scene on a ledge. It's a pretty minor fight, but contains three set pieces. Less important battles usually are either between friends, or exist to simply establish that the main character isn't ready, or the badguy is hard to defeat.

So - if we pace fights through some sort of scene changes, that means that the location of the fight should be changing, which is a piece of genre emulation, which also encourages some sort of stunting-like mechanic. Also - in Anime - all fights are Dramatic scenes, not procedural scenes - so you can simply make fights into those. Fights are just the same as any dramatic scene, but you can create a second by making another request (this involves raising the stakes of the fight, by threatening something new, or trying for something more) and you must change your location. This will make the fight a dramatic core of the stories, leeching a lot of drama from the characters, or otherwise making sure they are out of choices for a while.

The last important thing is to make sure turn order is kept - your fight is going to have to be split up. Unless the entire table is participating in the fight, or super enjoying it - make sure it's not the entire session, even for a little while. And change up the specifics if at all possible.