Wushu Open

What Wushu Does
At first, Wushu looks deceptively simple, like other rules-light games. But after a bit of playing and thinking, it becomes clear that Wushu provides a surprisingly sophisticated engine for facilitating a fast-paced, collaborative game of narration and genre-emulation. But how does it do that?
      Wushu is built on the basis of a few opposing forces that drive play while at the same time providing checks and balances against possible abuse. One of those is the tension between complete creative freedom, as expressed in the “Principal of Narrative Truth” and “Everything is a Detail,” and the necessity for collaboration and consensus finding, as expressed in the Coup de Grace and Veto rules. Let’s look at these two opposing forces in a bit more detail:
      On one hand, Wushu gives each player great incentive to become creative and narrate Details. Players are rewarded for narration not only by getting dice (and thus a higher chance of mechanical success), but also by the fact that their narration happens exactly as they describe it. This way, the system promotes a game of free narration and improvisation, as players can narrate their characters actions (and how they resolve in-game) without fearing negative consequences.
      A powerful tool, but one that can be abused. Thus, Wushu offers an opposing force to keep the creative energy in check and on track, to facilitate a positive game experience not only for the person narrating but for everybody. This force comes from the Veto and, to a lesser extent, the Coup de Grace rules. The Veto rules help prevent one of the common problems with complete freedom, namely that of conflicting creative visions. It’s easy for a group of friends to have different ideas of what constitutes “fun” or which tropes are appropriate to a given genre, and in a free creative environment, these difference can lead to a loss of focus or, in the worst case, to arguments and bad feelings between players.
      The Veto rule means that only appropriate narrations and Details, as decided by group consensus, are incorporated into the game. This way, players are given the power to Veto narrations that would ruin their fun or run counter to the expected genre.
      Together, these two opposing forces hold the game in balance, as players are given the freedom to narrate, are even rewarded for narration, but are also forced to communicate with their fellow players about what is and isn’t appropriate, thus building a group consensus. This increases the chances of productive, focused play without removing the aspect of fast and free narration that is the whole point of Wushu.

What Wushu Does Not Do
Wushu does not provide “hard” genre emulation through mechanics that help you enforce what works and what does not. The group is the only means by which this is possible, so if your group is unable to reach a consensus, a game will be fraught with difficulty. In addition, the mechanics alone will not judge what is a “right” or “wrong” course of action. The GM doesn’t have modifiers that can be applied to a scene to reflect the appropriateness of a player’s chosen course of action. All they have are the same powers of Veto with reference to genre as everyone else.
      Lastly, Wushu does not bring the cool all by itself – it relies on the players to do that. There are no mechanics which will help you build up an exciting string of actions to work into your descriptions, no lists of powers or maneuvers to spur your creativity, although you can steal those from other sources at will. If you want a mechanical underpinning to aid your creativity, Wushu is not for you. All it does is act as a catalyst for that which everyone brings to the table themselves, by not getting in the way of their creativity.

The Golden Rules

  • Principal of Narrative Truth
  • Everything is a Detail

Core Mechanics

  • Description
  • Pool Limits/Dice Caps
    • Optional Extra: Held Dice
  • Resolution
  • Yin & Yang
  • Successes
  • Chi
    • Optional Extra: Setbacks


  • Mook Conflict
  • Nemesis Conflict
  • Mixing Them Up
  • Scab Rolls
  • Optional Extras
    • Secondary Goals
    • Time Limits

Character Creation

  • Traits
  • Optional Extras
    • Trait Categories
    • Trait Features
    • Control Dice
    • Special Something
  • Weaknesses
  • Advancement


Wushu Open

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