By Tim Dedopoulos
”The flow of Chi through the body has long been known as the pulse of life itself. It ripples through the flesh, regulating all things in its path. To master Chi is to master life itself. Like a stubborn horse, Chi is resistant to our caresses but when we earn its respect, there is nothing that it will not do for us. Look into your soul, and see what you truly wish for. Be it the strength of a hundred men, the speed of the East Wind or the longevity of the ancient turtles, the strength of Chi will place it in your hands.”
Chi Control in SLA Industries is an unashamedly Orientan phenomenon. The company itself declines to accept the reality of Chi; all reports and analyses to the contrary are sealed at SCL6. Above that level, it is treated as a mythology of the foolish. Indeed, those SLA Ops who claim to have seen something of it are laughed at as much as those who claim to have seen ghosts.
In system terms, Chi Control is primarily intended for NPCs, not for characters. Ops tend to become complacent in their technology, particularly at higher grades, and assume that a short, pleasant-looking, middle-aged civilian wearing a cheap suit and carrying no weapons cannot be a threat. Ah, the rude awakenings that life holds. If you are absolutely certain that you want to allow it, and they are desperate, players may develop characters with some skill in Chi Control, but there are certain restrictions. (Of course, it is your perogative as GM to waive those restritctions.
If the player is happy with those restrictions, then Chi Control is an option provided that the gamesmaster is happy to allow it. Note that gamesmasters may like to offer the player a restricted range of Chi Control skills as they see fit. As I said earlier, this is primarily intended to provide a consistent framework for GMs to use with NPCs.
When it comes to NPC possession of these powers, assume the same time constraints - that the NPC cannot gain more than 2 levels in Chi Control skills per year, and that the NPC started training at the age of 5. These can be bent for plot purposes obviously, but a youthful Chi Master would be an object of legend throughout Orienta and the Orientan films so popular in the cinemas of Meny and Mort City. Bruce Lee is a good contemporary example of such a hero. Anyone who assumes that an aged Chi Master is weak and irrelevant fully deserves all the agony that he or she will most certainly get. Users of Chi Control are referred to as students in the following text.
Chi Control is founded upon the user having a strong flow of Chi through their body. The stronger this flow is, the greater their potential is. A prerequisite for learning any Chi Control is the skill Life Force, which must be learnt in exactly the same way as any other Chi ability. No Chi Control skill may exceed the student‘s ability in Life Force, which has no upper limit itself.
Some of the following skills are perpetual and need no activation, whereas others are momentary, and the student must make a CONC roll to summon the necessary mental discipline. There is no practical maximum level that these skills can reach; if a master chooses to dedicate her life to one skill, then so be it. Note that a student can make use of up to two momentary skills in any one phase, including two uses of the same skill. The student still gets a normal action in that phase as well. Note that GMs may wish to waive the two-skill limit (and any CONC rolls) for a given NPC in order to increase the threat they pose, but should bear the likely legendary aspects of such an NPC in mind.
No Chi Control skill may exceed the student‘s level of Life Force.Chi Control: The Kiss of Void - momentary
This skill boosts the student‘s ability with any Martial Arts weapon (Blade 1-H, Club 1- H, Club 2-H, Unarmed, Martial Arts, Thrown, Flexible Weapon, Wrestling; also bows, staves and quarterstaffs). As a free action in any phase that they may act, the student attempts a CONC roll. If successful, the skill level of The Kiss of Void is added to all Martial Arts weapon attacks that the student makes in that phase.Chi Control: Bear Seeks Peace - momentary
This skill increases the student‘s defences in combat, against any attack. As a free action in any phase that they may act, the student attempts a CONC roll. If successful, the skill level of Bear Seeks Peace may be either added to the student‘s PV to resist one attack during that phase, or subtracted from the dice roll for any one attack made against the student in that phase. As a third option, the student may assign part of the skill levels to increased PV, and part to reduced attack roll.Chi Control: The Dragon‘s Touch - momentary
This skill increases the student‘s capacity to do damage. As a free action in any phase that they may act, the student attempts a CONC roll. If successful, the skill level of The Dragon Touches may be either added to the PEN of one attack made by the student during that phase, or to the DAM dealt by one of the student‘s attacks in that phase, or assigned in two parts between the two options available.Chi Control: Breath of the East Wind - perpetual
Increases speed. Every level of Breath of the East Wind adds 0.5 points to all of the student‘s speeds.Chi Control: Blessing of Metal - perpetual
Increases physical stamina. Every level of Blessing of Metal adds 1 point to the student‘s PHYS. Chi Control may boost a student‘s stats beyond normal maxima.Chi Control: The Heavenly Gate - perpetual
Increases concentration. Every level of The Heavenly Gate adds 1 point to the student‘s CONC. Chi Control may boost a student‘s stats beyond normal maxima.Chi Control: Awakening The Tiger - perpetual
Increases strength. Every level of Awakening The Tiger adds 1 point to the student‘s STR. Chi Control may boost a student‘s stats beyond normal maxima.Chi Control: The Deer Takes Flight - perpetual
Increases dexterity. Every level of The Deer Takes Flight adds 1 point to the student‘s DEX. Chi Control may boost a student‘s stats beyond normal maxima.Chi Control: The Great Exercise - perpetual
Prolongs life. Every level of The Great Exercise extends the student‘s natural lifespan by one year. Note that when natural death approaches, the student must spend six months of each year boosting Life Force and then six months of each year practising the Great Exercise in order to guarantee continued survival. In such a manner however, a master may survive for centuries.Chi Control: The Art of Silence - perpetual
This skill makes the student more difficult to perceive. Every level of the Art of Silence is subtracted from any and all attempts made to locate or notice the student using the Detect skill and similar methods.Chi Control: Crane in the Rushes - momentary
This skill increases the student‘s balance. As a free action in any phase that they may act, the student attempts a CONC roll. If successful, the skill level of Crane in the Rushes may be doubled and added to one roll of the Climb, Acrobatics or Gymnastics skills.Chi Control: Stone Toad - momentary
This skill allows the student control over bodily functions. As a normal action, the student may temporarily suspend one or more automatic body systems, including such any one organ, vital functions as breathing, digestion and blood circulation, and similar autonomous responses, for a number of minutes equal to no more than ten times the skill level of Stone Toad. No more that one bodily function per level of Stone Toad may be suspended at the same time. Note that the student remains fully conscious throughout, their system and mind being maintained purely through the flow of Chi. The student may resume normal functioning at any time. To use Chi Control to appear totally dead during a full medical examination, a student must possess Stone Toad at level ten, closing down the seven organs and all circulatory, respiratory and nervous activity.Chi Control: Swiftness of Lightning - perpetual
This skill guarantees the student actions in certain phases Every second level of Swiftness of Lightning, another phase is guaranteed to the student. The following levels guarantee the following phases: L1 = Ph1; L3 = Ph2; L5 = Ph3; L7 = Ph4; L9 = Ph5;L11 = Ph6; L13 = Ph7; L15 = 2nd Ph1 action, and so on.
[Note that Phase 6 and Phase 7 are the notional overflow phases for characters using combat drugs that boost their phases beyond 5. Some GMS prefer to give double actions on 2 and 4; if this is the case then merely start doubling phases at L11.] Swiftness of Lightning takes no account of a student‘s DEX. It will not provide a second action in a phase where the student already has an action due to basic DEX (until levels 15 and higher are reached), but simply ensure that the student does get an action in that phase. When stunned, the student halves their ability in Swiftness of Lightning (round up) and uses this new level to calculate which phases they may take a fully normal action in. A student with Swiftness of Lightning at level 13 would, when stunned, still be able to act normally in phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 [13 / 2 = 6.5, rounded up to 7; L7 guarantees phases 4, 3, 2 and 1].For example, a student with a DEX of 7 and Swiftness of Lightning L3 would act in phases 1, 3 and 5 for her DEX, and phases 1 and 2 for her Swiftness, giving her actions in 1, 2, 3 and 5. She would _not_ get a double action in phase 1. If her DEX then dropped to 5, she would act in 1, 2 and 4; 2 and 4 for the new DEX and 1 and 2 for the Swiftness.