TrialBySchmendrick

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Trial by Schmendrick pits martial arts styles against each other using identical fighters, a character called Schmendrick. It is meant to compliment TrialByFire (which pits custom built fighters against each other). By holding the stats of the fighters themselves constant, this type of trial exposes the strength and weaknesses of martial arts styles themselves. Fights in these trials are (largely) intended to only use charms from the martial arts styles. Naturally, this ignores a character's ability to fill gaps in the style with external charms, but that sort of technique is what TrialByFire is for.

Since Trial by Schmendrick doesn't require custom-built characters, it should be much easier for people designing MartialArts to field test them. All that is needed for a challenge are two people willing to pit two martial arts styles against each other. A storyteller is optional. Each challenge is considered independent; you don't need to wait for "official" sanction, just fight and post the results.

Contents

Challengers

If you want to pit a style against others, list your name and style here. Usually, people signing up will be the ones designing the style, but this is not required. People who want to defend published styles are also most welcome:

If you want to post more information about what you are interested in, or try to organize an individual challenge, after positing your information in the list above, talk in theTrialBySchmendrick/ChallengeForum.


Past Challenges

A transcript of a challenge should be created as a subpage of this one. The page should list the competitors and any signs under which the fight occurred (see below).

Rules

Each trial pits two "copies" of a single character, TrialBySchmendrick/Schmendrick, against each other, each armed with a different style. This character is not considered any particular type of exalt, just a bundle of stats that can use supernatural martial arts. His stats are all as listed with the following changes:

  • One copy of Schmendrick is given all the charms of one of the competing styles. The other copy is given all of the charms of the other competing style. This may mean that one competitor has more charms than the other. So be it.
  • Both Schmendricks are given the same Martial Arts rating, set equal to the highest minimum martial arts requirement from both styles. So, if the pinnacle charm of style A requires an MA of 5 and the pinnacle charm of style B has a minimum MA of 6, both Schmendricks are given an MA of 6.
  • Both Schmendricks are given the same Essence rating, set equal to the highest minimum martial arts requirement from both styles.
  • Players should agree on how many available virtue channels, if any, a fighter may use in the battle.

Each Schmendrick may take any mundane, personal equipment they like. This will usually include one or more form weapons and possibly armor. This may include exceptional equipment, but no artifacts and no perfect equipment. Schmendrick has no hearthstones, artifacts, allies, familars, followers, etc.

Once the competitors agree on the above and the signs under which they will fight (see below), fight! Competition starts out of combat. During the "setup" period, the fighters are assumed to be circling each other, sizing each other up. One player (by agreement) declares a single, loose "action" of what they are doing (usually charm activation). Then the other player declares what they are doing (also usually activating a charm). During each "action" the fighter may also move up to his Dexterity in yards if he wishes. These two "actions" then both happen at the same time. This continues, alternating which player declares first, until one of them uses their declaration to initiate a Join Battle or initiative roll. Generally, fighters cannot be surprised without the use of magic.

Signs

Every battle that the myriad of Schmendricks fight is watched over by the stars, and some of the constellations can alter the conditions of a fight. When the players decide to battle, they can choose the constellation signs under which they fight. As long as the players both agree, as many signs as desired may be chosen. They'll need to choose one "system" sign, to determine which rule set is used for the fight, but all others are optional.

System Signs

The Ewer

The combat is conducted under the standard first edition rule set.

The Sword

The combat is conducted under the first edition Power Combat rules.

The Musician

The combat is conducted under the standard second edition rule set.

Being Signs

The Corpse

Both fighters are considered to be Abyssal exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as abyssals do. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of abyssal charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

The Key

Both fighters are considered to be Alchemical exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as alchemicals do. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of alchemicals charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. Naturally, they are assumed to already have the charms needed to know martial arts in the first place. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

The Mask

Both fighters are considered to be Sidereal exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as sidereals do. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of sidereal charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

The Pillar

Both fighters are considered to be Terrestrial exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as terrestrials do. The may use reflexive charms without a combo. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of dragon-blooded charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. Naturally, they are assumed to already have the charms needed to know martial arts in the first place, if any. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

When using the Pillar, combatants may wish to add couple points of Martial Arts specialties to Schmendrick. Dragon Blooded characters are often built with specialties to get around their low charm enchancement caps, so adding MA specialties will be more indicative of how terrestrials actually fight.

The Shield

Both fighters are considered to be Lunar exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as lunars do. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of lunar charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. Players should agree on using Deadly Beastman Form or not. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

The Ship's Wheel

Both fighters are considered to be Solar exalted. The may choose a caste, using its anima power, and calculate their essence pools as solars do. If both players agree, each fighter may also know some number of solar charms (five is suggested) for which they qualify. For more purely "fair" fights, it is suggested that both fighters either use the same caste ability, or that caste abilities be ignored entirely.

Rule Signs

The Crow

Instead of knowing every charm in their styles, each fighter knows only up to the style's form. Players will need to come to some sort of agreement for multi-form styles.

The Guardians

Fighters may wear artifact armor if their styles allow it. Players agree on how many artifact dots of armor each fighter gets.

The Lovers

Instead of using the highest MA and Essence rating from the pinnacle charm with the highest requirements, the pinnacle charm with the lowest requirements is used to set MA and Essence rating. Charms from the other style that require higher ratings than this cannot be used.

The Mast

Instead of rolling dice, pools always generate an average number of successes. For each two full dice in a pool, a success is generated.

The Messenger

If the number of charms between the styles is uneven, the fighter with the shortfall may even the balance with charms from another martial arts style.

The Peacock

The fight stops once the first health level of damage is inflicted.

The Sorcerer

Each fighter knows one or more combos. Players must agree on the number and composition of the combos.

The Spear

Fighters may use artifact form weapons if their styles allow it. Players agree on how many artifact dots of weapons each fighter gets.

The Treasure Trove

Fighters may use more than one martial arts style. Players agree on how these extra styles are handled. Usually, fighters will be each masters of equal numbers of additional styles. Other players might want to give each fighter a fixed number of charms, or come to some other agreement.

The Captain

The players agree to some other addition or restriction not covered by other signs, perhaps several.

Environmental Signs

The Banner

The fight takes place on a open plain of grass or dirt. Fighters can essentially move an infinite distance laterally and may jump to any height. There is, however, a wind that may effect ranged attacks (players agree on to what extent, if any).

The Haywain

The fight takes place in heavy fog, possibly at night, giving visibility penalties.

The Gull

The fight takes place in waist deep water.

The Gauntlet

The fight takes place in a constrained arena (suggested: a cube ten yards on a side).

= The Quiver

The fight takes place on highly broken ground, which may restrict movement and allow positional modifiers.

The Rising Smoke

The fight takes place in an environment that actively damages or attacks the combatants at regular intervals. For example, they might fight in a burning palace, which forces fighters to withstand enviromental damage and occasionally dodge falling structures, or a forest of animated trees with steel thorns. Players agree on the nature, strength and frequency of environmental damage.

Comments

This is a terribly rad idea, and I totally want to give this a run. I have a question about combos, though - do you think there should be codified restrictions for how many are available (after all, one of the massive benefits of Martial Arts is combo-building), or should it just be a function of rules under the Captain? - DeadManSeven

I thought about codifying combos, but I couldn't come up with one that makes sense. For example, if you say "you can have two combos with three charms each", some styles may not even have three comboable charms. It seems so style (and sign) dependent that players who choose to fight under the sign of the Sorcerer will probably just have to come to some agreement about how to handle combos. -- Wordman

This is f***ing beautiful! Sadly no time and resources on my hands yet, or i'd jump into the fray! The day you'll start fighting it out will be a happy day for me indeed! Oh, and i looove the signs! Grrrrrreetings. - DogSkull

I will probably test my martial arts out in this as well as the TrialByFire. I'll put something up soon. - IanPrice

I guess with only 25 official constellations, it's inevitable that we'd run out. Still, what Tony C called "The Bonfire" might be better as the "Rising Smoke" and what is listed as the Rising Smoke now might be better suited as the official constellation "The Haywain", which fits a foggy obscurity better anyway. So, I made that change. That uses up all the official signs. -- Wordman

About the Sorcerer... I was thinking 2 Combos, consisting of three Charms each - an offensive Simple or Supplemental Charm, a defensive Reflexive Charm, and a MA Excellency. The two non-Excellency Charms would not be allowed to be the same in the 2 Combos (which should help us determine if there's a particular Charm in the style that's especially powerful, if the user only winds up having any interest in one of his/her two options...), but otherwise, whatever works for the style. Whaddaya think? - Hapushet

This may sound silly, but where are we rolling the dice? The WW dieroller? - FrivYeti
I just used my dice here at home, sometimes the physical dice, sometimes a program I have called Omnihedron. - IanPrice
Glad someone is getting some use out of it. I really need to start working on that again. I'm going to ditch wxWindows, though, so it will probably be Mac only in the future. -- Wordman
You made it? Sweet. I've found it incredibly useful for rolling large numbers of dice, especially for things like Storyteller games and Shadowrun (the only game where you'll regularly use 3 pounds of 6-siders). - IanPrice

Future Schmendricks, take note: the Mobility penalty of armor does not apply to attacks OR parries. Also, it is an Internal penalty, so it penalizes dice pools. This means that each 2 points of Mobility penalty will reduce a Dodge DV by 1. This is not the way it was run in Snake vs Winged Serpent, but it is the way the Exalted Second Edition book specifically lays it out on page 374. - IanPrice

Does it? Re-reading pg 147 and 374, I still get the impression that mobility is subtracted directly from DDV, like wound and other penalties are, but acts as an internal penalty for Athletics rolls. That is, a mobility penalty is applied after the DV formula is divided by 2, not before. Looking at the errata to Second Ed for the Antagonists section, a number of Dodge DVs are corrected. The Mortal Hero, for example, is corrected to Dex 4, Dodge 4, Essence 1, Mobility -2, and DDV 4 normally and 2 in armor. - Wordman
You may be right about that... but in any case, Mobility shouldn't penalize parries. - IanPrice

I can't speak for everyone, but my interest in TrialBySchmendrick is not purely for experimental purposes - I also get a kick out of the arena experience and entertained by watching other matches for their own sake. As such, I find myself wondering - assuming I'm not the only one who feel this way, would anyone be interested in a tournament of Schmendricks? I was thinking specifically of a Wiki-based Sonorous Discussion of Virtue, featuring a round-robin tournament for practitioners of the Four Arguments of Virtue (from Imperfect Lotus). Any takers? - Hapushet

Hell yes. I get Valor. Wielding One's Tongue! - IanPrice, cracking out his dual grand goremauls again.
Sweet. I was thinking Compassion, myself - the argument portion of the fights will be at least as interesting as the actual combat... - Hapushet
Never done this before, but I'll try anything twice. I call Conviction. -JasonWhittle
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