TAU Martial Arts
rate: Style/s:

Your Tau rate is determined by adding;

nimble + awareness + attention (3 – 18, maximum is 30)

punch, kick, chop, block-hand, block-foot, grip, dodge, roll, extra, special, breath, sweep,

Each of the ‘moves’ has a rate that can be no higher than your initial Tau rate. You have as many points to split between them as you have in your Tau rate. This represents a specialism. The individual Move rate is added to your Tau rate for that particular action; you roll your DOUBT in d6 against it.

Although the moves can be used individually, Martial Art adepts use series of the above moves in combinations known as ’Combo’s’. You can have as many Moves in a combo as you have Chi Points but you use up 1 Chi point every time you use a Combo attack.

Declare combo moves before combat. A combo rate is equal to Tau rate plus component Move rates. Combatants compare combo’s. Attack moves are parried by block/dodge moves, move per move. Combo’s are ad hoc; they can be determined during combat.

Combo’s that are studied prior to combat are called Forms. Forms are specialist Combo’s. Forms each have a rate that acts as a modifier to your Tau rate for that sequence. Form is not the same as Style. Styles are based on observation of natural phenomena and animals, eg; mantis, snake, monkey, water, wind, etc that give rise to a method and aesthetic. Essence has a lot to do with this. Form is how fluidly you can dance through the component moves when enacting a combo. Forms cannot be used ad hoc because they are a ritual motion sequence that is performed and enacted to perfection. This game does not differentiate martial arts schools as in kung-fu, karate, savate, tae kwon do, and so on.

Each Form (combo) has a rate that can be no higher than your initial Tau rate. Form rate is equal to your Tau plus the rate of your Form for that sequence. You can only perform a Form (combo) if you have enough Chi points equal to or more than the Form (combo) rate. This rule is the restriction for combo combat that prevents excessive super-power combat. The chi is the energy moving through the shape or form of that motion. It is also a measure of both balance and force. In physical terms, the statistics nimble and strength represent balance and force.

Doubt dice are used to test moves and combos. Rolling equal to or less than the rate is a successful result. This system is designed to make combat relatively speedy in play and easy to visualize in detail, while retaining versatility should a character want to switch moves and techniques during a fight.

The combatants roll to see if they succeed or fail their move. If both succeed, the moves are compared and Strikes are determined. A strike is every time an attack move is not parried by a defend move. Both combatants can take injuries during each combat round. Injuries are determined by deducting the attackers relevant Strike move’s rate from the defenders Endurance rate. If the move rate is zero it does only 1 point of damage. A person who fails a DOUBT roll during combat is a punch-bag.

If the person is using a melee weapon during combat the Skill rate is added to the Extra move rate and the weapons Damage rate is added to the move rate. If the person is unskilled in that weapon, the Extra move rate is used to determine Strike and the Weapon Damage rate is used.

Sweep effectively floors an opponent who fails to dodge, however it does a maximum of 1 Damage irrespective of your rate.
Flying kicks require a separate Nimble test or Leap Skill to achieve.
Use of Breath move in a combo reduces DOUBT by 1 dice, as it represents correct breathing technique during action. Breath can also be used to renew 1 Chi point, if breathing is all you do for that turn, akin to going into a meditative ready pose.
‘Double-Dodge’ combo puts you out of immediate melee range for 1 turn, enabling you to Breath on your next combat turn (to regain 1 Chi point) while the adversary moves closer (so long as nobody else is within range to attack you) – although if he has a Leap Special Move then he can do a flying kick combo on your next turn while you are trying to Breath. Breath cannot be used to increase Chi beyond your maximum level; only training, potions, bioboosts and the rule of ((!)) can do that.
The Rule of ((!)) is when you double your Chi for this turn but then it is reduced to 1. This is a last measure act of desperate determination rather than something to be done regularly. It takes a decent sleep to be able to return your Chi to full again after invoking the rule of ((!)) in the meantime it stays at 1 and the Breath move requires an uninterrupted hour, not 1 turn, to recharge 1 point of Chi. ((!)) is more powerful the more Chi you have to begin with.

The maximum possible rates for a new character (without equipment modifiers) are as follows;
TAU rate = Nimble(6) + Awareness(6) + Attention(6) = 18
Applied to Punch(6) Sweep(6) Dodge(6) for a 3 step Combo attack (requires Chi rate 3) that can do up to 7 damage and avoid 1 strike from an opponent. Beginning characters with a Chi rate 2 could have an effective Punch(9) Dodge(9) combo.

A part of Martial Arts culture is pre-emptive. If you know an opponents Forms in advance then you can adjust your own style to beat them. Repeatedly using the same attack makes a person vulnerable to being second-guessed. A skilled and experienced fighter prefers to move fluidly between many different moves. Survival depends on verstility rather than specialism; remember that for every move there is a counter move; for every combo, a counter-combo. As new characters are relatively pathetic compared to their potential, they will likely be seeking out a Master who can teach them specific new moves. The ideal is that combat is paper-scissors-stone rather than hammer-anvil.


Armour Type Endurance Nimbless Charge Notes
wood / bone 2 -2 -
bio-skin top/pants 3 (5both) - - self-repairing
bio-chitin top/pants 4 (6both) - - self-repairing
chemstone plate top/pants 8 -2 -
energy-field (full body) 2 per min/cell - 5 cells 5e/1m – 1e/5m
gris-skin 4 - - very rare
bio-skin helmet, thin/thick 1/2 - - self-repairing
bio-chitin/chemstone helmet 4 -2 - self-repairing
wood / bone helmet 2 -2 -
chit shield 2 -1 - self-repairing
chemstone shield 3 -2 -
energy-shield 2 per min/cell - 3 cells 5e/1m – 1e/5m

NB energy technology recharges at a rate of 1 cell per hour; specific details vary depending on manufacturer brand and power type. Those given are for standard self-recharging cells. ‘Cell’ is the name of the power-pack (batteries) as well as the measurement of electrical charge. In practice they are unreliable; no two give the same charge for the same duration. Most units requiring power cells have a flux bar showing the energy charge and a dial measuring time:5/1-4/2-3/3-2/4-1/5:power


Weapon Type Damage Nimbless Range Charge Notes
knife 3 - close - -
razor-tooth 4 - close - -
machete 4 -1 close - -
short-sword 4 - close - -
katana 5 - close - -
broadsword 8 -3 close - -
energy blade 6 - close 5 min/cell -
hatchet 4 -1 close - -
axe 6 -3 close - -
baton 3 - close - -
jo staff 3 - close - -
bo staff 3 -1 close - -
spear 3 -1 near(strx2/ft) - -
short pike 3 -1 close - -
energy rod 5/cell - close 1/cell -
tazer stun - contact 1/cell some creatures emit this
net -2 in use - near (str/ft) - -
energy web 2 - 5’/cell some creatures emit this

If you are untrained at using a weapon (no Skill in that weapon) you gain an additional DOUBT dice to try and use it.



Merely by their presence, Shadow hybrids (Shards) and Reptilian hybrids (Lizzies) create an atmosphere in which all other species have their DOUBT rate increased by 1. This can be a bitch for other characters. Note that use of COOL Skill disables this rule.

Shards and Lizzies themselves, the full non-hybrid types, create +3 (Shards) and +2 (Reptilians) DOUBT. Cool Skill reduces this by 1.

Psychic combat is called Psionicism and there are several forms from Stun and Blast, to Headache, to Mental Decay. Some take immediate effect, others are slower the consequence of which can take years to develop.

Shards and Lizzies and Greys are all proficent in Psychic Combat.

In part, psychic combat is perceptual.



tRust dolphindark