Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tommy's Take on WWE NXT 5/25/10

We're getting VERY near the end of NXT!

- One thing we haven't heard anything for sure on is if they are going to stretch out the end, or if this season will end early due to the three eliminations in one week.

- Good thing Tarver's already gone, as Carlito was fired last week.  Put me in the column of guys who were really sad that Carlito never seemed to live up to his potential.  Maybe he'll get himself straightened out, come back and be a star.

- Daniel Bryan, Michael Tarver, Skip Sheffield and Darren Young have all been eliminated, which makes me a sad panda as I liked all four of them, and I don't like David Otunga or Heath Slater.

- New video opens the show, focusing on the eliminations thus far.  I still don't get why Tarver was eliminated for his comments...he said he should be eliminated to protect the other stars.

- Well, they just said "with only two weeks remaining", so that implies that it WILL end early.  Wonder what happens next?

- Here come The Pros.

- CM Punk doesn't come out due to his head shaving, but R-Truth is here tonight.  Hardy congratulates him when he comes out in a nice touch.

- Barrett's out to something other than "Wild & Young", but they are all coming out to iit, so it apparently isn't his theme song.

- My mouse is being annoyingly touchy.

- Next week, my recaps end, apparently.  Still very curious what happens next.

- Barrett says Gabriel isn't "man enough", Otunga reminds him of "Benny Hill", but says the "Ginger Ninja" Heath Slater should go home.

- Gabriel sticks with Otunga, and says Otunga has no idea what he's doing in the ring.

- Otunga says Barrett's boring and Slater's annoying, but says Gabriel is a glorified gymnast.

- Slater's annoyed at Barrett and seems awfully pleased when he points out that Barrett has a "nose as crooked as the road".

- Tag matches tonight, apparently.

- Yay. R-Truth's rapping.


- Slater and R-Truth are up.  R-Truth takes Slater down and gets a headlock.  Nice back and forth chain wrestling and Slater hits a huge shoulder.  R-Truth with some big armdrags and an armbar.  Otunga is in with a wristlock.  Slater quickly takes ovver with an armbar and into a wristlock before tagging Christian.  Hammerlock by Christian.  Ow!  Christian with a big open hand shot.  Otunga gets out quickly and R-Truth is in.  Big leg lariat by R-Truth!  Double teaming by R-Truth and Otunga.  Otunga with a chinlock.  Christian fights up, but Otunga gives him knees.  Christian ducks two clotheslines and eats a shoulder.  Slater's looked better.  Michael Cole is in love with Otunga.  Christian fights back and feeds him the European Uppercut off the ropes!  Slater is in!  Forearm!  Again!  Three!  OW!  Dropkick to a seated Otunga in the corner!  Otunga fires back, neckbreaker!  Otunga gets his foot on the ropes!  Slater goes after Otunga, but gets dumped!  Slater fights him off as he comes back in and goes up top...crosss body but Otunga rolls through for three!

Winners: DAVID OTUNGA & R-TRUTH via pinfall on Slater (cross body roll through)

- Otunga, at this point, is still not where the other seven were at when the show began.

- Will Daniel Bryan publicly apologize to Michael Cole tonight?!

- Michael Cole is in the ring with security, and Michael Cole is getting more heat than any rookie has gotten tonight.

- Recap of Bryan going off on Cole and smacking him around.

- Cole is threatening to sue Daniel Bryan.  No suit against WWE for putting him in that position?

- Here comes Daniel Bryan.  Tuck in your shirt, dude, or lose the sweater vest.

- Bryan says he's going to apologize.  Cole interrupts every time Bryan starts talking, basically.

- Cole dismisses his security.

- Bryan apologizes, awwww...Cole extends his hand.  He calls Cole the worst annnouncer in WWE history!  He keeps Cole from getting away from his handshake!  Security hits the ring and Cole hides behind them and Bryan rips into him some more!  Cole says Bryan didn't deserve his spot.

- Wow...Cole's getting to bury Bryan now, too.  What's the over-under on Cole beating Bryan in a match?  Cole slaps him!  Bryan manages to get past security and get to Cole before security drags him off.  Miz is standing on the stage and he's badmouthing Bryan...Bryan attacks The Miz!  Security trying to keep THEM apart now!  Nice, The Pros are just watching.

- Matt Striker is on commentary!

- Striker points out that Bryan has proved he has passion and heart with his reaction, but he's lacking respect.

- Josh Matthews is defending Bryan, Striker is saying he lackss respect.

- Jericho's music hits and here comes Jericho with Barrett.


- So, no tag match?  Barrett takes over quickly, but Gabriel flips out of a hiptoss!  Barrett on the attack and a nice field goal kick to the ribs.  Gourdbuster!  HUGE boot!  Barrett clubs Gabriel and gets the sitting abdominal stretch.  Am I alone in thinking Gabriel looks like Rick Martel?  Gabriel ducks a clothesline and unloads with kicks!  Big spin kick!  Forearm drops Barrett!  Floatover Stinger Splash and springboard cross body!  Barrett takes over with the slingshot backbreaker!  Barrett takes him up...Gabriel fights back!  Sunset flip powerbomb!  450 SPLASH!!

Winner: JUSTIN GABRIEL via pinfall (450 SPLASH)

- Very nice match for the time given.Barrett is very disappointed, as is Jericho.

- The Pros are conferring.

- The Rookies are in the ring.

- Slater has a look like he's losing and knows it.

#1. Wade Barrett - YES!
#2. David Otunga - Ugh.
#3. Justin Gabriel
#4. Heath Slater is going home.

- The crowd popped for that.  Ouch.

- Striker asks Christian why Slater's going home.  I think we're getting the Slater heel turn!  Christian thinks the deck was stacked against Slater from the beginning.  Christian says Slater has a big future and he's proud of him.  So we don't get the turn.

- The Miz says Slater never gave his all.  And Otunga has?  Really?

- R-Truth says...well...I'm not sure.

- Chris Jericho simply says that Barrett is destined to win, so it doesn't matter who goes home when.  Then he rips into Barrett for getting too comfortable at #1.  Nice.

- Slater just really, really sounds kinda whiny.  But he's making some great points...he talks about Jericho beating Austin and Rock in one night, but Slater beat Jericho.  VERY nice line: "You may have pulled the plug on the One Man Rock Band, but get ready for the encore."

- Probably the best rookie promo yet.

- Next week, it all ends!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tommy's Take on WWE NXT 5/18/10

It's time for NXT!

- Last week, WWE threw a curveball and eliminated Michael Tarver, Daniel Bryan and Skip Sheffield...and eliminations will apparently continue tonight!

- Standard WWE opening.

- Recap from last week's eliminations.

- I'm guessing Justin Gabriel goes this time...they seem like they are trying hard to build Darren Young up, and Otunga is apparently safe.  Heath Slater or Otunga SHOULD go...and if Barrett goes, we riot.

- "Wild & Young" intro.

- Striker's NOT introducing the rookies...but he is bringing out the WWE Pros.  And it's all of them, not just the ones with rookies still in the competition.  Wait...there's no Carlito or R-Truth.

- Miz wants someone who will grow the audience.

- Regal seeks adaptability.  He points out that he's adapatable, going from funny to serious.

- CM Punk gets incredibly sarcastic, and then refuses to talk to the audience.

- Christian seeks someone who will "capture the imagination" of the Universe.  He agrees with The Miz on the "It" factor.  He says that one guy in the competition still has not shown him "It", but doesn't say who.  Regal picks a fight and says Christian hasn't shown him "It" in the last 10 years.

- Matt Hardy regurgitates the previous answers in a total babyface fashion.  Hardy points out, though, that they also need to be able to survive the locker room.

- Jericho just wants someone who will make him pay money to see them...and says that no one, aside from "one exception", has done that.  I assume he means Barrett.

- Where's Carlito and R-Truth?

- Darren Young is out and Punk looks annoyed.  He starts to follow him to the ring, then turns around and heads back.

- Jericho's music hits...and Barrett is STILL stuck with Jericho's music.  What happened to getting his own?  Jericho heads to the ring with him.


- Recap of Barrett and Young getting into it a few weeks ago when Young tried to cut an in-your-face promo.  Trash-talk by Barrett and a shove.  Young takes Barrett off his feet and they brawl until Barrett powders.  Young comes to the apron and Barrett takes his legs out!  Rams his back into the apron!  HUGE boot!  Kickout.  Barrett with a huge knee and a surfboard.  Barrett misses an elbow, and Young and Barrett have a sloppy exchange.  Cena Shoulder by Young.  He drops Barrett and hits a slam.  Jawbreaker staggers Young, but Young feeds him a forearm!  They slip out of each other's finishers, and Barrett counters a tornado DDT, but Young yanks his throat over the ropes!  Young heads up top...Barrett crotches him!  Fireman's Carry Slam!


- That sure seemed sloppy, and more on Young than Barrett.  Where the crap are R-Truth and Carlito?

- Otunga video package.  Regal says he has a lot going for him.  Jericho says he stands out, Miz says he's the next breakout star.  Christian says the in-ring work isn't there, and Punk just trashes him.  Hardy says he's got a free pass.  Christian, Punk and Hardy take turns ripping on him.  R-Truth hopes he learns fromm working with him.

- Thank God some of the pros called BS on that dude.

- Tarver and Daniel Bryan are in the ring with Striker.  Bryan is dressed like a dork.  Recap of their eliminations, both being kicked off for saying they should have beeen the ones eliminated (for different reasons).

- Tarver cries foul because WWE management trashed him, even though he was told it would be the Pros doing it.  He says WWE management has no decency or professionalism.  Tarver plays the race card...oh, wait, nevermind.  He's talking about how he stood out by not screwing with the competitions...but Striker cuts him off.

- Striker moves to Bryan.  He pulls the same "management" argument, then breaks onto a worked shoot rant about WWE politics.  Bryan says he's the "best person for this job".  Bryan cuts a promo appealing to the Pros, while Cole trashes on him.  Bryan picks on The Miz, setting The Miz off.  Regal says Bryan IS better.  Striker interrupts when Bryan challenges The Miz, and Bryan cuts him off.  Then he sets his sights on...Michael Cole!  Bryan cuts a promo on Michael Cole, ripping into him, calling him a poor man's replacement for JR before smacking him!  Striker and referees pull him back before he chokes out Cole!

- A "moments ago" recap of Bryan attacking Cole.

- Matthews is asking Cole if he's okay, but Cole gets ticked off about it.  Cole says he should be arrested.


- Cole won't shut up about Bryan, and says he'll press charges.  Slater overwhelms Gabriel ain the opener, and Cole storms away, the cameras focusing on him and not the match.  Gabriel dives on Slater, but he steps back and kicks him out of the air!  Slater grounds Gabriel, but he fights out.  Crowd seems to be behind Gabriel.  Huge kick by Gabriel!  Slater with a sloppy flapjack for two.  Slater eats feet, but hits a spinebuster for two!  Gabriel with some kicks out of nowhere!  He kills Slater with a HUGE kick.  450 SPLASH!

Winner: JUSTIN GABRIEL via pinfall (450 SPLASH)

- Christian sure seems disappointed, but Gabriel helps Slater up.  Christian shakes hands with Hardy and Gabriel, and Slater shakes hands with Gabriel as well.

- Sheffield is backstage cutting a promo about his elimination.  He says he was eliminated for being a "threat".

- Michael Cole has returned, it seems.  He's here to shill for Over The Limit, apparently.

- Darren Young video package.  Jericho admits he ranked Young last the first time.  R-Truth says he feels bad that he's stuck with Young.  Punk says he's there to guide.  Jericho doesn't like his look, Miz does.  R-Truth says he could, in fact, but a superstar.

- Recap of his loss to Barrett.

- Striker tells The Pros to convene, as someone goes home NEXT!

- The Rookies are at ringside!

- Barrett, Gabriel, Otunga, Slater, Young...that's my prediction.

Pro's Poll:
#1: Barrett
#2: Otunga - yuck.
#3: Slater moves to three?!
#4: Justin Gabriel
#5: Darren Young is gone.

- Wow...I'm surprised.

- Young hands the mic to Young, to go to the Pros himself!  He thanks the fans in the arena and at home.  He says he has respect, unlike the rest of the rookies.  He shows his respect to each Pro.  He thanks the Pros, but the crowd craps all over him.  Classy.  Young promises that he'll be back.

- Another recap of Bryan attacking Cole.

- We hit the final three next week.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tommy's Take on Fight! The Fighting Game RPG

Fight! The Fighting Game RPG is a new role-playing game written by Christopher Peter for Divine Madness Press.  As the name implies, the RPG is designed to capture the feel of 2D and 3D fighting games, and this RPG takes a very "metagame" approach to making that happen.  How does that work?  Well, we'll take a look.

This review specifically covers the PDF version, available at for $15.00.  The download comes in two files, one being the full color cover, and the other being the book itself, an impressive 247 page black and white PDF.  The PDF is searchable and allows copy and paste, but does not have bookmarks, which disappoints me as I have come to lean on those more and more as I've gotten used to using PDFs for gaming purposes.  Let me put it this way: I vastly prefer physical books for my purposes, so if I'm buying a PDF, I want utility from it that I cannot get from a print product, or I want a deeply reduced price.  The PDF for fight is nearly $10 cheaper than the print book, available through, for those interested.

The cover art is vibrantly colored, and drawn in an anime style like many of the games that provide Fight! its inspiration.

Table of Contents

The table of contents spans a whopping six pages, covering every subheading over six chapters, six appendices, as well as a character sheet and contributor bios.

Unfortunately, its not a clickable table of contents, but it is still an extensive one.  That plus the searchability of the document help make up for the lack of an index.  Some folks think I'm being sarcastic when I talk about this stuff, but I truly appreciate a good, strong table of contents.


The introduction spends more time on the fighting game genre than it does RPGs, and I think that's wise.  Fight! probably isn't anyone's first RPG.  Not saying that to be mean, just saying.  While there is a paragraph about the basics of RPGs, the author spends the introduction talking about the big story tropes of the fighting game genre, such as the human body being the most dangerous weapon in the universe, how every situation is resolved with combat and more.  While not every fighting game, or combat anime follows those tropes, they are common enough to be worth noting.  The author also has a sidebar about "metagaming", which the RPG is specifically designed to encourage.

Its a good introduction, one with its priorities straight, covering the ground it should and letting you know that there's a lot of "game" to this role-playing game.  A good start to the book.

Character Generation

I should note a couple of things here.  The pages are two columns of text, with black and white art interspersed here and there.  The book isn't a pretty one, but it is chock-full of is not 150 pages of filler and the rest rules.  If Fight! had been formatted to be more aesthetically pleasing, I can hardly imagine how large it would have wound up.

The main character generation chapter falls in under twenty pages, and it is a point buy system, with points broken down by category.  However, it is larger than it sounds, because different steps of character generation reference the next three chapters of the book.  Character generation starts off pretty straight forward, with the selection of non-mechanical details like name, appearance, background...even fighting style is largely a flavor issue and not a mechanical issue.  Dig as deep as you like, even specifying favorite food if you must.  One thing noted here is Blood Type, which has a huge significance in Japan apparently, and is believed to help determine people's personality traits.

Mechanically, people are defined by three traits: Strength, Stamina and Speed.  Each trait is rated on a scale from 2 to -1, with one always being a 0, and 2 only being achieved by dropping one of them to -1.  Next come Qualities, Weaknesses and Quirks.  Qualities can be used to provide extra perks and bonuses, as well as additional depth for the characters, while Weaknesses are penalties.  Quirks are like very minor weaknesses, and enough of them taken can add up to a full Weakness.

Skills cover combat applications and non-combat applications, while Special Moves and Super Moves are the wacky things your fighter can do that no one else can, like leap in the air and spin like a top, unleashing a torrent of kicks, or hurling a mass of blue energy at your opponent.  There is no set list to choose from.  Quite the opposite, you have a list of modifiers, and you build your special move yourself.

Glory is essentially experience points, while Fighting Spirit is a metagame feature to model one player being better than the other, even if the character he's using isn't.

A handy checklist provides all the points you have to spend at a given location, with Weaknesses and Quirks available to give you points to buy more Qualities, skill points or Fighting Spirit.  There are some useful sidebars here, such as figuring out what KIND of game your players might want by the qualities chosen, or what each Combat Skill means at Level 1.

Through accumulation of Glory, your character advances from Power Level 1 up to Power Level 8, and a handy chart shows you just what each level allows, including your Life Bar, maximum Fighting Spirit, number of Super Moves and more.

Options exist for trading off Super Moves for skill points and Fighting Spirit, depending on what kind of campaign the GM is running, for maximum flexibility, and a baseline table is provided for Glory awards for various actions, such as defeating an opponent, scoring a “Flawless Victory”, and bonuses depending on how much time is left in the fight.  As well, a sidebar is provided that discusses altering the rate of advancement, for longer or shorter campaigns.

I think the character generation is pretty clearly written, but I do have one small issue.  It directs you to different chapters for Qualities, Skills and Special Moves and that's fine...except it references them in that order, but the book places them “Skills”, “Qualities”, “Special Moves”.  For ease of reference, the chapters should have been placed in the order they are needed for character generation.  Not a HUGE knock, but annoying.


As mentioned, Skills come in a few flavors: Combat skills, Non-Combat Mechanical skills and Non-Combat Narrative skills.  The default skill mechanic is 1d10 + skill rank vs target number, and the target numbers are provided at the beginning of this chapter.  When the Director feels its relevant, Basic Qualities (Strength, Stamina, Speed) can modify the check as well.

Optional rules are provided for Critical Successes (rolling a 10 on a d10), Critical Fumbles (triggered by rolling a 1) and Mixed Successes (rolling precisely the target number), as well as Skill vs Skill situations, in which there is no static target number.

The five Combat skills are Defense (blocking), Evasion (dodging), Tactics (outsmarting the opponent), Combo (stringing moves together) and Ki (harnessing your internal energy for flashy moves, although this can be Gadgetry for more mundane ranged attacks).

Some of the Mechanical Non-Combat skills include Magic, Psychic, Thug Thrashing (the art of beating up tons of mooks at once) and Realize Potential which is a very cool little ability that lets you get the crap kicked out of you by the bad guy, only to rally back tougher than ever for the rematch.

The Narrative skills include Lockpicking, Grim Determination, Lost in the Crowd (which lets you melt into a crowd to avoid detection), The Fighting World (knowledge of the top fighters and such), Endure Great Hardship, Intimidation and more.

Every skill gets at least a small entry explaining its use, with full examples in some places where the author felt further elaboration was needed.

Action Sequences are not unlike D&D4e's Skill Challenges, and an extensive discussion is provided for how to handle those in the game, including setting up the useable skill list, the target numbers and the Glory reward for successfully completing an Action Sequence.

I like the skills.  For a game with a “large” skill list, I didn't feel like it was a chore looking through them for character generation.  For flavor purposes, there are catch-all skills like “Occupation”, as well as more genre-appropriate skills.

Qualities, Quirks and Weaknesses

This section has proved to be somewhat controversial, due to the inclusion of gender-specific Qualities and Quirks.  This, it seems, is a Bad Thing.  I, personally, have no problem with it, and I won't be placing any strikes against the author for it, as I see what he was trying to accomplish with it, but I believe it is enough of an issue for some people that I mention it here.

You begin with four Qualities, more if you select Weaknesses and Quirks.  At Level 2 and every even numbered Level, you can either gain another Quality or remove a Weakness.  These are generally used in-game to either gain “Story Points”, or (in the case of Qualities) use Story Points to power them.

Some of the controversial Qualities include Tomboy (female only), Dashing (males only), Sexy (female only), Bishounen (male only) and Buxom (female only).  Now, I truly believe the author was just aiming for genre emulation and nothing more.  That said, a few of those can be handwaved into gender-neutral Qualities, and the rest can be omitted, still leaving a good number of Qualities to choose from, like Great Destiny, Followers, Lucky, Reputation and Powerful Item.

Weaknesses include Amnesia, Curse, Fragile Self-Image, the metagaming Poorly Drawn and Unlucky.

Some Quirks are Dead Serious, Scarred, Rivalry and the again controversial Fan Service, a females-only Quirk that sometimes leads to bits like underwear exposure in fights and so on, and can generate Story Points.

Like skills, every entry is given at least a reasonable entry, usually a paragraph, detailing its application to a character, including mechanical effects.

The chapter ends with a discussion of Story Points, starting with how to gain them (miraculously pulling victory from the jaws of defeat is one way, Weaknesses and Quirks are another, and skills like Realize Potential are yet another).  Story Points can power certain Qualities, re-roll skill checks and even gain minor creative editing to a scene.  Normally, they are not allowed for combats, but guidelines are provided for their use in combat if the Director so desires.

The Qualities are handled similarly to Skills and that's a good thing, but again, the two chapters should have been reversed for maximum effect.

Basic Moves, Special Moves and Super Moves

Here we get into an important part of any fighting game character: Moves.  Whereas the Street Fighter Storytelling Game made mechanical distinctions about the basic moves, Fight! does not.  A jab is an uppercut is a haymaker.  If you want it to be anything different, make it a special move.  All basic moves do the same amount of damage and can be used in any round of combat.  The exceptions to this are taunts, sweeps and throws, which are not included with a character by default, but options are present that allow them to be added as part of the “basic” moveset.

Special Moves are the next step up, and now we're getting into the Dragon Punches, Spears flying from people's hands and so on.  Move Points are spent on building special moves, which must be at least Level 2, and cost a number of points equal to their level (3 point minimum).  Once more, we delve back into metagaming, as you are meant to take your controller function into account based on the level of the move.  The system is simple, the power level should be equal to the number of button presses on a controller to do the move.  The exception being sequences like the “fireball sweep” which removed the down-toward button press from the total since its part of the natural flow of movement.

From there, you add a number of Elements based off of the Power Level+1.  A large list is provided, including Liabilities which can be used to gain more “slots” for Elements if you run out of them while designing your move.  Again, I won't list them all, but some Elements include Increased Damage, Ranged (which costs 2 slots and bases damage off of Ki), Anti-Air (for those jumping opponents), Temporary Invulnerability (which costs 3 slots and, well, makes your fighter temporarily invulnerable).  Move Liabilities include No Combo (can't Combo with the move), Reduced Damage, Non-Finisher (cannot end a fight) and Negative Positioning (which lets the opponent move you after taking the move, often giving them an advantage in follow-up).

The moves enter much crazier territory, including Elements that allow a fighter to transform into another fighter, steal their moves, cause explosions, turn invisible and more.

A second combo system is supplied called Attack Strings, which can replace Special Moves if you want a slightly more “grounded” campaign.

Super Moves are not gained until Level 3, and are big, mind-blowing moves that are often other special moves chained together and require a lengthier series of button presses in order to trigger.  Super Moves have a number of elements equal to twice its level, plus an liabilities added, although the rules specify that certain elements must be used in a given Super Move.  Before a Super Move can be used, Super Energy must be accumulated, by being beaten on in a fight, hitting successful moves and combos, and a little is usually gained each round regardless.

I have to concede here: The Super Move system is not the mostly clearly written portion of the book.  The discussion about using Super Moves when the opponent is using non-Super Moves and so on made my head rattle a couple of times and I'm still not sure I get it.  From there, delving into a 3-tier structure in which fighters have 3 versions of the same super move...yeah, not the clearest part of the book for me.

A final sidebar in this chapter discusses fighters transforming into beast forms.  I'm much more of a Street Fighter player, but I'm sure this is emulating a certain game or game series, I just couldn't tell you which.  Still, it seems like a nice option.

I love the Special Move system.  It reminds me a bit of the wrestling move system from the WWE d20 RPG from a few years ago, which surprised me at the time with its elegance.  That said, I am less sold on the Super Move system.  Should I get a chance to run this game, I have a feeling that as we approach Power Level 3, I'll have a ton of questions about this one.


Combat takes up nearly 75 pages, which probably isn't a surprise that a game focused on emulating fighting games is heavy on combat.  Three systems are provided, the first being standard, heads-on combat.  The second option is “Thug Thrashing”, for a fighter versus many mooks and the final is dramatic combat.

Standard combat is further complicated by tidbits such as adding a time limit or making a fighter a best 2 out of 3 rounds or the like, both being options commonly found in tournaments, but not necessarily a given.  The sequence is pretty straight forward: first, everyone rolls for Initiative and Control.  Initiative is how fast you get to act, Control is how complicated of a move or combo you can pull off.  Then, everyone acts in order of initiative.  Glory and Super Energy are tallied.  Time is deducted from the round (if applicable), and then the Director and players narrate the combat.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Base dice for most everything is d6, but this gets modified by Strength, Speed and Stamina.  As well, Fighting Spirit can be used to modify the types of dice rolled, or the level of skills.  Rules are in place to cover simultaneous combat, with attacks taking priority over movement in the event of tied initiative.

Movement is abstract, covered in terms like “Range 1, Range 2, Range 3” and so on...the game does mention using an abstract grid as a guide, and that may be a really good idea, especially if you have more than two combatants fighting at once.

Attacking is straightforward: 1d6 plus the move being used's Accuracy total, compared to the opponent's defense (based off of a defense skill chosen by the defender).  If the attacker hits, the damage is rolled, based off of Strength and the opponent's stamina, which is then deducted from the opponent's Life Bar.  If they hit 0, they're KOed.

This chapter gives a detailed treatment of combos and the rules for them, as well as a little metagaming sidebar about why they didn't include certain things.

The author also goes into detail here about the three defensive skills and how they are used in defending against attacks, with extensive treatment given towards the options provided if someone is using the Tactics skill.  Instead of just blocking or dodging, Tactics opens up a slew of counter attack options, especially if you have moves with the right Elements.

One issue I saw here is that the “effects of  a successful attack” is largely reprinted on pages 132 and 139, lengthening an already large chapter.  This, and the sidebar on random damage, would have been fine on page 132 and did not need repeating, or could have been left off of 132, either one.

With the “basics” out of the way, we move to extra effects like Knockdown and Knockback, plus Hit Stun (which reduces the amount of Control available to a given fighter).  Finally, other options are discussed such as trying to regain Fighting Spirit, or holding back in hopes of the opponent making a mistake.

This chapter also discusses Environmental Hazards, which can include pits, fire or what have you, as well as walls and ring barriers, for those hoping to emulate “Ring Outs” commonly found in 3D fighters.

By default, Fight! takes a very cinematic approach to injury and death, refusing to hard-code death into the rules under any circumstances, or even healing rules for that matter, noting that a fighter should begin every round with a full Life Bar anyway.

 As RPGs tend to have more than one player in a given game, Fight! addresses the issue of team fighting by providing two options, the first being a “fighter stays until he loses” team fight like in the King of Fighters games, or a tag team type fight, in which fighters can dynamically switch in and out over the course of combat.  “Basic” combat concludes with a lengthy example of combat over multiple rounds.

Thug Thrashing is much more abstract, simulating a single fighter versus a group of up to ten “non-fighters”.  A series of thug templates are provided, giving the base stats for thugs of a certain power level.  As well, thugs have their own Qualities and Weaknesses that can be used to modify them, which is basically the shortened list available for normal characters.

To add some spice, a “Thug Events” chart is provided, which is generally bad for the fighters, ranging from thugs slipping away to fight again, to the thugs coordinating their attack in such a way as to cut the fighter's defense in half.  Like with normal combat, an extensive sample fight is detailed, showing the various steps of thug-based combat.

The third version of combat, Dramatic Combat, is meant to emulate anime moreso than fighting games.  It deemphasizes special moves in favor of basic moves, and add Action Points, which must be used in order to do things like escape from combat when opposed, hit a Climactic Super Move or even finish off the opponent with a Final Blow.  There are a ton of movement, attack and defense options here.  The Dramatic Combat system (which can be combined with Thug Thrashing) adds a great layer for climactic battle if you don't want to do standard tournament fighting for a big “boss fight”.

The chapter concludes with a detailed example of dramatic combat as well.

The combat system is just chock-full of options...and some are going to find it too fiddly, I'm sure, but if you wanted, you could bypass normal combat altogether and use a combination of Thug Thrashing and Dramatic Combat.

The Worlds of Fight

Fight! doesn't include an assumed setting, but this chapter helps guide you through the common tropes of the genre, in hopes of helping you make your own martial arts sagas.  A list of common character types are included such as the Hero, the Big Guy, The Old Man, The Ladies Man and The Rival, each of which gets a full paragraph discussed the character type and how to incorporate it.  Next is what amounts to a campaign checklist, including location, tone, power level and so forth.  The section also discusses incorporating “the tournament” into the game, and you should probably have SOME kind of tournament if you're emulating the fighting game genre.

A handy checklist of common plot elements is present as well, such as the tournament being a cover for some dark scheme, the tournament spanning multiple dimensions and so on.

A section is included on making NPC fighters, with special mention of using the number of fighters to set the “feel” of the campaign, from the dozen or so fighters present in the Street Fighter II to the sprawling number of fighters in the later Mortal Kombat games.

This chapter covers most of the bases, featuring lists of stages to place fight scenes at, more common tropes such as “Mirror Matches”,  and pacing the campaign, with some good advice on how to handle Glory awards if you want the campaign to just run the length of a tournament, building to the final fight with the Big Boss at Power Level 8.  This advice is combined with the advice about populating the setting with fighters to make for a great primer on setting up the campaign.

Special attention is given to the final boss, including advice on how to have the group battle the last boss, since everyone will probably want a crack at him by then, as well as what to do once the boss is beaten, or even if the boss happens to win.  As well, the book provides a few options for continuing past the defeat of the Big Boss, such as a Secret Bigger Boss, starting all over at Power Level 1 (with rationale for why your characters aren't using their famous moves all at once) or even plowing ahead at Power Level 8.

This chapter really ties everything together nicely, giving a ton of great advice for campaigns in the fighting game genre mold.


The first appendix covers sample characters, namely the two from the cover of the book, complete with backstories and full character sheets.

The second appendix collects the basics of everything you need for character generation, including point totals, all the Qualities, Weaknesses and Quirks and even all the Elements that go into Special Moves.

Appendix three is a series of sample special moves that you can swipe and re-skin, or use for inspiration for your own.

Appendix four is four pages of charts and modifiers for combat.

Appendix five is the glossary, while appendix six covers the various source material that inspired this RPG.

Finally, a blank character sheet is included, followed by a list of contributor bios.


This is an odd mix of crunchy and narrative.  You can play pretty much any kind of character you can think of, but there's not a huge list of “racial qualities” or so on supporting being a vampire or cyclops or cyborg warrior from the future.  The fact that the game both has a list of “narrative skills” and nearly locked my brain up with the Super Move system is almost a contradiction in terms.

I know a large amount of manga is published in black and white, but the black and white art in this book, combined with the walls of text, doesn't do the writing any favors in regards to accessibility.  As well, some tighter editing could have gone a long ways, but the worst part I found on the editing was easily the repeating of “what happens on a successful attack”, so that's not a HUGE sticking point...but I would definitely have switched chapters two and three, since they appear in a different order than they are referenced in the character generation.

Now, if that sounds like I'm kicking the book around, I'm not.  I'm getting the bad stuff out of the way.  On the surface, this book not only appears to be more balanced than the Street Fighter RPG (my main frame of reference for this genre of pen and paper RPGs), but also far less likely to be broken.  It is a very complete game, with room for expansion, which the author seems to intend on pursuing.  Modeling the complexity of Special Moves after the number of button presses that are “needed” to perform them is one of those things that will have some people terribly excited about it, and others scoffing at it as a silly gimmick.  However, the author is very upfront about the metagaming aspects, so if that's something that bothers you, be warned now: This probably isn't what you're looking for.  That said, there is a pretty active community for this game at who have gleefully embraced the RPG and all it entails.  A very strong effort at genre emulation.  Incidentally, in my run-through with character creation, I went outside the box with a “serial numbers barely filed off” version of Ash from Army of Darkness.  It worked out really well, IMHO, a testament to the versatility of the character creation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tommy's Take on WWE NXT 5/11/10


Its time for NXT and the elimination of Michael Tarver!

Daniel Bryan pinned Santino on Raw in a handicap match last night, giving him a compelling reason not to be eliminated in the face of Tarver.

- We get a video recap of the journey to now, with highlights of each rookie as well as clips from their victories in the competitions.

- Humorously, the closed captioning kept mentioning Michael Buffer.

- When is Wade Barrett getting his music?

- Otunga has a huge "D" on his belt buckle.  Its not for "David" its for "D-List".

- Otunga has head phones on.  Nice.

- Recap of the rookies beating John Morrison, Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust and Santino in a handicap match.

- Striker shows Tarver saying he should be the one eliminated last week.

- Wow.  Tarver got eliminated, no screwing around, just like that.  He acts like he's going to take a shot at Striker, then walks away smiling, before snapping off.  Well...alright then.

- Bryan going home, too?  Or is he safe from pinning Santino?

- ...what?!  He's gone!  Was...that a shoot?

- ...holy CRAP...three guys going home tonight?!  Tarver and Bryan are eliminated by WWE management for their comments AND a Pro's Poll elimination?!

- Wade Barrett vs Heath Slater is NEXT.

- Sheffield is SCREWED.


- Headlock by Slater.  Ducks a clothesline and slides under Barrett, hitting a dropkick and then a clothesline to the floor!  Barrett dodges a leap to the floor, and screws up covering too much for a clothesline.  Barrett is all over Slater.  Surfboard by Barrett.  Crowd FINALLY rallies...Barrett cuts him down.  Barrett gets knees!  Slater unloads!  Forearm!  Clothesline!  Flapjack gets two!  Barrett cheap shot!  Slater fights out of his finisher!  Jumping neckbreaker!  Kickout!  Slater goes up top...Barrett catches him!  Fireman's Carry Slam!!

Winner: WADE BARRETT via pinfall (Fireman's Carry Slam)

- Good match for the time it was given.  Crowd "oooed" when Barrett caught Slater off the ropes.

- Striker is backstage with Tarver.  Tarver is throwing a pity party.  He says the ruling was fair in eliminating him, but the contest wasn't fair.  Tarver walks away when Striker asks what's next.


- Young has no CM Punk or Straight Edge Society.  Sheffield overpowers Young.  Young unloads on Sheffield but eats a shoulder that knocks him funny.  Young points Sheffield in the corner, but he slips out and drops Young on the middle rope!  Sheffield is pummeling Young!  Neck wrencher on Young.  Sheffield slams Young down!  Chinlock on Young.  Sheffield with a huge slam.  Misses a splash!  Young feeds him a boot and a pair of inverted atomic drops.  Weak clothesline.  Huge shoulder by Young!  Sheffield fights out of Young's finisher and hits the Backpack Stunner!!

Winner: SKIP SHEFFIELD via pinfall (Backpack Stunner)

- Regal approves the finish.  Is Sheffield safe?  I have no idea now.  Regal and Sheffield would make a great pairing, though.

- Recap of the Tarver elimination.

- Recap of the Bryan elimination.

- Bryan says the elimination was fair...but he apparently misses the part about how WWE management eliminated him, not the pros.  Bryan cuts a promo about being the best in the world...but drops his real name. Hm.


- This is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago when Gabriel pinned Otunga after R-Truth refused to help Otunga out.  Gabriel with a fireman's carry, takes Otunga down, hits a dropkick and a Stinger Splash where he floats over, but Otunga knocks him off the ropes.  Otunga with some knees.  Tosses him up and drops him.  Slaps Gabriel.  Big shoulders in the corner.  Abdominal Stretch on Gabriel.  Hammering elbows into Gabriel, who flips him out!  Big kicks!  Otunga back to a knee.  Because that's all his moves.  Gabriel is all over Otunga.  Otunga suplexes him accross the top rope.  Iron Curtain.

Winner: DAVID OTUNGA via pinfall (Iron Curtain)

- Gabriel looked good.  Otunga looked like crap.

- The remaining rookies are at ringside.  Striker is asking who should be eliminated.  Young tries to cut a promo, Striker cuts him off and he says "Barrett".  Slater tags Otunga.  Gabriel says he doesn't care...but then says Otunga, citing his attitude problem.  Sheffield says Otunga!  Otunga says "Everyone", Striker doesn't buy it.  Otunga picks on Slater and calls him a wannabe.  Barrett, eventually, says Otunga.

- A agree.

#1. Wade Barrett - No surprise.
#2. David Otunga - UGH.
#3. Justin Gabriel
#4. Heath Slater - Ugh.
#5. Darren Young
#6. Skip Sheffield - ARGH.  I saw it coming, but I hated it.

- Sheffield claims he's been misguided, but he's not blaming Regal.  Sheffield says everything happens for a reason, but he WILL BE BACK.

- Next week, there will only be four.

- Huh.  That was a curveball of a show.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tommy's Take on WWE NXT 5/4/10

Alright...its NXT time!  David Otunga vs R-Truth!  Shoot me now!

- Remember, Michael Tarver goes home next week.

- Striker is here with the Rookies who are at ringside.  Apparently two powerbombs from Batista is enough to tape Bryan up.  Daniel Bryan had a good showing on Raw Monday against Batista.

- Reminder of the Pro's Poll, in which Michael Tarver goes home.

- An obstacles course with monkey bars, up a ladder, ring a bell, around ringside, over the barricades and through the WWE crowd...drink a beverage, head to the ring, juggle for 5 seconds and do a "dizzy bat challenge" and then push the cart past the line.  The winner gets an immunity, Michael Tarver NEEDS to win this.

- Looks like Daniel Bryan is up first.  Correction, it was three Batista bombs.  Bryan is moving kinda slow.  Bryan is taking forever drinking a soda.  He's at 2 minutes and Matt Striker is taunting him.  Great TV.  Not really.  They have totally turned me against Bryan.  That's not fair...Bryan has turned me against Bryan. didn't feel a minute over 5.  Miz is out to mock him and rightfully so.  His winless streak against Tarver's winless streak!


- Tarver has never looked happier on this show.  Why didn't he go after the ribs on the tie up?  Correction, Miz is at ringside as well.  Bryan takes Tarver down...he goes for a Surfboard but smashes the knees!  Tarver attacks the ribs and gives him a huge corner whip!  Bryan gets his foot up!  Shining Wizard!  He's too slow to recover and Tarver overtakes him!  I am getting tired of EVERY WWE match having the "corner boot lift" cutoff.  We go to commercials with Bryan in a camel clutch.

- Bryan eats a suplex!  Bryan clumsily reverses an irish whip and unloads with kicks that pop the crowd.  Forearm in the corner!  Takeover suplex!  Armbar!  Tarver powers him up and slams him!  Tarver pins Bryan with his swinging Bodyslam!!

Winner: MICHAEL TARVER via pinfall (Swinging Bodyslam)

- Tarver is pulling Bryan up at Carlito's insistence...BACKSTABBER!  Miz is just jawing him now.

- They showed Young announcing that he would face cM Punk if he won last week.  Backstage, Punk is lecturing Young.  Punk informs Young that he won't make a statement out of him.  Punk tells Young to figure out who he is and what he wants to be, but if he doesn't win the obstacle course, Punk will decide for him.

- Slater is up in the obstacle course.  He struggled just a bit in the monkeybars.  Racing up the stairs.  Slater drinks the soda faster the Bryan, nearly messes up going over the barrier.  He beats the time, setting the new time to beat at 1.36.9.

- Darren Young slips off the monkey bars and the ladder.  Too much babyoil? The soda tosses Young a curveball.  Young wipes out going over the barrier, dropping the balls...Young looked incredibly sloppy.

- Justin Gabriel is here!  Striker references his firing from his teaching job.  He's doing alright so far.  Wearing a Matt Hardy shirt I just noticed.  He just KILLED the soda.  He juggles one handed!  Nice!  1:29!  Justin Gabriel killed it!

- Otunga is up next.  Having more trouble on the monkey bars than I would have imagined.  Good time on the ladder.  Can he drink soda?  Two drinks.  Good job.  He fails on the juggling, falling a hair short.

- And now Otunga faces R-Truth!


- Is...Otunga bobbing his head to R-Truth's crappy rapping?  R-Truth with the dancing.  He slaps Otunga in the face!  Tie-up.  R-Truth outmaneuvers him and jaws at him.  Otunga with a cheapshot and ends him into the post!  Big shoulderblock by Otunga!  Commercials.

- Otunga still in control.  Trading slaps!  Otunga unloads!  Abdominal stretch.  Crowd is HUGE behind R-Truth...and reverses it!  Kick to the ribs!  Otunga proves he's never seen an R-Truth match!  Lie Detector gets it!

Winner: R-TRUTH via pinfall (LIE DETECTOR)

- Wade Barrett is up!  Wade, who does not need immunity, is having trouble with the monkey bars and walks away.

- Here's Skip Sheffield!  He as doing fine, but stumbled on the monkey bars.  Now having trouble on the ladder.  If he doesn't kill the soda in one drink, I riot.  He did do it in two.  Not gonnna do it.  Just BARELY misses it.

- Michael Tarver is gotta do it to it.  He falls off  the monkey bars.  Twice.  Finally does it.  Slow going up the ladder.  The soda is sure kicking his butt.  Is...he going to vomit?  Tarver taps to the soda!

- Crap.  They're gonnna let Justin talk!  Nice!  "Your ego outweighs your talent!"  God, Otunga is so bad on the mic.  SWERVE!  Tarver says HE should be eliminated!  He says that if he's gone, then the other seven "Walking dead bodies" would be safe.  Sheffield says Tarver should go home.

- Funniest (unintentional) line of the night: Heath Slater reassuring the fans that "Heath Slater is going nowhere".  Indeed, Heath, indeed.

- OMG, Otunga called him Justin GAYbriel. LOLOL.  Barrett says he's going nowhere, and Bryan says he should go home!  Young says he wants it more than everyone, and when he gets to Barrett, Barrett pie faces him and they brawl!