Dragon Fist

Dragon Fist, Chris Pramas' fantasy RPG of high-flyin' martial arts action, is finally going to see print at the hands of Green Ronin. This forum is closed while the game is being re-developed.
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Dragon Fist

Post by Nikchick » Mon Nov 04, 2002 8:48 am

The press release announcing our latest acquisition:


GREEN RONIN PURCHASES DRAGON FIST
Origins Awarded Nominated Game to Come Back in 2003

November 4, 2002—SEATTLE, WA: Green Ronin Publishing today announced that it has signed a purchase agreement with Wizards of the Coast for the Dragon Fist RPG. Chris Pramas, Green Ronin’s founder and President, designed Dragon Fist when he worked at Wizards of the Coast. Although only released electronically, the game was nominated for an Origins Award in 2000. A new edition of Dragon Fist is scheduled for Summer 2003.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for Dragon Fist to see print,” said Chris Pramas, “and I’d like to thank Anthony Valterra of Wizards of the Coast for making it possible.”

Dragon Fist is the fantasy game of martial arts action. Inspired by classic Hong Kong wuxia and martial arts films like Come Drink With Me, One Armed Swordsman, Bride With White Hair, and A Chinese Ghost Story, as well as Chinese mythology and folklore, Dragon Fist propels players into the land of Tianguo, where they face the corrupt emperor and his nefarious eunuch sorcerers.

“A huge number of people downloaded Dragon Fist on release and that was before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon showed America how rich the wuxia tradition is,” added Pramas.

Like all Green Ronin releases since the groundbreaking Death in Freeport, Dragon Fist will take advantage of Wizards of the Coast’s Open Game License.


Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is the worldwide market share leader in the trading card game and tabletop roleplaying game categories. A leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products, the company holds an exclusive patent on the method of playing trading card games (TCGs) and produces the world's best-selling Pokémon® and Magic: The Gathering® TCGs and publishes adventure games, family card and board games and electronic media products. Wizards of the Coast is also one of the world's premier book publishers of fantasy series fiction whose novels have made numerous appearances on The New York Times best-seller list and have sold millions of copies worldwide. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at wizards.com.

Green Ronin Publishing is a d20 System pioneer. Its adventure Death in Freeport was released on the same day as the 3E Player’s Handbook and went on to win the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 2000. Since then Green Ronin has led the pack of d20 companies, with acclaimed products such as Legions of Hell and the Book of the Righteous. Point your browser to www.greenronin.com for more info.

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Post by JoeGKushner » Mon Nov 04, 2002 9:34 am

This is great news. Will it be more of a plug & play style or is it going to support D20 Modern or ?

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Post by Erifnogard » Mon Nov 04, 2002 9:38 am

Yay!!! Will you be going the full d20 route or OGL? For what it's worth, I vote OGL. Sign my group up for 4 copies please. :green:
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Post by Nikchick » Mon Nov 04, 2002 9:40 am

JoeGKushner wrote:This is great news. Will it be more of a plug & play style or is it going to support D20 Modern or ?
Chris still has some design choices to make on this one. Now's a good time to make your opinions known, if you have them. :)

It's been a long, slow process getting DF back into Chris's hands, but we're all really excited that it's finally done.

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Summer 2003

Post by Nhoj » Mon Nov 04, 2002 10:01 am

Summer 2003? Looks like no vacation for Chris this year! :)

Fast, furioius, and lots of variety. I'd like a typical game session to support attacks on PCs honor and reputation, and lots of wild combat.
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Post by JoeGKushner » Mon Nov 04, 2002 10:13 am

I would like to see the following:

1. Introduction to genre with history of genre in America.

2. D20 Fantasy Rules

3. D20 Modern Rules

4. Setting using which ever set of rules best makes the genre come to live.
(Notes on incorporating this with Freeport and which abilities that the Monks of the Nameless (From BoTR) would have would also be another great feature.)

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Post by Sagan_Darkside » Mon Nov 04, 2002 10:15 am

Congratulations.

The original DL is a constant resource for my campeigns.

I look forward to seeing what you do, but hopefully it won't go near d20 Modern.

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Post by Michael Tree » Mon Nov 04, 2002 10:31 am

Congradulations!

I'd like to see both D20 fantasy and modern rules, though if it's turned into a streamlined OGL book that better reflects the hectic fast-paced improvisational nature of the fighting, that could be even better! (M&M's damage save mechanic anyone? :yar: )

What are the chances that you could get a license to use some of the martial arts feats in Oriental Adventures?

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Post by Nikchick » Mon Nov 04, 2002 10:44 am

Michael Tree wrote:Congradulations!

I'd like to see both D20 fantasy and modern rules, though if it's turned into a streamlined OGL book that better reflects the hectic fast-paced improvisational nature of the fighting, that could be even better! (M&M's damage save mechanic anyone? :yar: )

What are the chances that you could get a license to use some of the martial arts feats in Oriental Adventures?
Under the terms of the purchase, we have the rights to use original DF material that was used in OA (of most concern to us were all the cool spells Chris designed for DF that were then used in OA) but we probably won't be seeing any additional license to use additional material.

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Dragon Fist - d20 please

Post by mxyzplk » Mon Nov 04, 2002 12:58 pm

Nikchick wrote:
JoeGKushner wrote:This is great news. Will it be more of a plug & play style or is it going to support D20 Modern or ?
Chris still has some design choices to make on this one. Now's a good time to make your opinions known, if you have them. :)
This is good news, I'm a fan of Chris's Feng Shui work.

Well, this is an interesting question. It would be very nice for Dragon Fist to be highly cross-compatible with other D&D d20 stuff; an independent Oriental Adventures, so to speak. So definitely use/add on to the core d20 rules for it. But don't try to "balance" it - DF characters have lots of martial arts maneouvers and can perform stunts, start at third level, and are generally more bad-ass than a starting D&D character. Perhaps the classes should balance with core D&D without the stunts, but don't factor the stunts in to make any "game balance" determination. And don't short Dragon Fist characters in the new edition - I can see the temptation to make the martial arts maneuvers into feats, but then unless you give each class a lot of bonus martial arts feats they will not have as much martial arts power as they do in the original DF. Turning everything into feats but failing to remember that most PCs only get a handful of said feats is a major error many d20 game creators are making IMHO.

As much as possible, make the additions (stunt rules, martial arts, etc.) graft on-able to the core d20 stuff - essentially, options to take a core D&D campaign and play it in a more cinematic way. I think that there's definitely a market for adding in the concepts of stunts and the like easily to a core campaign. Boost your sales by making that easy. Remember that your main competition is a) Feng Shui, Hong Kong Action Theater/Swords of the Middle Kingdom and b) Oriental Adventures. Your advantage over all of these can be d20 leverage. Obviously FS and HKAT!, being in other systems, don't appeal much to the d20 marketplace, and OA, frankly, doesn't either - it seems to discourage crossovers and doesn't have much (except for katana weapon stats) that anyone cares to import into core d20 stuff. But if Dragon Fist II (or whatever) had content that enabled me to play "D&D, Feng Shui style" - I'd be all about buying it.

Notwithstandign the previous comments, however, in general be true to the wuxia genre and not to D&D.

And add some more stuff. DF was a freebie, and if it's core d20 based some of the rules go away - and there wasn't much to the rules section anyway, a lot of it was the (very good) background and color material. Add in true mooks for d20 and other HK action types of conventions. Make multiple attacks easier. (Feng Shui style).

Dragon Fist is an ancient setting that d20 Modern rules don't make sense in, perhaps save that for a modern-day HK action supplement in the same line, a guns-and-kung fu book for d20 Modern.

Keep all the Tianguo background as it is; no sense in alienating the current Dragon Fist users. It's all quite good, and Tianguo could be slipped into any generic fantasy world easily, to coexist with Freeport and other such.

Just some random thoughts. I am big into HKAT! and Feng Shui so I'm happy to comment further...

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Chairman Aeon » Fri Nov 08, 2002 7:51 pm

mxyzplk wrote:Notwithstandign the previous comments, however, in general be true to the wuxia genre and not to D&D.
What class would Chow Yun-Fat's character in Crouching Tiger be? Fighter, Paladin, Ranger? This is why I want an OGL game rather than a D20 martial arts plug-in.

Wuxia is closer to Western superheroes than European fantasy. coughM&Mcough

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by mxyzplk » Sat Nov 09, 2002 8:22 am

Chairman Aeon wrote:
mxyzplk wrote:Notwithstandign the previous comments, however, in general be true to the wuxia genre and not to D&D.
What class would Chow Yun-Fat's character in Crouching Tiger be? Fighter, Paladin, Ranger? This is why I want an OGL game rather than a D20 martial arts plug-in.
This betrays a misunderstanding of what a d20 vs an OGL game is.

Spycraft is a d20 game. No core classes to be seen. Heck, more on point, Oriental Adventures is a very D&D-compatible d20 work, and it has all sorts of genre specific classes. Nothing about d20 means that you can't have "samurai, ninja, wu jen" instead of "fighter, thief, wizard."

Chow Yun Fat's character in CTHD would be a high level Wu Tang Master. This would be a new class (probably a prestige class), which would consist of all sorts of Wu Tang martial arts maneuvers.

Again,the only reason to OGL rather than d20 is for a different method character generation and advancement. And in this way wuxia is NOT like superpowers. The superpower genre largely depends on heroes that already have their powers, and don't progress that much. Superman is Superman, less knowledgeable about how to use his powers perhaps, but largely the same from one decade to another. However, in the martial arts genre people are NOT born with powers, they very clearly develop them over time - a major theme, in fact, in martial arts movies.

Li Mu Bao from CTHD is not a starting character. He's a very high level character. But you can see a wide range of skills in the main characters - from Michelle Yeoh down to the doofusy guardsman guy. Not everyone can fly around all they wish - because some of them aren't ultra martial arts masters yet!

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Chairman Aeon » Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:01 am

mxyzplk wrote:This betrays a misunderstanding of what a d20 vs an OGL game is.

Spycraft is a d20 game. No core classes to be seen. Heck, more on point, Oriental Adventures is a very D&D-compatible d20 work, and it has all sorts of genre specific classes. Nothing about d20 means that you can't have "samurai, ninja, wu jen" instead of "fighter, thief, wizard."
Spycraft is and OGL game missing character creation and advancement rules. Strangely is is exactly the definition of a D20 game.

More important I don't think you and I agree on what wuxia is and what level to play at.

My definition of wuxia includes CTHD, Hard Boiled and The Matrix. Anything with a knight errant puzzling at his life is to me a wuxia film. I don't believe that flying masters and sword fights are the only definitions of the genre.

So the question then is asked, what character class would Tequila or Neo be?

As for the level of playing this is a personal preference. Some people want to become a master and other just want to play the master. I don't think that learning techniques is what wuxia is about. I think it is learning about yourself. Sometime the films use the idea of a new technique to show how the character changes his understanding, but I have rarelty seen a film where the character went from 1st level to 1th or beyond, save The Matrix.

And a common theme between super heroes ans wuxia is not about your powers or technique, but who you are, your responsibiilties and what you do with your gifts.

Why does Superman work a 9-5 job and do his hero stuff for free? Now that is truly a wuxia hero.

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by mxyzplk » Mon Nov 11, 2002 3:59 pm

Chairman Aeon wrote: More important I don't think you and I agree on what wuxia is and what level to play at.

My definition of wuxia includes CTHD, Hard Boiled and The Matrix. Anything with a knight errant puzzling at his life is to me a wuxia film. I don't believe that flying masters and sword fights are the only definitions of the genre.

So the question then is asked, what character class would Tequila or Neo be?
That's all fine, but obviously you're not familiar with the original Dragon Fist. It's ancient martial arts only, not modern. And sure, Chris could expand the scope to be a generic HK action game like Feng Shui or Hong Kong Action Theater. But it's even less a supers game then - unless you want to deliberately exclude lower-powered "knight errant puzzling at his life" movies like Bullet In The Head and other staples of HK action that don't necessarily involve everyone being at a super-powered level of skill.

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Chairman Aeon » Mon Nov 11, 2002 6:11 pm

mxyzplk wrote:That's all fine, but obviously you're not familiar with the original Dragon Fist.
I'm quite aware of what DF is. I'm not asking for modern rules, just that the spirit of of wuxia is timeless. John Woo's triad movies are wuxia in spirit.

The flipside is if you want a lower powered game then you really don't need another D&D suppliment with oriental window dressing.

I'm not as interested in the setting as I am the rules to allow people to do the neat things they do in the movies. I want characters to play clarinets in jazz bars and to be able to leap rooftop to rooftop. I want players who think both are equally as cool.

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Timba » Wed Dec 18, 2002 10:07 pm

Chairman Aeon wrote:My definition of wuxia includes CTHD, Hard Boiled and The Matrix. Anything with a knight errant puzzling at his life is to me a wuxia film. I don't believe that flying masters and sword fights are the only definitions of the genre.
It's ridculous! Why?! I know there is a silly Matrix mania, but please but because some silly tricks hta's not wuxia.

The word wuxia is composed of two characters. The first character, wu is used to describe things having to do with martial arts, war, or the military. The second character, xia refers to the type of protagonist found in wuxia fiction, and is also a synonym for chivalry. Thus, wuxia fiction is translated as martial-chivalric fiction. The simplest way to describe this genre to those who are not familiar with it is to define it as Chinese swords and sorcery. Most gamers become familiar with wuxia, through films such as A Chinese Ghost Story, Swordsman and Zu.

The word xia in its context of describing a type of person, is more difficult to define. A variety of translations have been used for the word. They include hero, swordsman, adventurer, soldier of fortune, warrior, or knight [-errant]. In some respects, the xia is all of these things, yet these definitions neither fully nor accurately describe the xia.

The most frequently used definitions for xia, are knight and knight-errant. Like the knight, skill in combat was the stock and trade of xia. However, xia were soldiers only on rare occasion. They excelled in personal combat, and were more akin to the renaissance duelist than the medieval knight. In addition, unlike the European knight who was exclusively a member of the aristocracy, xia could come from both humble or aristocratic backgrounds. The xia were often wanderers seeking adventure, but greed and self-interest was not always their motivation. As hired swords, xia resolved conflict through use of force, but their actions were tempered by a personal sense of justice and honor. Thus, what set xia apart from other men with fighting skills had to do with their ideology and code of conduct. As a force for good, xia have been extolled by Sima Qian. Later historians elaborated, making the distinction between xia, and other types of outlaw who used force without scruple for personal gain. Others saw little difference between xia and their less principled brethren. Han Feizi listed the xia among the five vermin of society for being subversive vigilante, while Xun Yue took a moral stance against xia for their rejection of Confucian values.

The traditional xia of fiction is a non-conformist who fights for justice. He is honorable to a fault, his word is inviolable, and his reputation is more important than life itself. Moreover, he is a master of the martial arts who does not hesitate to use his skills in the defense of his beliefs. This type of xia is the idealized version of the heroic xia, and is primarily encountered in modern fiction and cinema. A less romanticized description of xia can be drawn from history and more traditional fiction. This xia is also a swordsman, but one who is more dogmatic than altruistic. He is a champion for any cause to which he has pledged his loyalty, be it benevolent or otherwise. This definition takes into account the sometimes dubious nature of actions performed by xia. Along these lines, in Once Upon a Time in China all swordsmen who adhere to the principles of loyalty, reciprocity, and duty are xia. No distinction is made between xia who are altruistic, and those whose motives are of questionable merit.

Is a Neo a knighly character? Do you really think this?
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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Chairman Aeon » Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:51 pm

Timba wrote:Is a Neo a knighly character? Do you really think this?
Absolutely. Look at your own definition then ask yourself the question again.

"The traditional xia of fiction is a non-conformist who fights for justice."

Neo is a Knight-Errant, so is Tequila from Hard Boiled.

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Pagan priest » Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:53 pm

Chairman Aeon wrote: The flipside is if you want a lower powered game then you really don't need another D&D suppliment with oriental window dressing.

Iain.
Actually, we need somebody (like Green Ronin) to finnish what WotC started. WotC's Oriental Adventures is a good start on what the orient can be like, but it only shows a narrow slice of the broad fabric that is the Far East. The original Dragon Fist gave us a world similar enough to 2E D&D to make blending a possibility, much like a D20 game and 3E D&D. OA is the lower powered game setting like 2E AD&D was, now is the time for Dragon Fist to once again give us the high powered setting.

As far as the various classes already in D&D, some of them can be used, some get dropped, some new ones may be needed. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. In a D20 game, you can simply say "a fighter has thus and such weapons and armor as their initial proficiencies." From there, you can write the rules to give a prestige class that narrows the focus of a character, like Iron Monkey or Imperial Guard.

I know of many folks who never want to play a 1st level D&D character. They insist that there is no fun in trying to work such a character up to the levels where they would become interesting because they die so often. These players usually start characters at some higher level, whether 3rd, 5th or even 25th.

If you want a game where everybody is a wuxia master, then you have that option. With D&D, or any other D20 game, you can start a character at 10th level. On the other hand, if every one is starting out as a superhero, where can you grow?

To use CT,HD as an example, we get to see characters with varied power levels. Consider the scene in the tavern, plenty of folks on the path of the martial artist, but none have mastered the Wu Tang secrets. They all get their behinds served up on toast. What we didn't see in the film is whether or not any of the survivors went on to find a great master and learn the secrets of high flying wuxia. If Dragon Fist is built like a super hero game, that just isn't an option.

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Post by Michael Heacock » Thu Dec 19, 2002 2:11 pm

** move this to the Dragon Fist forum **
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Post by SassyRonin » Thu Dec 19, 2002 3:08 pm

Michael Heacock wrote:** move this to the Dragon Fist forum **
Good idea.
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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Timba » Fri Dec 20, 2002 3:32 am

Chairman Aeon wrote:Neo is a Knight-Errant, so is Tequila from Hard Boiled.
Do you really think this?! Neo in his private life made very illegal things, only for his own profit. He saved his friends not the world. He was sekking power and studied for fun. Anyway at the end of the movie Neo bcame somthing like agent Smith or worst. Maybe he will rule the Matrix. His personality doesn't promise he would be a good ruler. maybe he serve it. Who knows. He has a bit egoist character for my taste to be a knght-erant.

Anyway the wu part. where is the sword & sorcery in the Matrix?
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No D20 Modern

Post by Allensh » Fri Jan 10, 2003 7:41 am

Not because I am opposed to the rules, I'm not. But Dragon Fist was based on medieval (so to speak) China, and it should remain there, imo. BUT..take Dragon Fist, d20 Modern or Spycraft, Digital Burn and some imagination and you get d20 Feng Shui :)

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Re: Dragon Fist - OGL please

Post by Kindred » Sun Jan 26, 2003 3:54 am

mxyzplk wrote:Spycraft is a d20 game. No core classes to be seen
Perhaps not the standard fighter/thief/mu classes, but classes nonetheless. And it uses Departments as a race substitute.

I'd prefer something without classes. Ideally, something like M&M.
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Post by mistergone » Sun Jan 26, 2003 10:03 pm

I think M&M has proved that "regular" D20 is a cumbersome and out-dated dinosaur when it comes to rpg systems. >:) Heh, really, I just think it should be OGL-only. The D20 logo is a crutch that will cripple the game, despite selling more copies.
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Post by Michael Heacock » Sun Jan 26, 2003 11:07 pm

mistergone wrote:I think M&M has proved that "regular" D20 is a cumbersome and out-dated dinosaur when it comes to rpg systems. >:) Heh, really, I just think it should be OGL-only. The D20 logo is a crutch that will cripple the game, despite selling more copies.
Well if anything, M&M proved that you don't need a D20 logo to sell a lot of copies of a new game.

I agree. Dragon Fist as a D20 game would be crippling. No more fast combat, which is what Dragon Fists needs. D20 is legendary for the slow pace of its combat, which gets slower and slower as you increase in levels.

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