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Exalted: Modern – Lucha Libre Style

July 5, 2011

So, in the interests of updating modern martial arts styles into proper Martial Arts Styles (note the capitalization difference), I went to town on this.  Thus far, it’s gotten a lot of positive feedback, so now I turn it over to you, the public.  Prepare to face… El Diablo Rojo!

Lucha Libre Style
Originally a form of wrestling beginning in Mexico and spreading culturally throughout the world, Lucha Libre Style has become much more than that since the return of the Exalted. In its initial incarnation, it was a matter of honor and entertainment, a usually friendly competition that distilled the essence of martial arts into its core principles: technical performance, challenge, and honor.

When infused with Essence, Lucha Libre Style has become much more. As a Terrestrial Martial Art, it is literally the metaphysical embodiment of honorable conflict, a style that demands the highest performance from its practitioners (traditionally referred to as luchadores). Combatants wear elaborate masks, hiding their identities behind their martial prowess, metaphorically subsuming their very natures and letting their style speak for itself.

Weapons and Armor: Lucha Libre Style is an unarmed martial art. Luchadores may not wear armor, though many design Artifact masks that give them some protective benefits. Masks of any kind never count as armor for the purposes of Lucha Libre Style. See the sidebar, “The Masks We Wear” below.

Additional Requirements: Luchadores must have at least one Martial Arts specialty in (While Masked). Furthermore, learning Lucha Libre Style requires the potential martial artist to have at least one dot in the Face Background.

Special Mechanics: In Lucha Libre Style, there are two paths: the technicians (or técnicos) or the rude ones (or rudos). Technicians are the “good guys,” the noble and heroic luchadores that strive to uphold honor and integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. Rudos are the “bad guys,” or the individuals who forego the rules for momentary advantage. Each Charm in Lucha Libra Style has a different benefit for a Técnico or Rudo. Luchadores must choose one path upon purchasing their first Lucha Libre Charm. This decision can be changed later; doing so converts all known Lucha Libre Charms from one path to the other, at the cost of all the character’s Face Background. Particularly generous Storytellers may opt to refund experience for this loss, but such is not required.

Axe-Handle Strike
Cost: 2m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The luchador performs a single, potent strike by clasping both hands together and bringing them downward onto his opponent, like swinging an axe. This Charm supplements an unarmed Martial Arts attack. Técnico: An unarmed attack enhanced by this Charm counts the luchador’s Strength twice for purposes of determining damage. Rudo: An unarmed attack enhanced by this Charm applies an external penalty to his opponent’s DV equal to any Martial Arts specialties that apply to this attack. This is a fear-based Emotion effect that can be resisted by spending one Willpower.

Skin as Hard as Steel
Cost: 1m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The luchador calls upon his inner reserves, bolstering his resistance to his opponent’s attacks and letting him endure the most brutal punishment. Técnico: This Charm adds the luchador’s highest Virtue to his Bashing and Lethal soaks and Hardness. Rudo: This Charm adds half the luchador’s Willpower (round up) to his Bashing and Lethal soaks and Hardness.

Observer-Pleasing Performance
Cost: 3m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

Luchadores do not merely determine victory by who is left broken and bleeding on the mat. A true lucha is determined in the hearts and spirits of the spectators who observe the match. This Charm may be activated during any scene in which the luchador has landed a blow against his opponent that dealt at least one level of damage. The fighter spends an action gesticulating to the audience, pleading for encouragement or shouting derision. He makes a (Charisma + Martial Arts) roll. Anyone who observes the Charm whose MDV is less than the successes rolled instantly gains a positive Intimacy toward the luchador. Resisting this Intimacy costs two Willpower. Técnico: The Intimacy is one of admiration. Rudo: The Intimacy is one of grudging respect.

Lucha Libre Form
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Form-type
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Axe-Handle Strike, Observer-Pleasing Performance, Skin as Hard as Steel

The luchador draws his strength from his style, and his style draws its strength from him. Noble wrestlers find themselves ennobled by their practice, while baser participants grow ever more successful from their depravity. While this Charm is active, the martial artist can parry Lethal and ranged attacks barehanded without a stunt. Furthermore, all stunts that benefit a Martial Arts roll have their die bonus and reward increased by one (to a maximum of three) so long as the stunt resonates with the martial artist’s chosen path. Técnico: Finally, the luchador adds his Integrity to his Bashing and Lethal soaks for the Charm’s Duration. Rudo: Finally, the luchador adds his Manipulation to all attempts to re-establish surprise for the Charm’s Duration.

Theatrical Decisive Clutch
Cost: 2m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Lucha Libre Form

Victory in a formal lucha comes from pinning one’s opponent to the mat. Victory in an informal match is often won by similar means. This Charm supplements an unarmed clinch attempt. Técnico: The luchador adds his highest Virtue to the Damage of the clinch, but the clinch cannot deal Lethal damage under any circumstances. Bashing damage that would spill over into Lethal is lost. Rudo: The luchador’s painful clinch inflicts a non-cumulative -1 internal penalty on all the victim’s non-reflexive rolls as a Crippling effect. This penalty lasts for the remainder of the scene and is in addition to any Wound Penalties inflicted by the clinch.

Honor amongst Luchadores
Cost: None (Varies); Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Theatrical Decisive Clutch

The heart of the luchador is his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. From the strength of his conviction and the purity of his spirit, the martial artist can draw forth the will to endure any hardship. Técnico: Any time the luchador would regain motes from a successful stunt enhanced by a Virtue, he may pay one additional channel of that Virtue to double the stunt reward. Rudo: Whenever the luchador succeeds at a stunt appropriate to his “bad guy” fighting style, he may choose to regain a Virtue channel instead of reaping the normal stunt rewards.

Flying Honor Strike
Cost: 3m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Lucha Libre Form

With a bellowing roar, the luchador charges across the ring, hurling himself into his opponent with a fully body strike, be it a kick, elbow drop, or just a bull-headed charge. This Charm supplements an unarmed attack, allowing the martial artist to cover his Move distance as a part of the attack.  Técnico: If the attack hits, both the luchador and his target are knocked prone as a Knockdown effect. The luchador may immediately spend one mote as an innate ability to rise from prone Reflexively. Rudo: If the attack hits, the victim is flung backward a distance equal to the distance the luchador moved in that tick as a Knockback effect.

Tooth-Rattling Combination
Cost: 3m/attack; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Flying Honor Strike

With a series of powerful, quick blows, the luchador renders his opponent senseless and defeated. This Charm allows the martial artist to make a stunningly fast flurry of up to (Essence) attacks, ignoring Rate. The entire flurry has a DV penalty equal to the highest penalty of any one attack. Técnico: If the luchador channels a Virtue to enhance one attack, it automatically enhances all attacks in the flurry. Rudo: The flurry’s onslaught penalty is increased by one (non-cumulative). Thus, the first attack in the flurry would inflict a -1 onslaught penalty, the second a -2, and so on.

Complex Submission Hold
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Until released
Prerequisite Charms: Honor amongst Luchadores, Tooth-Rattling Combination

When the luchador’s opponent has tasted the mat, it’s all over but the crying. This Charm may be activated to supplement an attempt to maintain a clinch, inflicting a -1 internal penalty on the victim’s roll for each action the luchador has already controlled the clinch. Técnico: Further, if the luchador wins the contested roll and chooses to pin his opponent and deal no damage, he regains one Willpower. This effect cannot occur again until the martial artist’s DV has refreshed. Rudo: Further, if the luchador chooses to crush his opponent and deal damage, the clinch ignores all armor-based soak and Hardness.

[Sidebar: The Masks We Wear]
To a luchador, his mask is his identity. It is his soul made manifest on his face, his true persona revealed. Each luchador has a special mask made for him, to which he is attuned, much like an Artifact. In fact, some of these masks are Artifacts in their own right, though many are no more than particularly ornate articles of clothing. A luchador’s mask is never less than a Resources 2 purchase, and some opulent masks have been known to cost up to Resources 5.

Attuning to a mask is not as simple as wearing it. Anyone can wear a mask, but not everyone in a mask is a luchador. First, the mask must be made for the wrestler in question. Wearing someone else’s mask confers no benefit. Secondly, the luchador must spend at least one scene attuning to the mask. This costs one temporary Willpower (which is not committed). Finally, the luchador must have at least one dot of the Face Background.

At the moment of attunement, all the luchador’s dots of Face become dependent upon the mask. He selects a name or title to go along with the mask, and only gains the benefits of his Face while using that name. Should the luchador ever renounce or lose his mask, he also loses all accumulated dots of Face. Such loss of Face confers a refund of appropriate experience. Furthermore, he immediately gains a positive Intimacy toward his mask which cannot be eroded unless he renounces or loses his mask.

Wrestlers will occasionally enter into luchas de apuestas, or “betting matches,” where the loser must remove his mask. Such a loss comes with an accompanying loss of Face, and though the luchador may continue to use his mask, he must reattune to it and rebuild any Face he has lost.

Martial artists who change from técnicos to rudos or vice versa go through a similar process, though their loss of Face is not normally refunded. They must reattune to their mask and often acquire entirely new masks, with entirely new names to reflect their altered philosophy. However, many choose to keep their names and masks, building a new legend atop the old. Attunement to a new mask or redemption of an old mask requires a meditative ritual that differs from culture to culture but usually requires at least six hours of contemplation on the nature of the mask and the luchador’s personality, as well as the consumption of some manner of mind-altering substance. A silent vigil atop a Tibetan mountain under the effects of an opium pipe qualifies as thoroughly as a drunken evening of self-pity in a Tijuana dive.

Lucha Libre Style Charms do not function unless the martial artist is wearing an attuned mask.
[End Sidebar]

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