Feng Shui - Least Favorite Fu Powers


Least Favorite Fu Powers

This section is devoted to fu powers that I would never put on a character unless there was some strong thematic reason. (i.e., you want a Lighting Fist to be teamed with someone who does Thunder Kick) To be on this list, the power must be worse than an earlier power in the same path, worse than a power in some other path, with no useful progression higher in the path, or be less useful than a standard maneuver, such as attacking or dodging for its shot cost.

The Dim Fist

Use Dragon instead.

Dim Mak suffers from the following flaw - anyone can ignore armor for the cost of a called shot (-2 AV). So against armored opponents, Dim Mak provides a +2 AV for 2 Chi. Compare to Breath of the Dragon, which provides a +3 AV for 3 Chi, and works on everybody for the same 2 schticks.

Lighting fist does effectively STR + 6-14 damage against a human opponent for 6 Chi, depending on toughness, and +2 AV versus armored opponents. Compare to Breath of the Dragon and Signature Weapon Sword, which does STR + 7 damage for 3 Chi and provides +3 AV versus everyone. If your STR + 3 (STR + 1 if armored) equals the opponents toughness, your damage will be >= the Lightning Fist after two punches, and some Dragon blows will land that would not have hit a fast opponent if Lighting Fist was used. Also the +3 AV is useful to clearing away Mooks.

Impulsive Stance

Use Coil of the Snake instead.

The only thing wrong with Lunge of the Snake is that Coil of the Snake does it better for anything except a movement action. If you need to dodge high in the sequence you can anyway. If you want to attack 3 shots early you can spend the same 3 Chi and do it with Coil. If you are patient, you can attack 3 times just two shots later, with the same 3 Chi. Using your 5th schtick to move a little earlier in the sequence is simply not worth it.

Contract of the Fox takes 6 schticks, rather than 4 for Coil of the Snake, and if you use it, you can't use the bottom 5 schticks (you have 2 Fu left if an Old Master, otherwise you have zero Fu) In almost any case a good Singe Fu power would be a better addition to the top 5 Fox powers. The exception would be a character designed for this power - a strong, slow martial artist who would use the other Fu powers sparingly and only when he rolled well, or an Old Master who specialized in Mind and used the power when he rolled poorly. If the reason you are in Fox is to go first, go with the Snake powers instead.

Slowness of the Turtle

Use these powers and you will never get to attack.

The trouble with all of these powers is that it is almost never worth getting a minor defensive advantage in exchange for an attack. This is why most defensive maneuvers and powers which last the rest of the sequence cost 0-1 shots. Major defensive advantages that last the whole sequence (Tornado of Shelter, Laughter of the Turtle) might be worth losing an attack for. Since you only get 2-4 attacks a sequence, any use of these powers will slow you down a lot. If you are taking these powers in order to get to Tornado of Shelter (8 schticks) or Laughter of the Turtle (7 schticks), I have some notes on what you get for each power listed below

Walk of 1000 Steps requires an active dodge to be useful. Use it against a single opponent against which you have a speed advantage - enough to lose an attack and dodge every time he attacks, and still get an attack or two in. The opportunity cost for this power is all your Chi and 6-7 shots

Armored in Life trades an attack for +3 toughness which only works on damage caused by attacks (not environmental effects like explosions and falling). Use this where your defensive AV is just not doing the job and your offensive potential is not going to win any time soon. This works a lot better if you have 10+ Toughness already, since it can make you immune to small arms if the users are not too skilled.

King on the Water trades an attack for an opponents attack. This is not useful in combat unless your opponent does too much damage to risk, but can be useful before a combat to make everyone's first strike fail if the posturing phase takes too long. (i.e. use King on the Water on every opponent, out of combat) Also useful to make the first attack from an underling fail

Backlash of the Turtle trades an attack, 3 chi and injury for a disarm maneuver. Do this only if the opponent can't easily switch weapons, has an AV too high for a disarm and is not using a Signature Weapon. Otherwise just punch the SOB.

Mirror of the Turtle trades an attack to do damage equal to injury sustained. Use this when you just took a lot of damage (but not more than your Martial Arts AV) and when the opponent will take more from it than you could do from hitting them. Very high defensive AV's of your opponent might justify this maneuver

Fortress of Righteousness trades an attack and a bunch of Chi to make an opponent's Fu power fail. The only good thing about this power is that it is a Defensive Action, and can thus be used only if the opponent's attack succeeds and a very vile power is being used (e.g., Water Sword, Point Blockage, Shadowfist, Wing of the Crane, Beak of the Crane)

Drizzle Stance

Use Snake or Dragon instead.

Awesome Downpour trades 1 chi for +2 AV against multiple named opponents. This is cheaper than the Breath of the Dragon which also costs 2 schticks, but is a lot less flexible. Rain of Fury trades 2 Chi in order to save face against a mook or mooks that you failed to kill on the first try. Again the 3 schtick Claw of the Dragon is more expensive in Chi, but it is guaranteed, and might not even be needed if the Breath was used.

If you are willing to spend 4 schticks, Coil of the Snake blows these out of the water. If you want to attack two Named characters for 1 Fu, attack the first a shot earlier and pay the Fu, then attack the second one on your shot and pay the shot cost. It is more flexible because it also works on Mooks and goes earlier. If you want to hit a Mook again, just pay 1 Fu (instead of 2) and do it. Or do the same to a named character.

Torrent of Fury has all of the disadvantages of the Flying Windmill Kick (high cost, fails with one good defender) without the advantage of being able to take out a Named character in one action. It costs 8 fu schticks, of which about 4 are useful. If you want to do anything else in a sequence you have to wait until the end of the sequence to use it, and save all or most of your Fu. By contrast Coil of the Snake takes only 4 schticks, gets 8 strikes in at the top of the sequence for the 8 Fu left, and leaves the rest of the sequence for dodging, moving, attacking, etc. Also if you do not need all 8 strikes, you don't have to spend the Fu. Moreover, one bad roll does not end your attacks, the way it does with Torrent of Fury. In some campaigns Torrent of Fury might be limited by who you can reach with your Move, but given darts, etc., that is not much of a restriction. Finally you can hit the same named character 8 times, taking him out of the fight BEFORE he does his damage.

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Least Favorite Fu Powers / Flick Inc / © Copyright 1996 Brad Solberg
Last modified: January 31, 1997 / brad@flick.com