Street Fighter Notes
After a few weeks off, we are back for a Card Catalog near and dear to my heart. It’s come up several times on the podcast, so it was time to turn the Card Catalog attention to Street Fighter! In 1994, White Wolf Game Studio acquired the license to make a roleplaying game based on Street Fighter video game series from Capcom. This was before they had finished the original World of Darkness series, with Wraith and Changeling yet to be released. A company, and a system, that was built around narrative storytelling may seem like an odd match for a game that is based on a nonstop series of one-on-one fights, but White Wolf produced a total of six products for the line before it was unceremoniously discontinued in 1996. The Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game remains one of my all time favorite games because of it’s fun, flexibility, and the imagination it sparks to this day.
First things first, the system has some problems and everyone who plays it will inevitably make some house rules and choices to resolve certain inconsistencies in the books. There are times that the information doesn’t match up between two different parts of a single book and the expansion products don’t always seem to line up with the original material in terms of balance and design. The weapon wielding Duelists never received special maneuvers and the promised Animal Companion special maneuvers were never fleshed out either. That said, it is a fantastically flexible system that is chock full of ideas and inspiration leading to the near rabid love of the system and setting that persists to this day. I spent a lot of time designing my own maneuvers, styles, and statting out characters from other video fighting game series for the challenge and reward of it all. The supplements included aliens, dragons, cyborgs, and much more that fed the possibilities and imagination of the players and it was, at the very end of the day, a lot of fun to play!
Character creation follows the same basic design from the White Wolf Storytelling System – you have three types of attributes: Physical, Mental, and Social. You assign a priority to each and distribute your points in each category to start: 7, 5, and 3. Each attribute ranges from 1 to 5 as normal human range, but Street Fighter characters may buy above that with experience and special backgrounds like Animal Hybrids and Cyborgs have an easier time getting there. The same priority and point system follows for the abilities. The ability list is rather short with the emphasis on storytelling and straightforward play as you will see.
The “meat” of the Street Fighter character is the techniques and maneuvers. Each character starts with 8 points to distribute between Punch, Kick, Block, Grab, Athletics, and Focus which are techniques associated with your martial arts maneuvers. Additionally, you start with 7 points to spend on maneuvers and combos. The Martial Arts style you choose has a list of maneuvers you can purchase at a discounted cost as well as the maneuvers available to any fighter. Some of the more powerful maneuvers require you to spend Willpower or Chi to activate them which are initially set by your choice of style as well. You round out your character with backgrounds and spending “Freebie” points.
Mechanically, the basic system is to roll a dice pool of d10s equal to your Attribute + Ability with a variable target number of 3 to 9 where 6 is the standard difficulty. Each 1 you roll cancels a success. This mapped closely to the first edition of the World of Darkness games where White Wolf had the Storytelling System make a mark. As a game with a lot of combat, there are specific rules for combat and it was built around having a deck of maneuver cards that showed your maneuvers. Each maneuver has a speed, damage, and movement modifier. The speed is based on your Dexterity attribute, modified by the maneuver; The Damage is equal to Strength + Technique + Maneuver; the Move is equal to Athletics technique + Maneuver, or sometimes a set value such as 0,1, or 2. The lowest speed maneuver begins with that character taking his or her movement and executing their maneuver unless interrupted by a higher speed character. You don’t have to roll to hit, but your Damage pool is reduced by the Stamina attribute of your foe, to a minimum of 1d10. If that character is blocking, the Damage pool is reduced by their Stamina + Block Technique.
The first thing to realize is that the game is not really meant to be a nonstop tournament of fighting. It is more Who Am I than The Quest. The characters are intended to be undertaking jobs, adventures, and missions with the purpose of not only increasing their skill and standing but also to block the expansion of the international criminal empire of Shadaloo. There is to be skulduggery, investigation, and a good bit of fighting that isn’t in the “ring” with a nice tournament thrown in every now and again.
This system came out around the same time as the Street Fighter movie, and you should look to that as part of where this world happens to be. M. Bison runs the international criminal organization called Shadaloo from his secret Island nation of Mriganka. Shadaloo are the unabashed villains of the setting and the world of Street Fighter sets up the conflict where the grey area of the world in the street fighting divisions end up facing Shadaloo head on. The criminal organizations worldwide are stronger, and could present a threat to nations if left unchecked. While the police and intelligence agencies remain underfunded, they turn to and secretly rely on the Street Fighting Circuit to keep Shadloo and other organizations in check. A common trope here is to have all of the characters having been harmed by Shadaloo in some way setting up the campaign.
The different circuits(Freestyle, Traditionalist, and Duelist) have different levels of publicity, but major corporate sponsorship abounds and the World Warriors are known across the continents. The way of the martial arts is a prominent part of the world, and even more so to the overarching campaigns of the game. Fighters better themselves and seek out training from Masters across the globe as they hunt for new or more powerful techniques, following the Path of Honor or the Path of Glory all the while trying to stop M. Bison’s Shadaloo and all the others who would tarnish the world.
Palladion has some experience under them and has advanced in Rank to Rank 3 or 4 (meaning I get to spend Experience Points when I build them!) at the steady hand of Mandy Lee. The members are a diverse group, all taking part in the Freestyle division even if most of them could be in the Traditional Division, that seem to have come together and are peeling back layers of Shadaloo’s involvement with the Street Fighting circuit. Mandy sometimes gets surprised at some of the jobs they are hired on for promotions or as extra help and she is beginning to suspect there may be more to it than just her stellar services. As the first Team Mandy has managed on her own for Transmarco, Inc., it’s been an exciting time for her as well as the rest of the fighters in this quasi legal escapade. I also leaned into the trope where most of them have been touched by Shadaloo’s malicious presence before. It’s a trope, but a good one for this style.
Emanuel – Grappling Pankrationist
Emanuel is a kid who is trying to make it big. Always tall and gangly, he was picked on for being awkward and the teacher’s pet. His natural studiousness came in handy when he found Pop’s Gym after his family’s apartment building was torched by Shadaloo controlled gangs. He stumbled into being trained by a former Street Fighter and threw himself into the physical aspects of Pankration with the same dedication he had to his studies. Emanuel is eager to learn about nearly everything, but often ends up having to fix the broken down car Palladion is trying to use for a getaway vehicle. At least he got to name the team after the talismanic statute of Pallas Athena said to protect Athens. He’s often the serious member of the team, even though he is only 20 years old and seems intent on finding the American dream his parents have told him about.
Richard “Bombastic” Hughes– Kung Fu fighting former lineman
Bombastic had a rare and promising life as an offensive lineman drafted into professional football. While not a first round pick, he was picked up for his strength and speed. Unlike many other lineman, he had turned to Kung Fu as a way to improve his footwork and hand skills. It turned out that he was better at Kung Fu than football. After he was cut in two short years, he trained even harder and his Sifu saw something in him. His drive for competition and the thrill of the combat meant he was destined to follow the Path of Glory and into the Freestyle Street Fighting Circuit Bombastic went.
Gunther – Water Elemental Aikidoka
The soft spoken german, Gunther, has a past as a brash tough in Metro City but stepped away from all of that and found his calmer more relaxed life for decades. A family man with a wife and daughter, Gunther’s control over water was something extraordinary to the world but perfectly mundane to his life … until his daughter ran away. Shadaloo had their claws into her mind and she ran off to who knows what end. To try to find Fumiko and keep her safe, Gunther reached out to an old friend who told him about Emanuel and arranged and introduction.
Georgia – Duelist Kickboxer
Georgia came late to the fighting world compared to many others. It wasn’t until after she survived her first cancer diagnosis and treatment that she took health seriously. In the wake of recovery, she took to exercise, healthier living, and found kickboxing to help drive her. As a cook, her lowcountry cooking would stick to your bones, but as a streetfighter she is embracing the excitement that life can provide in the ring.
Mandy Lee – Enthusiastic Manager
Mandy is trying to get her big break into the Street Fighting circuit as well, but from the Manager’s side of things! This is the first time that she has been given the reins to manage a Team on her own and is trying to impress her bosses … and have some fun. A former public education finance director, Mandy was getting bored out of her mind with the budgets and politics involved and discovered the Street Fighting Circuit because of one of her fellow circus arts students. She leapt at the chance to learn more and has since left the safety of public employment for the daring world of management. Something is going on with this Team, but she hasn’t quite put her finger on what that is just yet.
Fillable Character Sheet from SFRPG.com
Capcom, Street Fighter, Final Fight, Metro City, The World Warriors, and the names and likenesses of the World Warriors are trademarked, copywritten, or both to Capcom Co., Ltd. The Storytelling System or Storytelling Game system are copyright White Wolf, Inc. This is a noncommercial fan work and no use of these copyrights or trademarks is meant to be or intended as a challenge of ownership.