Updated: Jan 17
I've been raving for a while now about how cool White Wolf's 1994 Street Fighter RPG is, but it is true that it's not great "out of the box." It requires a couple of hotfixes to truly shine. Here's my take on what those should be. Some of these I adopted from my old gaming group back in the 90s (1-3), and some (numbers 4 and 5) are my own additions.
1) Roll Speed. Instead of treating the Speed of a Combat Card as a static number, at the start of each turn roll a d10 and add your Speed value. The result is each character’s actual speed for that turn. (For reference, if one player has 2 more speed than another, this gives them more than double the other's chances of winning. If they have 5 more speed, they are more than 8x more likely to win than their opponent. See a full breakdown of odds at the end.)
2) Turn Order. Instead of starting with the slowest fighter and working your way up, but giving any faster fighter the opportunity to interrupt at any time, start with the fastest fighter and go in order to the slowest, but give any fighter the opportunity to hold their action and interrupt at any later point. This preserves almost all the functionality of the original system, but avoids the headache when it’s not necessary.
3) Abort Phase. Be very clear about designating an abort phase after all speeds have been rolled and announced but before any further information is revealed. A player who chooses to abort re-rolls speed for the new maneuver; if they fail to beat their opponent’s speed, the new maneuver is not activated in time to be of use. Choosing to abort no longer costs 1 willpower point.
4) Basic Maneuvers give +1 Soak. This is designed to give fighters incentive to use basic maneuvers, to add more diversity to action selections. Note that this includes Block, making a simple Block slightly more effective than it otherwise would be.
5) Heroic Resolve. 3x/team/story. This is a unique ability that player characters get to represent the spirit and determination that are the marks of a true hero. When a PC is knocked out, the team may choose to activate one use of Heroic Resolve. If so, that player must describe the thoughts and memories that go through the character’s mind in that moment. Pause the action to give that character an internal vignette showcasing what gives them the strength to stand back up and fight on. Then make a Willpower roll; if successful, instead of being knocked out, you stand back up with a number of health levels equal to the number of successes you rolled. Furthermore, Willpower and Chi both reset to full.
The team as a whole can use this ability three times per story, and each use can only be activated by unanimous consensus. One PC may end up using all three activations, or it may be given to three different PCs over time. The first time it is used, the difficulty of the Willpower roll is 7. The second time, it’s 8, and the third and final time, the difficulty is 9. The Story Guide decides when a “story” ends and the three activations reset. It is intended that this power be used sparingly and only at moments that are critical to both character growth and story development.
* For a more detailed breakdown of the odds of winning the speed roll, based on your relative advantage, see below. I think the math looks pretty good; a fighter with a relative speed bonus gets a meaningful improvement in the odds of going first, but there’s still the chance of an upset, even at a significant differential.
Speed + d10 odds
Player A wins
Player B wins
A and B have equal Speed bonuses
B has relative +1
B has relative +2
Player B has +3
B has +4
B has +5