Action movies have always been at odds with realism. Fortunately for us, their conﬂict is easily resolved with a series of savage kicks to realism's face! Impossible leaps, insane acrobatics, and victory against overwhelming odds are all staples of the genre... and the essential elements of action role-playing games.
Sadly, traditional RPGs have long been in league with realism. They penalize players who want to, say, kick seven mooks with one spin kick by piling negative modiﬁers onto their roll, which makes them less likely to succeed. The inevitable result is that smart players stick to simple, boring actions and take a tactical approach to combat. Wushu breaks up this insidious alliance with a core mechanic that rewards players for vivid descriptions and over-the-top stunts by making them more likely to succeed, each and every time.
Traditional role-playing games also alienate themselves from action movies by segmenting time into rounds of only a few seconds. In the movies, you get to see characters trade a whole series of attacks, defenses, and counter-attacks before the camera cuts away. In role-playing games, players are usually limited to one action per round, and they only get enough time for one swing, punch, or pull of the trigger before the next player's turn. This takes the back-and-forth pacing that's essential for exciting ﬁght scenes and stabs it straight through the heart!
In Wushu, players are encouraged to make as many attacks, leaps, dives, parries, and ripostes as they like before any dice are rolled. Each "round” is divided into two parts, which everyone completes at the same time. First, the group Describes the scene; this is the important part because their narration determines what actually happens in the game world. Then, they Resolve their dice rolls to see how well it all worked.