It’s a fair assessment to say I’m a fan of Professional Wrestling.
OK, I know, that reading that last line, at least some of you, perhaps 50%, just muttered to yourself, “Man, he knows it’s not real right?” I will deal with this once, and just once, and we can move on and put this all behind us. I could go into pages of long-winded diatribe about exhibitionism and athletics, but I’d rather you took 20 minutes out of your day to watch this explanation, that says it better than I ever could. Please note that this contains much adult language, so it’s likely NSFW.
That said. I’m a Fan of Professional Wrestling, and while the American version is my bread and butter, the really good stuff comes from Mexico. (Yes, and Japan) Lucha Libre is far more than just a Spanish-language version of the Monday night cable TV fare, it’s a part of the culture, if not a culture in and of itself, to our southern cousins. The heroes and their villainous counterparts more analogous to comic book super heroes. It was not uncommon in days past for Luchas to be movie stars, fighting monsters and mad scientists alike, before going back to challenge for the tag-team titles.
When I started playing GURPS 4th edition, it was a variation of Weird West, which transitioned later into low-level supers, and moved on from there. What I ended up playing, in that 2nd game was a gun slinging martial artist, because my first idea was beyond my skills to create to my satisfaction, a super-powered luchador. In the 5 or so years that have passed, I have learned the ins and outs of the system, playing a variety of characters, in power levels from 50 to 1200 points. While I’ve enjoyed being a stoic gigantic space engineer, a flamboyant growth brick, an albino cleric and a blues harmonica playing bard-wizard, I’ve never lost my yen for the martial artist in the mask.
We came to GURPS after a couple of years playing in HERO System, and even after the transition, I kept my toe in that pool, because I liked the cartoony feel of the game. I still refer to HERO as “GURPS the Animated Series”, because that’s how I see it. In 2009, HERO almost won me back, by publishing Lucha Libre HERO. More than anything else I and encountered, it showed me that Lucha could be done, and “Bah Gawd”1 I was gonna make it work in GURPS too.
In that time I have worked off and on, to recreate the style and feel of lucha for a workable GURPS character, if not a campaign.
The plan is over-arching. First, I need to follow suit of the HERO conversion, and make my master list of maneuvers and moves, which thankfully, GURPS has a solid system of already. About a year into this project, they threw me a curve-ball, and released the deep-grit masterpiece GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling, giving me much more detail to work from, and more importantly, the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one who wants this kind of thing. It just took me a while to realize it…
I heard about this new supplement while discussing my project with my own GM, (now a player, in my DF game) who had, since its release, been in some discussion with his peers about a particular set of moves that they had seen in the major motion picture; Iron-Man 2. In the scene, the Black Widow, showing off her great skill in ass-kickery, leaps from a crouching position to grapple an opponents head with her legs, only to use said grapple to throw the unlucky fella to the ground.
I had heard him talk about this bit before, and certainly I had seen the movie, but once I watched it, and really paid attention, I realized it… She was wrestling! The move he had been so taken with, and broken down to the sequence and combat modifiers of, was basically a Hurricanrana, a staple of Lucha Libre, and fantastic way to bridge what I had been doing, with what this new supplement was offering. Not everything in my conversion needed the level of detail that Technical Grappling offers, but others could not be done properly without it.
After the realization involving the Widow’s Hurricanrana, I found a move that had been giving me a hard time, known as a Backslide Pin, and tried to get his take on it. Not being inn depth with the new rules, I may have undersold my question when I asked “How do you grab someone behind you?” knowing he was not a particular fan of the wrasslin’ as maybe me and some other of our cohorts are. This was my failure, at this point. What followed was my GM Taking. Me. To. School.
Suffice to say, I still work on this conversion. Currently I’m still cataloging moves, be they throws, grabs or strikes, and converting them into GURPS rules. Most of the simple ones are easy, a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick. Sometimes the differences are a matter of semantics, is clothesline a strike or a sweep? Once you know that, is there a difference between that and a lariat? Personally, I list clotheslines as sweeps, and the lariat as a strike, mainly because one is used more as a damaging attack. Just don’t tell Bradshaw I said so. Sometimes, like the Backslide, its more a matter of how do I turn the intricate dance that is wrasslin’, into numbers and 1 second segments. Thus, I struggle on. I have a day job, and other hobbies, but this is my long-term goal. Think of it like a 5-point obsession. It’s not all I do, but it’s almost always on my mind.
You can expect to see this feature pop up a lot in the coming months as I begin new phases, first beta-testing my theories in conversions, then in template creation. I’m willing to bet you will all know the difference between a Technico and a Rudo before I’m done. Who knows, maybe one day You’ll see GURPS Martial Arts: Lucha Libre Adventures.
I’ll keep my boots laced, and my fingers crossed.
1See commentary by Jim “Good Ol’ J.R.” Ross for the audio version of this phrase.