Wuxia stories are filled with incredible action. A wuxia RPG must not only support such play style, it must encourage it.
I’m certain that Art of Wuxia does this in every game session. For example I have seen fights take place across rooftops. I’ve seen accupoint strikes paralyze opponents. Players have used poles, chairs, tables, bowls, stones and a flagstone as improvised weapons. They have leapt down stairs and up to balconies. They have fought standing on tables and shooting while standing in a saddle. I’ve seen fans that have hidden blades, poles that spring out spear points, and sabers that are actually two swords used as one or two separately. I haven’t seen chopsticks used yet in game but I’m sure they will at some point.
So far, my favorite cool moment is when a player walked into a circle of minor NPC baddies calmly placing stones on the blade of his kwandao (glaive-like weapon). He told them, “Drop your weapons or I’ll drop you!”. They almost balked but decided their seven against one odds favored them. The PC spun flicking his blade and the stones went out striking and incapacitating all seven baddies. The table erupted with cheers!
Art of Wuxia has several game mechanics that support this type of action. First, baked right into the rules is Chi which is used like hero or action points in other games. Chi can be used to do all sorts of things from adding damage from an attack, leaping incredible distances, re-rolling a bad die roll to expelling a poison. All players have access to certain Chi abilities with warriors having access to a few additional ones.
Another factor of cool is weapon damage is keyed to skill so the more skill warrior you are the more damage your weapons do. This also includes improvised weapons, which could literally be anything. This makes it so small darts are deadly in the hands of an expert. A teacup can be thrown and knock a weapon out of an opponent’s hand. A table can be picked up and used to knock several opponents across the room! These rules are designed to allow player imagination to be rewarded with cool action.
One final rule I want to talk about which really brings the cool factor up is the Poser Turn. Any character may call a Poser Turn by spending a Chi. Only one of these is allowed per game session. When called, the action stops, each player must describe how cool their character looks at that moment. Imagine if the “camera” focused on just each character one at a time and their name/nick-name appeared on screen with dramatic music. If the GM is satisfied that all the players were cool enough, the player that called the Poser Turn gets to assign a benefit to his team and a new turn is immediately started with the benefit added to the players. I’ve seen players uses this to offset bad initiative rolls at the end of an epic battle with a master villain who just won initiative. One of the players called a Poser Turn and it turned the tide of battle for them changing what could have been a defeat into a cheering victory. Now that is Cool!