Burning Avatar

EDIT: I may have to revise the part about which Fight! actions the bending skills can be used for. I lent my copy of BWG to a friend, and I only have Revised on hand right now. I don’t recall if the allowed actions in Fight! were changed between the two or not.

I’ve been thinking about how to run an Avatar: The Last Airbender gamwe in BW. I’ve decided that the core BW lifepaths are a good approximation of the world (at least for the original series). Some improvisation will have to be done for the Air Nomads, but this can be mostly based off of religious lifepaths.

I’ve decided that bending should work somewhat like sorcerous skills, in that it consists of a skill and trait. Without the trait, the bending skills are purely academic. They do not have open-ended sixes, however.


The four traits for basic bending are:

[Spirit of the Sun] Dt, 5pts: This trait grants the ability to Firebend.

[Spirit of the Moon] Dt, 5pts: This trait grants the ability to Waterbend.

[Spirit of the Earth] Dt, 5pts: This trait grants the ability to Earthbend.

[Spirit of the Wind] Dt, 5pts: This trait grants the ability to Airbend. It also increases Stride by 1.

If one of the characters is the Avatar (which I would personally be against), they would need the following trait:

[Spirit of Raava] Dt, 10pts: The character is a reincarnation of the Avatar, and has the ability to control and master all four elements. Note that, while this trait confers the ability to bend all four elements, the character does so at double obstacle penalty until the required traits are earned. This trait also grants the character the Spirit attribute, which opens at grey shade. Only one character can have this trait in a given campaign at a given time. This trait cannot be lost or gained in play.

Spirit is an Emotional Attribute that is similar to Faith. It describes a character’s connection to the Spirit World. Notable characters in the show who would have this attribute are Uncle Iroh and Jinora, as well as the Avatars. The Avatar has Grey shade Spirit by default to reflect both the immense power gained by entering the Avatar State and their heightened connection with the spirit world. Spirit is tested in order to perform such feats as entering the spirit world or projecting your spirit in the physical world. The Avatar would also test Spirit to communicate with their previous reincarnations.

Characters other than the Avatar require the following trait to open the Spirit Attribute:

[Spiritual] Dt, 5pts: The character has a strong connection to the Spirit World. They can sense the presence of spirits, and have a natural ability to communicate with them. In certain spiritual locations, they can even project themself into the Spirit World. Spirit opens at B3, modified by the following:
[li]+1 if Will is 5 or higher, +2 if Will is 7 or higher.
[/li][li]+1 if the character has the Meditation skill, +2 if its exponent is 5 or higher.
[/li][li]+1 if the character has the ability to bend.
[/li][li]+1 if the character interacted with the spirit world before.
[/li][li]-1 if the character lived in a location where a spirit was angered (e.g., lived in a town that burned down a forest spirit’s home). -2 if the character was personally responsible for the action.

A character with a Spirit exponent of 10 has attained true inner peace. They spend the rest of their life in contentment, though the exact state of their life varies by person. Some take up a life of asceticism, while others opt to make the finest tea in Ba Sing Se. However, before a character can advance their Spirit from 9 to 10, they must resolve all of the Beliefs and goals central to their character (perhaps they must find the avatar in order to tech them a crucial skill, or play their part in ending a 100-year war). A character with Spirit 10 is no longer playable, though they still exist in the world and can give advice to other characters (they generally will not help the character beyond this, however, as the characters must find their own way). Furthermore, when a character with Spirit 10 dies, they go to live among the spirits in the Spirit World. They can be contacted there, but again, they will only offer advice and spiritual guidance, never physical help.


Each element has an associated skill which grants access to basic an intermediate maneuvers:

Firebending Root: Will/Forte
This skill allows the character to generate and exert control over fire, flames, and heat. Use the Natural Effects scale to determine obstacle. In Fight!, Firebending may be used as a skill for the Strike, Counterstrike, and Block actions.
Obstacles Firebenders gain their powers from the sun. They suffer +1Ob to firebending tests at night and in the cold. Firebenders control fire with body movements, specifically, by using fierce, aggressive punches and kicks. A +1Ob penalty in incurred if the firebender is restrained. Advanced firbenders can breathe fire at +1Ob, ignoring additional penalties for restraint.
Special Every 100 years, Sozin’s comet approaches the Earth, which shade-shifts all firebending skills by one for the session. Furthermore firebenders lose their power during a solar eclipse, which should last approximately one scene. Such eclipses occur once every few years.
Tools No

Waterbending Root: Will/Agility
This skill allows the character to move and control water, ice, and steam. Waterbenders require a source of water in order to bend it, though skilled waterbenders can draw control the water in air and plant life. In Fight!, Waterbending can be used as a skill for the Counterstrike, Disarm, Feint, and Strike actions.
Obstacles Waterbenders gain their power from the moon; they suffer +1Ob to their ability when the moon has set, and gain +1D during a full moon. Waterbenders attempting to control an invisible source of water, such as in the air or in plants, do so at +1 Ob. Waterbenders control water with their body movements, specifically, with fluid motions of the arms and legs. A restrained waterbender bends at +2 Ob.
Special Waterbenders cannot bend during a lunar eclipse (a duration of approximately 1 scene). They suffer an additional +1Ob penalty in the scenes immediately before and after the eclipse (when the moon is partially eclipsed). Such eclipses occur 1-2 times per year.
Tools Water. Water can be carried in a pouch or flask; it take sone action to draw the water out.

Earthbending Root: Will/Power
This skill allows the character to move and control earth, mud, rock, and sand. Earthbenders require a visible source of earth in order to bend it, though skilled waterbenders can draw control the water in air and plant life. In Fight!, Earthbending may be used for the Block, Great Strike, Lock, Push, and Strike actions.
Obstacles Earthbenders are in the best control of the power when directly touching the earth they are bending; they gain +1D to earthbending if they are not wearing shoes and suffer a +1Ob penalty to bend earth without directly touching it. Earthbenders control their element by being as firm and unstoppable as the earth they bend, and with patient, deliberate movements. An Earthbender suffers +1Ob to bend while running. Skilled earthbenders have been known to bend with their face, at +1Ob.
Special Earthbenders can also use their skill to sense vibrations in the earth – shoeless earthbenders can FoRK Earthbending into Perception and perception rooted skills if they are using their earthbending-sense in order to help them accomplish the task.
Tools Earth.

Airbending Root: Will/Speed
This skill allows the character to move and control wind and air. In Fight!, Airbending may be used for the Avoid, Push, Throw, and Disarm actions. Airbending may also be used for positioning in Range and Cover.
Obstacles Airbenders control their element through large sweeping motions of the arms. However, they can bend while restrained at +1Ob, and bend with their breath at +1Ob.
Special Airbenders can fly with the aid of a glider, by bending the air currents around themself. A standard Air Nomad glider is a wooden staff with retracting cloth wings. It is not suited as a combat weapon, and uses the rules for poor quality weapons if used as such. However, it is priced as a skill toolkit during Character Burning.
Tools A glider. See above.

Advanced bending techniques would be represented by additional skills and training skills. The advanced techniques shown in the show are: lighning generation, redirecting lightning, metalbending, healing, spirit soothing, bloodbending, and explosion-bending (though I would be unsurprised if an imaginative group of players invented their own techniques). A character must have knowledge of the advanced technique to attempt it, and they suffer double obstacle penalties for attempting it while untrained.

Lighningbending, Metalbending, Healing, Bloodbending, and Combustion are standard skills. Each is rooted in the same Stats as the parent bending style, with the exception of Healing, which has a root of Will, and Combustion, which has a root of Will/Perception. Healing follows the obstacles of Song of Soothing.

Lightning Redirection and Spirit Soothing are Training Skills. Lightning Redirection allows the character to redirect lightning, and FoRK Waterbending into their Lightningbending skill for this purpose. Spirit Soothing allows a waterbender to use Healing to correct imbalances within spirits.

Finally, Lightingbending requires peace of mind and absence of emotion to perform. It cannot be performed while the character is having a conflict between beliefs. Lightning can be very dangerous to its wielder, failing a Lightningbending test incurs a wound of magnitude equal to the margin of failure. If the test was to redirect lightning, the wound is of magnitude 1+MoF.

While not a bending technique, Chi Blocking is a training skill that allows a character to use their Martial Arts skill to make unarmed strikes which temprarily block the paths of chi through the body, severing a bending ability. Bending is severed for 12 - Forte in hours. When using Chi Blocking, the character’s fists are treated as if they had a Weapon Power of -1 (i.e., Mark damage is reduced by 1, which propogates to the Incidental and Superb results)

For lifepaths, I reference a thread from a few years ago that I think covered this aspect well:

The full thread is here: http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?11673-Magic-system-The-Last-Airbander&highlight=Avatar. Note that I made some changes to the original.

I also think that the Sage LP could be important to the campaign (adapted from the Court Sorcerer LP):
Name: Sage, Time: 8 yrs Res: 32 Stat: +1 M Leads: Outcast
Skills: 7 pts: Ettiquite, Astrology, Alchemy, Ancient History, Spirit-wise
Traits: 1 pt: Inscrutable, Second Sight, Spiritual
Requirements: Requires a trait that confers bending. A character with the Spirit of Raava trait cannot be a Sage.

Some other lifepath notes: The Noble and Noble court lifepaths are exclusive to the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. Waterbenders and Airbenders can take leads to these settings, but it is to be understood that they came to one of these nations. As such, I would make the general claim that Born Bender does not lead to Court for those who choose Airbending or Waterbending traits.

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Do you need to keep your prime stat higher than the rest to maintain the trait? Or is that just for buying it? I ask because some stats are really really hard to increase compared to others and that’s just not fair to make it a requisite.

Wow! This sounds really neat, and I dig how simple the elemental bending is. It’s just a skill. :slight_smile:

I also like how the advanced techniques can be improvised, but are better if you learn them from a teacher.

Do you have some sample Obs for doing different things with Spirit, a la Faith?

Finally, I never thought of doing Avatar in BW, but now that I’ve seen how bending ties into combat…it’s perfect. One question: what’s the weapon length on Bending? For the Positioning test.

The limit only applies in character burning. Its supposed to represent how benders are physically inclined towards their element – you don’t see stocky, lumbering waterbenders or weak, lithe earthbenders.

Some preliminary Spirit actions.

Projection By meditating and focusing their spiritual energy on a person or location, the spiritual can project their spirit into a distant location in the material world. Projection is base Ob3, with the following modifiers:
+1Ob if the character does not know the location, or has not physically been there before
+1Ob if the location is more than a day’s journey (on foot) away.
+2Ob if the location is on another continent (does not stack with the above penalty)
+1D advantage if the character is meditating in a place of positive spiritual energy, such as a spirit oasis
+1Ob if the character is meditating in a place of negative spiritual energy, such as an abandoned spirit shrine

Spirit World Projection The spiritual may also meditate to enter the Spirit World. While in the Spirit World, they do not have access to their bending skills, and may not FoRK them except in for knowledge/academic tests. Entering the Spirit World is base Ob4, with the following modifiers:
+1D advantage if the character is meditating in a place of positive spiritual energy, such as a spirit oasis
+1Ob if the character is meditating in a place of negative spiritual energy, such as an abandoned spirit shrine
+1Ob if the character is attempting to enter the Spirit World to placate an angry spirit

Purification Certain locations in the material world are sources of positive spiritual energy. Such locations must be treated well and maintained, or else the spiritual energy will be corrupted. Purification requires first that the site be cleared of any defiling presence, such as man-made structures, trash, etc. Once the location has been returned to its natural state, the Purification ritual may begin. The character must speak to the spirits who live or lived in the location, and ask for their assistance in the purification (no help dice are given, this is simply part of the ritual). The character then channels the negative energy through themselves and disperses it. Purification is base Ob3, though this can be increased by up to 2 if the location is particularly corrupted. After purifying a location, the character must test Forte to avoid being Taxed by the negative spiritual energy.

Communion Angry spirits are a force of destruction. Though they usually cannot be reasoned with, those who are sufficiently spiritual can tap their power to foster communication. The base obstacle is Ob4, with the modifiers:
+1Ob if the character is indirectly responsible for angering the spirit
+2Ob if the character is directly responsible for angering the spirit
+1Ob if the character has not or cannot resolve the original source of the spirit’s anger

Avatar State The Avatar can use a Persona point to add any number of their Spirit dice to all bending skills for the remainder of the scene. However, this may only be done in the following circumstances:
[li]The Avatar is in great danger
[/li][li]Those who the Avatar is close to are in great danger
[/li][li]The Avatar fails a Steel test from Surprise due to a revelation that truly angers them
[/li][li]One of the Avatar’s Beliefs concerning a large, Big Picture goal is at stake
In the case of the failed Steel test, the character has little control over their actions; the Avatar controls the elements around them in a fury until they calm down (2* Hesitation (reduced by Steel successes) in minutes, unless someone helps them calm down) Furthermore, they MUST put all Spirit dice into their bending skills in this case. When the Avatar exits the Avatar State, test Forte vs. the number of dice added to avoid Tax. Some Avatars have learned to enter the Avatar State at will, by unblocking their Chakras and taking in pure cosmic energy. For those who have not masters this skill, entering the avatar state at will is Ob10.

If the Avatar is killed in the Avatar State, the Avatar cycle is broken and the Avatar does not regenerate. If the Avatar is dealt a Mortal Wound in the Avatar State, but survives, then one or more of their Chakras become blocked, and they lose access to the Avatar state until they receive healing from Spirit Water and unblock their Chakra. Unblocking the Chakra requires meditation at a location of positive spiritual energy, fufilling a belief related to the circumstances of obtaining the injury, and finishing the recovery from the injury.

I’m not sure about weapon lengths. Bending functions as a ranged weapon, but the different styles have different optimal lengths. Waterbending, for example, loses effectiveness at close range much more quickly than Firebending. For the sake of positioning, however, I would argue that all bending styles count as Longer weapons for the sake of positioning, while Lightningbending counts as Longest.
Weapon lengths remind me, though. BW is missing two weapons which are heavily featured in the show:

Power: 1
Add: 2
Speed: 2
VA: 0
Length: Short
Special: Can be Thrown, with I:1-3 M:4-5 S:6, Weapon Power +1, range: 30 Paces

Power: 0
Add: 2
Speed: 3
VA: 0
Length: Short
Special: Can be Thrown, with I:1-3 M:4-5 S:6, Weapon Power +0, range: 30 Paces. Fans are Superior Quality arms. Fans grant +1D advantage to combat maneuvers using Airbending.


Tonraq does fit into the former category, and the latter makes me think of Toph. I’m not actually sure that bending requires/restricts a particular body type for a given element.

This is REALLY cool.

I have a suggestion. What if firebending was the only style that permits pure STRIKES in fight, whereas others are limited to GREAT STRIKES. This captures the celerity of fire bending, and how other martial artists must weave/manipulate the element, before wielding it in a purely offensive manner.

And a comment. Given that each bending discipline is rooted in its chosen stat, is enforcing a strict exponent limit really necessary?


While I would argue Tonraq/Toph have their Agility/Power tied with other stats, I concede the point that the limits are unnecessary. I’ll edit the main post to reflect that.

I see where you’re going with this – Firebenders can generate fire, while water and earthbenders must draw the element from the environment. However, Great Strike also affects the Power/VA of the strike, which doesn’t necessarily fit with all Waterbending and Earthbending attacks. I think it would make more sense to have them have to use a Draw action to gather their element before using it in combat. Losing a Block action, failing a Steel test, or using a Great Strike action causes you to lose the element in one way or another; you have to Draw again before using it. I’ll need to think about this some more, and hopefully playtesting (I’m planning on running this in the fall) will work out some kinks.

I’m working on writing a more finalized pdf with these rules, so I’ll definitely include a section about using bending in Fight!

Instead of a forced Great Streak it could be that they’re “clumsy” if you wanted to go that route. I don’t remember if BWG does that, but I remember clumsy weapons in BWR meant you basically spent two actions to strike and couldn’t great strike. Or something like that.

Actually, this might help–just use Weapon Speed. It’s already in the rules. :slight_smile: The various types of bending have different Weapon Speeds, and you might even choose to give Firebending a Speed of X. That’d make it super combat-aggro, though.

Wouldn’t a clumsy weapon just have a weapon speed of 1 ? Since these are spell like attacks you could just increase their casting actions or base those actions on # of dice/area of effect/element availability/ect. Each time you “throw” your spell you would have to recast (good reason for sustainable spells).

Well, like I said I couldn’t remember if BWG had clumsy weapons or not and I don’t have the book in front of me. I just vaguely remember it working something like that in BWR. Weapon speed is probably a more elegant solution anyhow.

So I’ve decided to (mostly) get rid of the Draw mechanic I was conisdering. Weapon Speed is a much simple solution, and it makes more sense for the vast majority of cases. However, there are a few situations in which I would enforce a Draw action:

[li]A waterbender must spend an action to draw water from their pouch, plants, the air, their sweat, etc., but not from larger, open sources. If they are disarmed in combat, they must script Draw again if this is their source of water
[/li][li]Lightningbending requires the script: Draw, Draw, Strike. Generating lightning is slow and is best not done in the heat of combat.
[/li][li]Lightning Redirection requires the script: Block, Strike, OR, Block, Release Lightning. Scripting Release Lightning means that the character intentionally avoids attacking their adversary with lightning. All aggressive actions are Ob 1 against Release Lightnng. Block & Strike does not work here – redirecting lightnign requires two actions.

Furthermore, if an Earthbender is disarmed, they may not Strike with bending in their next action. However, they do not need to script Draw.

Otherwise, the bending styles have the following weapon statistics (weapon lengths have been updated):
Waterbending: Power 0, Weapon Speed: 2, Add: 2, VA: 0, WL: Long
: Power 1, Weapon Speed: 1, Add: 2, VA: 0, WL: Longer
Firebending: Power 0, Weapon Speed 3, Add: 2, VA: 0, WL: Short
Airbending: Power 0, Weapon Speed 2, Add: 2, Cannot Strike or Great Strike. Armor does not protect against airbending. WL: Longest
(Yes, they count as melee weapons) The IMS for bending is rooted in the physical root of the bending style: Agility for Waterbending, Forte for Firebending, and Power for Earthbending. (I considered having the damage be based on the skill exponent, but then benders would do way too much damage way too quickly).

Lightning is a ranged weapon, and as such uses the DoF:
Lightning: Power 2, DOF: I: 1, M: 2-4 S: 5-6. Armor does not protect against lightning. Range: Lightning has a range of 100 paces.

Waterbenders can also use ice shards as a ranged weapon:
Ice Shards: Power 0, DOF: I: 1-3, M: 4-5, S: 6

Earthbenders in the Earth Kingdom military often use specialized stone disks for ranged combat. They have the statistics:
Earth Army Disks: Power 1, DOF: I: 1-3, M: 4-5, S: 6. Range: Disks have a maximum range of 60 paces, twice that of other thrown weapoms
Ordinary ranged attacks from Earthbenders have the statistics:
Big Rock: Power 2, DOF: I: 1-3 M: 4-5 S: 6, VA: 1

An aside: As I mentioned, I’ll be playtesting this in the fall. However, I’m almost done with the basic additions (Lifepaths, Skills, Traits, and the Spirit Attribute). If anyone desires to playtest this let me know and I’ll send you a PDF when i’m done with the basics.

Huh. I did some looking-up, and lightning-bending is a lot slower than I remember. I guess Azula’s personality was just what stuck in my mind.

If airbending can’t Strike, is it allowed to Counterstrike instead? Which would be cool, and seem to fit the ethos of airbending. (I also can’t remember how switching between weapons works, but I thought you only used one specific weapon in a volley? That would make choosing airbending as a weapon pretty predictable.)

I dunno if I’ll get a chance to playtest this soon, but I’m interested in the PDF.

I think that sounds fine, though with the caveat that the counterattack is counted as a Push or Throw action, instead of as a Strike. I’m more concerned with preventing airbending from being overpowered then making in less predictable – a skilled airbender should be able to Push and Throw multiple opponents out of Fight! range in a single action. How do you make a Fight! challenging for a player like that? Also, it doesn’t matter how predictable you are if your enemy can’t hit you.

Oooooh. I forgot about pushing and throwing. Very airbender.

Why do you need to limit airbending to de-power it? I don’t see much in the current ability to render it powerful.

You are on the right track Gunner6. However, some comments:

I think you are underestimating elemental VA ratings. Looking to the magic burner, or the BWG spell list, you’ll quickly find sorcerous VA ratings are high. This fits with the source material, because though armour is worn, the stereotypical bender seems equally at home with a simple robe (of badassry) as he would mundane armour. (keeping in mind that there are mundane soldiers as well!)

Finally, even with six-again rules the bending styles are not particularly powerful. Firebending is little more powerful than a fist, which begs the question, why not just wield a sword? It seems to me that the bending styles could do with increased potency to better reflect the setting. Though Sokka could hold his own with mundane weapons, it was clear that he was outclassed. Not for lack of skill, but for simple lack of magical omph.


Yeah, these are all very bad weapons. No one would want to use these instead of something else. The only benefit is that you can use your weapon with a skill that also does other stuff. But it’s a really underwhelming weapon that becomes a very underwhelming weapon against armor. Except airbending, which is at least useful against guys in full plate.

If you want these to be usable maybe you want to make drawing an action for all of these, but one in which you test your bendng skill, Ob 1^, and let successes over the obstacle give benefits depending on the type, although figuring out the exact balance is a little work. Maybe set different obs for getting different effects (just recreating the weapons chart); maybe firebending has low obs for short weapons but air has lower obs for polearms. Maybe a graduated test to reduce the whiffiness of trying for a (sady deprecated) Sweet Axe and coming up just short.

It would be interesting if you had a single Draw action that was a graduated test, and were then able to spend those successes to strengthen further actions. Every action has a weak form, but gets boosted by Draw successes. When you run out of successes, Draw again! (If you have a Draw scripted, and still have leftover successes, you discard them.) That would make it really interesting, because you’d have people either scripting Draw frequently to have more powerful strikes…or scripting maybe one Draw per volley, to last longer.

Each boost to your attacks would have a different cost; it’d be like spending successes to shift hit location. And different bending styles would have different costs, yeah. You spend successes before you use the action.

Things I’d Consider For “Spend Successes to Boost”: VA, Power, Weapon Speed, lowering the base Ob, guaranteed successes*

Weapon length might not work well, because of the timing on when you roll positioning.

*Because some styles are flat-out reliable, so Earthbending might have an Add 2 option to get one guaranteed success. Firebending might have it at Add 4, or not at all.

Thanks for the suggestions guys! I was hoping to get critiques like these. Addressing these then:

Bending is Weak: So I agree that bending needs a higher VA. I’m thinking of raising Waterbending to 2, Earthbending and Firebending to 4, and reducing Airbending and Lightningbending from infinite down to 4 or 5. However, some of the weaknesses of bending will be offset by the fact that I’m planning on having damage be based off of the skill exponent, not Will. So even though they may have similar statistics to some of the weaker weapons, they will be more effective in combat. Furthermore, Bending should not be as powerful as Sorcery. Sorcery balances its power with Tax, Casting Failure, and the difficulty in acquiring spells. Bending, on the other hand, functions similarly to weapon skills, so it shouldn’t have the level of power that Sorcery entails. Remember, this is a world where non-benders can and do hold their own against benders.

Draw+ Action: I really like this idea. However, it really only makes sense for waterbenders and earthbenders – firebenders generate their fire on the fly, and airbenders tend to bend air as they need it instead of drawing from a “reservoir” of sorts. However, it seems fairly simple to give these bending styles advantages that make up for this. For firebenders, this will probably be Weapon Speed X. For airbenders, this will be the ability to target multiple foes at once with the push and throw actions, as well as the ability to test the Airbending skill for the Avoid action.

As for the action itself, I’m thinking it would be Ob 1^. Successes over the Obstacle can be spent as per the table below. Failure increases the base Ob for all bending actions (except Draw) by 1 until a new Draw is scripted.

Element Water Earth
Increase VA 2 Successes 1 Success
Increase Power 1 Success 1 Success
Increase WS 1 Success 2 Successes
Guaranteed Successes 4 Successes 2 Successes
Element on Hand Large body of Water: +2D.
    Small pond, stream, etc.: +1D.
    Pouch: +1 Ob,  Max Successes: Exponent
    Plants, air, or sweat: +2 Ob, Max Successes: 1/2 Exponent|Large Rocks: +2D.
    Field, hills, etc. with exposed earth: +1D.
    Mud, Sand, etc.: +1 Ob.
    Earth on person: +2 Ob, Max Successes: 1/2 Exponent|

The effects only last for the current action. Points must be spent on Increase WS each round the bending style is used to Strike consecutively after a number of times equal to the base WS. When the dice pool is reduced to zero, Draw must be scriped again before the bending can be used.

On bending:
I have suspicion that bending, as portrayed in the series, is often closer to Range and Cover rules rather than exclusively Fight!. The thing is, bending is a time consuming activity, there is alot of posturing and stance changes (and dialogues!) involved in a given engagement.

Possibly the most impressive ability of all the benders is their ability to manipulate terrain, creating obstacles, cover and other secondary effects.

From this, rather than measuring martial art stances in FIGHT ranges, it may be closer to the truth to consider range in Paces.

On damage:
Benders dominate the field of battle. A skilled bender is capable of engaging multiple mundane fighters and come out victorious. This should inform the abilities and ‘martial arts weapon’ ratings.

Lets look at firebending in its simples form: A firebender can shoot fireballs, spit a breath of fire, and project short range flames from limbs. It is possible to collect inspiration from sorcery-- Fire Breath is a ob 3^ and 3 Action spell which projects a cone of fire, with a power of Will+3 and VA 2.

On design:
I think the Draw mechanic can be explored further. Imagine each bending style (trait + skill) as a grab bag of weapons, stances, which can be exchanged and drawn. In fact, learning new stances could be a minigame in itself.

Each bending style has a default stance, with further Weapons that can be activated with a 2-action Draw Weapon script.

  • Fire could default to the short range projections, with the possibility of drawing slower breath attacks, and longer ranged fireballs.

  • Water could default to a defensive martial arts stance, with the possibility of drawing water-whips, crashing waves, and so forth.