First up for today it’s the basics of the Martial Arts Design System for Continium II – a RPG I’ve been tinkering around with for quite some time now. Given that its turned out to be an ever-expanding system, I’ve decided to start putting up some of the modular segments as whim strikes: If I ever finish getting it into publishable form, I’ll put it out as a book.
This particular subsystem was designed to cover unarmed combat, weapon techniques, and weapons themselves – everything from rocks to antimatter bombs – as “martial arts”. I’ve had people design outre’ weapons, a shamanic martial art that relied on wandering about obliviously while spirits handled your personal defense, a draconic hypnotic style designed to subdue or seduce other dragons, werewolf martial arts, arts designed to aid in healing and extend the practicioner’s lifespan, pistols that project nightmares, arts that kill with the voice, and dozens of other bizarre styles.
Anyway, both for the old players and for anyone who’s interested, here’s section one. The weapon modifiers, and some sample weapons and forms, should be up next.
The “martial arts” include weapon techniques, systems of unarmed combat, combinations of the two, and a wide variety of specialized techniques. In Continuum II a martial art has three major components; Basic Abilities, Special Techniques, and Restrictions. The Basic Abilities are common to many forms – although emphasis differs. They determine a martial art’s speed, basic methods, frequency and range of attack, it’s defensive abilities, how many opponents it can handle, what armor can be used with it, maneuverability – and whether it’s attack is purely physical. Special Techniques are exotic abilities. Many martial arts have none at all, although most warriors choose or develop arts using weapons. Restrictions are the exotic requirements of an art; codes of behavior, sets of enemies, etcetera. While these make an art cheaper to learn in terms of skill points, they can be hard to deal with.
A martial art is called a form, each has it’s own set of advanced styles. Learning the “basics” of a form costs one skill point, each advanced style costs another. Forms are designed by selecting options, the first skill point worth 5 and each additional skill point spent on an art is worth another two. Restrictions can add up to one extra option per skill point spent. One skill point implies fair skills, two a “black belt” (mastery of all the basics), and three or more are “higher dans” (2 per point). No form may cost more then 7 skill points in total (equivalent – at least to steal on arts rating system – to “Black Belt, 10’th Dan”), have more then 24 options, or have any ability ranked higher then seven.
The martial arts, especially the unarmed techniques, are designed for use against basically humanoid opponents about the size of a human being. Trying for a hold, lock, or throw versus a dragon, giant, snake, naturally armor plated, or supernatural creature is a special maneuver known as “asking for it”. Similarly strikes do only half normal damage against creatures with heavy natural armor or resistance to ordinary weapons. For those with no time to train, holds, locks, throws, and some other maneuvers can be used unskilled, such attacks are made at a -3 penalty “to hit” and allow victims to escape by rolling 3D6 versus the appropriate characteristic. Unskilled strikes do 1D6/ 1D2 subdual damage. Martial artists may choose to inflict subdual damage, although this may require a dexterity roll if using weapons or special techniques.
Inventing a form requires investing a skill point in martial art development and game master approval of the design. If the form is interesting enough it may be added to the world background. If so, your character won’t need the proficiency in design, that’s only required if the character must develop the form from scratch. It is therefore to your characters advantage to design an art the game master will approve without argument, it’s far easier to learn with a teacher then on your own. There is one advantage, a forms inventor can teach himself.
A moderately exotic sample form is shown below. It peaks at six skill points, beyond that point a user would begin to develop his own, unique, abilities.
Type: Soft, Internal, Exotic
Look: Slow, elegant, drifting hand motions
Origin: Accidental, a hermit struck by lightning.
Training: Special, attempting to acquire this art without formal training (going out and being struck by lightning until you qualify) raises the risk of death during the initial training to 90%. Lightning Mastery is said to be taught by some secretive or criminal organizations.
Skill Requirement: Meditation.
Special Notes: Requires Dexterity 14+. It also kills 25% of its students during their study of the basics.
Options: Strike 2 (Automatic, Spherical) Vital Points (Paralysis), Speed (Probing), Mystic (Touch Mastery and Bypass), Exotic Weapons (Adaption), Minor C’hi (C’hi Mastery, +3 to strike, Controlled Breathing, Specific Resistance to Electricity) Speciality (Dex/Str Substitution), Defense 2; Total Options: 21. Restrictions: Death in training possible, Minimum Dex 15+, Normal electrical limitations, and Reputation. Total cost of six skill points.
Lightning Mastery relies on amplifying and channeling the users natural bioelectricity, electrocuting opponents. The training teaches students to control their bodies using lightning bolts to teach them control of electrical surges, which is why students often die. It uses highly stylized hand motions to help focus the users energies, with “soft” blocks and evasion for defense. The number of opponents is limited by the users bioelectric reserves.
Game Characteristics: Base damage of 1D6/1D4 base on a touch in any direction, bypassing most defenses and armor. Any attack on the user will allow him a chance to touch his attacker. Sadly, the focusing process normally takes a few seconds, resulting in a +2 on the users initiative rolls. The neural-frequency shock will temporarily paralyze foes barring a saving throw. The forms practitioners use copper wires to reach opponents out to (Dex) feet or rods (raising the damage to 1D8/1D6 and their Defense Rating to 5) as weapons. They also practice control of their body processes and a technique of “neural surge”, raising the electrical damage to 2D6/1D8 for 2 C’hi. The form grants it’s users a base AC of seven and resistance to electricity. Physical strength does not alter the damage, but good nerves do, any “strength” damage modifier is based on Dex. If the user has an 18 dexterity a percentage score should be rolled for this purpose.
Evaluation: Lightning mastery is not that powerful an offensive technique – unless the user knows a superadvanced style – but it is an excellent defensive technique, capable of incapacitating up to four normal assailants a round with a little luck. It is less effective against more powerful characters and is quite useless against missile weapons.
Martial Arts (Condensed Chart):
- Attacks: Bonus Attacks 1/2 +2/4. +2/3/5 AR [Attack Rating] +1/2/4, Hasty -1 (1 Minimum), Feints +1, Targeting +2/4/6 on called shots AR +1/2/3, Flurry +2, Tradeoff +1, and No Attacks -2.
- Defense: DR [Defense Rating] 2/3/5/6/8/9/11 +1/2/3/4/5/6/7, Power Block +1, Reflection +2, Resistance +1, Rear Guard +1, Rolling Block +1, Delaying +1, and Evasion +1.
- Hold: Basic +1, Enhanced +1, Damaging +(Strike), Lock +(Cost/2 from strike list), Automatic +2, Sacrifice -2 (1 Min), Contortion +1, Disabling +3, Limblock -1 (1 Min), Reversal +1, Knockout +2
- Maneuver: Basic +(1 per 1″), Close +1, Break +1, Instant Stand +1, Any Position +2, Athletics +2, Light/Heavy/Medium Armor +1/2/3.
- Mystic: Touch Mastery +1, Finger Force +2, Open hand +3, Circular +2, Bypass +3, Continuing +2, Delayed +2, Cone +1.
- Opposition: 1 Attacker -2 (Only with defense or automatic effects), 3 attackers +0, Unlimited attackers +1.
- Range: Combat +0, Close or Long +1, Dual range +2.
- Speed: Fast +1, Lightning +3, Probing -1.
- Strike: For 1D4/1D6/1D8/1D10/2D6/3D6/2D12 (or 4D6) 1/2/3/4/5/6/7, Spherical +1, Flying +1, Automatic +2, Sweep +1, and Sacrifice -2 (1 minimum).
- Throw: Basic +1, Enhanced +1, Damaging +(Strike Cost), Automatic +2, Sacrifice -2 (One Minimum), Resistance +1, Breakfall +2, Long Throw +1.
- Vital Points: No Basics, Disruption +2, Paralyze/Knockout +3, Double Rear Strike +2, Sensory Stun (Secondary/Primary) +1/2, Numb +1, Stun +2, Silencing +1, Incapacitate +2, Kill +5, Reversal +1, Healing +3, Extension +1, Combination +2, Cumulative +2, Resistance +2, and Pain +2.
- Weapon Kata: Basic +3, Additional +1, Exclusive -2, Dual Weapons +2, Projectile +1, Lightning Draw +1, and Extended Range +1.
- Attunement +1
- Balancing +1
- Breaking +1
- Counter +1
- Critical +1
- Deceptive: Basic +1, Disguise +1, Vanishing +2, Lurking +1, Sight Evasion +2.
- Exotic Weapons: Basic +1, Adaption +1, Throwing Mastery +2, Virtuoso +1, Improvised Weapons +1.
- Meditation: Basic +1, Windreading +1, Reflexive +1, Self- Training +2.
- Minor C’hi: Each skill +1, (Block, C’hi Awareness, C’hi Mastery, Controlled Breathing, Healing, Inner Force, Light Foot, Hypnotist, Advanced Healing, Boosted C’hi, Specific Resistance, and Weapon Focus)
- Situational: No “Basics”, Close Quarters +1, Prepared Defence +2, Tricks +2, Water Techniques +1, Mounted +2, Surprise +1, others possible on a case-by-case basis.
- Speciality: No basics, Repertoire +1, Setup +2, Push +1, Endurance/Analytical +1, Unorthodox +1, Intimidation +2, Increment +1, Flashy +1, Forfeit +1, Substitution +3, Startle +1, and Formalized +1.
- Weapon Catch +1, versus Missiles +1
- Rivals / Enemies: Someone out there dislikes you.
- Entry Requirements: Memberships, Prerequisites, Etc.
- Reputation / Trademark: An easily “recognizable” form.
- Rules / Duties / Vows: Strictures, Various Obligations.
- Ancient Master: Good teachers are hard to find.
- Goal: And the purpose of this art is…
- Reduced Bonuses: High Characteristics? Too bad.
- Clan or Order: Buddies and relatives keep dropping in.
- Outlawed / Secret: The “authorities” are after you.
- Risky Advancement: Break a leg and you blow the test.
- Exhibition / Stylized: This art looks good, but is less effective.
- Time: This art takes a very long time to learn.
Martial Arts; Basic Abilities
Attacks: Covers a forms bonus attacks, if any (+1/+2 attacks at a cost of 2/4 options) and it’s basic techniques. Forms normally use both hands and/or both feet. Each unavailable limb costs one attack. Modifiers include; Penetrating (AR +2/3/5) +1/2/4, Hasty (AR -3, -1 to a minimum of 1), Feints (+1 to AR and DB per 2-count delay) +1, Targeting (Reduces the “called shot” penalties by 2/4/6) +1/2/3, Flurry (+2 attacks, usable once every 10 rounds) +2 – and Tradeoff (+2 DB per -1 taken to AR, maximum of +12 DB) +1. Forms with No Attacks are possible; (No attacks under any circumstances) -2.
Defense: Covers blocks, evasions, “toughening” exercises, dodges, parries, and other methods of resisting or evading injury. Grades 1/2/3/4/5/6/7 give DR bonuses of 2/3/5/6/8/9 and 11. Modifiers include; Power Block (does 1D4 damage if the attacker gets an ordinary failure) +1, Reflection (used when parrying, if an attacker gets a “serious” failure, the basic damage from an unarmed strike or blunt weapon will be reflected) +2, Resistance (provides immunity to reflection and power block, also halves your opponent’s form-based DR bonus) +1, Rear Guard (negates penalties vrs rear attacks) +1. Rolling Block (lets the user half the effect of an attack by giving up his next attack, moving back one hex and dropping to the ground) +1, Delaying (spins out each round of combat to two rounds when in use) +1, and Evasion (allows “parrying” when unable to attack, such as when being trampled) +1. Forms which can be used while wearing “medium” or “heavy” armor receive only one-half their base defense (DR bonuses 1/2/3/3/4/5/6) when the user is so encumbered. Modifiers are unaffected.
Hold: Covers holds, pins, joint locks, nerve grips, bear hugs, chokes, grappling, and other ways restrain opponents. Holds require a successful attack, the victim rolls 4D6 versus his strength to escape, those who know “hold” roll one less D6. Basic holds cost 1 option. Modifiers include; Enhanced (5D6/4D6 vrs Str) +1, Damaging +(the cost from the “strike” list), Lock (only damaging on unsuccessful escape attempts) +(1/2 cost from the “strike” list), Automatic +2, Sacrifice (user is also immobilized) -2 to a minimum of 1, Contortion (roll 2 less D6 vrs holds, and may roll 4D6 vrs Str to escape bonds and such) +1. Disabling (incapacitates a limb for 2D12 hours, victims roll vrs endurance) +3, Limblock (holds only one limb) -1 to a minimum of 1, Reversal (lets users escape and establish their own holds by accepting a 2D6 penalty on the escape attempt) +1, and Knockout (roll vrs endurance at the end of each round to avoid being knocked out) +2. Each escape attempt counts as one attack.
Maneuver: Lets the user move one hex per option during his attack sequence using leaps, fancy footwork, cartwheels, or whatever. Modifiers include; Close (user may move in on an opponent without allowing him to attack first due to longer weapons, prior initiative, or whatever. It also lets users “charge” without DR penalty) +1, Break (-1D6 on attempts to disengage) +1, Instant Stand (standing is a trivial action) +1, Any Position (the form may be used without penalty from any position) +2, Athletics (+1 on general rolls or +3 on a specific area) +2, and Light/Medium/Heavy Armor (allows the form to be used while wearing armor, by default forms can’t be used in armor of any kind) +1/2/3 (as far as basic armor goes, leather is light, chain is medium, and heavy covers everything else). Optionally, a martial artist may use part or all of his “maneuver” hexes whenever his forms defense rating bonus prevents an opponent from hitting him.
Mystic: Covers the strange techniques used by forms which rely on the users c’hi, bioenergy, focused pushes, internal vibration, sonic effects, muscular control, pressure waves, etc. There are no “basic” mystic techniques, specific ones include; Touch Mastery (lets a form be used without obvious physical moves, such as by simply touching an opponent at a precise point) +1, Finger Force (attacks may be made at with a three foot range) +2, Open Hand (attacks may be made at a range of [dexterity] feet) +3, Circular (attacks everyone within range) +2, Bypass (an attack with special effects that evade some target defenses; such as sonic blasts) +3, Continuing (the attack has minor ongoing effects until the victim gets treatment) +2, Delayed (the attack takes effect later on) +2, Cone (or any minor area of effect, buy range separately) +1. Note that these ranges are beyond the forms usual combat range, so a “long” form using “finger force” has a range of about 10 feet.
Opposition: Determines how many opponents a form can deal with effectively. Anyone over this limit can’t be affected by “automatic” abilities and is only subject to one-half the forms defense. By default, each form can deal with up to three attackers, forms which concentrate on one opponent at a time receive two extra options as long as they have automatic or defense abilities. The ability to handle any number of attackers costs 1 option
Range: Is the range a form is designed to work from, most default to “Combat” range, from an adjoining five foot hex. “Close” is wrestling range, with the combatants in the same hex. “Long” forms can operate from 1 hex away. Forms are usually 50% effective one adjoining range, and useless otherwise. Combat Range +0, Close or Long Range +1, Dual Range (100% effective at two adjoining ranges, 50% otherwise) +2.
Speed: Covers initiative modifiers. The default is none, but forms can be; Fast (-2 on initiative) +1, Lightning (-4 on initiative) +3, and Probing (+3 on initiative) -1.
Strike: Covers punches, clawing, elbow smashing, gouging, kicks, hand strikes, butting, and many other techniques for inflicting injury through forceful blows. Each grade costs one option, the grades and their damage are; 1/2/3/4/5/6/7 for 1D4/1D6/1D8/1D10/2D6/3D6/2D12 (or 4D6). Modifiers include; Spherical (in any direction without penalty) +1, Flying (+2 grades when closing) +1, Automatic (allows a free strike at anyone who makes a melee attack on you) +2, Sweep (lets the user attack everyone around him once a round, all rolls are at -3, any failure ends the sweep) +1, and Sacrifice (user winds up prone or in some disadvantageous position) -2 to a minimum of 1. The usual bonuses apply to “strike” attacks.
Throw: Covers throws, pushing, tackles, tripping, sweeps, and other methods of taking opponents down. This attack is unmodified by physical armor, victims roll 4D6 versus their Dex to resist – although those who know “throw” roll 1 less D6 then usual. “Basic” throws cost 1 option. The modifiers include; Enhanced (5D6/4D6 vrs Dex) +1, Damaging +(the cost from the “strike” list), Automatic +2, Sacrifice (user also falls) -2 to a minimum of 1, Resistance (roll two less D6 versus throws and may roll 4D6 (base) versus Dex to avoid being knocked down, moved, or unbalanced) +1, Breakfall (roll 4D6 vrs Dex to half the damage from falls and throws) +2, and Long Throw (throws normally knock someone 1D6+1 feet. This option raises it to 2D6+3 feet) +1.
Vital Points: Covers striking at vulnerable points, nerve pinches, pressure grips, and so on. Such attacks allow the victim an End resistance roll and/or attack at -3. They are normally used with other techniques, but may be used alone. There are no “basic” vital points techniques, they are also far more strictly limited to humanoid opponents then usual. Specific techniques include; Disruption (1D4 to targets End score. It recovers six points an hour, a 0 equals collapse. Handy if it works) +2, Paralyze / Knockout +3, Double Rear Strike (no resistance check) +2, Sensory Stun (knocks out a secondary/primary sense for 1D4 rounds) +1/2, Numb (hinders use of a limb, all uses are at -3) +1, Stun (stuns opponent for 1D4 rounds) +2, Silencing (prevents an outcry) +1, Kill +5, Pain (hinders a victim, reducing an effective attribute score by 2 for 2D6 minutes) +2, Incapacitate (prevents use of a limb for 1-12 rounds) +2, Reversal (lets the user undo the effects of “vital points” skills) +1, Healing (adds “or similar effects” to Reversal) +3, Combination (allows vital points techniques to be used with strikes, locks, and throws) +2, Cumulative (boosts the effectiveness of later attacks – +2 DB and -1 to resist per blow, to a maximum of 6 blows) +2, Resistance (2D6 off rolls to resist “vital points” attacks, user may ignore pain with a 4D6 End roll) +2, and Extension (increases the duration of other vital points effects, usually by one die size) +1.
Weapon Kata: Covers the use of normal weapons, allowing a forms abilities – within reason – to be used in conjunction with those of a specific weapon type. If nothing else, this means that you won’t have to touch anything nasty with your bare hands. Note that, while one-handed weapons are subject to the -1 penalty noted under “Attacks”, they still require too much concentration to allow free use of the other hand. A basic kata costs 3 options – but additional weapons may be added at a base cost of one option each. Modifiers include; Exclusive (the form requires the use of a weapon) -2, Dual Weapons (allows the use of a different weapon in each hand. Paired weapons are free, and simply avoid the attack penalty, above) +2, Projectile Weapon (any, see below) +1, Lightning Draw (makes readying the weapon a zero-action move) +1, and Extended Range (by one-third, missile weapons only) +1. Note that the “within reason” bit can be rather restrictive for missile weapons, as many abilities are hard to justify using with them.
It’s much easier to concentrate outside a melee, and even easier if you’re out of reach of any danger. As a practical matter, this is only relevant to those employing projectile weapons and to exhibitions. Characters using melee forms but not currently in melee gain an extra attack – and gain an additional extra attack if they’re in no danger at all. Characters using missile weapons from beyond melee range may get bonus attacks, depending on the weapon size:
- Small, Light, Weapons such as Darts, Shuriken, Palm Knives, Light Pistols, and Minigrenades, get two bonus attacks.
- Moderate Weapons such as Blowguns, Grenades, Chakram, Heavy Pistols, Knives, Arrows, Boomerangs, and “Chinese Repeating Crossbows” get one bonus attack.
- Heavy Weapons such as Spears, Hammers, Axes, Clubs, Slings, Javelins, Atlatls, Hammers, Crossbows, Rifles (any type), and Grenade Launchers get no bonus attacks.
- Slow-Loading Weapons such as Lassos, Heavy Crossbows, Staff Slings, Powder Blowpipes, Rocket Launchers, Bolas, Throwing Nets, Flamethrowers, and other “Heavy Weapons” can only fire at half the normal rate, whether the user is in melee or not.
All Special Techniques cost one option each unless otherwise noted.
Attunement: Covers forms which match an opponents rhythm (Wis), analyze his style (Int), probe for weaknesses (Per), or employ a great variety of moves to adapt to an opponents form (Dex). Attunement requires an action and a roll against the appropriate characteristic, success gives the user a +2 AR and DR against that opponent. Attunement can be “broken” if the victim radically changes his technique or engages an ability the user can’t match. The basic range is (Per) feet.
Balancing: Covers forms which stress acrobatic maneuvers, practice on inadequate or unstable support, “immovability”, and other exotic techniques. A user suffers no penalty for such surfaces and rolls one less die to resist throws, being knocked down, or when performing feats of balance.
Breaking: Covers forms that use focused blows, “drill” or “knife” hand strikes, “penetrating” or double strikes, iron leg kicks, power punches, or even “one finger” blows. Such attacks replace two ordinary attacks and inflict structural damage on inanimate objects. Living targets tend to object to being the target of such an attack, inflicting a penalty of -3 on the users AR.
Counter: Allows the user to attack simultaneously with an opponent regardless of initiative, unless he has already acted. Such attacks are made with a +1 bonus on their AR, as the opponent will be concentrating on his own attack.
Critical: Covers forms using tricky, powerful (but easily blocked), unusually aimed, or similar blows and techniques. Such tactics often fail dangerously, but are exceptionally effective when they work, doubling the effect of an attack. Unfortunately, if the users attack fails, his opponent gets a free attack while he is recovering.
Deceptive: Covers forms which disguise themselves somehow – as dance, drunken staggering, conversational gestures, or slow stretches and exercises. Such forms offer a +1 on the users DR and AR until detected – along with a +1 bonus on all “stealth” skills due to improved muscle control. Basics +1, modifiers include; Disguise (through “Body Language”, using a Dex roll. While almost instant, this is briefly effective at best. +4 bonus on any “Disguise” skill) +1, Vanishing (through distraction and rapid movement. Takes one action and a roll of 4D6+Observers (-1D6 with smoke/flash/etc) vrs Dex. Success permits a 2 hex shift and 1 segment unobserved, failure gives opponents a +2 to hit) +2, Lurking (boosts “stealth” bonus to +2) +1, and Sight Evasion (lets the user lurk in someone’s rear blind spot with Dex rolls) +2.
Exotic Weapons: These forms use 1D4+1 weird or seemingly ineffective weapons and get an extra two options to spend on abilities available only when using them. Possible weapons include ropes, cloaks, ribbons, cloths, fans, sticks, pins, nunchaku, tonfas, and other reasonable (and absurd) martial arts weapons. Attacks, damage, and other functions are based solely on the form, not the weapon (or weapons if paired or dual). Ranged “weapons” use the Mystic abilities or Weapon Kata, as appropriate. Modifiers include; Adaption (the two options can be used on a different maneuver or maneuvers for each weapon) +1, Throwing Mastery (lets the user hurl “small” objects up to 2*Dex feet for form effects, can be taken without taking the “basic” exotic weapons skill) +2, Virtuoso (may select four options when using the weapons) +1, Improvised Weapons (allows the use of almost any object as a weapon, for +2 on the strike) +1. Exotic weapons also covers defensive items such as parrying bracers, gauntlets, and so on. Extra exotic weapons can be added to a form (+1 option per two additional weapons).
Meditation: Covers forms which teach combat as a means of meditation, “clearing” the mind, or acute sensory awareness through such means as blind combat. This gives their users a +2 bonus on perception rolls, virtual immunity (-3 dice on resistance checks) to psychic scans, “Attunement”, and distractions, and halves the penalties for being unable to see opponents. Modifiers include; Windreading (negates normal penalties for unseen opponents) +1, Reflexive (negates penalties for being surprised, confused, drunk, etc) +1 – and Self-Training (the user may advance to the limits of the form without a teacher) +2.
Minor C’hi: Covers forms which draw on the user’s “Inner” (Psychic) Strength”. Each minor ability is bought and used separately. It takes two initiative counts to focus an ability, and costs 1 psychic strength point every five rounds to hold it ready. Characters with notable psychic powers may expend an extra point to bypass the two-count delay. The use of Minor C’hi is subject to the same limitations as the use of other psychic abilities. Using such abilities costs one PS point unless otherwise noted. The Minor C’hi abilities include:
Advanced Healing: Is based on “healing”, which must be taken first. It allows the user to concentrate his power on expelling poisons, disease, and foreign matter from the body. Up to End/3 points may be expended before rolling to resist these things for a bonus of +2 per point . The same amount may be expended to obtain a success after a roll fails, but the bonus is only +1 per point spent – and it takes one round of concentration per point used. Advanced Healing can also be used to delay a toxins effects for up to (End/2) minutes by expending 1 C’hi point per minute.
Block: Absorbs 3 points of damage per PS point used, and may be used after the damage is announced.
Boosted C’hi: Boosts the users base psychic strength by End/2 points.
C’hi Awareness: Lets the user sense the “C’hi” of any- thing within 20 Ft – revealing forms, whether they’re alive or dead, their general level of psychic energy, and whether it’s focused or not. This allows maneuvering in darkness, and only costs one point of psychic strength every five rounds.
C’hi Mastery: Boosts a particular martial “ability” by (PS used +1) options. The cost and ability is chosen when this talent is taken, and must be fully paid for each use.
Controlled Breathing: Lets the user develop yoga-like control of his body processes, allowing him or her to resist hot and cold weather, thirst and hunger, delay sleeping, or hold his breath a long time. The cost is per round, hour, or day as appropriate – the basic ability includes all of them.
Healing: Heals 2 points of damage per point of PS used, and allows the user “read a patients C’hi”, allowing him or her to diagnose a disorders basic nature. This provides a +2 bonus on first aid and related rolls.
Hypnotist: Lets the user “attack” hypnotically, within the normal range and limits of the form. Such attacks cost 3 PS initially, and 1 per action to maintain. Only simple, immediate, commands or suggestions can be projected – and the user only gets (Int/5) selections. Typical choices include; “You – can’t see me/don’t know me/can trust me”, “You’re my friend”, “You’re entangled”, or “Calm Down”. The target may resist the initial effect – and may roll again whenever the user acts on him or her in any fashion.
Inner Force: Boosts any one physical attribute to the racial maximum. Alternatively this can be developed into a particular stunt, giving +50% on the maximum bonus for that stunt alone. Examples include; “Crushing Claws” (Str damage bonuses), “Missile Blocking” (Dex, DR vrs missles), “Resist Death” (boosts basic vitality), and “Shadow Stalking” (Dex, +3 on “stealth”).
Light Foot: Allows the user to boost his movement score by 6, leap up to (2*Dex) feet, or perform otherwise impossible acrobatics (such as midair turns), at a cost of one PS point per round or trick, as appropriate. The ability to use the equivalent of the Body Lightening psychic power costs +1 option. Using it costs one psychic strength point per count.
Specific Resistance: Lets the user develop a grade-two “resistance” to any one energy form – such as fire or cold. He / she may negate the first 12 points of damage per round from that specific energy form for 1 point of PS per round.
Weapon Focus: Allows the user to channel his PS into a martial-arts attack – enabling it to affect creatures which are resistant to “normal” weapons without penalty at a cost of 1 PS per round.
Situational: Covers forms “adapted” for use under special circumstances, either negating penalties which would normally apply, or providing a bonus in a particular situation. There are no “basic” effects, specific techniques include: Close Quarters (form takes no penalties in confined spaces, such as air ducts) +1, Prepared Defense (+2 to DR, AR, and RR when operating in a well-known or prepared area. +3 if your opponents can’t see and may maneuver opponents into traps and such) +2, Tricks (gives a +2 bonus on whatever seems appropriate if a “plausible” maneuver can be described, E.G. “I’ll pull down a tapestry on them !”) +1, Water Techniques (form and “stealth” operate in water without penalty) +1, Mounted (can be used without penalty, at least within reason, while mounted) +2, and Surprise (+4 AR, double damage and a +1D6 on any rolls to resist when attacking with surprise) +1. Other Situational bonuses are possible, the extent of the bonuses they offer depends on the rarity of the situation. Forms offering bonuses against specific types of opponents should be designed with an extra 5 options, at a cost of 4/3/2/1 options for Common/Fairly Rare/Extremely Rare/Virtually Unheard-Of types of opponents.
Speciality: Covers forms which use exotic tactics, wildly unconventional approaches, psychological warfare, endlessly practiced moves or sequences, esoteric techniques, or other bizarre bonuses. There are no “basic” speciality abilities, but the following list of specific techniques is available; Repertoire (includes a list of 2D6 “maneuvers” with various modifiers on each, E.G. “Iron leg thrusting kick, +2 AR and DB, but a -2 on user’s DR”) +1, Endurance/Analytical (+2 to AR and DB on rounds 4+ versus an opponent) +1, Unorthodox (uses bizarre moves, +3/2/1 to AR, DB, and special effects during 1’st/2’nd/3’rd round) +1, Setup (may roll vrs another skill to gain +3 to AR and DB for a round) +2, Push (+3 options on an ability once a turn) +1, Increment (adds one option to any maneuver the user knows once per turn) +1, Flashy (form is dramatic and impressive, adding +4 bonuses to intimidation, exhibitions, etc) +1, Forfeit (select 3 abilities, they can be boosted by 1 option by leaving the user at a disadvantage or penalty) +1, Intimidation (roll vrs presence to frighten opponents, +2 on related checks) +2, Startle (adds 3 to an opponents initiative up to once per turn if he or she hasn’t acted yet) +1, Substitution (“strength” bonuses are based on some other statistic, most often dexterity) +3, and Formalized (an innate bonus of +2 AR, DNB, and DR – but attribute bonuses do not apply while using the form) +1.
Weapon Catch: Lets the user opt to “attack” an opponents weapon. This requires that the user wait to be attacked or at least have simultaneous initiative. The user, or weapon if appropriate, may resist normally. While this is usually used with Hold (catch/bind), Throw (disarm), Breaking, and/ or Counter, techniques such as Reflection may be used. (You may grab for a disarmed opponent’s weapon with a Dex roll). The ability to use this maneuver against missiles costs one extra option and uses the Dex AR bonus, if any.
Restrictions are requirements for the use of a martial art, codes of behavior, prerequisite skills, rules, and other limitations. Restrictions give the art structure, and make it easier to learn by giving it “free” options to spend. While the exact of the worth of a given set of restrictions is up to the GM, it’s usually around one option per restriction on the art. While most restrictions apply from the beginning, only one “free” option is gained per skill point spent. The maximum option total of an art is thus 6/9/12/15/18/21/24 at 1/2/3/4/5/6/7 skill points. Typical restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following list;
Rivals / Enemies: The form comes complete with opponents, either rivals, who compete with, and want to show up the form and its users – or enemies, who want to kill, discredit, or seriously undermine them. Rivals are more common, but less serious then enemies. They tend to be competitors, general pests, and social nuisances rather then deadly menaces. An enemy is another matter – whether they tend towards complex plots, murderous attacks, or subtle sabotage, they are very dangerous. Fortunately, rivals show up far more often then enemies do. Both tend to become more active as the targets skill increases.
Entry Requirements: Covers forms with prerequisites, such as; minimum ability scores, particular skills, belonging to a specified class or set of classes, particular personality traits, membership in some group or organization, an exotic talent, or anything else. Loss of eligibility prevents any further study of the form. Depending on the “requirement”, it may also lead to gaining a set of enemies (membership or personality traits), loss of options or a skill point in the form (skills, minimum scores, or personality traits), or inability to use the form at all (exotic talents).
Reputation/Trademark: Covers forms which are so well-known that everyone recognizes them and knows what to expect from their users, forms which are easily identifiable by sight, description, or physical evidence by any knowledgeable person, and forms whose users give themselves away thru unique dress, obvious gestures, or other clues. Such forms give up respectively; a tactical advantage, secrecy, or surprise.
Rules/Duties/Vows: Covers forms which impose “strictures” of one sort or another on their users, require a particular code of behavior, imbue students with powerful loyalties or philosophies, or are only taught to those willing to accept particular vows and duties. Sample rules/duties/vows include a code of honor, fraternity (users must assist their fellows), poverty, pacifism, honorable combat, respecting the enemies codes of behavior, equal response (to any attacks), having to issue formal challenges, keeping the clan a secret, duties to your teacher, celibacy, prohibited skills or actions, and giving regular “gifts” to your teacher.
Ancient Master: While almost all forms require a teacher, the inner secrets of this form can only be taught by a true master. After the basics or – at most – the second style, the user will be unable to advance without seeking out such a teacher. Sadly, such men are difficult to locate and are often cantankerous to boot. Their legendary skills develop in wilderness isolation, or sometimes in the back room of a local inn. About the only sure thing is that the master is rarely what was expected. The bonus for this “restriction” depends on how well-played and difficult finding the master is. (E.G. “Only the old master on the mountain teaches the way of the silent sword, and he has not taken a student in 20 years!”) This cannot be taken with any form using Self-Teaching.
Goal: Covers forms whose users are dedicated to some goal or other, such as; regaining lost styles, defending against some menace, serving a group or being, seeking out a being, item, or place, keeping something hidden or undisturbed, or even gathering or preparing for something. Almost any kind of “great quest” is allowable.
Reduced Bonuses: Covers forms which either don’t “permit” or drastically reduce the users characteristic bonuses. It is usually applied to forms which rely on leverage, precise strikes, or drills that every student uses in the same way. As this is the ultimate end development of the “Formalized” modifier, such forms cannot take this restriction.
Clan or Order: These forms come complete with a multitude of other people, a clan or order to which the user belongs, gets his training from, and has various obligations to. If the group calls on him he is expected, and feels obligated, to respond. Such groups may be of some assistance, but are normally trouble. These obligations only end when (if) the user fully masters the form and begins his own clan or order.
Outlawed/Secret: Covers forms which are; either intensely secretive in their own right or outlawed by the authorities on pain of something nasty. Either way, revealing anything about the form, a users identity or even demonstrating your personal knowledge of it is deadly dangerous. Whether your fellows or your enemies get you, the result is similar.
Risky Advancement: Covers forms that test their student’s skills, “worthiness”, or abilities before teaching advanced techniques, require dangerous proofs of mastery, use combat to test students training, or are otherwise hard to improve in. In general, such forms rely on a fight or test of some kind, although a few simply use dangerous training methods. Failure usually results in a waste of; Time (Try again next year), Practice (You wasted a skill point), or Vitality (It hurt, maybe a lot or even fatally). Tests can be; entirely abstract, mini-scenarios, fights, philosophical, quests, or even simple exhibitions and humble requests for training.
Stylized: Covers forms that are no longer truly “martial” in nature, either having evolved from more practical forms, or having been designed that way. This includes; sporting, art, display, meditative, dance, and exercise forms. These forms allow opponents +3 / 1D6 bonuses if they are familiar with the form or reasonably (Grade 3+ in any form) skilled themselves. These can be quite effective against unskilled or moderately skilled opponents.
Time: Covers forms which take a long time to learn, users can’t begin play knowing more then the “basics” of the form without special permission from the GM. Each step takes at least a month of training and a (game) year of practice, at GMO it may take more or less time, but it’s never quick.