Twilight Isles – Shadow Elf Houses II

   Next up, we have a few more Shadow Elf houses…

   Aiscaire

  • House Talents: +2 Con, +3 on all nautical skills (Balance, Climb, Knowledge/Nature, Knowledge/Geography, Survival, Swim, Use Rope, and appropriate Crafts and Professions), and Sea-Sense (allows the user to sense the local currents, find fish, tell if they’re approaching shoals, predict the weather at sea, and so on. This also provides a +5 insight bonus on relevant checks).
  • The Aiscaire are – obviously enough – amongst the premiere sailors, fishermen, traders, and navigators of the Twilight Isles. Unlike many of the other houses, Aiscaire prefers to rely on cash and economic power rather than military or magical might – although they try to make sure to always have some combatants (often Veltine, with whom they have tighter ties than most houses) on hand.

   Falaes

  • House Talents: +2 Str, +3 with all dexterity-based skills, unlimited use of invent-your-own plant and plant-material affecting cantrips.
  • The Falaes are a quiet, and generally lower-class, house (or bloodline, since they have little formal organization). Those of it’s members with special training usually focus on either learning to chain together their plant-manipulating magics to produce more impressive results, or on upgrading their power to produce more impressive results directly. While they’re not the most impressive expert woodworkers, or clothmakers, or even farmers, in existence, they’re certainly among the most productive in the Twilight Isles. Falaes workers and slaves turn out quite a lot of the basic goods, and produce quite a lot of the vegetable foods and fibers, in Ishorin.

   Galucof

  • House Talents: +2 Wis, +3 on all intelligence-based skills, continuous Protection from Evil.
  • The Galucof are notable scholars and exorcists, with minds disciplined enough to resist a wide variety of external controls and an inherent protection from spirits. They’re commonly skilled in a variety of magics – and are usually personally insufferable. Born with knowledge that most people would take years to learn, they grow up feeling that most of the other houses are foolish and uneducated – and they rarely outgrow that attitude entirely.

   Narbengyr

  • House Talents: +2 Strength, +3 Bonus with all martial arts skills, are considered proficient with any weapon they touch.
  • The Narbengyr simply have a knack for combat. All kinds of combat. To a fairly absurd degree. After all, a Narbengyr is not only inherently proficient with any weapon that comes to hand, but can choose two basic martial arts abilities to go with it (to fit their effective skill of +3 in a self-defined art to fit the moment). That may not be an overwhelming advantage, but it’s certainly very convenient – and those who opt to build upon those talents can be quite formidable. Members of house Narbengyr tend to prefer unexpected confrontations. If the only thing to hand happens to be a broom when the fight breaks down, it’s nice to be the only one in the room who happens to both be proficient in brooms and to “know” the basics of five or six martial arts which specialize in using them as weapons. They have quite a reputation for it.

   Yesol

  • House Talents: +2 Cha, +3 Bonus on all charisma-linked skills, can shapeshift to an otter-hybrid form at will, gaining 1d4 natural weapons, +1 natural armor, and a +4 bonus to Balance, Climb, Move Silently, and Swim.
  • The Yesol are a minor bloodline, and – like most such – may disappear at any time. Still, at least for the moment, they’re doing reasonably well as divers, pearl-fishers, and seamen.
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Federation-Apocalypse Session 83b – Balrog Disco

   Corrigan decided to let Mr Balrog consider things for a few moments. There was nothing like a Disco to try and discover your true inner self in! And, if Mr Balrog got tired of that, there were lots of other people to get involved with!

   Besides, there was no point in his missing out on any of the fun!

   He headed out onto the floor. There had to be someone of his persuasion out there… How he wished that Marty was available! He knew how to have a good time too!

   He didn’t have much luck before it seemed to be time to talk to Mr Balrog again.

   Mr Balrog was rather thoughtful at the moment. He’d never been treated as “one of the group” before; even the officeworkers tended to look at him without really seeing him. The clubbers though… The clubbers were high enough to have their mental defenses and preconceptions down – but, like every other inhabitant of Battling Business World, were virtually without fear anyway.

   That makes Corrigan a little sad. He’d have taken a dose of Proma-17 himself, but he couldn’t do that at the moment! He had to help Mr Balrog learn how to treat people decently and achieve balance!

(Corrigan) “You seem a little distant… Is something bothering you?”

(Balrog) “It is strange… Somehow, this – a place where I have never been – somehow seems more familiar than much of my own life! “

(Corrigan) “Oh? Do you think you might have had a past life here?”

(Balrog) “How could I have a past life here? I am thousands of years old! I have lived through three ages of Arda! I lived before the creation!.. Wait… That Gandalf. The one who sent me here… He said that He had been Gandalf for about three hours, but that Gandalf was – like me – a Maia, and had existed from the beginning, and had outlasted the ages – and that in an hour or so, he wouldn’t be Gandalf any more.”

(Corrigan) “Gandalf? Oh, that movie!”

   He got a dreamy look on his face for a few moments as he contemplated Elijah Wood.

(Corrigan) “Wait a minute . . . where did Marty recruit you?”

(Balrog) “I haunted the mines of Moria, slaying many Gandalfs, Dwarves, Men, and Hobbits! I took the One Ring repeatedly!… Until the one you call Marty-Boromir and Kevin-Gandalf came, and persuaded me to travel with them to the Underdark, and thence to here in pursuit of the powers of the light!”

“Marty-Boromir?” (Corrigan started to laugh) “Well, Marty really has been going to strange places then!”

(Balrog) “None so strange as this place! When humans see me in most places, they scream, they panic, they flee! Here they try to sell me credit cards or appliances!”

(Corrigan) “Why would they fear you? They wake up the next morning! Malpractice is something to fear. So is bankruptcy.”

(Balrog) “And that is strange as well! The Gandalfs and the rest often seemed to return – but they had no memory of meeting me before, and did not return in a mere day! Humans are supposed to pass beyond the borders of the world and never return at all!”

(Corrigan scratched his head.) “Maybe they lose their memories when they wake up. That makes me sad.”

   Fred Gelman had mentioned something about him Mr Balrog maybe being a cosplayer. He had to wonder… Corrigan started looking around for another cosplayer. They were always people who didn’t quite fit in, so maybe they’d be good at relating to demons who didn’t quite fit in!

   Well, there was one lady over in a corner who was done up as a massive werewolf. She might even be using Meds to get that result… By herself in a nightclub? She might well be equally out of place!

(Corrigan, pointing to the werewolf) “Oooh, she looks fierce.”

   Mr Balrog headed off over that way – although he seemed to feel that the lady was another supernatural entity, and might have some insights on their relationship to human beings. Coming from such disconnected perspectives, the ensuing discussion got rather weird.

   Corrigan found it amusing enough that he almost forgot to keep an eye out for a partner of his own!

   Mr Balrog and the Werewolf were still arguing the fine points of their worlds of origin when the disco ball went off, and the razor-sharp glass fragments swept the room like a scythe. Nine out of ten clubbers went down in the initial blast, while many of the rest fell as the ceiling collapsed! Corrigan, as usual, wasn’t hit; the incoming mirror-fragments always tended to go into orbit around his sparkles. He raised the traditional after-the-blast cry!

(Corrigan) “Last call!”

   It was sad. He hadn’t found anybody to take home – but it was good to help others!

   The “werewolf” was fine as well; Mr Balrog had taken the brunt took the blast – and seemed to be relatively undamaged.

   Corrigan glanced at the mirror-shards dangling amongst his sparkles and grinned. They helped keep him on the cutting edge and basking in the limelight – but there were always more, and – who knew? – these might have a greater destiny…

(Corrigan) “Here, why don’t you have these? They’re not actual sparkles, but maybe you can keep them in your aura.”

   Hanging in the Balrog’s flaming aura, the mirror-fragments became white-hot dots of molten glass. Not quite sparkles – but who knew? If he kept on trying to achieve balance, perhaps they would become sparkles! His physique was certainly good enough…

   Meanwhile, back in Kadia, Kelsaru was getting things organized; between the recordings, the written materials, and the telepathic impressions available from the Thralls, there was no reason why Kevin should have to make a personal pitch to 99.9% of his prospective Thralls. It was only a few with really specialized concerns that would want a personal encounter before making up their minds. Most of the rest were more than willing to sign up without further ado, while those who wanted to opt out were either leaving, or being assigned to various jobs if they were already indentured or owed rescue-fees.

   In fact, a fair number came back after opting out and leaving. It looked like discovering that they were, indeed, free to refuse and leave was all the reassurance that some of them needed.

   No one else could bond them for him of course – that seemed to be some sort of divine privilege (and she was still thinking about the implications of THAT, both for herself and for her clutch), but they could be set up with organized mass appointments. That way Kevin could bond them to himself with reasonable efficiency – and that would be needed considering how many of them there were getting to be.

   As for the Amarant Solutions operations… the main profit was obviously in gatekeeping and trans-dimensional trading operations. Even the slave-purchases and rescue-operations were minor operations next to that, simply due to the sorting for souls. They were a major expense if you considered loss of time – especially for the Neodogs currently operating in the Linear Realms – but that basically went under Recruiting and Advertising. That sort of thing wasn’t expected to yield an immediate profit even if efficiently managed.

   Still, there were plenty of the smaller offices that could be arranged more efficiently. Kevin and Marty had a tendency to place offices by whim, and they tended to favor exciting mythological realms.

   She allocated some Thrall-resources to all of the “Disaster Realms” – where there’d be plenty of recruitable souls – and where they could best use some advance warning on the activities of the opposition (even if it’s nature wasn’t yet entirely clear). Others… All of the mythic and classical literary realms had stuff to trade, and it was a lot more effective to open gates to the more obscure ones. There were all kinds of people and companies trying to grab shares of the more popular realms, since those had the most gates and routes to them – but with plenty of Gatekeeper-Thralls available, it would be best to hit up the more obscure places. They could afford to take circuitous routes though the manifold. Kevin could upgrade the efficiency with new gates when he had time, meanwhile they’d have exclusive access to a lot of places – and to possible recruits and resources no one else was reaching.

   These “Core” people were fractitious though; the Core Military wanted more Thralls without recruiting, the Unified Church people seemed to disapprove on principle, while have very few objections to what was actually being done, the House of Roses was actively recruiting, while not wanting to admit to it, and only a few businessmen were willing to acknowledge that they were dealing with a slave-trader.

   At least it looked like this “Vekxin” person was almost cornered, and that the general population in Core was having no trouble in accepting the notion of sapient humanoid property like the shape-shifted Neodogs and anthromorphs from the Manifold. They didn’t seem to be having any trouble with acknowledging slavery out in the Manifold either – but how they’d feel about formally acknowledging humans as property in Core was still a bit up in the air. There were a few defacto cases around – but nothing formal.

   Over in the dragonworlds, a few of the kids were exploiting the system a bit – using their free access to the processing machines to undercut Kevin’s prices on high-quality slave-processing. Of course, when Kevin found out, he’d probably be pleased that they’d thought of it. Kevin quite expected people to exploit their resources.

   He probably wouldn’t be pleased to discover that a number of the hatchlings were getting into fights with other hatchlings who were there to be educated, and sometimes even getting into completely uncontrolled fights with other young dragons outside his household. Perhaps it was inevitable, but Kevin had really been hoping that giving his hatchlings everything they’d needed – and most of what they didn’t – would keep them out of trouble. Of course, for those who’d lost a fight, the ones who’d been killed would be easy enough to retrieve – and most of the outsiders would probably be open to selling them back soon enough.

Twilight Isles – Houses of the Shadow Elves

   The Shadow Elves are organized around a few basic principles:

  • Bloodlines and family names are passed on through the female line; children may be born with wild talents on occasion, but the vast majority of the time, they will be born with the talents of their mother – and thus the techniques for best using the better talents are also passed on through the female line. The houses and clans are thus organized around maternal lines, and males marry into them.
  • Given the tremendous, and obvious, inequalities of power between individuals, there is no point in trying to pretend in equality. The mighty will seize power if it suits them and the weak will be exploited. Those in the middle are best off staying out-of-the-way while the powerful sort out their own pecking order; there’s no good way to control them anyway.
    • As a corollary, what the powerful get up to is more or less their own business. If they want to kill each other off or indulge in weird activities, as long as it doesn’t involve the population at large – or at least no more than a few people from among the population at large – no one will pay much attention to their antics.
  • There’s a basic trade-off in any species; number of offspring versus investment in each one. Shadow Elves may have twenty or more children over the course of a long lifetime – and most of them will slide towards the bottom, despite parental efforts and influence of wealth. Parents do care for their children and their society accommodates that, simply because any society that does not will be overwhelmed by the ones that do – but the investment in any given child is less. Like classical earthly parents with large families, losses are expected.
  • A sizeable chunk of the population never gets past level zero, and usually winds up in very low-status jobs or as slaves. A solid majority make it to level one, and stick there, whether as slaves, lower class, or hanging onto middle class status via specialization. Level two is notable, but not too uncommon. Levels three and up are one in a hundred or so at best – and even the vast majority of those individuals never get past levels four to five. Levels six and up are only found amongst the most powerful nobles.
  • The major houses – accumulations of wealth and property – are thus dominated by the powerful and cunning, and will be passed on to the powerful and cunning, even if it has to be by adoption.

   Of course, within that basic framework, there are a lot of variations – in fact there are hundreds of them. There are also some relatively common bits of house training:

  • Mana Channeling – meaning, more level zero or level one Innate Enchantments. Limited-use talents are usually known as Lesser Channels, while unlimited-use abilities are classified as Greater Channels. In general, purchased Innate Enchantments:
    • Count as “external” abilities. They may be inherent in the user, but they’re still a conscious method of channeling magic, not something natural to the race.
    • Stack with the abilities that are part of the racial package.
    • Count against the limitation on the number of spells a given Shadow Elf can handle at one time while active (the automatic racial abilities do not).
    • Normally require buying off the Specialization on their Immunity to the XP Cost of innate enchantments (+1 CP).
    • Within those limits, however, many Shadow Elves a few CP worth of extra Innate Enchantments.
  • Masteries: Shadow Elves who show exceptional potential will often learn a Metamagical Theorem or two (Specialized in Innate Enchantments, Corrupted/level one and zero effects only) at 2 CP apiece and a level or two of Streamline (Specialized in Innate Enchantments, Corrupted/level one and zero effects only) at 2 CP per level to go with them – an ability which can increase their power quite substantially.
  • Arcane Focus – Empowerment, Specialized in Innate Enchantments for unlimited use (6 CP). This is only really useful to Shadow Elves who will be advancing beyond the first level – but, for them, it can be a substantial boost to their power level.

   Sample Houses:

   Brecanasti

  • House Talents: +2 Con, +3 with mundane skills (Appraise, Craft, Handle Animal, Perform, Profession, Ride, Speak Language, and Use Rope), and unlimited use of Unseen Servant.
  • The Brecanasti are one of the more widespread, and quieter, houses – the quiet backbone of many professions. Even Brecanasti slaves are usually quite well treated, simply because they can be so productive. They usually try to stay out of the major power struggles, only moving against members of other houses if they feel that they’ve become a major menace to their own survival. The house most commonly teaches it’s more promising members various Masteries – focusing on improving the abilities of their Unseen Servants by giving them a portion of the user’s skills and – sometimes – a limited ability to attack, allowing them to inflict modest area-effect damage to resisting targets, to harass people effectively, or to effectively attack sleeping or otherwise helpless opponents.

   Draiocht

  • House Talents: +2 Chr, +3 with charisma-based skills, unlimited use of Stabilize Magic I – allowing them to use third-level spells without difficulty. Unfortunately, this also illustrates one of the major limitations of Stabilize Magic spells; they have to be cast by an intelligent, and magic-sensitive, creature to work. Putting them into non-sapient items won’t work.
  • The Draiocht have mixed fortunes; those who don’t practice magic find themselves at a slight disadvantage, with a fairly useless house talent. Those who do, usually work with Theurgy (using Augmented Bonus to base it on Charisma), where precisely-tuned spells can make the most of their slight casting advantage. In the great competition, Draiocht is noted for their subtle social manipulation, often leading from behind the scenes as coordinators and managers.

   Elthik

  • House Talents: +2 Wis, +3 bonus on magic-related skills, unlimited use of Detect Magic, unlimited use of Prestidigitation, and Read Magic 1/day.
  • The Elthik have carefully cultivated a reputation as formidable militaristic magi, but their true strength lies in their magical senses – which allow a skilled member of the house to keep careful track of the power levels of those around them, to evaluate their house talents and any Channels they may employ, and to tell what effects they have active on them. Their innate talents may not match the raw power of some houses, but knowing exactly what spell to use is often better than having a powerful spell and using it at the wrong time and place. At the moment, thanks to a series of feuds and skirmishes among the other notable houses, Elthik is doing very well.

   Galano

  • House Talents: +2 Con, +3 bonus on dexterity-based skills, and Weapon Mastery/Sabre (+4 BAB with Sabres – a type of Scimitar).
  • The Galano possesses a powerful edge in melee combat with their favored type of sword, often gaining multiple attacks very early on, and possessing excellent martial skills – further focusing on those advantages with a house-specific martial art. Unsurprisingly, they usually attempt to divert any conflicts with other houses into personal duels and favor ongoing low-level conflicts, where their particular advantages come to the fore. Their house training tends to focus on Lesser Channels and – occasionally – on Greater Channels doubling up on their innate talents, which can make them quite formidable.

   Gynt-Haaken

  • House Talents: +2 Wis, +3 bonus on scouting-related skills (Climb, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Spot, Survival, and Use Rope), unlimited use of Produce Flame.
  • The Gynt-Haaken are strongly militarily-oriented, focusing on skirmish tactics and sniping with their own fire-based house martial art. Unlike many of the other militaristic houses, they like things a bit tense – with lots of calls for scouting and deniable missions – but a bit short of outright warfare. Many members of the house are, however, excessively hot-tempered, leading to a constant embroilment in minor quarrels. Their house training usually focuses on conventional military skills and Masteries – allowing them to upgrade the effectiveness of their flame powers even further.

Federation-Apocalypse Session 83a – Corrigan and the Balrog, Part One

   Corrigan was getting pretty exasperated.

   Confound it! Mr Balrog was stalking him with a butterfly net again! Trying to catch his sparkles!

   It was really starting to bother him! Here he was, trying to read these reports from Advertising, and the hunk they put in charge of Operations was STILL trying to catch his sparkles!

   They were just leaking out like always of course – but it was really getting annoying! Even to a guy from California.

(Corrigan, Smiling) “May I help you?”

(Balrog) “You will tell me why the forces of light hang about you doing nothing! How do you channel them!”

(Corrigan) “I was born this way! Why do you keep asking? I always tell you this, and it’s not like you’re hideous!”

(Balrog) ” I must know the secret of channeling the light! That lack of that knowledge is all that holds me back!”

(Corrigan) “Hmm . . .”

   Corrigan didn’t want to say “good genetics”. That would be discriminatory, and as a good HR man he had to avoid that!

   He wound up giving Mr Balrog a quick lesson on human genetics. Hadn’t he taken biology in battling business school?

(Balrog) “Are you saying that only humans can channel the light? That cannot be true! The Vala too channel the light!”

   Corrigan scratched his head. He’d never really been that much for fantasy fiction.

(Corrigan) “I don’t understand… do you want lasers?”

(Balrog) “Mine is the power of darkness! Only the light can oppose me!”

   Darkness? That sounded like something from his old days at church!

(Corrigan) “Darkness? As in evil?”

(Balrog) “Of course!”

   Well, no wonder Fred had been so bothered, then! He didn’t understand the ways of the Tao, so he didn’t realize that good and evil were both necessary!

(Corrigan) “You want to achieve balance, then?”

(Balrog) “Balance? Is that what is required? I was of the light, and turned to darkness… Is it like humans, that I must stand between?”

(Corrigan) “If that is how you are moved, certainly.”

(Balrog) Look at me Mortal! Do not blind yourself! What am I?

   Corrigan looked. Still one Balrog – massive, flaming, demonic…

   Somehow that seemed to sink in a bit more than usual. It might be something to do with the fact that he was actually focusing at the moment.

(Corrigan) “Oh, wait, you’re a demon! No wonder Jenkins has been complaining about fire prevention costs!”

(Balrog) “A demon? I am no mere demon! I did not fight and loose beyond the circles of Arda! I followed Melkor into Arda to claim it! I am a Maia, of those who helped to call the world into being!”

(Corrigan) “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but creating an entire world is really impressive!”

(Balrog) “You have the light… And you say that one must be between the light and darkness to wield both… Like a human.”

(Corrigan) “Well, that’s one way I’ve heard of. I suppose Jenkins’ Numbers might know another – but you don’t want to deal with them! They make the accountants unhappy!”

(Balrog) “Very well! I shall attempt this! You will show me how to be human and to stand between light and the darkness!”

(Corrigan) “Well, why don’t you meet me after work? I know this wonderful club in the Village.”

(Balrog) “So shall it be!”

   Work went tolerably well – although there were an awful lot of employee files that came in and went straight to storage; apparently they were only backup copies for employees working in an external branch. Corrigan arched an eyebrow at that – but he had other concerns, like advertising and Terry Jenkins. The woman was perpetually unhappy, and ever since Fred had disappeared, she’d been even unhappier. If only she would take her Proma-17 – but she couldn’t even get near her without her sticking a sharp object in him even if she had seemed to be slightly happier for the last day or two (even if she did still stab him every time he called her “Terry”). Oh well! At least the evening promised to be fun!

   The Balrog was waiting – with an oversized motorcycle.

(Corrigan) “Nice bike! Where shall we go?”

   Corrigan had selected a club with a nice, diverse crowd of gays and straights – and few flammable objects. He gave the Balrog the direction – and it cheerily ran people down (normal enough for Battling Business World), kicked cars out of the way (kind of over the top), and took a shortcut though the neonatal wing of a local hospital, cheerily catching babies in the wheel-spokes! (More than a bit over the top, even by Battling Business World standards).

“Waah!!!”

   It was a good thing he’d brought his Proma-17 injector! They’d never remember!

(Corrigan) “There, there… that’s a good boy…”

“WAH… Wah..waa… aahhh…”

   The nurses were outraged. Babies were not proper targets!

   Corrigan sighed. Would they rather have the little things bleed to death? It took a day for them to learn how to heal, and they were so unhappy when it happened.

   Oh wait: they’d rather that the Balrog not be crashing through the neonatal wing! That was no way to behave! It was against every code of conduct! Only parents were allowed to kill un-abandoned babies!

(Corrigan) “All right, Mr. Balrog… your first lesson in being human is to respect others’ feelings!”

(Balrog) “But… Are they not there to kill and torment?

(Corrigan) “No, they exist to help the world grow and change. The more people exist, the more delightful the world is.”

(Balrog) “Growth… Like calling the world into being so long ago. The harmony before the dissonance.”

(Corrigan) “Yes, exactly!”

(Balrog) “But… I am of the Maia! I have always been of one nature or the other! Always pure!”

(Corrigan) “Do you have to be? Seeking purity seems to have made you unhappy.”

   He would have used Proma-17 on the Balrog, but the tough hide and the flaming aura were a bit much for his poor little injector.

(Balrog) “So I should not – say – burn this child to death, but hand it back to that short nurse who cannot reach past my waist?”

(Corrigan) “Yes, that would be a good start.”

   The Balrog hesitated – but if channeling the light involved nothing more than such small concessions, it would be well worthwhile. It reluctantly handled the child back to the nurse.

   Corrigan applauded.

(Corrigan) “Now let’s go back to the street. Infants are no match for your skills!”

   The Balrog absent-mindedly wheeled the bike down the hall, rather than crashing through a wall. Corrigan patted the Balrog on the back; he was learning!

(Balrog) “Why does this feel so… unprecedented? I was kind often enough before I descended in the service of Melkor!”

   Corrigan shrugged. He wasn’t exactly familiar with the Balrog’s life story.

(Corrigan) “Maybe being nice is making you remember. Keep it up!”

   The nightclub was large, busy, and crowded. The riot hadn’t started yet – but it was close as always. The disco ball was smoking already, it looked like someone had lit the fuse early. Corrigan was pleased; he’d been afraid that the Balrog might light it early by accident!

   He started the lesson on nightclub behavior…

(Corrigan) “Okay! When someone bumps into you, what do you do?”

(Balrog, hesitantly) “Incinerate them in unholy flame?”

(Corrigan) “No, no… you say, ‘Excuse me.’ Or you just ignore it. The club floor often gets crowded, and people can’t avoid bumping into each other. If they’re overly pushy or insulting about it, you punch them. That’s how some of the best riots get started!”

(Balrog) “But… Isn’t that being sociable?”

   Corrigan had never thought about that before. He’d always assumed that, if it was obviously an accident, there was no need for him to hit people. Besides… He was used to having the crowd part in awe when he hit the floor in the first place.

(Corrigan) “Well, yes, but unholy flame is right out! That ends the party BEFORE the disco ball explodes, and no one likes that!”

   Corrigan decided to try and get Mr Balrog drunk. OK, lots of people did things they’d regret later while drunk, but loosening up the Balrog might be well worthwhile. His behavior would be hard to make worse! What could he do, set the entire place on literal fire? They had the foam sprays for that; they couldn’t have the place burning down until the disco ball blew up, everyone died, and they woke up at home with no hangover or lingering drug effects! If they slept naturally, all that stuff carried over!

   Quite a few people did ignite when they brushed against the Balrog, but that was hardly his fault. A lot of them were so high that they didn’t notice anyway, which was one reason for the fire extinguishers staying available until the disco ball went off!

   The Balrog did seem to be enjoying himself. Oddly enough, the drugged-up folks often seemed to really see him but accepted him as he was anyway.

   Of course! They were finding their own happiness, and when you were happy, you didn’t worry about other people’s looks!

Exotic Languages of the Twilight Isles

   There actually aren’t too many of these. While there are a lot of minor island dialects, the people of the isles tend to be long-lived, and there aren’t all that many of them – so the number of major languages is relatively limited. Just as importantly, the number of other dimensions that can be reached from the isles is relatively limited – and the number which have any regular contact with the isles is even more limited.

   There may once have been many more languages out there – certainly there are strong indications that the Shadow Elf and Veltine founders spoke many languages – but there isn’t enough left of any of them to reconstruct, much less speak.

   These days, there are only three minor languages of any real importance:

   Dosutine: Dosut is one of the most easily reached of the nearby dimensions – a chaotic realm of floating patches of land, a dangerously localized set of environments, powerful spellcasters, and their bizarre minions. Many of those minions can be summoned and bound to service due to the restraints laid on them by their masters at home (although this risks attracting the notice of said masters), hence the study of Dosutine is popular with summoners – especially since the tongue is understood by the inhabitants of several more distant (if equally chaotic) planes. The language itself is difficult for “normal” humanoids to pronounce, but has a strong gestural component, and (with a success check) can be used to cast spells that normally require verbal components silently – although this adds a gestural component which is incompatible with any normally-required gestural components. It’s written form consists of a complex sequence of subtly-different curving lines.

   Krellian Glyph-Spirals: Bizarrely by most standards Krellian has a written form, but no spoken one. Each full thought is written as a spiral of impression-glyphs, with positive or negative emphasis shown by direction of the spiral. The writing technique consists of carefully composing and organizing the thought, envisioning the structure of the glyph-spiral – and then spending one or more points of Power to imprint it on a surface. (Those with an appropriate speciality may imprint glyph-spirals on the structure of space itself, leaving them hanging in the air). While this takes at least as much time as conventional writing, it requires no implements other than Power. Psionically-empowered glyph-spirals can be used to either imprint or erase patterns on the mind – which makes anyone known for their use generally suspect, at least to non-psychics. Learning to read Krellian is often the first step in developing psychic powers.

   Shu: A tongue primarily known from ancient manuscripts, Shu is built upon harmony and balance, to the point where it has difficulty handling definite statements or unbalanced concepts. While complex, tonal, and slow – if beautiful – in conversation, Shu is uniquely suited to recording the combination of physical, mental, and spiritual balances which go into the mystical martial arts. A martial art recorded is Shu can be easily learned without an instructor – and, if two speakers of Shu with a link speciality are in telepathic contact, one can guide the other through the use of any physical skill without penalty.

Eclipse – the Rhynsin Dragonslayer Martial Art

   Here we have another sample martial art – in this case, another rarity; a Specialized form. The Rhynsin Form is indeed designed specifically for use against dragons, and cannot be used against other opponents – and thus any skill points invested in the form count double, providing a +2 bonus, rather than the usual +1 – allowing the total bonus to far exceed the normal limits.

   Rhynsin is also a good example of a martial art which stretches the rules a bit. While “Defenses” normally add to the user’s armor class, this art adds the bonus to certain saves instead. I’ve been allowing that for some of the more exotic martial arts simply on the grounds that it seems reasonable enough.

   Fortunately, dragons are rare –  and so, the governing attribute of the form is Wisdom, since it provides the willpower to keep practicing a set of moves that – hopefully – will almost never be called for.  Still, odder things do happen, and there are dragons out there.

   The  Rhynsin Dragonslayer’s art revolves around an extensive study of Dragons – the way they move, the way they think, the chinks in their defenses, countermeasures against their abilities, and the best ways to attack them. It’s user’s almost invariably begin focused on how to best use a massive weapon against an equally massive creature. Later on, it brings in additional weapons and it’s practitioners begin to learn to focus their own natural power – limited as it may be – to disrupt the far greater energies of their draconic targets.

  • Requires: At least +1 BAB Specialized in Dragons or Weapon Focus/Greataxe or Greatsword.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4 (provides a bonus on saving throws against draconic breath weapons and magic rather than a boost to AC),  Power 2, and Synergy/Knowledge skill checks related to Dragons.
  • Advanced and Master Level Techniques: Weapon Kata x 2 (normally bow and spear, but other weapons are possible), Expertise and Quick Draw.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, Ki Block, and Touch Strike.

Eclipse – Compiled Martial Arts Forms

   Here we have an additional fifty-plus Martial Arts skills, compiled from the sample characters and offline sources, to add to sample martial arts in Eclipse (available in print HERE and in a shareware edition HERE).

   The Eclipse martial arts rules were designed to bridge part of the gap between the broad-based combat abilities of d20 (and many other games) and reality. Broad-based games provide broad categories of weapons, and combat “skills” (such as the “base attack bonus”) so generic that characters are likely to be able to use a great many of them with near-equal skill. Other games use far more precise categories, such as “Knives” or “Blades”. Sadly, both of those basic design philosophies lead to unrealistic results – either creating characters who are equally skilled with an immense variety of weapons, including many they’ve never seen before, or creating characters who are immensely skilled with particular weapons such as “Longswords” but who are quite incapable of using a stick even by opting to wield it like a light blunt sword, since the “Blades” skill doesn’t cover sticks – no matter how you’re using them. To be realistic, there’s plenty of overlap between weapon and combat skills, and yet there are still a lot of techniques particular to specific weapons and unarmed styles.

   Ergo, the Eclipse martial arts system was intended to add to the broad-based combat abilities of the standard d20 rules. That let characters develop a broad competence in combat – being able to make reasonably effective use of a wide variety of weapons and moves – while still allowing them to learn specific techniques associated with particular weapons and styles without getting absurdly over-specialized in them.

   Secondarily, as always, it was intended to be simple to use.

   Those few pages and the ten sample martial arts in the book have proven to be very popular indeed.

   Personally, I’m inclined to be fairly generous about what makes a suitable requirement, and on how many styles are likely to be part of a campaign’s background. After all, how many separate real-world combat systems are there? How many more would there be in most d20 worlds? If a player wants to use a self-designed art which fits into the world reasonably well, go ahead and assign it a key ability score and presume that it has a history.

   Alarian Legionary Sword Training (Str):

   This straightforward martial “art” is, unlike most martial arts, at it’s best in mass combat, where there are plenty of allies to set you up for flanking (“sneak”) attacks and – thanks to Combat Reflexes – to make anyone fool enough to charge one of your formations think that they’ve dived into a mincing machine.

  • Requires: Weapon Proficiency with Swords
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 3, Power 3, Defenses 3, Toughness 3
  • Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Mighty Blow, Sneak Attack II
  • Occult Techniques: None. (The price of minimal requirements).

   Asura Roushan (Dex):

   The sacred sword style of the Raline (military) order of the Varnic church, Asura Roushan focuses on mobility and combat with supernatural entities. Perhaps sadly, it’s entirely useless without a sword to wield.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Sword or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Power 2, Strike, and Defenses 2.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Blind Fight, Combat Reflexes, Reach, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Light Foot, Vanishing and Wrath (blows inflict divine damage, reduce attribute drains and damage from negative energy by 4, reduce level drains by 2, and gain a +6 on saving throws versus the powers of the undead).

   Blade Expert Martial Art (Dex):

  • Requires: Weapon Proficiency with Blades
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Power 2, Defenses 4
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Quick Draw, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: None. (The price of minimal requirements)

   This utterly mundane style is a product of the Core Worlds of the Federation-Apocalypse setting – and thus is the product of centuries of computer-supervised development in a purely scientific setting. It’s efficient, smooth, and gives not the slightest nod to philosophy or supernatural powers.

   Body Like Water (Dex):

   Unsurprisingly, this soft style concentrates on smooth, flowing evasions, rolling with or twisting away from impacts, and getting weapons away from attackers. Sadly, even those who choose to study the forms striking moves or optional knife techniques find the forms offensive capabilities quite limited. Of course, it’s also another mundane style, offering no occult techniques at all – unless someone in a more magical world opts to develop some.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Defense 4, Strike, and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Weapon Kata/Dagger, Mind Like Moon, Instant Stand, and Improved Disarm.

   The Breath Of Creations Morn (Charisma):

   The Staff, the Hammer, The Blade, and the Bow.

   The weapons of the first war, empowered by the eternal Word, writ in letters of celestial fire

   As above, so below.

   The hardness of stone, the suppleness of wood, the sinewy strength of beasts, and the flight of birds, united in the hands of men.

   Old, OLD, magic.

   The four primal martial arts of the first war are – in the hands of the celestial host – things of perfection, the sun source to which all lesser martial arts aspire.

   In mortal hands they are merely paths towards the light – but that is no small thing in itself.

   Focusing on breath control and soft commands spoken in Enochian, the Breath Of Creations Morn involves little actual physical motion, relying for its power on the imperishable echoes of the eternal Word. Even its “weapon kata” relies more on the symbolism of the staff as a symbol of authority than it does on actually moving it.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike, the ability to channel positive energy, and NOT being able to channel negative energy. Instruction by a current master or a celestial is also in order.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, Strike, Synergy/Diplomacy and Synergy/Handle Animal.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Battlecry (a word of stillness), Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, and Weapon Kata/Staff.
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Light Foot, Paralyze, and Vanishing

   Cangmarg (Dex)

   Cangmarg is a shapeshifters martial art, designed around the ability to subtly change form – thus allowing joints to bend unnaturally, flesh to flow free from holds, claws and fangs to become unnaturally long and sharp, and muscle to be redistributed to where it is most needed to suit the flow of combat. It doesn’t take much shapeshifting to allow it’s use – but it requires at least a bit, as well as the fangs and claws the form relies on. If you lack those abilities, or have some innate objection to ripping hunks of raw flesh out of screaming enemies with your teeth, don’t study Cangmarg.

  • Requires: Natural weapons/claws and fangs, limited shapeshifting ability or better.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, Power 2, Strike, and Synergy/Survival.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Battlecry (Howl), Mind Like Moon, Reach, and Combat Reflexes.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Resist Pain, and Light Foot

   Cheetah Style (Dex)

   Concentrating on blurringly rapid motion, the Cheetah Style attempts to dart in, strike, and escape before an opponent can strike back.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or Natural Weapons.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 2, Strike, Toughness 3, Attack 2.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Reach, Instant Stand, Deflect Arrows, and Combat Reflexes.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength II, Light Foot, and Wrath (positive energy damage, provides resistance to negative energy effects).

   Close Quarter Combat System (Str):

   The first enemy is hesitation. That indecisive moment when – torn between firing, not firing, lashing out, and dodging – soldiers so often become casualties.

   The Close Quarter Combat System concentrates on making the use of a weapon reflexive and on basics, rather than on exotic special techniques. Keep moving, hit them fast, aim tolerably well, and take advantage of any openings that turn up.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Pistol or Weapon Focus/Combat Knife or equivalent point buy
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defense 2, Power 1, Strike, and Synergy (Craft/Firearms).
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Improved Trip, Weapon Kata/ Dagger, Versatile, and Improved Disarm.
  • Occult Techniques: None

   Technically the dagger-based form with weapon kata/pistol is an entirely separate form from the pistol-based form with weapon kata/dagger, but it really doesn’t matter; as soon as you take the Weapon Kata ability they’re effectively identical. Like most of the other purely-physical styles, the Close Quarter Combat System offers no occult abilities.

   The Cursed Tongue (Wis) (With Anthony Robbers)

   This purely-offensive mystical martial art backs ray attacks with the power of minor curses. The user simply adds a minor malediction to his usual components. While such small curses must be tailored to the local magical environment, are extremely short-lived, and are somewhat difficult to use, they can allow a master of The Cursed Tongue to inflict crippling disabilities on anyone who dares to hurt him.

   Unfortunately, even such minor curses require some leverage; sheer spite and borrowing power from other curses may help a bit, but The Cursed Tongue can only be used to it’s full potential after an opponent has already hurt the user in some way – and the greater the injuries an opponent has inflicted, the better it works.

  • Requirements: The user must know the magical language of Saenthor, be subject to a powerful curse of some kind him or herself (to borrow power from), and possess the ability to make ray attacks.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack IV, Power IV, and Synergy/Intimidate.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Blinding Strike and Crippling III.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Serpent Strike, Paralyze and Overburden

   The Cursed Tongue is Corrupted and Specialized for Triple Effect:

  • The Basic abilities only work against targets who have injured the user, issued serious threats or insults against the user or his family, or who have otherwise wronged or offended the user. Against an opponent who has done no more than this, the abilities have only their base effect.
  • The Advanced abilities only work against targets who have seriously wounded the user, personally injured close friends or family members of the user, or gravely wronged or offended the user. Against an opponent who has committed such an offense, the forms abilities have double effect – but there is a modest chance of backlash in the form of some injury or short-term curse upon the user if he or she opts to exploit this doubling.
  • The Occult techniques only work against targets who have personally gravely wounded the user, slain his or her close friends or family members, or grievously wronged or offended him or her. Against opponents who have committed such an offense, the forms abilities have triple effect. There is, however, a great chance of backlash inflicting a serious injury or medium-duration curse on the user if the user opts to exploit this tripling.

   Variants on The Cursed Tongue use other mystical languages, and are thus slightly different arts.

  • Ma’thak Koren has several nasty side-effects, since it requires accessing some very unpleasant remnants.
  • Narthian tends to be rather limiting in the types of slights that can allow its use. Only things that would offend an animal quality – which generally lets out insults.
  • Zaban-Gozar has the usual costs vitality cost of speaking in soul speech, and so is very hard on the user.

   Cutting Wind (Dex)

   This arcane martial art relies less on physical dexterity than on subtle magical control. The feathers of the fletching, the sinew of the string, the wood of the shaft – all were once living, and resonate still with the energies of life. The master of the cutting wind has learned to attune his or her own life force to those residual forces, making the bow as much a part of him- or herself as his or her hand – and channeling his or her own strengths through the bow to strike down his or her foes with deadly effects.

  • Requires: At least +1 BAB Specialized in Bows.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, Power 3, Strike, Synergy/Survival
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Rapid Shot, and Sneak Attack II
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Light foot, and Serpent Strike.

   Deathstrike (Str)

   The Deathstrike art is only for those who have natural claws, talons, or similar innate weapons – and who wish to put them to the most effective possible use. Unlike many martial arts, there are no “occult” techniques associated with Deathstrike: merely an efficient system for removing vital internal organs from your enemies.

  • Requires: Natural Weapons/Claws (or talons or whatever) capable of doing 1d6 or more.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, Power 3, Synergy (+2 to Acrobatics), and Strike.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Improved Trip, Sunder, Versatile, and Improved Disarm.
  • Occult Techniques: None

   The Division Of The Waters (Dexterity):

   The Staff, the Hammer, The Blade, and the Bow.

   The weapons of the first war, empowered by the eternal Word, writ in letters of celestial fire

   As above, so below.

   The hardness of stone, the suppleness of wood, the sinewy strength of beasts, and the flight of birds, united in the hands of men.

   Old, OLD, magic.

   The four primal martial arts of the first war are – in the hands of the celestial host – things of perfection, the sun source to which all lesser martial arts aspire.

   In mortal hands they are merely paths towards the light – but that is no small thing in itself.

   Balanced between seconds of guarded stillness, clashing wills, and flashing strikes that take advantage of any wavering in an opponents guard, the Division Of The Waters tends to give the impression of a fight illuminated with a strobe light of celestial flame.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Sword or equivalent point buy and NOT being able to channel negative energy. Instruction by a current master or a celestial is also in order.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, Strike, Synergy/Balance, and Synergy/Intimidation.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Quick Draw, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Ki Block, Light Foot, One Finger, and Wrath (-2 con to inflict fire damage and gain resistance 6 to both heat and cold damage for 3d6 rounds).

   Drunken Fist (Dex)

   This classical style relies on disguising itself. Ideally, the staggering, unpredictable, movements of the form can defeat an opponent without them even realizing that their opponent is anything but lucky.

  • Requires: Tumble 5+, Dex 14+.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Power 2, Strike, Synergy/Perform (Acting), and Synergy/Bluff.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Instant Stand, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, and Prone Combat.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Ki Focus, and Paralyze.

   In hard-science settings, simply leave out the Occult Techniques.

   Falcon’s Eye (Dex):

   This straightforward hunters art focuses on taking targets down with a single shot, preferably from ambush.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Bow or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3 and Power 3.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Crippling (Con), Sneak Attack II (2d6), and Rapid Shot
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Focused Blow, Ki Focus (Dex), and Overburden.

   The Feathered Winds (Dex)

   Hitting is good. Hitting vital organs is even better. The Feathered Winds style focuses on putting arrows into sensitive spots as quickly and as accurately as humanly possible. It isn’t always necessary to kill – but you wouldn’t be shooting at people if you didn’t want to do something unpleasant to them.

  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Power 4
  • Advanced and Master Abilities: Mighty Blow, Rapid Shot, Prone Combat, and Versatility
  • Occult Techniques: Ki Focus/Sacred/Dexterity, Overburden, Inner Strength, and Serpents Strike.
  • Known Techniques (6): Attack 2, Power 2, Rapid Shot, Inner Strength.

   Fire Juggler (Dex)

   This highly specialized art allows the user to maximize the effectiveness of his or her flame powers in combat. Unsurprisingly for an art which relies on a particular inherent ability, it’s generally restricted to the House that happens to have that ability – in this case the House of Gynt. The Fire Juggler’s art is spectacular in use, since it sends the user’s flames coiling about his or her hands and forearms, adding a certain element of beautiful artistry to the basic ability to incinerate enemies.

   Secondarily, it’s good for both keeping warm and for cooking.

  • Requires: Inherent ability to Produce Flames
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Defense 2, Power 2, Synergy/Survival, and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Prone Combat, Combat Reflexes, Rapid Shot, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Light Foot, Resist Pain, and Vanishing.

   The First Rays Of Heavenly Fire (Dexterity):

   The Staff, the Hammer, The Blade, and the Bow.

   The weapons of the first war, empowered by the eternal Word, writ in letters of celestial fire

   As above, so below.

   The hardness of stone, the suppleness of wood, the sinewy strength of beasts, and the flight of birds, united in the hands of men.

   Old, OLD, magic.

   The four primal martial arts of the first war are – in the hands of the celestial host – things of perfection, the sun source to which all lesser martial arts aspire.

   In mortal hands they are merely paths towards the light – but that is no small thing in itself.

   The light and fire of the sun are channeled through lesser materials, infusing them with an inner fire which ignites the runes of Enochian across them. The form is quiet, infused with the inner stillness of a focused will, and is often compared with Zen archery.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Bow or equivalent point buy and NOT being able to channel negative energy. Instruction by a current master or a celestial is also in order.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Power 2, Synergy/Balance, Synergy/Move Silently, and Strike.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Instant Stand, Mind Like Moon, Deflect Arrows, and Rapid Shot.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Ki Block, Touch Strike, and Wrath (-2 con to make arrows inflict divine damage, reduce damage from negative energy and attribute drains by 4, reduce level drains by 2, and gain a +6 on saves vrs negative energy for 3d6 rounds).

   Guard of the Helpful Mage (Wis) (With Anthony Robbers)

   This mystic “martial art” relies on convincing tiny elementals and lesser nature spirits to protect the user. By constantly stilling minor magical disturbances and carefully minimizing their own, users of this art gain favor with such minor spirits – who will then exert their influence to protect the obliging mage who’s providing such a pleasant environment from physical harm which might disrupt his activities. Users of this art spend a lot of time mumbling in Saenthor (the tongue of the elemental spirits), and make minor magical gestures constantly.

  • Requirements: ability to speak Saenthor, Diplomacy 5, Appraise 5, and the ability to sense minor mystical disturbances.
  • Basic Abilities: Defenses 4 and Toughness 4
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Instant Stand, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, and Breaking.
  • Occult Techniques: Light Foot, Wrath/Fire, Resist Pain, and Inner Strength

   Gun Bunny (Dex):

   You get the gun out fast, you fire quickly and accurately, and you try to stay under cover as much as possible. This may not qualify for most people’s idea of a martial art, but keeping your head and shooting straight while under fire takes plenty of practice.

  • Requires: BAB 6+, Thanks to this modest requirement, this is a relatively minor art.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Power 3, Strike, Defenses 4.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Prone Combat, Quick Draw, and Rapid Shot.

   Gun Bunny has no occult techniques – and thus is suitable for hard-science worlds.

   Harpist of the Weave or Spellweaving (Dex)

   This subtle style revolves around the manipulation of magical energies. Unlike spells, which draw on the energies of magic, this art simply subtly shifts it’s threads – using them to entangle incoming attacks, to transmit touch-based spells to distant targets, striking at the weak points they outline, twisting them to enhance yourself, and even tearing at them to disrupt other structures. It’s most commonly used in conjunction with touch-based attack spells – expanding their effects to strike at everyone in a modest area and/or projecting them – but masters may attack through the threads directly

   Physically the form requires very little motion: one need merely twist one’s fingers into the threads: from there, slight gestures suffice. On the magical level, of course, tiny distorting ripples will radiate from the user, and – in high-magic areas or for more powerful adepts – a readily-recognizable set of interlocking “rings” of mysterious sigils (actually energy-leakage from the diverted threads of the weave) will appear in the air around him or her.

  • Requires: Innate ability to Detect Magic or similar occult sense OR Path of the Dragon OR Spellfire.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4 (adds to saves against occult attacks rather than AC), Power 1, Strike, Synergy/Magical Theory, Synergy/Spellcraft, Synergy/Arcane Lore.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Sneak Attack III (3d6), and Whirlwind Attack
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Ki Focus (May enhance Caster Level and up to (Int Mod) other abilities of choice), and One Finger (normally used to deliver touch spells and sneak attacks).

   Heavenly Radiant Sword (Cha)

   There are actually quite a few variants on this style, focusing on the weapons favored by various deities. They all channel small amounts of positive energy to augment the user’s weapon, attacks, and other abilities, and so require such a talent to develop.

  • Requires: Ability to channel positive energy.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 3, Power 1, Strike, Synergy/Turn Undead, Synergy/Heal, and Synergy/Knowledge: Religion.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Battlecry, Breaking, Mighty Blow, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Occult Techniques: Ki Focus/Sacred/Strength, Wrath (using positive energy, the resistance effect reduces attribute drains and damage from negative energy by 4, reduces level drains by 2, and provides a +6 on saves versus undead powers), Light Foot, and Resist Pain.

   Iron Spear (Str):

   This highly defensive form focuses on protective maneuvers, using the spear shaft to parry and block, and launching attacks only when safe opportunities arise. It’s favored by those who value their hides above inflicting damage.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Spear or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Toughness 4, and Strike.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm and Mind Like Moon.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Ki Block, and Light Foot.

   Iron Storm Technique (Str)

   This straightforward system focuses on raw, overwhelming, physical power – hammering its way through an enemy’s defense with a steady rain of powerful blows.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Greatsword or equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 1, Strike 1, and Toughness 2.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Instant Stand, Sunder, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Focused Blow, Ki Block, and Touch Strike.

   Kogusoku Kappo: (Dex)

   The way of the renewing armor of life concentrates on the circulation of chi within the body, reinforcing the user’s vital essence. The ultimate development of the art is to deflect blows and missiles with the sheer swirling power of the user’s inner strength.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 3, Strike 1, Synergy (Heal), and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, and Mind Like Moon.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Healing Hand, Iron Skin, and Resist Pain

   Koryu Kensho: (Dex)

   The path of the enlightened sword teaches stillness. When one is in harmony with an opponent, with the flowing wind, and with the universe’s ceaseless currents of chi, then they cannot touch you unless you will it – and your opponents own violence will carry him or her onto your blade. At the highest levels, in flickering instants, students of the way perceive the unreality of space and time.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Katana or equivalent ability.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 3, and Power 2.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Instant Stand, Quick Draw, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Focused Blow, Light Foot, and Vanishing.

   Krav Maga Mark II (Str)

   Krav Maga Mark II is loosely based on an art for normal humans – hence the weapon kata – but has been reworked to exploit the superhuman strength and durability of its practitioners, exploiting their ability to smash bones and rip through flesh. Unfortunately, it’s origins limit the style: it has no occult techniques and is suitable for teaching to almost anyone – which means that it lacks the advanced abilities that an art designed for more talented individuals might possess.

  • Requires: Strength 20+, DR 4 or better.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 3, and Strike.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Crippling, Mighty Blow, Prone Combat, Weapon Kata/Dagger

   Lightning Blade: (Dex)

   This straightforward fencer’s art concentrates on poking foes in vital locations by stabbing through unarmored points, such as the joints in armor. For those times when you’re confronted with many foes, heavy armor, or creatures who have no vital points, it includes several techniques for running the hell away.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus or Finesse/Rapier.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 1, Power 3, and Synergy/Tumble.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Reach, Sneak Attack (2d6), and Combat Reflexes.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Light Foot, Touch Strike and Vanishing.

   Lightning Fist (Dex)

   While this acrobatic style is fairly straightforward at lower skill levels, the highest techniques require (or convey) a mastery of basic “alchemy” (as per the Full Metal Alchemist anime) – most notably, the art of disrupting structures with a mere touch.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 3, Strike, and Synergy/Balance.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Breaking, Combat Reflexes, Instant Stand, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Wrath (“Acid”), Focused Blow, and Touch Strike.

   Lunar Orbit Kung Fu: (Str)

   Concentrating on whirling, twisting, and circular techniques, Lunar Orbit Kung Fu attempts to turn strength into crippling leverage against vulnerable spots.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, Synergy/ Tumble, and Synergy/Escape Artist.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Breaking, Deflect Arrows, Versatility, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, Ki Block, and Vanishing.

   This is one of the few arts which got a full set of technique names. Mostly those get left up to the player.

  • Technique Names:
    • Attack: Rage of Night
    • Defense: Encircling The Moon
    • Power: Within the Seas of the Moon
    • Synergy/Tumble: Striding Upon the Moon
    • Synergy/Escape Artist: Waning of the Moon
    • Breaking: Summoning the Tide
    • Deflect Arrows: Lunar Radiance Drives back the Dark
    • Versatility: Slashing: Sickle of the Moon, Crushing: First Rays of the Moon, and Piercing: The Withered Moon Heart
    • Whirlwind Attack: Thousand Rays of the Moon
    • Focused Blow: Comet Strikes the Moon
    • Inner Strength: Drink Down the Moon
    • Ki Block: Eclipsing the Sun
    • Vanishing – Moonlight over Water Technique

   Makendon Combat Training (Str):

   This straightforward martial art is straightforward and brutal, designed to inflict as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. It relies on intense training – slamming the fists again and again into heated sand, toughening exercises for the wrists and ankles, and otherwise repeatedly smashing things – as well as on pure muscular power. If you want to be a solid block of muscle which pounds opponents into oblivion with barely a conscious thought, then this is the art for you.

  • Requires: Martial Arts or Equivalent Point Buy
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Power 3, Strike
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Breaking, Instant Stand, Reach, and Expertise.

   Makendon is an entirely mundane martial art, suitable for the hardest of hard-science worlds.

   Nine Deadly Winds: (Str)

   Flowing with the wind, masters of the Nine Deadly Winds drift as if they were weightless and strike with the terrible force of a tornado tossing wisps of straw through mighty oaks.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Power 3, Synergy/Hide and Synergy/Move Silently.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mind Like Moon, Instant Stand, Rapid Shot, and Weapon Kata/Shuriken.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Focus, Light Foot, and Touch Strike.
  • Technique Names:
    • Attack: Four Winds Vortex
    • Power: Hurricane Fist
    • Synergy/Hide: The Transparency of Wind
    • Synergy/Move Silently: Drifting Zephyr Kata
    • Mind Like Moon: Moon Shining Through Clouds
    • Instant Stand: Within The Storm
    • Rapid Shot: The Hailstorm Kata
    • Weapon Kata/Shuriken: Drifting Leaf Technique
    • Inner Strength: Dance of the Four Winds
    • Ki Focus: The Tornado
    • Light Foot: Clouds Above the Earth
    • Touch Strike: Thunderbolt Touch Technique

   Pistol Expert (Dex)

   This is another Federation-Apocalypse Core style – relying on centuries of development, through training, and simple efficiency; you point at vital points, you shoot accurately, and you try to stay out of the line of fire of anyone who might be shooting back. There isn’t any real philosophy, and there certainly aren’t any “occult” techniques. As one of the “hard science:” arts, Pistol Expert has relatively modest requirements – and no occult techniques at all.

  • Requires Weapon Proficiency (Pistols, Small Arms, or Similar), Dex 14+.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Power 2, Toughness 2, Defenses 2
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Mighty Blow, Prone Combat, Rapid Shot, and Quick Draw.
  • Occult Techniques: None.

   The Rejuvenating Manual (Con):

   One of the great legendary forms, the Rejuvenating Manual focuses on meditation, the development and manipulation of Ki, and basic defensive techniques. While it is a poor offensive style even with the (optional) staff moves, it is surprisingly useful in daily life.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 3, Strike, Synergy (Heal), Synergy (Tumble), Synergy (Diplomacy), Synergy (Knowledge/ Religion).
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm, Mind Like Moon, and Weapon Kata/Staff.
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Ki Block.

   Rhynsin Dragonslayer Style (Wis):

   Here we have another sample martial art – in this case, another rarity; a Specialized form. The Rhynsin Form is indeed designed specifically for use against dragons, and cannot be used against other opponents – and thus any skill points invested in the form count double, providing a +2 bonus, rather than the usual +1 – allowing the total bonus to far exceed the normal limits.

   Rhynsin is also a good example of a martial art which stretches the rules a bit. While “Defenses” normally add to the user’s armor class, this art adds the bonus to certain saves instead. I’ve been allowing that for some of the more exotic martial arts simply on the grounds that it seems reasonable enough.

   Fortunately, dragons are rare –  and so, the governing attribute of the form is Wisdom, since it provides the willpower to keep practicing a set of moves that – hopefully – will almost never be called for.  Still, odder things do happen, and there are dragons out there.

   The  Rhynsin Dragonslayer’s art revolves around an extensive study of Dragons – the way they move, the way they think, the chinks in their defenses, countermeasures against their abilities, and the best ways to attack them. It’s user’s almost invariably begin focused on how to best use a massive weapon against an equally massive creature. Later on, it brings in additional weapons and it’s practitioners begin to learn to focus their own natural power – limited as it may be – to disrupt the far greater energies of their draconic targets.

  • Requires: At least +1 BAB Specialized in Dragons or Weapon Focus/Greataxe or Greatsword.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4 (provides a bonus on saving throws against draconic breath weapons and magic rather than a boost to AC),  Power 2, and Synergy/Knowledge skill checks related to Dragons.
  • Advanced and Master Level Techniques: Weapon Kata x 2 (normally bow and spear, but other weapons are possible), Expertise and Quick Draw.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, Ki Block, and Touch Strike.

   Sabre Master Martial Art (Dex)

   The formal style of House Galano, this art focuses on swift mobility, striking unpredictably from every angle, aiming for any vital point which presents itself rather than attempting to power through defenses. Blows should be struck swiftly – but they should never be targeted against an armored or otherwise resistant spot. He who strikes home first is by far the most likely to live.

  • Requires: At least +1 BAB Specialized in Swords.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 2, Strike, Toughness 1.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Sneak Attack II, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Light Foot, and Resist Pain.

   Sagcire (Dex)

   Sagcire is combat training focusing on one basic technique – lunge and bite, whether to crush, rip, or throw is immaterial. All that matters is getting the user’s jaws around a chunk of flesh and bearing down. A well-trained – or naturally talented – practitioner is easily recognizable by his or her pattern of darting in and out, snapping, twisting, and falling back, rather than locking on and ripping.

  • Requires: Natural Bite attack of 1d6 or more, Move 40+.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Power 3, Strike
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Battlecry (Primal Growl), Breaking, Mind Like Moon, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Resist Pain, and Light Foot.

   Senjat (Dex):

   This straightforward gun-based style is almost purely attack-oriented, concentrating on accuracy and speed with a few minor arcane techniques thrown in at higher levels. Senjat was originally an occult crossbow style, but it’s practitioners were quick to adapt when actual guns became available.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Pistol or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Power 2, Attack 4, and Defenses 1.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Sneak Attack (+1d6), Prone Combat, Quick Draw, and Rapid Shot.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Focused Blow, Paralyze, and Touch Strike.

   Seven Deadly Pressure Points (Dex) (Courtesy of Margaret Norris)

   This martial art is a common elective offering in Battling Business World’s pharmacy schools. In fact, it’s how most of the place’s pharmacists learn anatomy. It eschews raw power for precision and a suite of subtle but potent effects. Other realms with sounder medical principles also know of this style.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy. Occult Techniques require Pharmacy 6+ (or Heal in other realms)
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, Power 1, Synergy (Pharmacy, Heal in other realms)
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Crippling (Dex), Mind Like Moon, Versatility
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Overburden, Paralyze, and Serpent Strike.

   Named Seven Deadly Pressure Points Techniques: Attack 2 (“Pharmacist’s Precision”), Defenses 1 (“Heartbeat Stance”), Power 1 (“Hurts Me More Than You”), Blinding Strike (“Sealing the Third Eye”), Versatility (“Finger Tricks”)

   Shadow Spear (Str):

   While there are minor variants – and names – specific to each tribe, Shadow Spear is one of the more common forms taught to young barbarians. While fairly basic at first, it focuses on striking at vital organs later on.

  • Requires: Improved Weapon Focus/Spear or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 1, Defenses 3, Power 3, and Strike.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Mighty Blow, and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Focused Blow, Resist Pain and Serpent Strike.

   The Shaping Of The New Earth (Constitution):

   The Staff, the Hammer, The Blade, and the Bow.

   The weapons of the first war, empowered by the eternal Word, writ in letters of celestial fire

   As above, so below.

   The hardness of stone, the suppleness of wood, the sinewy strength of beasts, and the flight of birds, united in the hands of men.

   Old, OLD, magic.

   The four primal martial arts of the first war are – in the hands of the celestial host – things of perfection, the sun source to which all lesser martial arts aspire.

   In mortal hands they are merely paths towards the light – but that is no small thing in itself.

   The slow, drifting, movements of the Shaping Of The New Earth unfold with a seeming inevitability, as of great masses shifting towards their predestined destinations. Nevertheless, the apparently-gentle movements are imbued with a vast kinetic energy, capable of sending opponents flying with a seemingly-careless touch.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy and NOT being able to channel negative energy. Instruction by a current master or a celestial is also in order.
  • Basic Techniques: Power 3, Strike, Toughness 3, Synergy/Heal, and Synergy/Spot.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Breaking, Mighty Blow, Weapon Kata/Hammer, and Improved Sunder.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Healing Hand, Inner Strength, and Iron Skin.

   Skillet of Fury (Str) (Courtesy of Margaret Norris)

   In Battling Business World, even the soccer moms and dads can defend themselves. This style is an armed variant of Adamantine Fist focusing on cooking pans and skillets (which use the same stats as clubs). Even battling businesspeople should think carefully before marrying a master: they can dish out a lot of pain.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus (club) or equivalent point buy. Occult Techniques require skill in Cooking and Homemaker.
  • Basic Techniques: Strike, Power 4 (1d12+1 damage with skillet, 1d12 damage with unarmed kata), and Toughness 1.
  • Advanced Techniques: Breaking, Mighty Blow, Unarmed Kata, and Master Technique: Sunder.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, Ki Focus (Str), and Overburden.

   Spider’s Fang Technique (Dex)

   Based on quick, darting, strikes, the Spider’s Fang Technique relies on putting a relatively small blade precisely where it will do the most good – preferably baffling the defender with a series of feints and concealed movements. Advanced students will usually employ a cloak, trailing sleeves, or some other piece of cloth or clothing to further confuse the issue. At its most advanced, the school focuses on evading attacks with agility, rather than attempting to meet them with raw power.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Short Blade (Dagger or Shortsword) or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 2, Power 3, Strike, Synergy: Move Silently
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Sneak Attack III, Combat Reflexes
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Light Foot, and Serpent Strike

   Spring Gale Naginatajutsu (Str) (Courtesy of Margaret Norris)

   The spring wind is rapid and wild. Martial artists who practice this polearm form try to emulate it. They often treat combat as an elaborate dance, bounding over opponents and darting across the battlefield like a leaf on the wind. Advanced practitioners can channel the fury of a spring storm.

  • Requirements: Weapon Focus (Naginata) or equivalent point buy
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defenses 2, and Synergy: Acrobatics
  • Advanced Techniques: Mind Like Moon, Reach, Master Technique: Mobility, and Master Technique: Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Light Foot, Vanishing, and Wrath (electricity damage)

   Named Spring Gale Naginatajutsu Techniques: Attack 2 (“Ascending Gale”), Defenses 2 (“Descending Gale”), Synergy: Acrobatics (“Leaf in the Gale”), Mobility (“Who Strikes the Wind”), and Reach (“Gale’s Grasp”)

   Starlight Blade (Int)

   Starlight Blade focuses on predicting the patterns of an attack and exploiting any opening which appears, hopefully allowing the user to deal with an opponent without leaving any opening in his or her own defense. While it’s certainly preferable to have a weapon, Starlight Blade doesn’t neglect unarmed techniques either. Depending utterly on a weapon is itself a flaw.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Greatsword or equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4, Strike 1, and Toughness 3.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Deflect Arrows, Mind Like Moon, Prone Combat, and Unarmed Kata.
  • Occult Techniques: Healing Hand, Inner Strength, Iron Skin, and Vanishing.

   Street Fighting: (Dex)

   This primitive “martial art” is the rough-and-tumble knack of getting the hell out of the way, throwing stuff, and putting the boot in. You don’t learn this one formally. You just pick it up by living through enough street brawls. Eventually you may even learn the final techniques – learning to both suck it up and to get out of the way really, really, well.

  • Requires: BAB 5+, HP 40+, lots of time on the streets.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 3, Defenses 3, and Toughness 2.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Quick Draw, 1d6 Sneak Attack, Combat Reflexes, and Weapon Kata/Knife.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Light Foot, Resist Pain, and Vanishing.

   Temple Mount Krav Maga (Str) (Courtesy of Margaret Norris)

   Many forms of Krav Maga exist in Battling Business World. The style’s aggressive, effective, and popular among corporate raiders. Practitioners of its esoteric Temple Mount substyle meditate on all aspects of Judaism’s holiest site. They apply their comprehension of its durability and spiritual strength to a Battling Business Worlder’s already sturdy body. Almost always paragons of the Jewish faith, these martial artists are immovable and quietly determined in a fight.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy. Occult Techniques require Compulsive (religious) and some skill in Jewish Doctrine and Meditation.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Power 2, Strike, and Toughness 2.
  • Advanced Techniques: Crippling, Mighty Blow, Prone Combat, and Master Technique: Improved Disarm.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Ki Focus (Str), Resist Pain

   Named Temple Mount Krav Maga Techniques: Attack 1 (“Hook”), Power 1 (“Invoking the Mount”), Strike (“Subdual Stance”), Toughness 2 (“Temple Mount Stance: Base”), Crippling (Str), Improved Disarm, Inner Strength (“Channeling the Mount”), Iron Skin (“Temple Mount Stance: Waystation”), Resist Pain (“Temple Mount Stance: Summit”).

   Thunder Palm (Dex):

   Thunder Palm is based around bioelectrical channeling – focusing first the muscular strength, and later the natural energies of the user’s body, into deadly strikes. Partially psychic, the form allows its users to strike against targets up to ten feet away.

  • Requires: Basic Witchcraft
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 2, Defenses 2, Power 4, Strike, and Toughness 1.
  • Master Techniques: Breaking, Mind Like Moon, Reach, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Vanishing, and Wrath (Electrical).

   Tide’s Fury (Str) (Courtesy of Margaret Norris)

   Thunder Dwarves typically group their martial arts by elemental affinity, and their relatively open society means they circulate quickly. This style, using the massive falchion, is popular among militaristic children of the Water Thunder. Practitioners believe in relentlessly pressing and crippling their opponents with the ocean’s unstoppable wrath. They balance their ferocity with attention to defensive footwork, and those capable of occult techniques can quite literally channel the tides’ power.

  • Requires: +1 BAB, proficiency with falchion, elemental attunement to water.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Defense 1, Power 2
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Battlecry, Breaking, Crippling (Con), and Reach.
  • Occult Techniques: Focused Blow, Inner Strength, One Finger, and Wrath (cold damage).

   Tiger Style Kung Fu (Str):

   While it comes with a variety of names, this “art” concentrates on simply pounding your opponent(s) into oblivion as quickly as possible while enduring any damage they manage to hand out in the process. After all, if you take them down fast enough it won’t be much.

   Secondarily it stresses being ready to fight at any moment and – if you get knocked flat – getting up to fight again as fast as you possibly can.

  • Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or equivalent point buy.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4, Power 4, and Toughness 4.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Blinding Strike, Mighty Blow, Mind Like Moon, and Instant Stand.
  • Occult Techniques: None.

   As a realistic martial art, Tiger Style is suitable for hard-science worlds.

   Two-Fisted Hero (Str).

   Here we have the art of pulp-hero boxing – starting off as a simple set of techniques for punching people more effectively and winding up with the ability to withstand a tremendous pounding and still punch out intangible supernatural beings. After all, they may be spirits – but you have one two, and so, if you focus properly and hit them, your spirit should be able to hit theirs shouldn’t it?

  • Requires: Str and Dex 14+, 1d6 or more base damage in “Unarmed” combat.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 3, Power 2, Strike, Toughness 4
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Breaking, Mighty Blow, Combat Reflexes, and Expertise (AC for Damage).
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength x2, Iron Skin, and Resist Pain.

   Urban Staff Combat (Dex)

   The Urban Staff Combat system is actually a stripped-down version of the ancient – and far more mystical – Garuda Stave style from India. Truly advanced practitioners – those who come to truly understand the patterns of the basic moves incorporated into USC – may move on into the Occult Techniques of the Garuda Stave style.

  • Requires: Dex 12+ and BAB 3+ for USC. Moving on from the basics and mastering the Garuda Stave without a teacher also requires Wis 14+, Dex 14+, and BAB 6+. Obviously enough, this is a weapon-based art.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 2, Defenses 4, Power 2, Strike, and Synergy (Theology).
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Expertise, Improved Disarm, Whirlwind Attack, and Reach
  • Occult Techniques (Garuda Stave Only): Inner Strength, Ki Block, Wrath (Sacred Energy, grants resistance to Negative Energy – reducing attribute drains and damage from negativ energy by 4, reducing level drains by 2, and +6 on saves versus undead powers), and Vanishing.

   Warmind (Wis)

   Warmind is an art designed around channeling psionic energy into the user’s aura, turning it into an ectoplasmic extension of the user’s will – in essence, a form of psionically-powered battle armor. The swirling currents of tinted “mist” which it calls into being, and the way in which they are wielded, are quite distinctive.

  • Requires: Base Power of 32+, at least one touch-based psionic attack power.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Strike, Synergy (Knowledge/Psionics)
  • Master Techniques: Reach, Combat Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Healing Hand, Vanishing, and Resist Pain.

   The Whispering Blade (Dex)

   To flow like the wind and waters, each moment perfect in itself, yet ever-changing, is the first stance of the way. Allow the opponents weapon to pass through where you are not. Flow through his defenses, to bring silent death.

  • Basic Abilities: Attack +2, Power +2, Defenses +2, Synergy (Stealth), Strike.
  • Advanced and Master Abilities: Mind Like Moon, Deflect Arrows, Improved Disarm, and Whirlwind Attack.
  • Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Ki Block, Light Foot, and Vanishing.
  • Known Techniques (6): Attack 2, Power 2, Mind Like Moon, Light Foot.

   Whisper of Devastation (Dex)

   Hitting is good. Hitting vital organs is even better. Whisper of Devastation focuses on putting arrows into sensitive spots as quickly and as accurately as is humanly possible. It isn’t always necessary to kill – but you wouldn’t be shooting at people if you didn’t want to do something unpleasant to them.

  • Requires: Weapon Focus/Longbow or equivalent.
  • Basic Techniques: Attack 4 and Power 3.
  • Advanced/Master Techniques: Mighty Blow, Rapid Shot, Prone Combat and Versatility.
  • Occult Techniques: Ki Focus/Sacred/Dexterity, Overburden, Inner Strength, and Serpent Strike.