Alzrius wanted to know “how would you make a martial arts style based on the idea of adapting to your enemy’s fighting style as you fight them?”, as well as expressing interest in martial arts styles that weren’t usually used at their full potential for some inherent reason rather than simply wanting to be underestimated.
In Eclipse, both of those are simply types of Specialization or Corruption – and serve the usual purpose of either making the style more powerful or making it cheaper to learn. That’s most commonly seen in martial arts that only work against particular kinds of foes.
The Daiken Vior style was developed for fighting undead. That’s Specialized, so either every skill point invested in it counts as two OR it’s techniques are doubly effective. In fact, you can transition from one to the other; finish up buying the basic form first, then spend more points to double up the effect of each technique in turn.
Daiken Vior is a Constitution-based style that looks like this:
A master of Daiken Vior has infused his or her flesh with positive energy, making himself or herself a living weapon against the undead. Unfortunately, against any foe which is NOT vulnerable to such an attack, the style is entirely ineffectual; it’s based entirely on making contact and discharging a positive-energy pulse – and effect which has no effect on constructs and which simply makes living foes feel good for a moment. Specialized for half cost – although advanced masters can invest more skill points to double up on the effect of their techniques.
Requires: The ability to channel positive energy.
Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Defenses 4.
Advanced and Master Techniques: Mind Like Moon (the DC is only 5, but it only works against undead), Blind-Fight (the user can sense the undead, and takes no penalties, and suffers no miss chance for concealment, against them), Reach (10′ against undead), and Whirlwind Attack (does double damage).
Occult Techniques: Inner Strength, Iron Skin, Healing Hand, and Wrath/Positive Energy/Divine Damage (the resistance protects against negative energy – such level drain, attribute drain, and most undead powers, with a +4 on saves).
Silver Forge Kung Fu:
The Order of the Silver Forge has honed their mystical techniques for hunting lycanthropes, and lycanthropes alone. They’ve developed an art based on mystical disciplines of inner purity which focuses on assaulting the unnatural bond between the mortal body and the evil dark spirit which has possessed it. That’s still fatal of course, but at least the mortal spirit – if it was good to begin with – will not be dragged into the lower planes along with the forces of evil that had reshaped it. The blazing silver corona of the style is the last thing that many lycanthropes have ever seen.
OK, that’s probably Specialized and Corrupted (for triple effect). There are a LOT of creatures to fight out there besides lycanthropes.
Thus Silver Forge Kung Fu is a Wisdom-based style that looks like this:
A master of the Silver Forge spins blazing silver fire from his spirit, channeling it either into his or her hands or into silver weapons. While apprentices can generate mere wisps of flame, the great masters can cloak themselves in a blazing aura, lashing out with it at considerable ranges and deflecting incoming attacks. Whether for good or ill however, the silver fire of the art is utterly harmless to anyone except a lycanthrope.
Requires: Improved Unarmed Strike or the equivalent point-buy and NOT being a lycanthrope. If the user ever becomes a lycanthrope, he or she will not be able to use this art until cured.
Basic Abilities: Attack 2, Defenses 4, and Power 4. At triple effect, that means a master gains +6 to attacks, +12 AC, and +12 unarmed damage when fighting lycanthropes. Ouch.
Advanced and Master Techniques: Blinding Strike (+10 save DC), Crippling Strike (3d4 Dexterity Damage), Reach (15′), and Weapon Kata (silver swords, knives, and silver-tipped arrows).
Occult Techniques: Focused Blow (costs only 1 Con, does damage as if the user had a bonus attack), Inner Strength (double effect, also provides a +6 modifier on saves against contracting lycanthropy), Iron Skin, and Wrath/Fire (triple damage).
Now gaining that entire art will require (35 – Wis Mod) skill points and a rather high level – but it would allow the user to readily destroy lycanthropes with his or her bare hands. Of course, that level of skill is equivalent to investing five or six feats specifically in fighting lycanthropes, so that’s not all that unreasonable.
Still, even a starting practitioner – with, say, 4 skill points in it and a +3 Wisdom modifier – would know four techniques. Perhaps +3 to Attacks (1), +6 AC (2), and the Weapon Kata (1) would be best. Go forth young werewolf hunter!
Now, how many ways can we corrupt or specialize a martial art? Our first two examples were “only versus particular types of foes” of course – and either Corrupted and/or Specialized, depending on just how common that type of foe is. What else can we do?
Only with a specific weapon. Specialized. This one’s often seen in Relic-based martial arts.
Requires analysis of an opponents techniques. Specialized if it requires multiple fights, or doing extensive research on a foe, or spying on them while they’re practicing, or only allows the user to bring one technique per round into play. Corrupted if it comes into play after the third round, or after a successful Knowledge check (with a DC equal to the opponents BAB+10), or some such. This will allow the user to attack more skillfully, defend more adeptly, and unleash more and more advanced techniques as the battles continue.
Draining. The use of this martial art is a great strain, and can only be maintained for (Constitution) total rounds per day (Specialized), or does 1d4 damage to the user per round past the third it’s in use (Specialized), or leaves the user Fatigued after three rounds (Specialized) or five rounds (Corrupted), although the count resets one minute after the user stops using the style. In this case, the user will normally have a lesser martial art which he or she uses most of the time, falling back on this style only in emergencies.
Does not work versus (X). Generally corrupted at best, and even then only if “X” is pretty common.
“Only works when…” martial arts can be either Specialized or Corrupted, just like martial arts that only work against particular foes. If your solar-focused martial art only works on sunny days within a few hours of noon, that’s probably Specialized. If it only works in a formal showdown at high noon, that’s probably both specialized and corrupted. If it only works while on board a sailing ship (since it uses the rocking of the deck and the rigging to advantage), that’s Corrupted.
If you have to use special devices, or maintain a complex training regimen, or drink special potions, that’s Corrupted if it’s every so often – and so can be fairly readily interfered with, albeit not on a moments notice – or Specialized if you have to take a dose of dragons-blood-elixir potion to use the art, it wears off quickly, and you can easily lose access to your art. If the stuff is extremely hard to come by, the art might be both Specialized AND Corrupted.
There are other possibilities of course, but those should cover a lot of the more common ones. In most cases, if you want a unique martial art in Eclipse, all you have to do is apply a few limitations to a common one, and there you are.