After Stances come Martial Maneuvers. Now there are actually a lot of ways to build high-end martial abilities in Eclipse, but this time around I’m building the Legendary Martial Arts – the sort of absurd abilities you find in Kung Fu Hustle, Zu Warriors from Magic Mountain, Duel to the Death, Kung Fu Panda, House of Flying Daggers, The Monkey King, Journey to the West, The Forbidden Kingdom, Iron Monkey, assorted martial arts Anime, and Jademan Comics.
The Martial Arts of Legend aren’t supposed to be magical or psychic – but they certainly pay little or no attention to physical laws. They warp reality in weird and wonderful ways, they’re different for each user, they gradually exhaust the user’s reserves of “C’hi” (whatever that is), and they’re potentially very, VERY, powerful at the upper levels. A brief rest will, however, restore a good deal of that power reserve.
In Eclipse that’s Mana with Reality Editing. Buy…
Focused C’hi: 12d6 (42) Mana and Rite of C’hi with +12 Incidences of (Int Based) Bonus Uses (Recovers 1d6 Mana up to (Int Mod x 12) +1 times per day), Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (In general, Minor/Notable/Major/Grandiose edits cost 1/2/3/4 Mana each and spending on Natural Magic has triple effect)/Mana can only be regained via Rite of Chi, Mana may only be used to power Resilience and individual “fantastic martial arts” tricks bought as Specialized and Corrupted incidences of Reality Editing (2 points each), users may only expend one point of Mana per turn per four levels or part thereof. Within that spending limit maneuvers may be combined up to a maximum total of five Mana, with the action required being the most restrictive of those the individual abilities require. These maneuvers, and combinations thereof, are Extraordinary Abilities.
That’s 72 CP (Mana) + 26 CP (the Rite of Chi) + 48 CP (24 Maneuvers – one more than I have listed, but every mystic martial artist should have at least one unique trick) = 146 CP – just a bit less than the cost of twenty levels worth of Clerical or Druidic spellcasting, which seems fair enough. Our Legendary Martial Arts still aren’t going to be as versatile as Clerical or Druidic Spellcasting, but should be at least as useful in a fight.
Fortunately, when full spellcasting is in play, an individual displaying some fantastic ability isn’t really much of an edit. That’s also why any individual user should define a set of special effects to use. What they are really doesn’t matter a lot. If, mechanically, you are crossing a distance on the battlefield while disregarding obstacles and Attacks of Opportunity… it really doesn’t matter if you describe yourself as vanishing into the shadows and reappearing elsewhere like Batman, or make a fabulous leap, or tumble your way there, or hitch a ride on a bolt of lightning.
Why is this based on Intelligence? After all, this is Eclipse, and it could be based on anything or just stick with “four bonus uses per purchase”. The answer is simply that I like characters with a lot of skill points, and building around having a high intelligence is one of the easiest ways to get them. You want to use something else? Go right ahead.
Minor Maneuvers (1 Mana each, usable at levels 1+, Save DC 12 + Int Mod):
- All The Magic I Need: As a swift action you may add +2 worth of enhancements to your weapon or unarmed attacks. Special properties may be +1 of this total if the weapon / unarmed strikes has no enhancement bonus to start with, +2 if it already does. In either case, this boost lasts for three minutes. As a reality alteration, unlike bonuses stack with those from other sources. Thus, while you cannot add “flaming” to an already flaming weapon, you could add “Shock” provided that it does not possess that property. Note that this CAN be stacked with itself, but not above the limit on mana spending.
- Archimedes Lever: As a part of an attack (a touch if not doing damage directly, a normal strike otherwise) you may spend a point of Mana to make a Bull Rush, Charge, Disarm, Trip, Sunder, or similar maneuver as if you had the relevant “Improved” feat, an extra +4 bonus on the opposed check (if any), and immunity to being tripped or pushed back in return if you fail. In addition, if you succeed, you may relocate the target to any available space it will fit into within 20 feet and may opt to either inflict 2d6 damage or to take a 5′ step as a part of the attack.
- Distant Strike: As a part of an attack you may make it at Long (400 feet + 40 Feet/Level) range.
- Guardian Interposition: As an immediate action you may select an ally within reach and share your Armor Class and Saves with him or her for the rest of the turn. If something hits them anyway, you may elect to suffer the effects of the attack instead. Taking an attack for an ally this way does not count as an action.
- Inflict Misfortune: As a standard action you may touch (no damage) or strike (normal damage) an opponent and inflict some minor disability if the target fails a fortitude save of DC (12 + User’s Int Mod). Such disabilities last for one to three rounds; the more troublesome they are, the more quickly they go away. While the user is free to run suggestions past the game master, some of the most common choices include Dazed, Knocked Down, or Stunned (One Round), Blinded, Entangled, -4 to AC, -4 To Attacks, 20% Miss Chance (or Spell Failure), Flat Footed and Unable to take Move Actions (two rounds), and Dazzled, Deafened, Shaken, Sickened, or Hindered (lose 20′ from all movement modes) (three rounds).
- Invincible Dragon Kata: As an immediate action the user gains (Int Mod) “pluses” to split up as desired between AC, Reflex Saves, Fortitude Saves, Will Saves, Attack Bonus, Damage (per attack), Movement (+5 per plus), and Damage Reduction (+2 to gain one point of DR/-). Such bonuses remain in effect for one minute. Sadly, no more than (Int Mod) pluses may be allotted to any one factor and no more than four Mana worth of such boosts may be in effect at any one time.
- Master Of The Arts: You may spend a point of Mana to use a skill without either the expenditure or the skill use counting as an action or suffering from circumstance penalties, lack of tools, or other practical difficulties. If you wish to cook breakfast while balancing on one leg and fighting off an opponent with the other foot, or forge a sword by punching the metal, or use Mystic Artist abilities while fighting, or try to intimidate or bluff someone while swinging, or reach behind you to pick a lock while holding off an attacker, this effect will let you do so. This is compatible with Shockwave Strike and does not count as an action. It does not, however, reduce the total time required to use an ability; for that you want The Full Montage, below.
- The Oncoming Storm: As a swift action add one extra attack at your highest BAB to a standard or full attack. These bonus attacks may be directed against different targets without penalty.
Notable Maneuvers (2 Mana each, usable at levels 5+, Save DC 14 + Int Mod):
- Called Shot: As part of an attack you may add a Bestow Curse effect (simulating an appropriate injury) to it. Save DC (14+Int Mod). Such injuries will persist until the victim receives a healing spell of third level or higher or for at least one day in creatures with fast healing or similar powers.
- Death’s Herald: As a part of an attack action, increase the damage one of the blows can inflict by (2 + Level/2)d6 to a maximum of +12d6. The type (crushing, slashing, fire, acid, etc) of damage is up to the user. This can be added to attacks that normally do no damage. It may also trigger a save against Massive Damage.
- Flow Like Wind: You may take a move action as an immediate action. Such movement does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity. Unlike most maneuvers this does not stack with itself; each additional point of Mana simply adds a +1 multiplier to your movement speed.
- Shockwave Strike: As a part of an attack action, you may give it an area effect – a radius of (Move/3),, a cone with a length of (Move/2), or a line with a length of (Move). This may be stacked to increase the area affected. A roll to hit is not required, but a Reflex save at (DC 14 + Int Mod) is allowed for half damage. Alternatively, the user may roll an attack against each desired target – a much more time-consuming option, but the only one available if the user wishes to exempt some potential targets.
- Sticking Palms: As an immediate action you may add a temporary appendum involving yourself to the rules on Attacks of Opportunity. This lasts for three rounds. Possible appendums include…
- You get a chance to make an AoO on anyone within your reach who attacks someone other than you.
- When someone makes an AoO on you, if they miss you get a chance to make one back. If they hit, anyone who threatens the attacker gets a chance to make an AoO on them while you occupy them.
- When you make a melee attack against a flanked opponent, your allies get a chance to make an AoO against the same target if they threaten it.
- When someone successfully tumbles past you, you can make an opposed tumble check to get an AoO against them anyway.
- The game master may opt to approve other appendums. Think of something clever.
- The Full Montage: You may reduce the duration of a condition affecting you, a spell personally targeting you, or the time it will take to accomplish an unopposed task, by ten minutes. If you are attempting to break free of a grapple or other restraint, or to force your way through a barrier, you may make three tries. This is not an action and you may explicitly employ this ability even if you cannot normally take actions at the moment due to being stunned, nauseated, or similar. (And to forestall the inevitable silly question, this does NOT extend to taking actions while being dead).
- The Thunderbolt Prana: You may make an Enhanced Strike (Crushing, Focused, Hurling (with return), Hammer, or Shattering as per the rules in Eclipse), or simply make a Full Attack with one bonus attack at your highest BAB, as a standard action.
Major Maneuvers (3 Mana each, usable at levels 9+, Save DC 16 + Int Mod):)
- C’hi Flare: As an Immediate Action you may target either enemies or allies and neutrals within 15 feet of your position with an effect comparable to that of a first level spell with an effective caster level equal to your own. Effects with durations last for one minute. For +1 Mana you may affect a thirty foot radius OR upgrade to a second level effect. This can be used to make sure that every enemy in the area is effectively flanked (a summoning effect), to provide Cure Light Wounds, to grant a single extra attack (Serpents Strike) to all your allies, to grant a +4 Shield or Armor bonus to AC (Force Shield / Armor I), to allow them to make a second saving throw against an effect (Resurgence), to hit all your enemies with a blast of energy (Shocking Grasp), of for many other tricks.
- Lunar Orbit Palm: As an immediate action you may roll an opposed attack roll against a rolled, individually directed, incoming attack to redirect it (using your new roll if you win) to another valid target. This ability includes rays, bullets, and similar attacks as well as melee weapons.
- Meteor Strike: As a part of an attack action you may make a trip attack against your opponent at +8 and without provoking an Attack of Opportunity or a return trip attempt. If you succeed, you may hurl your opponent up to 120′ feet, inflicting 12d6 damage and the Prone condition (A reflex save at DC 18 + Int Mod will halve the damage and let them wind up on their feet). Anyone along the line (or at it’s end) suffers 6d6 damage and must make a similar reflex save or fall prone. For +1 Mana you may attempt this as an immediate action against an incoming charge attack.
- Oh No You Didn’t!: As an immediate action you negate a single-target incoming attack, magical effect, or psychic power. For +1 Mana you may negate an area effect attack or effect.
Grand Maneuvers (4 Mana each, usable at levels 13+, Save DC 18 + Int Mod):)
- Between the Lightning and the Thunder: As an immediate action add +20 to your initiative count and +5 to the initiative counts of all your allies. Alternatively, add +20 to your initiative count and allow one ally within 30′ to act immediately after you do.
- Doom Slash: As a part of a successful melee attack you can inflict 1d4+1 negative levels on a living target. For each negative level you inflict, you, or an ally within your reach of your choice, can gain five hit points or be healed of any one condition which could be alleviated by a Heal spell. If this takes the user or an ally above their normal hit point maximum the excess hit points will vanish after ten minutes.
- The Peach Mirage: As a swift action you may restructure the world around yourself and up to four opponents, turning it into a private pocket dimension. You may change up to (Int Mod) planar traits from the original planes base, but may not distort the flow of time by more than a factor of ten. When the user dismisses the effect, or in ten minutes in any case, the area is returned to normal reality and all its traits revert. The user may describe the general setting and structure of the pocket realm as he or she desires (for example, “a maze full of traps”, “a carnival full of rides”, or “a narrow bridge over a pit of magma”).
- Time Stands Still: As an immediate action take a turn. You may still take your normal turn, but you cannot take more than two extra turns in any single fight.