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Thread: Martial Arts

  1. #1
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    Martial Arts

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Gary" <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET>
    Sent: Friday, June 07, 2002 2:30 AM
    Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] A request for help with my campaign. [9#700]


    > I`ve been fiddling around with a BR-Oriental Adventures setting as
    > part of a whole revamp of the way 3e handles martial arts, which
    > interacts with many other changes to the skill system.

    Do tell. I was reading a manual of arms from the 15th century, and
    intermixed with all the swordplay were techniques for throwing opponants,
    choke holds, kicking, and every kind of grappling.

    Since I already plan to include a monk-based class (the brawler) in my
    Rjurik campaign, I`d be interested in how your new martial arts system
    works.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 05:41 AM 6/7/2002 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >>I`ve been fiddling around with a BR-Oriental Adventures setting as part
    >>of a whole revamp of the way 3e handles martial arts, which interacts
    >>with many other changes to the skill system.
    >
    >Do tell. I was reading a manual of arms from the 15th century, and
    >intermixed with all the swordplay were techniques for throwing opponants,
    >choke holds, kicking, and every kind of grappling.
    >
    >Since I already plan to include a monk-based class (the brawler) in my
    >Rjurik campaign, I`d be interested in how your new martial arts system works.

    Well, OK. I`m a bit hesitant to describe too much because whenever I
    mention changes to the skill system (on any list, not just this one) people
    act like I busted into their homes and scratched up all their Diana Ross
    albums or something... but what the heck?

    The whole thing is, unfortunately, far too long to put up on a mailing
    list. The changes to the skill system include new skill descriptions for
    all the skills and include ones that are meant to be used in any D20
    system, so there are skills like Astrogation, Pilot and Computer Use. It
    also uses BR specific changes like the Command, Intrigue, Leadership and
    Research skills we`ve discussed on this list, but unlike the 2e BR
    proficiencies, those skills are meant to be useful at the adventure level
    of play, not just the realm level. There are several other changes; a
    system of subskills and specialties, certain rank benefits for some skills,
    as well as several changes to the way specific skills work, which meant
    rewrites of all the 3e skills, I`m afraid. The overall system isn`t really
    as complicated as all that, but it does make for a rather long document.

    The martial arts section is very much like the 1e OA martial arts with
    several important changes. For those who`ve never seen it, the 1e OA
    martial arts system broke different martial arts styles up into "form" and
    "method" which had a few numbers associated with them that one added up to
    determine things like the AC Modifier and damage dice the martial artist
    did in unarmed combat. For example, a martial art might have a "soft" form
    and be based on a "push" method. Since the Soft form had an AC Mod. of 3
    and the Push method had an AC Mod of 2, you would add up those two
    modifiers and subtract them from 10 to get the AC of a martial artist who
    learned that style by spending a proficiency slot. Damage dice, and # of
    attacks were determined pretty much the same way.

    1e OA martial arts "special maneuvers" were attached to the particular
    martial art and chosen when the style was created by the DM. One learned
    them by spending proficiency slots, and they tended to range pretty
    dramatically in power. The "Feint" special ability, for instance, allowed
    one to make a "to hit" roll against your opponent, and if that was
    successful you got a +2 to hit on your next attack. (That special maneuver
    always baffled me. You have to hit in order to get a bonus on your next
    _attempt_ to hit....) The Iron Fist special maneuver, however, increased
    your damage die to 1d10. The Eagle Claw maneuver allowed you to perform a
    single attack per round, but at 3d10 damage.

    The system of martial arts I`m using works much the same, but the modifiers
    for AC bonus, # of attacks, damage dice and special abilities are tied to
    skill ranks rather than being a set bonus. The modifiers are a bit
    different from the 1e version, but in the above example (the Soft/Push
    style) if one had a total AC Mod of 5 then for every 5 ranks of that
    martial arts skill one would get a +1 bonus to AC. If the same style had a
    total damage modifier of 4 then every 4 ranks in that style one would
    increase one`s damage die/dice on a table included in the system that goes
    d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, etc. up to 10d10 if someone managed to spend 80 or so
    ranks on their martial arts skill somehow. (Actually, size does make a
    difference in determining martial arts damage, so a storm giant that knew
    Kung Fu would be pretty frightening.)

    The 3e "monk" character class is replaced by a class very much like the
    fighter, except s/he is the only class for whom martial arts is a class
    skill, and instead of bonus feats the monk gets a +2 bonus to his/her
    martial arts skill every other level. It`s also one of the few character
    classes that gets Unarmed Combat as a special ability. There are no other
    class abilities for the monk since the class now gets it`s special
    abilities through its martial arts skill. At present, I`ve got a list of
    about 75 martial arts special abilities, which are tied to the form and
    method of the martial art, and most of them have prerequisites. Many of
    them are the 3e Monk character class`s special abilities, or are similar to
    feats (Blind Fighting, for instance, is a potential martial arts special
    ability) but are tweaked a bit here and there to interact with skill
    ranks. If one wanted, one could pretty much come up with a standard 3e
    Monk using this system, but one could also come up with a much wider range
    of martial artists and something in the neighborhood of 250 different types
    of martial arts.

    That`s the basic gist of it. There are ten or twelve martial arts written
    up that range from Sumo to Tai Chi, though I generally give "fantasy" names
    to them somehow to avoid any of the issues regarding translating real world
    situations into D&D. (The martial arts have been rife with such
    controversies as long as I can remember because it seems like every third
    player has studied Shotokan for six months and is, therefore, an
    expert.) I like background material, so I want write ups of all the
    martial arts the players want to learn, and write them up for the ones they
    are likely to come across used by NPCs. Here`s one of the ones that I`m
    using for my BR-OA campaign:

    Silk Kimono (Hard/Soft, Movement)
    AC Modifier: 3
    # Attack Modifier: 7
    Damage Progression: 6
    Special Ability: 5
    Description: Practitioners learn to use the long silk folds of their
    clothing to defend themselves. Weapons or limbs can be entangled by the
    loops of clothe and the motion of a flowing gown can be used to confuse and
    defeat an opponent. The generally superior reflexes, speed and flexibility
    of women are also emphasized.
    Philosophy: Practitioners seek to emulate the qualities of the silk
    kimono; soft yet strong, flowing but resilient. It is also a secret
    martial art, kept exclusively among the noblewomen to defend themselves,
    their families and to further their own ends at court.
    Appearance: Graceful, dance-like.
    Background: Silk Kimono was developed secretly by Orisunni noblewomen
    whose long, flowing clothing (and traditionally unarmed condition) inspired it.
    Availability: Rare among noble women and practically unheard of among
    any other group. Knowledge of the art is often kept within families and
    clans, taught only from mother to daughter or aunt to niece. Men are
    excluded for reasons of secrecy and also because their clothing is not as
    suited to the special abilities of the style.
    Weapons: None as such. The Silk Kimono practitioner, however, learns to
    use the folds and sashes of her clothing to garrote an opponent and to
    entangle his limbs or weapons. Clothe can also be wound tightly to be used
    as an effective bludgeoning weapon.
    Country: Japan.

    Hope that`s of some use.
    Gary

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    On Fri, 7 Jun 2002, Gary wrote:
    > That`s the basic gist of it. There are ten or twelve martial arts written
    > up that range from Sumo to Tai Chi, though I generally give "fantasy" names
    > to them somehow to avoid any of the issues regarding translating real world
    > situations into D&D. (The martial arts have been rife with such
    > controversies as long as I can remember because it seems like every third
    > player has studied Shotokan for six months and is, therefore, an
    > expert.)

    And everyone who has done a little bit of study /knows/ that their style
    is the best; after all, didn`t their teacher tell them so? :)

    > Silk Kimono (Hard/Soft, Movement)
    > Description: Practitioners learn to use the long silk folds of their
    > clothing to defend themselves. Weapons or limbs can be entangled by the
    > loops of clothe and the motion of a flowing gown can be used to confuse and
    > defeat an opponent. The generally superior reflexes, speed and flexibility
    > of women are also emphasized.
    > Country: Japan.

    That`s interesting. The Country field has me wondering, now, is that a
    real historical style? Are you going to be adding fantasy elements to
    these styles you`re making? For instance, someone skilled in this style
    might be able to form a long piece of silk into a piercing spear-type
    weapon for a round or two.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  4. #4
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Daniel McSorley wrote:

    > > Country: Japan.
    >
    >That`s interesting. The Country field has me wondering, now, is that a
    >real historical style?

    Ah, no, it`s not based on any "real world" martial art, per se. (Though
    several martial arts movies might get a nod.) The "country" section is
    just for flavor. There`s no real gaming mechanic or issues involved in
    that section, though I`ve considered limiting martial arts styles to
    background feats. One of the things I didn`t describe among the changes to
    the skill system was that there`s a set of feats that not only give a bonus
    to skill checks (like Skill Focus) but also make the skill in question a
    class skill from then on. Given that the version of the monk I use is the
    only one with access to the martial arts as a class skill that can wind up
    being pretty important. I`ve considered adding one or two special
    background feats for humans that would give them access to particular
    martial arts, but that`s stuff that is based more on the setting than the
    martial arts system itself, so it`ll have to wait for another caffeine
    laced session of REM deprivation to be described.

    >Are you going to be adding fantasy elements to these styles you`re making?
    >For instance, someone skilled in this style might be able to form a long
    >piece of silk into a piercing spear-type weapon for a round or two. --

    Yes, that`s the function of the martial arts special abilities. For taking
    a certain number of ranks in a martial art (depending on the numbers
    established by form and method) one gets special abilities. The Silk
    Kimono style, for instance, has a special ability increment of 5, so for
    every 5 ranks someone spends on that style they get a special
    ability. Special abilities start out being weaker than feats (or are equal
    to some of the weaker, lesser used feats) but some with higher
    prerequisites wind up being pretty powerful. Advanced martial artists get
    "mystical abilities" to levitate, pass through solid objects, etc. The
    Silk Kimono style, for instance, can have access to special abilities like
    Clothing Proficiency, which gives either a +1 to AC or allows the martial
    artist to use her clothing as a garrote, Steel Clothe--which increases her
    damage dice in "unarmed" combat, or several others.

    In fact, the special abilities section was really kind of the point. I`ve
    never been happy with the way all monks in D&D are carbon copies of one
    another. 3e gives a bit more variety to this with access to feats, and
    there has always been variation in ability scores, hit points, and
    multiclassing options, but essentially monks were very much alike. There
    are a number of ways to fix this kind of thing, certainly, but I got a big
    kick out of the 1e OA martial arts system when it first came out, so I went
    with something that would work kind of like that rather than create four or
    six different types of monk character classes.

    I`ve got a lot of special abilities written up, but I need to work on that
    section. Special abilities are all tied to form and style. Iron Fist, for
    instance, increases the damage die/dice that the martial artist does in
    unarmed combat, and is only allowed to martial artists who know a style
    based on the Hard form, the Attack or Strike methods. I need to go through
    the list of special abilities and put them up on a spreadsheet so I can be
    sure there are enough special abilities for every form and style. Several
    of the special ability descriptions don`t have prereqs listed yet, and
    there are still at least eight or ten abilities more I want to add just off
    the top of my head, so the system needs work. My group has, however,
    playtested it a bit in the past two sessions, and it seems to be working
    better than I had hoped.

    Gary

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  5. #5
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I don`t want to depart that much from the standard system just so a few
    Rjurik warriors aren`t quite so helpless without a weapon.

    What I`m thinking of goes a little like this.
    Everyone can attack normally as per the standard rules.
    Characters can take Improved Unarmed Strike, though Brawlers will get it as
    a class feature like monks do.
    A feat of this kind would grant three kinds of attacks. They`ll generally
    be similar.
    Some feats will inflict more damage (boxing), some will restrict the
    movement of your opponant (wrestling). Stuff like that.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >I don`t want to depart that much from the standard system just so a few
    >Rjurik warriors aren`t quite so helpless without a weapon.
    >
    >What I`m thinking of goes a little like this. Everyone can attack normally
    >as per the standard rules. Characters can take Improved Unarmed Strike,
    >though Brawlers will get it as a class feature like monks do. A feat of
    >this kind would grant three kinds of attacks. They`ll generally be
    >similar. Some feats will inflict more damage (boxing), some will restrict
    >the movement of your opponant (wrestling). Stuff like that.

    Yeah, if you`re not focusing on martial arts as a major aspect of the
    campaign then a system like I described isn`t really necessary.

    In addition to the above abilities of the Vos Brawler character class, I`d
    suggest some sort of progressive AC bonus like that of the monk, and maybe
    even a system of feats or class abilities that had different effects on
    their unarmed damage or their ability to take damage. A set of increased
    unarmed damage dice, and maybe even things like damage reduction or
    increased an increased critical threat range. They could get flurry of
    blows and/or the superior number of attacks of monks. Things along those
    lines.

    Gary

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