|Martial Art Styles, Armed or Unarmed
| Being a casual (and once ardent) martial artist myself, I have come to a degree of comprehension of the differences between the countless organized schools and styles of martial arts, both armed and unarmed. In no way do I claim to have a perfect grasp of every martial art style or philosophy on Earth, but until I can arrange for every sensei, sifu, Special Forces trainer or other fightin' guru to hold a lengthy global teleconference with me, I'm afraid you're stuck with me and a couple dozen 10-year-old copies of Black Belt Magazine, from back in my Shotokan days.
Sorry about that.
But I am nothing if not a keen researcher with the mighty powers of Google and Yahoo readily at hand. So rest assured that I will do my best to remain faithful to the material.
That being said, I must now explain my choice to amend each style (all courtesy of the Combat book again) with a special rule which lends each style a certain minor advantage. It occured to me that, as per provisions of the Combat rules, there was really no incentive to pick a style and stick with it, aside from being able to claim that style as a Brawl or Melee Specialty. So until a character got up to 4 in either Ability, he was essentially no better off than any self-taught unrefined street fighter or barroom brawler with a comparatively haphazard approach to fighting. And while the fighters who learned from the school of hard knocks are admirable in regard to their street smarts and dogged determination, it stands to reason that regimented training in the martial arts--some schools of which are thousands of years old--offers the student insight into generations of refined techniques for attack or defense, all proven effective in one way or another through countless years of practice, and all handed down to the student in an organized form that remains more easily digestible than wading into a free-for-all and hoping to keep one's own bruises and welts to a minimum.
However, be advised that your Brawl talent must be 2 or higher in order to gain the attached benefit for your chosen style. Whether you're a clumsy white belt, a boxing coach's newest babyface or a recently-evicted homeless kid dealing with your first pack of imposing ruffians, you probably have about the same level of practical know-how for weathering a fight...which really isn't all that much.
Each style encompasses the Basic Maneuvers in some form or another, including Block; On that note, be warned that few unarmed styles teach how to parry weapons with one's bare hands, and attempting to do so without the proper Maneuver is likely to do more harm than good.
|Aikido (aka. Aikijutsu) -- Brawl
Aikido is as much intellectual insight as it is physical grace. The Aikido stylist is trained in the art of turning an opponent's force against himself. Many an unwary assailant has been pulled off-balance or hurled to the ground by the momentum of his own strikes, guided along by the deft, twisting hands of the Aikido stylist.
Aikido stylists may use any Dodge maneuver against an opponent's hand-to-hand attack; If that attack is completely blocked or evaded, the Aikidoka gains two automatic successes to his next attack (his counterattack), provided that the counterattack is a grab or a throw. With the right defense, this may be used against armed foes.
|Arnis, Jojutsu, Kali or Escrima -- Melee
Arnis, Kali and Escrima are three related styles of Phillipine stick-fighting; Jojutsu is their Japanese equivalent. All are common in one regard: they train fighters to wield one or two short batons or fighting sticks, using sheer dexterity to bury an opponent's defenses in a flurry of swift, sweeping strikes. Though Kali also teaches stick-fighting, its main focus is instead on knives and other short blades.
Against opponents in melee range, stick-fighters studying one of these styles subtract one die from their Initiative pools, replacing it with an automatic success instead. The fighter must be armed with one or two batons or fighting sticks in order to enjoy this benefit. Kali stylists substitute short blades instead of fighting sticks.
|Bojutsu -- Melee
The big brother of Jojutsu, this is the style of mastering the rokushakubo--the bo for short--which is in essence a Japanese quarterstaff. Though a seemingly simple weapon, the bo can be lethal in the hands of a trained user, enjoying long-reaching strikes and twirling two-handed strikes capable of posing a virtual brick wall of thrusts, sweeps and parries.
Bojutsu grants one automatic success to any attempt to parry.
|Boxing -- Brawl
Hailing back to ancient times, this style exclusively focuses on punches. The core philosophy of boxing is that hands can strike swiftly, powerfully and accurately enough to subdue an opponent before he can cause significant harm to the boxer. The style therefore sacrifices its focus on finesse and teaches little in the way of defense, instead concentrating on developing hands and arms that deliver strikes with bonecrushing force.
Boxing adds one damage die to all punches.
|(Work in progress. Expect more content soon!)|
|to Combat: The Main Page|