Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Psionic Martial Arts

Pyramid #3-69 contains one of Christoper Rice's articles, Mind and Body, which details 3 psionic martial arts.  Those could certainly fit into Psi-Wars without much trouble.  We'd already looked at them briefly when analyzing existing GURPS martial arts.  Now, we can take a look at how those might actually play out in the form of signature moves.  As usual, these signature moves are not exhaustive.

We cannot use the Way of the Cerulean Blade, but we can cannibalize it for a new style.

These are not Psionic Styles.  That is, they are not studies of ways to be psionic, but instead, they are a study of ways to use psionics in combat. This does blend with studies of psionics themselves, but you'll have to wait until next week before we can look at psionic styles directly.


Inshen-Denshin is found on page 13 of Pyramid #3-69. I won’t repeat it here, because you should totally go buy it. It uses pressure points, which Psi-Wars doesn’t bother with: Consider replacing references to it with Lethal Strike and Lethal Kick. Furthermore, the article notes that many practicioners learn Multiplicity, Instant Read and Independent techniques for Telereceive, but this is not noted as a technique option in the style, and I say go ahead and include them! It also suggests attacks against high value targets, but does not include those either. Feel free to add Targeted Attack (Punch/Neck), Targeted Attack (Exotic Hand-Strike/Neck), Targeted Attack (Punch/Skull). The following are some signature moves that could be inspired by it.

Note that Warrior Psi allows you to spend fatigue on psionic attacks… which means you can make a “Flurry of Blows” with several of the below signature moves!

Signature Moves

First Principle: Connection: Take a Concentrate Maneuver and initiate the Independent technique of Telerecieve by making a quick contest between Telerecieve-7 and your opponent’s Will. If successful, you may read your opponent’s mind for the rest of the fight without taking any further actions, and you may ignore up to -1 in penalties to your defenses from deceptive attacks or feints. You may defend normally.

Second Principle: Deception: Make a rapid strike Feint (Telesend) (-6 or -3) followed by a Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Punch for the Neck (-5), for a total of -11 or -8. Your opponent defends at a penalty equal to your margin of success on the feint. If you hit, inflict thr-1 (+karate bonuses) and increase damage past DR by 1.5. You defend normally.

Third Principle: Distraction: Make a Concentrate maneuver and make a Defensive Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Defensive Feint (Telesend) at one target, and a Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Feint (Telesend) at a second target. You defend at +1. Setup: You are fighting more than one opponent.

Fourth Principle: Anticipation: After making an Aggressive Parry, make a Karate Counter Attack (-5) against your opponent’s torso. Roll Karate-5. Your opponent defends at -2. Deal thr-1 (+karate bonus) damage. You defend normally. Setup: You made a successful aggressive parry.

Fifth Principle: Disruption: Make an All-Out Strong (+2 damage) Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Mental Blow. Roll Mental Blow -6 or -3 vs your opponent’s Will. If you succeed, your opponent is stunned for the next second. Then make an All-Out Strong (+2 damage) Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Exotic Hand Strike (-1) for the Neck (-5). Roll Karate -12 or -9. If you hit, deal thr+2(+karate bonuses) and multiply all damage that penetrates DR by 1.5. This is a Finishing Move. It’s also an ideal time to use a psi strike, if you have the perk. Setup: You currently have contact with your opponent, or you made an aggressive parry last turn.

Third-Eye Fighting

Third-Eye Fighting is found on page 15 of Pyramid #3-69. As before, I won’t repeat it here, because you should totally go buy the magazine. I do have a few observations: First, the style lists both Arm and Wrist lock, but as far as I understood, they were both the same technique (and thus redundant). It furthermore notes that Danger Sense is an optional skill, but Combat Sense already contains Danger Sense… albeit one limited to detecting just surprise attacks (it won’t pick up on traps). Finally, the style has Sumo-Wrestling, which seems an odd choice and one not discussed in the text of the article. However, it seems likely that Chris is channeling Tai Chi Chuan, and that the Sumo is intended to improve Shoves. I can use this.

Signature Moves

Following the Guided Path: Make an Evaluate Maneuver. Make a Combat Sense roll. If successful, in addition to gaining the noted bonus to defense rolls, the GM might give you additional insights/visions into how the fight might play out in the next few seconds, thereby pointing out ways you might gain tactical advantage. You gain +1 to your next attack against the opponent, and ignore up to -1 in penalties to your defense based on feints or deceptive attacks. You may defend normally, but while using this signature/trademark move, you must retreat at least once on a defense (You are “Walking the path your opponent has laid out for you.”)

The Gentle Path: After making a Judo parry, make a rapid strike (-6 or -3) Deceptive (-4) Judo Throw followed by a Judo Arm Lock (-0). Roll Judo -10 (or -7) to hit. Your opponent defends at -2. If you hit, your opponent is prone. Make an Armlock roll (-6 or -3). Your opponent defends at -3 for being prone. You may defend normally. Setup: You parried your opponents attack with a Judo parry and remain within one yard of him.

The Painful Path: After making a Judo parry, make a rapid strike (-6 or -3) deceptive (-4) Judo Armlock followed by a Judo Throw(-0. Roll Armlock-10 (or -7) to hit. Your opponent defends at -2. If you hit, roll Judo Throw or Armlock, both at -6 or -3, in a quick contest with the best of your opponent’s ST, DX or best grappling skill. If you win, you throw your opponent and inflict sw damage (+Wrestling bonuses) against your opponent’s arm. You may defend normally. Setup: You parried your opponents attack with a Judo parry and remain within one yard of him.

Opening New Paths: Make a Wait (“If my opponent attacks, I make a Stop Hit”) maneuver. If your opponent attacks, you attack at the same time, making a deceptive (-4) Shove attack. Roll Sumo-4. If you hit but your opponent missed or hit with a smaller margin than you did, your opponent defends at -3 (-5 if he tries to parry with the weapon he attacked with). If you hit but your opponent hit by a smaller margin than you did, you defend at -1 (-3 if you try to parry) and your opponent defends at -2. If you hit your opponent, deal thr-1 (+Sumo bonuses) double knockback damage. You may defend normally.

Walking Infinite Paths: Make a Conentrate maneuver and roll Combat Sense-4. Success grants you Enhanced Time Sense for the remainder of the fight in place of your defense bonuses from Combat Sense. If you have Enhanced Time Sense, you automatically win Stop Hit contests provided you hit (see Opening New Paths above).

Psionic Forceswordsmanship: 6 points

The third style in Mind and Body is the Way of the Cerulean Blade, which can't work because we use TK slightly differently than Psionic Powers does, and we're not using Psi-Swords or Psi-Shields. However, a Psi-Sword isn't that much different from a force sword that we can't borrow ideas from the style. We wouldn't be the first to try to come up with a style that unifies TK and forceswordsmanship either. A variety of tk-enhanced lightsaber combat techniques made their way around the internet a few years ago (and can still be found), and even made it into Clone Wars. Star Wars also features a Jedi lightsaber form that explicitly uses the Force to enhance its technique: Form VI, Niman Form.

We could also derive other, unarmed version of a psychokinetic style from the Way of the Cerulean Blade. I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader.

For our purposes, we have two interesting uses of telekinesis. The first is the TK-Push power that we added to Telekinsis. We can use this to push or pull people around, though our opponents can dodge as normal. The second trick we can do is to grab people outright with TK-Grab. I can't find any rule on the minimum necessary ST to grapple someone, other than ST less than half of your opponent cannot prevent someone from moving and, of course, grappling tends to rely on ST. Therefore, a single level of TK-Grab is sufficient, but higher levels are very convenient.

Psionic Forceswordmanship focuses on psychokinesis as its prime weapon over and above the force sword. A psionic forceswordsman will often discard or make committed attacks with his force sword, and rely on his telekinesis to defend himself. The style often appears arrogant and careless, because the practioner will deliberately lower his defense and then catch people who attempt to attack him with a quick gesture of his hand and an expression of psychokinetic force. The signature moves below do not feature TK-Push attacks, but they certainly exist, with TK-Burst taking the place of Whirlwind attack. Cinematic masters find even more exploitation of their telekinetic power, often blasting their opponent's back and then racing after them with flying leaps to destroy them while they're still down.

Skills: Force Sword, Meditation, TK Grab, TK-Push, Throw (Force Sword)
Techniques: Beat (TK-Grab), Counter Attack (Force Sword), Jam (TK-Grab), Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Arm), Targeted Attack (Force Sword Thrust/Vitals)
Cinematic Skills: Flying Leap, Light Walk, Mental Strength, Power Blow, Precognitive Parry
Cinematic Techniques: Dual Weapon Defense (Fore Sword), Flying Attack (Force Sword), Springing Attack (Force Sword)
Perks: Focused Fury, Grip Mastery (Force Sword), Psi Strike (Psychokinesis, Force Sword), Psionic Duelist, Sacrificial Parry, Special Exercise (Power Blow works with Force Sword), Special Exercise (Power Blow works with TK-Grab), TK-Tether, Warrior Psi (TK-Grab or TK-Push)
Optional Traits: Weapon Master (Force Sword + Psychokinesis) [25]
Optional Skills: Acrobatics, Karate, Mind Block, TK-Control, Wrestling

Signature Moves

Body Resonance: Make a “Rapid-Strike” (-6 or -3) concentration to Telekinetically Grapple your opponent's torso. Roll TK-Grab-6 or -3. Your opponent may dodge at -4 or make a Power Parry with their own TK. If struck, immediately roll a TK-Grab-Level-Based Beat against your opponent's body. Roll Tk-Grab-Based Beat-6 (or -3) against the best of your opponent's DX- or ST-based unarmed skill or Acrobatics. Success applies margin of success as a penalty to your opponent's kicks and dodge attempts to a maximum of 4. If the margin of success is 5 or greater, the target must also make a DX roll or fall (in a direction of your choice), if you wish.

Counter Pulse: Wait (“If my opponent attacks, I will first use Counter Pulse against him.”) If your opponent attacks, make a Rapid Strike (-6 or -3) Concentrate maneuver to Telekinetically Grapple your opponent's weapon (-2 to -3) with TK. Roll TK-Grab -5 to -9. Your opponent may dodge at -4. If you hit, roll TK-Grab-based Beat (-6 or -3) vs your opponent's ST- or DX-based weapon skill. Success applies your margin of victory against your opponent's attacks and defenses with that weapon for the next turn, to a maximum of -4. A success of 5 or more immediately unreadies the weapon. You may optionally choose to instead grant yourself a bonus of the same amount (to a maximum of +4) against this specific attack. If you have Grip Mastery, shift immediately to a Defensive Grip to gain a +1 to your parry.

Devour the Fallen Star: If your opponent attacks, make a generous riposte (-4) and then Counterattack on your own turn. Make a Committed (+1 damage) Force-Sword (-5) attack. Your opponent defends at -6. If you hit, inflict 8d+4(5) cutting damage to the torso. You may not parry with your weapon and you may not retreat. If your character has Grip Mastery, shift from Defensive Grip to Standard Grip when making this attack. Setup: You parried last turn with a riposte of -4 after a successful execution of the defensive version of Counter Pulse.

Resonance Dissipation: If you have been telekinetically grappled, make a Concentration maneuver. Roll Jam (TK-Grab) + your TK-Grab level vs your opponent's TK-Grab skill + TK-Grab level. If you succeed, you are no longer grappled and further attempts to use TK-Grab on you are at a cumulative -1 for the remainder of the fight. Setup: You have been telekinetically grappled.

Returning Orbit: After throwing your force sword at your opponent, use TK-Tether to Fast-Draw ready the weapon with TK-Grab. Make a Force Sword attack on your opponent from behind, using the lower of your Force Sword or TK-Grab skill. Your opponent defends at -2. If you hit, deal 8d(5) burn damage. Your weapon ends in your hand, readied. You may defend normally. Setup: You must have TK-Tether, Quick Swap (Hand to TK-Grab) and sufficient TK-Grab to wield your force sword. You may do this after throwing your weapon.
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