Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unarmed Styles: Fancy Techniques

Martial Arts exist for more than just pure practicality.  They can express culture and beauty and, in a cinematic setting, those beautiful styles might exhibit profound and subtle power.  The following techniques generally focus more on style than on substance, though they still have some merits.

I've favored grappling techniques over striking techniques, because effective striking techniques against characters with DR 20-100 is very impractical.  Allow Breaking Blow to apply to characters in armor.  If you want to include a proper cinematic striking style, I recomment Wushu (the premier movie martial art), Wing Chun or Shaolin kung fu.

Space Tai-Chi 3 points (5 points for Space-Geisha-Jutsu)

Many characters need some form of self-defense, and in many situations, it's inappropriate, illegal or inelegant to carry weapons. Thus, some characters will learn to fight barehanded not because it helps them slaughter a room full of soldiers, but to help them escape a lone assassin with a gun or a knife.
Judo and Judo-like skills typically present the best unarmed options for dealing with a heavily armed and armored opponent when you, yourself, are unarmed and unarmored, because a single parry and throw is often enough to floor your opponent and give you a couple of turns to make an escape or, if strong enough, to subdue your attacker completely.

Furthermore, I've often found that some players want to play a character who is both beautiful and elegant, but is still capable of handling herself in a combat situation (while remaining elegant). In Cherry Blossom Rain, I used a variation of Aikido to fill the role of the “elegant Geisha combat-technique,” and I think Psi-Wars could use a similar technique, especially given that a “space geisha technique” would add an air of mystery and exoticness to the setting.
Thus, for this style, I drew inspiration from Aikido, Judo and Tai Chi, all of which are slow, elegant and defensive. I've divided the style into two parts, a more generic Space Tai-Chi, and a more specific Space-Geisha-Jutsu. The Space Geisha version includes Karate, but this is specifically to allow use of a Combat Fan.

The signature moves below assume a fighter who seeks self-defense above everything but possibly looking good. She will position herself in a way that makes it difficult to attack her (Glide Close, Brush past), and if she must fight, she'll use her improved defense from either to make a riposte and then eliminate the threat her opponent poses with a Delicate Grasp or a Gentle Disarming. While no throw moves are listed, one could easily be made, and a Space Geisha would excel at them, thanks to Technique Mastery. After such a throw, perform a Ribbon Dance Kata to impress all onlookers, or even your opponent.

Skills: Judo, Meditation
Techniques: Acrobatic Stand, Arm Lock, Breakfall, Combat Art (Judo), Disarming (Judo), Evasion, Fingerlock, Low-Fighting (Judo), Trip, Sweep (Judo)
Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting, Immovable Stance, Light Walk, Mental Strength, Push, Sensitive
Cinematic Techniques: Fighting While Seated (Judo), Roll with Blow, Timed Defense (Judo or Dodge)
Perks: Flourish, Skill Adaption (Acrobatic Stand defaults to Judo), Technique Mastery (Judo Throw)

Optional Skills: Breath Control, Philosophy (Any), Savoir-Faire (Dojo)

Space Geisha-Jutsu Variation

Additional Skills: Sex-Appeal, Savoir-Faire
Additional Techniques: Feint (Sex-Appeal)
Additional Perks: Cloaked, Exotic Training (Combat Fan), High Heeled Heroine, Sartorial Integrity, Sexy Feints
Additional Optional Skills: Karate, Cloak
Additional Optional Techniques: Combat Art (Cloak), Combat Art (Karate)

Signature Moves

Glide Close: Step into close combat and lightly touch opponent. Make a Sensitivity roll. Success grants +1 to all further close combat roles, as well as Push, Immovable Stance and Blind Fighting rolls, and make a Sex-Appeal (Feint) roll. On a success, apply margin of victory as a defensive feint. Defend normally. Setup: You begin combat one step from opponent.

Brush Past: While in close combat, make an All-Out Defense (Parry) and Step through Opponent. Make an Evasion roll (-5 for passing a standing foe). Success puts you behind your target, but also with your back facing him, and still in close combat with him, if you wish. Defend (+2!) with Timed Defense. Setup: You are already in close combat with your opponent.

Delicate Grasp: After opponent attacks, defend with a riposte penalty (at least -2). On your turn, if your defense was successful, make a Combat-Art (-3) Finger-Lock (-3) roll (Judo-6). Opponent defends at Riposte penalty (-2) Success grapples a finger and grants a +1 reaction modifier. Setup: After you are attacked while in close combat.

Gentle Disarming: After opponent attacks, defend with a riposte penalty (at least -2). On your turn, if your defense was successful, take a step and make a Combat Art (-3) Disarm (-2) roll (Judo-5). Opponent defends at -2. If successful, roll a contest of ST- or DX-based Disarm vs your opponent's ST- or DX-based Retain Weapon. Success disarms your opponent. You may defend normally. Setup: You were attacked at reach one with a weapon.

Ribbon Dancing Kata: After successfully throwing or defeating an opponent, make a Sex-Appeal or Combat-Art roll. Success creates a +1 reaction roll or intimidates your opponents. This takes a full turn to perform. Setup: You threw or defeated an opponent.

Pitfighting, 4 points

The sort of space opera Star Wars hails from routinely puts its hero in an arena across from some hideous beast or a terrifying alien gladiator. Combined with the criminal elements of both Star Wars and Psi-Wars, and I think there's definitely room for gladiatorial-style combat or, at least, pitfighting.
Pitfighting resembles Street-fighting, and like Street-fighting, is probably better suited to quick-building NPCs than actually something a player would regularly pursue. The style below is inspired by a mix of Pankration, Pro-Wrestling and Boxing, but with a greater emphasis on flashy, crowd-pleasing moves. The charater needs Games to know what arcane rules he'll violate, or how to get his opponent to violate said rules. Outside of arenas, its usefulness on the battlefield is dubious, though a sufficiently cinematic strong-man might hold his own against more well-armed opponent.

A typical pitfighter will focus more heavily on either boxing or wrestling, and will tend to push his opponent to react with an Opening Act, and then after his opponent attacks, make a flashy counter attack of some kind, meant to stun his opponent, and then finish him off with some dramatic move, followed by a crowd pleaser.

Skills: Boxing, Games (Pitfighting), Wrestling
Techniques: Arm Lock (Wrestling), Combat Art (Any), Counterattack (Boxing), Elbow Drop (Wrestling), Ground Fighting (Wrestling), Head Butt (Wrestling), Head Lock, Targeted Attack (Boxing, Punch/Face), Targeted Attack (Boxing, Uppercut/Face), Uppercut (Boxing), Wrench Arm.
Cinematic Skills: Dual Weapon Attack (Boxing), Breaking Blow, Immovable Stance, Power-Blow
Cinematic Techniques: Backbreaker, Hand Catch, Roll with Blow
Perks: Iron Hands, Finishing Move, Focused Fury, Flourish, Neck Control, Penetrating Voice, Power Grappler, Special Exercise (Arm Lock after Boxing Parry), Sure-Footed (Slippery), Sure-Footed (Uneven), Technique Adaption (Handcatch Parry with Boxing), Trademark Move

Optional Traits: ST
Optional Advantages: Hard to Subdue, High Pain Treshold
Optional Skills: Intimidation, Performance, Sex-Appeal

Signature Moves


Opening Act: Make a Set-Up (-4) Defensive Boxing Punch for the torso. Opponent defends normally. If you hit, deal thr-3 (+boxing bonuses). Defend at +1. Your next attack, your opponent suffers a -2 to his defense. Setup: None.

Double Time!: After defending, make Committed (+2) Dual Weapon Attack (-4) Boxing Counterattack (-5) to the face (-5). Roll two boxing-12 attacks. Opponent defends at -3. Deal thr-1(+boxing bonuses) to the face (any shock causes a stun), You may not parry this turn and you dodge at -2 and may not retreat. Setup: You successfully defended against an attack.

Bone Crusher!: After making a Hand-Catch Parry (Wrestling Parry-3), Wrench Arm. Roll a contest of ST-4(+Wrestling Bonus) vs opponent's ST or HT. Success inflicts sw damage on the target's arm. Setup: You defended with a hand-catch parry.

Wind Up!: Make an All-Out (+2 damage) Telegraphic (+4) Combat-Art (-3) Uppercut (-1) to the Face (-5). Roll Boxing-3. If you hit, deal thr+2 damage to the face (any shock causes a stun). You may not defend. This is a Finishing Move. Setup:Your opponent is stunned.

Backbreaker!: After making a grapple with two arms around your opponent's torso, make a Combat Art (-3) Backbreaker attack (better of ST-6 or Wrestling-6). Success inflicts sw(+Wrestling Bonus!) crushing damage on the spine (DR 3, treat as a face/vitals crushing blow, except damage in excess of HP cripples spine). Failure drops target prone, face-up, and your character ends kneeling. Setup: You grappled your opponent with two hands around the torso last turn.

Crowd Pleaser: After defeating or downing a foe, make a Performance or Sex-Appeal roll, with a +1 if you used a combat art attack last turn. Treat success as an influence success, with Performance giving you a Good reaction from the audience, and Sex-Appeal a Very Good reaction from a specific individual you seek to impress. Setup: You downed or defeated an opponent last turn.

Space Ninjutsu 6 points

If Space Knights are space samurai, then Psi-Wars could certainly stand to have some space ninja. Ventress, an assassin, had many similarities to ninja, and our own assassin template will certainly have more. If so, we need a proper style for them. The following is essentially Taijutsu with Stealth and parkour techniques from Action 3 added in. Unlike many of the styles noted here, this one is actually intended as a style, with practitioners putting in the time and energy to actually master it. While hand-to-hand techniques aren’t necessarily so useful, the style brims with parkour moves, which makes it a useful addition to any armed style, especially the Graceful Form or Rim Force Swordsmanship, but consider an armed style as well. Suitable to most cinematic martial arts, it allows its practitioners access to a variety of cinematic skills.

On its own, Space Ninjutsu tends to prefer to kill silently, using a choke hold, a knife hand, or a weapon. If your opponent catches you unawares, use Nightfall or Flash Strike to stun your opponent or knock them prone. Then either finish them off, or vanish into the shadows. The style is complex and rich with a variety of useful techniques and skills, so a mere 5 signature moves cannot capture them all. Space Ninjutsu masters tend to favor swift attacks: make use of deceptive attacks, rapid strikes and combinations. Use your parkour moves to gain positioning on your opponent and then finish them off from an ambush.

Skills: Acrobatics, Judo, Karate, Savoir-Faire (Dojo), Stealth
Techniques: Acrobatic Attack, Acrobatic Stand, Arm Lock, Balancing, Breakfall (Acrobatics or Judo), Choke Hold, Disappear (Stealth), Elbow Strike, Evade (Acrobatics), Exotic Hand-Strike, Feint (Karate), Kicking, Knee Strike, Running Climb (Acrobatics), Spinning (Acrobatics), Sweep Kick, Targeted Attack (Exotic Hand Strike/Neck), Targeted Attack (Karate Punch/Neck)
Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting, Body Control, Breaking Blow, Flying Leap, Light Walk, Lizard Climb, Mental Strength, Power Blow, Sensitivity
Cinematic Techniques: Lethal Kick, Lethal Strike (Karate), Times Defense (Parry or Dodge)
Perks: Acrobatic Feints, Acrobatic Kicks, Finishing Move, Graceful Glider, Light Walker, Technique Adaption (Feint), Trademark Move, Urban Jungle Gym, Wall-Runner

Optional Traits: Basic Move [5/level], Enhanced Dodge [15/level]
Optional Skills: Climbing, Jumping, Running

Signature Moves


Ninja Vanish!: Make a Move maneuver towards some kind of cover and roll Disappear (Stealth-10). Success means that you are sufficiently hidden that you may attack an opponent “from behind” (See “Death from the Shadows” Action 2 page 37).

Silent Kill: While unseen, initiate a Choke Hold (Judo-2) from behind your opponent. Characters with Trained by a Master, Weapon Master or who make a successful use of Danger Sense may defend at -2, all other characters get no defense except a chin tuck (Wrestling or Judo Parry-2). A successful chin-tuck defense means the character is grappled, but not in a choke hold. You're at +5 to quick contests to break free for using two hands, and you may choke/strangle with a +3, inflicting either crushing damage or FP damage. Your opponent may not cry out. Setup: You're currently hidden.

Flash Strike: Make a committed (+2) deceptive (-4) exotic hand strike (-1) for the neck (-5). Roll Karate-8 to hit. Opponent defends at -2. Deal thr(+Karate bounses) crushing damage, and multiply all damage that exceeds DR by 1.5. You may dodge or parry with the other hand at -2, and you may not retreat.

Nightfall: Make a deceptive (-4) sweep (-3). Roll Karate-7. Opponent defends at -2. Roll a quick contest of ST or Sweep vs your opponent's ST, DX, Acrobatics or best grappling skill. Success knocks opponent prone. You may defend normally.

Knife Hand: If your opponent is Prone or Stunned, Make a Comitted (+1 damage) Lethal (-1) Strike to the Vitals (-3). Opponent defends normally for his situation (-3 if prone, -4 if stunned). Deal thr-1 (+ karate bonuses) piercing damage (x3 after DR for shot to vitals). You may not parry with the hand with which you attacked, and you dodge or parry at -2, and you may not retreat. This is a Finishing Move. Setup: Your opponent is stunned or prone.
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