We looked at brutes, gunslingers and ranged Lucid combatants. For the final installment of combat styles we end with a variation of the martial artist, pairing hand to hand skill with weapons training.
The name alone Blade Master conjurers images of street Samurai and Yakuza assassins. For our Blade Master we ride the edge of what a blade might be selecting the Monowhip Ring, easily concealed, elegant and deadly. The Monowhip requires such skill that few are willing to even attempt to use the lethal wire.
We know the Character will want to have both the Melee Skill and a Specialty in the Monowhip the question is what martial art best complements the weapon selection. External style pops up as early choice for it’s multiple quick strikes and Hard Style also serves as a solid contender with it’s powerful blows. Ultimately though the Monowhip is a inherently deceptive weapon and there is one martial art that directly incorporates deception the Northern Style.
Known for flamboyant techniques and beauty, the Northern Style is often seen as great for exhibition but lacking in real world usefulness. However, this view is deceptive and hides the style’s strength. Often throwing opponents off balance, a Northern Style master’s attacks can be unpredictable and deadly. Some examples would include Tang Lang Quan, Chang Quan, and some Northern variations of traditional Wu-Shu.
The Northern Style is both flashy and deceptive at the same time. This seems fitting for a piece of wire that can slice through just about anything.
Twisting Fist – Mundane
The Northern Style teaches its practitioners to utilize flexibility and movement to their fullest.
The character may add their Acrobatics skill as a supporting characteristic on defense or on attack rolls using their Northern Style trait.
Unbalancing Palm – Mundane
The character has learned techniques to distract, confuse, and keep their opponent off balance and guessing.
The character may use their Subterfuge skill as a supporting characteristic for defense or for attack rolls using their Northern Style trait
These first two Boons set the tone of the style and both seem fitting Characteristics to add along with Stealth. The next two Northern Style Boons are will also bring us back to the Character’s Skills:
Feigned Strike – Mundane
The character allows their opponent to strike them in order to delver a powerful counter attack.
Flourishing Movements – Mundane
The character’s poise and style in combat allow them to mask the true intent of their actions. What is often seen as unnecessary is in actuality a way to distract and prepare for the next strike.
The character may add the margin of their last attack roll to their next attack or defense roll.
Feigned Strike allows a scaling Bonus based on the Margin the Character allows themselves to be hit when they might have avoided. Characters with easy access to healing may utilize this Boon more than others constantly setting themselves up for powerful follow up blows. These Characters should consider a Dodge Specialty just for Feigned Strike. This investment allows them to push the Margin they are able to sacrifice and thus deliver a more potent follow up attack. Moreover, Feigned Strike is also sets the Character up for their next Boon Flourishing Movements as their Margin from a previous strike can be carried forward.
The next three Boons shift the focus from direct combat tactics to positioning, movement and terrain.
Balancing Art – Mundane
Through training, the character has honed their sense of balance to an almost supernatural level.
The character may use their Northern Style trait as a supporting characteristic for Dexterity tree rolls for balance. Alternately, the character may opt to use their Northern Style trait to negate environmental penalties to rolls.
Lunging Form – Mundane
Masters of the Northern Style incorporate powerful leaps and lunges into their movements, allowing them to move swiftly through the battlefield.
Flying Art – Supernatural
The movements of the Northern Style master drift into the realm of fantasy; their actions carry them much as if they were flying.
The character may move a number of meters equal to their Northern Style trait when performing an attack. The character can move in any direction but must be on solid ground by the end of the action.
With this final Boon our Blade Master could drop four stories from a window to surprise their opponents or run up walls to avoid being trapped. However, so far we’ve focused only on the Northern Style, lets look at making this a true Blade Master. The first really required Boon is Weapons Training,
Weapons Training – Mundane
All styles teach various ways to attack and defend without any weapon at all. Weapons Training represents the time dedicated to applying teachings of the character’s Style to fighting with melee weapons.
Using Weapons Training: The character may use Martial Arts boons with melee or appropriate thrown weapons.
While this does not allow the Character to double down using both their Northern Style and Melee Skill on an attack roll it does give the Character access to the potent Martial Arts boons while using their Monowhip.
Weapon Crafter: Melee – Mundane
It is a commonly held belief that anyone who uses a weapon should know how to care for and maintain it. As a skilled weapons crafter, the character’s techniques for maintenance help foster this ideal.
Fatal Precision: Monowhip – Mundane
Practice leads to perfection, and skill with weapons is no exception.
These first two Mundane Boons represent the dedication the Character has for their weapon of choice through training and proper care the Blade Master’s Monowhip becomes capable of cutting down even armored opposition with a single strike
Awaken the Blade Spirit: Monowhip – Supernatural
Connecting with their weapon of choice, the character’s strength becomes part of the blade.
The character may use their Lucid trait as a supporting characteristic for any Melee attack.
Blade of Five Forces: Monowhip – Supernatural
Legends say that true masters may infuse their weapon with one of the primal forces (Wind, Earth, Water, Lightning, or Fire), or with the raw energies of their Realm.
This boon is applied to a weapon for which the character possesses the Awaken the Blade Spirit boon. When selecting this boon, the character chooses one energy type as listed above. When in use, the weapon resonates with the character’s energy. For example, a character attuned to Earth energy may cause earthen spikes to erupt from the ground, stabbing at the target whenever the character’s weapon is used.
These next two Boons take the Blade Master’s Mundane training to the next level. Channeling their spirits into their weapon few could stand in their path. Finally, we end with Fast Draw, it’s likely the Blade Master will pick up this Boon long before Blade of Five Forces and it allows the Character to get into the action faster.
Fast Draw: Monowhip – Mundane
The character has practiced the art of quickly drawing a weapon of choice. The character may draw weapons of this type without spending an action.
With a larger number of required Skills and the additional Boon requirements the Blade Master does develop slower than an Unarmed Martial Artist. However, the dedication paid to developing these additional Characteristics makes them a terrible and deadly force on the battlefield.