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  • Combat Styles Part 6: The Blade Master

    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.

    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.

  • Combat Styles Part 5: The Storm Lord

    While the Dark Lucid channels the horrors of the Dark the Verdant is bound to the primal forces. Their connection with the land gives them strength. Most give in to the bestial aspect of the Verdant others learn to harness the powers of nature itself.

    The Storm Lord embodies classic divine power. Th weather warps to their will and the power of lighting rolls from their finger tips. Of course, we have to learn before we learn to call down the thunder, or however that works out.

    Nature Sense – Verdant
    With a sniff of the air or touch of the ground, the character knows the world around them. Tricks such as dowsing or predicting the weather come to the Verdant Lucid as second nature.

    Craft Elements: (Various) – Verdant
    Funneling the forces of the Verdant Realm, the Lucid is able to create any of the five basic elements.
    Using Craft Elements: When selecting this boon, the player chooses one element to be aligned with, halving the cost to craft this element over the remaining four. The character may create a sphere or cube of Wind, Fire, Water, Stone, or Plant Matter. NOTE: Unless contained, Water will drain, Wind will expand, and Fire will extinguish without a source of combustible material.

    Control Elements – Verdant
    As the character’s skill improves, they learn ways to shape and manipulate the five basic elements with a touch.

    These first three Boons align the Verdant Lucid with the natural forces around them. While not entirely focused even their basic control over the elements allows them to alter the world around them in dramatic ways.

    Control Weather – Verdant
    Expanding their reach the character may now create weather anomalies centered on them.
    Using Control Weather: The character may create any weather effect short of a tropical storm around them. This includes rain, a dry pocket within a storm, mist, fog, heat, or cold. Anyone within range of this boon may suffer as they deal with the harsh weather conditions.

    Storm Lord – Verdant
    As the character’s mastery over the environment continues to grow, they are able to direct bolts of lightning.
    Using Storm Lord: The character may strike anyone in their line of sight within the area of Controlled Weather with bolts of lightning. These lightning strikes may come from the clouds above or from the electricity in the air near the center of the storm.

    With a small investment, it’s as simple as that. Of course, this is only a stepping off point. While they lack the raw damage of the Black Archer there are multiple Boons that can aid the Storm Lord.

    Weather Witch – Verdant
    No longer limited to small areas, the Verdant Lucid may manipulate the weather over huge swaths of land.
    Using Weather Witch: The character may increase the area effected by their Control Weather Boon<

    Fatal Precision: Storm Lord – Mundane
    Practice leads to perfection, and skill with weapons is no exception.

    The addition of the Weather Witch Boon allows the Storm Lord to significantly increase their range while the Fatal Precision Boon increases the Strength of the Storm Lord’s lighting.

    Overall the Storm Lord mixes strong area control abilities with solid long range damage. While their raw damage may not match the Black Archer’s the Storm Lord’s Weather Control is able to quickly lock down foes impeding their movement and combat effectiveness.

    In the next Combat Styles we cut to the chase with the Blade Master.

  • Combat Styles Part 4: The Black Archer

    Guns, it’s true I was a solider once. War taught me fear. There is no greater weapon.

    - Albrecht Oswald, The Mad Artist

    Each of the Four Realms posses ways to affect others from a distance, but none more so than the Dark. This week we look at the Black Archer, a combatant that forgoes convectional weapons to rely on pure Supernatural power.

    There are multiple options within the Dark for ranged strikes from the Eye of Damnation to a Psychic Crush. We’re going to keep things relatively straight forward beginning with a reason for people to stay away from the Black Archer:

    Misfortune – Dark
    The character is a bad omen. Chaos and tragedy befall those who interfere with them.
    Using Misfortune: The character may use their Fortune attribute to directly reduce a target’s next roll or to reduce their defense the next time they are attacked.

    Black Aura – Dark
    The taint of the Dark Realm radiates from the character. Some feel this as a chill in the air, while the psychically aware actually perceive the aura around them. The presence of the Dark Realm is enough to insight panic and fear into most people, sending even brave men to cower for their lives.

    These Boons allow the Black Archer to directly reduce the effectiveness of those near them. This acts as a defense to potent melee attacks and encourages people to back away. This is also the gateway for two Boons that allow the Black Archer to begin striking at range.

    Black Blade – Dark
    Developing ways to twist and focus energies of the Dark Realm, the character is able to unleash the lethal forces that surround them. Their focus shifts the Black Aura into a deadly blade.

    Black Bolt – Dark
    The Dark is no longer chained to the Lucid. The character can channel their Black Aura, striking foes from a distance.
    Using Black Bolt: The character makes an attack as with Black Blade. This attack has a range equal to the character’s Lucid trait in meters. The character loses an amount of Health equal to half the final weapon strength.

    With four boons the Black Archer is already a fear inducing channel of Dark energy. Unfortunately that power comes at a heavy cost to their own Health. There are three more Boons that will help ease that pain though. First we’ll push the Black Archer’s effective range.

    Bloody Reach – Dark
    By sacrificing a part of their life force, the Dark Lucid is able to extend the reach of their powers. When using this boon, the character seems to fade partly into shadows. Powers benefitting from this boon appear to be followed by dark trails and a blood red hue, even if they are normally invisible.

    Yes before the Black Archer can heal their own wounds we’re pushing their range that little bit further, even if it hurts more to do so. Now to offer some relief.

    Essence Stealer – Dark
    Often perceived as the physically weakest of the Lucids, those belonging to the Dark can sometimes take the energies they need to survive from others. The character may drain Energy directly from a target.

    Life Stealer – Dark
    The Lucid may now draw the pure life force from a victim. The character may choose to target Health instead of Energy with the Essence Stealer boon.

    Calling the Life Essence – Dark
    The character is able to steal the life essence from their victims at a distance. The character may use their Essence Stealer boon at a range up to their Lucid trait in meters.

    While not as potent as the Black Bolt Essence Stealer allows the Character recover lost Energy and Health. This allows the Black Archer to open a combat with powerful and risky attacks then if their opponents survive follow up by stealing their Health and recovering.

    Don’t think that these Booms encompass everything there is to the Black Archer in addition to Boons like Critical Strike other solid Boon choices include:

    Dash: Black Bolt – Dark
    Getting into the action is not just important, being able to rapidly engage a target is critical. The character can deftly move through the battlefield to strike quickly.

    Elusive Fighter – Dark
    When up close and personal, the character knows how to keep their foes off guard, striking with such speed that opponents find it hard to track the character’s movements.

    While Dash is typically used to move into range the Black Archer can as easily use it to keep foes at bay and still continue to lay out damage. The addition of Elusive Fighter compounds the difficulty of actually striking the Black Archer each time the hit an opponent.

    In the next Combat Styles we call down the thunder with the Storm Lord.

  • Combat Styles Part 3: Gun Bunny

    Forget the romanticism art of combat and the visceral thuggery of some more primitive men by now some one has had to ask and in the immortal words of Simon Phoenix:

    “This is the future. Where are all the phaser guns?”

    This week we’re talking about guns, marksmen and some of the advantages of being Lucid.

    While corporate security and police may trot out assault rifles and combat shotguns on a regular basis not everyone wants that kind of attention brought to themselves. This weeks’ Gun Bunny falls into that category so we’re to go with a handgun, namely the TKX 10mm Series 3.

    The Series 3 is the latest polyresin semi-automatic from TKX a subsidiarity of Thalberg-Koertig International. Weighing 1.5 kilograms with a 13 centimeter barrel the Series 3 holds 8 rounds in the standard clip, the refined action and smooth recoil increase the effective firing range over 30% compared to most heavy pistols. For these reasons the Series 3 has become the preferred handgun for private security and body guards who’s clients want to keep a low profile.

    We’re going to give our Gun Bunny two of them. The Firearms skill is found under the Intelligence Tree.

    Firearms – Combat
    Everyone can point and fire a gun; the skill of firearms covers more than just firing off a few rounds at a range. This skill is a measure of accuracy and the ability to compensate for recoil and movement in a hostile situation.

    Like Strong for the Hulking Brute there is also a corresponding Intelligence Trait for Gun Bunnies.

    Accuracy – Dark, Grave, Slumber
    The ability to shoot a gun is one thing; the ability to put a bullet down your opponent’s barrel is another. Accuracy is the fine art of the gunslinger, bowman and ninja master.

    In addition to these two core Characteristics there are two other Characteristics and a Boon that will take this character from being just good with a gun to a true gun bunny. Normally we’d talk about Characteristics first however as the Boon Trigger Happy is the quintessential Gun Bunny Tool:

    Trigger Happy – Mundane
    The character’s skill with a gun is uncanny.
    Using Trigger Happy: For each level of this boon (Minor, Typical, Major) the character can make 1 additional attack with a Firearm or Exotic Weapon in which they have a specialty. The player makes only a single attack roll, dividing the total value evenly. The weapon’s rating is added to the base value before the roll and is divided along with the total.
    Variation – Movement: The character may specify an action in the Trigger Happy combo as movement. The character may take up to half their normal Movement for each action in the combo designated as movement. The total attack of the Trigger Happy Combo is still divided as normal.

    For our Gun Bunny we’re going to take 2 Versions of the Trigger Happy Boon. The first is a Minor Boon which is two pure attacks. The second is a Typical Boon we’ll call Run and Gun allowing the Gun Bunny to fire twice in an Action while Moving. However, from the Trigger Happy Boon’s description this leads to one major complication. The more you try and do the more difficult it becomes. To compensate for this the Gun Bunny adds a Specialty for their Firearms Skill: Two Gun Style. This Specialty is applied whenever the Character uses two handguns. Also we’re going to add the Kata Trait.

    Kata – Mundane
    Focusing on key martial arts techniques, the character has been trained to execute quick sequences of attacks and/or defenses in rapid succession. The character may use the Kata trait as a supporting characteristic when using a Combo boon. NOTE: Unlike with the Martial Arts Styles, Kata may only be used when the character is using a Combo boon.

    While the Kata Boon may only seem to apply to traditional Martial Artists the Trigger Happy Boon is a firearm inspired version of their Combo and as such allows the Gun Bunny to pick up this key Characteristic. While some people may be turned off at the entry requirements for the Gun Bunny needing multiple Characteristics when put together they are able to double their effective number of actions in a Turn and do so with amazingly deadly weapons. Put another way it takes skill to use two guns at once.

    But why stop there? A Lucid is filled with supernatural forces and they are capable of imparting that on their weapons. Lets look at a few Boons that can help intensify the Gun Bunny’s arsenal:

    Deadly Accuracy – Mundane
    The character is exceptionally skilled at taking aim, requiring less time to effectively target their enemies.

    Fatal Precision: (Various)- Mundane
    Practice leads to perfection, and skill with weapons is no exception. This Boon increases your weapon’s damage based on your skill.

    Lucky Shot – Supernatural
    No one can predict the flow of combat, but sometimes what should be a negligible blow is instead crippling.

    Critical Strike: (Various) – Supernatural
    An expert with their weapons of choice, the character is capable of delivering horrific damage in a single blow.

    With only their core Characteristics and the Trigger Happy Boon a Gun Bunny can quickly pick off lesser targets with easy turning a back ally dust up into a shooting gallery. With the addition of just a few Boons the Gun Bunny goes from capable to all around lethal capable of crippling foes on even the worst of attacks and utterly destroying them on the best.

    Next Combat Styles takes a darker look at ranged fighting and the powers of the Realm of Shadow and Nightmare.

  • Combat Styles Part 2: The Hulking Brute

    Last week we discussed how skill and dedication could elevate one’s fighting prowess to supernatural levels. This week we’re taking the opposite approach. The Hulking Brute is a brawler that all things being even a skilled martial artist would have no problem taking apart. However, for the Lucid there is no such thing as a fair fight.


    The four Outer Realms offer different takes on the concept of the Hulking Brute from the regenerating beasts of the Verdant and undying sentinels of the Grave to the  nightmares of the Dark.  Each Realm infusing their own feel on the core concept of the brute. However, today we’re going to look at the Verdant and shape shifting to build our Hulking Brute.


    While no skills are required for a Hulking Brute two certainly stand out: Brutal Fighting and Heavy Melee. Both focus on raw power over precision. Because our focus is on shape shifting we’ll deal primarily with Brutal Fighting:

    Brutal Fighting – Mundane
    It represents fighting styles that rely primarily on brute strength over finesse in combat beating and breaking their foes with powerful blows. Replaces the Dexterity Skill Unarmed Fighting, or can be used as a supporting characteristic for Unarmed Fighting. The Character uses the Strength Tree for unarmed combat rolls.

    In addition to the Brutal Fighting Skill,or perhaps more important than actual skill at all is the Verdant Trait Strong allowing the Hulking Brute to overpower their foes:

    Strong – Grave, Slumber, Verdant
    Capable of incredible bursts of physical might, the character is able to push the boundaries of their body.

    Now lets look at what the Verdant adds in the way of shape shifting:

    Shifter: (Various) – Verdant
    The Lucid has begun to realize the nature of the Verdant. Tapping into the powers of the wild Realm, the character is able to alter their body’s structure, making it more difficult to inflict Wounds.
    When selecting this boon, the player chooses any Small, Medium, or Large animal for their Animal Form (such as a Bear, Hawk, Lynx, or Squid).

    Shields – Verdant
    As the Lucid’s natural abilities to change shape grow, they are able to recreate the natural defenses of their animal form.
    The character is able to recreate the natural defenses of their Animal Form. (For example, when a character choosing a Bear activates this boon, their hide would become thicker and covered in fur.)

    Strikers – Verdant
    The changes to a Verdant Lucid’s body are not simply on the outside. Their ties to the wild forces of the Realm have started to draw out the beast in them.
    The character is able to recreate the natural weapons of their Animal Form. (For example, when a character choosing a Squid activates this boon, their arms would become more flexible, sprouting barbs along the inside.)

    Bestial Senses – Verdant
    The touch of the wild has improved the Lucid’s natural senses.

    Verdant Grace – Verdant
    The Lucid is able to move with the speed and quickness of their Animal Form.
    The character doubles their normal movement speed or gains a new form of movement at their normal speed based on their Animal Form. (For example, when a character with a Wolf Animal Form activates this boon, they would double their normal movement; when a character with a Condor Animal Form activates this boon, they would gain the ability to fly at their normal movement rate.) When using this boon, the character takes on animal traits to allow this improved movement, such as back paws or wings.

    Animal Form: (Various) – Verdant
    The Verdant Lucid may shift their body into an animal form.
    The character may completely shift into their animal form.

    Verdant Form – Verdant
    The Lucid has become a fusion of man and animal, taking the best traits from each
    The character becomes an amalgam of their normal form and their Animal Form. In the Verdant form, the character may use the Bestial Senses, Shields, Strikers and Verdant Grace Boons at no additional cost. Also, the character gains a Natural weapon and armor improves.

    While following the path of the shape shiftier offers multiple advantages from improved perception and movement to natural weapons and armor this is the Hulking Brute so on top of these already potent advantages we add:

    Feats of Strength – Dark, Verdant
    Under extreme stress, the character’s body reacts with a powerful burst of adrenaline. Or is it supernatural force?

    This last Boon is there just to drive the message home. The Hulking Brute isn’t here for any namby pamby twizzling about, the smash and break everything in their path. This of course is only the tip of the iceberg, the Hulking Brute can also benefit from Boons such as Beat Down, Dirty Fighting and of course Brute and the Verdant companion Boon Unending Might that lets you forgo chance burning energy guaranteeing strength roll results.

    In The Next Combat Styles we get away from the target and take aim at the Gun Bunny.

  • Combat Styles Part 1: The Martial Artist

    In virtually any role-playing game conflict is an inevitability. Most times this means combat. This series will look at different common themes characters take on and how those are interpreted in Fractured Kingdom. We begin this series with a fighting style that straddles both the real and the supernatural worlds: martial arts.



    In the world of Fractured Kingdom martial arts have been broken up into 10 different styles. These styles represent concepts within martial arts such as the External Style which favor speed and might represent Wu-Shu, Savate, or Thai Kick-Boxing. External style is one of the core physical styles which also includes the powerful Hard Style and the defensive Southern Style.


    Each martial art is comprised of seven Boons or martial techniques that define the style. Here are the entries for the External Style:

    External Style – Mundane

    Quick, elegant, and potent, the External Stylist relies on speed and agility to bring their opponents down before they can pose a threat.  Striking with powerful combinations of attacks, the blinding speed of External Style often dominates the battlefield.  Some examples include Wu-Shu, Savate, and Thai Kick-Boxing.


    External Boons include:


    Movement of Water and Wood (Mundane – Martial Arts – External Style): The External Style attempts to balance many different aspects of fighting: speed, power, beauty. Even the newest of practitioners touch on the ebb and flow of this style.

    Pebble Touches Pond (Mundane – Martial Arts – External Style): With their understanding of the movement of battle and of their art, the character is able to move past conventional restraints to react with blinding speed.

    Crashing Tide Stance (Mundane – Martial Arts – External Style): The External Martial Artist knows they must control the battlefield to obtain victory. Their training and skill allow them to move through battle with amazing ease.

    Avoid the Blade (Supernatural – Martial Arts – External Style): The External Style is masterful in moving with the flow of battle. This training allows the character to avoid wounds that may otherwise be deadly.

    Broken Mountain (Supernatural – Martial Arts – External Style): With fine-tuned skill, the character’s movements are almost blindingly quick. Each fluid movement leads into the next, allowing them to quickly recover from their opponents’ actions.

    Torrent Falls (Supernatural – Martial Arts – External Style): The character’s speed and ferocity is unmatched as they unleash a barrage of strikes.

    Warrior’s Focus (Supernatural –  Martial Arts – External Style): The character’s mind is so trained for combat that their actions become second nature. The character has learned to draw on the power of their mental focus and supernatural nature in a fight.


    With it’s speed the External Style focus on combinations of attacks or Combos with Boons to increase their accuracy and number of actions that can be taken.  While anyone can learn the first three martial abilities of the External Style only a Lucid or Other supernatural being can truly master the style.  At it’s highest level the External Stylist can move out of the way of lethal attacks with ease, make multiple attacks before the target is even capable of defending and recover from botched attacks striking again within a fraction of a second.


    In the next installment of Combat Styles we will look at the Hulking Brute in comparison and some of the supernatural advantages being Lucid brings to this role.