Chambara Defenses

Retreating great distances by flipping and leaping is the definitive chambara defense! In chambara campaigns, those with Trained by a Master or Weapon Master should have access to the expanded rules under Retreat Options (pp. 123-124), even if other fighters do not, and all of the following options:

• They get +3 to all active defenses when they retreat -including blocks and parries that would normally get only +1.

• They may retreat more than once, and more than a yard at a time, up to a distance equal to their Move each turn. These retreats get the usual +3, but there's a cumulative -1 per retreat after the first. Any retreat that exceeds one step is at an extra -1 per yard. For instance, a Move 7 fighter could retreat 3 yards at +0 (+3 for retreating, -3 for 3 yards), 1 yard two times at +2 and +1 (the basic +3, -1 and -2 for the second and third retreat), and finally 2 yards at -2 (+3, -2 for 2 yards, -3 for the fourth retreat).

• They can use Acrobatics to enhance any defense, not just Dodge. Treat this just like Acrobatic Dodge (p. B375), except that it also works with Block and Parry. Any number of defenses can be acrobatic, at a cumulative -1 to Acrobatics per defense after the first.

Another feature of chambara movies is that attacks from behind don't surprise veteran warriors! A fighter with Combat Reflexes and Trained by a Master or Weapon Master can sense such an attack. It counts as coming from the side - not the rear - exactly like a "runaround" attack (p. B391), giving the defender -2 to active defenses. Practitioners of any style can learn the Timed Defense technique (p. 89) to buy off even this penalty.

Lastly, the GM should permit all options that enable or enhance multiple blocks and parries - notably Multiple Blocks (p. 123) and the two special rules under Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons (p. 123). All chambara fighters should be allowed to learn Dual-Weapon Defense (p. 83), too, regardless of their style.

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