Style Perks

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Style Perks are minor advantages or rules exemptions for veteran warriors. The best way to learn them is to study a martial art, as most styles offer them as advanced training. Anyone may buy one Style Perk per 20 points in combat skills. A martial artist who has Style Familiarity may further buy one of that style's perks per 10 points he has in its techniques and required skills; see Components of a Style (pp. 141-143). For example, 40 points in style abilities would allow two general perks plus four style-specific ones. Those with Style Familiarity for multiple styles and the minimum investment in each style (see Combining Styles, pp. 147-148) may count points in skills and techniques as part of each style that shares them.

Below, an asterisk (*) indicates a cinematic perk that requires Trained by a Master or Weapon Master. Perks with a t require specialization by skill, technique, weapon, etc., as noted. A style may offer a more restricted perk, but it still costs a point. The Style Perks for specific styles appear in Chapter 5 - and if they aren't listed here, they aren't available to non-stylists.

Armor Familiarityf

You're accustomed to fighting in armor. You may ignore -1 in encumbrance penalties to attack or parry with Judo, Karate, or a fencing skill. You have no penalty at Light encumbrance, -1 at Medium, and so on. You must specialize by skill: Armor Familiarity (Judo), Armor Familiarity (Rapier), etc. The GM may permit multiple levels to negate greater encumbrance. Each level is an additional Style Perk.

Biting Mastery

You've learned a highly developed body of effective bites for use in close quarters. You may use Karate skill to attack with a bite and add the Karate damage bonus to biting damage. Styles for fanged nonhumans often have this perk!

Chi Resistance" i"

You can rally your chi against a particular chi-based attack form, giving you +3 to resist. Examples include Chi Resistance (Hypnotic Hands) and Chi Resistance (Pressure Points). For details and more examples, see Resistant (p. 47).

Cotton Stomach*

You've learned to catch attackers' hands and feet using your abdominal muscles (or rolls of fat!). Once per turn, you can attempt a standard unarmed parry against a punch or kick to your torso, but using your body instead of a limb. Success lets you use any follow-up technique capable of trapping an attacker - e.g., Arm Lock or Leg Grapple -"hands free."

Drunken Fighting*

You've mastered the mythical art of fighting while intoxicated (see pp. B439-440). When you're tipsy or drunk (p. B428), treat the -1 or -2 to DX as a +1 or +2 bonus in a fight. Penalties to IQ and self-control rolls apply normally!

Exotic Weapon Trainingf

Certain weapons have a built-in skill penalty due to their unusual balance relative to other weapons used with the same weapon skill. These include the chigoridani, three-part staff, and trident (see Chapter 6). You've trained enough with such a weapon that you no longer suffer this penalty. You must specialize by weapon.

Form Masteryf

When using a weapon that works with multiple skills, you must normally specify the skill you're using at the start of your turn (see Switching Weapon Skills, p. 104). You've practiced fluid shifts between forms and can change skills freely during your turn. For instance, you could start your turn using a spear with the Staff skill, switch to the Spear skill to attack, and then return to Staff for parrying. You must specialize in a weapon: Form Mastery (Naginata), Form Mastery (Spear), etc.

Grip Masteryf

Switching between one- and two-handed grips, or a regular grip and a Defensive Grip (p. 109-111), usually takes a Ready maneuver - but you've practiced until this has become second nature. You can do either grip change (or both) as a free action once on your turn, before or after your maneuver. For instance, you could make a one-handed katana cut and end your turn in a two-handed Defensive Grip. Next turn, you could shift to a regular two-handed grip and attack. You must specialize by weapon; Grip Mastery (Katana) is the most common version.

Ground Guard

You know a body of tactics for use when you and your opponent are both on the ground. In that situation only, you get +1 in all Regular or Quick Contests to do with grappling - pins, chokes, attempts to break free, etc. If your foe knows Ground Guard, too, your bonuses cancel out. This perk is named for a fighting position used when lying face-up, commonly called the "guard," but encompasses many related positions and also works when crawling or lying face-down.

Improvised Weaponsf

You've practiced fighting with everyday items. These weapons might be improvised for others but they're familiar to you. Ignore skill penalties (only) when wielding them; see Improvised Weapons (p. 224). You must specialize by combat skill. You can learn Improvised Weapons (Brawling) or Improvised Weapons (Karate) to use improvised fist loads effectively.

Iron Body Parts *f

You've toughened a body part through exotic exercises. This provides resistance to injury - either a bonus to resist harm from breaks and locks (see Resistant, p. 47) or DR against strikes (see Damage Resistance, p. 43) - and the right to buy optional abilities. Details depend on the body part, each of which is its own specialty:

Iron Arms: You have +3 to ST and HT rolls to resist injury from Arm Lock, Wrench Arm, and the like. You may opt to purchase DR 1 or 2 (Partial, Arms, -20%; Tough Skin, -40%) [2 or 4] or Striker (Crushing; Limb, Arm, -20%) [4].

Iron Hands: This is simply DR 1 (Partial, Hands, -40%; Tough Skin, -40%) [1]. Once you've acquired this perk, you may elect to buy a second level of DR [1] and/or Blunt Claws [3]. See Claws (p. 42) for possible drawbacks to the latter option.

Iron Legs: You have +3 to ST and HT rolls to resist injury from Leg Lock, Wrench Leg, and similar techniques, and may optionally acquire DR 1 or 2 (Partial, Legs, -20%; Tough Skin, -40%) [2 or 4].

Iron Neck: You have +3 to ST and HT rolls to resist injury from chokes, strangles, and Neck Snaps, and may buy DR 1 or 2 (Partial, Neck, -50%; Tough Skin, -40%) [1 or 2], if you wish.

Naval Training

You've trained at fighting on a rocking ship or boat. You may ignore the -2 to attack and -1 to defend for bad footing under those circumstances.

Neck Controlf

You're adept at striking from the clinch. You must specialize in one unarmed striking skill. Whenever you've grappled a standing opponent's head, neck, or torso (only), you get +1 to hit when you strike that foe with your skill.

Off-Hand Weapon Trainingf

You've practiced a particular skill enough with your "off" hand that you can ignore the -4 for using that hand (see Handedness, p. B14). This extends to all active defenses and techniques based on that skill. You must specialize by skill; any one-handed Melee Weapon, ranged weapon, or Fast-Draw skill qualifies.

This perk completely replaces the Off-Hand Weapon Training (OHWT) technique on p. B232. This is because the cost to buy off -4 as a Hard technique for even one skill is 5 points - the same as Ambidexterity, which eliminates the penalty for all skills - and in a Martial Arts campaign, fighters may need several versions of OHWT to be proficient in their style. As a perk, OHWT is cheaper than Ambidexterity for those with fewer than five specialties . . . and if someone is that dedicated, the GM should let him replace his five perks with Ambidexterity for the same points!

Power Grappling

You're adept at applying force precisely when wrestling. Except when rolling to hit or for an active defense, you may opt to base normally DX-based grappling rolls on ST. Moreover, whenever you make a ST roll that usually enjoys a ST bonus from Sumo Wrestling or Wrestling - e.g., the roll to break free - you may waive your bonus and attempt a ST-based Judo, Sumo Wrestling, or Wrestling roll instead.


You've practiced sheathing your weapon quickly. After switching to a Reversed Grip (pp. 111-112) using a Ready maneuver, you can try a Fast-Draw roll to scabbard your weapon on the same turn. You can even attempt rolls against both the Reverse Grip technique (p. 78) and Fast-Draw to sheathe the weapon as a free action; see Quick Sheathing (p. 102). Specialties match those for Fast-Draw (pp. 5657): Quick-Sheathe (Sword), Quick-Sheathe (Tonfa), etc.


You've perfected the art of juggling a one-handed weapon between hands. Once per turn, on your turn, you can switch hands as a free action. The receiving hand must be empty. You must specialize by weapon skill: Quick-Swap (Knife), Quick-Swap (Rapier), etc.

Rapid Retractionf

You punch or kick so quickly that it's difficult for your opponent to trap your limb. You get +1 on all rolls to avoid such techniques as Arm Lock and Leg Grapple when they follow an enemy parry. You must specialize in Rapid Retraction (Punches) or Rapid Retraction (Kicks). The GM may allow Rapid Retraction (Bites) for nonhumans.

Shield-Wall Training

You've drilled extensively at fighting from behind a shield wall. You can sacrifice your block defense to block an attack on an ally standing beside you. Furthermore, you may ignore the -2 to attack when holding a large shield (see p. B547).


As noted under Shtick (p. B101), a "cool move" that provides no combat bonuses is a valid perk if it might occasionally be useful. Styles with Combat Art skills often teach such flourishes. An example is chiburi: flicking blood off a sword blade. Such Shticks require a combat skill roll to perform. Most either allow an Intimidation attempt as a free action (chiburi works this way) or give the maximum +4 for "displays of strength" listed for Intimidation (p. B202) if you use your entire next turn to make a deliberate attempt.

Skill Adaptationf

A style's skills represent its basic "subsystems." The techniques that normally default to each skill are that subsystem's core moves - but you know some less-orthodox tactics. You can learn techniques that don't default to a skill as if they did, at the usual default penalties. If a technique notes several penalties, use the easiest; e.g., Drop Kick defaults to Brawling-1, Sumo Wrestling-1, or Wrestling-2, so adapting it to Karate makes your default Karate-1. The GM sets the scope of each specialty. It may be as sweeping as Skill Adaptation (Brawling techniques default to Karate) or as narrow as Skill Adaptation (Breakfall defaults to Karate). A few examples important enough to get special names:

Acrobatic Feints: You've practiced using gymnastics to catch enemies off-guard. You may use the Acrobatics skill to feint and may improve the Feint (Acrobatics) technique. Similar perks might exist for other skills (e.g., "Dancing Feints" for the Dancing skill); see Feints Using Non-Combat Skills (p. 101).

Acrobatic Kicks: You've learned to kick as a natural extension of flips, jumps, and spins. You can default kicking techniques to Acrobatics instead of to Brawling or Karate. Acrobatic kicks never receive Brawling or Karate damage bonuses.

Clinch: You've integrated limited grappling moves into your Boxing, Brawling, or Karate skill - choose one. Whenever you grapple a standing opponent's head, neck, or torso (only), use your striking skill for the attack roll. This is rarely worth the point if vou already know a grappling skill!

Special Exercisesf

You pursue an exercise regimen that grants access to a capability that's normally cinematic or off-limits for your race. This is a perk-level Unusual Background - the ability itself has its own cost. Each trait requires its own perk: Special Exercises (DR 1 with Tough Skin), Special Exercises (Striking ST +1), Special Exercises (Arm ST +1), Special Exercises (HP can exceed ST by 100%), and so on.

Special Setupf

Certain techniques require a specific "setup" before you can execute them. You've learned an alternative setup. Your specialty must name one technique and spell out the change. For instance, if you can use Arm Lock after a Karate parry instead of after a Judo parry, you have Special Setup (Karate Parry > Arm Lock).


You've learned how best to draw a heavy bow. If you know Bow at DX+1, you can shoot a bow of your ST+1 instead of your ST. Bow at DX+2 or better lets you use a bow of your ST+2. You need a strong bow to see range and damage improvements; there's no effect when shooting a bow of your ST or less.

Style Adaptationf

You've adapted other styles' techniques for use with your style. Merge the techniques lists of all the styles involved, including yours. You may improve any technique on the combined list, provided it defaults to one of your style's skills. The GM specifies the styles adapted, which might be one or many; the number doesn't affect point cost. Style Adaptation (All) is legitimate for modern mixed styles.

Suit Familiarityf

You've learned special moves that offset the limitations of a bulky environment suit. You may ignore the DX penalties for such a suit. The Environment Suit skill (p. B192) still sets an upper limit on effective combat skill - you just don't suffer any extra DX penalties. You must specialize by Environment Suit skill: Suit Familiarity (Diving Suit), Suit Familiarity (Vacc Suit), etc.


You've studied low, stable stances for fighting on shaky ground. This lets you ignore the -2 to attack and -1 to defend for a specific type of bad footing. You must specialize. Sure-Footed (Slippery) covers mud, oil, and blood, but not grappling an opponent with the Slippery advantage or an oily coating. Sure-Footed (Uneven) covers hills, piles of corpses, etc. The GM may allow other versions, such as Naval Training (p. 50).


You've practiced fighting in a team. To use this perk, everyone in the squad must take a Ready maneuver to "form up." After that, the entire group acts at the same point in the combat sequence as its slowest member. On the team's collective turn, each member may select any maneuver he likes. The only requirement is that after everyone in the original formation has taken his turn, they're all still adjacent to one another (in adjoining hexes). If anyone gets separated, the team must form up again -with or without the straggler. A fighter who's formed-up may:

• Brace a teammate in front of him and within a yard, adding 1/5 (round down) of his ST or HP, as applicable, to his ally's score when his friend resists a slam (p. B371), executes a shove (p. B372), or suffers knockback (p. B378). This is a free action.

• Feint or make a Ruse and transfer the benefits to another teammate who can reach the same foe.

• Ignore the -2 to attack enemies in close combat with teammates (p. B392).

• Sacrifice a parry or block to defend a teammate behind him from a long weapon or missile that passes within a yard (through his hex).

You must specialize by style or in working with a particular small group (such as an adventuring party). Only those with the same perk can form up and enjoy these benefits.

Technique Adaptationf

You've internalized your style's methodology so completely that you can adapt one of its techniques to skills it doesn't teach. You must specialize by technique: Technique Adaptation (Feint), Technique Adaptation (Ground Fighting), and so on. Once you've spent at least a point to improve that technique for a skill that's part of your style, you can buy that technique for other combat skills you know, provided it normally defaults to them. For instance, if you've learned Technique Adaptation (Feint) and bought up Feint (Karate) as part of your style, and studied Shortsword on your own, you could raise Feint (Shortsword).


Technique Masteryf

You've trained so intensively at a technique that you enjoy a higher maximum level. You must specialize in a technique - commonly a kick or a throw - that's part of your style and that appears in Chapter 3 (the GM may make exceptions). It must have a normal maximum of full skill or better, which disqualifies techniques based on active defenses and those that "cannot exceed prerequisite skill-x." A skill's core uses aren't eligible; e.g., Technique Mastery (Judo Throw) and Technique Mastery (Kicking) are fine, but Technique Mastery (Judo Grapple) and Technique Mastery (Karate Punch) aren't. If the standard maximum is skill, yours is skill+4. If the limit is ordinarily greater than skill, your maximum is two levels higher than usual (e.g., skill+6 with Arm Lock).

Unique Techniquef

You can use and improve a technique that's otherwise forbidden by Creating New Techniques (pp. 89-95). All such techniques are Hard. Each exemption requires its own perk. This is a perk-level Unusual Background.

Unusual Trainingf

With sufficient training, certain cinematic skills and techniques might work in reality. You've studied one of these. Unusual Training is an Unusual Background that lets you buy a cinematic capability without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master. Since what's "cinematic" is often not the feat but the ability to perform it unrestricted, the perk might specify a set of "believable" circumstances that must be true to use the skill or technique. For instance, Unusual Training (Dual-Weapon Attack, Both attacks must target the same foe) permits a fighter to improve Dual-Weapon Attack for use on one opponent; he still has the full -4 if he attacks adjacent adversaries simultaneously, because he lacks Trained by a Master and Weapon Master. Tameshiwari - realistic breaking techniques - is Unusual Training (Breaking Blow, Only vs. well-braced objects out of combat).

Weapon Adaptationf

You've adapted the moves used with one group of melee weapons to another class of weapons. This lets you wield the weapons covered by one weapon skill using a different skill and its techniques, with all of the benefits and drawbacks of that skill, provided the replacement skill defaults to the usual one at no worse than -4 and uses the same number of hands. Each adaptation is a separate perk; e.g., Weapon Adaptation (Shortsword to Smallsword) lets you use the Smallsword skill to fight when equipped with a Shortsword weapon - complete with fencing parries, superior retreats, and encumbrance penalties. The GM may permit silly adaptations, such as Knife to Halberd, as cinematic perks.

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