The big American lunged, but his attack was off-target thanks to Kai's jab. Kai saw where the punch was going and sideslipped. It was suddenly clear to Kai why Americans had invented the telegraph: they insisted on advertising everything - even a punch.

The thug yelled, "My name is Boris Howard Fine. I'm the bare-knuckles champ 'round here. No GIRL is gonna get the better of me!" He emphasized his point by launching another all-out punch.

Kai deflected it with her hand and followed through with a lightning-fast riposte. "Whipping Branch Strikes Ape!"

"Who you callin' an ape?" Boris took the hit and swung again.

Kai evaded by tumbling acrobatically between Boris' legs, striking as she went. "Cunning Rat Picks Grapes!" "Gah!" Boris looked startled and then fell over. Kai turned to the growing crowd with a slight bow. "Excuse me, which way to San Francisco?"

A technique is any feat of skill that one can improve independently of the governing skill. The techniques in this section, being intended for martial artists, depend mainly on combat skills. They represent attacks, defenses, weapon-handling routines (grip changes, weapon retention, etc.), and strategies for coping with less-than-ideal circumstances (for instance, fighting from the back of a galloping mount). Martial-arts techniques obey all of the rules under Techniques, pp. B229-230. Their properties in brief:

Specialties: The buyer of a technique must specify the combat skill he's learning it for. (Exception: This isn't necessary for a technique associated only with Dodge or an attribute.) This is the technique's specialty. Most techniques offer a limited selection of specialties - perhaps one of the subcategories under Combat Skills (p. 55), often an even shorter list. A warrior can learn a given technique for several different skills, but he must study and pay for each specialty separately.

Defaults: A technique defaults - typically at a penalty - either to the skill chosen as its specialty or to an active defense or another technique based on that skill. (Exception: A technique associated with Dodge or an attribute defaults to that score.) The penalty occasionally differs from specialty to specialty. A warrior who hasn't spent points to improve a technique can still attempt it at default.

Prerequisites: To improve a technique above default, the buyer must have at least one point in any skill listed as a prerequisite. This always includes the chosen specialty skill and may include others.

Difficulty: Techniques come in two difficulties: Average and Hard. This affects only the point cost to improve the technique; see the Technique Cost Table (p. B230).

Maximum: Nearly every technique has an upper limit relative to the parent skill. Once the martial artist reaches this level, he must raise the underlying skill to improve further.

Description: Some techniques raise or lower the attacker's defenses, or those of his target. Others affect damage. Many require a skill roll and/or specific action for setup or recovery. Several are new versions of such maneuvers as All-Out Attack and Move and Attack, and replace the usual rules for those maneuvers. A few have unique effects. Read the entire entry to learn the technique's strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities.

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