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Forbidden Kill Strikes

How to Teach Yourself Martial Arts

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"Oto... Oto." Katsumoto frowned. The match ended suddenly, when "OtoOto," actually Otomo Otojiro, a somewhat famous Sumo Wrestler as he recalled, grabbed his opponent and slammed him down onto the mat.

The chanting got even louder, and Oto ran a victory lap around the mat, even signing some autographs as the cheers washed over him. "You disapprove, Sensei?"

Katsumoto stiffened. He recognized that voice. "I thought I told you to go home, Kimiko."

"It s Kimmy, and you don't own me or know any more about me than my father. If he doesn't miss me, why should you?"

"I'll bet he misses you quite a bit, little one. You seek to prove yourself to your father, prove that you are as much a warrior as any son he could have had. This is not the place for that. This is not the way of the warrior. "

Kimmy's face was red as she pushed past him onto the mat. "You don't know a thing about me, old man."

Lucky guess.

Martial Arts Styles

The majority of the feats in this chapter are divided into two sub-groups, Styles and Maneuvers. Martial Arts Styles represent training in the basics, while Maneuvers represent the abilities of the advanced student. Before we go on to the feats themselves, a word is warranted about the way these styles were created, both to address any balance issues the GM may feel he finds below and to assist in the creation of new styles from the GM's own experience and imagination.

The Balance of Styles

The first thing the GM will likely notice is that the feats below grant a much wider range of abilities than those in the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game. Although these rules are 100% compatible with the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game system, and most of the feats from that book are used in these rules, the d20 Modern rules set was not kind to the Martial Artist. This is not a weakness in the d20 Modern rules, just an assumed emphasis (and a realistic one) on guns as the top dog in the modern battlefield. The feats below grant characters more "bang for the buck," precisely to allow martial arts to have the same place in d20 Modern games that it has in cinema where Martial Arts plays a big role. Which is to say, a wholly unrealistic one.

Creating New Styles

Style feats have many common elements, and an explanation of these elements will aid players and game masters in designing their own styles. Since there are tens of thousands of martial arts styles around the world, not all can be represented in this book, and characters should be encouraged to bring their favorite styles into the game.

Basic Moves

The first element discussed in any martial arts style is the set of moves taught to the beginning student. All martial arts damage can be lethal or non-lethal. Is the practitioner of the

style considered armed with punching, kicking, elbow, knee, or head attacks? Is the student proficient in all those attacks? Does the style allow the character to make Trip, Disarm, or Grapple attacks without provoking attacks of opportunity? The answers to these questions will determine how the student of a given style fights.

Style Skills

All Martial Arts styles grant a character new class skills. For any style that involves extensive throws, Balance and Tumble will be included among these skills. The first thing a student in these styles must learn is how to fall without injury, so that throws may be practiced safely. Many fighting styles concentrate on "psyching out" your opponent. Professional boxers and Samurai both spend time learning this, and styles that focus on such matters will grant Intimidation as a class skill. Styles that teach extensive feinting techniques will grant Bluff as a class skill. Some styles, such as those taught to Ninja and military commandos, will grant the character Hide and Move Silently, as these styles follow the axiom invisibility equals invincibility." When bringing new styles into the game, the GM will find that these skills are the most commonly granted, but whatever best represents the philosophy of the style, without harming game balance, is the best choice.

Attack Modifiers

One of the key differences between a trained martial artist and an untrained fighter is the emphasis on qualities other than brute strength. One of the main reasons students take up the martial arts is to defend themselves without resorting to brute strength alone. For this reason, most martial arts attacks are modified by an ability other than Strength. If a style focuses on speed, Dexterity will modify attack rolls. If a style has extensive philosophical underpinnings, as do many animal styles that focus on a connection with nature, then attacks will be modified by Wisdom. If a style focuses on deception (allowing you, for example, to make an opponent think you are weak and then strike when least expected), attacks will be modified by Charisma. Lastly, there are styles which, despite their higher level of sophistication, still rely on Strength, such as Boxing and Wrestling. Attacks using these styles will be modified by Strength.

The Balancing Act

All of the styles below were created using a system, so that they could be balanced against one another. Presented here, to aid the GM in creating his own styles and balancing them with those presented below is the method that was used to create all the styles in this handbook. To begin, start with six "points," then pick from each of the categories below until you are out of points.

Zones of Attack

Combat Martial Arts from the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game grants proficiency with "unarmed attacks." This is defined as "striking for damage with punches, kicks, or head butts."

In Blood and Fists, these distinctions are broken down further and clarified with the following categories, or "zones": punching (which includes elbow and open hand strikes), kicking (which includes knee and heel strikes), and head butts. To represent combat beyond what can be accomplished through punching and kicking, these zones are further expanded to include Disarm, Trip, Grapple, and Feint attacks.

Each of the styles described below grants a character skill in one or more of these zones. If a character has no proficiency in that zone (because he entered the art through Defensive Martial Arts or Brawling), he is considered armed when making attacks in that zone, he provokes no attacks of opportunity for acting in that zone (for Grapple or Trip attacks), and he may use that zone as a move action rather than an attack action (for feinting). If a character is already proficient in a zone of attack taught by a Style he takes (usually because he used Combat Martial Arts, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Trip or Improved Feint as the prerequisite for the Style), then he gains a +1 Competence bonus when attacking in that zone. Remember that Competence bonuses (like most kinds of bonuses other than Dodge bonuses) do not stack, so a character can only receive a +1 bonus to hit no matter how many styles he takes that grant proficiency in a particular zone.

Each zone granted by a style costs the style one point.

Class Skills

The serious student of the Martial Arts has the chance to learn about much more than just punching and kicking, attacking and defending. In Kyudo, students are taught "one shot, one life." This type of philosophical and spiritual training is as important to many students of the martial arts as the self-defense capabilities taught by the style.

When a student takes a martial arts style, he will add the style's class skills to his permanent list of class skills. If a skill taught by the style is already a class skill, then the character receives a +1 competence bonus on checks using that skill.

Each class skill the style adds to the character's list of class skills cost it one point.

External Styles

These styles are concerned with affecting the outer world, and tend to be more focused on combat. External styles have their attack rolls modified most often by Strength. However, some of these styles focus more on speed to generate attack power. These styles have their attacks modified by Dexterity. If a style's attacks are modified by Dexterity, this costs the style one point. If the practitioner of the style has the ability to choose whether to focus on power or speed (choosing between Strength and Dexterity when the style is taken), this costs the style two points.

Internal Styles

These styles are concerned with the inner spirit of the student. Master yourself, and mastering the world will come easily, say the practitioners of internal martial arts. Internal styles have their attacks modified by Wisdom. This costs the style one point.

Adaptable Styles

Three of the styles detailed below (Commando Training, Jeet Kune Do, and Ninjutsu) are listed as adaptable styles. An adaptable style sees no point in adhering to any specific creed or philosophy and is capable of borrowing moves from every style. Several factors balance this huge advantage: being adaptable costs a style one point in its design, making the basic style itself less attractive; adaptable styles have only one Level 3 Mastery ability; and lastly, adaptable styles gain no more bonus feats than any other style, and fewer maneuvers as bonus feats than many styles. What these three strictures combine to do is make adaptable styles a little less attractive for Martial Arts Masters, especially if the style is non-aesthetic Mastery refers to the Master Advanced Classes. Since non-aesthetic styles have no access to Ki, fewer level 3 Masteries, and fewer maneuvers as bonus feats, they are less attractive to those in the advanced classes (see below). This is wholly intentional. Most characters with Commando Training are likely to be soldiers, and most Jeet Kune Do practitioners come to the style already experienced in another Martial Art. Only Ninjutsu, which is an aesthetic style, makes a strong case for true Mastery, but it is still likely to be chosen by members of a broad range of professions.

Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic Styles

Some styles are listed as being "non-aesthetic," which is to say, they disregard the "mystical" or spiritual aspects of the martial arts in favor of good, old-fashioned combat. Most adaptable styles are non-aesthetic. These styles gain an extra point (meaning that if the style is both adaptable and non-aesthetic, then the two offset one another). A student of a non-aesthetic style cannot learn the Meditation or Zen Mastery skills and cannot take the Bushido, Poise, or any Ki feats. Also, a character cannot take the Contemplative Master class for a non-aesthetic martial art. If the student wishes to learn any of these abilities he must first take a feat in an aesthetic style.

A Note about Animal Styles

Martial Arts systems from around the world have been formulated around the idea of imitating the way certain animals fight. Bando, a style from Burma, has many animal forms, as do numerous African, Chinese, and Japanese martial arts styles. Rather than make a separate style for each of these national animal forms, Blood and Fists simply gives you a style based on the animal itself. These styles will be very close to any national version, and will provide enough detail for most campaigns. GMs wishing to incorporate a closer match to, say, White Crane Kung-Fu are encouraged to do so.

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