Weapon Styles

Nothing broke the silence except the hissing of blades and the sharp exhalation of breath as the pack of thugs

»circled their prey warily. The old swordsman held his blade aloft as he stood his ground before his numerous adversaries. He moved in a slowly turning circle, keeping his foes from attacking directly at his back, and he rotated his blade through the seven positions of guard. The young toughs were armed with a variety of weapons from swords to clubs to chains, and several suffered in silence the pain from their wounds that were inflicted when they had first rushed the old man.

The crash of arms echoed once again down the deserted street and the faint sound of the city guard's alarm could be heard approaching. The city guard would be here soon. The old man's face remained calm as his six foes rushed at him simultaneously, trying to bring down their prey before the advent of the guard. The old man pivoted smoothly to his left, leaving empty air for the most impetuous of his attackers. His blade then shimmered in the air, a solid arc of metal, as it cut through the arm of the bravo holding a spiked club who had moved to attack from the side. The two thugs armed with swords found themselves holding their stomachs as the old man ducked low under the hissing attack of the chain-wielding man and spun low under their guard, bringing his blade around in a deadly arc.

Momentary silence was broken by the sound of weapons dropping to the ground and feet racing down the cobblestone street. The old man raised himself from his crouching position and calmly cleaned his weapon as he watched the bandits attempt to flee from the newly arrived city guard. They would not get far and he would know the reason for this attack soon enough. They were new to this city or very well paid fools, since no sane man would attempt to ambush the weapons master of the royal guard unless he did not value his life.

The Weapon Style skills are a new concept presented in this companion. Each Weapon Style skill offers a set of unique capabilities and benefits to the practitioner in combat. The additional training required by the weapon style allows its user to become more efficient and economical in ^the use of his weapon.

The weapon stylist's advanced training in the use of his weapon allows him to exceed certain limitations that restrict the common practitioner of his specific weapon. For example, a weapon stylist can have a reduced fumble range or bonus to melee initiative as a benefit of his training.

The mechanics of using weapon styles are the same as any other Combat Maneuver skill. When in combat, the weapon stylist will always use the lesser of his Weapon Style skill OB or his Weapon skill OB. As long as the weapon stylist is using his Weapon Style skill, he can receive the special benefits conferred by this skill.

Any modifiers that directly affect a character's OB will also affect his Weapon Style skill OB (except professional category bonuses that only affect Weapon skills). Allowable OB modifiers to weapon styles include spells, item bonuses (assuming it is the primary weapon of the style), and some skill bonuses (e.g., a +10 OB bonus due to a successful Adrenal Strength maneuver).

Any bonuses that a weapon style confers upon a character are only applicable while the character is actively using that style (i.e., the character is attacking using the weapon style). If a player decides to not use his Weapon Style skill to attack, none of the benefits of that weapon style will be available even if the player chooses to use the weapon associated with that particular weapon style. See Section 14.2.1 for further discussion.

Part II

Weapon Styles

Overview

Creating a Weapon Style

Gamemasters are encouraged to create their own weapon styles for use in their games. The rules and guidelines detailed here will help to make the process easier and provide game balance. Weapon styles are created using a point-based system. These points are referred to as "style points" and they are only used during the creation of the weapon style skill. After a weapon style is created it will either be classified as a Basic or Advanced Weapon Style skill (based on its total style point cost). Section 8.3 presents some examples of created weapon styles.

• Basic Weapon Styles can range from 0 to 30 style points.

• Advanced Weapon Styles range can from over 31 to up to 60 style points. It is not advised to create a weapon style that uses more than 60 style points.

Steps of Creation

The first step in creating a new weapon style is choosing the general focus of the weapon style. The style can be based on can be an individual weapon, a group of related weapons, or a weapon category. The broader the range of weapons the style includes, the more expensive the weapon style will be to learn. In addition, the type of weapon chosen will dictate some of the options available for the weapon style. If the weapon style is based upon a two-handed weapon, any options that require the practitioner to have a hand free will not be available within this specific weapon style. Choose one of the following weapon categories as the primary focus of the new weapon style.

• One-handed Edged or One-handed Concussion Weapon Categories

Allowed choices for the weapon style: Standard options; Melee weapon options; One hand free options

• Two-handed or Pole Arm Weapon Categories

Allowed choices for the weapon style: Standard options; Melee weapon options

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