Monday, March 19, 2012

Further Thoughts About Martial Arts in Legend

Martial Arts (Vampire Slayer) in action
Let's face it, my first attempt at representing Martial Arts in Legend/MRQII didn't work very well. I've been trying to come up with something better and have been attempting to flesh out a system. As someone else had very similar thoughts, I just posted these to the Mongoose Forum, and thought I really ought to post them here. Comments etc are very welcome.

By the way, it looks like RQ6 approaches this through its new Mysticism rules, and they'll probably be much better than these anyway, but for the nonce...

Martial Arts

Each Tradition or School teaches a Combat Style, the Martial Arts skills, probably a few other skills, and a variety of Techniques that help modify the Combat Style by adding Combat Maneuvers, abilities and effects through the Martial Arts skill. It may also teach Heroic Abilities.

Martial Arts (Specific Tradition) skill (POW + DEX)

The Martial Arts skill is used to apply martial arts techniques to a Combat Style. Each ten percent of Martial Arts skill allows the martial artist to apply 1 point of technique to his/her combat style for the combat action (round?).

This skill is not rolled against when fighting. Its value merely limits how much the martial artist may modify his/her combat style.

In fantastical worlds, each Technique used may cost 1 Magic Point.


A Technique modifies or affects a combat style. Techniques come in three general forms: combat maneuvers, effects, and abilities.

Combat Maneuver Techniques: Ordinarily, a fighter using Unarmed skill cannot for example, use Bleed. However some martial arts teach the ability to use a combat maneuver as part of the technique. Thus the follower of the Rhino Style tradition may use Bash, for example. Using a Combat Maneuver as part of a Martial Arts attack or defense is not automatic. It must be declared as part of the Martial Arts skill use with each combat action (round?). Each combat maneuver potentially used costs 1 Technique point. It costs 2 Improvement Rolls to learn a Combat Maneuver Technique.

Additional Combat Maneuvers: Choke Attack – the martial artist grabs his/her opponent and begins to choke him. Damage is immediately established as per the suffocation rules (Legend p. 76) except per combat action of the attacker rather per round. The opponent rolls his resilience in an opposed test against the original successful attack roll. Damage continues until the opponent is able to Slip Free or the Martial Artist drops the hold.

[More to come]

Example: Dark Cloud is just learning the Shadow Boxing martial arts technique and has 30% in his Martial Arts skill. He has learned three combat maneuver techniques: Bypass Armor, Bypass Parry, and Disarm Opponent. He nominates all three for his Techniques this action (round?). He has an unarmed combat style of 67% and succeeds in his attack against his opponent, who fails to parry his attack with his dagger, and therefore gains a combat maneuver. He cannot choose Bypass Armor as that is a critical-only maneuver so chooses Disarm Opponent to represent him grabbing his opponent’s sword arm and applying pressure to cause him to drop his dagger.

Effect Techniques: These are techniques that affect the results of combat directly. The most basic Effect Technique is Increase Damage which adds 1pt of damage per point (2 points?) of Technique devoted to it through the Martial Arts skill. Other damage techniques may add magical damage or environmental damage. Other techniques modify combat results in some way. For example, Precise Strike allows the martial artist to bypass 1 point of regular armor per technique point used. Example techniques are:

Increase Damage: +1 damage per point of Technique
Precise Strike: Ignore 1 AP of normal armor per 2 points of Technique
Mystical Strike: Ignore 1 AP of magical armor per 2 points of Technique
Flaming Fist of Fury: Adds fire damage at a rate of 1 fire level per 2 full points of Technique (so 2 points are required to simulate the 1 pt damage of a candle, 4 points to simulate the 1d4pt damage of a brand, and 10 points to simulate the 3d6pt damage of lava)
Cobra Strike: Adds a snake venom effect to the attack at 10 points of POT per point of Technique
Charging Rhino: Adds the equivalent of +2 SIZ per Technique point for the purposes of determining the results of a Bash maneuver

Example: TBD

Ability Techniques: These are techniques that enhance other skills used by the Martial Artist. They generally enhance another skill for a specific purpose for the duration of the combat action (round?)  by +10% per Technique point. For example, Leaping Frog adds +10% to Athletics skill for the purposes of jumping. A martial artist may use these techniques in non-combat situations as well, and will therefore generally enhance their skills by the maximum Technique amount possible in those circumstances leading to the extraordinary feats often associated with Martial Arts masters. Example techniques are:

Crouching Tiger: Adds +10%/TP to Evade skill for the purpose of ducking an attack
Leaping Dragon: Adds +10%/TP to Acrobatics skill for any purpose

Etc, etc...

Note: It should also go without saying that under this system, an unarmed attack cannot use any combat maneuvers. A simple Martial Arts (Street Fighting/ Boxing/ Wrestling/ Dirty Infighting) skill would be needed to use maneuvers like stun and bash.

Note #2: I have eschewed the use of "Ki" as these rules are intended for use in Kralorela in Glorantha, and the idea of Ki seems very un-Gloranthan to me.


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