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Lightbringer2009

Calixian martial arts: new rules system

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The elite advance skill package system set out here:

http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=70&efcid=3&efidt=40920

is a neat way of giving players access to a small and discrete set of skills that complement one particular activity…flying aircraft, academia, safecracking etc.

It also occurred to me that this is a neat way to get players to have access to martial arts skills. With this in mind I’ve developed background and some rules for a few Calixian martial arts styles.

Any character from any career can learn one of these forms, without leaving their chosen career, provided they have the xp and are willing to meet the criteria set by the teacher for their students. This may vary depending upon the martial arts master – some teachers want money, some want favours, some want blood – literally.

Here’s the first two Calixian martial arts, more exotic forms to follow in due course - Hope you enjoy them! happy.gif
 

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Shockboxing
Shockboxing is an activity practised across the Imperium. It sits on the boundary between martial art and sport, and is practised in millions of different forms. However the basics are all very similar: two boxers of a similar weight face each other in a defined arena, and strike each other about the face and upper body with their fists alone until one is shocked into unconsciousness or until a specific time period elapses.

 

The specifics of how this takes place varies from sector to sector: in some padded gloves are used, in others the boxers use steel gauntlets. Sometimes the fight takes place in a ring made of ropes, sometimes in spiked pits. Some sectors or planets have elaborate points scoring rules and ring bells to mark out intervals, others fight until one boxer dies.

However, despite these variations, shockboxers from different sectors have a surprisingly similar skill set. Their art emphasis physical fitness and aggression, together with a strong will. Shockboxers avoid anything other than the most basic grapples, and discard kicks entirely. Their art is effective against most unarmed human opponents of similar size or smaller, and a skilled shockboxer can disable even the most frenzied opponent.

Shockboxing is taught on virtually every civilised world in the Calixis sector, but it is not currently a particularly fashionable martial art. Its heyday was under Lord Sector Caracalla over 500 years ago, who was an afficianado of the sweet science of shockboxing. Today its popularity has waned against bloodier entertainments like Gladiatorial contests between augmented servitors and xenos beasts, but on many fringe worlds it is still highly regarded.

The art is typically taught in sweaty back-hive gymnasia populated by the poorer members of society, and instruction can be had for as little as 100 thrones per skill. However, training is intense, and the player must work out for 2-3 hours every day and eat a special diet to remain able to use this advanced skills package. It is for the GM to put obstacles in the way of this process!

 

Shockboxing elite advance skills package

Skill/Talent                                xp                            Special/prerequisite
Dodge                                            150
Sound Constitution                     150
Hardy                                              200                           Must have at least T40
Dodge +10                                     200                           Must have dodge skill
Sure Strike                                     200                           WS30
Furious Assault                             200                           Must have WS35
Takedown                                       200
Counter attack (unarmed only)   200                         Must have WS40
Dodge +20                                    200                          Must have dodge +10 skill
Crushing blow                              200                          Must have ST40
Die Hard                                          200                        Must have WP40
 

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Approved Arbites tactical suppression and restraint technique form XXVI
 

The Adeptus Arbites are not the “beat police” of the Calixis sector. They are a higher authority, responsible for the most serious crimes, those that affect the wellbeing of the Imperium as a whole. However, they do, on occasion bust heads in the same way as any other police force, and over time they have evolved methods of doing this.

 

For centuries, Arbites legislators have been codifying the various approved hand to hand techniques that are approved for use by the organisation. This has been done partly out of the traditional Imperial instinct to conform everything to a fixed standard, but also because there is a general acceptance that the forms previously utilised were in many ways ineffective. Recently (in Imperial terms) this process was completed, and the Imperium’s enforcers are now able to peruse at their leisure the latest in a long line of head-busting rulebooks.

For the past 87 years, Calixis Sector Arbites have enjoyed the benefit of the Imperium’s latest tactical suppression manual, volume XXVI. This compendious tome weighs in at 3,000 pages, and it obsessively sets out the forms of close combat which Arbites are allowed to use in the execution of their duties.

The form set out is a streamlining of the hundreds of close combat styles in use throughout the entire Adeptus Arbites. It provides pictorial guidance for Arbites officers on the correct and officially approved methods of restraining, subduing and subsequently beating suspects once they are safely in custody.

Of course, no Arbites officer will ever learn much from just a book (even one with over 12,000 lovingly hand-scribed images of suspects being beaten to a pulp), so the rollout of the manual was accompanied by a massive re-training drive for the Arbites’ combat instructors across the entire Imperium. This program has really borne fruit over the past few decades, and now enforcers across the sector are able to swing into action knowing full well that any hive-scum who steps up with a shiv is going to get the righteous pummelling they deserve.

The tactical suppression and restraint forms utilised by the Arbites in the sector are brutal, straightforward and aggressive. They place an emphasis upon grappling (when unarmed) or shock-maul use, and focus upon rapidly taking a suspect to the ground, locking his arms and cuffing him whilst simultaneously inflicting as little lasting damage on him as possible. The technique is strong on stunning techniques, locks, throws, defending against knife-wielding opponents and improvised weaponry, but weaker on killing techniques and non-arbites weapon use. The form favours physical strength and the momentum provided by riot armour, and arbites who find themselves unarmoured complain that it lacks finesse compared to some other martial arts styles.

Getting permission to learn this art is not simple, even for Arbites officers. While close combat skills are highly regarded within the organisation, the byzantine bureaucracy, excessive red tape and tremendously high caseload of the Arbites mitigates against the long practise sessions in the precinct gymnasia required to master this art. Additionally, the culture of the Arbites derides those who spend time off the street, or off their casework, even if it is with the laudable aim of learning to bust heads.

Players from outside the arbites who wish to learn this art must go through an arduous and almost comically Kafkaesque bureaucratic process of proving their right to learn it. Even acolytes who throw their Inquisitorial weight around often find themselves completely stymied, spending weeks filling out forms in triplicate, applying to poker faced precinct house sergeants, passionately arguing their loyalty to the Emperor in front of dismal tribunals… This grim process must be roleplayed, and the player must always feel that at any time some new rearrangement of precinct priorities could send their teacher off to some forsaken dustbowl in a different segmentum, leaving them high and dry. It is for the GM to set out precisely what skill sets will be tested to gain the right to learn the art, but Common Law (Adeptus Arbites), Peer (Adeptus Arbites), common lore (administratum) and scholastic lore (administratum) will all play a part.

NB: These skills are taught in the order set out below. They cannot be learned in any other order: the tactical suppression manual, volume XXVI is very clear on this point, and no instructor will breach its dictates, as the arbites believe that the law (even its successive statutory instruments, bylaws, codes of practice and manuals) are the word of the holy emperor. Note that players are not taught to street fight: they learn that on the street!

Arbites officers will find that in the course of their normal career, they will pick up most of these skills in due course anyway, so may find learning the art “in their own time” a counter productive exercise. However, for less combat orientated careers, the art offers valuable combat skills they would not otherwise have had access to.

Approved Arbites tactical suppression and restraint technique form XXVI elite advance skills package

Skill/Talent                                                                                  xp                        Special/prerequisite
Melee Weapon Training (primitive)                                       200
Sound Constitution                                                                  200
Disarm                                                                                        200                         AG30+
Double Team                                                                             200
Leap Up                                                                                     200                          AG30+
Takedown                                                                                  200
Melee Weapon Training (shock)                                           250
Dodge                                                                                         200
Two weapon wielding (melee)                                             300                         WS 35+, AG 35+
Crushing Blow                                                                        400                          S40
Hardy                                                                                         200                         T40
Sure Strike                                                                                300                         WS30
Step Aside                                                                                300                         AG40+ Dodge
Combat Master                                                                       400                         WS40+
Swift Attack                                                                               400                         WS35+
Melee Weapon Training (chain)                                          300
Melee Weapon Training (power)                                         400
Counter attack                                                                         500                          WS40+
Crippling Strike                                                                        500                          WS50+
Precise Blow                                                                            300                          WS40+, sure strike
Furious assault                                                                       300                          WS35+
Dual Strike                                                                               400                          AG 40+, Two weapon wielder
Wall of steel                                                                              400                        AG35+
Lightning attack                                                                       400                         swift attack
Bulging biceps                                                                        200                         S45
 

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To be honest, as a martial artists, I always like to see martial arts developed in a given system.  So you had me at "The elite advance..." gran_risa.gif

Something like this extended to "Imperial duelling culture" is something that I would also like to see, with the idea that there are aspects of "culture" that are common throughout the Imperium, even if they are moderated by the elite.

How would you stat up that, out of interest?

(Sorry for not commenting on your Dark Heresy stats... I must for the most part restrict myself to comments on background and its implications since I'm not a user of the Dark Heresy system.)

Kage

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Kage2020 said:

To be honest, as a martial artists, I always like to see martial arts developed in a given system.  So you had me at "The elite advance..." gran_risa.gif

Something like this extended to "Imperial duelling culture" is something that I would also like to see, with the idea that there are aspects of "culture" that are common throughout the Imperium, even if they are moderated by the elite.

How would you stat up that, out of interest?

Kage, old bean, your wish is my command! happy.gif I had a few duellist styles in mind, specifically a Scintillan rapier style ( a generic "fencing") style and Landrian knife fighting. I also had a sawn off version of the moritat form (ripped off by historians in the same way as ninjitsu has been in the modern world) and a couple of more esoteric forms, one of which is really quite nasty... The really nasty one is called "Nexia." Haven't statted it up yet, but have a look...  

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Nexia

 

Nexia is an ancient martial art with a sinister reputation and history. Rumoured to have been taught to certain depraved humans thousands of years ago by the Dark Eldar, it places an emphasis upon inflicting pain upon an opponent. Knifework is an inherent part of the system, as are horrifically crippling injuries inflicted rapidly on opponents with a view then subduing them and extracting information through the application of torture.

Unarmed Nexia techniques at low levels include gripping an opponents upper lip and ripping upwards so as to partially peel the face from the skull. Others include swiftly breaking fingers and then placing the opponent in a lock which enables the practitioner to grind the broken bones together.

Mid-level techniques become progressively more sinister, including ultra-fast castrations and scalpings.

High level techniques are almost mythically horrific, including the infamous Bhienn Sardhe technique, which involves stunning an opponent with a powerful punch, straddling the prostrate torso, seizing the victim’s throat and quickly making an incision just below the sternum with a knife or sharpened fingernail, taking care not to pierce the peritoneum beneath. The practitioner them forces his entire arm into the victim’s body, drives his hand upwards between the living lungs and gently grips the heart, taking care not to damage the major arteries. The victim will stay alive a surprisingly long time, if the organ is handled gently, and pressure can be placed on the heart to facilitate interrogation during the last few minutes of the victim’s life. The heart is then torn out, and often (depending upon the practitioner’s inclinations) eaten.

It is rumoured that higher-level masters of the art are capable of even more awful feats, such as skinning a man alive while he stands, and doing it so quickly that the man will not feel the pain for a few seconds.

Such aberrant techniques can only be learned with practice, and naturally learning these techniques preys upon the sanity of the student. True Nexia masters are rare, because they rapidly find themselves unable to restrain themselves from inflicting their skills on those around them. Some theorise that the art was a dark “gift” from the twisted Eldar reavers, designed to deprave those who study it. Others say that the highest level Nexia masters uncover truths in the art which enable them to open webway tunnels leading to Comorrah where they can sport with their mentors for eternity.

At lower levels the art is straightforward and vicious, but not actually psychologically destabilising to the user. It is expected that the practitioner will be armed with a small, very sharp knife, and training emphasises use of this weapon to pin, impale and incapacitate an opponent rapidly. As the student progresses in the art, tantalising glimpses of hugely effective techniques are dangled before him by the master, subject to the student compromising some aspect of his moral code. Eventually, in order to learn advanced techniques, the student will be expected to practice them upon live subjects, further degrading him and driving him into madness. True Nexia Masters change their bodies as well, using mystical herbs and ointments to reshape their fingernails into black, iron hard, razor sharp talons capable of slicing through flesh.

The art is rare in the Calixis sector, but not unknown. Debased variations are practiced by the pirate clans of Fydae, and for this reason many void born travellers who see Fydae vessels bearing down upon them will kill themselves rather than be taken alive.

Strangely though, the art finds a surprising home in an unexpected quarter: few martial arts are more perfectly fitted to the needs of the Inquisition. What other techniques enable an Inquisitor to rapidly subdue an unarmed and hardened terrorist and obtain information from him in seconds? For this reason, a few true Nexia Masters are succoured by the Ordos Calixis and offered safe havens where they can train their Inquisitorial disciples away from major population centres…
 

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Don't forget a variant martial art that covers the "out of shape" martial artists that are trying to get back into it while dealing with "stylistic variations."  It will help me stat myself up.  Burgeoning horizons of the waistline and all. llorando.gif

Kage

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Kage2020 said:

 

Don't forget a variant martial art that covers the "out of shape" martial artists that are trying to get back into it while dealing with "stylistic variations."  It will help me stat myself up.  Burgeoning horizons of the waistline and all. llorando.gif

Kage

 

 

Sumo Wrestling? partido_risa.gif

 

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My only complaint is that a lot of the skills aren't martial arts skills at all, such as bulging biceps. I guess I can see it being through the training and so on, but, then, couldn't anyone have that talent just by allotting some time to working out every day or so? I'd expect all of the packages listed to include it. Also, if the arbite package is supposed to facilitate unarmed combat against (sometimes) armed opponents, why do the instructors insist on teaching the pupil how to wield chain weapons, power weapons, or two weapons, when the pupil will probably know how already. It doesn't seem to fit with the fluff of the entry. However, shock weapons I do see, as those are iconic to the arbites.

 

However, I thouroughly enjoyed the fluff, and can't wait to send my acolytes through red tape and such, or have them witness a master Nexian artist at work... If anything, I might just add in some home brewed skills that parallel the skills that don't quite fit... tweaks and things. Instead of Bulging, for example, you could include a similar skill, adding +1 to the arbite's strength bonus on the round he makes a charge action, representing his crushing strength, and use of momentum. Perhaps add a caveat stating that the bonus only applies if he is wearing a certain weight or protection value set of armor.

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I like these. Especially as they allow characters to become more individualised at the expense of more XP and roleplaying hoops to jump through. I especially like the fact that you have to learn the Arbites one in order. Perhaps you could expand that to the others? Or at least have bands that have to be filled out in order: novice, pro, master, that kind of thing.

I also think that it would be cool to give them each a unique talent or two that makes the XP costs worthwhile for those who stick to the package all the way to the end.

Suggestions for more:

  • An acrobatic, evasive technique, perhaps using a grav-belt or something similar to allow unnatural leaps and to get behind opponents.
  • A technique designed to combat armoured opponents, finding weak points and using their bulk against them, perhaps damaging the armour so it becomes more encumbering.
  • A death cultist art where you allow opponents to hit you then trap their weapons  in your body, drawing strength from your pain and terrifying them with your death lust. Includes drug use (perhaps a new drug similar to slaught) and psychological fear (and ignoring fear) effects.
  • A beast-fighting gladiatorial style used in the carniforae (is that what the blood arenas are called in Eisenhorn?). Great against xeno beasts and large aliens such as orcs. Trips, dodges, and counterattacks. Turns uncontrolled aggression against attackers Includes knowledge of xeno races and beasts.

vs

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Mister Starx said:

My only complaint is that a lot of the skills aren't martial arts skills at all, such as bulging biceps. I guess I can see it being through the training and so on, but, then, couldn't anyone have that talent just by allotting some time to working out every day or so? I'd expect all of the packages listed to include it. 

I take your point. My justification for including this talent was pretty muddled, but it does make a sort of sense, now I think about it. If you spend months/years learning these combat forms in full arbites armour, no doubt combining them with a paramilitary style callisthetics workout, you will end up with bulging biceps! I didn't really get any deeper in it that that, but thinkig about it now, I guess you're right, the Talent could apply to other arts equally well. It just seems to suit this one particulalry well

Mister Starx said:

Also, if the arbite package is supposed to facilitate unarmed combat against (sometimes) armed opponents, why do the instructors insist on teaching the pupil how to wield chain weapons, power weapons, or two weapons, when the pupil will probably know how already. It doesn't seem to fit with the fluff of the entry. However, shock weapons I do see, as those are iconic to the arbites.

The chain/power/dual wield skills you mention are all part of the arbites character package. I agree with you, I don' t necessarily see them as iconic arbites skills, but took the view that DH was providing new bnackground here on Arbites training.  

Mister Starx said:

I might just add in some home brewed skills that parallel the skills that don't quite fit... tweaks and things. Instead of Bulging, for example, you could include a similar skill, adding +1 to the arbite's strength bonus on the round he makes a charge action, representing his crushing strength, and use of momentum. Perhaps add a caveat stating that the bonus only applies if he is wearing a certain weight or protection value set of armor.

Yeah, I was going to start adding unique skills (in the manner of the Moritat reaper package from IH) for some of the more exotic martial arts. I have a few particularly nasty skills in mind for Nexia! But yes, again, your suggestions make sense, I like the armour idea!happy.gif

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voidstate said:

I especially like the fact that you have to learn the Arbites one in order. Perhaps you could expand that to the others? Or at least have bands that have to be filled out in order: novice, pro, master, that kind of thing.

I was going to do it with all of them - the (limited number) of martial arts I've studied are all very hierarchical, with certain techniques taught at certain levels. However, that approach didn't seem right for shockboxing, which I imagined as being taught in a looser, less formal style. Nexia will be hierarchical when I complete the rules for it.   

voidstate said:

I also think that it would be cool to give them each a unique talent or two that makes the XP costs worthwhile for those who stick to the package all the way to the end.

I agree - for the more esoteric martial arts. But with the "simpler" arts, like shockboxing, bear in mind that some of the "generic" skills and talents already have tremendous combat implications. A character possessing most  of the skills and talents in DH will be a true martial arts master without me creating loads of new skills.

But you're right, this was what I wanted to do with a few of the more complex arts. BI already showed how this approach can work with the Moritat Reaper advanced package, which has a unique Moritat martial arts technique as a new talent. I'll do this with Nexia, which will have a complex hierarchical advance system, some new skills and talents, and sanity penalties and corruption points for learning the nastier, higher level skills. 

My plan was to start with a simple, easy to learn martial art (shockboxing), a medium level art (arbites suppression) and a high level, esoteric and difficult martial art with a unique background and some unique skills. (Nexia.)   

voidstate said:

Suggestions for more:
  • An acrobatic, evasive technique, perhaps using a grav-belt or something similar to allow unnatural leaps and to get behind opponents.
  • A technique designed to combat armoured opponents, finding weak points and using their bulk against them, perhaps damaging the armour so it becomes more encumbering.
  • A death cultist art where you allow opponents to hit you then trap their weapons  in your body, drawing strength from your pain and terrifying them with your death lust. Includes drug use (perhaps a new drug similar to slaught) and psychological fear (and ignoring fear) effects.
  • A beast-fighting gladiatorial style used in the carniforae (is that what the blood arenas are called in Eisenhorn?). Great against xeno beasts and large aliens such as orcs. Trips, dodges, and counterattacks. Turns uncontrolled aggression against attackers Includes knowledge of xeno races and beasts.

Some nice ideas there!  happy.gif I like 'em. When I write a martial art, I think a lot about the setting, who'd have developed such an art, and you've clearly done the same. Why not have a crack at writing some up and posting them here? I'm going to finish off Nexia when I get around to it, and maybe do Landrian knife fighting next, but I'd like to see other people's Calixian martial arts concepts... happy.gif

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Incidentally, Lightbringer, have you considered the introduction of different "ranges" into melee combat?  I'm presuming (haven't looked, to be honest) that the range mechanic is fairly well introduced into ranged combat, but it would be an interesting way of offering up some "narrative" potential into melee combat with some funky differentiation for melee combat.

For example, "Close" range (short, or whatever) might represent Wing Chun/wrestling/Jiujitsu ranges.  "Extended" on the other hand might represent the kind of distance for kicking based martial arts/attacks.  You could offer up modifiers between the two...

...Or something like that. Simple mechanic that introduces a bit more mechanical flavour that also interlaces with the narrative?

Kage

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