Martial Arts are sets of Powers that are wholly dedicated to the art of war. While there may be some limited use outside of the battlefield, those uses will be secondary and at the ruling of the Storyteller.
Martial Arts, as opposed to other sources of Power, have more restrictions on how the powers may be purchased. Martial Arts are specific, techniques that are codified, named, and trained as knowledge passed from teacher to student.
Martial Arts Techniques must be learned in the order presented, starting with the Form Technique, and a Player should be able to point to a specific mentor (typically a Merit) that they have learned the techniques from.
Mortals and Martial Arts
Mortals have a proud tradition of teaching and practicing the Martial Arts presented, but they do not have the Essence required to utilize the techniques to their full extent.
Even the rare Heroic Mortal Master may be able to empower the Lesser Techniques, but they would not be able to use the Greater or Capstone Techniques intended.
Instead, they learn the motions of the techniques, without the power behind it. It does have a marked benefit to them, but not on the scale of the Exalted, and so is not mechanically represented.
If, as a Storyteller, you wish to show this benefit, you may grant a +2 dice bonus to mortals to related actions while using their Martial Arts.
The first Technique of a Martial Arts is always the style’s Form, which details out the way a practitioner moves and acts during combat, and the bonuses they get from doing so.
When combat starts, characters immediately drop into their Form stance—it is instinctual and the same as readying weapons. They do not need to take a specific action to do so.
Form Techniques are mutually exclusive, you cannot have more than one active at a time. As well, any Style techniques may only be used while in its Style Form—you cannot be in Tiger Form and use Snake Style Techniques, for example.
If you know more than one Martial Arts style, switching form styles is a diceless Maneuver.
The Martial Arts will draw upon and enhance associated Abilities for its techniques. Performing the Martial Arts without training in these abilities is unadvised. Some Styles will even rely on Supernatural Abilities, such as shapeshifting, and cannot be taken if the character does not have access to the associated ability.
Form Styles restrict what sorts of weapons and armor the Stylist uses—after all, it would be all but impossible to take the light, dancing maneuvers of Snake Style in restrictive Heavy Plate!
As well, the Martial Arts Style may require Unarmed or Ranged weapons to perform their actions. The weight class or bonuses of a weapon are not restricted, only the presence of one and that they are compatible with the
As well, the Martial Arts will often detail of the shape and type of weapon used during combat. This is simply a suggestion to what the Martial Arts should look like.
Armor Unarmored, Light
There is one Martial Arts Style that does not require a mentor—or rather, the mentor is simply the rough teacher that is life on Creation herself. Many of her inhabitants will learn a psuedo-style of fighting that naturally enhances their own attacks and defense. This is (often derogatorily) called the “Fists of the Street” Style—even though there is little unifying facets of the style.
This Martial Arts is unique in that has no techniques past the Form. However, it is a favorite among those who wish to become an unarmed champion with little effort.
The Stylist takes on a stance that they themselves have honed over countless battles, their hardened body ready to take on anything thrown at them.
Your unarmed Strikes become as strong as either Light or Medium weapons, while retaining their Natural tag. As well, you gain +1 Soak.
Abilities Brawl, Athletics
Armor Unarmored, Light
Weapons Unarmed [Hand Needles]
Snake stylists use quick, precise strikes, disrupting Chakras and the flow of their targets motions. They prey on those that are slower than them. Masters can even deliver paralyzing poisonous Essence through their fingertips, or through specialized hollow hand needles.
Hand Needles are specialized equipment made specifically for practitioners of this Style. They are finger-length hollow needles, typically made of strengthened glass, wood, or obsidian, that allow for quick piercing strikes. Trainees often use harmless chopsticks as their practice weapons. Masters know how to use simply their bare fingers for this style.
Hand needles have no mechanical benefit.
The stylist takes on the form of the ever-ready, unpredictable snake, one hand open and ready, and their body sinuous, flexible, and with unpredictable motion.
Gain +1 Evasion. Additionally, by spending 1m you may choose when to act during a Round, interrupting between character turns. However, this will cause you to take 1 action instead of 2.
The Stylist knows how to precisely strike to deliver their devastating results, whether it be between joints in armor or in targeted weak spots.
Make a Brawl Strike vs. Evasion. If you miss, you still deal Glancing damage so long as you roll at least 1 success.
The serpent within uncoils in a brilliant flash of essence, striking at those whom are unready.
Perform a Brawl Strike against a target whom has not acted yet in this Round. If you hit, immediately deal +(Essence) additional damage, and bind the target, preventing them from moving. They must expend a Contested Maneuver against your (Dexterity + Athletics) to escape the ever-moving coils.
The Stylist is ever moving, nearly impossible to pin down nor target with attacks.
After being hit, roll (Dexterity + Athletics). This roll cannot be boosted by any means. Reduce the amount of damage you take by the number of rolled successes. If you reduce the amount to 0, the attack is considered to have not hit in the first place.
Type: Supplemental; Scene
With a rapid succession of strikes, the Stylist targets nerve clusters and pressure points with startling precision and with enough force to completely numb a limb.
Perform a (Dexterity + Brawl) vs. Evasion Maneuver against a target whom has not acted yet this Round. If you successfully hit, paralyze a limb for the remainder of the Scene. They suffer (-2) on all actions that would normally use such a limb—representing them using their non-dominant hand for attacks, for example.
Type: Supplemental; Week
Vile venom fills the soul of the Serpent stylist, ready to be injected into their prey.
Once per Week, you may deliver an envenomed blow on a target with a Brawl Strike. So long as you hit—even with a glancing blow—the target becomes poisoned, ensuring a most assured death—if not now, then later.
Each turn that the target takes action, they lose 3 Health. Should they manage to survive through the end of combat, they will still slowly lose their Health, and become unable to regain it through normal rest. A Scale 2 Medicine Project must be undertaken to cure the toxin, or by Cheating Death.
The same target cannot be repeatedly be envenomed in the same Season.
Abilities Brawl, Athletics
Armor Unarmored, Light
Weapons Unarmed, Close [Fist Weapons]
Tiger Stylists focus on a low-centered, wide stances, which provides both incredible balance and flexibility in their motions. Their actions are fluid and active, using their entire body in their motion full of rolls, kicks, and extensive footwork. It is not uncommon for Tiger Stylists to use the environment to their advantage, leaping off of walls and rafters in a ravaging pounce.
The path of the Tiger follows the life of the great cat—the young are quick, agile, and reflexive, while as they age they become terrifying predators with immense damage—but never losing the agility of their young selves.
Tiger Stylists are known to be brutal teachers, focusing on outcome and results rather than pleasantries and inner peace. The style has therefore developed a bit of a dour reputation—often used in theatrical productions to show cruel villains or terrifying overloards.
The Tiger Stylist is ever ready, no matter the terrain or their position. They do not need to roll to cross unsteady or moving terrain, and never suffer penalties from being knocked down.
When attacked, the Stylist whirls around and uses the momentum of the incoming attack to propel themselves backwards.
On an incoming attack, reduce the damage received by 3. However, you are knocked-back a range band, at the discretion of the attacker.
Leaping from afar, the Stylist crashes into their opponent with immense rage and fury, bringing the fury of the Tiger upon their target.
This technique must be used on the same Turn in which you move towards the opponent. Supplement a Decisive Strike, dealing (+3/2) damage and stunning the target on a hit.
The Stylist channels the sheer strength of the Tiger, ravaging their opponent with frenzied, brutal strikes.
Against any target that is stunned, paralyzed, or otherwise held in place, deal an extra (+4/3) damage.
After delivering a successful Strike, the Stylist sinks their metaphorical teeth into the wound, shattering the bones of their target.
So long as the target has lost at least 5 Health from one of your attacks (as calculated after all powers), you may disable a limb of the target by breaking a bone. While that limb is broken, they suffer (-2) on all actions that would normally use such a limb—representing them using their non-dominant hand for attacks, for example.
Healing a broken bone faster than a year requires a Medicine Project of Scale 1.
The tiger is the apex Predator of the jungle, stalker of all those around them. Where they travel, others dare not walk in their footsteps—for the great tiger slinks roughly through the underbrush, ready to strike.
When in Tiger Form, add (+2) dice to any Athletics rolls, and add (+3/1) damage to their attacks.
Abilities Melee, Integrity
Armor Light, Medium
Weapons Close [Slashing Swords]
Those Stylists who choose to be a Single Point of light among the darkness that reins in Creation must dedicate themselves to the purity of form itself. They must know their own inner truth before being inducted into this style—if they cannot bear the burden of their own self, they cannot bear the burden of the rest of the world on their shoulders.
Stylists are known to be decisive, quick, and only move with purpose. Rarely do they even unsheathe their weapons except to deliver a singular, killing blow, only to return their pristine steel back as quickly as it is drawn.
The stylist does not draw their weapons without purpose. To not throw everything behind their attacks would be foolishly brandishing their weapon about.
You may use both actions on your turn as Decisive Strikes. However, on your next turn you may only take Maneuvers.
As well, the Stylist always deals an extra (+1/1) damage to Creatures of Darkness.
The posture of the Stylist shows the dedication to their craft, and even those who do not know of their reputation will understand quickly how to fear this creature.
Whenever using Melee on any Maneuver, such as Building Power or Intimidation, gain (+2) dice to such efforts.
The Stylist becomes a whirl of steel, flowing from one target to the next in a blur of motion that becomes impossible to predict.
When attacking twice in a round, gain +2 dice and (+2/1) damage on your second attack, so long as you attack a different target than the first.
The Stylist knows the truth of their own soul, and also knows when those around them seek to twist it to their own bindings—even subconsciously.
While in the heat of battle, actively roll (Wits + Integrity), with (Essence) extra dice, against any attempts to supernaturally warp, twist, shape, or otherwise change the mind, spirit, or body of the Stylist instead of using Resolve or any other specified defense.
If the Stylist successfully defends against this attack with 3 successes more than their attacker, they may turn the attack back on their assailant.
The stylist knows that, often, aggressors will drop their defenses in the moment of their unbridled rage present in an attack.
When either defending another or being attacked directly, roll (Dexterity + Integrity) vs. the target’s Evasion. If you are successful, immediately deliver your Full Damage as a preemptive counterattack, resolved before the target has a chance to deliver their attack.
The Stylist strikes with overwhelming speed and spiritual prowess that erupts into a glowing sphere of destruction.
Once per Scene, erupt into a brilliant nova of blinding light that resonates with your Exaltation. All foes in the scene who witness this eruption suffer (-2) dice on all their actions.
As well, choose a target to focus your fury on, and roll contested (Wits
Abilities Melee, Physique
Weapons Close [Scythes, Polearms, Staves]
The origins of the White Reaper style lays with the humble farmers, who took up their instruments of craft to face the innumerable hordes of Wyld troops that sought to destroy and defile their land, their livelihoods, and their lives. Despite all odds, they managed to turn the tides, keeping their lands from the flood of the Wyld.
To this day, the White Reaper Style stands as a testament of the strong spirit of those that are typically powerless, and how one may stand against a seemingly endless wave of enemies. It is particularly popular among Lunars of the northeastern cities, who have perfected the style into its current form.
The Reaper stands strong against a thousand faceless hoards, empowered by the uneven odds as a misty white halo of energy coalesces around them with every strike.
Gain (+2) accuracy and (+2/1) damage on Strikes against Battle Groups. As well, whenever you successfully Strike a Battle Group, immediately gain 1 Anima. You also gain 1 Anima every time any enemy is defeated by your Strike.
The Strikes of a White Reaper do not fall except for the purpose of harvesting their foes. Deal an extra (Strength)/2 damage on Full Hit. Against Battle Groups, instead deal an extra (Strength) damage.
The Stylist whirls their scythe in a complex pattern of moving steel and wood, providing a parry against all that would strike against them.
Gain Parry, a third defense, which is calculated as (Strength + Melee)/2.
Cost: (2a per target)
As the corona of blinding white light surrounds the Stylist, they lash out and strike at all whom dare stand in their way, halos of light erupting and crashing into their foes.
You may target up to (Essence) foes, spending 2 Anima per target. These targets may be in the same and/or adjacent Zones. Lash out and attack them with a singular roll, gaining (+2) accuracy, and (+3/2) damage.
Cost: (1a per 3hp)
The Stylist knows that combat against an endless horde is one of attrition, and constantly reinforces them with the energy harvested from the fallen.
Immediately pull in a white halo of light from fallen foes into yourself—gaining 3 health for every 1 Anima spent.
The flow and ebb of battle becomes ingrained into the Stylist, and the energies stolen from fallen enemies bolsters the swath of death, fueling the cold inevitability of battle. The White corona of death surrounds the stylist, draping them further and further into the agent of the End.
Each time a foe or Battle Group is defeated, gain (+2 acc), (+1/1) damage until the end of the Scene.
Weapons Unarmed [Kai]
The lands of Creation are dangerous and wild—particularly for those that have dedicated their souls to the pursuit of song, instrumental music, and dance. There are some who have rebelled against this seeming weakness, concentrating and focusing their expression of self into a dangerous and powerful weapon to defend themselves and aid those around them.
While the Nightingale style focuses on the spoken voice, there are many subsets allowing for instruments, and even dance.
The Stylist hones their voice into a form fueled with the Essence of the land itself, pulling energy into the song and dance of life, and focusing their voice into powerful blasts that harms the psyche, moral, and essence flows of their opponents.
Gain access to the Kai, a ranged weapon that uses Charisma and Performance for its attacks. It has +0/0 damage and +0 accuracy as a weapon.
As well, the Stylist gains +1 Evasion, as they are in perfect harmony of their music and movement.
The song of war can not only harm their foes, but inspire their allies and spur their to greater actions, thrumming their motion with the beat of music.
Grant +2 dice to an ally. This is considered a Teamwork bonus, but does not require the Stylist to consume their action to do so.
Sharp, deafening barks of mocking lyrics pour from the voice of the Stylist, intimidating and surprising all of those around them that perceives the actions of the stylist.
As a Maneuver, roll (Charisma + Performance) against all targets in the same Zone as you. Those with a (Resolve) less than the number of successes gain (-2) on their next action. As well, in order to attack you on the next action, they must succeed on a (Wits + Integrity) roll vs. your (Essence).
Type: Reflexive; Scene
The motion of song fills the Stylist, the rhythm moving their body in the constant dance of the battlefield—strikes, parries, dodges all becoming one intricate expression of the soul.
Choose a single enemy to synchronize with, gaining (+3) Evasion against any attack they make directly against you. (This does not affect attacks that target areas.) As well, gain (+2) dice on all contested athletics attempts with the target.
Type: Simple; Scene
The Songbird shrieks out into an awful cry, glass and crystal shattering all around them as they hit the terrible frequencies, cracking and breaking even metal.
To all enemies within your Zone and Adjacent Zones, roll (Charisma + Performance) vs. Resolve, dealing (Charisma) damage on a success. As well, from all the shattered scenery, you create an environmental hazard that deals (3 damage) to all who enters into this Zone unless they succeed on a (Dex + Athletics) vs. 3 roll.
The Stylist knows that the power held in music is not a simple analogy—there is a flow of Essence the resonates with the souls of those that can hear—and that flow can be disrupted. Dropping into a complex chant, the Stylist weaves their anima into the song, disrupting a target’s flow of Essence—threatening to dissolve their physical form into a blur of color.
Roll (Charisma + Performance) +(Essence) dice vs. the target’s Resolve. If successful, the target takes 5 damage and becomes semi-incorporeal until your next turn—they cannot take any active actions of their own, but may be attacked as normal. If you fail, the target takes no damage but disappears completely from the battlefield until your next turn.
If a target is downed while this effect is upon them, they dissolve into pure Essence.