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Merit: Fighting Styles (Part 2 of 2)

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Merit: Fighting Styles (Part 2 of 2)




Fighting Style: Kendo (• to ••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3, Weaponry 3
Effect: Your character is trained in the art of kendo. He likely learned this skill at a kendo dojo, and is familiar with the techniques in more than a passing capacity.
Dots purchased with this Merit allow access to unique combat maneuvers using kendo weapons (generally, a katana). All maneuvers are based upon the Weaponry Skill.
Kendo is meant to be performed with specific swords. The maneuvers below can be used without penalty provided your character is using one of the following swords: katana, wakizashi, or curved sword. Any other type of sword incurs a –1 penalty against any of the maneuvers listed below.

Kaburi (1 dot): The overheard strike is a simple yet powerful attack. The momentum of the overhead swing gives this attack extra force. When your character makes an overhead attack, bringing the blade down on an opponent, he does so with a +1 bonus.

Kiai (2 dots): Your character knows how shout loudly while making a distracting maneuver to throw off an opponent. Make a “normal” attack roll (Strength + Weaponry), and this dicepool is penalized by the opponent’s Defense, par usual. This attack is fake; it does not strike the foe or do any damage. If your character achieves even a single success, however, the opponent is momentarily confused and off-balance, and may not apply his Defense against the next attack he suffers (which may be from your character the following turn or may be from some other source beforehand).

Uchiotoshi Waza (3 dots): An Uchiotoshi Waza requires an attack to be made against your character. He parries the attack using his Dodge (i.e., his Defense, doubled). While his opponent is open, he can then make a sudden and quick attack, which is performed at a –1 penalty. However, the opponent’s Defense does not further penalize the attack roll. Drawback: Spend one Willpower point as soon as you decide your character will apply twice his Defense to an incoming enemy attack. Note that this Willpower expenditure does not add +3 to the subsequent Uchiotoshi Waza attack. If your character suffers any further attacks on a turn where he has used Riposte, he cannot apply his Defense against them. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Nidan Waza (4 dots): If your character makes a successful hit on an adversary with his sword, he may then make a second quick cut with the weapon. This additional cut suffers a -2 penalty to the dicepool. Drawback: To perform this maneuver, the character must spend a Willpower point before he makes his initial attack roll. The Willpower does not grant him the additional +3 to attack. If the initial attack fails, the Willpower point is wasted and the Nidan Waza may not be added.

Fighting Style: Knife Fighting (• to ••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3, Weaponry 2
Effect: Your character is trained to fight effectively with a knife. This training is now standard among many of the world’s Special Forces. It involves holding a single-edged knife in a downward (or “reverse”) grip. Maneuvers involve a lot of quick, fluid movements complemented by a mixture of slashing and stabbing toward vital areas.

Dots purchased with this Merit allow access to unique combat maneuvers with a knife. All maneuvers are based on the Weaponry Skill.

Anticipate Attack (1 dot): Those trained in Special Forces knife fighting know to move fast before incoming attacks and in response to them. To do this requires a level of anticipation and strategy even before a combat begins. At this level, your character may substitute his Weaponry score for his Composure when determining his Initiative modifier. This is only during combat situations in which your character is using an edged or pointed weapon of Size 2 or under.

Advantageous Angle (2 dots): Your knife-wielder knows how to make a feinted attack from the side or rear in a way that grants him advantage. While normally such attacks confer no bonuses, the character is aware how to deceive an opponent into mounting a Defense against an attack that isn’t coming — and then stage an attack from a different angle. The foe’s Defense is at –1 during such an attack. Drawback: This maneuver can only be made every other turn.

Vital Attack (3 dots): Your character knows how to target his attacks to vital organs and other vulnerabilities. Attacks made with a knife have Armor Piercing 1, and penalties to hit specific targets or body parts (see “Specified Targets,” the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 165) are reduced by one.

Slash and Stab (4 dots): Your character’s deftness with a knife allows him to make two attacks against one target in a single action. The first attack is a slash, the second a thrusting stab. The first attack is made as normal, but the second suffers a –2 penalty. Drawback: This quick maneuver leaves the character somewhat more vulnerable against the next attack coming toward him. His Defense is counted as being one less against the next attack.


Fighting Style: Krav Maga (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Wits 3, Brawl 3, Brawling Dodge
Effect: Your character practices Krav Maga, and has become competent in an unarmed variant of defensive striking. Krav Maga maneuvers are based on the Brawl Skill unless otherwise noted and are used unarmed. (Note: Krav Maga cannot be combined with any kind of supernatural attack such as Claws of the Wild or Touch of the Morrigan.)

Immediate Defense (1 dot): The character has learned to act quickly to neutralize a threat and make a fast escape. He gains a bonus equal to his Initiative equal to his Brawl Skill when fighting armed opponents.

Disarming Defense (2 dots): The character twists his torso out of danger while grabbing his opponent’s wrist and pulling him forward, using his own torso for leverage as he tears his weapon from his hand. This acts as the Disarm Merit save that it utilizes the Brawl Skill. Rather than knocking the weapon away, the character takes the weapon from his opponent, and may use it the following turn.

Impenetrable Defense (3 dots): The character knows that offense and defense are one in the same. The character may add his rating in his Brawl Skill to his Defense or Dodge against a single incoming attack. The bonus from this maneuver combines with that from Brawling Dodge. Drawback: The character must expend a Willpower point to perform this maneuver. This maneuver is reflexive, and a character may use it and perform an instant action (such as attacking) so long as he did not use the Dodge action.

The First Moment (4 dots): The character has trained his reaction time to a tenth of a second, acting more by instinct than thought. If the character’s initiative roll results in a tie with another character involved in combat, the character automatically acts before his opponents and allies. Initiative Modifiers are not compared and initiative is never determined by a roll-off (though if multiple characters aside from the Krav Maga practitioner drew the same initiative, their initiative ratings are resolved as normal). If two characters possess this maneuver, they act at the same time, each resolving their action as if the other had not yet acted. This can result in two characters killing each other in the same heated moment.

Finishing the Fight (5 dots): The character moves defensively, but knows when to lash out at an enemy to bring him crashing to the ground. The character declares and benefits from a Dodge action (including Brawling Dodge, if he possesses it). He may abort that action to make an immediate, reflexive counter-attack against an opponent whose attack fails to overcome his Dodge trait. Drawback: This maneuver costs the character one Willpower point to enact. After making his counter-attack, the character loses his Defense for the remainder of the turn. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Fighting Style: Kung Fu (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2 and Brawl 2
Effect: Your character is trained in one of the many forms of Kung Fu, conditioning his mind and body for the purposes of focus and self-defense. He may have begun his training at an early age, following in the footsteps of family or friends, or he may have joined a school as an adult for the purposes of exercise or protection.

Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special combat maneuvers. The maneuvers and their effects are listed below, most of which are based on the Brawl Skill. (Note: Kung Fu cannot be combined with any kind of supernatural attack such as Claws of the Wild or Touch of the Morrigan.)

Focused Attack (1 dot): Physical conditioning and accuracy allow your character to deliver blows at vulnerable spots on targets. Penalties to hit specific targets are reduced by one. (See "Specified Targets," the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 165.) Even when a specific part of an opponent is not targeted, armor penalties to your character's Brawl attacks are reduced by one.

Iron Skin (2 dots): Your character has hardened his body to physical blows, allowing him to withstand repeated hits with minimal effect. He has an effective armor trait of 1 against bashing attacks only.

Defensive Attack (3 dots): Your character has mastered the ability to fight defensively. When using this maneuver, your character gains +2 to his Defense for the turn, but any attack he makes suffers a -2 penalty. He can move no more than his Acting Speed while performing a Defense Attack maneuver in a turn.

Whirlwind Strike (4 dots): Your character can unleash a storm of blows against an opponent. He can make one extra Brawl attack if he has Dexterity 3 or two extra Brawl attacks if he has Dexterity 5. Each extra attack is made at a cumulative -1 modifier. Thus, he can perform a total of two attacks at Dexterity 3 (the second of which is at -1), and three attacks at Dexterity 5 (the third of which is at -2). All attacks must be on the same target. Drawback: Your character cannot use his Defense against any attack in the same turn in which he intends to use this maneuver. If he uses Defense against attacks that occur earlier in the Initiative roster, before he can perform this maneuver, he cannot perform the maneuver this turn. He is too busy bobbing and weaving out of the way of attacks. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Lethal Strike (5 dots): By focusing his might and concentration, your character can kill or maim an opponent with a well-placed strike. A strike inflicts lethal instead of bashing damage. Drawback: Spend one Willpower point per attack. Note that this Willpower expenditure does not add +3 to the attack.

Fighting Style: Langschwert (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Strength 3 and Weaponry 3
Effect: Your character is skilled in the German two-handed long sword style, or another martial art that specializes in using a long two-handed sword or stick.

Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Langschwert maneuvers are based on the Weaponry Skill and work in conjunction with a Size 3 or 4 blade or staff.

Wards (1 dot): Your character knows how to use his weapon to deflect and threaten away attacks. Add 1 to his Defense when he wields a weapon compatible with this Fighting Style.

Fool’s Guard (2 dots): Your character knows how to hold his weapon low to seemingly invite attack, but when the opponent strikes, he can quickly raise it to counter. Instead of offering a normal Defense, roll Strength + Weaponry + 1 against the opponent’s attack. This is an instant action. Each success reduces the attack’s damage by 1, and if the characters successes exceed the attacker’s, the difference is inflicted upon the attacker as damage from the character’s weapon Drawback: The character cannot employ his Defense in any turn where he uses the Fool’s Guard. This maneuver constitutes your character’s action for the turn. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Half Sword (3 dots): Your character grabs the midpoint of his weapon to rain more powerful thrusts and blows at a shorter range, almost as if he was using the blade as a small spear. If his attack succeeds, add 2 to the weapon’s damage (do not add this as the weapon’s equipment bonus, but after rolling). Drawback: The weapon’s reduced range nullifies the Wards maneuver, so the character loses its Defense bonus. It also reduces the character’s Weaponry-based dicepool by one.

Doubling Cut (4 dots): Your character strikes the enemy with two quick cuts. He can make two Weaponry attacks against an opponent in the same turn. The second strike suffers a -2 penalty. Drawback: Your character cannot employ his Defense, the Fool’s Guard, or Half Sword in the same turn as he uses this maneuver. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Wrathful Cut (5 dots): Your character steps in with a powerful blow, capable of overwhelming his enemy’s defenses. When he makes an All-Out Attack (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 157), add his Weaponry dots +1 instead of the normal +2 bonus. Drawback: Your character cannot employ his Defense or the Fool’s Guard in the same turn as he uses this maneuver. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Fighting Style: Qinna (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3 and Brawl 2
Effect: Your character is skilled in a Chinese martial arts style that emphasizes qinna, or another martial art that specializes in standing joint locks, holds and chokes.

Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Qinna maneuvers are based on the Brawl Skill and work in conjunction with unarmed combat.

Qinna maneuvers are designed to exploit weaknesses in the human anatomy. Targets who do not feel pain, possess the need to breathe or have skeletons will not be affected by certain maneuvers. Of the commonly played supernatural beings, this renders vampires immune to the effects of Sealing the Breath or Disrupting the Veins.

Standing Control (1 dot): Your character gains an additional overpowering maneuver, called Standing Control. If he overpowers his opponent he may force him to accompany him wherever he goes. Drawback: The character can only move himself and his opponent half as far as his Acting Speed would normally allow. The character cannot have moved earlier in the turn, and cannot automatically dump his enemy over a cliff or into a fire or other dangerous environment without performing a separate attack.

Misplacing the Bones (2 dots): The character’s holds can snap bones and tear connective tissue. If his player inflicts more damage in an overpowering maneuver than the victim’s Size, he breaks a limb unless the defender opts to immediately fall prone. The fracture (or tissue separation) inflicts a point of lethal damage instead of the standard bashing damage, and renders the limb useless. It does not recover until the victim heals that damage. If the limb is an arm, reduce the defender’s Defense by 1 and note that he’s dropped anything held in it. If it’s a leg, the defender cannot walk upright. Drawback: Unless the character opts for a specified target (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 165), the defender’s player (or Storyteller) chooses which limb’s been damaged.

Grabbing the Muscles (3 dots): Your character’s grappling holds twist muscles out of place or puts the defender in a position where he can’t use strength to force his way out of the attack. Treat the defender as if his Strength was two dots lower for the purpose of resisting overpower maneuvers.

Sealing the Breath (4 dots): Your character can use chokeholds and strikes to pressure points around the lungs to interfere with a target’s breathing. If he succeeds with a Brawl-based strike or damaging overpower maneuver at a voluntary –1 dicepool penalty, he inflicts a –1 dicepool penalty to the opponent’s actions in addition to inflicting standard damage. This penalty is cumulative throughout the combat scene, but vanishes afterwards. (Note: Vampires do not need to breathe and are immune to this maneuver.)

Disrupting the Veins (5 dots): Your character’s grappling maneuvers expertly attack anatomical weaknesses. When he damages a victim with an overpower maneuver you can choose to inflict lethal damage, and when he uses any other maneuver he can choose to inflict a point of lethal damage in addition to other effects. Drawback: Spend a point of Willpower per attack. This does not add +3 to your dicepool. (Note: Vampires are immune to this maneuver.)

Fighting Style: Shurikenjutsu (• to ••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3 and Athletics 2
Effect: Your character knows how to throw edged weapons with particular skill.

Your character may use Fighting Style: Shurikenjutsu with any edged weapon that’s been designed for throwing. She may also use it with any other Size 1 object as if she had one dot less in this Merit, or any Size 2 weapon as if she had 2 dots less (Size 3 or greater weapons are not compatible with the Merit). The advantages of this Merit apply to the character’s attempts to throw a qualified weapon, not use it in close range combat.

Ma-ai (“Distance;” 1 dot): Your character learns to properly gauge a target’s distance and modify her technique to match it. Double her short, medium and long range throwing ranges.

Kakushi Buki (“Hidden Weapons;” 2 dots): The character knows how to rapidly retrieve a throwing weapon from a sleeve, holster or other prepared spot on her body. She never needs to use an action to draw a throwing weapon from a prepared spot.

Choku Da-Ho (“Direct Hit Method;” 3 dots): Your character can throw using the power of her entire body. Add her Strength dots to the dice pool for throwing the weapon. Drawback: The character is considered a still target and may not employ her Defense during the turn in which she uses this maneuver. She may not use this maneuver in conjunction with Ikki Gokken. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Ikki Gokken (“Five Blades in One Breath;” 4 dots): Your character can throw multiple weapons in rapid succession during a single turn, provided she either holds them in one hand or can draw them instantly using Kakushi Buki. She may make a one additional throw at Dexterity 3 and two additional throws at Dexterity 5. Each extra action is rolled at a cumulative –1 modifier. Thus, she can throw twice at Dexterity 3 (with the second at a –1 modifier) and three times at Dexterity 5 (at a 0, –1 then –2 modifier to dice rolls). Drawback: The character is considered a still target and may not employ her Defense during the turn in which she uses this maneuver. She may not use this maneuver in conjunction with Choku-Do-Ho. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Fighting Style: Sniping (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3, Resolve 3, Firearms 3, and Stealth 2
Effect: A sniper is the antithesis of a gunfighter, patient and serene rather than swift and ruthless. Your character, through life-long experience or intensive military training, is patient and skilled enough to spend hours staring through a rifle scope before taking one perfect shot that decides the fate of a hostage or a nation.

Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special combat maneuvers. The maneuvers and their effects are described below, most of which are based on the Firearms Skill. All of the following maneuvers work only with rifles (including assault rifles).

On Scope (1 dot): Your character has an intuitive understanding of long-range ballistics and has spent countless hours straining to pick out tiny details through a telescopic sight. The maximum bonus he may receive from aiming (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 162) is increased to his Composure +1 for semi-automatic and automatic rifles and his Composure +2 for break-action, bolt-action and lever-action rifles. In addition, when using a scope or other long-range optic device (e.g., binoculars), he receives a +2 bonus to all perception rolls (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 45).

Battlesight Zero (2 dots): Once your character is familiar with the capabilities of a rifle, he can wring unparalleled performance from it. Whenever your character sights in a rifle (see “Sighting Tools,” Armory p. 164), he doubles the number of attacks that receive the bonus from this process. In addition, whenever he makes an attack with a rifle that receives this bonus, the weapon’s short range is increased by five yards times his Wits, medium range by twice this amount and long range by three times this amount.

Focused Shot (3 dots): Your character can lurk motionless in ambush for days, ignoring sleep deprivation, temperature extremes and even life-threatening injuries in the name of putting lead on target. When making an aimed shot, he may ignore an amount of penalties for wounds, drugs, disease, pain, fatigue, environmental conditions and similar factors equal to his Resolve. For example, if your character has Resolve 4, has two points of Health remaining (–2), has gone without sleep for 36 hours (–2) and has ingested strong hallucinogens (–3), his aimed shots suffer only a –3 penalty instead of the –7 that affects all his other dicepools.

Tactical Intervention (4 dots): Split-second timing and nerves of steel enable your character to take advantage of the smallest opportunities for accurate shot placement. When making an aimed shot, all penalties for shooting into close combat and for concealment are halved, rounding down.

One Shot, One Kill (5 dots): When your character picks up his rifle, people fall down. It’s just that simple. When making an aimed shot, do not add the rifle’s Damage rating to the attack dicepool (though “9 again” or “8 again” still applies if it would normally). Instead, if the attack succeeds, add the rifle’s Damage rating as extra successes. Drawback: Spend one Willpower per attack. Note that this Willpower expenditure does not add +3 to the attack.


Fighting Style: Staff Fighting (• to •••)
Prerequisites: Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Weaponry 2
Effect: Your character has learned to wield a quarterstaff, bo staff or jo staff effectively in combat. This is likely something he has learned from a martial practitioner. This style is sometimes called bojutsu.

Dots purchased with this Merit allow access to unique combat maneuvers with polearms. These maneuvers and their effects are described below. All maneuvers are based upon the Weaponry Skill.

Note that while a quarter-, bo or jo staff are the norm for this fighting style, the maneuvers are not limited to these weapons. A character can use any polearm for these maneuvers, but using other polearms with an item that isn't one of the aforementioned three staff types requires an additional dot of Weaponry (Weaponry 3). A character can also utilize improvised polearms (including post-hole diggers, scythes or other objects at least five feet in length) with these maneuvers. In such cases, Weaponry 3 is still required, and all attack rolls are made with the appropriate improvised weapon penalties in place. Remember as well that utilizing a polearm in combat grants the wielder a +1 Defense.

Trip (1 dot): Your character can use his polearm to trip a single opponent, hopefully sending him to the ground. It is a contested roll pitting the character’s normal attack dicepool against the opponent’s Dexterity + Athletics. The character’s attack is penalized by the foe’s Defense, as usual. If the opponent falls, assume Knockdown rules (per p. 168, the World of Darkness Rulebook). In this case, however, the fall to the ground incurs a single point of bashing damage to the opponent.

Temple Strike (2 dots): Your character brings his staff against the side of his adversary’s head. The normal –3 penalty to hit the head still applies, but if the damage meets or exceeds the target’s Size, the target falls unconscious for a number of turns equal to the damage done. This damage is usually bashing, as it is meant to be performed with a blunt staff. The damage can be performed with a bladed weapon such as the naginata, however. The effect is the same, but the damage is now lethal instead of bashing. (Vampires cannot be knocked unconscious and are immune to this maneuver.)

Dangerous Radius (3 dots): With this technique, your character can swing his weapon in a wide arc, hitting anyone within three yards. Make a normal attack roll for the character (Strength + Weaponry + weapon bonuses). This roll receives a penalty equal to the number of opponents hit with this strike (to a maximum of –5). Subtract any protections for each victim as normal (Defense, Armor, Celerity, etc.). Successes achieved on this roll are done as damage to all within the three-yard radius. If the weapon is a normal blunt polearm (i.e., a staff), it does bashing. If bladed, the weapon causes lethal damage. Drawback: Spend one Willpower before making any attack roll. Note that this Willpower expenditure does not add +3 to the attack. This attack cannot distinguish between friend or foe. Any allies within the three-yard radius are hit along with enemies. The technique cannot be pulled to exclude friends from the damage.

Fighting Style: Stick Fighting (• to ••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3, Weaponry 3
Effect: Your character is trained in the art of stick fighting, which is often called escrima or kali. He may have learned this from an instructor or a family member. Most escrima techniques use weapons and are meant predominantly for self-defense.

Dots purchased with this Merit allow access to unique combat maneuvers with blunt weapons. These maneuvers and their effects are described below. All maneuvers are based upon the Weaponry Skill.

Note that to perform these maneuvers, a character must have at least one blunt weapon in hand. This weapon is potentially one escrima stick (or a pair), but it can be any blunt object shorter than two feet in length. If the character wields two weapons, he still assumes the –2 penalty for off-hand attacks. Once the character reaches the fourth and final level of this style, he can then choose to use any of the maneuvers without weapons. At this stage he learns the “empty hand” techniques of escrima.

Lock and Block (1 dot): With this move, your character uses an adversary’s momentum against him. If you succeed on a Strength + Weaponry roll, your character captures an opponent’s attacking arm in his own and gains a grapple over him. You may add your character’s Defense to the Strength + Weaponry roll, as he is technically making a defensive maneuver. However, if you choose to add his Defense to this attack, you may not apply his Defense against any incoming attacks that turn. If he has already applied his Defense, he may still utilize this maneuver, but he does not get to add his Defense to the roll.

Disarm (2 dots): This allows your character to capture an incoming attack and bring his own weapon down upon a foe’s forearm, potentially forcing the enemy to drop his weapon. (Note that this is different than the Disarm Merit.) To enact this maneuver, make a normal attack roll (Dexterity + Weaponry). Compare the successes on this roll against the opponent’s Stamina. If the successes are equal to or exceed his Stamina score, he drops the weapon. This attack does cause damage to the opponent, as well. Take the successes gained on the attack roll and halve them (round up). The opponent takes this much bashing damage.

Off-Balancing Attack (3 dots): With this attack, your character uses his weapon to set a foe off-balance. This attack can take any form: thrusting a baton into a solar plexus, hitting a foe’s temple or the bridge of his nose or using a stick’s momentum to push him into an awkward position. The attack is made at a –2 penalty. If successful, the attack does full damage and the opponent’s next attack is made at a –3 penalty.

Many-Handed Defense (4 dots): Escrima practitioners know how to move and flow with the combat in ways often unparalleled in other weapon-style systems. In this case, you may apply your character’s full Defense (or Dodge) to all attacks against him in a single turn. They are not diminished at all by attacks made after the first.


Fighting Style: Sword and Shield (• to •••••)
Prerequisites: Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Weaponry 2
Effect: Your character has trained extensively with a weapon in his primary hand and a shield in his off-hand. He has learned to utilize the shield’s strengths, redirecting it towards incoming threats while overcoming some of the clumsiness involved in making attacks from behind a shield’s protective cover.

Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Sword and Shield maneuvers are based on the Weaponry Skill and function only when a character possesses a shield.

Cloak and Dagger (1 dot): Your character’s extensive training with shields allows him to utilize improvised shields more effectively. This maneuver is named for the practice of using one’s cloak to buffet incoming attacks away. A character with this maneuver doubles the effective Structure of an improvised shield (usually an improvised shield can only deflect a number of attacks equal to its structure before being destroyed) and suffers a –2 penalty to attack rather than the standard –3. This penalty can be further decreased by the maneuver The Shielded Strike below, but improvised shields cannot be used to perform the Shield Bash, Shield Charge, or Stand Strong maneuvers.

Shield Bash (2 dots): Your character has learned how to use the shield defensively and offensively. Attempts to strike another combatant with the character’s shield still suffer a –1 penalty, but gain a Weapon bonus equal to the shield’s Defense rating. Damage remains bashing. Drawback: A character using a shield to knock an enemy back is not using it for defense. A character does not benefit from a shield’s Defense rating on a turn in which he uses this maneuver. If he has already used the full Defense rating against an incoming attack during the turn, he may not use the maneuver.

The Shielded Strike (3 dots): The character’s use of his shield integrates seamlessly with that of his weapon. He may rest the blade across the top or side of a rectangular shield, pushing the weapon forward as if playing billiards. Perhaps he has developed a careful rhythm in which he lowers the shield for the bare instant necessary to deliver a fatal attack. Either way, when the character uses this maneuver to make an attack, he no longer suffers a penalty for using a weapon while benefiting from his shield, and his shield adds +1 to its Defense rating against the target of the attack. Drawback: The character’s concentration on coordinating his shield and weapon leaves him open to attacks from the flanks and rear. He loses his Defense against attacks made by any opponent save the one he is attacking. If he has already used his Defense against an incoming attack from another opponent during the turn, he may not use the maneuver. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Shield Charge (4 dots): The character charges forward, shield lowered before him, and crashes into the enemy line. The character makes a shield bash attack (see above) at a –2. The attack inflicts bashing damage, but if even a single success is scored on the attack, the character may send his enemy flying. An opponent who suffers the effects of this attack makes a reflexive Dexterity + Athletics roll; if he rolls fewer successes than the shield-user, he suffers knockdown (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 168). At Storyteller’s discretion, this maneuver may be used against multiple opponents, provided that they are standing close enough together. Each additional opponent targeted levies an additional –1 to the attack roll, and the damage dealt (successes) is distributed evenly among those hit. Those who suffer no damage do not check for knockdown, even if their companions do. Drawback: Use of this maneuver necessitates a charge action (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 164), which means, among other things, he loses his Defense. If he has already used his Defense against an incoming attack from another opponent during the turn, he may not use the maneuver. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Stand Strong (5 dots): The character digs in his feet, raises his shield, and stands as a human wall against an onslaught of attacks. He benefits from his full Dodge trait and shield defense bonus against attacks made from a single direction (Weaponry Dodge can be applied). Additionally, attacks from that direction do not decrease his Defense against later attacks in the round. For the purpose of this maneuver, a direction is approximately one third of the circumference of a circle drawn about the character (typically claiming defense against attacks from the left, front, or right is sufficient). Attacks made against the character from other directions suffer a penalty equal to Defense only, which suffers penalties from multiple attacks as usual. Note that while a single enemy might be able to move around the character’s defenses, no more than three characters can assault the character from a direction that he can’t fully defend against through this maneuver. Drawback: Using this maneuver requires an incredible exercise of will. A character must spend one Willpower point to gain the benefits of this Merit for one turn.


Fighting Style: Two Weapons (• to ••••)
Prerequisites: Dexterity 3 and Weaponry 3
Effect: Your character has trained to fight with a weapon in both hands, allowing him to attack and dodge or make two attacks in the same turn. Your character still suffers the -2 offhand penalty when attacking with a weapon in his secondary hand (unless you have also purchased the Ambidextrous Merit). Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special combat maneuvers. The maneuvers and their effects are detailed below, all of which are based on the Weaponry Skill.

Whirling Blades (1 dot): Your character’s Dodge trait (Defense doubled; see p. 156) is not penalized by multiple attacks staged against him in a turn until the number of attacks exceeds his Weaponry dots, at which point each attack thereafter reduces his Dodge by -1. So, if your character (with 2 Defense and 3 Weaponry) dodges attacks in a turn, the first three incoming attacks suffer his full Dodge trait as a penalty (-4) – the fourth suffers a -3 penalty, the fifth suffers a -2 penalty, and so on. Basically, your character’s weapons move so quickly all about him that opponents in close combat have trouble reaching or assaulting him. The Brawling Dodge Merit (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 110) cannot replace normal Dodge (Defense doubled) when this maneuver is performed, but the Weaponry Dodge Merit can.

Deflect and Thrust (2 dots): Your character can avoid attacks and strike back in the same motion. When using this maneuver, your character gains +2 to his Defense for the turn, but any attack he makes suffers a -2 penalty. He can move no more than his Acting Speed while performing a Deflect and Thrust maneuver in a turn.

Focused Attack (3 dots): Your character can attack a single target twice in one turn. The second attack suffers a -1 penalty (or -3 if your character does not also possess the Ambidextrous Merit). Drawback: Your character cannot use his Defense against any attack in the same turn in which he intends to use this maneuver. If he uses Defense against attacks that occur earlier in the Initiative roster, before he can perform this maneuver, he cannot perform the maneuver this turn. He is too busy bobbing and weaving out of the way of attacks. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)

Fluid Attack (4 dots): Your character can make a single attack on two different targets in one turn. The targets cannot be a distance apart in excess of your character’s Speed trait. The second attack suffers a -1 penalty (or -3 if your character does not also possess the Ambidextrous Merit). Drawback: Your character cannot use his Defense against any attack in the same turn in which he intends to use this maneuver. If he uses Defense against attacks that occur earlier in the Initiative roster, before he can perform this maneuver, he cannot perform the maneuver this turn. He is too busy bobbing and weaving out of the way of attacks. (Note: This maneuver cannot be combined with any other maneuver which requires your character to sacrifice his Defense.)
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