Combat Skills

COMBAT SKILLS

“It is a profound tragedy that these lowly creatures will never know the light of God; that I must banish them with my sword to a place beyond redemption.”

–Elias, Master Paladin of the Sacred Order of the White Lion

Combat skills are how a character gains the ability to do battle and survive combat.  Each Combat Skill follows a similar structure:

Rank 1: Basic Use
Rank 2: Defensive Abilities
Rank 3: Use of Conditions while Fresh
Rank 4: Advanced abilities
Rank 5: Master stroke

Basic Use

The first Rank of melee weaponry Skills allows the user to safely physically parry.  Weapon hits that are “significantly interfered with” are rendered harmless, even if they do happen to touch the blocker anyway.  Physically parrying without this ability causes a Hit to your blocking arm. Note that the Fear condition removes this ability, causing physical weapon parries to count as arm hits.

Skills that don’t involve melee weaponry, like Archery, Firearms and Shields simply allow the basic use of those pieces of equipment at this level, and the Brawl skill grants unarmed attacks.

(Read more about Game Effects)

Defensive Abilities

The ability to call Dodge or Parry primarily comes from Weapon Skills, which grants an ability called Defense.  Skills may grant multiple versions of these abilities under the same name.  For instance, “Defense” as granted by Arming Weapons allows a use of Parry, while “Defense” as granted by Brawl allows the use of a Dodge.  If the same character has more than one of these abilities, she may spend them in either manner she chooses, but it still only gains a single defense call.

The Defense ability itself allows a character to Exert themselves in order to call the defense granted by their Combat Skill. As a reminder, Exhausted characters may not Exert, and therefore may not use any Defense ability. <Read more about Stamina>

Weapon Skills require the character to have their weapon readied and grant the Parry call, while ranged and unarmed skills allow the character to call Dodge, and may be used at any time, even if a different weapon is equipped.

Weapon Qualities

The character now has the expertise to best take advantage of their weapons special qualities in order to call Conditions. Weapons each have certain kinds of Conditions that they are best used for, and the third rank of weapon skills allows the character to fully take advantage of their weapons unique qualities. When a weapon is made, it has a specific Condition category that it is best used for. While the character is Fresh they may call conditions from that category whenever they Hit with their weapon. Hits to limbs cause Tier 1 Conditions, such as Bleed, Stagger, or Pain, and Hits to the torso cause Tier 2 Conditions, such as Winded, Knockdown, or Stun.

Axes have an additional advantage in that they may call Sunder on any item after Hitting it 3 times in a single scene. This Sunder call may be defended against normally.

Hammers and Maces have an additional advantage in that their Hits always have the Driving Quality, and so may not be stopped by Armor calls.

Striking Conditions

          Bleed
          Winded
          Strike

Staggering Conditions

          Stagger
          Knockdown
          Slam

Stunning Conditions

          Pain
          Stun
          Blackout

Fighting Styles

Skilled fighters may learn Fighting Styles, a specialized group of fighting moves that grant them new abilities or help them shore up weaknesses in their fighting style.  Once reaching Rank 4 in a Combat Skill, they may learn and use Fighting Styles they are taught, or teach themselves ones they meet the prerequisites for.

(Read more about Fighting Styles)

Light Weapons

Arming Weapons

Heavy Weapons

Brawl

Shields

Archery

Firearms

LIGHT WEAPONS

Light Weapons are those weapons which are naturally between 0 and 24” in length.  Not well-suited for open battle, they instead find their value in murder rather than combat.  Light weapons are easily concealed and well-suited for close-quarters combat and surprise.

Common light weaponry includes daggers, rondels, stilettos, hatchets, clubs and short swords.

Rank 1: Light Weapon Use

The fighter may use Light Weapons to physically parry in combat.

          Fear disables this effect

Rank 2: Light Weapon Defense

DEFENSE

The fighter may Exert to call Dodge against all Hits or all Conditions delivered by melee attacks that occurred during the current Beat if they have a Light Weapon readied.

Rank 3: Light Weapon Technique

The fighter gains access to the Qualities of their readied Light Weapon. While the fighter is Fresh they may call Tier 1 Conditions on limb Hits and Tier 2 conditions on Torso Hits.

Rank 4: Thrown Weapons

The fighter may now make use of coreless throwing weapons to deliver Hits and Conditions.

Rank 5: Backstab

The fighter can take advantage of distraction or slowness to deliver crippling precise blows to their opponent.  When the fighter is attacking from behind their opponent they may add Driving and Power to their melee Hits.

ARMING WEAPONS

Arming Weapons are those that are naturally between 24” and 42” in length.  Arming Weapons are those that are standard issue for militaries, soldiers, guardsmen and other professional fighters.  They are well-known for their balanced approach to attack and defense, and a master can do either task without having to sacrifice the other, every guard an attack and every attack protecting the fighter.

Common arming weapons include broadswords, battle-axes, maces, sabres, and hammers.

Rank 1: Arming Weapon Use

The fighter may use Arming Weapons to physically parry in combat.

Fear disables this effect

Rank 2: Arming Weapon Defense

DEFENSE

The fighter may Exert to call Parry against all Hits or all Conditions delivered by melee attacks that occurred during the current Beat if they have an Arming Weapon readied.

Rank 3: Arming Weapons Technique

The fighter gains access to the Qualities of their readied Arming Weapon. While the fighter is Fresh they may call Tier 1 Conditions on limb Hits and Tier 2 conditions on Torso Hits.

Rank 4: Riposte

When the fighter is pressed to their last ounce of energy, their training allows them to attempt a desperate recovery. If the fighter can score a Hit on an opponent while they are Exhausted, then the fighter may Recover back to Tired on the following Beat. This effect occurs even if the Hit is cancelled with a Defense Call.

Rank 5: Weapon Mastery

The fighter knows how to use their weapons as perfect extensions of their own body, maximizing every opportunity available to them. The fighter may add Power to any Conditions that they call using an Arming Weapon.

HEAVY WEAPONS

Heavy Weapons are those that are naturally longer than 42” in length.  Heavy Weapons are sometimes specialized weapons of war, such as the greatsword or poleaxe, intended for elite fighters to reach over the press to help the common soldier.  In other cases they belong to the common folk, the long farming scythe or the pike pressed into the hand of a levied militiaman. In either case, Heavy Weapons, usually wielded in two hands, benefit greatly from reach and are suited to smash through swathes of enemies.

Common heavy weaponry includes greatswords, spears, polearms, and staves.

Rank 1: Heavy Weapon Use

The fighter may use Heavy Weapons to physically parry in combat.

Fear disables this effect

Rank 2: Heavy Weapon Defense

DEFENSE

The fighter may Exert to call Parry against all Hits or all Conditions delivered by melee attacks that occurred during the current Beat if they have a Heavy Weapon readied.

Rank 3: Heavy Weapons Technique

The fighter gains access to the Qualities of their readied Heavy Weapon. While the fighter is Fresh they may call Tier 1 Conditions on limb Hits and Tier 2 conditions on Torso Hits.

Rank 4: Cleave

The fighter can carve bloody ruin through foes, using the momentum of their heavy swings to carry through to the next opponent, and the next, battering their foes around and using their positions against them.  Whenever the fighter calls a Condition with their Heavy Weapon, they may call the same Condition on every opponent in a 90° arc in the direction of their swing.

Rank 5: Battlefield Control

Using momentum and aggression, the fighter smashes aside lesser attacks that could hinder their own offense. During any Beat in which the fighter scores a Hit on an opponent, they may call Parry against all Hits or all Conditions against them that occurred during that Beat. This effect occurs even if the Hit is cancelled with a Defense Call.

BRAWL

Brawling is the ability to use the body itself as a weapon, delivering punches and grapples to disable an opponent.  While less imminently lethal than fighting with weapons, unarmed combat nonetheless has the advantage of being always available, and can be combined with more traditional forms of armed combat to blend their advantages.

Rank 1: Brawling

BRAWLING

The brawler may lay a hand on the opponent’s body and call a specific Combat Condition based on the location touched, or may lock their opponent into a grapple.

  • Punches to the limbs (arms or legs) cause Pain.
  • Punches to the front of the torso cause Winded.
  • Punches to the back of the torso cause Stun.
  • Contacting the opponent on any location, the fighter may call Stagger.
  • Contacting the opponent on any location, the fighter may call Grab.

Refresh: Brawling may be used once per Beat.

Rank 2: Brawl Defense

DEFENSE

The brawler may Exert to call Dodge against all Hits or all Conditions that occurred during the current Beat. 

Rank 3: Brawling Technique

After maintaining a Grab on an opponent for a full Beat, the brawler may break that Grab in order to call Strike to one limb or to call a Tier 2 Combat Condition (Winded, Knockdown, or Stun).

Rank 4: Advanced Brawling

After maintaining a Grab on an opponent for a full Beat, the brawler may break that Grab in order to call Blackout.

Rank 5: Takedown

The brawler can deliver amazing power through their unarmed strikes.  By using the Brawling ability on the opponent’s torso, the brawler may call Strike, Slam, or Blackout.

SHIELDS

Shields are used to interpose a barrier between the fighter and her opponent.  The basic shield is small and maneuverable, ranging all the way to extremely large tower shields that cover most of the body.  Shields are commonly paired with an Arming Weapon, as much part of the fighter’s attacking capability as their defense.

Rank 1: Shield Use

The fighter may physically block Hits with their shield.

Rank 2: Shield Defense

DEFENSE

The fighter may Exert to call Armor against all Hits or all Conditions delivered by melee attacks that occurred during the current Beat if they have a Shield readied.

Rank 3: Shield Technique

While Fresh the fighter may call Stagger whenever an opponent strikes their shield. 

Rank 4: Shield Guard

GUARD

Once per scene the fighter may call Armor against all Hits or all Conditions that occurred during the current Beat if they have a shield readied.

This ability combines with Defense, and refreshed on Rest.

Rank 5: Block

The fighter uses the shield to masterfully glance away attacks as they arrive.  Whenever the fighter uses a Shields ability to call Armor, she may instead call Block, cancelling all Hits and Conditions that occurred during that Beat, regardless of Power.

ARCHERY

Archery uses ranged weaponry such as bows and crossbows to fire arrows into opponents.  Missiles fired by skilled archers can use accuracy to pierce through almost any defense without ever exposing the archer to danger.  While mechanical weapons such as crossbows are indeed devices of engineering, they may take advantage of the Archery Skill.

Archery requires ammunition, which are produced in batches by Woodworkers, and some arrows can be custom made to better perform.

(Read more about Weaponry)

Rank 1: Archery Use

The archer may load, draw and fire a bow.

  • Melee weapon hits cannot be physically parried with a bow.

Rank 2: Archery Defense

DEFENSE

The archer may Exert to call Dodge against all Hits or all Conditions that occurred during the current Beat while the archer has a bow ready.

Rank 3: ArcherTechnique

The archer gains access to the Qualities of their Arrows. While the archer is Fresh they may call Tier 1 Conditions on limb Hits and Tier 2 conditions on Torso Hits.

Rank 4: Advanced Archery

The archer may Exert in order to snipe a specified target within Shouting Distance, calling Strike.

Rank 5:  Marksman

The archer’s shots are so accurate that they barely need to aim, able to take advantage of every exposed target.  All of the physical arrow Hits and Conditions delivered by the archer gain the Quick Quality.

FIREARMS

Firearms are the latest in martial technology, created by mechanist engineers and using expensive Dwarven black powder to fire iron shot into opponents.  Dwarven longrifles and manmade pistols are the weapons of the wealthy elite of Capacionne, but their use is slowly picking up elsewhere.

Firearms use blasting caps to signal their effect, and failing that, the BANG call.  Firearms are delicate and do not work in wet conditions. If it has rained that day or is currently raining, Firearms cannot be used.

(Read more about Game Effects)

(Read more about Devices)

Rank 1: Firearms Use

The fighter may load and fire and maintain a firearm.

The fighter’s familiarity and comfort with the percussive forces of black powder allow them to not be Staggered by the Bang effect of Firearm weapons.

 

Rank 2: Firearm Defense

DEFENSE

The fighter may Exert to call Dodge against all Hits or all Conditions that occurred during the current Beat while they have a firearm readied.

Rank 3: Firearms Technique

The fighter is an expert at reloading his weapon, quick hands working by muscle memory alone with nimble fingers dancing over the casings.  The fighter may now Exert and run their hand over their firearm to reload in a single Beat. 

Rank 4: Advanced Firearms

The fighter’s rigorous care, oiling, fitting, filing, customizing and polish of their weapon means that their firearm is unaffected by wet climate, weather and rain. This takes 10 minutes of maintenance roleplay per weapon weatherproofed per day.

Rank 5:  Quickdraw

The gunman can draw and fire without aiming by reflex faster than his opponent can anticipate to Dodge.  Immediately after drawing their gun, the fighter may add the Quick quality to a shot with their firearm.

This may be used once per Combat Scene on the first shot only.