Forgotten Realms: Splendors & Shadow
Any character can theoretically learn a martial-arts style, and buy the power-ups for which he qualifies, but most styles are designed with one particular template in mind – and some can only be purchased by characters who meet certain other criteria (racial template, etc). Each style consists of one or more Style Skills, the combat, athletic, and other skills that make up its basic body of techniques; a Style Familiarity perk, representing knowledge of the style’s core teachings; and the special Style Perks and Power-Ups that practitioners may learn.
Buying a Martial-Arts Style
The basic cost of a martial-arts style is one point (at least) in each Style Skill, plus Style Familiarity (1 point). This allows the character to buy the style’s Perks and Power-Ups, though he must still have other requisites – specifically Trained by a Master or Weapon Master for advanced/cinematic traits.
…at Character Creation
In many cases, Style Skills will be covered by a template’s primary or secondary skills – if you’re learning a martial-arts style, it’s probably in your primary weapon – but if not, they can be purchased as background skills, or using other discretionary points (optional advantage pool, points from quirks, etc). Likewise, Style Familiarity can be bought from discretionary points, or traded for another starting perk (the swashbuckler’s Weapon Bond, for example).
Exclusive styles are limited to the specific templates or lenses that they accompany, and unavailable to all others. Only a martial artist (or other character with Trained by a Master) can buy an exotic style at character creation. Any character with the points and skills can buy a fencing or melee style.
…as a Power-Up
A character can spend earned character points on a new martial-arts style, provided he meets all stat requirements, and fulfills any in-game conditions necessary to obtain training – generally, finding a master of the style to teach him, and successfully petitioning (or paying) for instruction. Non-martial artists must purchase the martial artist lens (or somehow acquire the Trained by a Master advantage) to buy an exotic style; exclusive styles are only available with the purchase of the special lens that they accompany, which in turn is only possible for characters who meet the underlying requirements for the lens. Once all conditions are met, the character pays the cost (character points and/or training expenses) and acquires the listed traits, as for any power-up.
Perks and Power-Ups
A character with Style Familiarity and at least one point in each Style Skill can purchase the style’s perks and power-ups, provided he meets all other requirements for the trait in question – including Trained by a Master or Weapon Master for “cinematic” abilities, marked with an asterisk. Perks are further limited to one perk per full 10 points the character has in Style Skills and techniques; this is in addition to normal Combat Perks (DF11, p. 11). Style Perks and Power-Ups can be purchased at character creation using discretionary advantage points, or with earned points – though the GM may require in-game conditions for more advanced power-ups (find the Lost Master of the style in his remote mountain cabin and challenge him to a duel, etc).
These styles are taught only to members of a specific community or organization. Such styles can only be learned by characters who meet those criteria (in the GM’s judgment, if there’s a question) – most often, bought as part of a style-specific lens that’s applied to their underlying template.
- Calishite Dervish
- Secret of the Crescent Moon
- Sword of the Four Winds
- Way of the Broken Order
- Way of the Shining Hand
- Way of the Sun Soul
Available only to those who have been Trained by a Master, these styles are difficult and esoteric, requiring the discipline of a dedicated martial artist. Other characters may purchase an exotic style along with the appropriate martial artist lens, learning the style at the same time as they buy Trained by a Master.
Light sword-fighting styles are common in the urban centers of Faerûn, and may be learned by any character with the desire (and points) to do so – provided they don’t have the Low Tech (Dark Ages) disadvantage. Swashbucklers are by far the most common practitioners, but anyone who favors one-handed swords can benefit.
- Amnian Saber Fencing
- “Freestyle” (Waterdhavian) Saber Fighting
- Halfling Knife Fighting
- Sembian Cloak and Smallsword Style
- Traditional (Cormyrian) Rapier Dueling
- Zhentish Rapier Fencing
Most common among knights and other professional warriors, these styles range from the battlefield to the back-alley in their origins, as well as their usefulness.