Fading Suns and Flaming Heresies
It is one thing to throw a punch at someone, but another thing entirely to throw a punch after spending weeks — or years — training for it. By applying thought to body mechanics in a systematic way, the martial artist gains a significant edge in combat over his opponents. Martial Arts actions are mostly variations on Fist, Kick, Grapple and Dodge, but with more finesse and power. They are rated by the Fight skill level required to learn them. For example: Martial Hold is 4, meaning that a character must know Fight 4 to learn it. Each action must be bought seperately (buying the level 5 Claw Fist does not give the character the level 5 Tornado Kick or any other actions of lower levels).
However, martial actions do not have to be learned in order (a character can buy Martial Hold without having to buy Martial Kick).
Martial Arts actions cost 1 point per level during character creation, or 2 per level with experience points.
Martial Arts actions vary greatly depending on the style they come from, although in strict rules terms, a throw is a throw, regardless of whether it is performed by an aikidoka or judoist. In Fading Suns, style is mainly a matter of atmosphere. While styles do flavor and modify certain actions, they are mainly used to enhance roleplaying — characters don’t just pull their Martial Arts actions out of nowhere; someone had to teach them. In the Known Worlds, martial stylists proudly advertise their affiliations and engage in fierce rivalries with other stylists. Grand tournaments are held to determine whose style is best. But, in the end, it is usually not the style that determines the outcome of a fight, but the fighter herself.
Below is a list of the more famous martial styles. Others exist, but teachers are rarer.
Shaidan: A no-nonsense power form similar to ancient Urth karate. The Grand Master of this style is Duke Enrico de Aragon, a Hazat noble. He has spread the popularity of this art far and wide, and it is now considered the art of choice for people of class and distinction. Honour is highly valued and underhanded fighting tactics are frowned upon — such maneuvers are for peasants, not noble lords.
Shaidan stylists may learn Fist actions at one level lower than the action’s required level. However, kicks and grapples are considered somewhat uncouth and are not as widely practiced. Kicks and grapples cost one extra experience point to learn.
Koto: A tricky art using misdirection to deliver unexpected blows onto an opponent. Named after a mythological trickster bird from the folklore of the planet Aylon, the current Grand Master of this style is Baron Jamal al-Malik, a student of Count Rumi al-Malik. Jamal inherited the title after the mysterious disapearance of his master. The art is steeped in weird mystical philosophies involving riddles and deconstructive ontology. Count Rumi’s students teach the art to anyone who proves worthy, and are said to teach even serfs (a crime on some worlds).
Mantok: Named for Mantius, the Prophet’s disciple (also known as the Soldier) whose purview is Protection. This is the Brother Battle martial fighting style, taught only to members of that order. There are harsh penalties for teaching its secrets to outsiders. At low levels, it is a powerful style utilizing strength and body mechanics prowess. At the higher levels, internal, or Wyrd, power is utilized to perform amazing feats with little effort.
Brother Battle monks who practice Mantok can buy any martial action for one less experience point than the usual cost.
Iron Heel: An art practiced by the Muster. It is a down-and-dirty commando art which recognizes the necessity of incapacitating an opponent over the need for honor. Kicks and holds are specialized in, the former for their reach, the latter for their ability to hold an opponent long enough to cuff him.
Muster stylists may learn Kick and Grapple (Hold) actions at one level lower than the action’s required level. However, internal mastery actions are rarely practiced; add two to the experience point cost of any action of Level 7 or above.
Jox Kai Von (Jox Boxing): A nasty and dirty Ur-Ukar art with no-holds barred — eye gouges, groin punches, ear pulls, etc.. It is a close-in fighting style, and thus relies on few kicks. Although the Grand Master is an Ur-Ukar, this art is popular among the Decados as a sport against freemen and serfs (they rarely use it against fellow nobles). Jox stylists may learn Grapple (Hold) actions at one level lower than the action’s required level. However, kicks cost two extra experience points to master.
Graa: Because this style relies on a Vorox’s six limbs, non-Vorox may not learn Graa. Vorox physiques allow for special techniques, and a few Vorox have taken advantage of this and raised their techniques to a martial form. This art is rare among the Vorox, as it is practiced by only a small percentage of civilized Vorox.