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Diamond Spear

Fighting Styles Based on Location

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I'm in the (very slow) process of designing a setting for Fantasy Hero and one of the things I'm including is different fighting styles for different regions. For instance, a traditional early middle ages land might have warriors wearing chain armor or the equivalent  and trained mostly in sword and shield, while another region might have developed a fighting style based on lighter armor and using a long weapon in the primary hand and a shorter one in the off hand and so on.

 

The issue I'm facing is that I've always disliked how HERO automatically uses martial maneuvers to  build fighting styles. I think it works fine for "traditional" martial arts but for something like a sword and shield style I've always wondered why not just buy bonuses to the regular combat maneuvers along with designing things like a "shield bash" attack. Other than the martial maneuvers giving a cost break, combining several bonuses (and sometimes a penalty) to a single maneuver  and allowing the purchase of damage classes, all of which result in a lower cost than buying all of those individually, I don't see a compelling reason for me not to design the styles without using Martial Maneuvers. For instance a character might buy +3 OCV Only to Block with Sword or the like. So am I right? Does doing it my way mean the ability to create more customization by modifying existing maneuvers with the only drawback being that it costs more points?

 

Thoughts? Comments? Observations?

 

Thanks.

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The only real issue I see is that for an equivalent point cost someone who bought martial maneuvers is going to be at an advantage given access to the same gear and no other restrictions. If you can work with that, I think it will be fine.

 

- E

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There are a few published official characters whose defined "martial arts" are built without the official MA maneuvers. For example, the Champions master villain Teleios knows "the fighting arts of a dozen lands," which for game-mechanic purposes are composed of HA for increased damage, and limited STR for things like disarming or escaping Grabs. Another such character, Dr. Yin Wu's servant Silver Hand, has an "art" made up of just a bunch of HTH CSLs, which of course can be used for OCV or DCV, or to increase damage from an attack. (Both of their write-ups are in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains.)

 

If you want to stay within the RAW, buying extra Damage Classes only works with Martial Art Maneuvers, so the above-described approaches to increasing damage would be a more "legal" way to go. Personally I don't have experience with using Damage Classes for free Combat Maneuvers, so I can't offer an opinion as to any game-balance issues.

 

 

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I think if you are going to build location based fighting styles you need to use bits of powers that reflect the style. Like giving Greek hoplites knock back resistance and perhaps a bit of extra PRE if they are Spartans.

 

These benefits should only be possible when using the standard kit of that region.

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From my POV (and YMMV) the point to having cool, regional fighting styles is as much in "who CAN'T use them" as in who can. That is much campaign rules, rather than mechanics... saying a character must have a reason to know a certain fighting style, and likely denying characters from having multiple styles. For a low level fantasy game, this makes sense, because you are involving culture and heritage and how that plays out in subtle differences of fighting style.

 

That being said, it would probably be necessary to have each style have a clear 'advantage' as well as 'disadvantage' based around play elements as much as mechanics.  The Vo-than style of the mountain people is about using rocky and sloping terrain to its advantage  The Palean fighters of the great plain states are deadly on fast horses, with sabre and bow! etc. 

 

Simplest way is to provide plusses to OCV and DCV that only apply in the terrain/distinct situation they are trained for. It could also be a matter of establishing clear, upfront guidelines on use of Environmental Movement... so the Vo-than have it in the rocky mountains, and those that don't are suffering penalties in combat.

 

I personally LOVE the martial maneuvers as ways to show different fighting styles and to provide tactical choices during play... but it really comes down to "How will I represent a skilled advantage in a certain situation over those who don't have it?"

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