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Martial Arts
Martial Arts Styles and Related Rules...


Creating a Martial Arts Style
...for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons(tm) in MyWorld.
...for Multiverser.
MyWorld uses a slight modification to the precise martial arts style creation methods suggested in the Oriental Adventures™; these modifications create a greater variety of style possibilities, and make possible most of the styles which have been listed in that book.  The modified version is described here. Multiverser uses a martial arts style creation method which creates a great variety of style possibilities, and makes possible most of the styles which are used in reality or fiction.  This method is described here.
To begin, it is necessary to select the martial arts form and the martial arts method.  The martial arts form distinguishes more aggressive styles from more defensive styles; the martial arts method determines the primary type of attack used by the style.  Each style and each method will adjust the armor class, attacks, and damage of the style.  Additionally, the method will control what body part the character will need to have free in order to make basic attacks. To begin, there is a difference between converting a real or fictional style to Multiverser use and creating a style for use in a scenario.  However, in either case, it is good to decide first whether a style is fast or slow, and whether it is aggressive or defensive.  Fast styles tend to be aggressive, and slow styles tend to be defensive, but it is possible to have a fast defensive style or a slow aggressive style.  Second, the referee should determine the primary type of attack, referred to as the basic attack, used by the style.  This will dictate body part the character will need to have free in order to make basic attacks.  For example, a style which tends to hit and block with the hands will be less effective if the character has his hands tied behind his back, but may still use special maneuvers which rely on the feet.
Hard Form styles--the most aggressive-- improve armor class by one, damage by four, and give one additional attack.  Soft Form styles--the most defensive--bonus armor class three places, damage two points, and give no additional attacks.  Between the extremes, Hard/Soft Form styles improve armor class by two, damage by three, and attacks by one. Styles are also divided into weapon-dependent, weapon-utilizing, and weapon-adverse.  If a style is weapon-dependent, none of the style bonuses and few of the maneuvers may be used unless a useable weapon is in the character's hands and a martial arts weapon skill roll has been successful; however, such a style is automatically activated (at its own SAL) if the martial arts weapon skill is successfully rolled.  If a style is weapon-utilizing, then it can function with or without a weapon, but the martial arts skill must be successfully rolled to activate the style, and the martial arts weapon skill to use the weapon.  If the skill is weapon-adverse, the character may not have a weapon in his hands while using the style or he will suffer penalties on the speed and/or modifications of the style.  Styles which are weapon-adverse may have style multipliers as high as three; styles which may or must use weapons cannot be faster than a multiplier of two.
All eight methods improve attacks by one.  The Kick Method uses primarily the foot.  It improves armor class by one and damage by four.  The Lock Method uses the body generally, and improves armor class by one and damage by two.  The Movement Method uses the legs, and improves armor class by two and damage by two.  The Push Method improves armor class by two and damage by one, using the hand.  The Strike Method also uses the hand, for a one place bonus to armor class and a four point damage bonus.  The Throw Method improves armor class by one and damage by two; it uses the body generally.  The Vital Area Method uses the hand and the foot, improves armor class by two and damage by four.  Finally, the Weapon Method requires the use of hand and arm.  It improves armor class by one; instead of a fixed modification of damage, these styles use the base damage of the weapon used. Basic attacks used in basic styles tend to be one of several types, that is, a style will generally have one kind of attack that it uses for its normal attacks, and other attacks used in the style will be considered special maneuvers.  Styles may primarily kick, grapple, push, punch, throw, poke, or attack with a weapon.  Styles which kick require the use of the feet.  Those which grapple, push, punch, and use weapons use the hands and arms.  Styles which throw use arms and legs, hands and feet, and the full body rather equally; a character partially hindered in his movement should be able to perform the style with only a slight penalty to reflect the loss of use of a body part.  Styles which poke use hands and feet equally (with similar penalties for hindered movement as throw styles) to injure sensitive areas such as nerve endings, unprotected internal organs and similar soft spots, and weak joints; they tend to have maneuvers which cause pain.  Such styles and maneuvers are negatively sit-modded up to -50 for lack of knowledge about the anatomy of the target creature.  (After all, where are the sensitive nerve endings in a giant amoebae?)  Styles which use weapons to attack are intrinsically weapon-dependent; although it may be possible to attack with special maneuvers which do not rely on the weapon, the weapon is critical to both the basic attacks and the defensive techniques of the style, and a weapon-dependent style used without a weapon should gain the appropriate bonuses to the special maneuvers which are still possible, but should lose its basic attacks and any defensive sit-mods.
With the form and method determined, the basic martial arts style is complete.  Sum the armor class modifications for the total adjustment to armor class (from -2 to -5); sum the attack modifications for the total number of attacks per round (1 or 2); sum the damage mod for the base damage die to be used by the style.  For weapon-method styles (and for weapons incorporated in other styles), the base damage of the weapon is added to the base damage modifier of the style to gain a damage for comparison for a damage die.  This chart will give the damage die or dice to be used for each style and for each weapon based on the damage indicated for the style. Once the style is designed in this basic sense, the referee should determine the modifiers with more precision.  Slow styles almost always have a style attack multiplier of one, but gain more points in other modifiers, generally between twenty and thirty points.  Fast styles usually have an attack multiplier of two, but only between ten and twenty points in other modifiers.  Weaponless styles which are fast enough to have a multiplier of three usually have between five and fifteen points of modifiers.
Note that the shakujo yari and the shikomi-zue are both martial arts capable weapons, but that they fight as either bo stick or spear depending on current mode.  Proficiency is generally taken as separate slots in spear and bo stick, but specialization, weapon of choice, and kensai dedication may select the combined form (giving up any bonuses with the bo stick or spear when not using the chosen combination weapon). In distributing points, no single aspect of style modifiers should be greater than twenty points.  Defensive styles tend to begin with strong sit-mods against the opponent's attacks, and may also have damage point penalties on the opponent's attacks.  Aggressive styles tend to put points more into attack sit-mods and damage mods on the skilled character's attacks.  However, such points may be distributed in any way the referee wishes.  Each "point" the style has may be converted to a 1% sit-mod or a 2% damage mod--that is, adjustments which apply strictly to damage are only half as potent as those which apply to the success roll itself, so expenditures limited to damage point modifiers are doubled in effect.  Remember, the decision that a style is aggressive or defensive is only a guideline to aid in distributing the points; if the referee decides that a style has a strong sit-mod against opponent attacks plus a damage point bonus in favor of the skilled character's attacks, then that is the nature of the style.  Although many referees prefer to name player styles such simple things as "fast aggressive", any name will do, such as "Cha-cha Rumba" or "Hachiman's style".  Whether a style is aggressive or defensive is more a matter of how the modifiers affect it than what it is called.
Weapon-method styles use all of the listed weapons.  (Book rules do not specify this; however, under the book rules, it would be possible to create a weapon-method style which taught no weapons.  MyWorld interpretation felt that a style designed to work with weapons would have been adapted over time to use any of them.)  Styles which are not weapon method may also contain weapons; these are determined below, and the damage die/dice for each is drawn from the chart.  The base damage is the sum of all style damage modifiers (form and method), except weapon modifier for weapon-method styles, which find their dice by referencing the form damage modifier (1, 2, or 3) against the weapon type and opponent size. A style can generate additional points by trading penalties for additional bonuses, in much the same way that a leveraged attack can increase damage by taking detriments.  Thus a style could have a strong positive sit-mod and an additional damage point modifier totaling in excess of the normal number of points for a style of that speed if it also takes a penalty in the form of a sit-mod or damage point modifier favoring attacks against it.  From a play perspective, this reflects the aspect of generating additional power in the attack by lowering defenses.  Similarly, a style could take penalties on its attacks to gain additional points for its defenses.  Also, a style could increase its chance to hit (sit-mod) and increase the penalty on attacker chance of success (also a sit-mod) by trading for damage points against the skilled character, increasing chance to hit but reducing damage, and reducing chance to be hit but intensifying injuries.  However, no style can spend more than twenty points on any one of those four modifications, that is, ±20 in sit-mods and ±40 in damage point modifiers on skilled user attacks and on opponent attacks.
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Although styles will be close to each other in potential due to the similarity of modifier values, the referee should not assume that they need to be equal.  The range of points given for each attack multiplier permits variation in the potency of styles of similar speed, and overlaps such that two styles could be the same but that one is faster than the other.  A few examples of point distribution may help the referee understand how to do this.
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Style one will be a fast aggressive weapon-adverse style.  It will have a style multiplier of three, and therefore between five and fifteen points of modification.  We will give it a +10 sit-mod on attacks; it gives no defensive value whatsoever.
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Style two will be a fast defensive weapon-utilizing style.  Since it can use a weapon, the style multiplier cannot be more than two; this gives it between ten and twenty points for modifiers.  A ten-point sit-mod against opponent attacks will give it the defensive character it needs, and an additional five point damage point bonus will give it more power in its attacks.  If we wished to make it more defensive, we could add a five point damage point penalty to opponent attacks; we could make it more aggressive by giving it a five point sit-mod on its own attacks.
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Style three will be a slow aggressive weapon-dependent style.  Having only one attack, it may have twenty to thirty points.  We will give it a +20 sit-mod on user attacks.  We will also give it a penalty of a +10 sit-mod on opponent attacks, and use that to gain an additional ten points so as to give the style a +40 damage point bonus on its own attacks.  This character can dish out damage powerfully, swinging slowly but rarely missing and always hitting hard; but he is leaving himself open to attacks from the opponent.
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Styles which use weapons will tend to use oriental martial arts weapons, generally drawn from the list attached.  However, styles may be designed for use with swords or other standard martial weapons.  For simplicity, Multiverser rules maintain that a character with martial arts weapon skill in any weapon may use that weapon in any martial arts style in which a weapon may be used, without regard for whether masters of that style normally teach the use of that weapon.  Styles which are weapon-utilizing tend to be taught with specific weapons given in the style description, and those are the weapons which students and masters of that style will know; versers and other students who know other weapons may incorporate them into the style.  If a style is weapon-dependent, then all the weapons on this list are learned and taught by students and masters of the style, but few learn more than a few of these.
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The referee may wish to consider oddity systems in strange worlds.  For example, in a high-tech feudal society or in a post-apocalyptic world, styles might be designed around the claw hammer, the monkey wrench, or the bicycle chain.  Remember, most of the oriental martial arts weapons had in common that they were actually something else, like the handle of a millstone or a familiar threshing tool.  The tools of the present or the tools of the future could be similarly used by those who understood their true purpose, or even by those to whom the intended use is a mystery.
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Once a style's points have been distributed into sit-mods and damage mods, those modifiers apply to the basic attacks of the style and to any special maneuvers in the style for which they would be appropriate (that is, sit-mods in favor of or against character success apply to all skill checks within the style, and damage modifiers on character attacks similarly apply to all skills used within the style which should do normal damage).  Again for simplicity, it is assumed in Multiverser that any martial arts skill a character has learned can be used in any martial arts style he knows (apart from weapons, which cannot be used in a weapon-adverse style); this avoids such complications as attempting to maintain lists of skills known in each style, or the even more absurd complications of trying to keep track of separate SAL's for the same skill or technique used in different styles.
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There are weapons commonly used by the styles contained in this material, and they are described along with the damage categories, repeat factors, and other modifiers applied to them.
Next, special maneuvers are selected.  Special maneuvers are presented as related to each of the eight methods, with a ninth category of Mental and Physical Training.  To find special maneuvers, roll d8 followed by d3.  The d8 is the number of special maneuvers from the style's chosen method which are included.  If this number is equal to the number available within the method, then the style has all of those maneuvers.  If the number is less than the total number available within the method, dice should be used to identify which maneuvers are included (or, for convenience if more are included than excluded, which are excluded).  If the number on the d8 is greater than the number of available maneuvers for the method, the remainder are similarly filled in from those in the Mental and Physical Training category.  Under MyWorld rules all available maneuvers are included in the overflow, the difference between the die roll and the number of available maneuvers being added to the roll of the d3.  This (modified, under MyWorld rules) d3 indicates the number of maneuvers which do not come from the style's primary method.  A d8 is rolled for each to select which method each maneuver comes from, counting down on the list (and skipping the method of the style), and maneuvers of that method are rolled with whatever die is appropriate.  A duplicate maneuver is re-rolled in all cases.  The specific maneuvers are listed, and sequenced such that all the level 1 maneuvers are first, followed by the level two maneuvers, et cetera.  Next, special maneuvers are selected.  It is recommended that any style have at least two but not more than twelve special maneuvers, and that there be a preference toward maneuvers which are related to the basic attack form of the style, that is, punching styles should have punching maneuvers, kicking styles should have kicking maneuvers, although maneuvers which are not related to the basic attack should also be included.  Multiverser does not require that a student learn all of the maneuvers of a style or that he learn them in any particular order; however, teachers will normally teach methods beginning with the simpler and less potent and working up, and will not teach a more potent maneuver to a character who has not mastered a less potent one.  Also, the wise sensei will usually tailor the program to the student, and will often delay teaching the more desired as an incentive to encourage the learning of the other maneuvers.  However, generally a character will be taught the lower bias maneuvers first, because they are easier to learn, and will be taught maneuvers which do less damage first, so that he will not learn to overly rely on those which do more damage.
Note that this varies from the book rules in two respects.  First, under the book rules, if the d8 exceeds the number of maneuvers in the method, all of the manuevers are included in the style, but the overflow applies only to Mental and Physical Training maneuvers.  It was observed that this technique cannot create the sample styles listed in the book.  Second, the book rules permit players to select those maneuvers they wish to include in styles they will be learning, subject to the approval of the referee.  This tends to create some imbalance, in that the same maneuvers tend to be selected repeatedly.  It also creates a great deal of trouble for the referee if players wish to incorporate only high-level maneuvers in their styles--a choice not unreasonable under the rules, since few characters will be able to learn all the maneuvers in any method and so should be allowed to jump to the higher maneuvers without including the lower ones, but which makes the martial artist more potent much sooner than intended.  MyWorld rules consider it preferable to leave such decisions in the capable hands of the rollers of dice.
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Finally, weapons are chosen.  The number of weapons in a style which is not weapon-method is d4-2; however, if the style has either the Weapon Catch or Weapon Breaker maneuvers, it automatically has at least one weapon.  (This is a MyWorld interpretation; under book rules, it was possible to create a style with these weapon-dependent maneuvers, but end up without a weapon to use for them within the style.)  Weapons are randomly chosen by a roll of d20, ignoring any result above 17:
Weapon Type:
 1 Bo Stick*
 2 Chain*
 3 Fang
 4 Gunsen*
 5 Jitte
 6 Jo Stick*
 7 Kau Sin Ke
 8 Kiseru*
 9 Lajatang*
 10 Nunchaku
 11 Sai
 12 Sang Kauw
 13 Siangkam
 14 Spear*
 15 Tetsubo*
 16 Three Piece Rod
 17 Tui-fa (Tonfa)
Weapons must be assigned to each style.  The number of weapons taught by any teacher or master in a style which is not weapon-dependent is not usually more than 2; it is recommended that a percentile roll of at least fifty-one indicates one weapon, and if the roll is at least 76 two weapons would be taught, but if the style has any maneuver which can only be performed with a weapon, it automatically has at least one weapon (although a B7@6 improvised weapon skill such as Improvised Cloth Weapon could accomplish this).  Weapons are chosen from the list already given, either at random or as the referee sees fit.  Remember, if a style can use a weapon, any weapon which can be used as a bod-biased martial arts martial weapon can be used in the style.  The limitation is only which weapons are taught by teachers of the style.  Teachers and masters of weapon-dependent styles will have mastered numerous weapons for use within the style; a modified general effects roll should determine how many weapons have been learned, and whether the teacher uses any weapon which the player character would prefer to use or be taught.
*These weapons are "martial arts capable"; they can be used without a martial arts style to do the damage indicated in the "0" column on the damage dice chart.  Unmarked weapons are "martial arts only", and can only be learned in conjunction with a style; proficiency cannot be taken in such weapons without an associated style, but non-proficient use (with penalties) is possible without a style, doing damage indicated under the "0" column.  This amounts to the character picking up something which "might be useful as a weapon" and attempting to wield it.  (This is a MyWorld interpretation based on the presence of unmodified damage values for these weapons.)
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The Shikomi-zue and the Shakujo-yari are not listed here, as they function as two independent weapons rather than as one.  Each may be used in any style which uses either form of the weapon (bo stick or spear), in the form which the style allows.
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The style is now complete.  Creation of a style in this manner can only occur when a character is being created who will use a martial arts style, or when a character is changing class to a new class which requires the study of a martial arts style given the other choices made by the character.  These classes are Shukenja, Monk, and Kensai if the Kensai is to be dedicated to the style or to the body part used by the style, or if the style is weapon-method and the Kensai is to be dedicated to a martial-arts (only or capable) weapon. The style is now complete.

If in the course of examining this material, you want to know more about AD&D, there are at least hundreds of sites on the web which may help; I'll just recommend my own two: M. J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons Materials as source material for many campaigns and situations; and all you need to create a character, Character Creation for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition. And if in the course of examining this material you want to know more about Multiverser, check it out at: The Multiverser Information Center.

Index:  The introductory page to the material.


Introduction:  Gives an overview of the contents of the web site.

Creating a Martial Arts Style:  Describes the way styles are designed.

Attacks per Round/Attack Multipliers:  How frequently the martial artist may attack.

Learning Martial Arts:  Rules and training techniques.

Martial Arts Titles:  A MyWorld variant and Multiverser concept substituting for "belts".

Use of Multiple Styles:  How to change between styles within the game.

AC for Special Maneuvers/Modifiers for Special Maneuver Attacks:  Clarification of how to use special attacks.

Special Maneuvers Summary:  The available maneuvers are listed with all information.

Stun and Incapacitate:  AD&D rules incorporate this into standard attacks; for Multiverser, this would be a separate skill.

Translating a Player Style:  Multiverser allows a player to bring his actual martial arts skills into the game through these rules.

The Style Collection:  Our imaginary styles are offered for your use.


Other Links of Interest:  A collection of sites related to this material in one way or another.