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ISBN: 1-58366-001-1 DOJHERO101 $24.99 • www.herogames.com

Author: Steven S. Long Editor/Developer: Darren Watts Cover Art: Storn Cook Interior Illustration: Andrew Bates, Peter Bergting, Storn Cook, Andrew Cremeans, David Fooden, Jeff Hebert, Kraig Horigan, Steve Lawton, Bryce Nakagawa, Eric Rademaker, David Schrader, Greg Smith, Manny Vega, Pat Zircher Layout and Design: Andy Mathews Special Thanks: All all the HERO System players and GMs whose interest in gaming martial arts made this book not only desirable, but necessary. Dedication: As before, so again: I would like to dedicate this book to Andy “Ghost Eye” Mathews, master of gaming martial arts, creator of Couch Potato Kung Fu, selecter of really bad martial arts movies, and true friend.

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS I owe a great deal of thanks to the following people, who answered my questions about martial arts styles, provided me with information or research material, gave me ideas for things that needed to go in this book, debated with me about the best way to do various things in the HERO System, allowed me to create my own versions of something they first thought up, or helped with playtesting: Aaron Allston, Chris Avellone, Scott Bennie, Tim Binford, Garrett Charnaw, Cliff Christiansen, Earl Cooley III, Storn Cook, John Cooper, Kim Cooper, Amy Crittenden, John “Case of Swords” Cunningham, Mike Dean, Sean Fannon, Morgan Flo, Thom Foster, John Grigni, Scott Jamison, Greg Kerner, Eric Livengood, John Losey, Andy Mathews, Dave Mattingly, Riley McLaughlin, Rob Miles, Greg Morero, Bryce Nakagawa, James Pinkerton, Marcus Pritchett, Bob Quinlan, Scott Sigler, Greg Smith, Geoff Speare, Steve Stone, Michael Surbrook, Jason Walters, David West, Eric Wylie, Doug Young, various online commentators, and, most especially, Greg “Devil’s Advocate” Lloyd and Jeff “I have a license from Japan” Mueller.

The Ultimate Martial Artist Copyright © 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All rights reserved. HERO SystemTM ® is DOJ, Inc.’s trademark for its roleplaying system. HERO System Copyright © 1984, 1989, 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All rights reserved. Champions Copyright © 1984, 1989, 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All rights reserved. Justice Inc., Danger International, Dark Champions, Fantasy Hero, and Star Hero Copyright © 2002 by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except Character Sheets for personal use only), recording, or computerization, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher: DOJ, Inc., #1 Haight Street Suite A, San Francisco, California 94102. Printed in the U.S.A. First printing March 2002. Produced and distributed by DOJ, Inc. d/b/a Hero Games. Stock Number: DOJHERO101 ISBN Number: 1-58366-001-1

TABLE OF CONTENTS Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/ Cinematic Brawling ................... 23

Pankration .................................. 48

Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/Cinematic Brawling Maneuvers..........................23

Pentjak-Silat ............................... 49

Chapter One

Fencing ...................................... 24

Qwan Ki Do ................................. 52

Fencing Maneuvers ...........................24

Qwan Ki Do Maneuvers .....................52

The Way of the Hero ........................ 8 Style Descriptions ............................ 8 Style Disadvantages ...................... 8 Martial Arts Maneuvers .................... 8

Gatka ......................................... 26

Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee ....................... 53

Gatka Maneuvers ..............................26

Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee Maneuvers ...........53

Generic Martial Arts ..................... 27

Saijutsu ...................................... 53

Generic Martial Arts Maneuvers .........27

Saijutsu Maneuvers ...........................53

Hand to Hand Maneuvers ....................9 Ranged Martial Maneuvers ..................9

Hapkido ...................................... 27

Savate ........................................ 53

Hapkido Maneuvers ..........................27

Savate Maneuvers ............................53

Maneuvers and Weapons ............... 10 Ranged Martial Arts and Weapon Types .......................... 10 Learning Martial Arts...................... 10 Learning Martial Arts from Scratch .. 10

Hisardut ...................................... 27

Sevillian Knifefighting................... 54

Hisardut Maneuvers ..........................28

Sevillian Knifefighting Maneuvers .......54

Hsing-I........................................ 28

Shurikenjutsu .............................. 54

Hsing-I Maneuvers ............................28

Shurikenjutsu Maneuvers ..................54

Hwarang-Do................................ 29

Simgomdo .................................. 55

Maneuvers and Weapons ..................10 SIDEBAR: Modifying and Building Styles ...............................................10

Hwarang-Do Maneuvers ....................29

Simgomdo Maneuvers.......................55

Jailhouse Rock ............................ 29

Sumo Wrestling ........................... 55

Jailhouse Rock Maneuvers ................29

Sumo Maneuvers ..............................55

Rate of Learning .......................... 11 Learning New and Multiple Styles ....................................... 12 Building New Maneuvers and Styles ................................ 13 Belts and Ranks ............................ 13

Jeet Kune Do .............................. 30

Tae Kwon Do ............................... 55

Jeet Kune Do Maneuvers...................30

Tae Kwon Do Maneuvers ...................56

Jujutsu ....................................... 30

Tai Ch’i Ch’uan............................ 56

Jujutsu Maneuvers ............................31

Tai Ch’i Ch’uan Maneuvers ................56

Jukenjutsu .................................. 32

Tang Soo Do ............................... 57

Jukenjutsu Maneuvers ......................32

Tang Soo Do Maneuvers ....................57

SIDEBAR: Belts and Ranks ................13

Kalaripayit ................................... 32

Thai Kick-boxing.......................... 58

Real World Martial Arts .................. 15 Jutsu vs. Do .................................. 15 Aikido ......................................... 15

Kalaripayit Maneuvers .......................32

Thai Kick-boxing Maneuvers ..............58

Kampfringen ............................... 33

Thang-Ta .................................... 58

Kampfringen Maneuvers....................33

Thang-Ta Maneuvers ........................58

Aikido Maneuvers .............................15

Karate ........................................ 33

Than Vo Dao ............................... 59

An Ch’i ....................................... 16

Karate Maneuvers .............................33

Than Vo Dao Maneuvers ....................59

An Ch’i Maneuvers............................16

Kenjutsu ..................................... 35

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao .................... 59

Arnis/Kali/Escrima ....................... 17

Kenjutsu Maneuvers..........................35

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Maneuvers ........59

Arnis/Kali/Escrima Maneuvers ...........17

Krav Maga .................................. 37

Weapons Combat ........................ 59

Arte dell’Abbracciare ................... 18

Krav Maga Maneuvers.......................37

Weapons Combat Maneuvers ............60

Arte dell’Abbracciare Maneuvers........19

Kuk Sool Won .............................. 37

Whipfighting................................ 60

Bando......................................... 19

Kuk Sool Won Maneuvers ..................38

Whipfighting Maneuvers ....................61

Bando Maneuvers .............................19

Kung Fu ...................................... 38

Wrestling .................................... 61

Bersilat ....................................... 19

Kung Fu Maneuvers ..........................39

Wrestling Maneuvers ........................61

Bersilat Maneuvers ...........................20

Kuntao ........................................ 43

Wrestling, Professional ................ 62

Bojutsu/Jojutsu ........................... 20

Kuntao Maneuvers ............................43

Wrestling, Professional Maneuvers .....62

Bojutsu/Jojutsu Maneuvers................21

Kyujutsu ..................................... 43

Yu-Sool ....................................... 62

Boxing, Ancient ........................... 21

Kyujutsu Maneuvers ..........................43

Yu-Sool Maneuvers ...........................62

Boxing, Ancient Maneuvers ................21

Lua............................................. 44

Zipota ......................................... 63

Boxing, Modern ........................... 21

Lua Maneuvers .................................44

Zipota Maneuvers .............................63

Boxing, Modern Maneuvers ...............21

Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu .................. 45

Capoeira ..................................... 22

Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu Maneuvers ......45

Introduction How to use this book ....................... 6 Author’s note ................................... 6

Pankration Maneuvers .......................48 Penjak-Silat Maneuvers .....................50

Capoeira Maneuvers .........................22

Ninjutsu ...................................... 45

Other Styles ................................ 63 Fictional Martial Arts ..................... 64 Brick Tricks ................................. 64

Commando Training ..................... 23

Ninjutsu (Taijutsu) Maneuvers ............46

Brick Tricks Maneuvers......................64

Pakua ......................................... 47

Dancing Spider............................ 64

Pakua Maneuvers .............................48

Dancing Spider Maneuvers ................65

Commando Training Maneuvers .........23

Drunken Clown Kung Fu .............. 65 Drunken Clown Kung Fu Maneuvers ...66

Ghost Eye Techniques .................. 66 Ghost Palm Techniques ................ 66 Golden Demon Kung Fu ............... 67

Pulp Era Martial Arts ...................... 85 Science Fiction/Far Future Martial Arts ................................. 86 Maashira .................................... 86

Helpful Elements ...............................99 Restrictive Elements ..........................99

Element Descriptions ................. 100

Maashira Maneuvers .........................86

SIDEBAR: Mixing HTH and Ranged Maneuvers .........................100

Golden Demon Kung Fu Maneuvers ...67

Zero Gravity Combat .................... 87

The Complete Mongoose Style ..... 101

The Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters ............................ 67

Zero Gravity Combat Maneuvers ........87

Moongoose Style Maneuvers ...........101

Superhero Martial Arts ................... 87 Wild West Martial Arts .................... 87 Designing New Martial Arts ........... 88 Designing Martial Arts Styles .......... 88 Style Conception ......................... 88 Style Building Blocks ...................... 88 Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers ... 89

Additional Notes on Martial Arts Styles and Elements .................. 101 Extra Damage Classes ............... 101

The Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters Maneuvers ............................68

Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu ....... 68 Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu Maneuvers ...................................69

Silken Blade Kung Fu ................... 70 Silken Blade Kung Fu Maneuvers .......70

Speedster Martial Arts ................. 71

SIDEBAR: Redundant Maneuvers ......89 Maneuvers Basis ..............................90

Speedster Martial Arts Maneuvers ......71

Element Descriptions ................... 91

Splendid Fist ............................... 71

Helpful Elements ...............................91 Restrictive Elements ..........................92

Splendid Fist Maneuvers ...................71

Takijutsu ..................................... 72 Takijutsu Maneuvers .........................73

Thunder Dragon Kung Fu ............. 73 Thunder Dragon Kung Fu Maneuvers ...73

Zen Riflery .................................. 73 Zen Riflery Maneuvers.......................74

Advanced Ninjutsu ......................... 75 Ninja Package Deal ........................ 75 Ninja Package Deal ...........................75

Variant Styles of Taijutsu................. 76 Korogi Taijutsu............................. 76 Korogi Taijutsu Maneuvers .................76

Mist Viper Taijutsu ....................... 76 Mist Viper Taijutsu Maneuvers ............76

Silent Path Taijutsu ...................... 77 Silent Path Taijutsu Maneuvers ..........77

The Way of the Night Dragon........ 77 Night Dragon Taijutsu Maneuvers .......78

Ninja Special Abilities ..................... 78 Mundane Ninja Abilities................ 78 Mystic Ninja Abilities .................... 79 Ninja Gear and Equipment .............. 82 Climbing Equipment .................... 82 Infiltration Equipment ................... 82 Water Equipment ......................... 82 Miscellaneous Equipment ............ 83 Ninja from other Lands................... 83 Martial Arts in Other Genres .......... 84 Cyberpunk/Near Future Martial Arts ................................. 84 Razor Dancing ............................. 84 Razor Dancing Maneuvers .................84

Fantasy Martial Arts ....................... 84 Poluraathkaa ............................... 85 Poluraathkaa Maneuvers ...................85

Horror Martial Arts ......................... 85

Mongoose Style ............................. 97 Ranged Martial Arts ....................... 99 Designing Ranged Martial Maneuvers .................................. 99 Maneuver Basis ................................99

SIDEBAR: Maneuvers and Hit Locations...................................101

Weapons .................................. 102 Other Ways to Build Martial Arts ... 103 Power Advantages for Martial Arts ................................ 104 Point Value of Bases .................. 104 Point Value of Bases........................104

Modifier Value of Other Elements ................................ 104 Extra Damage Classes ............... 104 Martial Arts Maneuver Element Value .................................105

Endurance and Martial Advantages............................. 105 Examples .................................. 105 SIDEBAR: Determining Maneuver’s Point Value: Steps ...........................105

Chapter Two Martial Arts Archetypes ............... 107 Alien Martial Artist Archetype...... 107 American from Orient Archetype ... 107 Avenger Archetype .................... 107 Brick Martial Artist Archetype ..... 107 SIDEBAR: Mixing and Matching Archetypes .....................................107

Fulfiller of Prophecy Archetype ... 108 Honorable Ninja Archetype ......... 108 Irritable Student Archetype ......... 108 Kickboxing Champion Archetype ... 108 Kickboxing Cop Archetype .......... 108 The Kid Archetype ..................... 108 Knight-Errant Archetype ............. 109 Master Archetype ...................... 109 Modern Day Samurai Archetype.... 109 Naive Hero/Heroine Archetype .... 109 The Philosopher Archetype ......... 109 Ronin Archetype ........................ 109 Samurai Archetype .................... 109 Serious Student Archetype ......... 110 Sidekick Archetype .................... 110 Super-Soldier Archetype ............ 110 Unwilling Fighter Archetype ........ 110 Vigilante Martial Artist Archetype ... 110 Warrior-Monk Archetype ............ 110 The Career Path of the Martial Artist ............................. 110 SIDEBAR: Glossary of Martial Arts Terms ......................................110

Skills ............................................ 112 Aanlyze Style Table..........................113 SIDEBAR: Non-Weapon Combat Effects ...............................114

Perquisites ................................... 117 Talents ......................................... 118 Powers ......................................... 119 SIDEBAR: Clinging Examples...........121 SIDEBAR: Damage Reduction Examples .......................................122 SIDEBAR: Damage Resistance Examples .......................................122

Power Advantages ....................... 131 Limitations .................................. 133 Power Frameworks ...................... 133 Martial Arts Multipower ...................133 Kiai Powers ....................................134

Ch’i Powers ....................................134

Disadvantages ............................. 135

Chapter Three Combat Manuevers...................... 142 Bind ......................................... 142 Block ........................................ 142 Choke Hold ............................... 142 Cover........................................ 142 Disarm...................................... 142 SIDEBAR: Binds in Fantasy HERO ....142

Flying Kick ................................ 143 Grab ......................................... 143

Decreasing Knockback .............. 161 Pushback.................................. 161 Mystery Damage ......................... 162 Sequence Attacks ........................ 163 SIDEBAR: Unstructured Sequence Attack Example ...............................163

Weapon Lengths.......................... 164 Weapon Ranges .......................... 164 OCV Penalties ............................. 164 SIDEBAR: Structured Sequence Attack Example ...............................164

Weapon Lengths and Enclosed Space ......................... 165 Enclosed Space and Weapon Length ..165

SIDEBAR: Redefining Block .............143 SIDEBAR: Roleplaying Combat ........144 SIDEBAR: Grabbing and Combat Values ............................................145

Wounds ...................................... 165 Targeting Injured Areas .............. 165 Twisting the Blade ..................... 165

Grab Weapon ............................ 146 Joint Locks and Related Maneuvers ................. 147 Killing Throw ............................. 147 Martial Escape .......................... 147 Move By/Move Through ............. 147 Nerve Strike .............................. 148

Zero Gravity and Martial Arts ........ 166 Martial Arts Weapons ................... 167

SIDEBAR: Vital Points Around the World .............................................148 SIDEBAR: AVLDs ............................148

Notes and Key ............................. 173 Notes........................................ 173 Key........................................... 173 Master List of Weapons ................ 174

Partial Maneuvers...................... 149 Root ......................................... 149 Shove ....................................... 149 Standard Maneuvers ................. 150 Sweep ...................................... 150 Takeaway.................................. 152 Throw ....................................... 152 Throw Modifiers Table .....................152

Special Cases and Optional Rules ..154 Blinded Characters and Martial Arts .154 Bound Characters and Martial Arts ...154 Casual STR Versus Barriers .......... 155 Concealed Weapons and Gadgets ...155 Critical Hits.................................. 156 Disabling Attacks ......................... 156 Disabling Results Table ....................157 Nerve Strike Imparing/ Disabling Time ................................157

Disguising Damage ...................... 157 Healing ....................................... 158 Hindering Circumstances and Martial Arts ............................... 158 Hit Locations ............................... 160 Ignoring Opponents ..................... 160 Interposing .................................. 160 SIDEBAR: Interposing Example ........160

Knockback and Martial Arts .......... 161 Increasing Knockback ................ 161

SIDEBAR: Weapon Length Example ...165 SIDEBAR: Targeting Wounds Example .........................................165

Ranged Weapons Table ...................168 Melee Weapons Table...............169-172

SIDEBAR: Concealed and Inobvious Weapons ........................................174

Armor ......................................... 186 Full-Contact Karate Armor ............ 186 Full-Contact Karate Armor ...............186

Kendo Armor ............................. 186 Kendo Armor ..................................186

Leather Hand-Wrappings ........... 186 Leather Hand-Wrappings.................186

Rawhide Hand-Wrappings.......... 186 Samurai Armor .......................... 187 Samurai Armor ...............................187

Creating Weapons ....................... 187 Powers Used in Weapon Creation .................................... 187 Hand-to-Hand Versus Killing Damage .......................... 187 New Limitations ........................... 187 Bibliography................................. 189 Index ............................................ 190


The Ultimate Martial Artist



his is the Second Edition of The Ultimate Martial Artist, or UMA for short. The HERO System has changed a lot since this book was first published in 1994. There’s a 5th Edition now, and it incorporated many of the new rules introduced in the first UMA. That meant a couple of changes for UMA. First, I had to revise all the power write-ups to make them compatible with the 5th Edition. Second, since the deletions and changes freed up some space, I had room to add some new material, thus improving the book’s value for those who own the first version. Whether you’ve got an earlier edition of UMA or not, I think you’ll find plenty of new and enjoyable material in this volume.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK Unlike most other books in the “Ultimate” series, UMA has a prior history (of sorts) upon which to build: the Ninja Hero genre book, the HERO System book on martial arts-oriented campaigns. While the two books have much in common, their focus is slightly different: Ninja Hero concentrated primarily on straight martial arts campaigns, whereas UMA looks at the use of martial arts in any genre, time period, or setting. Nevertheless, much of the material in Ninja Hero was perfect for this book, and that material is reprinted here (though updated for 5thEdition, of course). As you read this book, remember that it looks at martial arts for all genres, not just straightforward martial arts campaigns. Thus, many of the rules alterations, suggestions for “GMs’ options,” and similar material are made with Superheroic characters or other genres in mind. Everything herein may not be appropriate for every type of campaign; GMs should examine the rules in this book carefully before allowing their use.

AUTHOR’S NOTE When The Ultimate Martial Artist was first announced about ten years ago, it was greeted in many circles with cries of trepidation and even outrage. Ninja Hero is widely acknowledged as one of the best supplements Hero Games ever published, and rightly so. Many HERO System gamers were disturbed by the thought of it being redone or altered in any way. I shared their concern, and worked hard not only to create new and exciting rules and source material for Hero gamers, but to preserve the spirit and best parts of Ninja Hero as well. Now, with several years’ perspective under my belt and a new edition of the core rules to work with,

I think I did the job well. However, there’s always something to add — I seem to pick up new martial arts references frequently — and even more importantly, it was necessary to revise the abilities in the book to bring them into line with the rules of the HERO System 5th Edition. I started revising the text of UMA in June, 1999 with the goal of making the book compatible with the HERO System 5th Edition and of updating and revising the material. This meant not only deleting parts of the book which the 5th Edition incorporated into the core rules of the system, but reviewing the entire text with an eye towards improving the general quality of the writing. Since I wrote UMA, I’ve improved my writing skills, and I think you’ll see the results in the more polished text in this book. In addition to its revised, 5th Edition compatible, material, UMA has plenty of new information. I’ve made every effort to include enough new and interesting material so those of you who own the first version of this book will find you’ve gotten your money’s worth from buying this one. As before, I owe thanks to Aaron Allston and all of the “consultants” listed in the front of this book. Their advice and suggestions, even when (for whatever reason) I didn’t take them, were invaluable. But all mistakes are still my own. Steven S. Long January, 2002


hen warriors are in great danger, then they have no fear.’ — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

‘Know your enemy and know yourself and in a thousand battles you will never know defeat.’ — Sun Tzu, The Art of War


his chapter provides extensive information on different martial arts styles and maneuvers, in four parts. The first part describes over 150 real-world styles and variants from all over the globe and throughout history. The second section includes approximately two dozen fictional styles of the sort often seen in comic books and martial arts movies. The third section deals with those ubiquitous villains, the ninja. The fourth section discusses martial arts in various genres, such as fantasy and science fiction, and includes some sample styles appropriate to such genres.


The Ultimate Martial Artist



his section discusses the rules and other terms used to describe martial arts styles and related matters in the HERO System. Gamers interested in doing their own research on these subjects should consult the Bibliography at the end of this book.

STYLE DESCRIPTIONS The basic terms used to define the different styles are: Maneuvers: The maneuvers and techniques which comprise the style. The accompanying table contains a master list of the maneuvers used. You can also make up your own maneuvers using the rules on pages 88-101. Skills: Skills commonly associated with the style. Those marked with an asterisk (“*”) are required: a character cannot practice the style without buying them. Elements: Elements are additions to the style. They include Extra Damage Classes (which are never required for a style, and so are listed separately) and any Weapons the style teaches. Refer to the Maneuvers And Weapons section, below, and the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers section on pages 88-101, for more information on using weapons with martial arts maneuvers.

Optional Rules: This section includes the optional Hit Locations for appropriate maneuvers in the style. Special Abilities: This last section showcases some of the amazing (and even mystical) abilities attributed to martial artists who practice the style. Most are described in general terms only, with suggested ways to create them using the HERO System 5th Edition rules; you may simulate these abilities in other ways, if you prefer.

Style Disadvantage Most styles betray something about a character’s fighting abilities to a trained observer. In HERO System terms, a type of Distinctive Features Disadvantage called Style simulates this. See page 135 of this book and page 333 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for more information. Not all styles qualify for this Disadvantage, but most do.

MARTIAL ARTS MANEUVERS The maneuvers (both Hand-To-Hand and Ranged) in the accompanying list include most of the ones used to construct the martial arts packages in this chapter. In the list, the Maneuver column gives the maneuver’s generic name. Typically, a name specific to the art replaces the generic name when the maneuver appears in a style. For example, Martial Strike becomes a “Punch” in one style, and an “Elbow Strike” in another. The next column, Phs, indicates how long it takes to perform the maneuver. Most are Half Phase Actions; some, like Haymaker, require a Full Phase plus one Segment and land at the end of the Segment after they’re begun. The next column, Pts, gives the maneuver’s cost. The next two columns, OCV and DCV, show the Combat Value modifiers of the maneuver. In the Ranged Martial Arts Maneuvers list, the next column, Rng, indicates the bonus or penalty added by the maneuver to the standard Range Modifier. The last column, Damage/Effect, describes (in short form) what the maneuver does when used successfully. For explanations of the terms under “Damage/Effect,” refer to the “Designing Martial Arts Manuevers” and “Combat Maneuvers” sections of this book.

Hero Games


HAND-TO-HAND MARTIAL MANEUVERS Maneuver Phase Basic Strike ½ Charge ½ Choke Hold ½ Counterstrike ½ Crush ½ Defensive Block ½ Defensive Strike ½ Defensive Throw ½ Disarming Throw ½ Fast Strike ½ Flying Dodge ½ Flying Grab ½ Flying Tackle ½ Grappling Block ½ Grappling Throw ½ Joint Break ½ Joint Lock/Throw ½ Killing Strike ½ Killing Throw ½ Legsweep ½ Martial Block ½ Martial Disarm ½ Martial Dodge ½ Martial Escape ½ Martial Flash ½ Martial Grab ½ Martial Strike ½ Martial Throw ½ Nerve Strike ½ Offensive Strike ½ Passing Disarm ½ Passing Strike ½ Passing Throw ½ Reversal var Root ½ Sacrifice Disarm ½ Sacrifice Lunge ½ Sacrifice Strike ½ Sacrifice Throw ½ Shove ½ Takeaway ½ Takedown ½ Weapon Bind ½

Cost 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 3 5 4 5 5 3 5 3 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 4 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 3 4 5 3 4

OCV +1 +0 -2 +2 +0 +1 +1 +1 +0 +2 — -2 +0 +1 +0 -1 +1 -2 -2 +2 +2 -1 — +0 -1 -1 +0 +0 -1 -2 -1 +1 +0 -1 +0 +2 +2 +1 +2 +0 +0 +1 +1

DCV +0 -2 +0 +2 +0 +3 +3 +1 +0 +0 +4 -1 -1 +1 +2 -2 +0 +0 +0 -1 +2 +1 +5 +0 -1 -1 +2 +1 +1 +1 -1 +0 +0 -2 +0 -2 -2 -2 +1 +0 +0 +1 +0

Effects STR +2d6 Strike STR +2d6 +v/5 Strike, FMove Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) STR +2d6 Strike, Must Follow Block STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab Block, Abort STR Strike Block, Target Falls Grab Weapon, +5 STR to take weapon away; Target Falls STR +2d6 Strike Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on; FMove STR +v/5 Strike; You Fall, Target Falls; FMove Grab One Limb, Block STR +2d6 Strike; Target Falls; Must Follow Grab Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls HKA ½d6 (2 DC) HKA ½d6 (2 DC); Target Falls STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Block, Abort Disarm; +10 STR to Disarm roll Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort +15 STR vs. Grabs Flash 4d6 (choose Sense Group) Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on STR +2d6 Strike STR +v/5; Target Falls 2d6 NND(1) STR +4d6 Strike Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll; FMove STR +v/5; FMove STR +v/5; Target Falls; FMove STR +15 to Escape; Grab Two Limbs STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll STR +v/5; FMove STR +4d6 Strike STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls +15 STR to Shove Grab Weapon, +10 STR to take weapon away STR Strike; Target Falls Bind, +10 STR



Basic Shot Defensive Shot Distance Shot Far Shot Offensive Ranged Disarm Offensive Shot Offensive Trip Quick Shot Ranged Disarm Trip

½ ½ 1+1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½






4 3 5 5 5 4 5 4 4 4

+0 -1 +0 +1 +1 -1 +1 +1 +0 -1

+0 +2 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 +0 +0 -1

+2 +0 +6 +4 +2 +0 +0 +0 +0 +2

Strike, +2 DC Strike Strike; +1 Segment Strike Disarm, +10 STR Strike, +4 DC Strike, +v/5; Target Falls Strike, +2 DC Disarm, +15 STR v/5, Target Falls


MODIFYING AND BUILDING STYLES Readers who practice the martial arts may have objections to the way some of the styles in this book are defined in HERO System terms. Hero Games has made every effort to make this book as comprehensive as possible, but limitations imposed by the nature of research and space in the book itself make it impossible to depict every maneuver associated with every style. To resolve this dilemma, you can build your own martial arts maneuvers and styles, creating from scratch (or modifying an existing maneuver or style) to suit your own opinions and tastes. To learn how, refer to the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers section beginning on page 88.

The Ultimate Martial Artist

MANEUVERS AND WEAPONS Characters can use some martial arts with weapons. But not all maneuvers apply to all weapons; a kick can’t work with a machete, and holding a spear doesn’t improve a dodge. The accompanying list provides general guidelines for which sorts of weapons work with which maneuvers. The GM should use common sense when dealing with a weapon not found on this list — simply compare it to weapons on this list and decide which one it most closely corresponds to. When you’re using non-martial Combat Maneuvers from page 384 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, compare the non-martial maneuver to the maneuvers in the chart above. You can perform a non-martial Block with the sorts of weapons used with the Defensive and Martial Blocks; you can perform a non-martial Disarm with the sorts of weapons used with Martial and Sacrifice Disarms; and so on.

Ranged Martial Arts And Weapon Types A character with a Ranged Martial Art style is trained in the use of a specific type of weapon, and cannot use his Ranged Martial Maneuvers with other weapons unless he has received the proper training (i.e., purchased the appropriate Weapon Element). In short, a character who knows Shurikenjutsu cannot use his Ranged Martial Maneuvers with a bow or rifle unless he purchases WE: Bows or WE: Pistols.

LEARNING MARTIAL ARTS Building a martial artist at the start of a campaign usually poses few problems — the character needs, typically, at least ten points’ worth of martial arts maneuvers from one style, an 8- roll in the Knowledge Skill of that style, and the Style Distinctive Feature. But things get a little more complicated when characters want to use Experience Points to improve their martial arts or buy new martial arts abilities.

Learning Martial Arts From Scratch Sometimes an existing character wants to learn a martial arts style from the ground up. Finding a teacher depends on plot and storytelling, things for the player and GM to work out. But the actual acquisition of the abilities requires the character to spend Experience Points, and that requires rules. First, the character should spend at least one point for a Knowledge Skill with his style. Characters shouldn’t learn any maneuvers before taking the KS.

Second, if the style requires an Element (such as Weapons Element), the character must buy it next. Third, a few styles require practitioners to purchase specific Skills (the ones marked with an

MANEUVERS AND WEAPONS Maneuver Type Basic Strike Charge Choke Hold

Counterstrike Crush Defensive Block Defensive Strike Defensive Throw Disarming Throw Fast Strike Flying Dodge Flying Tackle Grappling Block Grappling Throw Head-Butt Joint Break Joint Lock/Throw Kick Killing Strike Killing Throw Legsweep Martial Block Martial Disarm Martial Dodge Martial Escape Martial Flash Martial Grab Martial Strike Martial Throw Nerve Strike Offensive Strike Passing Strike Passing Throw Punch Reversal Root Sacrifice Disarm Sacrifice Lunge Sacrifice Strike Sacrifice Throw Shove Takeaway Takedown Weapon Bind

Can Be Used With These Weapons: * * Staves, Weapon Shafts, Garrotes, Chain & Rope Weapons, Nunchaku, ThreeSection Staff, Shinobi-Zue * Staves, Weapon Shafts, Chain & Rope Weapons, ThreeSection Staff, Shinobi-Zue * * None None * None None None Chain & Rope Weapons Helmet Spikes, Other Head-Worn Weapons None Chain & Rope Weapons Ashiko * None Staves, Tetsubo, Shinobi Zue, Polearm Shafts, Nets All Melee Weapons, Shields * None None None Nets, Whips, Chain & Rope Weapons, Shinobi-Zue * Chain & Rope Weapons *, but only normal-damage weapons * * Chain & Rope Weapons All Melee Weapons None None * * * None All Large (L) Melee Weapons, Shields All Melee Weapons Staves, Polearm Shafts, Nets, Whips, Chain & Rope Weapons All Melee Weapons, Shields

*: If defined as Punch, see Punch; if defined as Kick, see Kick; if defined as Head-Butt, see Head-Butt

Hero Games asterisk [*] in the style write-ups). For example, characters cannot learn Aikido and Jujutsu without knowing Breakfall, or Kenjutsu without knowing WF: Blades. The character must buy all required Skills before buying any maneuvers. A character can only start buying maneuvers after he’s satisfied all of these prerequisites. At that point, he can learn one maneuver after another until he’s bought at least ten Character Points’ worth of them. The GM may let him start using each maneuver as it’s learned, or require the character to wait until he’s acquired ten points’ worth of them before he can start using them. The Style Distinctive Feature Ultimately, the character can take the Style Distinctive Feature for his style, which helps offset the cost of the Martial Arts style. He can only take this Disadvantage with the GM’s approval, though. The GM may not want to let him receive new Character Points for the new Disadvantage. These are the different ways GMs may approach this question in their own campaigns: Allow the Character to Take the Style Distinctive Feature: The character can add the Style Distinctive Feature to his list of Disadvantage and add the value of it to his Character Points. However, the Style Distinctive Feature still cannot exceed the Disadvantage point limits already set for the campaign. For instance, if the campaign has a 75-point cap on Disadvantage points, and the character already has 70 points of Disadvantages, if he adds the 10-point Style Distinctive Feature he only gets 5 points’ worth of value. Likewise, if the campaign has a 25-point cap on Disadvantage points from any one category of Disadvantage, and the character already has 25 points’ worth of Distinctive Features, then the additional Style Distinctive Feature gives him 0 points. Allow the Character to Trade the Style Distinctive Feature For Another Disadvantage: The character can trade in another Disadvantage the player has already been trying to buy down or buy off, and take the Style Distinctive Feature in its place. For example, recently the character has beaten his 10-point Hunted in a climactic fashion, and it’s an appropriate time to get rid of that Hunted. The character erases the Hunted and substitutes the Style Distinctive Feature for it. Note: GMs should only allow this when a logical, plot-driven reason already exists to change the Disadvantage. Reasons such as “I’m tired of it” and “I like the Style Distinctive Feature better” aren’t sufficient. Disallow the Style Distinctive Feature: The character cannot take a new Disadvantage. Since a character doesn’t receive points for a new Hunted when he makes a new enemy, or points from new Rivalries when he finds himself competing with a new character, he shouldn’t receive points from a new Distinctive Feature, either. Require the Style Distinctive Feature... But Worth Zero Points: The character must take the Style Distinctive Feature Disadvantage, but it’s worth no points. This reflects both the fact that the character’s

11 style is obvious, and the philosophy that new Disadvantages don’t bring new points to the character. Of these four approaches, the second choice, Allow the Character to Trade the Style Distinctive Feature For Another Disadvantage, usually works best. It has the advantages of giving a point-cost incentive to learn martial arts maneuvers without providing the character a lot of new points out of nowhere.

Rate Of Learning How fast should characters learn new martial arts? In the real world, a normal practitioner can earn a black belt in an average of four years. In the HERO System, that corresponds to an expenditure of only three or four Character Points per year on Martial Arts maneuvers and skills, far too slow for most adventure genre purposes. However, also in the real world, some legitimate martial arts champions have attained black belt rank in much less time. One famed heavyweight full-contact karate champion earned his in only seven months — more like spending two Character Points per month on Martial Arts maneuvers and Skills. Therefore, for game purposes, presume PCs have taken anywhere from half a year to four years to earn their belts. But when PCs learn new maneuvers and arts after they’ve begun play, you should follow one of these approaches: One CP Every Adventure: The character can spend one Experience Point on Martial Arts maneuvers, Skills, and Elements every adventure. This presumes he’s receiving regular training in the campaign setting. As a result, it takes quite a while (ten to fifteen game sessions) to earn a black belt’s worth of maneuvers and Skills. This approach works well for Heroic campaigns not oriented around martial arts, or for any campaign stressing “realism.” Two or Three CP Every Adventure: The character can spend two or three Experience Points (the GM decides which) on Martial Arts maneuvers, Skills, and Elements every adventure. This presumes he’s receiving regular, and extraordinarily intensive, training in the campaign setting. With this approach, it takes four to seven adventures for a character to acquire a competitive level of prowess in his style. This approach works well for Heroic martial arts-oriented campaigns and any Superheroic campaign. Spend Many CP During Training Breaks: If the campaign skips a lot of time, the character, with GM permission, can spend any amount of Experience Points on martial arts. In other words, if the campaign skips six game-months between adventures, the character could conceivably drop quite a few points into his fighting skills. Again, the character must receive regular training within the campaign setting. A realistic expenditure rate equals 2 Experience Points every game month; an acceptable expenditure for Heroic campaigns, presuming very inten-


The Ultimate Martial Artist sive training, would be 4 Experience Points every game month; in Superheroic campaigns, spending 6-8 Experience Points every game month is feasible.

Learning New And Multiple Styles Some characters want to learn new martial arts styles in addition to their basic style, and some just wish to purchase individual maneuvers from a number of styles to supplement their basic style. This is fine, logical, and realistic, but you need a few rules to govern this practice. BUYING MANEUVERS OUTSIDE YOUR STYLE A character can learn a maneuver from a style other than his own, or (if the GM allows) create a new maneuver using the maneuver design rules. A character should know at least three maneuvers in his original style before he buys an “outside” maneuver. The player must have an acceptable rationale for his character to learn this outside maneuver, such as learning from a PC or established NPC. If he buys the maneuver after play begins, he’s subject to the time constraints chosen by the GM (see above), and must have a logical way to learn the maneuver (i.e., access to a teacher and time to learn). If a character wishes to learn only one or two maneuvers outside his style, he doesn’t have to buy a KS in that style. OUTSIDE MANEUVERS AND THE WEAPONS ELEMENT If your basic style includes the Weapons Element for a particular weapon, and you buy a maneuver from a second style, you still can use the new maneuver with the weapons permitted for your style. For example, if you know Karate and have bought the Weapons Elements for Karate Weapons and Staff, then buy the Fencing Takeaway, you can use the Fencing Takeaway with both Karate Weapons and Staff. This is possible because the martial artist adapts his new maneuvers to his old style. However, some restrictions exist. First, the maneuver must be appropriate for the weapon. A Fencer who learns the Side/Spinning Kick can’t use the kick with a blade. See the chart under Martial Arts Maneuvers And Weapons, page 10 to determine which types of maneuvers work with which types of weapons. Second, a character with at least ten points of maneuvers in one style can buy an outside maneuver and use that maneuver with his style’s weapons. However, he can’t use all his original style’s maneuvers with the Weapons Element from the single outside maneuver. Example: Okamura Masao knows Karate; he knows ten points’ worth of maneuvers and has bought the Weapons Elements Karate Weapons

and Staff for his Karate. He now learns the Kung Fu Punch maneuver and the Kung Fu Weapons Elements of Clubs and Blades from a Kung Fu teacher. He can use the Punch with his Karate Weapons and Staff. However, he cannot use his Karate maneuvers with Clubs and Swords. However, if the practitioner knows two complete styles, he can use maneuvers from either art with the Weapons Elements he’s purchased for either art. Example: Years later, Okamura Masao has learned both Karate and Kung Fu (he has at least ten points of maneuvers in each). He has bought the Karate Weapons and Staff Weapons Elements for his Karate, and the Clubs and Blades Weapons Elements for his Kung Fu. Now, he can use his Karate maneuvers and his Kung Fu maneuvers with Karate Weapons, Staff, Clubs, and Swords. KNOWLEDGE SKILLS AND NEW STYLES If a character already knows a particular martial art (including having a KS in that art), and then buys a KS in a second art, he may use any maneuvers he has purchased which overlap both styles in the fashion of either style. This can be a good way for a character to vary his fighting style to confuse an opponent or avoid the effects of a successful Analyze Style roll. But remember, just purchasing a KS in a style does not give a character access to any maneuvers he has not paid points for. Example: Hitoshi knows Karate. He has purchased all of that style’s maneuvers and has KS: Karate 11-. After a trip to Thailand, he becomes interested in Thai Kick-Boxing and begins studying it. After a couple of months of hard work, he knows enough to buy KS: Thai Kick-Boxing 11-. Karate and Thai Kick-Boxing have several maneuvers in common: Killing Strike (called Knifehand Strike (“Chop”) in Karate and Elbow/ Knee Killing Strike in Thai Kick-Boxing); Martial Block (called Block in both styles); Martial Strike (called Punch/Snap Kick in Karate and Low Kick in Thai Kick-Boxing); and Offensive Strike (called Side/Spin Kick in Karate and Roundhouse Kick/Knee Strike in Thai KickBoxing). Since Hitoshi has a KS in both styles, he may use either version of those maneuvers when he is fighting, without having to pay for each maneuver twice. Hitoshi soon has the misfortune to get into a fight with Seiki, another Karate practitioner. After a few seconds of fighting, Hitoshi realizes Seiki has studied Hitoshi’s maneuvers and knows enough about Hitoshi’s fighting style to defeat him (in game terms, Seiki made an Analyze Style roll and used his Aid: Analyze Style power to gain extra DEX when fighting Hitoshi, and Hitoshi made a PER Roll to realize Seiki “had the drop on him”).

Hero Games So, Hitoshi switches to using Muay Thai maneuvers whenever possible. Seiki cannot analyze these new maneuvers (i.e., he fails to make another Analyze Style roll), so he cannot use his Aided DEX to increase his OCV and DCV whenever Hitoshi uses a Thai Kick-Boxing attack. Hitoshi can use his Killing Strike, Martial Block, Martial Strike, and Offensive Strike as Muay Thai maneuvers and limit Seiki to his regular DEX (without the benefit of the Aid) when attacking or defending against those maneuvers. However, if Hitoshi uses one of those maneuvers as a Karate manuever, or if he uses any other Karate maneuver, Seiki still gains the benefit of his Aided DEX. Furthermore, Hitoshi’s KS: Thai Kick-Boxing does not allow him to use that style’s Fast Strike or Shove maneuvers, since he has never purchased either of them.

Building New Maneuvers And Styles A character can (with his GM’s permission) create all-new maneuvers or even entire styles with the rules from the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers section (see page 88). A character who designs his own martial art, if it turns out to be an efficient and competitive style, should eventually find himself pursued by students who wish him to teach them — and of gunfightermentality martial artists who want to challenge him to prove the superiority of their own style. The character who designs an all-new style and finds himself in demand as a teacher should buy PS: Teacher and set up his own dojo (school). The campaign may involve many plots about the hero’s school, especially plots concerning the activities of enemy schools.

BELTS AND RANKS Many martial arts, as practiced today, use a system of ranks indicated by the color of the belt worn by the practitioner. This belt-rank system is a twentieth century invention, a tool used to motivate students (especially Western students) to learn. For Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean martial arts, belt ranks typically come in two categories: kyu (grade) and dan (degree). The accompanying sidebar shows the belt arrangement for Karate; other Japanese arts use variations on it (in fact, belt colors may vary from school to school). BLACK BELT STATUS IN THE HERO SYSTEM The term “black belt” carries a certain mystique for some (particularly Westerners), who think it signifies a person with superhuman fighting skills. It doesn’t, really; it simply indicates a practitioner who’s trained long enough and hard enough, and who possesses sufficient knowledge of and skill with a particular fighting style, for others to consider him an expert at it. This definition is not, perhaps, the same as the one applicable in the “real world,” but it

13 suffices for gaming purposes. Remember, not all fighting styles rank practitioners with “belts” or other systems, although many do. Details of some ranking systems are given above, or in the style descriptions later on in this section. For gaming purposes, there are several ways for players to simulate various levels of martial arts ability in the HERO System. The Basic Approach The basic way to determine if a character qualifies as a black belt is the one outlined in the HERO System, 5th Edition, Revised, page 401: “Characters who spend at least 15 Character Points on the style’s Martial Maneuvers, have a Knowledge Skill of the style on at least an 11- roll, and have bought at least one 3-point Combat Skill Level with the style can be considered “black belts.” True mastery involves buying all Maneuvers and related Skills as well as several [Combat Skill Levels] with the style.” Since UMA provides the opportunity to take a more in-depth look at martial arts, this definition needs a little amending. In addition to those requirements, to be considered a “black belt,” a character must know all of the style’s required Skills and maneuvers (those marked with a “*” in the style’s description). This guideline is simple, straightforward, and easy to qualify for. It allows characters who aren’t primarily martial artists to still achieve a high degree of proficiency at martial combat. Alternate Approaches If the basic approach doesn’t satisfy you, try one of these options instead. Feel free to alter them to suit your personal preferences or campaign. Perk-based: Require a character who wants to be a black belt to purchase a 1-point Fringe Benefit,

BELTS & RANKS Kyu (Grades) Grade Belt Initiate: White or Red Belt 8th Kyu: White Belt 7th Kyu: Yellow Belt 6th Kyu: Orange Belt 5th Kyu: Green Belt 4th Kyu: Purple Belt 3rd Kyu: Brown Belt 2nd Kyu: Brown Belt 1st Kyu: Brown Belt Dan (Degrees): All are Black Belts Degree Name (Japanese) 1st Dan Shodan 2nd Dan Nidan 3rd Dan Sandan 4th Dan Yodan 5th Dan Godan 6th Dan Rokudan 7th Dan Shichidan 8th Dan Hachidan 9th Dan Kudan 10th Dan Judan 11th Dan Juichidan (Judo Only) 12th Dan Junidan (Judo Only)


The Ultimate Martial Artist Black Belt. This indicates he’s recognized as a black belt by a governing body of his style (or some similar organization) and has the right to refer to himself as an expert in that style. A character with this Perk can often rely on members of the Martial World for work (i.e., teaching martial arts), shelter, and the like. The advantages to this approach are that it’s simple and cheap. The drawback is that characters with wildly different levels of proficiency with martial arts can end up being “black belts,” making the rank seem worthless. Gamemasters may wish to establish minimum requirements (such as those outlined above) before allowing characters to purchase this Perk. Maneuver-based: Increase the amount of points worth of maneuvers (including, at the GM’s option, Combat Skill Levels with the style) a character has to purchase before being considered a black belt. Twenty to thirty points should suffice for most styles. The advantage to this approach is that it more clearly differentiates the beginner with his 10 minimum points of maneuvers from a higherlevel practitioner. The drawback is that it places undue emphasis on acquiring lots of different maneuvers. Remember that special effects are an important element of the HERO System. When a martial artist buys, say, a “Kick” maneuver, this generally doesn’t mean he knows just one type of

kick. That one maneuver is “gaming shorthand,” if you will, for what may be a dozen or more different kinds of kicks. In a fight, a good martial artist player describes the different types of kicks he’s using, depending upon how his opponent fights, even though he’s using just one maneuver, “Kick.” Thus, it’s not unreasonable for a character to have spent just 10 or so points to buy a small number of maneuvers, yet still be considered to know dozens of different kicks, strikes, and defensive techniques. Skill-based: Increase the amount and/or level of Skills a character has to buy before he’s considered a black belt. For example, a GM might decide that, regardless of the raw number of points a character has spent on maneuvers and Extra DC, he cannot be considered a black belt until he has at least a 14roll in his Knowledge Skill of his style. Professional Skill: Instructor would allow the character to teach his style properly; a Science Skill in his style would give him knowledge of the mechanical aspects of his fighting maneuvers. Either Skill might include some appropriate “sports medicine” techniques for common dojo injuries. GMs could also require a character to purchase a certain number of 3-point Combat Skill Levels with his style before he qualifies for black belt status.

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hen most Hero gamers think of their characters learning “martial arts,” they have some style from the real world, like Kung Fu or Aikido, in mind. To help you build such characters, this section includes descriptions of numerous real-world martial arts styles in HERO System terms. These arts are not confined to the latter part of the twentieth century; many date back into the first millennium BC, or perhaps further back than that. You can find fictional martial arts styles in the next section.

JUTSU VS. DO; INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL Martial artists have two ways of thinking about their styles and how they work that you need to know about in advance. The first is the distinction between jutsu and do, two terms used in Japanese martial arts. Jutsu means, roughly, “technique” or “art”; it signifies a martial art meant for actual fighting use. Do, meaning “way,” signifies just the opposite — a philosophically-oriented approach stressing the moral, intellectual, sporting, and/or therapeutic benefits of studying a particular “fighting” style. Do forms are not generally meant for actual combat, though characters can use them that way. Over time, most of the jutsu forms have transformed into do forms. Thus, Aikijutsu becomes Aikido, Jujutsu becomes Judo, Kenjutsu becomes Kendo, and so forth. The real-world styles described in this book are almost all jutsu forms, since game characters intend to use them for combat. The “internal” versus “external” dichotomy (also known as “soft” versus “hard”) is described in more detail in the Chinese styles, but exists in other arts as well. Styles identified as “internal” concentrate on the development of one’s internal power, known as ch’i (China), ki (Japan), mana (Hawaii), prana or ting (India), or by many other names. Ch’i is often thought to reside in the tantien (or tanden, meaning “cinnabar field”), a point just a few inches below the navel. Internal stylists try to keep it centered there so it flows throughout their body in the correct fashion and energizes them. Internal styles generally concentrate on circular motion, yielding in the face of attack, and using an enemy’s force against him. Tai Ch’i Ch’uan, Hsing-I, Pakua, and Aikido all qualify as “internal” styles. Internal stylists can sometimes manipulate their ch’i to perform astounding feats; in a gaming campaign, these abilities can become even more spectacular and impressive!

External or “hard” styles, on the other hand, concentrate on the development of the body and its physical capabilities. They generally rely on powerful, linear attacks to overcome the foe. The Shaolin Kung Fu styles, Karate, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Muay Thai, and similar fighting arts are considered external styles.




This is a Japanese art founded in 1942 by Morihei Ueshiba and derived from the earlier Aikijutsu. It stresses discipline and a nonviolent attitude. The art, as practiced in combat, concentrates on balance, rhythm, and use of an opponent’s force against him. It largely involves redirecting an opponent’s energies, especially in throws and takedown maneuvers. Aikidoka (practitioners of aikido) traditionally wear a uniform known as an aikidogi. Students wear a uniform similar to a karate gi (see “Karate,” below). Masters wear a pair of wide pants (almost like a split skirt) called a hakama and a jacket similar to the karate gi, except that the sleeves are less full. The color of the hakama and jacket sometimes

AIKIDO Maneuver Dodge

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Extend Ki ½ 4 +0 +0 STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort Hold ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Joint Lock/Throw ½ 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls Redirect ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort Strike ½ 5 +1 +3 STR Strike Takedown ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall* KS: Aikido Enhanced Perception (Sight Group) Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with Polearms

he teacher

is as a needle, the disciple is as —Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)

MARTIAL ARTS AROUND THE WORLD If you’re looking for a martial arts style appropriate for a character from a particular nation or region, here’s where the real-world arts described in this book come from: Africa: Re-efi Arehehsee The Americas: Capoeira (Brazil); Jailhouse Rock; Jeet Kune Do; Lua (Hawaii); Professional Wrestling China: An Ch’i; HsingI; Kung Fu; Pakua; Tai Ch’i Ch’uan Europe: Arte dell’Abbracciare; Fencing; Kampfringen; Pankration; Savate; Sevillian Knifefighting; Weapons Combat; Zipota India: Gatka; Kalaripayit; Thang-Ta Indonesia: Kuntao; Pentjak-Silat Israel: Hisardut; Krav Maga Continued on next page


The Ultimate Martial Artist Continued from last page

Japan: Aikido; Bojutsu/ Jojutsu; Jujutsu; Jukenjutsu; Kenjutsu; Kyujutsu; Naginatajutsu/ Sojutsu; Ninjutsu; Saijutsu; Shurikenjutsu; Sumo Wrestling Korea: Hapkido; Hwarang-Do; Kuk Sool Won; Simgomdo; Tae Kwan Do; Tang Soo Do; Yu-Sool Okinawa: Karate Philippines: Arnis/ Kali/Escrima Thailand, Burma, Malaysia: Bando; Bersilat; Thai Kick-Boxing Vietnam: Qwan Ki Do; Than Vo Dao; Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Various/Universal: Boxing (Ancient and Modern); Commando Training; Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/ Cinematic Brawling; Generic Martial Arts; Whipfighting; Wrestling

indicates the fighter’s level of proficiency. Since Ueshiba’s death, his followers have established their own forms of Aikido. Some of these, such as Tomiki Aikido, are more philosophically- or sports-oriented; others, such as Yoshin Aikido, stress combat realism and are more similar to Aikijutsu. AIKIDO NOTES The Strike maneuver is not from Aikido as it is normally taught today, but rather from the art’s ancestor, Aikijutsu. Some teachers of Aikido teach the relationship of the art’s maneuvers to the use of blades, the staff, and halberd-like weapons such as the naginata. Optional Rules: The Strike may be either a punch or a kick; the character can make this choice before each attack with the maneuver. If a punch, it takes a location roll of 2d6+1; if a kick, it takes a location roll of 2d6+7; if it is not specified, it takes a location roll of 3d6. None of the other maneuvers require location rolls; those which do damage do generalized damage. Special Abilities: Various sources attribute many different abilities and “powers” to Morihei Ueshiba and, to a lesser extent, some of his followers. Some of these abilities include: 1) The ability to fight against many opponents without being harmed, or even touched (Defense Maneuver, Combat Skill Levels for DCV). 2) The ability to sense an attacker’s actions before he even moved (Telepathy, Danger Sense, or Precognitive Clairsentience). 3) The ability to move long distances in an instant and virtually without being seen. For example, it’s said Ueshiba could stand dozens of feet away from a man with his hand on a gun, then reach him and grab his wrist before he could draw the gun out of the holster! This is best simulated in HERO System terms as a form of Teleportation with the Limitation Must Pass Through Intervening Space (-¼). 4) The ability to paralyze opponents with but a touch (a form of Entangle, Takes No Damage From Attacks).

An Ch’i This style might best be referred to as “Chinese ninjutsu.” Like Ninjutsu, it concentrates on the use of deception, guerrilla warfare, tricks and traps, and the like. Practitioners of An Ch’i usually carry many hidden weapons, and are masters with thrown weapons — they can even use common objects as lethal missiles! The lin kuei, or “forest demons,” China’s equivalent of the Japanese ninja (and said by some to be the ninja’s predecessors), were masters of An Ch’i. AN CHI’ NOTES The character should choose which weapon he uses with the Ranged maneuvers when he purchases this style. Small, hand-held throwing weapons like throwing knives, darts, and shuriken

AN CH’I HTH Maneuver Block Dodge

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Nerve Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Ranged Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Rng Damage/Effect Basic Shot ½ 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Defensive Shot ½ 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Moving Shot ½ 5 -1 +0 +0 Weapon; FMove Quick Shot ½ 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC Skills Combat Skill Levels with Ranged Attacks Contortionist Fast Draw KS: An Ch’i Mimicry SS: Pharmacology/Toxicology Survival Tracking WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons* WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Missile Weapons* WF: Off-Hand Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff

are the most appropriate. At the GM’s option, the “weapon” in question could be the character’s “throwing master” ability, described below. Optional Rules: The Strike may be either a punch or a kick; the character can make this choice before each attack with the maneuver. If a punch, it takes a location roll of 2d6+1; if a kick, it takes a location roll of 2d6+7; if it is not specified, it takes a location roll of 3d6. The Nerve Strike does not require a location roll; it does generalized damage. Special Abilities: The lin kuei are said to be masters of many different special abilities. Some of these are simply highly-refined physical skills, but others are mystical in nature and supposedly derive from debased Taoist magical teachings. They include: 1) The ability to turn any small, throwable object into a lethal missile weapon. This ability is so common among the lin kuei that the GM should consider making it a required purchase. It can be bought as a two-slot Multipower, one slot an Energy Blast and one an RKA, each with the Limitations OIF (available throwing objects of opportunity; -½) and Range Based On STR (-¼). 2) The ability to become invisible (Invisibility). 3) The ability to hypnotize people (a limited form of Mind Control; see page 204 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised).

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Arnis/Kali/Escrima Arnis, Kali, and Escrima are related Philippine martial arts. They are very much weapons-oriented arts, but they include barehanded techniques taught to more advanced students. Malays settling the Philippines from the second century BC onward were experts in knifefighting techniques. Chinese fleeing their native land in the ninth century AD brought their martial arts to the area, and Kali emerged from the synthesis of the two combat styles. Arnis, or arnis de mano, the modern form of the art, utilizes 30” sticks in place of the knife or sword-and-knife techniques of the earlier Kali. It is usually fought with two sticks (muton), a single stick (solo baston), or one stick and one knife (espada y daga). Practitioners have adapted the art to other weapons styles as well, especially nunchaku, other karate weapons, and chain weapons. However, one can still find plenty of traditional Kali practitioners who are experts at using their art with bladed weapons. The style’s other name, “escrima,” comes from the Spanish term for “to fight”; the term “arnis” is a corruption of the Spanish word for “harness.” The style below includes both the traditional and modern-day elements of the art. For Arnis or Escrima, buy the art usable with Clubs (the sticks); that’s the default version presented below. For Kali,

ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA Art usable with Clubs Weapon Group; Clubs Weapon Group is free. Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Body Shift ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort De Cadena ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Disarm ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Nerve Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Pattern Strike ½ 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6 Strike, Must Follow Block Redonda/ Punch ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Sinawali/Kick ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Takeaway ½ 5 +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to take weapon away Takedown ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Weapon Bind ½ 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR Skills KS: Arnis (and/or Kali and/or Escrima) PS: Moro-moro Dancing WF: Blades WF: Karate Weapons WF: Chain & Rope Weapons WF: Off Hand Elements Weapons


+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art Barehanded

buy the art usable with Blades. Students can later add unarmed combat and Karate Weapons via the “Barehanded” and “Weapons” elements. Some practitioners of these styles learn to use many unusual objects, such as items of clothing, yo-yos, and ropes, as weapons. Characters can simulate specialities in a particular type of weapon by buying 2-point Combat Skill Levels with the weapon. A practitioner of this style is known as a bastonero or estocador. Male ranks are known as lakan; ranks for female fighters are dayang. Belts with colored edges indicate rank. In any of its forms, this is a fast, efficient, brutal style of combat. ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA NOTES The Kick, also known as a Sipat, may be learned only after the character has bought the Barehanded element to use the art with unarmed combat. The Pattern Strike, Sinawali, and Redonda are stick-fighting patterns. The WF: Clubs Skill is not listed among the Skills for this package because characters have Weapon Familiarity with the Clubs Group at no point cost. Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Kick takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Nerve Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll unless the character has learned to use the art with unarmed combat, at which time it takes a 3d6 location roll (since his legs and feet are now also employed in that maneuver). The Pattern Strike, Redonda, and Sinawali take a 3d6 location roll. The other maneuvers do not require location rolls. Special Abilities: Many practitioners of this style strike so rapidly they can land many blows in the space of a second. Characters can buy this as an Autofire Energy Blast with No Range, as an Autofire Advantage for one of the art’s strikes (see page 104), or as a form of Two-Weapon Fighting. Many Arnis/Kali/Escrima practitioners blink as little as possible, since an attacker could land a blow in the space of a blink. Characters can buy this as a bonus to the character’s Sight PER Roll which Only Works In Combat (-1), as a Combat Skill Level with


The Ultimate Martial Artist De Cadena (the character keeps his eyes on the enemy constantly, the better to anticipate and block blows), or as one DCV Combat Skill Level. Finally, some Arnis/Kali/Escrima masters can access a power called anting-anting, similar to ch’i or prana. It makes them superhumanly strong (Aid STR, Self Only [-½]) and resistant to harm from weapons (Damage Resistance). However, for religious and mystical reasons, anting-anting doesn’t work on Thursdays (a -¼ Limitation). SUBSTYLES OF ARNIS/KALI/ESCRIMA Hundreds of different substyles of these arts (particularly Kali) are practiced throughout the Philippines. Some of the more interesting ones include: Doces Pares Doces Pares is a very flashy, stick-oriented style of Kali. The practitioner delivers strikes “florete” style, meaning that he usually accompanies each strike with a second strike to the spot on the target’s body that circles from the attacker’s wrist. To practice Doces Pares, a character should buy any two of the style’s Strike maneuvers, and should know WF: Off Hand as well. OCV Combat Skill Levels with the style also help. Lacoste Named after its founder, Jon Lacoste, this substyle melds many forms and skills including, but not limited to, Moro-Moro, two forms of Cebu, and Occidental Negro. Lacoste is also renowned for its extremely deceptive footwork patterns. To practice Lacoste, a character should buy the Body Shift, De Cadena, and Disarm maneuvers, and should also buy the Blades and Chain & Rope Weapons Elements. Largo Mano “Large Hand” style, a long-range system, stresses attacks to the hands and arms. (Many Arnis/Kali/Escrima substyles do likewise — practitioners regard an attack to a man’s head as an attempt to kill him; damaging his hands merely “defangs” him.) Fighters try to maintain distance between one another and fight defensively. To practice Largo Mano, characters should buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Body Shift, De Cadena, Disarm, Redonda/Punch, Takeaway, Weapon Bind. Levels with DCV are also recommended. Pekiti Tersia Sometimes known as Kali-Karate because of its emphasis on patterns and its methods of instruction, this substyle includes a variety of maneuvers for the knife. To practice Pekiti Tersia, characters should buy at least three of these maneuvers — Body Shift, Disarm, Pattern Strike, Redonda/Punch, Sinawali/ Kick — and the Blades Weapon Element. Repeticion This substyle’s philosophy is a constant, forward-moving offensive. To overwhelm one’s opponent with the sheer volume of one’s strikes is the

Repeticion fighter’s tactic. To practice Repeticion, characters should buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Disarm, Pattern Strike, Redonda/Punch, Sinawali/Kick. WF: Off Hand and Skill Levels with OCV are also recommended. Serada Serada is a close-quarters fighting system (it concentrates on the punyo range, a term derived from the inch of stick that protrudes from the bottom of the exponent’s fist). It mainly uses the espada y daga form, with the knife held in the left hand. The techniques concentrate on using the stick to lock an opponent’s weapon so the practitioner can stab with the knife. To practice Serada, a character should buy the De Cadena, Takeaway, and Weapon Bind maneuvers, and should also buy the Blades Weapon Element. Toledo Toledo stylists, considered the hardest hitters of all Kali practitioners, use extra-thick sticks for training and for combat. To practice Toledo, a character should buy any two of the style’s Strike maneuvers, with at least +2 Extra DC. Villabrille Named after its founder, a four-time full-contact stickfighting champion in the 1930s, this substyle emphasizes the use of barehanded maneuvers. Many fighters get so used to being attacked with the stick that they forget the hands and feet are also powerful weapons, and the Villabrille stylist tries to exploit this weakness. To practice Villabrille, a character should buy any one of the style’s Strike maneuvers, and must buy the Barehanded Element as well. Levels with Hand-To-Hand Combat are also recommended.

Arte dell’Abbracciare Arte dell’Abbracciare (“art of the embrace”) is a close-combat system developed in medieval Italy. It features grappling, joint-locks and -breaks, tripping, striking, pressure-point attacks, and control techniques focused on the opponent’s neck and head. Most attacks have several variations, each used in response to specific maneuvers employed by the opponent. Arte dell’Abbracciare seems to have often been learned or practiced together with arte della daga, a knifefighting art. Characters may learn that art by buying a Weapon Element for Arte dell’Abbracciare, or by buying maneuvers from the Sevillian Knifefighting style (see below). ARTE DELL’ABBRACCIARE NOTES Optional Rules: The Strike and Pressure Point Strike take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other maneuvers take location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

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ARTE DELL’ABBRACCIARE Maneuver Block Escape Grapple

Phs ½ var ½

Pts 4 4 3

OCV +2 +0 -1

DCV +2 +0 -1

Damage/Effect Block, Abort +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable -1 Grab One Limb, +10 to STR for holding on

Joint Break ½



Joint Lock




Joint Lock/ Throw






+1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls

Pressure Point Strike ½ Strike ½ Takedown ½

4 4 3

-1 +1 2d6 NND(1) +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall* KS: Arte dell’Abbracciare

Bando Bando is a fighting art from Burma. (According to some scholars, the proper name of the art, strictly speaking, is Thaing; Bando is the unarmed branch of the art [or one of its schools] and Banshay the armed branch.) The word “bando” is generally interpreted to mean “art of combat” or “systems of defense.” Bando is thought to have developed under various influences, including Thai, Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian; each Burmese ethnic subgroup has its own form of the art. The British banned the art in 1885, but practitioners continued to teach it in secret; after World War II Bando was organized and taught more openly than in the past. Bando includes both armed and unarmed maneuvers. A fairly brutal style, similar in many ways to Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), it stresses a withdrawal at first, then attacks to the body from outside the opponent’s reach; a grab may follow these strikes. The head, shoulder, and hips are used in addition to the hands/fists, feet, elbows, and knees. There are twelve primary offensive forms or strategies, each named after an animal: Boar (rushes, knee and elbow strikes, headbutts and other close-contact techniques); Bull (charges, tackles, power strikes); Cobra (attacking upperbody vital points); Deer (alertness); Eagle (doublehanded blocks and strikes); Monkey (agility); Paddy Bird (rapid movement); Panther (leaping, tearing); Python (gripping, strangling); Scorpion (nerve-point attacks); Tiger (clawing); and Viper (attacking lower-body vital points). Another Burmese fighting art, Lethwei, is considered even “harder” than Bando. It is often referred to as a form of “boxing,” but is much more similar to Thai Kick-Boxing than Western boxing. Characters who want to practice Lethwei can use the Thai Kick-Boxing package, described below.

BANDO NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch (and its various subforms), Panther Claw/Tiger Claw, and Cobra Strike take a location roll of 2d6+1; the Kick/Knee Strike and the Viper Strike take a 2d6+7 roll. The Scorpion Strike takes a roll of 3d6. The Boar Headbutt and Python Choke automatically target the head/ neck, and therefore get neither bonuses nor penalties for the location. The other offensive maneuvers do not take location rolls since they do generalized damage. Special Abilities: Bando practitioners are often fast runners and strong leapers; extra inches of Running or Leaping would be appropriate for them.

BANDO Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Kick/Knee Strike ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Panther Claw/ Tiger Claw ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Punch/Elbow Strike/Eagle Strike/Boar Headbutt ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Python Choke ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Python Crush ½ 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab Python Grab ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Scorpion Strike/Cobra Strike/ Viper Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Tackle ½ 3 +0 -1 STR +v/5 Strike; You Fall, Target Falls; FMove Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Bando WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Spear Use Art with Staff

Bersilat Bersilat is a martial art from Malaysia. Its name means, roughly, “to do fighting.” Its origins date to the 1400s. According to Malayan legend, its founder was Huang Tuah of Malaca; some other legends attribute the art to a Menangkabau woman of Sumatra. As its name suggests, Bersilat is very similar to the Indonesian art Pentjak-Silat (q.v.) (in fact, some scholars believe Bersilat derives from Pentjak-Silat). It consists of both combative maneuvers, called silat buah, and graceful dancelike movements (silat pulot) performed for entertainment purposes. Bersilat is an acrobatic fighting style whose practitioners use a lot of kicks; it also features


The Ultimate Martial Artist

BERSILAT Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Elak Mengelak (Dodge) ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Escape ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Finger Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Flying Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Hold ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on Sepak Terajang (Kick) ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Bersilat PS: Silat Pulot Dancing WF: Blades WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Staff

punches, throws, and holds (some styles are, in fact, quite similar to various styles of wrestling). It teaches the use of weapons such as blades, staffs, and sticks. Each state or region in the country has its own distinctive substyle. Bersilat fighters wear a black uniform made up of baggy trousers, a short-sleeved shirt, a headband, and a colored belt (bengkong) denoting rank: from lowest to highest rank, the colors are white, green, red, yellow, and black. BERSILAT NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch, Finger Strike, and Flying Kick take locations of 2d6+1; the Sepak Terajang takes a 2d6+7 location roll. Special Abilities: Bersilat fighters are often known for their acrobatic

leaping ability; extra inches of Leaping, particularly with the Limitation Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-½), would be appropriate for them. SUBSTYLES OF BERSILAT Like many martial arts, Bersilat has a number of distinctive schools or substyles. They include the ones described below, plus Langka Silat, Lintan, and Medan. Chekak Chekak Bersilat emphasizes open hand strike techniques and downplays kicks. To practice Chekak, a character must know the Block, Finger Strike, and Punch (“Open Hand Strike”) maneuvers. Kelantan Kelantan Bersilat focuses on locking and grappling techniques instead of strikes. To practice Kelantan, a character must know the Block, Elak Mengelak, Escape, and Hold maneuvers. Terelak Terelak Bersilat concentrates on muscular strength and powerful attacks. To practice it, a character must known the Escape, Flying Kick, and Punch maneuvers.

Bojutsu/Jojutsu The maneuvers listed below describe two different, yet similar, styles: Bojutsu (the art of the staff ) and Jojutsu (the art of stick-fighting). Bojutsu, the art of the staff, uses the bo staff (also known as a rokushakubo, “six-foot staff ”). The fighter holds his staff two-handed. Staff-fighting was often used to help train warriors to use other weapons, since warriors can practice the staff without causing fatal injuries. Jojutsu, the art of the stick, uses the jo, a short staff or stick about four feet long. According to legend, the art was developed around 1500 by Muso Gonnosuke. Muso, a samurai, was taking the part of a mushashugyo (a samurai who travels the country, testing his martial skills) to improve his Bojutsu techniques, and was proving himself a superior warrior. Because of his reputation, another undefeated warrior, the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, sought him out and challenged him, using only a bokken (wooden sword). Miyamoto defeated Muso easily, but spared his life. Muso, humiliated, continued his wanderings. Eventually he dreamed of an angelic being who told him to create a new, shorter staff, and instructed him in the techniques of its use. Muso went into seclusion and perfected the twelve techniques of Jojutsu. Then he sought out Miyamoto, challenged him, and beat him — the only defeat Miyamoto ever suffered. A practitioner of Jojutsu is known as a shijo; he wears a hakama and a type of jacket called a haori. You can also use Bojutsu to represent medieval quarterstaff fighting and staffbased arts from many other cultures, and Jojutsu for many other stickfighting arts.

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BOJUTSU/JOJUTSU Used with Staff or Clubs Weapons Group; that Weapon Element is free. Maneuver Phs Atemi Strike ½ Bind ½ Block ½ Disarm ½

Pts 4 4 4 4

OCV -1 +1 +2 -1

DCV +1 +0 +2 +1

Jab Legsweep

½ ½

5 3

+1 +3 +2 -1

Shove Strike Smash

½ ½ ½

4 4 5

+0 +0 +0 +2 -2 +1

Damage/Effect 2d6 NND(1) Bind, +10 STR Block, Abort Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Weapon Weapon +1 DC Strike, Target Falls +15 STR to Shove Weapon +2 DC Strike Weapon +4 DC Strike

Skills KS: Bojutsu (or Jojutsu, as appropriate) WF: Staff (* for Bojutsu)

BOJUTSU/JOJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Atemi Strike takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location; the Smash and Strike maneuvers take 3d6 rolls. The Legsweep automatically targets the legs, of course, but does not suffer any Attack Roll or damage penalties because of this. Special Abilities: 1) Rapid-fire attacks: A practitioner of Bojutsu and Jojutsu can sometimes make several attacks in rapid succession before his opponent can react. You can buy this as a No Range Autofire EB, as an Autofire Advantage for the Strike maneuver (see page 104), or as a form of Two-Weapon Fighting. 2) Swordbreaking: Shijo are said to be trained to break an enemy’s weapon with their short staffs (HKA, Only Works Against Weapons [-1]).

Boxing, Ancient This is a martial arts style practiced by many cultures in the ancient world (reaching into the Bronze Age and prehistory), especially the Greeks and (Asian) Indians. A form of boxing called ch’uan p’o was known in China as early as 700 BC. Ancient Boxing is simpler than modern boxing, nowhere near as scientific or punishing in application. In the Greek form of the art, fighting stance consists of the pugilist keeping his blocking (usually left) arm outstretched before him, with the hand usually open, and keeping his striking hand cocked back for blows.

BOXING, ANCIENT Maneuver Block Jab Punch

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 3 3

OCV +2 +2 +1

DCV +2 +1 +0

Damage/Effect Block, Abort STR Strike STR +2d6 Strike

Skills KS: Ancient Boxing Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Cestus

ANCIENT BOXING NOTES The Jab and Punch maneuvers may be used with the cestus; see the Weapons section of this book for information on this weapon. Optional Rules: The Jab and Punch both take location rolls of 2d6+1; the Block doesn’t take a location roll. Alternatively, if you wish to better simulate the way boxing took place in classical Greece, you can say that the Jab and Punch are automatically head shots but do no extra damage for striking the head (no multiples of STUN or BODY), since ancient Greek boxing blows were only directed at the head. Special Abilities: Because they are accustomed to the brutality of this style, some boxers may have the ability to sustain incredible injuries without falling (Damage Reduction).

BOXING, MODERN Maneuver Block Clinch Cross Hook Jab

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike ½ 3 +2 +1 STR Strike

Skills KS: Boxing Paramedic Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Cestus

Boxing, Modern Modern Boxing evolved gradually from Ancient Boxing. According to legend, some effort at systemizing boxing as a sport took place 700 years ago, when St. Bernard taught it to youths to keep them from knifing one another. In England, the practice of prizefights began some 200 years ago, with contests fought with bare fists, though this sport was illegal and frequently raided. In 1865, the Marquis of Queensberry drafted his famous rules for the sport; his rules called for the use of boxing gloves and timed rounds in boxing matches. It is around that time that this martial arts style becomes available to player characters; before the middle of the nineteenth century, characters should buy Ancient Boxing if they want to box. Nobody today teaches boxing with the cestus. However,


The Ultimate Martial Artist the maneuvers work with a cestus, should someone be mad enough to train with one. Therefore, the Weapons Element remains in place in the Modern Boxing package, though few boxers purchase it. Players might consider replacing the Cross (a Martial Strike) with a Fast Strike instead. Many modern boxers concentrate on power and speed and are willing to take a few blows if they can land a few. The Fast Strike, with its OCV bonus, better represents this strategy. MODERN BOXING NOTES Optional Rules: The Jab, Cross, and Hook take location rolls of 2d6+1; the other maneuvers take no specific location rolls. The Clinch will always Grab the arms or head, never the legs. Special Abilities: As Ancient Boxing.

Capoeira Capoeira is the national martial art of Brazil. Its origins lie in Angola, where its ancestor was a type of ritual dance. The martial art’s development began after 1530, when the first Angolan slaves were brought into Brazil; many of them escaped to live in free communities. Capoeira was the fighting style they developed to resist attacks by government forces. It was banned in 1707, and “went underground” when its practitioners converted it into a dance form, disguising its combat effectiveness. Capoeira relies primarily upon kicks, takedowns, and dodges (to block attacks is rare). Among the art’s unusual features are its dance-like footwork and the acrobatic prowess of the practitioners. For many maneuvers, practitioners (called capoeiras or capoeiristas) stand on their hands and attack with powerful kicks. This feature of the art arose in

CAPOEIRA Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Armado da Costa Spin Kick)/Parafuso (Jumping Spinning Kick) ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Bencao (Front Thrust Kick)/Asfixiante (Punch) ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Block ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort Cabeçada (Head-Butt) ½ 3 +1 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Cocorinha/Esquiva/Queda ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All de Quatro Attacks, Abort Dedeira (Eye Gouge) ½ 4 -1 -1 Sight Group Flash 4d6 Meia lua de Frente/Queixada (Crescent Kick) ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Rasteira/Banda/Tesoura/Arrastão (Legsweep/ Takedown) ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Vôo-do-morcego (Flying Kick) ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Skills Acrobatics* Breakfall KS: Brazilian Music PS: Dancing PS: Play Instrument WF: Straight Razor

part because it allowed capoeiristas to fight with manacled hands; therefore, the art requires its practitioners to take the Acrobatics Skill. Another example of this acrobatic skill is the use of the au, or cartwheel, to move across the field of combat. Capoeiristas also added razor-fighting techniques to their repertoire, so the art includes a Weapon Familiarity with razors. None of the listed maneuvers add CV or damage bonuses to razor attacks, however, so this is considered just an additional skill, not a Weapons Element. Capoeira is practiced to the accompaniment of musical instruments, including the musical bow, drums, bells, and tambourines, so skill with those instruments is included among the Skills for the style. CAPOEIRA NOTES The Armado da costa maneuver can also be called the Martelo (roundhouse kick) or, when performed in acrobatic mode (with the capoeirista standing on one or both hands) as the Meia lua. Optional Rules: The Bencao, Armado da costa, and meia lue de frente/queixada kicks have a standard location roll of 3d6, unless the practitioner successfully uses his Acrobatics Skill to stand on his hands, in which case the location roll is 2d6+1. The Asfixiante and vôo-do-morcego both have a 2d6+1 location roll. The Cabeçada head-butt is backwards: its normal roll is 2d6+1, and goes to a 2d6+7 if the attacker stands on his hands. (If both attacker and target are upside-down, the location rolls revert to normal.) Special Abilities: Many capoeiristas buy DCV Combat Skill Levels which Require An Acrobatics

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Roll (-½) to show off their acrobatic prowess. Acrobatics also allows them to fight without penalty if their hands are bound (they use kicks instead of punches).

Commando Training Commando training is the quick-and-dirty art of elimination of the enemy. Its origins are with the armed forces; many a Marine in World War II was taught the principles of Commando Training. Today, systemized commando styles such as Combato are taught like any other martial art, and police departments, rape prevention activists, and the like teach Commando Training maneuvers as self-defense combat styles.

COMMANDO TRAINING Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Aikido Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Boxing Cross ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Choke ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Hold ½ 4 -1 -1 Grab Three Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Judo Disarm ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Karate “Chop” ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Kung Fu Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Skills Breakfall WF: Small Arms Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Knives

COMMANDO TRAINING NOTES Characters can use the Karate “Chop”, Judo Disarm, and Kung Fu Block with Clubs and Knives (if the practitioner buys those Weapons Elements). Optional Rules: The Boxing Cross and Karate “Chop” take location rolls of 2d6+1; the Choke automatically targets the head, but gets neither bonuses nor penalties for doing so; the Throw, Disarm, Hold, Escape, and Block take no location rolls. Special Abilities: None

Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/ Cinematic Brawling This is not a martial art, but rather a set of maneuvers skilled streetfighters can learn. It’s also taught to women as a series of rape-prevention maneuvers (especially the Disarm, Low Blow, and Throw). Since it’s not a formal martial art, practitioners cannot take a Style Distinctive Feature for it.

For characters who are not the sort of people that would learn a “dirty” way to fight, you can characterize this style in two other ways. One is as Fisticuffs, the general fighting skill of the strongjawed hero so often featured in pulp tales and comics. A character with Fisticuffs is simply a good, all-American fighter; he doesn’t have any formal training and doesn’t fight dirty. Alternately, some characters may want to know Cinematic Brawling, the free-wheeling sort of combat often seen in movies and on television. Like Dirty Infighting, Fisticuffs and Cinematic Brawling cannot take the Style Distinctive Feature; they aren’t “stylized” enough. Not all streetfighting characters need to know Dirty Infighting — it represents a character with a lot of rough and dirty fighting experience. You can simulate many characters’ simple fighting skills as a form of “Brawling” by buying HA +1-2d6, perhaps with one or two Combat Skill Levels to

DIRTY INFIGHTING/FISTICUFFS/ CINEMATIC BRAWLING Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block/Chin Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Disarm ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Eye Gouge ½ 4 -1 -1 Sight Group Flash 4d6 Hoist ‘n’ Heave ½ 5 -2 -2 Grab Two Limbs, +20 STR to Throw Kidney Blow ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Low Blow ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(3) Punch/ Backhand ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Roundhouse/Two-Fisted Smash ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Tackle ½ 3 +0 -1 STR +v/5 Strike; You Fall, Target Falls Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Streetwise WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Clubs

reflect a crude “technique.” DIRTY INFIGHTING/FISTICUFFS/CIN EMATIC BRAWLING NOTES The “clubs” most often used with Dirty Infighting include bottles, pool cues, and other weapons of opportunity. The Block/Chin Block, Hoist ‘n’ Heave, and Two-


The Ultimate Martial Artist Fisted Smash are obviously found only in Fisticuffs/ Cinematic Brawling, since they’re far too colorful to have a place in a vicious street brawl. The Block/Chin Block can either be a standard block with the forearm, or it can consist of the character “blocking” the blow by taking it square on the chin and “shrugging off ” the effects — “Go ahead, mate, take yer best shot!” The Hoist ‘n’ Heave is the classic “grab him by the shirt-front and toss him out the window” maneuver; it “Grabs” two limbs because characters thrown in this fashion never seem able to use their arms to keep from being thrown. The highly unrealistic Two-Fisted Smash consists of lacing your fingers together and striking the enemy; the Cinematic Brawler’s ability to do this without suffering intense pain is perhaps his only “special ability.” Optional Rules: The Punch/Backhand, Roundhouse/Two-Fisted Smash, and Kidney Blow take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Disarm takes no specific location. The Low Blow is automatically a Vitals shot, but receives no extra damage (no STUN multiples) for hitting the Vitals area. The Eye Gouge automatically hits the eyes, but receives no extra damage or Attack Roll penalties for doing so. The Tackle does generalized damage.

FENCING Usable with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element is free Maneuver Ballestra

Cut Ceduto Double a Double

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 5 +2 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike; Half Move Required ½ 3 +2 +1 Weapon var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to escape Bind ½


Fleche ½ Froissement ½

4 4




Lunge ½ Parry ½ Pasata Soto ½

5 4 3

Prise de Fer ½ Riposte ½

4 4

Slash Takeaway

½ ½

5 5

Thrust Trip

½ ½

5 3




Special Abilities: None.

Fencing Fencing is a European sword-fighting technique which developed during the Renaissance (c. fifteenth century AD), though some maneuvers (or at least the basis for them) may predate that time. It made use of long, light blades (especially rapier and sabre) and knives (including daggers, stilettos, and main gauches). In combat situations, fencers often fought “in the round” (i.e., not confining themselves to the imaginary straight line utilized by modern fencers). Modern-day fencing makes use of much lighter, springier weapons with capped tips (to keep them comparatively safe); these include foil and epee. Fencing weapons are divided into thrusting weapons (foils, epees, rapiers, and smallswords) and slashing weapons (sabers and the like). In HERO System terms generally you don’t have to reflect the differences with different maneuvers, but GMs desiring greater realism or detail may rename certain maneuvers depending upon the class of weapon a character uses, or may restrict certain maneuvers to certain types of weapons. You could also use two different Weapon Elements. As a martial art, Fencing is automatically designed for use with the Blades weapons group. (It’s intended for use with lighter fencing weapons such as the rapier, sabre, foil, and epee, but in swashbuckling campaigns characters can use it with heavier cutlasses, broadswords, and so forth if the GM allows.) Characters may not buy Fencing maneuvers for other classes of weapons (no polearms, no axes, and so on), or for use in unarmed combat. Fencers often do use other weapons — especially such things as cloaks and bucklers — but those weapons

+2 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike, Must Follow Predefined Maneuver +2 -2 Weapon +v/5; FMove -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll -1 -2 Grab One Limb, +10 STR disarm +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC +2 +2 Block, Abort +2 +2 Weapon + foe’s v/5 Strike, You Fall, Response to Ballestra, Fleche, Lunge +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike, Must Follow Block -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to Take Weapon Away +1 +3 Weapon +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike, target falls — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort

Skills KS: Fencing Sleight Of Hand Two-Weapon Fighting WF: Blades* WF: Off Hand

do not utilize the Fencing weapon maneuvers. Optional Rules: The Ballestra, Cut, Double a Double, Fleche, Lunge, Riposte, Slash, and Thrust take location rolls of 3d6 when used with a medium or long blade, or 2d6+1 when used with a short blade (like a dagger or short sword). The Pasata Soto takes a 2d6+7 location roll. The other maneuvers do not take location rolls. Special Abilities: 1) Flurry: A highly-skilled fencer can attack so swiftly he strikes his opponent several times in the space of a second. You can buy this as a No Range Autofire EB, or as an Autofire Advantage for a favored Strike maneuver (see page 104). 2) Fighting Florentine: Skilled fencers may fight with a weapon in each hand (“fighting Florentine” or with a “case of swords”). In HERO System terms, this is a form of Sweep, but characters can buy the Two-Weapon Fighting Skill and/or WF: Off Hand to simulate their skill with such maneuvers. One of

Hero Games the many maneuvers characters can perform with this ability is the scannatura, in which the fencer binds the foe’s weapon with his off-hand blade and strikes with his primary blade. 3) False Disengage: Some fencers can perform false “disengages” to trick their opponents into reacting improperly. You can simulate this with the use of the Sleight Of Hand Skill versus the opposing fencer’s PER Roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest. If the fencer attempting the trick wins the Contest, he gains +1 OCV for his next Fencing maneuver performed that Phase or in his next Phase. 4) Colpo d’ Arresto: A colpo d’ Arresto is a fencer’s way of living up to the old saying, “the best defense is a good offense.” In response to an attack, the fencer makes a rapid attack to hit the opponent before the opponent completes his own attack. It requires good judgment and split-second timing. In HERO System terms, this is the use of a Held Action, but the fencer can buy Combat Skill Levels to reflect his skill at this very impressive maneuver. FENCING MANEUVERS Fencing has many maneuvers, but few fencers buy them all. This results in a wide variance between the styles of individual fencers. Ballestra: A rapid step or hop forward, followed immediately by a lunge to take advantage of the momentum. Cut: Using wrist action, the fencer delivers a swift cut using the foremost edge and tip of his blade. Fencers usually aim a Cut at the wrist or face. Ceduto: A disengage movement in which the fencer flips the blade up or down while stepping back or away. Double a Double: This is a flexible pattern maneuver similar to a Riposte, except that instead of following a Block, it follows a particular predefined maneuver. At the beginning of a fencing match, the fencer must specify which maneuver his Double a Double follows (he can change this maneuver from fight to fight, but not during a particular fight). This simulates the fencer setting up his foe for a devastating blow. Fleche: The fencer runs or leaps at his foe with blade extended. It requires a Full Move, and the momentum allows the fencer to inflict extra damage. Froissement: A disarming maneuver designed to knock the weapon from a foe’s hand. It ranges from a quick, strong “slap” at the base of the opponent’s weapon to complicated bind maneuvers in which the fencer locks up his opponent’s blade and then “yanks” it out of his hand. Grypes: This grab/disarm maneuver is peculiar to the English school (see below). The fencer grabs his foe’s weapon arm and applies a lock/hold to force the weapon from the foe’s hand. Of course, this requires a free hand, so a fencer using a main gauche or buckler can’t employ it unless he drops that object.

25 Lunge: A deep, powerful lunging step at the foe with blade extended, most commonly used with smaller weapons such as smallswords. Parry: The fencer blocks his foe’s blade with one of his own. Pasata Soto: The fencer must execute this complicated maneuver in response to a Ballestra, Fleche, or Lunge. He drops to the ground underneath the incoming weapon, and, supporting himself with his off-hand, performs a rapid thrust at the foe up and under the foe’s guard. Although athletically demanding, and prone to leaving a fencer open to other attacks if he cannot get back on his feet quickly, it is an impressive and often deadly maneuver. Prise de Fer: The fencer presses his blade against his foe’s in such a way as to prevent the foe from using his weapon to attack. This is sometimes referred to as “locking up” the opponent’s blade. Riposte: The fencer blocks one of his opponent’s blows, then follows up with a rapid counterstrike before the opponent can recover his guard. Slash: A basic fencing attack in which the fencer swings his blade at his foe using his whole arm to power the blow. Takeaway: The fencer disarms his foe. This may involve literally grabbing some safe part of the weapon (such as its ricasso) and yanking it out of his hand, or a bind-like maneuver in which he locks up his foe’s blade and then follows through to force the blade out of his hand. Thrust: A rapid jab at the foe using the point of the blade and without significant forward motion on the part of the fencer. Trip: Taught primarily in the English fencing school, this maneuver is a swift kick or tripping movement aimed at the foe in an attempt to knock him down. Void: The fencer steps to one side, or shifts his body out of the way of an attack. Unlike the other maneuvers in the Fencing package, a fencer can use this one when he does not have a blade in his hand (in short, at any time). SUBSTYLES Across Europe, dozens of different fencing schools have taught students ways to use the blade. Some of the best known schools include: English School An Englishman named George Silver devel-


The Ultimate Martial Artist oped this style of fencing as a homegrown response to Italian styles. Silver preferred heavy blades, such as the broadsword, and a buckler to the “flashy” Italian rapier-fighting. The English school emphasizes steady, deliberate movements, strong stances, solid blocks and parries, and cuts and slashes. It even incorporates some Wrestling maneuvers (bought from that package if desired). To belong to the English school, a character must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Cut, Grypes, Lunge, Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Trip, Void. French School The French school concentrates on maintaining a distance between the two fighters, parrying, and then counterattacking. French stylists should keep most of their Combat Skill Levels (if any) in DCV. To belong to the French school, a character must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Fleche, Froissement, Lunge, Parry, Prise de Fer, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void. Italian School Italian style fencing is known for its fast, aggressive approach. Fencers typically concentrate on attacks, often using a second weapon, such as a main gauche, spiked buckler, or fo (a cloak with a weighted hem). Many variants, such as the schools of Vincentio Saviolo and Giacomo di Grassi, existed. To belong to the Italian school, a character must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Ceduto, Double a Double, Lunge, Parry, Pasata Soto, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void. Italian fencers usually put most of their Combat Skill Levels (if any) into OCV. Schlaeger Swordfighting (Heidelberg School) This late nineteenth century style, popularized by students of the German university at Heidelberg, is very physical. It involves holding the schlaeger sword at “high prime” (hand slightly above the head, tip of the blade at mouth level). Duellists often wear goggles to protect the eyes, and metal caps on the head. The goal is not to kill or seriously injure the opponent, but to cut the opponent on his head or face. In time the goal often became to earn a duelling-scar one’s self, as fellow duellists considered the scar a badge of honor. To belong to the “Heidelberg school,” a character must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void. Spanish School The Spanish school emphasizes footwork and movement based upon an imaginary “Mystic Circle” circle encompassing the fencer and his foe. Theoretically, by knowing where an opponent is in relation to himself in the circle, the fencer can move at precise angles to his foe to gain a deadly advantage. Spanish fencers move with steadiness and grace, almost as if dancing. To belong to the Spanish school, a character must buy at least three of the following maneuvers: Ballestra, Cut, Ceduto, Fleche, Froissement, Lunge, Parry, Riposte, Slash, Takeaway, Thrust, Void.

Gatka A martial art originating in the Punjab region of northern India in, depending on which sources you believe, the fifteenth, seventeenth, or eighteenth centuries, Gatka was developed by the Sikhs to defend against Mongol invaders and other enemies. It is a weapons-based art, focusing on the sword, a one- to three-meter long stick, and flexible weapons (such as chains, ropes, and whips). Practitioners also know how to use the chakram (a bladed throwing ring) and the unusual chakar (a weapon like a wagon wheel with a weight at the end of each spoke, spun around to cause impact damage). Legends tell of many battles in which a small number of Sikhs used their Gatka skills to fend off much larger forces. Gatka practitioners begin training sessions with meditation, often accompanied by music. They first learn to use sticks, then progress to the sword and flexible weapons.

GATKA Used with Club Weapon Group; Club Weapon Element is free Maneuver Bind Block Dodge

Phs ½ ½ ½

Power Strike ½ Strike ½

Pts 4 5 4 5 4

OCV +1 +1 +0

DCV +0 +3 +5

Damage/Effect Bind, +10 STR Block, Abort Dodge All Attacks, Abort +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike

Skills KS: Gatka WF: Common Melee Weapons* WF: Chain and Rope Weapons WF: Chakar WF: Chakram WF: Staff WF: Whip Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain and Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Chakar

GATKA NOTES Optional Rules: The Strike and Power Strike use 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: According to legend, many Gatka masters can fight equally well with either hand, or sometimes with a sword in both hands. You can simulate this by buying Ambidexterity and/or TwoWeapon Fighting.


ct without doing, work without effort.’ — Tao Te Ching

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Generic Martial Arts This is a set of maneuvers for characters who want to have martial arts but don’t want to bother with information on or comparisons between martial arts styles. It’s also a good way to represent the fighting skills learned by characters who train with a number of tutors espousing different styles. Since it is not a formalized style, it receives no Style Distinctive Feature.

GENERIC MARTIAL ARTS Maneuver Block Dodge Kick Punch Throw

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall WF: Common Melee Weapons

GENERIC MARTIAL ARTS NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch takes a location roll of 2d6+1; the kick takes a location roll of 2d6+7; the Block, Throw, and Dodge don’t utilize locations rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Hapkido Hapkido (roughly, “the way of coordinated power”) is a Korean martial art a synthesizing several other styles, including HwarangDo, Aikido/Aikijutsu, Jujutsu, Tae Kwon Do, and others. It was developed by Choi Yong Suhl, a Korean martial artist who emigrated to Japan following the Japanese occupation of his homeland in the first decade of the twentieth century. In Japan he studied Japanese martial arts (particularly Daito-ryu Aikijutsu) and integrated some of their techniques with his Korean maneuvers. When he returned to Korea after World War II, he opened the first Hapkido school so he could teach his new style to others. Hapkido is an art designed with fighting, not sport or artistry, in mind. It attempts to combine the best of the “hard” and “soft” fighting styles to form a versatile, wellrounded combat art. Like most Korean styles, it emphasizes kicking over hand techniques. It grades students on a simple belt system: from lowest to highest, the ranks are white, blue, red, and black. HAPKIDO NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch and Nerve Strike take a 2d6+1 location roll, the Kick a 3d6 roll. The other maneuvers either do not require

HAPKIDO Maneuver Block Breaking Throw

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½










Escape var 4 Joint Break ½ 5

+0 -1

Joint Lock




Kick Nerve Strike Punch Sweep

½ ½ ½ ½

5 4 4 3

-2 -1 +0 +2





+0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable; Target Falls +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on +1 STR +4d6 Strike +1 2d6 NND(1) +2 STR +2d6 Strike -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall KS: Hapkido WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with ClubsWeapons

Hit Location rolls or target specific locations. Special Abilities: Some Hapkido masters reputedly can sense attackers and objects anywhere around them, an ability known as “mind like the moon.” Characters can buy this as a form of Spatial Awareness.

Hisardut Hisardut is a fighting art developed in Israel. It was founded by Dennis Hanover, who adapted techniques from several martial arts to form a practical fighting style suited for modern-day combat. Intended as a practical fighting and survival art, it has few sporting applications. HISARDUT NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch/ Elbow Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll, the Kick a 3d6 roll, and the Knee Strike a 2d6+7 roll. The Headbutt and Choke Hold automatically strike the head, without penalty or bonus. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

HISARDUT Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Choke Hold ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6 NND(2) Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Kick/ Knee Strike ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Punch/Elbow Strike/ Headbutt ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills KS: Hisardut WF: Small Arms

Hsing-I Hsing-I (or Xingyi), usually translated as “heart and mind” or “shape of mind,” is one of the three main “internal” styles of Chinese martial arts (the other two are Pakua and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan). Like the practitioners of other internal styles, Hsing-I practitioners strive to unite the mind and the body so the mind can freely command the body’s ch’i, allowing the practitioner to perform amazing feats. According to legend, the founder of Hsing-I was a Sung Dynasty general named Yueh Fei, who lived from 1103-1141. He was supposedly taught the basics of Hsing-I by a Taoist named Chou Ton. His success in warfare was so phenomenal that jealous rivals had him imprisoned and killed; he wrote the first book about Hsing-I in prison. Hsing-I has two basic sets of movements or maneuvers. The first set is made up of block-strike patterns based on the five elements: Metal (Pi Ch’uan), Water (Tsuan Ch’uan), Wood (Peng Ch’uan), Fire (Pao Ch’uan), and Earth (Heng Ch’uan). Each element has offensive and defensive aspects; in accord with ancient Chinese philosophies, an attack based on one element (say, Fire) is subject to a defense based on the element it’s vulnerable to (in this example, Water). The second set of maneuvers is based around twelve animal forms: Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Turtle, Chicken, Phoenix (T’ai Bird), Sparrow Hawk, Swallow, Snake, Eagle, and Bear (some masters use other animal forms as well). Hsing-I practitioners combine these basic sets of maneuvers into attack patterns that typically involve blocking an incoming attack, grabbing the attacking limb, and then striking the attacker, usually with the hand. Hsing-I tends to be much more “linear” than the other internal styles, so it’s often the first internal style a student studies (then he moves on to Pakua and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan). Some scholars divide Hsing-I into three

“schools”: Honan; Hopei (the most common and least internal); and Shansi (the least common). Some masters of these schools teach weapons such as swords, staffs, and spears, but this is relatively rare.

HSING-I Maneuver Phs Pts Block ½ 4 Defensive Block ½ 5 Eagle Claw ½ 4

OCV DCV Damage/Effect +2 +2 Block, Abort +1 +3 Block, Abort +1 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on

Grappling Block Hand Strike/ Low Kick Monkey Slap Nerve Strike Tiger Push Takedown



+1 +1 Grab One Limb, Block

½ ½ ½ ½ ½

4 5 4 4 3

+0 -2 -1 +0 +1




+2 +1 +1 +0 +1

STR +2d6 Strike STR +4d6 Strike 2d6 NND(1) +15 STR to Shove STR Strike; Target Falls +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills KS: Hsing-I KS: Chinese Healing KS: Chinese Philosophy WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Spear

HSINGI NOTES Optional Rules: The Hand Strike, Monkey Slap, and Nerve Strike all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls; the Low Kick takes a 2d6+7 roll. None of the other maneuvers requires a location roll. Special Abilities: The internal stylist’s ability to project his ch’i to generate powerful attacks and spectacular feats is legendary. You can find general information on these abilities below under “Tai Ch’i Ch’uan.” Some of the powers attributed to Hsing-I masters include the power to project ch’i through their blows to badly injure or kill an enemy (reflected in the power of the Monkey Slap maneuver), the ability to survive devastating blows unharmed, the ability to run fast enough to keep up with horses, miraculous healing capabilities, and the like.


hen you understand one thing through and through,

you understand everything.’ — Shunryn Suzuki

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Hwarang-Do This ancient Korean martial art, which also incorporates much healing knowledge, dates back some 1,800 years. According to tradition it was developed by a Buddhist monk named Won Kwang Bopsa. He taught his technique to many young nobles of his day, who were called hwarang. The hwarang were a combination of knights, statesmen, and military generals. Legend has it they lived by a five-point code: loyal service to the king (or, in modern terms, to one’s nation); filial piety; trust (in one’s peers) and trustworthiness; courageousness and valor; and justice and discrimination in the use of force, especially lethal force. Hwarang-Do has four main “branches” of study: external power (wae gong), internal power (nae gong), weapons use (moo gi gong), and mental power (shin gong) (see below). Its barehanded techniques, the “external power,” include punches and kicks, blocks, joint locks and joint breaking, nerve strikes, chokes, and many other techniques. The internal disciplines were similar to those taught in some Chinese styles. Hwarang-Do practitioners wear uniforms similar to Karate or Judo uniforms.

HWARANG-DO Maneuver Block Choke

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Finger Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Hand Strike/Elbow Strike/ Snap Kick ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Joint Lock ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Throw ½ 5 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC); Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Hwarang-Do KS: Korean Healing Paramedic Stealth WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Staff Talent: Defense Maneuver Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Staff

HWARANGDO NOTES As with other unarmed combat styles which allow weapons use, the Hwarang-Do practitioner can learn to use his art with no weapons, with only one, or with several, as he sees fit. Optional Rules: The Hand Strike and Elbow Strike take a location roll of 2d6+1. The Kick and Finger Strike take a location roll of 3d6. The Snap Kick

takes a 2d6+7 roll. The Choke automatically targets a head location, but receives no extra damage for being a head location. The Block, Joint Break, and Joint Lock do not use location rolls. Special Abilities: The shin gong, or mental powers, of Hwarang-Do masters are said to be formidable. Their abilities include: 1) Telepathy 2) Clairvoyance 3) A “sixth sense” (Danger Sense) 4) Ch’oemyonsul: The ability to put another person to sleep (a form of EB, NND) 5) Unsinbbop: The ability to “conceal one’s self in front of others” (Invisibility) 6) Jusul: Disease healing chants (Healing with the Extra Time and Incantations Limitations) and chants which cause disease (various forms of Drain or Killing Attack)

Jailhouse Rock According to John Soet’s book Martial Arts Around The World, Jailhouse Rock is “the stylized, organized fighting art of the Black American, developed in prison.” As its supposed origins indicate, it is designed for effective use in close quarters and against multiple attackers or ambushes.

JAILHOUSE ROCK Maneuver Phs Block ½ Elbow Strike ½ Escape var Groin Blow ½ Knee Strike ½ Takedown ½

Pts 4 4 4 4 5 3

OCV +2 +0 +0 -1 -2 +1

DCV +2 +2 +0 +1 +1 +1

Damage/Effect Block, Abort STR +2d6 Strike +15 STR vs. Grabs 2d6 NND(3) STR +4d6 Strike STR Strike; Target Falls

Skills KS: Jailhouse Rock WF: Prison Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Knives

JAILHOUSE ROCK NOTES The sort of weapons used with Jailhouse Rock are those commonly available in prisons: “shanks” and “shivs” (homemade knives), various kinds of crude club-like weapons, and so forth. Optional Rules: The Elbow Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll, the Knee Strike a 2d6+7 roll. The Groin Blow automatically targets the Vitals, but gets neither penalties nor bonuses for this. Special Abilities: None.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Jeet Kune Do

Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Choke Hold ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Dodge ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Grab/ Joint Lock ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Kick/ Knee Strike ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Legsweep ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Nerve Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Punch/Elbow Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls


Elements Weapons

To simulate the adaptability and unpredictability of JKD, practitioners should consider buying several Combat Skill Levels with the style. In most situations they assign these to

DCV, but they can shift them around as necessary to surprise an opponent.


aving no way is

the way. Having no limitation is your limitation.’ —Bruce Lee


Jeet Kune Do (“the way of the intercepting fist”), or JKD as it is commonly known, is an eclectic martial arts style developed by the late Bruce Lee. He created it after studying many different martial arts styles and deciding all of them were too limiting because of their reliance on a body of predefined techniques. Thus, JKD depends on the principles of simplification, versatility, practicality, and usefulness. Lee himself described it as a tight, versatile art, without patterns, forms, or rules, which relies on “broken rhythm” to obtain the advantage of unpredictability. (Note that “Jeet Kune Do” is actually the name for the governing concepts of the art; the fighting style itself is more accurately referred to as Jun Fan Kung Fu.) Since Lee’s untimely death, the students to whom he taught JKD and the students they have taught have continuously debated what JKD means and stands for, what qualifies as JKD, and who is a true student of JKD. Anyone interested in this ongoing discussion can easily follow it in the pages of dozens of books and magazines.

Bruce Lee’s own work on JKD, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, does not discuss the use of weapons at all. However, he was skilled in many different weapons styles, including Filipino stick-fighting and Chinese weapons styles, and according to his own tenets of unpredictability and adaptability, practitioners may sometimes need to use weapons. Therefore JKD instructors often teach various weapons; the Clubs element is especially popular. Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike and Nerve Strike take Hit Location rolls of 2d6+1. The Kick/Knee Strike takes a roll of 2d6+7, since JKD kicks are usually low and quick. The Legsweep and Choke Hold have set targets (the legs and head/ neck, respectively) and so do not require a location roll. None of the other maneuvers needs a location roll. Special Abilities: Some JKD practitioners can perform “battlefield punches” in which they hit their opponent as many as eight times in the space of a second. Characters can simulate this by applying the Autofire Advantage to their Punch maneuver (see page 104), or as an HA with Autofire.

Skills Combat Skill Levels KS: Jeet Kune Do +1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Staff

Jujutsu This Japanese art (and its more philosophical counterpart, Judo) grew out of the integration of the weapons techniques of katori shinto ryu and grappling techniques during the fifteenth century. The roots of the art lie even earlier, in the Heian period (about 794-1185 A.D.), but until the fifteenth century warriors usually considered empty-hand techniques an aspect of whatever major weapon form(s) they supported, not as a separate jutsu. The name jujutsu (or jiu-jitsu) was first used in the late seventeenth century. Knowledge of Jujutsu was spread world-wide by travelling Japanese practitioners in the early years of the twentieth century; today one of the most popular styles is from Brazil. The usual Jujutsu technique involves bearing an opponent to the ground and then pinning him there or rendering him unconscious. The art utilizes hip throws, sweeping throws, shoulder and neck locks, and a sacrifice body drop. In the past, Jujutsu was more of a fully-integrated fighting art — it included a variety of punches, kicks, nerve strikes, and weapons techniques. Some schools or substyles still teach strike-based maneuvers. Judoka (and some jujutsuka) wear a gi like that worn by karateka, but made of heavier cloth and without many seams (Judo is harder on the clothes than many other martial arts). JUJUTSU NOTES Only Jujutsu, not Judo, teaches the dangerous Joint Break maneuver. The Strike and Atemi Strike maneuvers, which represent several types of punches and kicks, are from the older style of

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Jujutsu; only certain schools teach them. Students of the older, more warlike form of Jujutsu could also learn the following Weapons Elements: Blades, Chain & Rope Weapons, Clubs, Polearms, Staffs. Some substyles are also designed for use by armored warriors (optionally, take a +1 point Element, “Use Art in Armor”; refer to the discussion of “Hindering Circumstances” in Chapter Three for details). Optional Rules: The Shime automatically targets the head, but receives no extra damage for this. The Strike and Atemi Strike take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other maneuvers take location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

JUJUTSU Maneuver Phs Atemi Strike ½ Block ½ Breaking Throw ½

Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort 5




Escape Joint Lock

½ ½

4 3

Joint Lock/ Throw






Sacrifice Throw









Strike Takedown

½ ½

4 3


-2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable; Target Falls -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 to STR for holding on +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls +2

+1 STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall* KS: Jujutsu

SUBSTYLES OF JUJUTSU Historically, scholars have recorded more than 700 substyles of Jujutsu, ranging from very broad fighting systems to styles concentrating on just a few maneuvers or techniques. Many substyles are so closely related to Aikijutsu, Sumo Wrestling, or various weapon-based fighting forms that separating them for gaming purposes is difficult, and in many cases pointless. A well-rounded medieval Japanese warrior would probably know not only one or more styles of Jujutsu, but many weapon forms (Kenjutsu, Naginatajutsu, Bojutsu, and so forth), various styles of wrestling and/or Aikijutsu, and many other combat-oriented skills. Some of the more important and/or interesting Jujutsu substyles include:

Hakko-Ryu Founded in 1941, Hakko-Ryu focuses on neutralizing and discouraging attacks by attacking pressure points and locking joints. The style’s grabs and holds emphasize the use of the little finger, and are performed by bending the joints in a natural direction, but so that the target suffers great pain. Hakko-Ryu’s kicks are low (2d6+7 Hit Location roll), and its hand attacks are usually made with the open hand, not a fist. (Characters who study this substyle may buy the Knifehand maneuver from Karate.) To practice Hakko-Ryu, a character must know at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Strike, Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw, Strike, Takedown. Kito-Ryu Supposedly founded by a Chinese exile, Gempin, in the seventeenth century, this substyle incorporates many different elements and philosophies to create a fighting technique described as “fluid” and “supple.” To practice Kito-Ryu, a character need only know any three Jujutsu maneuvers. Sosuishitsu-Ryu Supposedly derived from the TakenouchiRyu by a samurai, Fugatami Hannosuke, in 1650, this school takes its name from the “pure flowing waters” of the Yoshino River. To practice this style, a character must know the Escape, Joint Lock, and Joint Lock/Throw maneuvers. Takenouchi-Ryu This substyle was founded in the sixteenth century by the samurai Takenouchi Hisamori (also known as Toichiro Takeuchi). Legend has it Takenouchi learned several secret techniques of immobilization and weapons use from a ghostly yamabushi, or mountain hermit, who stressed the advantages of short weapons over longer ones. Takenouchi used these techniques as a basis and then added to them maneuvers from such fighting arts as Sumo Wrestling, an older form of wrestling called sumai, and kumi-uchi fighting (designed for use by armored warriors). Thus he developed a style which stresses various techniques of immobilizing one’s opponent; it also teaches combat with short swords (kogusoku) and daggers. To practice Takenouchi-Ryu, a character must know the Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw, and Shime maneuvers. Tenjin-Shinyo-Ryu Also called Tenshinshinyo-Ryu, this substyle is known for its holds, chokes, and atemi strikes. It does not teach any weapons. It was founded by Iso Mataemon (also known as Yanagi Masatari). To practice Tenjin-Shinyo-Ryu, a character must know at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Strike, Joint Lock, Joint Lock/Throw, Shime. Yoshin-Ryu This is the famous “willow school” of Jujutsu, so called because its founder, the seventeenth century physician Akiyama Shirobei Yoshitoki of


The Ultimate Martial Artist Nagasaki, used the image of a willow as an example for his students: it bends before force, but springs back unharmed, whereas the sturdy oak is knocked over. To practice Yoshin-Ryu, a character must know at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Strike, Block, Dodge, Joint Lock, Strike.

Jukenjutsu Jukenjutsu is the art of the bayonet. It was developed after the introduction of the rifle in Japan. Its primary technique is the thrust, but practitioners also learn more complicated blocking, trapping, and slashing maneuvers.

JUKENJUTSU Used with Pole Arms Weapon Group; Pole Arms Weapon Element is free Maneuver Block Dodge Slash Thrust Trap

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort ½ 4 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike ½ 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike ½ 4 +1 +0 Bind, +10 STR

Skills KS: Jukenjutsu WF: Pole Arms*

JUKENJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Slash and Thrust take location rolls of 3d6. The Block and Trap do not require location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Kalaripayit Kalaripayit (also known as kalari, kalaripayat, and kalaripiyat) is a martial art developed in ancient times in southern India. The name means “battlefield practices.” There is evidence of its existence as early as the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. Some experts trace its roots to vajra-musti, a style of boxing/wrestling used by the Brahmin caste. Training in Kalaripayit encompasses four stages: unarmed fighting (verumkai), which is the basis for all other techniques; stick-fighting techniques (silambam or kolthari); training with other weapons, such as daggers (angathari); and, at its most esoteric level, training in knowledge of the 108 secret vital points of the body (marma-adi) and how to exploit them in battle. (Practitioners can also study the vital points of the elephant.) Masters of Kalaripayit, known as gurus or gurukkal, are not only skilled in the fighting aspects of the art, but are usually accomplished healers as well, trained in the Ayurvedic system of native medicine (which relates closely to many of Kalaripayit’s fighting techniques). Masters often maintain

KALARIPAYIT Maneuver Block Dodge

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort ½ 4 +0 +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Flying Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Joint Lock (Kattaram) ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Knifehand Strike ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Marman Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Punch/ Elbow Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Straight Kick/Roundhouse Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall Contortionist KS: Indian Healing KS: Kalaripayit KS: Yoga WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Urumi Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Urumi

special training compounds which double as places of healing. Training in these compounds usually takes place early in the morning and again right after dusk, and is often shrouded in secrecy. There is some religious significance to these places; there are many ritual practices and devotions surrounding Kalaripayit. The goddess Kali, in her aspect as the goddess of war, is the patroness of Kalaripayit fighters. Kalaripayit is mainly practiced in the far southern region of India, around the state of Kerala and Tamilnadu. There are two “variants” — the “northern” style, centered on the city of Calicut; and the “southern” style, centered on the cities of Nagercoil and Madras. Although the maneuvers used in each variant are the same, the northern style involves a lot of high jumps and kicks, low, crouching stances, and long strides; whereas the cruderlooking southern style involves more circular motion, more solid, higher stances, and use of the arms and torso. Linguistic and cultural differences also separate the two substyles. However, both styles require suppleness and agility and involve a lot of leaping and crouching. Fighters of both styles often cover their bodies with oil before fighting (this adds +1 to their Contortionist rolls to escape Grabs). KALARIPAYIT NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike, Flying Kick, Knifehand Strike, and Marman Strike all take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Straight Kick/Roundhouse Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls.

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Special Abilities: Characters can simulate gurus’ healing abilities with the Healing Power or the KS: Indian Healing Skill.

Kampfringen Kampfringen is a medieval German combat and grappling art. Like Arte dell’Abbracciare, it involves a wide range of grapples, joint locks (and breaks), and strikes (primarily short punches, knees to the groin, headbutts, and the like). It also incorporates pain compliance techniques and a hip throw. It includes defensive techniques designed to protect the fighter against Dolchfechten, or knifefighting techniques. Some sources present a more intriguing origin for Kampfringen, claiming it was developed by medieval Jews as a form of self-defense. According to this theory, the art has some basis in kabbalistic meditation techniques and philosophies.

KAMPFRINGEN Maneuver Arm Bar

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +1 +0 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(7); Target Falls Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Grapple ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Hip Throw ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Joint Lock ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 to STR for holding on Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Skills Breakfall KS: Kampfringen

KAMPFRINGEN NOTES Optional Rules: The Strike and Pressure Point Strike take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other maneuvers take location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Karate Karate arose from the same ancient traditions which led to the development of Kung Fu. By the fifth century AD, on the Okinawa Islands, a weaponless combat system called te (“hand”) had developed. Later, when the teachings of the Shaolin Temple in China were carried to Okinawa, some of the Shaolin techniques were infused with the te art. During the fifteenth century, the Japanese who occupied Okinawa forbade the natives to carry arms and te began to flourish; at the time, it went by several names, including te and karate (a term which originally meant “China hand,” but which in the twentieth century was redefined to mean “empty hand”). In 1905, an Okinawan instructor named

KARATE Maneuver Phs Atemi Strike ½ Block ½ Disarm ½ Dodge


Pts 4 4 4 4

Knifehand Strike (“Chop”) ½ 4 Legsweep ½ 3 Punch/ Snap Kick Side/ Spin Kick

OCV -1 +2 -1

DCV +1 +2 +1

Damage/Effect 2d6 NND(1) Block, Abort Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort

-2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls




+2 STR +2d6 Strike




+1 STR +4d6 Strike

Skills KS: Karate WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons WF: Off Hand Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Karate Weapons +1 Use Art with Staff

Gichin Funakoshi introduced Okinawa-te to Japan, teaching it in public schools. At that time, its name was formalized as Karate. After World War II, American servicemen stationed in Japan learned the art, which helped to spread it worldwide. HERO System characters can buy Karate in one of two ways. As Karate, it is an unarmed fighting style. As Kobujutsu, it is an armed Okinawan fighting style, using these weapons: bo (6’ staff ) and several shorter staffs, sai, nunchaku, tonfa


The Ultimate Martial Artist (threshing handles), kama (sickles), eiku (or chizikunbo or sunakakebo) (boat oar), timbe and rochin (tortoiseshell shield and hand-spear), suruchin (a short, weighted rope), kue (hoe), and tekko (metal knuckle-dusters). Karateka (Karate practitioners) can buy the Weapons Element to learn Kobujutsu techniques, and Kobujutsu practitioners can buy the Barehanded element to learn empty-hand techniques for their art. For game purposes, the two styles are functionally identical. The traditional Karate uniform is the gi; it is also used by many other martial arts practitioners. The gi consists of the uwagi, or long-sleeved jacket, and zubon, or trousers. The obi, or belt, is colored; the color indicates the wearer’s rank. Originally the standard gi was beige; today it is white. Professional Karate fighters wear gloves, foot-and-shin armor, and loose pants rather like warm-ups. They also wear athletic cups. Male Karate professionals go bare-chested. VARIANT FORM: KOBUJUTSU Used With Karate Weapons Group; Karate Weapons Element is free Maneuvers: Same as above; practitioner can only buy the Kick if he knows the Barehanded element, below. Skills: Same as Above; WF is Required (*) Elements Weapons Barehanded

+1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art Barehanded

The Knifehand Strike maneuver above may also be interpreted as the Spearhand Strike, a thrusting maneuver. The Knifehand Strike was for decades popularly known in America as the “karate chop.” The Side Kick and Spinning Kick are presented here as one maneuver. Optional Rules: The Punch/Snap Kick, Nerve Strike, and Knifehand Strike take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Side Kick and Spin Kick take location rolls of 3d6. The Block, Disarm, Dodge, and Legsweep do not take location rolls. Special Abilities: Karate is not surrounded by mysticism the way much of Kung Fu is, but master karateka can still perform amazing feats. For example, a technique sometimes developed by Karate masters is a rapid-fire punching ability which characters can buy as an Autofire HA attack or by applying the Autofire Advantage to a martial maneuver (see page 104). Lastly, some karateka supposedly possess genshin, the ability to detect an attack a split-second in advance and beat the enemy to the punch (you can buy this as a limited form of Precognition or Danger Sense, with Linked Lightning Reflexes or Combat Skill Levels). Kobujutsu masters may have their own special abilities. For example, they might be able to perform “weapons flourishes” which act as Damage Shields (see page 131). Another clever trick with the eiku, or boat oar, is to use the paddle end of it to flick sand or dirt into an opponent’s eyes (a Flash with some Limitations).

KARATE SUBSTYLES Karate has developed several distinctive substyles, although not nearly as many as Kung Fu or Pentjak-Silat. Most of these styles are not strikingly different; none of them require the character to buy particular maneuvers before he can call himself a practitioner of that particular substyle. The most prominent Karate substyles include: Goju-Ryu This style, which has both Japanese and Okinawan elements, relies primarily on hand techniques and low kicks. It was created by Kanryo Higashionna in the late nineteenth century. As the name goju (“hard-soft”) indicates, practitioners attempt to maintain a balance of “hard” and “soft” in their fighting styles, which gives this substyle a greater “internal” element than most Karate substyles. Many of Goju-ryu’s techniques are circular (unlike most Karate styles, which tend to emphasize linear motion). Isshin-Ryu This Okinawan style, created by Tatsuo Shimabaku in 1954, stresses practicality and combat effectiveness. It eliminates flowery techniques and concentrates on short, natural stances and maneuvers. Its attacks are evenly divided between hand and foot strikes, but emphasize circular, flowing techniques. Kajukenbo Kajukenbo is an eclectic martial art which takes its name from the four styles which it combines elements of: Karate, Judo, Kenpo, and Bo (the latter is a form of Chinese boxing, i.e., Kung Fu). It was developed in Hawaii after World War II and is taught strictly as a combat art. Characters who want to practice this style can buy maneuvers from Karate, Jujutsu (Judo), and Kung Fu. Kenpo Kenpo was developed by American Ed Parker beginning in the 1950s as a modern form of Shorinji Kempo (see “Kung Fu,” below). Parker methodically studied combat maneuvers and then broke them down into a system for logical, progressive instruction. Kenpo is an effective fighting style suited to close combat; it uses rapid hand movements, low kicks, and body checks. Kickboxing Kickboxing is a form of modern American sport karate. It combines karate-like kicks and other maneuvers with boxing punches. Characters who want to know this style should buy both Karate and Boxing maneuvers. Kyokushinkai This aggressive Japanese substyle uses close body contact to overcome fear of combat. Training concentrates on powerful, rapid attacks and physical toughness. It also emphasizes tameshiwara, breaking exercises. Shito-Ryu Founded in 1930 by Kenwa Mabuni, this major Japanese substyle emphasizes “hard” aspects over

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“soft,” though it does contain some soft techniques. Attacks are equally divided between hand- and foot-based maneuvers. Shorei-Ryu Unlike almost all other Karate substyles, this well-rounded Okinawan substyle makes use of throws, takedowns, grabs, and joint-lock maneuvers (characters may buy appropriate maneuvers from the Jujutsu package). It also emphasizes the study of karate weapons. Shorin-Ryu One of the earliest and most influential of the Okinawan substyles. It has strong roots in the Shaolin styles of Kung Fu. It has three main branches, the “small forest” school, “young forest” school, and “pine forest” school (each name refers to the forest where the Shaolin Temple is said to have been located). With the GM’s permission, characters who study this substyle can also buy maneuvers from the Kung Fu package. Shotokan This Japanese styles was founded by Gichin Funakoshi, the Okinawan who introduced Karate to Japan. It concentrates on developing skill with a small number of useful, efficient techniques; it also emphasizes balance and muscle control. Its strikes (mainly kicks) are primarily linear; they rely on body momentum, such as shifting the hips, to add power to a blow. Uechi-Ryu An Okinawan style, Uechi-ryu was founded around the turn of the century by Kanbun Uechi, who had studied Kung Fu in addition to Karate. Its elements bear some similarity to the Dragon, Tiger, and Crane styles of Kung Fu. Its primary attacks include a single-knuckle punch (Punch or Atemi Strike), the spear-hand strike (Knifehand Strike), pointed kicks (Snap Kick or Side Kick), and circular blocks (Block). Kicks are generally delivered low, and should take 2d6+7 location rolls. Wado-Ryu This Japanese style, whose name means “way of harmony,” stresses inner preparation and strength of character instead of simply concentrating on physical techniques. Its techniques include body shifting (Dodge) and some joint-twisting maneuvers (use the Joint Lock from Hapkido).


hen you do battle, even if you are winning, if you con-

tinue for a long time it will dull your forces and blunt your edge.’ —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Kenjutsu Kenjutsu is the samurai’s sword art. It requires the use of blades (especially Japanese blades such as the katana, wakizashi, and no-daichi); you cannot buy a Weapons Element to allow use of Kenjutsu maneuvers with other weapon groups or with unarmed combat (except as noted below). The elements of the art originated some 1,500 years ago. By the ninth century AD (when Kenjutsu maneuvers first become available to PCs), Kenjutsu schools flourished in Japan. Practitioners divide techniques into kamae (postures), kiri (cuts), tsuki (thrusts), and blocks and evasive maneuvers; each school favors its own particular types and combinations of maneuvers. One of Kenjutsu’s most famous practitioners and teachers was the samurai Miyamoto Musashi, author of A Book of Five Rings, a psychological guide to strategy and competition. Musashi lived, fought, and taught his famous two-sword (Nito-Ryu) technique during the early seventeenth century. In many ways, Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu (the art of drawing the sword) intertwine. While Iaijutsu (the Skill Fast Draw, in HERO System terms) is not required for Kenjutsu practitioners, most should know it. Kenjutsu is known as kum do in Korea. A sporting version of the art, kendo, has been taught worldwide since World War II.

KENJUTSU Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element is free Maneuver Bind Block Disarm Evade Lightning Stroke Running Stroke Sacrifice Stroke Slashing Stroke Takeaway

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 4 4

OCV +1 +2 -1

DCV +0 +2 +1

Damage/Effect Bind, +10 STR Block, Abort Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort





+2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike



+1 +0 Weapon +v/5; FMove




½ ½

5 5

-2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to Take Weapon Away

-2 Weapon +4 DC Strike

Skills Breakfall Fast Draw (Iaijutsu) Defense Maneuver KS: Kenjutsu Sleight Of Hand Two-Weapon Fighting WF: Blades* WF: Off Hand WF: Thrown Sword Elements Barehanded

+1 Use Art Barehanded (Bind, Block, Disarm, Evade, Takeaway maneuvers only)


The Ultimate Martial Artist Stroke and Slashing Stroke maneuvers.

KENJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Lightning Stroke, Sacrifice Stroke, and Slashing Stroke take location rolls of 3d6; the Running Stroke takes a location roll of 2d6+1. The Bind, Block and Takeaway do not take location rolls. Special Abilities: Characters can buy Kenjutsu sword flourishes as a form of Damage Shield (see page 131). Also, given the mystical powers often associated with Japanese swords, a whole host of powers based around magic swords is possible, if the campaign permits. KENJUTSU SUBSTYLES Kenjutsu, throughout Japanese history, was usually taught by various schools or masters, each of whom favored different kamae and swordsmanship techniques; some of these schools continue today. If a swordsman character wants to belong to one of these schools, he can buy maneuvers which pertain especially to that school. A Kenjutsu practitioner does not have to belong to any school, or can be built with many maneuvers and rightfully claim to have studied several styles. Itto Ryu Created by the famed wandering swordsman Ito Ittosai, the Itto Ryu school teaches practitioners to concentrate not on victory, but on “not losing.” The idea is to use proper timing and skill to gain an advantage over an opponent. The school’s main technique is the kiri-otoshi, a maneuver which deflects the opponent’s attack and makes a counterattack in one smooth motion. In game terms, practitioners of Itto Ryu may buy this as a Defensive Strike (even though Kenjutsu normally does not use that maneuver). They must also learn Block and one other Strike maneuver. Jigen-Ryu Developed in the 1500s by Togo Shigekura Bizen no Kami, this style concentrates on rapid attacks and offensive maneuvers. It was favored by, among others, the Satsuma clan. A Jigen-Ryu stylist must know the Lightning

Kage Ryu This style, whose name means “shadow,” was developed by Aizu Iko (1452-1538). It focuses on reading an opponent’s facial expression and body language to determine how he intends to attack, then counteracting or beating his attack. In game terms, a practitioner of this school must buy one or more Combat Skill Levels with the Requires A Skill Roll Limitation (the Skill in question being either Analyze Style or a PER Roll). A Kage Ryu stylist must know Block and one Stroke maneuver. Kashima Style Practiced (and perhaps founded) by the legendary swordsman Tsukahara Bokuden (1490-1571), Kashima style concentrates on the concept of hitotsutachi—“one cut.” The swordsman waits until the very last second, then counters an opponent’s attack (ideally, the opponent’s attack misses the practitioner by an inch or less). Furthermore, the masters of the style maintain that the last one-third of a blade does the most damage, and the innermost one-third the least; thus, by stepping into a blow a fighter can reduce, or even eliminate, injury. A Kashima fighter must buy Lightning Reflexes with his Kenjutsu (to ensure he acts before his opponent), then Hold his Action. When his opponent attacks, he uses his Held Action to try to interrupt the attack. He may buy Skill Levels with his DEX Roll to ensure he beats out his opponent each time if he so desires. A Kashima stylist must know the Block, Evade, and one Stroke maneuvers. Mijin Style Mijin style emphasizes power and speed; it concentrates on leaping and running attacks. The most famous Mijin maneuver is the Soaring Lark stroke, a leaping ground-to-sky attack. A Mijin stylist must know the Running Stroke, which is the Soaring Lark stroke. Extra inches of Running or Leaping are recommended. Muto Style Muto is a style of fighting without the sword. A Muto specialist buys the Barehanded element for his art; this allows him to use the Bind, Block, Disarm, Evade, and Takeaway maneuvers when unarmed. It does not allow the character to use the Stroke maneuvers unarmed. With this tactic, an unarmed swordsman can take his attacker’s blade away and then use it on his attacker. This is considered an advanced technique, one taught only to the best students. The Muto stylist must know the Block, Evade, and one Stroke maneuver, and buy the Barehanded element for his art. He often also buys WF: Thrown Sword. The GM can forbid any player to take the Barehanded element; it’s supposed to be a secret technique, and the GM has final say as to which characters it may have been taught to.

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Nito Style The popularity of this two-swords style (also known as juji dome) is attributed to Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s most famous swordsman. Miyamoto was a swordsman early in the Tokugawa shogunate in the first half of the seventeenth century. The Nito stylist trains to deal with multiple attackers. He can use his sword in either hand, or can fight with two swords, one in each hand. The Nito swordsman must know the Bind, Block, and any one Stroke maneuver, and must have the WF: Off Hand Skill. The best Nito experts have the Ambidexterity Talent and Two-Weapon Fighting Skill as well, but these are recommended, not required. Suio Style The Suio (“water”) style has been popularized in an acclaimed series of Japanese movies and manga (comic books). All-out offense, speed, power, and risk-taking characterize it. Required maneuvers are the Lightning Stroke, the Running Stroke, and the Sacrifice Stroke; the character should take, but is not required to take, Breakfall. A special Suio technique is to stand knee-deep in water with the blade beneath the water’s surface. The swordsman will strike from this watery position, using Sleight Of Hand to confuse his enemy as to his intent. In the game, the character must have the Sleight Of Hand Skill to perform this technique, and the GM can assign OCV bonuses to such attacks based on the success of the Skill Roll and the overall situation. Yagyu Shinkage School During the Tokugawa era (early seventeenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), the single most influential school for Japanese fencing was the Shinkage school, which produced many excellent swordsmen from the Yagyu family. The Shinkage style is cautious, compared to many Kenjutsu styles, and emphasizes disarming techniques. Required maneuvers are Block, Disarm, and any one Stroke.

Krav Maga Developed approximately 40 years ago for use by the Israeli Defense Forces, and later taught to Israeli police and Mossad agents as well, Krav Maga is designed for combat effectiveness (and for quick, easy learning). It borrows techniques and ideas from many different styles, but teaches no katas, stances, or other predefined movement forms; instead, a Krav Maga fighter learns to fight from any position and adapt his skills to any situation. The emphasis is on quick attacks and defenses designed to win fights, not to look impressive. Krav Maga has been repeatedly studied and analyzed (sometimes using computers) to make it as efficient and powerful a fighting style as possible. Its defenses against weapons are considered especially effective. Because of Krav Maga’s emphasis on combat

practicality, Krav Maga practitioners do not learn maneuvers for tournament fighting. However, it does have a belt ranking system established by the Krav Maga Association in Israel: from lowest to highest rank, the belts are white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, and black.

KRAV MAGA Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Choke Hold ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Disarm ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Dodge ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Escape var 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Low Kick/ Knee Strike/ Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Krav Maga WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs

KRAV MAGA NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll; the Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The Low Kick/Knee Strike takes a 2d6+7 roll. Special Abilities: None.

Kuk Sool Won Kuk Sool Won (“Korean national martial arts association”) is a Korean fighting style founded by In Hyuk Suh in the late 1950s. It is a synthesis of maneuvers from three traditional Korean martial arts: Sado Mu Sool (tribal martial arts); Buldo Mu Sool (Buddhist temple martial arts; see “Kung Fu,” below); and Koong Joong Mu Sool (royal court martial arts). Kuk Sool Won practitioners wear uniforms patterned after the traditional uniforms of Korean generals. A master of the style is known as a sahbumnim. KUK SOOL WON NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch and Nerve Strike take a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll; the Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The Legsweep automatically targets the legs and feet, of course, and receives neither bonuses nor penalties for so doing. Special Abilities: Kuk Sool Won practitioners often buy extra inches of Running or Leaping to make their maneuvers more spectacular.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

KUK SOOL WON Maneuver Block Disarm Dodge Joint Lock

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort ½



-1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on

Jonhwanbbop (Throws) ½


Kick Legsweep

½ ½

5 3

Nerve Strike ½ Punch ½

4 4

+0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike

Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Kuk Sool Won WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with War Fan

Kung Fu (Wu Shu) Kung Fu, in Chinese, simply means “hard work” or “skill.” The name Wu-Shu (meaning “war art”) is the style’s official name in China. Until about 1928, it was also known as kuo-shu. The origins of Kung Fu might date back as far as the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century BC), but most scholars conclude that it began to develop sometime in the fifth century BC. A swordsman’s art which became prominent during the Chou Dynasty (770 BC-221 BC) may have contributed to Kung Fu; so might have pankration (see below), from times when Alexander the Great took pankratiasts with him on his conquests (including his journey to India). The first emperor of China, Ch’in Shih Huang-Ti, banned the practice of unarmed martial arts during his reign (in fact, he banned and persecuted any thought or activity he considered too close to free will or free thinking), but open practice resumed in 206 BC, after his death. In the sixth century AD, an Indian Buddhist priest named Bodhidharma (called P’u-T’i-Ta-Mo in China) came to the Shaolin Ssu (Young Forest Temple), in China’s Honan province. The Shaolin temple had been built in the late fifth century AD by Emperor Hsiao-Wen to honor another Indian monk, Bodhiruchi. The Indian fighting style which Bodhidharma taught there, blended with combat techniques already known to the Shaolin priests, became known as wai-chia; it eventually evolved into both Kung Fu and Karate (see the entry above for

Karate). Kung Fu and unarmed combat were not confined to the Shaolin monastery; the first martial arts schools in China also began teaching during the sixth century AD. This is the earliest period when PCs can buy something resembling the Kung Fu style maneuvers; characters in the sixth century AD can buy the Block, Disarm, Dodge, Legsweep, Punch, and Throw maneuvers, with the Punch serving both as Punch and Kick. A great deal of legend and mysticism surrounds the Shaolin temple. Supposedly its masters were capable of a wide variety of amazing feats of combat and magic. Its course of study lasted many years, and at the conclusion students had to pass safely through a trap-filled maze to “graduate.” At the end of the maze they had to pick up and carry a red-hot 500-pound cauldron which would brand their forearms with the symbols of the temple, a dragon (on the left arm) and a tiger (on the right arm). The original Shaolin temple, which was located on the northern side of Shao-Shih Mountain, south of Sung San Mountain in Honan province, is said to have been destroyed in 617 AD. Over the centuries it (and its great library of martial arts material) was destroyed more than once, its surviving priests scattering to the winds and teaching their art in all parts of the nation. Thus, uncountable variations on the style developed over the next millennium. On those occasions when the Shaolin temple was rebuilt, inevitably some enemy would find it and destroy it again. It was more or less destroyed for good in the late seventeeth century by the Emperor K’ang Hsi. Only five monks, the so-called Venerable Five, supposedly survived the massacre: Ng Mui, Pak Mee, Fung Do Tak, Miao Hin, and Gee Sin. They split up and hid themselves throughout China, passing on their martial wisdom in secret. Kung Fu was brought to the U.S. during massive Chinese immigration during the 1840s, though it was not popularly taught to non-Chinese students until the 1960s. A very fragmented art, Kung Fu has innumerable different styles and techniques, many of which are described below. The maneuvers and styles presented here represent the “external” aspect of Chinese martial arts; the main internal styles, such as Pakua and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan, are discussed separately even though technically they fall under the rubric of “Kung Fu.” Practitioners generally divide Kung Fu substyles into “northern” styles, which are kick/leg-oriented (because of the prevalence of horse-riding in northern China), and “southern” styles, which are punch/hand-oriented (because of the prevalence of boat-rowing in southern China). A Kung Fu teacher is known as a sifu. The hall where he teaches his students is usually called a kwoon. The traditional Kung Fu outfit is a silk costume consisting of a long-sleeved tunic with white cuffs, dang lung fu (loose-fitting trousers gathered in at the ankles), and colorful sashes worn at the waist (these do not denote rank). Alternatively, fighters wear a vest or shirt resembling a T-shirt instead of the tunic.

Hero Games


KUNG FU (WU SHU) Maneuver Block Disarm

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Dodge ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Escape ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Flying Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Joint Lock/ Grab ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Knife Hand ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Legsweep ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Tien-hsueh Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Tiger/ Dragon Claw ½ 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab Uproot/ Sand Palm ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove Skills Acrobatics Breakfall Contortionist KS: Chinese Healing KS: Chinese Philosophy KS: Kung Fu PS: Lion Dancing Sleight Of Hand WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons WF: Hook Sword WF: Three-Section Staff WF: Wind And Fire Wheels WF: Off Hand Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Axes/Maces/Picks +1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Hook Sword +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with 3-Section Staff +1 Use Art with Whip +1 Use Art with Wind And Fire Wheels

KUNG FU WU SHU NOTES Optional Rules: The Knife Hand, Punch and Tienhsueh Strike take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Tiger Claw takes a location roll of 2d6+1, constituting the location where the Grab landed; other Grabs do not need a location rolled for them. The Kick and Flying Kick usually take a location roll of 3d6, but in some styles (see below) the Kick takes a 2d6+7 location roll. The other maneuvers take no location rolls. Special Abilities: The powers and special abilities attributed to Kung Fu masters are almost innumer-

able; some relate to Taoist magic. Some of the powers more commonly mentioned include: 1) Dancing swords: The ability to wield a blade without holding it, allowing it to attack “on its own” (RKA, Continuous). 2) Fire Control: The ability to manipulate flame. 3) Food Creation: The ability to produce food. 4) Hing Kung: The ability to walk without trace (see page 127). 5) Iron Palm: The ability, also called the “crushing hand,” allows a fighter to break objects with but a casual slap of the hand. Characters buy this as a Penetrating Hand-To-Hand Killing Attack with the -½ Limitation Bonuses Are Calculated From EGO, Not STR — STR bonuses to the HKA derive from the fighter’s EGO, not his STR. Characters can also use Iron Palm for an attack with the Indirect Advantage, as described in Chapter Two. Tales speak of masters knocking charging bulls dead in their tracks with a single Iron Palm blow. 6) Iron Skin: The ability to resist attacks, even Killing Attacks, without harm. Buy this as Damage Resistance for the character’s PD. Also called Iron Ox or Iron Shirt. 7) Kongjin: “Empty force,” i.e., the ability to strike someone without making contact. You can simulate this as an Energy Blast of equal DC to the character’s most powerful Strike maneuver, with the Advantage Fully Invisible (+1); characters could also buy it as a limited form of Telekinesis with that same Advantage. Some fighters call kongjin “one finger” or “well fist” from the practice methods by which students supposedly learn it. 8) Poison Palm/Red Sand Palm: These are other names for dim mak, the ability to kill someone with but a touch (see page 123). Many styles, including Eagle Claw and White Eyebrow, supposedly teach this technique, which can cause pain, numbness, unconsciousness, illness, and/or death. 9) Summon Ancestral Spirits: The ability to summon and control undead spirits. 10) Teleportation: According to some tales, Kung Fu masters can transport themselves instantly over hundreds of miles. KUNG FU SUBSTYLES Hundreds of Kung Fu substyles exist; many fall into certain broad categories. Rather than try to write every single one as a separate art, the


The Ultimate Martial Artist package above includes the maneuvers common to most substyles. You can use the notes below to help determine the maneuvers a character needs to know to practice a particular substyle. Of course, a martial artist character doesn’t have to choose a Kung Fu substyle. He can remain a generic Kung Fu practitioner and not worry about the plethora of specific substyles available to him. And even if he does choose a specific Kung Fu substyle, he can still buy maneuvers from the rest of the main list of Kung Fu maneuvers. Bear Style This style simulates the fast, overpowering strike of the bear. The practitioner uses the same hand for powerful open-palm strikes, blocks, and counterstrikes, instead of striking with one hand and blocking with the other. To practice Bear Style, a character must know the Block and Punch maneuvers. A Bear practitioner often puts half or more of his Skill Levels into increasing the damage of the Punch maneuver. Chin Na Style This style was developed in the early 1600s for use by soldiers and policemen. It’s a good style for subdual and restraint of prisoners. It depends less on force than on knowledge of human anatomy; it achieves its damage by attacking vulnerable points known to medicine. To practice Chin Na, a character must know the KS: Chinese Healing Skill, at least on an 8-. He must also have at least three of the following maneuvers: Block, Escape, Joint Lock/Grab, Knife Hand, Tien-hsueh Strike. Choy Lee Fut This southern style was developed in the early to mid-nineteenth century. It is still a popular style; its power makes it good for full-contact fighting. It often makes use of Weapons Elements, including Polearm, Whip (Chain Whip), Staff, and Swords, and even teaches practitioners to use some unusual objects (such as small benches and smoking pipes) as weapons. To practice Choy Lee Fut, the character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Kick, Punch, Throw. Drunken Style This style is actually a variation on the other styles; a character can fight with just Drunken Style (for example, the extremely difficult Eight Drunken Fairies [Ts’ui Pa Hsien] style), or can learn Drunken Monkey, Drunken Crane, and so forth. Visually, the style involves drunken staggering and swaying (requiring Acrobatics) and utilizes attacks which (because of the drunken stances and approaches) are deceptive and hard to see coming (hence the higher OCV). If the character has Skill Levels, more must go into OCV than DCV; if possible, the character must configure his Skill Levels so that his OCV exceeds his DCV. When performing Drunken Style, a character doesn’t have to make an Acrobatics Skill roll every Phase (he’s not always staggering that much), and

must observe all the other guidelines for the style he’s appending Drunken technique to. To practice Drunken Style, a character must know the Acrobatics and Contortionist Skills and any three Kung Fu maneuvers. Eagle Claw This northern style, founded 800 years ago by General Ouk Fay, simulates the powerful talons of the eagle. It makes extensive uses of grabs, jointlocks, and takedowns; even some of its kicks have a joint-locking function! To practice Eagle Claw Style, the character should buy at least three of these maneuvers: Escape, Joint Lock/Grab, Legsweep, Punch, Tienhsueh Strike, Tiger/Dragon Claw (called Eagle Claw for this style). Hung Gar Style Fighters developed this southern style for use in close quarters such as narrow alleyways; it works well for streetfighters. It uses low stances and strikes which are relatively slow but powerful. Its primary weapons include the tiger fork, staff, and butterfly swords. To practice Hung Gar, the character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Grab, Kick, Knife Hand, Punch, Tiger Claw (Tiger Claw requires Grab). Long Fist Long Fist (Chang Ch’uan) is a northern style said to have been created during the Sung Dynasty, shortly before the year 1000 AD. It is a very picturesque and “open” style incorporating long-reaching and sweeping fist and arm maneuvers, low stances, and high kicks. To practice Long Fist Style, the character must know the Block, Dodge, Kick, and Punch maneuvers. Monkey Style The Monkey Style (Tai Sing) was developed in the mid-nineteenth century by a jailed fighter, Kou Sze. He continually watched the monkeys around the jail (monkeys were often used at jails, because they screeched when prisoners escaped), and eventually developed fighting maneuvers based around their actions. The practitioner fights from a crouching stance reminiscent of a monkey’s. Tumbling, rolling, tricky footwork, and comical postures are also hallmarks of the Monkey Style. There are several “substyles” of this style, each based on a particular set of movements or a particular body type, allowing any kind of fighter to use the art: Lost Monkey (in which the fighter simulates panic to trick the enemy into overconfidence); Drunken Monkey (described above); Stone Monkey (suited to fighters with large, strong bodies; involves less acrobatics than the other substyles); Standing Monkey (suited to tall fighters with long arms); and Wooden Monkey (in which the fighter feigns retreat, luring his foe into pursuit so he can launch an aggressive surprise attack). A Monkey Style practitioner can use any of these substyles.

Hero Games To practice Monkey Style, the character must have the Acrobatics, Breakfall, and Sleight Of Hand Skills, and any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Disarm (defined as a kicking disarm), Dodge, Kick, and Legsweep. Each Phase the character utilizes Monkey Style, he must make both his Acrobatics and Sleight Of Hand rolls. If he succeeds in both, the GM has the target make a Sight-based PER Roll (just like a Skill Versus Skill Contest). If the Sleight Of Hand roll beats the PER Roll, the monkey stylist gets an OCV bonus to his maneuver. The GM can apply this as a +1 to +3 bonus based on how clever he thinks the maneuver is (determined from the player’s description of the attack), or he can give the maneuver a bonus based on how much better the Sleight Of Hand roll was than the PER Roll (with a maximum of +3 to OCV). As the opponent gets used to the character’s fighting style, the GM can optionally decrease the OCV bonus provided by the style. Naturally, if the rolls tie, or the target made his PER Roll by more, or the attacker missed either Acrobatics or Sleight Of Hand, no bonus is awarded. Monkey Style is also fought with the staff. Praying Mantis Style This style, known as T’ang Lang in Chinese, was derived from a fighter’s observation of the praying mantis in combat. It concentrates on grasping, clawing, and punching maneuvers. It was developed 350 years ago; many different “substyles” (including the six harmonies, seven stars, and eight steps variants) have arisen since then. To practice Praying Mantis, the character must know the Block maneuver, and at least two of the following maneuvers: Disarm, Joint Lock/Grab, Kick, and Punch. When fighting an opponent, the Praying Mantis stylist usually uses a Block against an incoming attack and follows up (on his next Phase) with one of the other maneuvers. Typical sequences include Block, Disarm; Block, Punch; and Block, Joint Lock/Grab, Punch. Alternatively, he delays, puts most or all his Skill Levels into DCV (with the visual effect being that he blocks, rather than dodges, incoming attacks) and responds to attacks with any of the attack maneuvers. Shaolin Crane Style This is an open, flowing style. The practitioner shapes his hands like crane’s beaks; the style adopts many one-legged stances. Blocks are performed with the backs of wrists or with the open hand. To practice Shaolin Crane (pai-hao) style, the character must know the Block, Punch, and Tienhsueh Strike maneuvers. Shaolin Dragon Style This style simulates the coiling of the Chinese dragon; the practitioner moves with his waist loose and supple, and the style makes use of circular waist movements and hip-turning movements. In this style, the attacker grabs his target, blocks attacks, and counterstrikes with fast punches. The style also involves a Grab called the

41 Dragon Claw and joint-locking techniques. To practice Dragon style, the character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dragon Claw, Joint Lock/Grab, Kick, Punch. To use Dragon Style, the character primarily utilizes one of these two combinations: Block followed by the Grab, or Grab followed by Block followed by Punch. He also uses the Joint Lock/Grab maneuver and Dragon Claw (which is mechanically the same as the Tiger Claw). Shaolin Leopard Style Leopard Style is a fast, rugged, up-close combat style. It concentrates on powerful flattenedfist blows (representing the attacks of a leopard’s paws). To practice Leopard Style, the character must know the Block, Dodge, and Punch maneuvers. When performing Leopard Style, if the character has only one or two Skill Levels, he must put both of them into OCV (during the Block and Punch maneuvers, not during the Dodge); if he has more than two, he must put at least two into OCV. Shaolin Snake Style This is a sinuous, weaving combat style. The hands, simulating the snake’s strike, are used for fingertip strikes to the target’s temples, eyes, throat, and other vital regions; the style also uses kicks. To practice Snake Style, the character must know the Block, Dodge, Kick, Punch, and Tie-hsueh Strike maneuvers. Shaolin Tiger Style This style simulates the ripping action of a tiger’s claws. The practitioner uses a rigid openhand technique with fingers curled like claws, and makes use of palm-heel strikes and claw-hand strikes, both swung with downward arcs; he also uses palm-heel blocks and forearm blocks. There are several “subforms” of this substyle, including White Tiger, Red Tiger, and Black Tiger; their differences are not important for gaming purposes. To practice Tiger Style, the character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Grab, Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike, and Tiger Claw. Tiger Style is also fought with the broadsword (Darn-Do). Shorinji Kempo Shorinji kempo is the Japanese pronunciation of Shaolin ch’uan-fa, or Shaolin Kung Fu. According to tradition, Chinese monks visited Japan before it became closed off to foreigners in the seventeenth century and taught their Kung Fu art to the Buddhist monks. Today, the art, adapted to the Japanese way of life and philosophies, still thrives. Its symbol is a counterclockwise-pointing swastika (the reverse of the kind used by Nazi Germany), which in Buddhism signifies peace and unity. In the HERO System, the Kung Fu style simulates Shorinji Kempo; a Kempo practitioner can buy any or all Kung Fu maneuvers and refer to them as Kempo. Purists will note that this is a gross oversimplification of the real-world relationship between Kempo and Kung Fu, but it suffices for game purposes.


The Ultimate Martial Artist White Crane Style This Tibetan style, which simulates the moves of both cranes and apes, involves three basic principles: evading attacks instead of blocking them (to increase counterattack speed), confusing the target with many arm sweeps, and moving in to the opponent for a better angle of attack. It was first developed in Tibet some 500 years ago, and was introduced into middle and southern China some 140 years ago. To practice White Crane, a character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Dodge, Kick, Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike. When a character uses White Crane, he must apply any Skill Levels he has so that his DCV exceeds his OCV; the high DCV allows the character to avoid using Dodges and continuously attack instead. White Crane style is known as Bak Hok in Chinese. White Eyebrow This southern style, called Bak Mei in Chinese after the traitorous white-eyebrowed priest who developed it, uses both soft and hard techniques. The arms and hands are kept “soft” and supple until they reach the point of impact, when they “harden” to deliver powerful blows. Internal and external strength are both important in this style. White Eyebrow stylists always wait for their opponent to attack first, then react to his attack and counterattack using their “wit,” or cleverness and perceptiveness. In the game, White Eyebrow stylists should normally hold their actions, then Block or Dodge before attacking. White Eyebrow style incorporates some attacks from Fong Ngan, or “Phoenix Eye” style, which is described briefly below. To practice White Eyebrow, a character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Kick, Punch, Tien-hsueh Strike. Wing Chun Style This style (whose name means “radiant springtime” or “everlasting spring”) was developed in the eighteenth century by a fighting Buddhist nun named Ng Mui. According to some legends she was one of the Venerable Five who escaped the final destruction of the Shaolin Temple. After creating the art, she taught it to a young peasant woman named Yim Wing Chun, from whom it takes its name. It was developed as an aggressive, practical style someone could learn in a relatively short amount of time. It involves up-close fighting techniques including short punches, low kicks, and leg sweeps. Wing Chun is so popular it has several substyles; however, their differences are inconsequential for gaming purposes. To practice Wing Chun, the character must know any three of the following maneuvers: Block, Kick, Legsweep, and Punch. The Kick takes a 2d6+7 location roll. Other Kung Fu Substyles There are many other animal and non-animal Kung Fu styles, far too many to list extensively here. However, in addition to the styles listed above, several others deserve a brief mention: Bul Mu Do

or Buldo Mu Sool (a Korean Buddhist temple style, supposedly derived from Shaolin fighting arts); Ch’a Ch’uan (a style from Mongolia, popular among Chinese Muslims and known for its acrobatics and flying kicks); Ch’o Chiao (a northern style featuring high kicks); Choy Mok (a combination of two southern styles, Choy Gar and Mok Gar); E-mai Shan Pai (a style supposedly created on the sacred mountain of the same name; known in Vietnam as Nga Mi Phai); Fan Tzu (a simple northern style); Fong Ngan (the “Phoenix Eye” style, which relies almost entirely on hand attacks, including a distinctive raised-middle-knuckle punch); Hop Gar (a practical fighting art derived from Tibet, also known as Lama kung fu); Hung-Chia (a southern style emphasizing powerful hand attacks delivered from low stances, supposedly created by one of the Venerable Five); Hung Fut (a 300-year-old southern style combining two other styles, Hung Gar and Fut Gar; practitioners always use their left hands to strike and are trained to use their clothing as a weapon); Kuo-Ch’uan (“dog boxing,” an unpopular northern style in which the practitioner stays low to the ground, barking and growling like a dog, hoping to antagonize and distract his opponent); Liang I (an internal northern style which uses double-fist attacks); Li-Chia Ch’uan (“short hand” boxing, a southern style involving slapping and poking attacks, close infighting, and almost no kicks; also known as Li Gar); Liu-Ho-Pa-Fa (“six harmonies, eight steps,” a soft northern style); Mien Ch’uan (“cotton fist” style, a soft northern style); Mi Tsung-I (the “labyrinthine art,” which uses rapid turns, changes of direction, and attacks to confuse the enemy); Poc Khek (a Malaysian style); SanHwang Pao-Ch’ui (“cannon fist” style, also known as Hsing-Kung-Ch’uan); Ta-Cheng Ch’uan (“great achievement,” an internal style derived in part from Hsing-I); T’an T’ui (“Deep Legs” or “Springing Legs” Kung Fu, which uses very low kicks and legsweeps); and T’i T’ang (a fighting style which trains the student to fight while on the ground). As you can see, considerable overlap exists between the maneuvers required for the various styles. If a character wishes, he can consider himself a practitioner of multiple styles if he knows the minimum required maneuvers and Skills for each; in combat, he can describe how and when he switches between styles. This will not, however, have an impact on an enemy’s Analyze Style roll; to cancel the effects of such a roll, a character would have to switch to another style in which he has a separate Knowledge Skill. For more information on the main “soft” Chinese styles, refer to the descriptions of Hsing-I, Pakua, and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan.


aiting is bad.’

—Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)

Hero Games


Kuntao Kuntao (or kundao) is an Indonesian fighting style. It was developed before the birth of Christ by Chinese immigrants who transplanted Kung Fu and mixed it with maneuvers from Pentjak-Silat and Bersilat. There are many different substyles, some favoring northern Chinese styles, some southern styles. Even today it is normally taught in secrecy, and only to those of Chinese ancestry. Traditionally, practitioners of Kuntao are rivals with practitioners of Pentjak-Silat, which is one of the reasons that both arts have seen actual combat use right up to the present day.

KUNTAO Maneuver Block Dodge

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Nerve Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw



+0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Kuntao WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons WF: Chain & Rope Weapons WF: Hook Swords WF: Off Hand Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Hook Swords +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff

KUNTAO NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch and Nerve Strike take 2d6+1 locations; the Kick takes a 3d6 location. None of the other maneuvers require location rolls. Special Abilities: Kuntao masters’ special abilities are similar to those of Kung Fu masters, but are generally less powerful.

Kyujutsu Kyujutsu is the Japanese art of the bow. In the modern era, under the name kyudo, it has become a highly philosophical form of sport with strong ties to Zen Buddhism, but in the past it was a deadly battlefield art. It changed from a form of warfare to a sport following the introduction of guns to Japan in about the sixteenth century. In addition to learning standard archery, many warriors were also trained in the art of archery from horseback, known as kyuba, soieijutsu, or yabusame. Kyujutsu practitioners use the yumi, the Japanese longbow, and the ya, or Japanese arrow (of which there are more than a dozen varieties). See Chapter Three for information on these weapons. The Korean form of Kyujutsu is known as Kung-sool; its mounted counterpart is Ma-sool. Kyujutsu cannot take the Style Distinctive Feature.

KYUJUTSU Used with Bows Weapons Group; Bows Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect Basic Shot ½ 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike Defensive Shot ½ 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike Distance Shot 1+1 5 +0 -2 +6 Weapon Strike; +1 Segment Far Shot ½ 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike Quick Shot ½ 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike Ranged Disarm ½ 4 +0 +0 +0 Disarm, +15 STR Skills Riding KS: Kyujutsu PS: Bowyer WF: Bows*

KYUJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: All maneuvers take a 3d6 location roll, except for the Ranged Disarm, which uses no roll. Special Abilities: Japanese legend and mythology contains many stories of archers whose accuracy allowed them to accomplish amazing feats. Kyujutsu practitioners can simulate this sort of fantastic skill with Combat Skill Levels and Range Penalty Skill Levels (subject, of course, to any campaign limits on CVs). Bows and arrows with magical properties are also possible.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Lua Lua is a fighting style native to Hawaii. Its name translates variously as “hard and soft,” “dislocation of joints,” “life and death,” or the number 2. It developed from the lomilomi massages given to boat paddlers, which gradually grew into a wrestling style that in turn grew into Lua. By the fifteenth century, twelve schools, each with its own “specialty” attacks, had been established throughout the islands to teach the art. Some Lua practitioners were inclined to ambush innocent people to test out their joint-breaking and bone-breaking techniques, giving the art a bad reputation as pilau (“savage”). By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Lua had virtually disappeared because of the lack of written records, the strict secrecy in which the knowledge was kept (‘olohe-lua, master teachers, generally taught their complete repertoire of techniques only to their relatives), and, eventually, the influence of Christian missionaries (who banned many native practices). Even the establishment of several schools by King Kamehameha (ruled 1790-1819) did not succeed in reversing this trend. The art was finally revived in the time of King David Kalakaua (ruled 187491), who saw in it parallels to Japanese fighting styles. Lua is a diverse style concentrating on attacks, including punches, hand and elbow strikes, kicks, jointlocks and joint-breaking, and throws. The ancient students of Lua were likewise students of anatomy; they were particularly skilled at dislocating and breaking joints, and their modern-day counterparts often use the same tactics. Lua also involves the use of internal energy, or mana, which equates to ch’i or ki. The version of Lua presented below is primarily the modernized version being studied by some Hawaiians today. It uses a number of animal forms. Crab attacks involve the grabbing and pinching of soft, vulnerable targets like the throat or vitals. Dolphin techniques use the back of the hand and wrist, similar to Shaolin Crane Kung Fu. Eagle attacks rely on the hands and elbows to deliver powerful blows. Moray Eel attacks use the finger and open hand. Mountain Pig techniques include low kicks, stomps, some knee strikes, and a joint-breaking throw. Ocelot (or “cat”) maneuvers include not only palm-strikes and “slaps” but legsweeps and takedowns. Octopus techniques include rapid, interwoven blocks and strikes and an attack in which the

LUA Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Crab Pinch ½ 4 -1 +0 Grab One Location; +2d6 to Squeeze Crab Throat Pinch ½ 5 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(3) Dolphin Nerve Strike/ Shark Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Dolphin Block/Eagle Block/Octopus Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Eagle Grab ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Eagle Strike/Octopus Strike ½ 4 +2 +2 STR +2d6 Strike, Must Follow Block Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Moray Eel Hand Strike/ Ocelot Claw ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Mountain Pig Kick/Ocelot Palm Strike ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Mountain Pig Throw ½ 5 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable; Target Falls Ocelot Sweep ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Octopus Poke ½ 4 +0 +0 3d6 Sight Group Flash Spear Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Skills Breakfall Contortionist KS: Anatomy KS: Lua PS: Hula Dancing PS: Masseuse WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Garotte WF: Sling WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Cane +1 Use Art with Flail +1 Use Art with Garotte (Crab Pinch and Crab Throat Pinch only) +1 Use Art with Spear +1 Use Art with Staff/Oar

fighter uses his fingers to “flick” or poke at the enemy’s eyes. Shark techniques involve short, powerful jabs with the thumb or knuckles. Some masters teach maneuvers based on other animals, such as the Tiger, Hawk, and Owl. The standard Lua attack pattern is to block an incoming blow and follow up with one or more appropriate attacks. LUA NOTES The Spear Kick is a non-traditional maneuver and can only be learned by characters who received Lua training after 1965. Optional Rules: The Dolphin Nerve Strike/Shark Strike, Eagle Strike, Moray Eel Hand Strike/Ocelot Claw, and Ocelot Palm Strike all take a 2d6+1 loca-

Hero Games tion roll. The Mountain Pig Kick takes a 2d6+7 roll. The Spear Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other attacks all target specific locations and so do not require rolls (the Crab Pinch targets the throat, abdomen, or vitals), but get no extra benefit for hitting such locations. Special Abilities: Lua masters were said to command a number of special abilities. Primary among these were telepathy and the power to hypnotize people.

Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu The maneuvers listed below describe two different, yet similar, weapon arts: Naginatajutsu (the art of the halberd) and Sojutsu (the art of the spear). Naginatajutsu (also known as chotojutsu) is the art of using the naginata, or Japanese halberd (including its shorter version, the nagakami). From earliest times it was one of the weapons every warrior was trained to use, and many war- rior-monks favored it as well. Some of the schools or substyles which taught it were the Anzawa-ryu, Gassan-ryu, Hoshin-ryu, Masaki-ryu, Seniryu, Tendo-ryu, Tento-ryu, and Toda-ryu. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the naginata fell into disuse and eventually disappeared from the battlefield, only to become the main weapon of the homefront: many women trained in naginatajutsu so that they could defend their homes while their husbands were away. The naginata soon came to be regarded as a “woman’s weapon.” In modern Japan many women still study the sport form of the art, naginata-do. Naginatajutsu contains only a few techniques, but they are all effective. In pitched battles favorite targets usually include enemy horses and infantrymen’s legs. In addition to the standard slashing and thrusting maneuvers, practitioners are trained to reverse the weapon and use the iron cap on its butt to strike a target’s vital points. Sojutsu (also known as Yarijutsu) is the art of using the various types of Japanese spears, such as the yari. A fighter could use the spear as a form of staff, plus its spearhead allowed for deadlier attacks. Spear-fighting was a particular favorite of the militant Buddhist sõ-hei (“warrior-priests”). It died out after the introduction of firearms to Japan, but formed the basis of a later art, Jukenjutsu (see page 32). Characters can also use Sojutsu to simulate spearfighting skills from many other cultures. NAGINATAJUTSU/SOJUTSU NOTES Characters cannot use the weapon’s shaft to strike targets unless they buy the Staff Weapon Element; this includes the Atemi Strike maneuver, performed


NAGINATAJUTSU Used with Polearms Weapons Group; Polearm Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Atemi Strike ½ Block ½ Slash ½ Thrust ½

Pts 4 4 5 4

OCV -1 +2 -2 +0

DCV +1 +2 +1 +2

Damage/Effect 2d6 NND(1) Block, Abort Weapon +4 DC Strike Weapon +2 DC Strike

Skills KS: Naginatajutsu (or Sojutsu, as appropriate) Elements Weapon

+1 Use Art with Staff (for using weapon’s shaft)

with the butt end of the weapon’s shaft. Optional Rules: The Atemi Strike, Slash, and Thrust all take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Ninjutsu Ninjutsu is a stealth and espionage-oriented art which saw its greatest development in the thirteenth to early seventeenth centuries in Japan. Its practitioners, the ninja, were warrior-assassin-spies; most belonged to the Iga and Koga mountain clans. They were the supreme reconnaissance experts and saboteurs of their day. In the seventeenth century, a ban and crackdown forced the ninja to become even more secretive about the practice of their art; the heyday of the ninja was over, and most people believed the art and its practitioners were extinct. But in recent years, Ninjutsu has come down out of the mountains again and been practiced more openly; it has been imported to and is taught in the United States and other countries. Additionally, several martial artists, especially in the United States, have set about redeveloping Ninjutsu; they claim no association with the historical Ninjutsu style, but practice most of the same tactics and skills. The word “ninjutsu” refers to all the arts and skills of the ninja; the combat fighting style is more correctly known as taijutsu. It de-emphasizes the use of “forms” or other regimented fighting methods, concentrating instead on using whatever maneuvers or tactics work best in a situation. It is an extremely practical and utilitarian fighting art (though like most traditional martial arts it also has a philosophical side). The ninja night-suit, the costume worn by the ninja during missions, consists of three principal parts: the igabakama (a long-sleeved tunic and the trousers, with many pockets in the sleeves, legs, and the body; also known as a shinobifuku); the shinobizukin (the ninja mask); and the tabi (the split-toed boots worn by the ninja for improved balance). In ancient times, the ninja night-suit was colored in earth tones (green and brown), or white in winter weather. Today, most ninja are represented as wearing black night-suits. It would be appropriate for a modern ninja to wear his night-suit in modern


The Ultimate Martial Artist camouflage patterns (either the green/brown forest camouflage or the mixed-gray urban camouflage patterns). Movie-style ninja can wear night-suits of any color, including red and white; in the films, this has no effect on their stealth abilities. In ancient times a ninja did not often wear his night-suit; he usually went about in normal dress or disguised as a common person — a farmer, merchant, or the like. NINJUTSU TAIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Kick maneuver takes a location roll of 3d6. The Atemi Punch, Knife Hand, and Punch take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Choke Hold automatically targets the head, but receives no extra damage for the head location. The other maneuvers do not require location rolls. Special Abilities: Refer to the section on the ninja and their special powers and skills later on in this chapter.

NINJUTSU (TAIJUTSU) Maneuver Phs Atemi Punch ½ Block ½ Breaking Throw ½

Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort 5


-2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable; Target Falls -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6 NND(2) — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; Grab Two Limbs

Choke Hold ½





Kick ½ Knife Hand ½ Punch ½ Reversal var

5 4 4 4

Sacrifice Throw



+2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall; Target Falls










+0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to Take Weapon Away +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Ninjutsu WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons* WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Off Hand See the discussion of the ninja later on in this chapter. Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Fist-Loads +1 Use Art with Karate Weapon +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with War-Fan

SUBSTYLES OF NINJUTSU Modern-day Ninjutsu synthesizes a number of different “schools” or substyles of Ninjutsu. The following descriptions allow characters to pick a school to “specialize” in if they prefer, but this is not required. Gikan Ryu The Gikan Ryu was founded by Sonyu Hangan Gikanbo of Kawachi in the sixteenth century. It is a relatively offensive style whose practitioners often buy OCV Combat Skill Levels. To practice this ryu, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Punch, Block, Dodge, Kick, Knife Hand, Punch, and Takedown. Gyokko Ryu “The school of the jewel tiger” was brought to Japan from China during the fall of the T’ang Dynasty (around 900 AD) by a monk named Cho Gyokko, making it the oldest of the Ninjutsu Ryu. The style was formally organized by Sakagami Taro Kunishige in 1532. The primary principle of Gyokko Ryu is to move the body around a central point in space defined by one’s opponent. The ninja should stay at the “distance of frustration,” barely out of the opponent’s reach, so his foe isn’t sure if he can hit the ninja or not. Gyokko Ryu concentrates on koshijutsu (skin and muscle tearing techniques) and shitojutsu (thumb pressure techniques and finger-strike techniques). Advanced students of this school are said to be able to knock a man down with one finger. To practice Gyokko Ryu, a character must know at least four of the following meneuvers: Atemi Punch, Block, Choke Hold, Dodge, Reversal, Takeaway, and Takedown; practitioners should also be allowed to purchase the Tiger/Dragon Claw from the Kung Fu package to simulate their koshijutsu techniques. Combat Skill Levels in DCV are also appropriate for students of this ryu.

Hero Games Gyokkushin Ryu The Gyokkushin Ryu was founded by Sasaki Okormon Akirari and is known for its superior use of the nagenawa (lasso). The Gyokkushin Ryu is derived from the Gyokko Ryu, and has the same requirements for characters who want to be students of it. The lasso skill may be bought as a form of Entangle, or as Limited Stretching. Koto Ryu This school (whose name means “knocking down the tiger”) is derived from Gyokko Ryu. According to kuden (oral transmission), it originated in China and was carried to Japan by the monk Chan Busho from what is now known as Korea. From him it was passed down through several generations until the techniques of this ryu were reorganized in 1542 by Sakagami Taro Kunishige. Koto Ryu specializes in koppojutsu (bonebreaking techniques) and in atemi strikes. Characters from this school should buy the Joint Break maneuver from Hwarang-Do; OCV Combat Skill Levels are also appropriate for this ryu. To practice Koto Ryu, a character must know at least three of the following maneuvers: Atemi Punch, Block, Kick, Knife Hand, Reversal, and Takedown, and the Joint Break described above. Kukushinden Ryu The Kukushinden Ryu was founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru. Students of the Kukushinden Ryu style are known for their skill with weapons, including many unusual techniques. To practice Kukushinden Ryu, the character should buy at least half of the Weapon Familiarities and Weapons Elements listed for Ninjutsu, and should know at least three of the following maneuvers: Block, Breaking Throw, Dodge, Kick, Reversal, Takeaway, and Takedown. Combat Skill Levels for DCV are also appropriate for this ryu. Kumogakure Ryu The Kumogakure Ryu was founded by Heinaizaemon Ienaga Iga. This ryu seems to be closely related to the Togakure Ryu. It focuses on the use of shuriken, sword, bo, hanbo, kusari-fundo, kusarigama, kyoketsu-shoge, spear, naginata, shinobi-zue, kamayari, shuko, and metsubishi. To practice this ryu, characters must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Breaking Throw, Dodge, Punch, Sacrifice Throw, Takeaway, and Throw. Shinden Fudo Ryu The Shinden Fudo Ryu was founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru (the same one who founded the Kukishinden Ryu). The Ryu was formally organized by Genachiro Tameyoshi in the mid-12th century. Shinden Fudo Ryu ninja are known for their use of, and skill with, swords. They also know Acrobatics, but do not know Breakfall (they wear the daisho, or paired swords, so learning Breakfall is impractical). To practice the Shinden Fudo Ryu, characters must know four of the following maneuvers: Dodge, Punch, Reversal, Sacrifice Throw, Take-

47 down, and Throw. They may also buy the Grappling Block maneuver from the Hsing-I package. Takagi Yoshin Ryu The Takagi Yoshin Ryu, meaning “raise your heart to the high trees,” was founded by Soun Ryu. Its main principle is that of total body motion; it also teaches various elements of Bojutsu, Jujutsu, Shurikenjutsu, and Sojutsu. To practice this ryu, characters must know four of the following maneuvers: Block, Breaking Throw, Dodge, Reversal, Throw, Sacrifice Throw, and Takeaway. They may also buy the Grappling Block maneuver from the Hsing-I package. Togakure Ryu The Togakure Ryu was established in 1185, at the beginning of the Kamakura period. Its ninja are known for their use of weapons, particularly the shuko, metsubishi, and tetsubishi. To practice the Togakure Ryu, the character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Punch, Reversal, Takeaway, Throw.

Pakua Pakua (also spelled Pa-Kua, Paqua, and Bagwa, meaning “eight diagrams”) is one of the three main Chinese “internal” fighting styles. It is said to have been learned by Tung Hai-ch’uan from an old mountain Taoist of Kiangsu Province in the late 1700s or early 1800s, though its roots are centuries older. It was originally called Ch’uan Chang, or “rotating palm.” Tung used Pakua to defeat the renowned Hsing-I master Kuo Yun-shen. Kuo tried for two days to defeat Tung, but on the third day Tung beat him easily. This resulted in a life-long friendship between the two and a pact that students of each style would learn the other style. Pakua is based around the theories of the I Ching, a book of Chinese philosophy (and, some believe, prophecy and fortunetelling). The I Ching expresses a belief that the universe is in a state of “constant change.” In Pakua, changes — of direction, of the angle of the hand, of the placement of the foot — are all-important. Whereas HsingI is (relatively) direct and linear, Pakua is circular, and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan works both ways. Pakua emphasizes motion and footwork. The practitioner “walks the circle,” an imaginary circle based on the I Ching’s eight-trigram pattern. He circles around his opponent constantly, rotating his body, whirling and shifting direction unexpectedly, using subtle evasive tactics, and making attacks from unusual angles. The postures used while walking the circle include several named after animals:


The Ultimate Martial Artist Bear, Dragon, Hawk, Lion, Monkey, Panther, Phoenix, Snake, Stork, Swallow, and Unicorn, among others. Although this motion may sound limiting, in fact it is not; Pakua can be a very effective fighting style, with each step in the circle creating a different angle of attack. Pakua’s attack techniques are primarily palm strikes and other hand attacks. Through the projection of ch’i and the shifting of the angle of the hand (such as from palm-up to palm-down, a technique called tzan szjin, “reeling silk”), the fighter can deliver very powerful blows which look like little more than light shoves to the untrained eye. The use of the palm as opposed to the fist allows the practitioner greater control over the ch’i he releases. Some of the palm strikes have extremely picturesque names, such as White Clouds Chasing the Stars, Swallow Penetrates Through the Forest, and Scooping the Moon from the Sea Bottom. Some Pakua masters teach the use of weapons, such as swords, spear, and staff, and the unusual ring needle. However, this is relatively rare; most Pakua practitioners use only barehanded techniques.

Optional Rules: The Palm Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Kick takes a 2d6+7 roll. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: In addition to some of the general special abilities attributed to internal style masters (see “Tai Ch’i Ch’uan,” below), Pakua practitioners sometimes display these powers: 1) Rapid-fire Striking: Some Pakua masters can launch as many as ten blows in a single second! This is bought as an Autofire Advantage for the character’s Palm Strike (see page 104), or as a separate HA with Autofire. 2) Ch’i Control: Some masters have such great control over their ch’i that they can damage specific parts of a person or object, rather than the whole object. For example, a practitioner could Palm Strike his enemy and inflict no outward injury while actually causing terrible harm to, say, his enemy’s liver. With the GM’s permission, this is bought as an Indirect Advantage for the character’s Palm Strike, or as a separate HA with Indirect. It could also be bought as a Penetrating attack.


PAKUA Maneuver Block Defensive Block Dodge

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ ½

5 4

½ ½

4 3

Kick ½ Palm Strike ½ Root ½

3 5 4

Sweep/Throw ½


Escape Joint Lock

+1 +3 Block, Abort — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on +0 +1 STR +2d6 Strike -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike +0 +0 STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall KS: Analyze Style KS: Chinese Philosophy KS: Pakua WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Staff WF: Off Hand Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Ring Needle Use Art with Staff

PAKUA NOTES The two attack maneuvers in this package do not take the “Half Move Required” restrictive element. However, Pakua practitioners are constantly in motion, walking the circle one way or another around their opponent. A Pakua character should almost always make a Half Move (consisting of stepping around their opponent, not moving backwards and forwards) in any Phase in which he takes a combat action.

Pankration (“all-powerful”) is an ancient Greek fighting style, one of the world’s earliest comprehensive martial arts. There is some speculation, because Alexander the Great took pankratiasts with him on his conquests, and they gave demonstrations during those travels, that Pankration might have had some slight influence on Eastern martial arts styles. Pankration was performed in the Olympic Games first in the seventh century BC, though it could well be much older than that. It is a brutal contest involving grappling, punching, stomachkicking, legsweeping, joint-locking and joint-breaking. Pankration matches were fought until one contestant acknowledged defeat (or collapsed); there were no timed rounds. Pankration has been redeveloped in the modern world and is being taught today by some practitioners.

PANKRATION Maneuver Bend Joint Break Bone Crush

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 4 4

½ ½

4 3

+0 +0 -1 -1

Kick/Punch ½ Legsweep ½

3 3

+1 +0 +2 -1

Sacrifice Throw


+2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls

Escape Grab


OCV -1 -2 +0

DCV +1 +0 +0

Damage/Effect 2d6 NND(7) HKA ½d6 (2 DC) STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on STR +2d6 Strike STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls

Skills KS: Pankration Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Cestus

Hero Games


PANKRATION NOTES The maneuver listed as Kick or Punch is precisely that; the pankratiast can choose each round whether he wishes to punch or kick. (This keeps the practitioner from having to buy redundant Basic Strike maneuvers, one for punch, one for kick.) Pankratiasts often bought the Block from Ancient Boxing; many knew the Jab as well, and so were equally proficient in Pankration and Boxing. Many also studied Wrestling. Optional Rules: The Punch takes a location roll of 2d6+1. The Kick takes a location roll of 2d6+7. The Break Bone takes a location roll of 2d6+1, or 3d6 if the target is on the ground, not standing. For the Bend Joint, you can make a location roll of 3d6, but you must ignore and re-roll any location of 10-13; however, the location is for visual effects only, and has no effect on the damage done by the maneuver. The Crush, Escape, and Grab take no location rolls. Special Abilities: Similar to those for Ancient Boxing.

Pentjak-Silat Pentjak-Silat is the national fighting art of Indonesia. There are 157 recognized substyles (and potentially hundreds more which are unrecognized), making this art second only to Kung Fu in its breadth and diversity. The name usually translates as something like “to do fighting for selfdefense” or “to fight using skilled body movements.” Pentjak-Silat was first developed as a relatively crude fighting form between 600 and 1000 AD, probably beginning on the island of Riouw and passing from there into the Menangkabau kingdoms of Sumatra and out to all the islands. By the fourteenth century, it was sufficiently developed that the government saw fit to restrict it: by law, the Majapahit sultans of the islands and their court officials were the only ones allowed to learn Pentjak-Silat. However, ongoing Hindu-Muslim conflicts in that time period and thereafter kept Pentjak-Silat alive among the populace. It was used to fight the native wars of independence against the Dutch, and against the Japanese during World War II. It has remained in use for intertribal (and interschool) fighting right up until the present day. Generally, experts can identify the substyles from a particular geographic area by their techniques and/or the emphasis placed on particular types of maneuvers when fighting. Sumatran styles use primarily kicks and leg-based attacks; styles from Borneo and West Java use mainly punches and hand-based attacks; Central and East Javanese and Balinese styles mix hand and foot techniques evenly; and East Javanese, Sumatran, and Balinese styles also emphasize grappling techniques. Some styles are extremely acrobatic and involve a great deal of jumping, others are fought very low to the ground (the latter tend to use two postures called sempok and depok, in which the fighter virtually sits on the ground but can spring

instantly to the attack). Some styles use linear techniques, some circular techniques. In short, the substyles of Pentjak-Silat vary tremendously. However, all fighters, regardless of style, are trained to keep their feet on slippery or uneven ground (simulate this with the Breakfall Skill). Also, all Silat systems teach weapons, including (but not limited to) the kris, the Indonesian dagger. A teacher or master of Pentjak-Silat is known as a pandekar, guru, or maha guru. A silatist usually wears ordinary street clothes, but due to the influences of other martial arts styles may wear a black gi-like uniform for practicing or tournaments. The uniform’s samping, or waistcloth, has a colorful pattern often matching the pattern of the turban-like tengkokok worn on the head. Related to this style is Pokulan (or Pukulan), which some authorities describe as a substyle of Pentjak-Silat, and others term a separate indigenous Indonesian fighting art containing many techniques similar to Pentjak-Silat. A character who wants to practice Pokulan can simply buy maneuvers from the Pentjak-Silat package.


he dense conquer

the diffuse; the full conquer the vacuous; the byways conquer main roads; the urgent conquer the slow; the numerous


conquer the few;

Optional Rules: The Killing Strike, Punch/Elbow Strike, and Rahasia Strike take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Kick takes a 3d6 roll, although in some styles (see below) it takes a 2d6+7 roll instead. The Choke automatically targets the throat, and the Legsweep automatically targets the legs. The other maneuvers do not require location rolls.

the rested

Special Abilities: The special abilities attributed to Pentjak-Silat masters are almost limitless. Some a master can do by himself, some require a kris. 1) Self-contained abilities a) Kerojok (“the fight of one against many”): the ability to defend one’s self against several opponents at once (Defense Maneuver). b) Telepathy. c) Mystic healing powers (Healing). d) Precognition (Precognitive Clairvoyance). e) The ability to hypnotize the enemy (a limited form of Mind Control)

conquer the weary.’ —Sun Pin, Military Methods


The Ultimate Martial Artist

PENTJAK-SILAT Maneuver Block Choke

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Disarm ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Dodge ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Escape ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Killing Strike ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Legsweep ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Rahasia Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Punch/ Elbow Strike ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Acrobatics Breakfall* PS: Dancing WF: Common Melee Weapons* WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons WF: Pendjepit WF: Whip Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades* +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Fist-Loads +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons +1 Use Art with Pendjepit (Grab and Killing Strike only) +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with Whip

f) The ability to withstand blows from weapons without harm (Damage Resistance). g) The ability to catch thrown weapons and throw them back at the attacker (Missile Reflection, thrown missiles). h) The ability to fight effectively in total darkness (Combat Sense). i) The ability to paralyze the enemy with but a touch (a form of Entangle which Takes No Damage From Attacks (+½)). j) The ability to “kill at a distance” (Ranged Killing Attack, Fully Invisible (+1)). k) The ability to destroy objects with a powerful shout (a form of Ranged Killing Attack with the Limitations Concentration, Extra Time (5 Minutes), and Incantations). l) The ability to disable opponents by touch (a No Range Entangle which Takes No Damage From Attacks (+½), or a EB NND, No Range). m) The ability to take on the characteristics of certain animals.

2) Kris-based abilities: all of these abilities take the Limitation Focus (OAF; -1). a) Tuju (“sorcery by pointing”): the ability to kill someone at range merely by pointing the kris at them (Ranged Killing Attack, Fully Invisible (+1)). A related ability allows a master to kill someone by stabbing one of his footprints (add the Advantages Indirect, Increased Maximum Range, and No Range Modifier). b) The kris warns its owner of danger by rattling in its sheath (sarong) (Danger Sense). c) The ability to make the kris “dance” (i.e., fight on its own) (Ranged Killing Attack, Continuous). d) The ability to draw fire from one area to another (Transfer fire from one area to another, Affects All Powers At Once (+2)). e) The ability to turn away wild animals (a form of Mind Control). f) The ability to draw water from the kris’s blade (Transform (air to water)). g) The ability to create a swarm of hornets and send it after an enemy (Summon swarm of hornets). h) The ability to extend the kris’s hantu (“guardian spirit”) over the owner, and over people other than the owner (Force Field, Usable Simultaneously by one other at range (+1)). i) The ability to cure the common cold (by drinking the oil used to polish the blade) (due to the law of supply and demand, it is impossible to determine the point cost for such a useful and universally sought-after ability). PENTJAKSILAT SUBSTYLES There are hundreds of substyles of PentjakSilat. As with Kung Fu, it would be pointless to come up with a separate set of maneuvers for each one of them. Instead, several of the major substyles are described here, so a player can pick one for his character if he wishes. A character need not have a substyle; he can simply be a “general” Silat practitioner. Baru Silat Baru Silat is a Sumatran style from the Padang area. It combines some of the techniques of Sterlak Silat (see below) with maneuvers borrowed from Japanese styles like Jujutsu and Karate. It emphasizes evasiveness, blocking, and other defensive maneuvers. To practice Baru Silat, a character must know the Block, Dodge, Grab, and Legsweep maneuvers. Bhakti Negara Bhakti Negara, founded in 1955, is a Balinese style which synthesizes several Silat substyles and some Japanese fighting arts. It relies on deceptive stances and actions to lure an opponent in close for a punch or kick. Attacks are usually directed to a rectangular section of the body covering the throat to the vitals. To practice Bhakti Negara, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Dodge, Escape, Grab, Kick, Punch.

Hero Games Delima This modern East Javan style is named after a type of fruit. It concentrates on kicks and legsweeps; hand attacks are usually delivered openhanded, rather than with fists. A Delima silatist dodges and leaps around a great deal. To practice Delima, a character must know the Dodge, Legsweep, and Kick maneuvers. Harimau Silat Harimau, or “tiger,” Silat, a Sumatran style from the Menangkabau area, is an unusual fighting style. The combatants crouch very low to the ground, so low that they essentially crawl towards one another. This practice arose because of the stability the stance provides on wet and slippery ground. Once the opponents get within striking distance, they may stay on the ground, or they may leap at each other and attack from a more upright position. Silatists who practice other styles sometimes learn Harimau stances because of the stability they provide. To practice Harimau Silat, a character must know the Block, Legsweep, and Kick maneuvers. The Kick is usually low, taking a 2d6+7 location, but if two Harimau stylist fight each other on the ground the Kick takes its usual 3d6 location. Kendari Silat Based in the city of the same name in the Celebes, this substyle is known for its unusual crosslegged stances, which are used to turn quickly and evade an attack. Very little forwards-backwards movement occurs in Kendari Silat; it’s suited for use in narrow or cramped quarters, such as alleys or ships. To practice Kendari Silat, a character must know the Block, Dodge, and Punch maneuvers. Kicks are almost never used; if they are, they take a 2d6+7 location roll. Kumango Silat Kumango Silat is a Sumatran style from the Menangkabau area. It emphasizes closing with the enemy to employ grabs, strikes, and chokes. Kicks are usually low (they take a 2d6+7 location roll). Fighters normally make attacks to the center line of the body. To practice Kumango Silat, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Choke, Grab, Legsweep, Kick, Punch, Throw. Pamur Pamur is a Silat substyle from the island of Madura. It was founded in 1951 by Hasan Hubudin. Its techniques are taken mainly from several of the Sumatran styles. The style’s emblem is a shield with a kris, cotton plant, and rice plant overlaid. To practice Pamur, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Grab, Kick, Killing Strike, Punch, Throw. Patai Silat Patai Silat is a Menangkabau style which was founded sometime around 1900. Parrying, evasive footwork, and grabbing techniques characterize it. A fighter jerks a grabbed opponent forward (to unbalance him), attacks him, and/or throws him to the

51 ground. Patai Silat practitioners wear a short jacket and very baggy trousers with a sash. To practice Patai Silat, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Grab, Kick, Throw. Pauh Silat This is a Sumatran substyle from the Menangkabau area. It uses a distinctive footwork pattern. Practitioners who are ready to fight indicate their readiness by slapping their thighs and then keeping the hand in position to block attacks to the groin. The main attack employs a form of lockedthumb fist similar to the “phoenix eye” fist used in some Kung Fu styles. Fighters typically direct their attacks to points along the center line of the body. To practice Pauh Silat, a character must know the Block, Punch, and Rahasia Strike maneuvers. Perisai Diri Perisai Diri (“P.D.”) is a popular Central Javan style whose name means “self-shield.” Founded in 1955, it currently forms the basis for the self-defense training taught to most Indonesian military personnel. It synthesizes various Silat styles but does not incorporate maneuvers from any other fighting systems. P.D. techniques are mainly linear and usually do not involve the sempok and depok stances used in many other substyles. Many of its movements derive from animals, including the swallow, eagle, tiger, otter, horse, dragon, and crane. Some movements are named after human archetypes, such as the patriot, priest, and princess maneuvers. Attacks are directed at an inverted triangular area with its apex at the enemy’s groin. Perisai Diri uniforms consist of short-legged pants and lapelless jackets whose sleeves end above the wrist. Students wear black uniforms, their pandekars wear white. To practice Perisai Diri, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Kick, Killing Strike, Punch, Throw. Prisai Sakti Also known as Perisai Sahkti, this substyle was founded in 1941. Its name signifies “holy shield.” It combines Javanese silat forms with maneuvers from some Japanese fighting styles. Its philosophical and religious roots tie it to Christianity and Indonesian nationalism. Prisai Sakti emphasizes kicks and leg techniques, but it also uses some hand techniques and joint-locks. To practice Prisai Sakti, a character must know the Block, Grab, and Kick maneuvers. Sandang Silat Sandang Silat is a Sumatran style designed to counteract the powerful Sterlak style (see below). Even today it remains a very secretive style. It employs dodges and blocks to avoid and confuse a Sterlak fighter. To practice Sandang Silat, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Grab, Punch, Throw.


The Ultimate Martial Artist Setia Hati Setia Hati, meaning “faithful heart,” is a Central Javan silat style. It uses the hands to block and strike, and also employs a variety of kicks; Setia Hati practitioners are very dexterous. To practice Setia Hati, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Legsweep, Kick, Punch. Sterlak Silat Sterlak Silat is a Sumatran style whose name signifies “to attack with strength.” It was developed in part to counteract the Harimau Silat style, and emphasizes powerful attacks. Stories say skilled Sterlak students can defeat tigers. To practice Sterlak Silat, a character must know the following maneuvers: Block, Kick, Killing Strike, Punch. Tapak Sutji Founded in 1963 by Ifan Badjam, this Central Javanese substyle combines techniques from several other forms of silat. Its practitioners turn on their own axis every few seconds, so they’re constantly in motion and difficult to hit. To practice Tapak Sutji, a character must know the following maneuvers: Dodge, Legsweep, Kick, Killing Strike, Punch. Tjampur Silat A Sumatran style, Tjampur (“combined”) Silat synthesizes maneuvers from both Pentjak-Silat and Kuntao. It concentrates on aggressive tactics (launched from surprise, if possible) and close infighting. A Tjampur stylist is never supposed to take more than one step backwards during a fight. Attacks are delivered to the center line of the body, primarily with the elbows and knees. Because of the dangers involved in using this brutal style, it is usually only taught to students who have already studied other silat styles and proven themselves worthy of advanced training. To practice Tjampur Silat, a character must know the following maneuvers: Kick (which takes a 2d6+7 Hit Location roll and can also be defined as a Knee Strike), Killing Strike, Punch, and Rahasia Strike. Tjimande This West Javan style relies primarily on the use of the hands and arms, though it does have some low kicks. Fighting takes place at close range. To practice Tjimande, a character must know the following maneuvers: Block, Killing Strike, and Punch. Kicks in this substyle take a 2d6+7 Hit Location roll. Tjingkrik An acrobatic West Javan style, Tjingkrik emphasizes evasiveness, open-hand attacks, and the use of the depok and sempok “sitting” stances. To practice Tjingkrik, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Punch, and Rahasia Strike. Tridharma This northern Balinese style, whose name means “three honesty/peaceful,” is a well-rounded

fighting style with Sumatran influences. It uses both high and low postures. Its hand movements tend to be circular, but its kicks are linear. To practice Tridharma, a character must know three of the following maneuvers: Block, Dodge, Legsweep, Kick, and Punch.

Qwan Ki Do Qwan Ki Do is a Vietnamese martial arts style whose name means “way of the fist and the energy.” It was founded after World War II by Pham Xuan Tong. Qwan Ki Do resembles Karate in many ways, but is more acrobatic and flamboyant in nature. In addition to standard barehanded fighting techniques, the style teaches a number of weapons, such blades, various polearms, and sticks and staffs.

QWAN KI DO Maneuver Phs Pts Cung Thu (blocks) ½ 4 Cuoc Phap (kicks) ½ 5 Khao Go (locks) ½ 3

OCV DCV Damage/Effect +2 +2 Block, Abort -2

+1 STR +4d6 Strike


-1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on

Nghanh Phap/Cuong Dao (sword-hand) ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Tao Phong Cuoc (sweeps) ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target Falls Than Phap (evasion) ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Thu Phap (hand techniques)/Phuong Duc (elbow strike) ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Vat (throws) ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Acrobatics Breakfall (Nhao Lan) KS: Qwan Ki Do WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Staff

QWAN KI DO NOTES Optional Rules: The Cuoc Phap (kicks) takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The Thu Phap (hand techniques), Phuong Duc (elbow strike), and Nghanh Phap/ Cuong Dao (killing strikes) all take a 2d6+1 location roll. The Tao Phong Cuoc (sweeps) automatically target the legs but receives neither a bonus nor a penalty for this. The rest of the maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: Similar to those displayed by Karate practitioners.

Hero Games


Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee According to Martial Arts Around the World, by John Soet, Re-efi Areh-ehsee is a martial art from Eritrea, a nation of East Africa. This style relies on grabs, takedowns, and strikes with the elbow, head, and knee.

RE-EFI AREH-EHSEE Maneuver Block Escape Grab

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 4 3

OCV +2 +0 -1

DCV +2 +0 -1

Damage/Effect Block, Abort +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on

Punch/Elbow Strike/Knee Strike/ Headbutt ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Takedown ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee

REEFI AREHEHSEE NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch/Elbow Strike takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll, the Knee Strike takes a 2d6+7 Hit Location roll, and the Headbutt automatically targets the head and received no bonuses or penalties for doing so. The other maneuvers either do general damage or do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Saijutsu Saijutsu is the art of the sai, a weapon resembling a metal rod with two upturned tines. A fighter can use a sai to interfere with an opponent’s weapon, to strike, or to block. Characters can also perform Saijutsu with the jutte (or jitte), which has only one tine, and the nunte, which has one tine reversed.

SAIJUTSU Used with Sai; Karate Weapon Element is free Maneuver Bind Block Disarm Strike

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 4 4



OCV +1 +2 -1

DCV +0 +2 +1

Damage/Effect Bind, +10 STR Block, Abort Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike

Skills KS: Saijutsu WF: Karate Weapons

SAIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Strike takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Savate Savate (known as boxe Francaise savate or la boxe Francaise) is a French martial art; its development began in seventeenth-century Marseilles. Originally a type of kicking brawling style, early in the eighteenth century it was synthesized with English boxing maneuvers. Today it is a full-featured and respected martial arts style. Savate combines boxing-style punches with a variety of kicks. The art also includes cane-fighting techniques. A savate fighter is called a savateur (fem. savateuse) or tireur. An inch-wide colored band around the wrist of the savate glove indicates the fighter’s rank; ranks from lowest to highest are purple, blue, green, red, white, yellow, bronze, silver, and gold.

SAVATE Maneuver Phs Pts Block ½ 4 Coup de pied bas (low kick) ½ 4 Coup de pied chasse (side kick) ½ 5 Crochet (Hook) ½ 4 Disarm ½ 4

Direct (Jab/Cross) ½ Footsweep ½

5 3

OCV DCV Damage/Effect +2 +2 Block, Abort +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike -2

+1 STR +4d6 Strike

+2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll +1 +3 STR Strike +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls

Skills KS: Savate WF: Blades WF: Cane Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs (Cane)

SAVATE NOTES To simulate the older, pre-boxing form of Savate, do not buy the Direct or Crochet maneuvers. The Coup de pied chasse maneuver can also be called the Coup de pied fouette (round kick), Coup de pied en reverse lateraux (lateral reverse kick), and Coup de pied en reverse frontaux (front reverse kick). Only the Crochet, Disarm, and Direct maneuvers work with the Weapons allowed for Savate. Optional Rules: The Coup de pied bas has a location roll of 2d6+7, the Coup de pied chasse has a location roll of 3d6, the Direct and Crochet have location rolls of 2d6+1. Damage from the Foots-


The Ultimate Martial Artist weep is general (no location), and the Block and Disarm don’t require location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

ties of streetfighters skilled with knives, Dolchfechten (medieval German knifefighting), el cuchillo (Mexican knifefighting), and the like. SEVILLIAN KNIFEFIGHTING NOTES

Sevillian Knifefighting This is a Spanish and southern European knife-fighting art which employs weapons such as the puñal (a short stabbing and thrusting folding knife), the navaja (a longer, heavier folding knife), the cuchillo (a fixed-blade knife), and similar armas blancas (bladed weapons). Some schools also teach the use of canes and sticks. While the people of the region (like those everywhere else in the world) have always fought each other with knives, and the navaja itself was invented in the 1600s, the more systematized maneuvers of this style were probably not developed until the nineteenth century. Practitioners are often referred to as navajeros. Sevillian Knifefighting includes several “substyles.” The first, baratero style, is a quick, straightforward style emphasizing self-protection. The second, gitano style, was developed by Spanish Gypsies. It uses flashy, stylized knife manipulations and maneuvers to confuse the opponent and create an opening (see Sleight Of Hand, page 116, for game rules on how to do this). Lastly, there’s the sevillano style, the most highly developed and “sophisticated” of the three. Similar in some ways to Fencing, it uses smooth, fluid movements and swift attacks. Characters cannot use this style Barehanded (except for the Dodge and Grab maneuvers). It’s not distinctive enough to qualify for a Style Distinctive Feature. By changing the names of some of the maneuvers, characters can also use it to simulate many other knifefighting arts — military blade skills, the arte della daga of medieval Italy, the abili-

SEVILLIAN KNIFEFIGHTING Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Block ½ Cambio (Foist) ½ Desjarretazo (Stab) ½ Dodge ½ Grab

Puñaladas (Thrusts) Tajos (Slashes)

Special Abilities: Skilled knifefighters may be able to work knife-throwing techniques into their repertoire; these attacks can be bought as Ranged Martial Arts maneuvers or as separate “powers.”

Shurikenjutsu Shurikenjutsu is the art of throwing the shuriken, a type of bladed missile invented in Japan. The principal users of shuriken were the ninja, but many other warriors studied this art as well. Characters can also use Shurikenjutsu with other throwing blades, such as throwing knives. For more information on the different types of shuriken available, refer to Chapter Three. Shurikenjutsu cannot take the Style Distinctive Feature.

SHURIKENJUTSU Used with Thrown Knives/Axes Weapons Group; Thrown Knives/Axes Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect Basic Throw ½ 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike Defensive Throw ½ 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike Far Throw ½ 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike Quick Throw ½ 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike Skills KS: Shurikenjutsu

Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort 4

+2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike


5 4

-2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 to STR for holding on

Optional Rules: All Throws take a 3d6 Hit Location roll.





+1 +3 Weapon Strike



+0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike

Skills Fast Draw KS: Sevillian Knifefighting Sleight Of Hand WF: Blades* WF: Off Hand Talent: Ambidexterity Elements Weapons

Optional Rules: The Desjarretazo, Puñaladas, and Tajos all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. So does the Cambio (literally, “change”), which involves shifting the knife from one hand to the other so quickly that the opponent misses it, leaving him open to attack. The other maneuvers do not use Hit Locations.

+1 Use Art with Clubs

Special Abilities: Some skilled Shurikenjutsu practitioners are said to be able to catch shuriken thrown at them and throw them back at their attackers (Missile Reflection, thrown missiles). Others can throw several shuriken in the blink of an eye (an Autofire RKA).


ppear where they cannot go, head for where they least

expect you.’ —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Hero Games


Simgomdo Simgomdo (“Mind Sword Way”) is a Korean swordfighting style developed in 1965 by Chang Sik Kim. According to the history of the art, Kim, while meditating in the Samgak Mountains, received a vision of hundreds of martial arts sword forms which he developed into Simgomdo. Simgomdo practitioners use wooden swords (like the Japanese bokken), though presumably the style’s maneuvers work just as well with an edged metal blade. The training increases their strength, speed, and accuracy through both constant practice and a spiritual regimen of breathing and meditative exercises. While meditating, they visualize martial arts maneuvers for use in combat. Simgomdo practitioners also learn certain unarmed combat techniques, which they call sinbbop.

SIMGOMDO Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element is free Maneuver Block Disarm

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Evade ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Rapid Strike ½ 4 +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike Sacrifice Strike ½ 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Strike Slash ½ 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike Skills Fast Draw KS: Simgomdo WF: Blades* Elements Barehanded

+1 Use Art Barehanded (doing STR damage in place of weapons damage, as appropriate)

SIMGOMDO NOTES Optional Rules: The Rapid Strike, Sacrifice Strike, and Slash all take a 3d6 Hit Location roll. Special Abilities: None.

Sumo Wrestling Sumo Wrestling is a Japanese fighting form which developed in the century before Christ. It is traditionally practiced by huge, heavy fighters who train for years to have the physique and endurance of a sumo wrestler. The object of Sumo Wrestling is to push the opponent out of the ring or bear him down to the ground inside the ring. Matches are usually very short, but are preceded by lengthy ceremonies. SUMO WRESTLING NOTES Optional Rules: The Slap takes an automatic head location, but does no extra damage because of that. The other maneuvers take no specific location. Special Abilities: None.

SUMO Maneuver Escape Grab

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab, +10 to STR for holding on

Grappling Throw






Shove Slap

½ ½

4 4


+2 STR +2d6 Strike; Target Falls; Must Follow Grab +0 +0 STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike

Skills KS: Sumo Wrestling

Tae Kwon Do This Korean martial art began systematic development in the seventh century, when it was called t’ang-su (meaning “T’ang hand,” named after the Chinese dynasty which was in power when the Koreans adopted its principles). Later names for this art as it developed were subak and kwonpup. After the sixteenth century, the art continued development under the new name of tae kwon (“foot and fist,” or “kicking and punching”). The art was forced underground in the first decade of the twentieth century, when the Japanese occupied Korea. In 1953, well after World War II, when Korea was freed from Japanese rule, it became tae kwon do (“the way of kicking and punching”). Tae Kwon Do is regarded as a powerful, combat-intensive martial art, relying on forceful punches and high circling kicks; it is also famous for its colorful flying side kick. Schools teaching Tae Kwon Do are known as dojangs. Tae Kwon Do practitioners wear a gi-like uniform called a dobok.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

TAE KWON DO Maneuver Arm Sweep Block Crescent Kick Block Disarm

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½



½ ½

5 4

+1 +3 Block, Abort -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll

Flying Side Kick ½ 5 Front Kick ½ 4 Knifehand Spearhand ½ 4 Punch/Elbow Strike ½ 4 Side or Roundhouse Kick ½ 5 Takedown ½ 3

+2 Block, Abort

+1 +0

-2 STR +4d6 Strike +2 STR +2d6 Strike


+0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC)


+0 STR +2d6 Strike

-2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall KS: Tae Kwon Do WF: Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Karate Weapons Use Art with Staff

TAE KWON DO NOTES The Weapons Elements are not part of the traditional art, but many Tae Kwon Do instructors teach weapons use anyway. Optional Rules: The Front, Side and Roundhouse Kicks take location rolls of 3d6. The Flying Side Kick takes a location roll of 2d6+1. The Punch or Elbow Strike takes a location roll of 2d6+1. Special Abilities: None.

Tai Ch’i Ch’uan Tai Ch’i Ch’uan (also spelled Taiji Quan, T’ai Chi Chuan, and many other ways) is the most advanced of the Chinese internal fighting styles. Although best known in the West as a yoga-like type of exercise, it has martial applications as well, as its name (“supreme ultimate fist” or “yin-yang boxing”) indicates. According to the most popular legend, Tai Ch’i Ch’uan was originally developed by a Taoist priest named Chang San-Feng who is said to have lived during either the Sung, Yuan, or Ming Dynasties. One day he observed a snake and a hawk (or a crane) fighting, and was struck by the efficiency of their movements — the fact that they could be both loose and supple, hard and fast at the same time. Based on his observations, he developed a series of

fighting maneuvers, to which he added maneuvers derived from other natural movements (such as the swaying of trees, the flowing of water, and the movement of clouds). The result is a fighting style combining soft, flowing movements with rapid, almost explosive attack forms. Due to the internal energy (ch’i) employed by a skilled Tai Ch’i Ch’uan fighter, the results achieved by an attack are often far greater than the amount of visible force would seem to indicate. The basis of Tai Ch’i is the Thirteen Postures, which include eight actions (such as Ward-off, Push, and Pull Down) and five directions (areas towards which one should look and/or move). In combat, the fighter combines these into patterns in which he avoids an attack (usually by blocking it) and then uses an offensive maneuver (often a grab, followed by a strike or throw of some sort). The maneuvers have beautiful, poetic names, such as Lion Shakes His Head, Night Bird Returns To The Forest, Celestial Horse Walks In The Sky, Carry Tiger To The Mountain, and Meteor Chasing The Moon. There are several substyles of Tai Ch’i Ch’uan. The first is the Chen style, supposedly developed at the end of the Ming Dynasty. It is said to be the most martial of the Tai Ch’i styles. Yang style is a modified form of Chen which is more flowing. The two Wu styles are modified forms of Yang which emphasize small circular motions and add throws and grabs to the Tai Ch’i arsenal. Lastly there is the Sun style, which adds elements of Hsing-I and Pakua to Tai Ch’i maneuvers. Some of these styles

TAI CH’I CH’UAN Maneuver Block Disarm

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll

Escaping Throw






Joint Break ½


Palm Slap/ Kick Root

½ ½

5 4

Shove Strike

½ ½

4 3

Sword Finger ½ Throw ½

4 3

+0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs; Target Falls -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike +0 +0 STR +15 to resist Shove; Block, Abort +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove +1 +2 STR +2d6 Strike, Must Follow Block -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills KS: Tai Ch’i Ch’uan WF: Blades WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Staff

teach the use of weapons, primarily the sword.

Hero Games TAI CH’I CH’UAN NOTES Optional Rules: The Palm Slap and Sword Finger take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls; the Kick takes a 3d6 roll. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: Tai Ch’i practitioners are often credited with many unique powers. Some of them overlap those of Kung Fu masters or masters of other Chinese internal styles. 1) Sword Finger: Some masters reputedly can use their Sword Finger maneuver to affect ghosts. Characters can buy this as an Affects Desolidified Advantage for that maneuver (see page 104), or as a separate HA or No Range EB NND attack with that Advantage. 2) Push Hands: Tai Ch’i Ch’uan practice includes an exercise known as push hands (toy sao), in which two students make arm contact and engage in a kind of pushing-yielding exercise. The object of this is to teach flexible movement and the ability to yield correctly to force. Over time, the student gradually becomes more sensitive to force and to the movements of his opponent. Skilled practitioners become so good at this they can effectively “stick” to an opponent and maintain contact with him no matter what he does to shake them off (even running, leaping, and acrobatics do not help to escape). Characters can buy this as Clinging (up to the maximum STR of the character’s Shove maneuver) with the Limitations Only To Stick To An Opponent (-1) and Cannot Resist Knockback (-¼). 3) Immortality: Many internal masters are said to have lived far longer than the average person because of their control over their life force. (Life Support: Longevity.) 4) Iron Shirt: As the Kung Fu ability of the same name. In addition to its defensive aspects, some Tai Ch’i masters have developed this power to such an extent that anyone who hits them gets hurt! Characters can buy this as a Damage Shield with the Limitation Defensive Use Only (-½) (in other words, if they Grab someone, that target doesn’t take the Damage Shield damage). 5) Dim Mak: As the Kung Fu ability of the same name. 6) Fa-ch’ing: This is a strike in which the practitioner discharges his internal energy into the target, causing great harm. At its lesser levels, you can sim-

57 ulate this ability with the attack maneuvers from the martial arts package; at higher levels it should be bought as an HKA or high-damage HA. 7) Kiai Powers: As described in Chapter Two, under Aid and Multipower. 8) Breath EB: Some Tai Ch’i masters can expel their breath in such a way as to damage a foe and send him flying. Buy this as an Energy Blast. 9) Kongjin: “Empty force, “ i.e., the ability to strike without making contact. Refer to the Kung Fu package, above, for details.

Tang Soo Do Tang Soo Do (“China hand method”) is a Korean martial art combining traditional Korean kicks with some Japanese maneuvers. It was originally called Soo Bahk Do. After the Japanese occupation of Korea in the first decade of the twentieth century, many Soo Bahk Do masters fled their homeland; while they were in exile they studied Chinese and Japanese fighting systems, including Aikido and Jujutsu, and added some of their techniques to the Soo Bahk Do repertoire. In 1945 the style’s name was changed by its Grandmaster, Hwang Kee. Tang Soo Do uses many deceptive stances and techniques. For example, the practitioner hides one hand behind the other so he can use it for a surprise attack, or he might launch any one of several kicks from the same basic stance, making it difficult to determine which one he’ll actually use. The attack maneuvers emphasize kicks, including flying kicks. Traditionally, Tang Soo Do does not teach weapons use.

TANG SOO DO Maneuver Phs Pts Block ½ 4 Chop ½ 4 Flying Kick ½ 5 Joint Lock ½ 3 Kick Punch Throw

½ ½ ½

5 4 3

OCV +2 -2 +1 +0

DCV +2 +0 -2 -1

Damage/Effect Block, Abort HKA ½d6 (2 DC) STR +4d6 Strike Grab One Limbs, +10 STR for holding on -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills Breakfall KS: Tang Soo Do

TANG SOO DO NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch, Chop, and Flying Kick take a 2d6+1 location roll. The Kick takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require rolls. Special Abilities: Similar to those for Karate masters.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Thai Kick-Boxing This fighting style, called Muay Thai in Thailand, was developed sometime before the end of the sixteenth century, but records of the art have been lost and so it is not known just how long ago it began. Refugees from the Yunnan province of China fled south and merged with the Khmer people; as the populations grew together, so did their two forms of unarmed combat, which became Muay Thai. Today Thai Kick-Boxing is practiced in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia both for fighting and as a sport; it is also taught to the Thai military in a form called ler dit. This lean, economical, punishing, and very brutal fighting style uses blocks, punches, elbowstrikes, knee-strikes, kicks, and foot pushes. It has no throws. Some maneuvers, such as the knee strikes, often involve jumping up to add force to the blow and to allow the fighter to strike targets in the upper region of the body. In times past, fighters sometimes wrapped their hands in horsehair wrappings stiffened with glue; for some fights ground glass was mixed in with the glue. Treat the latter sort of hand-wrapping as a form of cestus (see Chapter Three for details on cesti). Muay Thai is a popular sport in Thailand. Before each scheduled bout the fighters go through a ritual with components known as wai kru (obeisance to the master) and ram muay (a sort of dance). Knowledgeable fighters can often learn something about an opponent’s fighting style and prowess by observing how he performs the ritual; allow kickboxers with Analyze Style to make rolls after observing their opponent’s ram muay ritual. During the ritual the fighter wears a cord called a mongkon around his head; after the ritual the fighter’s master takes it off of him. Professional Thai fighters use special fighting names which include a boastful nickname and the name of the fighter’s training camp or school. In the ring, Thai kickboxers wear gloves and shorts (with athletic cups); they go barefoot and wear no other armor. Muay Thai fighters often learn a related form of weapons combat, called Krabi-Krabong, involving the use of swords, staffs, polearms, and clubs in various combinations. Rather than describing this as a separate style, it is sufficient for HERO System purposes to simulate Krabi-Krabong as Weapons Elements for Thai Kick-Boxing. THAI KICKBOXING NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch and Elbow Strike take a location roll of 2d6+1; the Low Kick takes a location roll of 2d6+7; the Roundhouse Kick, Knee Strike, and Elbow/Knee Killing Strike take a location roll of 3d6. The other maneuvers require no location rolls.

THAI KICK-BOXING Maneuver Phs Pts Block ½ 4 Elbow/Knee Killing Strike ½ 4 Foot Push ½ 4 Low Kick ½ 4 Punch/Elbow Strike ½ 4 Roundhouse Kick/ Knee Strike ½ 5

OCV DCV Damage/Effect +2 +2 Block, Abort -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike -2

+1 STR +4d6 Strike

Skills KS: Thai Kick-Boxing WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Staff

Special Abilities: Thai kickboxers are well-known for their ability to withstand tremendous amounts of damage. Characters can simulate this with a high PD or a small amount of Damage Reduction with appropriate Limitations (see Chapter Two).

Thang-Ta Thang-Ta (meaning “sword-spear”) is an Indian martial art somewhat similar to Kalaripayit. In addition to teaching unarmed techniques like kicks and punches, it teaches weapons such as spear, dagger, sword, bow, and dart. Thang-Ta’s unarmed fighting techniques involve saritsarat — footwork and evasion abilities designed not only to avoid damage, but to put an attacker off-balance. One substyle of Thang-Ta, Muk’na, also incorporates wrestling grabs and throws. Characters who wish to practice Muk’na may buy maneuvers from both the Thang-Ta and Wrestling packages.

THANG-TA Maneuver Block Dodge Knifehand Strike Marman Strike Punch Kick

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort ½ 4 +0 +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort ½



+0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC)

½ ½ ½

4 4 5

-1 +1 2d6 NND(1) +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike

Skills Breakfall Contortionist KS: Indian Healing KS: Thang-Ta KS: Yoga WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Missile Weapons WF: Urumi Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Polearms

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THANGTA NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch, Knifehand Strike, and Marman Strike all take location rolls of 2d6+1. The Kick takes a 3d6 roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: Characters can simulate gurus’ healing powers with Healing.

Than Vo Dao This Vietnamese style, whose name means “spirit fist way,” is also known as Than Quyen. Its roots lie in Buddhism and Taoism; it came to Vietnam from Mongolia through China, Thailand, and Burma. Than Vo Dao combines internal and external disciplines and uses circular energy. It has a number of animal-based forms, including dragon, phoenix, tiger, crane, monkey, snake, and eagle. It also teaches some weapons. THAN VO DAO NOTES Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Kick takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require rolls. Special Abilities: Than Vo Dao masters are said to command at least two special abilities. The first is “iron body” (the same as the Iron Shirt power of Kung Fu). The second is “mind-fist,” the power to “place the mind on the fist” and detect an opponent’s energy so as to anticipate his attack (bought the same as the genshin ability of Karate masters).

THAN VO DAO Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Disable Joint Lock ½ 3 +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Kick ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Legsweep ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6; Target Falls Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Throw ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Than Vo Dao WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Polearms


hen people fall into danger, they are then able to strive

for victory.’ —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Vovinam Viet Vo Dao Vovinam Viet Vo Dao is a Vietnamese style developed in Hanoi in 1945 by Nguyen Loc. It combines striking and wrestling maneuvers to form a well-rounded combat style. Vovinam Viet Vo Dao practitioners wear a black uniform (Vo Phuc). Beginners wear a white belt; higherranking students wear a black belt with colored bands. A master of this style is known as a Vo Sinh. VOVINAM VIET VO DAO NOTES Optional Rules: The Dam, Cho, Chem, and Flying Kick take a 2d6+1 location roll. The Da takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The Goi takes a 2d6+7 Hit Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require rolls. Special Abilities: Similar to those displayed by Karate practitioners.

VOVINAM VIET VO DAO Maneuver Phs Pts Chem (sword-hand) ½ 4 Da (kicks)/Goi (knee strikes) ½ 5 Dam (fist blows)/Cho (elbow strike) ½ 4 Do (blocks) ½ 4 Flying Kick ½ 5 Grab ½ 3

OCV DCV Damage/Effect -2

+0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC)


+1 STR +4d6 Strike

+0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike +2 +2 Block, Abort +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on

Skills KS: Vovinam Viet Vo Dao WF: Common Melee Weapons Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Polearms

Weapons Combat This generically-named art represents European and Middle Eastern heavy weapons fighting styles from antiquity to the Renaissance. It’s the fighting art of the armored warrior, whether he be an eleventh-century knight, a third-century Roman centurion, a hoplite from Classical-era Greece, an Achaean juggernaut from the time of the Trojan War, or some fighter Gilgamesh slew. Of course, not all fantasy fighters have this martial art; it’s a skill possessed by very well-trained and experienced warriors, not common troops or inexperienced fighters. When buying Weapons Combat, the character chooses one weapon type (from the list of Weapons Elements provided below) with which he can use the maneuvers. That choice is free. Additional Weapons Elements, as usual, cost 1 point each.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

WEAPONS COMBAT Usable with one Weapon Group; that Weapon Element is free Maneuver All-Out Attack Charge

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 5 4 4

OCV +1 +0 +0

DCV -2 +2 -2

Defend Probe Resist

½ ½ ½

4 5 4

+2 +2 +1 +3 +0 +0




+0 +0

Damage/Effect Weapon +4 DC Strike Weapon +2 DC Strike Weapon +2 DC Strike +v/5, FMove Block, Abort Weapon Strike +15 STR to resist Shove; Block, Abort +15 STR to Shove

Skills WF: Common Melee Weapons (the character must know how to use any weapons for which he has taken the Weapons Element, below) WF: Staffs Elements Weapons

+1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1

Use Art with Axes/Maces/Picks Use Art with Blades Use Art with Clubs Use Art with Polearms Use Art with Shields Use Art with Staffs

WEAPONS COMBAT MANEUVERS The maneuvers work as follows: All-Out: An all-offense attack which sacrifices some of the character’s DCV to get a blow in. It does significantly more damage than a more routine attack. Attack: A straightforward weapons attack. It is simply an improve-

ment on a character’s normal, non-martial attack maneuver. Charge: This maneuver allows the character to make an attack at the end of a Full Move; it’s especially apt for spearmen. Defend: The standard Martial Block maneuver, useful for a wide variety of parries. Probe: A maneuver used by a character who’s still feeling out his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t allow the character to do as much damage as other maneuvers, but it gives him some additional DCV, appropriate to a cautious fighting approach. Resist: With this maneuver, a character can block incoming attacks; the maneuver has a standard Abort function. It also allows a character to root himself in place and resist Shove attacks. It’s especially appropriate for characters who play at being one-man shield-walls. Shove: With this maneuver, the character places his weapon up against his opponent and heaves his opponent backwards. It requires a Medium or Long weapon; characters cannot perform it with a Short weapon. There are no Bind, Disarm, or Dodge maneuvers in this art, since those maneuvers just don’t seem to belong to the heavy-weapons “feel” of Weapons Combat. Characters can always default to the basic Dodge and Disarm maneuver (and, in Fantasy Hero games, to the basic Bind maneuvers used in the fantasy genre). Fighters cannot use Flail weapons with the Weapons Elements. Weapons Combat is suited more for rigid weapons of all sorts. The GM should consider disallowing the use of the All-Out and Charge maneuvers in campaigns which steer away from high damage values (characters can still Push their Strength and use Move Throughs, after all). Optional Rules: When the character uses Short weapons, attack maneuvers take a 2d6+1 location roll. When the character is using Medium or Long weapons, attacks take a 3d6 location roll.

Whipfighting This is a style for fighters who use the whip in combat. Examples include several whipfighting styles from Indonesia and other cultures. Skilled whipfighters can use their weapon with pinpoint accuracy, snapping weapons out of hands and putting out eyes. Whipfighting cannot take the Style Distinctive Feature.

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WHIPFIGHTING Usable with Whip Weapons Group; Whip Weapon Element is free Maneuver Choke Disarm Slash Snap Trip

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND (2) ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll ½ 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike ½ 5 +1 +3 Weapon Strike ½ 3 +0 +1 Weapon Strike +v/5; Target Falls

Skills KS: Whipfighting WF: Whip*

WHIPFIGHTING NOTES Optional Rules: The Slash and Snap both take 3d6 Hit Location rolls; the Choke automatically targets the head/neck and the Trip the legs/feet, but neither maneuver receives bonuses or penalties because of that. Special Abilities: You can simulate a whip master’s ability to strike targets with pinpoint accuracy by buying Targeting Skill Levels.

Wrestling Wrestling, as a martial art, dates back into prehistory. In history, famous examples of wrestling arts include the wrestling practiced in Greece, China, and India from their earliest recorded histories. Wrestling continues as a popular collegiate and professional sport today. The package below includes several varieties of Wrestling practiced today, including modern, Greco-Roman, and Russian sambo.

WRESTLING Maneuver Choke

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Escape ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Hold ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on Reversal var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; Grab Slam ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Take Down ½ 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls Skills Breakfall KS: Wrestling

WRESTLING NOTES Optional Rules: None of the Wrestling maneuvers takes a location roll except for the Choke, which automatically Grabs the head but gets no penalties or bonuses because of this. Special Abilities: None.

SUBSTYLES OF WRESTLING Many different cultures all over the world have their own different forms of wrestling. Some of them include: Asura A type of Indian wrestling in which striking below the chest area is illegal, and the first fighter to fall to the ground loses the match. Bûno A Filipino wrestling form. Cireum This Korean form of wrestling (also spelled Ssi-reum) resembles Sumo Wrestling in some ways. Dumog Filipino wrestling in which a wrestler grasps his opponent’s belt and tries to throw him down. The loser’s back has to squarely touch the ground. Glimae A form of Icelandic wrestling which uses movements called “tricks.” Opponents grasp each others’ leather belts (climubelti) and try to throw each other to the ground. The first wrestler who touches the ground with any part of his body above the knees loses. Gulat Indonesian wrestling. Koshti A type of Iranian wrestling which takes place in the Zour Xaneh (“house of strength”). Mallayuddha A form of Indian wrestling. Naban Burmese wrestling. Okol An Indonesian form of wrestling from the island of Madura. Sambo Russian wrestling (also known as Sombo or Cambo). Opponents wear a short epauletted jacket (kurtka) tied with a blue or red belt. Armlocks, throws, pins, and other maneuvers are assigned points; to win, one wrestler has to have scored at least four more points than his opponent at the end of the match. Shuai-chiao Chinese wrestling, which dates back to the millennia before the birth of Christ. Tegumi Okinawan wrestling. Yaghliguresh A Turkish form of wrestling fought in a hall called a kirpinar.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Wrestling, Professional


o be the man, you

have to beat the man.’ —Ric Flair

Professional Wrestling, though it has only recently become a mania in the U.S., has been with us all through the twentieth century. The package below is for a pro wrestler who has real combat ability. Such a character would always pull his punches or do zero damage with attacks in the ring, relying on his Acting to make it look damaging, but could still use his art to good effect in situations outside the ring. At least one “style” of Professional Wrestling, Lucha Libre, which is popular in South and Central America, is performed full-contact, without any Acting. One good way to give this art some “color” is to create your own unusual names for the maneuvers. For example, the Fist Smash becomes an “Atomic Piledriver,” the Crush becomes the “Bulgarian Death-Lock,” and so forth. Players can elaborate on the maneuvers slightly, adding or subtracting an Element here or there, to create “signature” maneuvers for their Pro Wrestling characters.

PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Body Slam ½ 3 +2 +1 STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls Crush ½ 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush; Must Follow Grab Duck ½ 4 -- +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Fist/Forearm Smash ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Grab ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on Head-Bash ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Stomp ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Skills Acrobatics Acting Breakfall * Elements Weapons

Yu-Sool Yu-Sool (“soft art”) is a Korean martial art derived from some Chinese systems. It was most popular from the years 1000-1300 AD, and has since declined, though it is still taught by some masters. It concentrates on locks, throws, chokes, and other grappling techniques.

YU-SOOL Maneuver Choke Dodge Escape Kuchigi (grabs)

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb, 2d6 NND(2) ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs ½



-1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 to STR for holding on +1 2d6 NND (1)

Kuepso Chirigi (nerve strikes) ½ Mechigi (throws) ½






+0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls +0 +2 STR +2d6


Skills Breakfall KS: Yu Sool

YUSOOL NOTES Optional Rules: The Kuepso Chirigi and Strike take a 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Choke automatically targets the head but receives neither bonuses nor penalties for this. None of the rest of the maneuvers requires Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

+1 Use Art with Clubs (Fist/Forearm Smash Only)

PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING NOTES The “clubs” referred to under the Weapons Element usually includes stools, chairs, microphones, and other weapons of opportunity found around the ring. Optional Rules: The Fist Smash/Forearm Smash takes a 2d6+1 location roll. The Head-Bash is struck with the head, against the target’s head; it takes an automatic head location but does no extra damage because of the location. The Stomp takes an automatic Foot location if the target is standing (damage is not reduced because of location); if the target is prone, it takes a 3d6 location roll. None of the other maneuvers takes a location roll; they do generalized damage. Special Abilities: None.

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Zipota This Basque fighting art (whose name means “shoe”) resembles Savate in many respects. Its origins are obscure, but likely date back at least as far as those of Savate. Like Savate, it employs many kicks and jabbing punches; unlike the French style, it also incorporates leaping kicks, throws, and other energetic maneuvers. Zipota fighters often train in stickfighting as well. They use the makila (or malika), a 1.5 meter long stick with an iron cap on one end, used in sheepherding. The handle unscrews to reveal a long, sharp point.

ZIPOTA Maneuver Phs Block ½ Kick ½ Leaping Kick ½ Punch ½ Side Kick ½ Sweep ½ Throw


Pts 4 4 5 5 4 3 3

OCV +2 +0 -2 +1 +2 +2

DCV +2 +2 +1 +3 +0 -1

Damage/Effect Block, Abort STR +2d6 Strike STR +4d6 Strike STR Strike STR +2d6 Strike STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls

Skills KS: Zipota WF: Blades Elements Weapons

Koonomon Togip Baip: This is said to be a martial art or arts native to the Aborigines of Australia. Its maneuvers supposedly derive from the movements of native animals (kite hawks, kangaroos, emus, wedgetailed eagles, crocodiles, and the like), or from movements used in fishing and other tasks. Kuki-shin Ryu: A Ninjutsu-like “secret” fighting style said to have been practiced by ascetic Japanese monks. Kupigana Ngumi: A martial art developed in the late 1960s or early 1970s that supposedly synthesizes techniques from a number of African fighting traditions. Moi-saree: A Malaysian fighting art. Nabebutajutsu: The art of fighting with a saucepan lid. Pakchigi: A crude Korean style involving head-butting. Po Bok Sul: A Korean style using a rope to choke or bind an opponent; used by Korean palace guards since ancient times. Russian martial arts: In addition to sambo (see Wrestling), Russian martial arts include Systema, Buza, Kulachnoi Boya, Samoz, Skobar, Spas, and many others. Sebekkha: A martial art supposedly practiced in ancient Egypt (the name is said to mean “Crocodile Spirit”).

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Clubs

ZIPOTA NOTES Optional Rules: The Leaping Kick has a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll. The Kick, Punch, and Side Kick maneuvers all have 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers don’t require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Other Styles The following styles are ones the author came across while researching this book, but for which he lacked sufficient information to create a complete description. Players can do their own research or construct their own versions of these styles if they wish. Bandesh: An Indian style whose object is to allow an unarmed man to lock up an armed man’s weapon and then disarm him. Binot: An Indian style designed to allow an unarmed man to defend himself against an armed one or beasts. Cha-Yon Ryu: An eclectic modern art combining aspects of Hapkido, Karate, and Kung Fu. Cuong-Nhu: A Vietnamese style founded in 1965. The name means “hard-soft,” and the art blends “hard aspects taken from Karate, Wing Chun, and Boxing with “soft” elements from Jujutsu, Aikido, and Tai Ch’i Ch’uan. It also incorporates elements from Vovinam Viet Vo Dao. Daletai: An ancient Chinese martial art combining boxing and wrestling.

Ta Merrian: A martial art from Africa said to derive its maneuvers from totem animal movements and spirit dances. Tegasajutsu: The art of fighting with an umbrella. Thanh Long: A Vietnamese style whose name means “School of the Green Dragon.” Vietnamese schools: The following are mentioned in Louis Frederic’s Dictionary of the Martial Arts as “schools” of Vietnamese martial arts; they may be distinct styles or substyles of other styles: Doc Nhan (“one-eyed” school); Hac Ho (“black tiger” school); Kime Ke (“yellow cockrel” school); Son Lam (“from the mountain and from the forest” school); Tay-son Nhan (“mountain phoenix” school).


The Ultimate Martial Artist



his section details several completely fictional martial arts styles. Characters in the movies, comics, and other source material often study styles bearing no resemblance to “real-world” styles. They also display special abilities exceeding those demonstrated by even the most accomplished real-world martial arts masters. The styles in this section allow HERO System gamers to simulate this sort of thing. If you don’t find any styles in this section suitable the character you have in mind, use these styles as “models” to help you develop one of your own.

Brick Tricks This martial arts package represents a few combat moves commonly used by “bricks” (i.e., characters whose primary abilities involve greater than normal strength and resistance to damage). The maneuvers rely on brawn and resilience, not finesse and speed as with most styles. BRICK TRICKS NOTES The “Bearhug II” simply involves grabbing the target around the middle (pinning his arms in the process) and

squeezing him hard enough to keep him from breathing, but not hard enough to permanently injure him. The defense is not needing to breathe, or somehow being “immune” to such squeezing (for example, because the character is wearing heavy armor). Optional Rules: The Punch takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll; the other maneuvers do not require location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

BRICK TRICKS Maneuver Bearhug I

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +0 +0 STR +4d6 Crush, Must Follow Grab Bearhug II ½ 5 -2 +0 Grab Two Limbs, 2d6 NND Grab ½ 4 +0 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Punch ½ 4 +2 +0 STR +2d6 Strike Slam ½ 4 -1 -1 STR +2d6 Strike; Grab Two Limbs; Target Falls Toughness ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort

Dancing Spider The Dancing Spider style (Butõkumojutsu), developed centuries ago by certain Japanese tribes, is easily recognized — practitioners fight low to the ground, usually on all fours. Its techniques include various sweeps, grabs, and blows which strike upward into vulnerable points (such as handstandkicks). Many fighters find it difficult to defend against this style, since they aren’t accustomed to assaults from below. Some scholars have theorized that the Dancing Spider style was developed partly for use in situations where the footing was bad (i.e., on ships or muddy ground), and partly for use by a short people whose enemies were taller and stronger. Some researchers have also made some intriguing connections between the Dancing Spider fighting art, Harimau Silat, and the worship of the Melanesian spider-god Marawa (who according to myth was responsible for making humans mortal). DANCING SPIDER NOTES Optional Rules: The Dread Blow of Tsuji Kenichi automatically targets the vitals, but receives neither bonuses nor penalties for this. Ikeda’s Surprising Kick, a blow delivered while the attacker stands on his hands, takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll (or

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2d6+7 if fighting an opponent who is also standing on his hands). The Spinning Fist Technique takes a 2d6+7 roll. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls, either because they target specific areas (the leg region) or because they do not involve Attack Rolls. Special Abilities: 1) Leaping: All Dancing Spider stylists must buy at least +3” of Leaping. Extra inches of Running are also recommended. 2) Climbing: Some Dancing Spider masters are such skilled climbers that they can move up the sides of walls with astounding speed and ease. Characters can buy this as Clinging which Requires A Climbing Roll (-½). 3) Delightful Web techniques (Yorokobashii Orimono Jutsu): This term describes the special weapons techniques which Dancing Spider practitioners have developed for chain and rope weapons. The

DANCING SPIDER Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Dread Blow of Tsuji Kenichi ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike The Essential Maneuver Shiomi Emiko ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Ikeda’s Surprising Kick ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Shinozaki’s Felling Blow ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Snatching Spider Maneuver ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Spinning Fist Technique ½ 5 +1 +3 STR Strike Tirayaki’s Human Web ½ 5 +1 +1 Grab Two Limbs; STR Strike; You Fall, Target Falls Skills Acrobatics* Climbing* Contortionist KS: Dancing Spider Style WF: Chain & Rope Weapons* Elements Weapons*

+1Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons


basic technique involves rapidly tying up the opponent with skillful application of the chain or rope, then attacking him with the weapon attached to the chain (if any) or the fists. Delightful Web Techniques: Entangle 5d6, 5 DEF, Takes No Damage From Attack (only applies to character’s attacks; +¼) (62 Active Points); OIF (any chain or rope weapon of opportunity; -½), Requires A DEX Roll (-½), No Range (-½). Total cost: 25 points. Players can develop other Delightful Web maneuvers for their own use.

Drunken Clown Kung Fu Despite its comical name, this martial arts style is a serious one — a fact many overconfident fighters have learned too late. Traveling actors, performers, and acrobats who needed a way to defend themselves from bandits developed it centuries ago by modifying their acrobatic skills into a form of fighting art. The Drunken Clown style emphasizes acrobatic flips and many other unusual techniques, making its practitioners frustratingly unpredictable opponents. It also uses the general “Drunken Style” techniques of Kung Fu; refer to the description of Kung Fu, above, for more details. DRUNKEN CLOWN KUNG FU NOTES The “Clubs” used with this style include a large variety of acting and juggling props. Optional Rules: The Choke and Flying Choke both target the head/neck region automatically and receive neither bonuses nor penalties for so doing. The Passing Strike and Defensive Fast Strike take a 3d6 Hit Location roll. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls.


Special Abilities: None.

hen an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage;

when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.’ — Zen Saying


The Ultimate Martial Artist


Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2)

Defensive Fast Strike Defensive Disarm



+2 +1 STR +2d6 Strike




Defensive Grab







Flying Choke ½


Flying Dodge ½


Flying Grab ½


Grappling Throw



Passing Strike Reversal

½ 5 var 4

+2 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll

+0 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort -2 -1 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(2); FMove — +4 Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove -2 -2 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on; FMove +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike; Target Falls, Must Follow Grab +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape; Grab Two Limbs

Skills Acrobatics* Breakfall* Contortionist PS: Clown (or Magician, Juggler, and so forth, as appropriate) Sleight Of Hand Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Clubs

Ghost Eye Techniques The Ghost Eye (Yõulíng Yãnjing) is not a style per se, with its own maneuvers and martial techniques, but a type of martial training emphasizing perception and observation. It derives from two principles: first, how one strikes a target is not as important as where one strikes; second, any attack one can sense, one can stop. Students of the Ghost Eye usually develop these Talents and Powers: Clairsentience (Sight Group, possibly including Precognition)

If a character has all these abilities, it becomes almost impossible to blind him. Before a GM allows a character to buy them, he should make sure they won’t unbalance the game. According to legend, the Ghost Eye is taught at a large monastery far to the west of China (possibly in Tibet). Its practitioners can be recognized by their unique hand-signal (holding the hands in front of the chest with fingers steepled, to create a stylized “eye”).

Ghost Palm Techniques The Ghost Palm (Yõulíng Shão) techniques were developed by the wizard Song Kuang. Song Kuang was once an evil man, but after the near-death of his beloved daughter due to his own wickedness, he reformed and went into seclusion to meditate and dedicate himself to the ways of truth and virtue. After years of study, he learned a blow called the Ghost Palm of Song Kuang, which allowed him to strike ghosts, demons, and other intangible monsters. In later years, he and his disciples developed an entire portfolio of abilities to help them destroy evil Oriental monsters of all sorts. Thus, like the Ghost Eye “school,” the Ghost Palm is actually a collection of abilities and skills, not a fighting style. These abilities help the practitioner destroy evil creatures such as devils, vampires, malevolent spirits, and evil dragons. The main Powers and Skills taught to Ghost Palm students include: The Ghost Palm of Song Kuang (an HA or HKA which Affects Desolidified) The Spirit Lock of Xian Lao Yu (Affects Desolidified for a Martial Grab; see page 104) Healing: Ghost Palm practitioners can heal the victims of Oriental monsters by giving the victim some of their own life force: Healing 4d6 (40 Active Points); Only Works On Others (-1), Only Heals Damage From Oriental Monsters’ Magical Attacks (-1½), Character Takes 1 BODY Damage Per BODY Healed And 1 STUN Per 2 STUN Healed (-1). Total cost: 9 points Detect Oriental Monsters, Targeting Sense (can also be bought as a bonus to Danger Sense withthe -1 Limitation Only Applies To Dangers From Oriental Monsters) Find Weakness; Only Works On Oriental Monsters (-1) Mental Defense (up to 10 points)

Combat Sense

Power Defense (up to 10 points)

Danger Sense, out of combat, any attack, general area

KS: Oriental Monsters

Find Weakness Flash Defense Mental Defense; Only Protects Against Mental Illusions (-1½) Power Defense; Only Protects Against Draining/ Suppression Of Perception Powers (-1½) Spatial Awareness, 360 Degrees (a Zen-like awareness of one’s surroundings)

Over the centuries, as man has become more technologically oriented, the number of Oriental monsters has decreased greatly, and consequently so has the number of Ghost Palm practitioners. There are few (if any) masters of the Ghost Palm techniques left alive; perhaps one of the PCs could “revive” this style. Ghost Palm stylists have a distinctive hand-signal which they use to identify themselves: open hands crossed, palms together, in front of the chest.

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Golden Demon Kung Fu A quick, vicious style of Kung Fu, designed to eliminate an opponent as swiftly as possible, Golden Demon (Liújĩng Ch’uan) supposedly originated deep in the Himalayas. Legends whisper of a Golden Demon Temple where assassins and brutal fighters go to train (hence the art’s other name, Xiõngshŏu Ch’uan, “assassin’s fist”). Evil wizards also often learn the Golden Demon style, because they can use the feared “Demon’s Claws,” enchanted items of great power, with it.

GOLDEN DEMON KUNG FU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Demonic Touch of Ba Yixiao ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) The Diabolic Strike of Chang Kien ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike The Gilded Hand of Lu Sing Hao ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Lo Kung’s Demon Claw ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Shield of the Seven Demons ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Skills As Kung Fu package Elements As Kung Fu package Weapons +1 Use Art with Demon’s Claws

67 GOLDEN DEMON KUNG FU NOTES “Demon’s Claws” (Zhão Jĩng), a rare Oriental magical item, are made from the hands and claws of a demon. A pair of Claws’ level of power (i.e., its HKA DCs) depends on the sorcery invested in them by their creator; some pairs are extremely deadly even in the hands of the untrained. Optional Rules: The Gilded Hand of Lu Sing Hao, the Demonic Touch of Ba Yixiao, and Lo Kung’s Demon Claw all take a 2d6+1 location roll; the Diabolic Strike of Chang Kien takes a 3d6 roll. Special Abilities: The same as those for the Kung Fu package. Additionally, some masters of this style reputedly have the power to summon demons; they sell their souls to some patron demon lord to gain this power. A few masters possess other demonic powers, such as the ability to rapidly heal damage (Healing Regeneration), virtual immunity to damage from fire (Damage Reduction, Only Works Versus Fire (-½)), the power to create illusions (Images), and the ability to change their shape (Multiform or Shape Shift).

The Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters Legend has it this style was taught to a group of Buddhist nuns on a pilgrimage through the mountains. One night, as they sat around their campfire, the ghosts of seven sisters visited them. The spirits claimed they and their family were slain by a group of evil bandits. The bandits still plagued the area, and would surely attack the nuns if they found them. The ghosts offered to teach the nuns secret fighting techniques if the nuns would find the outlaw band and destroy it. After a long debate, the nuns agreed to the sisters’ proposal. They entered the spirit world and began training under the tutelage of the sisters. They returned to our world after almost a year of study, only to find dawn barely breaking after the night they first met the sisters! To fulfill their promise, the nuns tracked down the bandit gang and destroyed it, making the area safe for years to come. They completed their pilgrimage and then set out into the wilderness, where they founded a temple. From time to time a student finds his (or her) way to this unnamed temple and undertakes the study of the nuns’ secret fighting style, the Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters. Still, it remains one of the rarest styles in the world today; some scholars believe only two dozen people (at most) know this style. THE PATHS OF THE SEVEN GHOST SISTERS NOTES Optional Rules: The Paths of Qing and Peihsi both take a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll. The Path of Jihong, a type of kick, takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls.


The Ultimate Martial Artist Special Abilities: Each of the Ghost Sisters taught a different special ability to the nuns, who have in turn passed knowledge of those powers on to deserving students. They are:

Flash Defense; +1); Incantations (-¼)).

1) Haixia: the Beneficent Vision of Sister Haixia, the ability to see spirits and ghosts (Detect Ghosts)

7) Xiulan: Sister Xiulan’s Stance of Stone (Clinging (STR +20), Only To Resist Throws (-1)).

2) Hseuh: Sister Hseuh’s Warrior’s Eye, the ability to detect danger of all sorts (Danger Sense, out of combat, all attacks)

Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu

3) Jihong: the Devastating Kick of Sister Jihong (the Double Knockback Advantage (see page 104) for the Path of Jihong, or an HA with Double Knockback) 4) Min: the Curtain of Air, an advanced ability to dodge attacks (Desolidification [affected by magical attacks or any maneuver specifically designed to overcome this ability], Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Only To Protect Against Martial Arts Attacks (-1), Requires A DEX Roll (-½). Total cost: 32 points). 5) Peihsi: Sister Peihsi’s Lovely Song (Hearing Group Flash Attack 4d6 plus EB 2d6, NND (defense is being deaf or having Hearing Group

THE PATHS OF THE SEVEN GHOST SISTERS Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Path of Haixia ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort The Path of Hseuh ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls The Path of Jihong ½ 5 -1 +0 STR +4d6 Strike The Path of Min ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort The Path of Peihsi ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) The Path of Qing ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike The Path of Xiulan ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Buddhism KS: Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters Stealth WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons WF: Hook Sword WF: Off Hand WF: Wind and Fire Wheels Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Hook Sword +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff +1 Use Art with Wind and Fire Wheels

6) Qing: Sister Qing’s All-Seeing Fist, the ability to strike before your foe can attack (Fast Draw and/or Lightning Reflexes).

The Recorder of Things Strange has written: In the time of the Emperor Chen, an old man dressed in the robes of a monk walked down out of the hills and came to the gates of the palace. There he spoke to the guards who stood watch at the gate: “I seek an audience with the Emperor,” he said calmly, as if he did not understand the enormity of the request. “You?” the guards asked scornfully. “Why should we admit such a decrepit old man as you to see the Emperor, who has all the cares of state before him?” “Because I ask you to,” said the old man politely. “If the Emperor is a truly wise ruler, he will see me.” With that, the guards burst into laughter. “Be off with you, old man!” they said angrily. The old man left and returned to the hills. And so it happened for many days. Each day the old man approached the guards, and each day he was rudely rebuffed. Finally, after two weeks, one of the guards brandished his halberd at the old man, thinking to scare him off for good. At this, the old man made a gesture which seemed casual and slow — but before anyone realized what was happening, the guard lay unconscious on the ground! As the old man threw the guard’s halberd to the side, the other guard sounded the alarm. Soon more than a dozen soldiers arrived to take on one harmless-looking old man. But the captain of the guard was wiser than his men. He saw that the old man was not a threat, so he called off the alarm and personally escorted the old man to a luxurious waiting room. Then he informed the Emperor of what had taken place. Now the Emperor Chen was, like his captain, a man of wisdom. He immediately granted the old man the audience he had sought for so long. The old man made obeisance before the Emperor, and when his turn came to speak he said, “Your Highness, I come to you bearing both a message and a gift. The message is this: the gods are well-pleased with your rulership and your treatment of the people, and they wish to reward you. Their reward, and my gift, is my service to you and your family for as long as you shall require it.” “And what are these services, Sanctified Grandfather?” the Emperor asked, recognizing the holiness of the man. “Although I am not so foolish as to call myself wise, in my time I have experienced many things. I will teach what I know to you and your family. However, in return for my services to you, the gods demand three things. First, you must build a great temple, greater than any in the land, here in your

Hero Games capital. Second, you yourself must make the first offering each morning at the temple. And third, you, your family, and all of your retainers must at once cease the sport of hunting the red deer that run in the forests of your kingdom.” Now the Emperor Chen fancied himself a good judge of character. He could sense no malice in this old holy man — and from what the captain of the guard said, the old man had much to teach. “Agreed!” the Emperor said, and immediately arranged quarters for the old man. Work on the temple began the next day. The old man taught the Emperor and his family of the ways of the Tao and many other wondrous things. From him they learned a style of boxing surpassing all other styles, which the old man said was “a gift from the resplendent dragons of the gods.” And so the Emperor’s family began to call it the Resplendent Dragon style. This course of instruction continued for over a year, and several of the Emperor’s sons and daughters became proficient in the ways of the Resplendent Dragon. However, the middle son, Tsen, chafed under the restrictions his father had imposed on the family at the request of the Sanctified Elder. Tsen was a great hunter who loved nothing more than the thrill of the chase. The teachings and martial wisdom of the old man were for him a poor substitute for the hunt. After more than a year had passed, he could bear it no longer. He convinced himself the Sanctified Elder’s warnings were just the foolish prattlings of an old man gone senile. Tsen gathered his men and his hunting weapons and rode to the forest. His servants glanced at him fearfully, and tried to dissuade him, but Tsen ignored their warnings, too. Before half a day was over, he had chased down and shot two of the red deer. He gathered his quarry and rode triumphantly back to his father’s palace. When the Emperor saw the two dead deer, he cursed his son and ran to find the old man and beg his


RESPLENDENT DRAGON KUNG FU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Dragon’s Claw ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) Dragon’s Tail Brushes The Ground ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls The Fist of the Scarlet Dragon ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike The Golden Dragon Strike ½ 5 +1 +3 STR Strike Hsu Pao’s Twisting Reversal ½ 3 +0 +1 STR + v/5; Target Falls The Moon Dragon’s Shining Scales ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort The Sublime Avoidance ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Swooping Dragon Maneuver ½ 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Dragon Staff Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Dragon’s-Beard Hook +1 Use Art with Dragon Staff +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff

forgiveness. He looked everywhere, but the old man was nowhere to be found. Eventually one of the palace guards reported seeing the old man leaving the city. That was the last time the Emperor or any of his servants ever saw the old man, for search the hills as they might, they never found any trace of him. All that remained of him was the knowledge he had imparted. In years to come the Emperor’s sons used the Resplendent Dragon style to win many victories and expand the size of their father’s kingdom, but they never met the old man again. Although the Emperor’s family was fated never to find the Sanctified Elder, they were not the only ones who looked. Over the course of centuries many young men, inspired by this story, went in search of the Elder and the martial knowledge that he could bestow. Only the most worthy every found their way through the hills to the Temple of the Dragon where the Elder dwells. Whether the Elder is but one man with a lifespan of millennia, or many men who in turn dole out the teachings of the Resplendent Dragon to the deserving, no one can say. The powerful and graceful Resplendent Dragon style of Kung Fu (Cànlànde Lóng Ch’uan) is


The Ultimate Martial Artist thus an art rarely seen. It is taught in only one place, the mysterious Temple of the Dragon, by only one man, the Sanctified Elder. Legends say only one who is truly brave and truly wise can find the Temple and enter therein to train. Some scholars claim the temple Emperor Chen built, which still stands in Beijing, contains clues to the location of the Temple of the Dragon in it somewhere. The Resplendent Dragon style teaches one unique weapon, the Dragon Staff. This is a normal staff with a stylized dragon’s claw on either end. The wielder can either use it as a normal staff, or can do HKA ½d6 with its claws. Extremely proficient warriors can attack twice in one round with the staff, once with each end. RESPLENDENT DRAGON KUNG FU NOTES Optional Rules: The Fist of the Scarlet Dragon and the Swooping Dragon Maneuver both take a location roll of 2d6+1; the Golden Dragon Strike (which represents various kicks and punches) takes a 3d6 location roll. Special Abilities: In addition to any of the special abilities that Kung Fu practitioners can take, masters of the Resplendent Dragon style sometimes display one unique ability: the Dragon’s Flame. Some Resplendent Dragon masters have discovered a way to focus their ch’i and cause their fists to burst into mystic flame (huöshé lóng, “the Dragon’s Flame”). This flame allows them to strike opponents with devastating force. A few masters believe other Dragon’s Flame powers are possible, and await the arrival of a truly gifted warrior to discover them. Cost Power END 22 The Dragon’s Flame: Multipower, 67point reserve, Requires An EGO Roll (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1½) 2u 1) HA +12d6; Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), Requires An EGO Roll (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1½) 24 2u 2) HKA 3d6 (plus STR), Penetrating (+½); Requires An EGO Roll (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1½) 28

Silken Blade Kung Fu This northern form of internal Kung Fu, of uncertain origin, is well-known for its kicks, including the spectacular Meteor Kick, and for its other powerful fighting maneuvers. Silken Blade possesses a combat orientation that seems out of place with the internal disciplines at its heart. However, when one considers that Silken Blade masters only teach students with at least two decades of experience in other internal styles, one realizes the fighting power displayed by a Silken Blade practitioner simply represents his total control over his own ch’i. SILKEN BLADE KUNG FU NOTES Optional Rules: The Meteor Kick, Pheasant Kick, Silken Hand Strike, and Master Peng’s Silken Fist all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. Leopard Paws At

The Ground automatically targets the leg region, but receives neither bonuses nor penalties because of this. None of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: In addition to those abilities displayed by other Kung Fu masters (see above), Silken Blade masters possess a unique ability, the one after which their style is named. Using a simple piece of cloth as a focus, they can project their ch’i and turn the cloth into a deadly weapon! Silk seems to work best for this ability, but any type of cloth will do. The most common types of clothing used are the following: Sash/Belt: HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Armor Piercing (+½) (22 Active Points); OIF (any appropriate piece of cloth of opportunity; -½). Total cost: 15 points. Robe: HKA 1d6 (plus STR) (15 Active Points); OIF (any appropriate robe of opportunity, -½) (total cost: 10 points) plus Armor (3 PD/3 ED) (9 Active Points); OIF (any appropriate piece of cloth of opportunity; -½) (total cost: 6 points). Total cost: 16 points. Glove: HA +4d6 (20 Active Points); Hand-ToHand Attack (-½), OIF (any appropriate glove of opportunity; -½). Total cost: 10 points.

SILKEN BLADE KUNG FU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Celestial Dragon Reaches For The Moon ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Clouds Cross The Sky ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Crane Defeats Serpent var 4 -1 -2 STR +15 to Escape, Grab Two Limbs Crystal Wave Breaks On The Shore ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort Leopard Paws At The Ground ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls Master Peng’s Silken Fist ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Meteor Kick ½ 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Monkey Falls From Tree ½ 3 +0 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Pheasant Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike Silken Hand Strike ½ 4 +0 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC), Must Follow Block Skills Acrobatics Breakfall Contortionist KS: Chinese Philosophy KS: Silken Blade Kung Fu WF: As Kung Fu package Elements As Kung Fu package

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Speedster Martial Arts This package of martial arts maneuvers represents combat abilities displayed by characters able to move at high velocities — comic book “speedsters,” bird-men in fantasy campaigns, and the like. Naturally, most of the maneuvers incorporate the Full Move Element. The Flying Grab maneuver allows the speedster to run up to someone and grab him. The Flying Throw maneuver allows the speedster to grab someone and then throw him, using the speedster’s own velocity to increase the damage (visually, the speedster may pick up the target, carry him at high speed, and then let him go so he smashes into a wall and takes damage, or he may run past him and hit him with a sort of takedown maneuver using the character’s own velocity to augment the blow). The Passing Disarm involves running past the target and snatching something out of his hand. The Passing Throw maneuver allows the speedster to “intercept” another moving character and trip or throw him, so that the target’s own velocity works against him. The Rapid Punch involves hitting the target several times in the space of a second (while this could be bought as an Autofire HA, it can also be simulated with one high-damage attack). With both the Flying and Passing Throws, remember that the v/5 Element relies on relative velocity; see page 97.

SPEEDSTER MARTIAL ARTS Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Flying Dodge ½ 5 — +4 Dodge All Attacks, Abort; FMove Flying Grab ½ 5 -2 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on; FMove Flying Throw ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab Two Limbs; STR +v/5; Target Falls; FMove Passing Disarm ½ 5 -1 -1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll; FMove Passing Strike ½ 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Passing Throw ½ 5 +0 +0 STR +v/5; Target Falls; FMove Rapid Punch ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike


SPEEDSTER MARTIAL ARTS NOTES Optional Rules: The Passing Strike and Rapid Punch both take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers do not use Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

Splendid Fist This style, known simply as Genkotsujutsu (“fist art”) in Japanese, is a warrior’s style. Developed during Japan’s feudal era by Shibata Eiji, a samurai of some renown, it’s a brutal and practical fighting style

SPLENDID FIST Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Darting Fish Maneuver ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort The First Fist of Shibata Eiji ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike The Reliable Shield of Okano Akira ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Roundhouse Kick ½ 5 +1 -2 STR +4d6 Strike The Second Fist of Shibata Eiji ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike Spearhand Technique ½ 4 -2 +0 HKA ½d6 (2 DC) The Strike of Initial Defeat ½ 3 +2 -1 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls The Warrior’s Smile Technique ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Skills KS: Splendid Fist Style WF: Common Melee Weapons* WF: Common Martial Arts Weapons* WF: Common Missile Weapons* Weaponsmith Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Clubs +1 Use Art with Fist-Loads +1 Use Art with Karate Weapons +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff


The Ultimate Martial Artist in which the practitioner’s only goal is to defeat his foe by any honorable means possible. Even today it is a fierce and sometimes deadly combat art. The Splendid Fist style emphasizes hand and fist attacks over kicks. Masters claim hand attacks are quicker, more easily controlled, and easier to use. Students must also learn a wide variety of weapons techniques. SPLENDID FIST NOTES Optional Rules: The First and Second Fists of Shibata Eiji and the Spearhand Technique take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Roundhouse Kick takes a

3d6 location roll. The Strike of Initial Defeat automatically targets the leg region, and receives neither bonuses nor penalties for so doing. Special Abilities: The greatest Splendid Fist practitioners possess a power called the Invincible Fist. By channelling their ki into their fists, Splendid Fist masters can deliver blows of tremendous power. Legends say Shibata Eiji commanded an Invincible Fist so powerful he could smash down castle walls with it. Whether this is true, it is a recorded fact that fighters who possess this ability are capable of delivering fist-strikes powerful enough to defeat the toughest foe. The Invincible Fist: HA +15d6 (75 Active Points); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), Concentration (½ DCV; -¼), Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1½). Total cost: 23 points.

Takijutsu Takijutsu (“waterfall art”) is a Japanese fighting style emphasizing “internal” disciplines and forms of combat. Some fighters refer to it as “Japanese Tai Ch’i,” and this observation is not far wrong. The style’s name derives from an ancient Oriental saying about water, which yields before all force and yet wears away the hard, unyielding rocks. Takijutsu was developed in the nineteenth century by Morioka Kenichi, a Japanese diplomat who served his emperor by working in China and took the opportunity to study Chinese martial arts. After his retirement he returned to Japan where he studied Jujutsu and the newly-created Judo. By combining aspects of them with aspects of the Chinese internal arts he had studied, Morioka created a style which utilizes gentleness and non-resistance in the face of aggression. The Takijutsu practitioner lets an attacker defeat himself by taking aggressive action, thus putting him at a disadvantage, which the takijutsuka exploits to end the fight quickly and as painlessly as possible. Most practitioners of Takijutsu are Shintoists. TAKIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Touch of Tsukiyomi takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll; none of the other maneuvers require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: In addition to the special abilities possessed by Tai Ch’i Ch’uan masters (see above), Takijutsu masters know a set of special abilities all their own. First, the most devout often can converse with kami (spirits), and, in some cases, call on them for assistance in times of need. Second, many of them can call forth “divine light” (kamihikari), a sort of glow that surrounds their person and blinds anyone who gets within hand-to-hand fighting range (Sight Group Flash Attack Damage Shield). Third, according to legend some masters have the power to transform themselves into water, but no living master has substantiated this.

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TAKIJUTSU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Fortress Hand of Sohda Hiroshi ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort The Gentle Grasp of Master Shiokawa ½ 4 +0 +0 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on Hayata Setsuko’s Hand of Passage ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR to Shove The Response of the Stream ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort The Touch of Tsukiyomi ½ 5 +0 +1 2d6 NND(1) The Waterfall Throw of Sakai Akemi ½ 4 +1 +1 STR +v/5; Target Falls Skills Acrobatics Breakfall KS: Shintoism KS: Takijutsu

Thunder Dragon Kung Fu This fighting style originated in Bhutan, “land of the thunder dragon,” hence its name. Legend has it a Buddhist monk named Jigme developed it after observing a crane struggling to capture a large fish. He taught the art to his fellow monks, one of whom took it to Thailand and China when he traveled there as a missionary. He integrated elements of Muay Thai and northern Kung Fu styles into the art to create a more well-rounded fighting style. Thunder Dragon Kung Fu (Léilóng Ch’uan) relies on kicks as its principle attack form, keeping the arms and hands in reserve to block or grab. Most of its movements are circular, in imitation of the sinuous body of the thunder dragon, giving its strikes great power. Thunder Dragon practitioners are also known for their ability to withstand blows that would knock other fighters unconscious.

THUNDER DRAGON KUNG FU Maneuver Block Crescent Kick

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½




Knee Strike ½ Legsweep ½

5 4


Roundhouse Kick/ Axe Kick ½ 5 Snap Kick/Punch/ Elbow Strike ½ 4


+1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll +0 -1 Grab One Limb, +10 STR for holding on +2 +1 STR +2d6 Strike +2 +0 STR +1d6 Strike; Target Falls -2

+1 STR +4d6 Strike

+0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike

Skills As Kung Fu package KS: Thunder Dragon Kung Fu WF: As Kung Fu package Elements As Kung Fu package

THUNDER DRAGON KUNG FU NOTES Optional Rules: The Roundhouse Kick and Snap Kick take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The Punch/Elbow Strike and Axe Kick take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls; the Knee Strike takes a 2d6+7 roll. The other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: In addition to the special abilities available to Kung Fu and Thai Kick-Boxing practitioners, Thunder Dragon masters may also know the following powers: 1) Thunder-Kick: A kick accompanied by a loud burst of sound that deafens and stuns the target: Thunder-Kick: Hearing Group Flash 4d6, Trigger (when character uses Roundhouse Kick, takes no time, immediately automatically resets; +1) (24 Active Points); Linked (-1/2) (total cost: 16 points) plus Energy Blast 2d6, NND (defense is being deaf or having Hearing Group Flash Defense; +1), Trigger (when character uses Roundhouse Kick, takes no time, immediately automatically resets; +1) (total cost: 30 points). Total cost: 46 points. 2) Water-walking: By carefully focusing their ch’i, Thunder Dragon practitioners can walk upon water. They buy this as Flight 5” (10 Active Points); Only Works In Contact With Water (-1½), Concentration (0 DCV; -½). Total cost: 3 points. 3) Weather control: The ability to manipulate the weather. Characters buy this as a form of Change Environment, and may also buy related powers (such as an EB reflecting the power to call down lightning bolts to smite one’s foes).

Zen Riflery This fighting style is best referred to as “the art of the gun.” Its tongue-in-cheek name is a joking reference to Kyujutsu/Kyudo (“Zen archery”). Some practitioners call it Gun Fu or Woojutsu. It’s a modern-day refinement on several more or less extinct Japanese arts, including Jukenjutsu (the art of the bayonet), Hojutsu (the art of the arquebus), and Kajutsu (the art of firearms and explosives, also known as Kayakujutsu and Teppojutsu). Zen Riflery cannot take the Style Distinctive Feature. ZEN RIFLERY NOTES The “Club” referred to above is the gun itself, used as a hand-to-hand weapon. In some cases this can damage the gun. Practitioners can also learn special techniques for using the bayonet on a rifle (they may also study true Jukenjutsu if they wish; see page 32). Optional Rules: The Smash/Thrust takes a 2d6+1 Hit Location roll. All other offensive maneuvers take a 3d6 Hit Location roll. Special Abilities: Gun Fu practitioners have developed a wide variety of abilities to simulate their skill with firearms. They include: 1) Deadly Accuracy: The character has such good aim


o not seek to

follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.’ —Basho


The Ultimate Martial Artist that almost every shot is an instant kill. The character’s accuracy is simulated not with extra OCV, but with extra damage, signifying his ability to hit vital areas with every shot. RKA +2d6, adds to any firearm (30 Active Points); OIF (any firearm; -½), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-¼), No KB (-¼). Total cost: 15 points. 2) Mowing ‘Em Down: The character is skilled with Autofire attacks, able to cut down numerous foes without suffering CV penalties. Area of Effect (Radius, Selective) for up to RKA 4d6, adds to any Autofire firearm (75 Active Points); OIF (any Autofire firearm; -½), Must Use Maximum Number Of Autofire Shots, Can Only Hit One Target Per Shot (-¼), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Anti-Targeting Levels (-¼). Total cost: 37 points. 3) Corridor of Death: The character can use an Autofire attack to fill a hall, corridor, or similar confined space with a hail of lead. Area of Effect (Line, x2 length) for up to RKA 4d6, adds to any Autofire firearm (75 Active Points); OIF (any Autofire firearm; -½), Must Use Maximum Number Of Autofire Shots, Can Only Hit One Target Per Shot (-¼), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-¼). Total cost: 37 points. 4) Machine Gunner From Hell: The character is extremely accurate when using Autofire attacks against a single foe. +4 OCV with Autofire Firearms (20 Active Points); Only Apply When Uses Autofire Against A Single Target (-¼), Must Use Maximum Number Of Autofire Shots (-¼), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-¼). Total cost: 11 points. 5) Quick Fire: The character can attack in a manner like the Rapid Fire maneuver, but he’s so nimble he suffers no DCV penalties when doing so. On the other hand, he suffers the usual penalties associated with Autofire if he does not buy Skills such as Accurate Sprayfire and Concentrated Sprayfire. Autofire (up to 5 shots) for up to RKA 4d6 firearms (30 Active Points); OIF (any firearm; -½), Does Not Work With Hit Location Chart Or Targeting Skill Levels (-¼). Total cost: 17 points.

ZEN RIFLERY Used with Clubs Group; Weapon Element Clubs is free Maneuver Block Dodge Smash/ Thrust Takeway

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort ½ ½

4 5

+0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike +0 +0 Grab Weapon, +10 STR to take weapon away

Used with Pistols Weapons Group; Pistols Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV RNG Damage/Effect Accurate Shot ½ 4 +2 -2 +2 Weapon Strike Basic Shot ½ 4 +0 +0 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike Defensive Shot ½ 3 -1 +2 +0 Weapon Strike Distance Shot ½ 5 +0 -2 +6 Weapon Strike, +1 Segment Diving Shot ½ 3 +0 +2 +1 Weapon Strike, Half Move Required, You Fall Far Shot ½ 5 +1 -1 +4 Weapon Strike Leg Shot ½ 3 +0 -1 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike, Throw Offensive Shot ½ 4 -1 -1 +0 Weapon +4 DC Strike Quick Shot ½ 4 +1 +0 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike Ranged Disarm ½ 4 +0 +0 +0 Disarm, +15 STR to roll Trained Shot ½ 4 +2 +0 +0 Weapon Strike Skills Combat Skill Levels Demolitions* KS: Gun Accessories KS: Zen Riflery Missile Deflection (dodging bullets) PS: Gunsmith PS: Create Ammunition TF: Parachuting WF: Pole Arms (for Bayonet) WF: Small Arms* WF: other modern weapons Weaponsmith Elements Weapons Barehanded

+1 Use Art with Bayonet +1 Use Takeaway maneuver

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ne of the most frequently encountered villains in just about any movie, comic book, or action novel these days is the ninja — the elusive assassin-spy of feudal Japan. Ninja clans and individual ninjas are particularly popular in martial arts-based comics, but they’re used as villains in many other stories as well. Even characters who aren’t “true” or “pure” ninja have often received “ninja training” of some sort. Most works of fiction portray ninja as serious enemies with skills so advanced they present a credible threat to the most skilled PCs. With the addition of some unusual, or mystic, abilities, they can even go head-to-head with superpowered humans. A few authors have made fun of this trend and shown that the ninja have humor value, too — sometimes Our Hero can’t even get near Chinatown without stepping on hordes of the damned things, and their fighting prowess is questionable at best. This section of The Ultimate Martial Artist takes a look at ninja — their fighting arts, special abilities, tools, and equipment.

NINJA PACKAGE DEAL In feudal Japan, ninja were reconnaissance experts, spies, and assassins. The principles of ninjutsu began development as early as the seventh century AD and reached their height during the Tokugawa era (seventeenth to nineteenth centuries AD). The earliest name for ninja was shinobi, or “stealer-in” (one who sneaks in), and their arts were collectively known as shinobijutsu. Ninja belonged to extended ninja clans, most of which were located in the Iga and Koga mountain areas. A clan was often associated with a specific noble family that utilized its services on an exclusive or near-exclusive basis. Ninja fell into one of three ranks within their families. The low man was the genin, the agentlevel ninja who performed the dangers missions; in Tokugawa times, known genin were the lowest form of life in the Japanese social strata. The middle man was the chunin, the functionary of the ninja clan, a subleader and planner. The top rank was that of the jonin, the ninja group or family leader who prepared, accepted, or refused contracts. Female ninja, called kunoichi, existed. They learned traditional ninja abilities but were especially skilled at espionage through seduction and infiltration. After the end of the Tokugawa era, the ninja

families went into decline; their skills were not of much use in a peaceful Japan. According to some historians, the last true ninja used their skills in World War II, and no one practices genuine ninjutsu today. But other sources say some ninja families retained and handed down their skills until the modern era, and their ninjutsu is still being taught, even by Americans who have learned the art.



WF: Common Melee Weapons, Common Martial Arts Melee Weapons, Common Missile Weapons, Garrote, Blowgun, Fukimi-bari 9 Ninjutsu or Karate maneuvers (character’s choice) 10 KS: Ninjutsu or Karate (character’s choice) 8-


Language: Ninja Clan Codes and Symbols (fluent conversation; literate)












Choose any two of the following:


Contortionist, Conversation, Demolitions, Disguise, Fast Draw, High Society, Lockpicking, Paramedics, PS: Dancing 12-, PS: Cartography 12-, PS: Healer (Doctor) 12-, PS: Singing 12-, Riding, Seduction, SS: Meteorology 12-, Security Systems, Sleight Of Hand, Survival (3 points’ worth), Tracking, Weaponsmith (3 points’ worth)

Total Cost: Optional Skills


Bugging Electronics Mechanics WF: Small Arms

3 3 3 2

Optional Disadvantages Distinctive Features: Style -10 Distinctive Features: Ninja Night-Suit (Easily Concealed; Noticed and Recognizable) -5 (for feudal-era ninja, increase the Reaction to “Causes Extreme Reaction (fear and loathing),” and the value to -15) Hunted: own ninja clan (or organized crime group) 11- (Mo Pow, NCI, Watching) -10 (this Hunted is appropriate for a ninja who’s loyal to his clan [or for modern ninja, his organized crime group]; you can change its value by changing the frequency)


The Ultimate Martial Artist

VARIANT STYLES OF TAIJUTSU For players who want to be a little different with their ninja characters, here are four fictional styles of Taijutsu.

Kõrogi Taijutsu Developed by the elusive Mosoru ninja clan, Kõrogi (“cricket”) Taijutsu received its name for two reasons. The first and more obvious reason is its visual element: Kõrogi Taijutsu involves a lot of leaping, flying kicks, and other maneuvers not commonly used by ninja. The second (but perhaps more important) reason is that, like a cricket at night, you may sense there’s a Mosoru ninja near, but you can never find and catch him. The Mosoru have taught their art to several Westerners they trust, but do not teach it openly.

KOROGI TAIJUTSU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Atemi Strike ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Cricket Choke Hold ½ 4 -2 -1 Grab One Limb; 1d6 NND(2); FMove Cricket Dodge ½ 5 — +4 Dodge All Attacks, Abort, FMove Cricket Kick ½ 5 +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove Cricket Escape ½ 4 +0 -1 +10 STR vs. Grabs; FMove Punch ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike Spear Hand ½ 4 -2 +0 ½d6 HKA (2 DC) Takedown ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Skills Acrobatics* Breakfall* Contortionist* As Ninjutsu package Elements As Ninjutsu package

KOROGI TAIJUTSU NOTES The Cricket Escape allows the character to make a Full Move during the process of escaping from a hold of some sort. The character must succeed with his Escape (i.e., roll more BODY on his STR dice than his attacker does) before he gets to make the Full Move; if he remains held, he cannot make the Full Move. Optional Rules: The Cricket Kick, Punch, and Spear Hand all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Takedown does generalized damage and requires no roll. The other maneuvers do not use Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: The special skills of the Kõrogi practitioner include: 1) Leaping: Practitioners of this style can leap a

great distance. They should buy at least an extra 5” of Leaping. In some cases the extra Leaping may Require An Acrobatics Roll (-½). 2) Chūchū naku (“to chirp”): The Kõrogi ninja’s ability to attack his enemies by expelling his ki as a shout. It is equivalent to Kiaijutsu (see page 134). 3) Kõrogitobu (“The cricket’s leap”): A powerful attack ability: Leaping +20” (20 Active Points); Only To Make Half Moves In Combat (-1) (total cost: 10 points) plus HA +5d6 (25 Active Points); HandTo-Hand Attack (-½), Linked (-½) (total cost: 12 points) plus +1 OCV (total cost: 2 points). Total cost: 24 points.

Mist Viper Taijutsu Mist Viper (Kiri no Mamushi) Taijutsu is everything the Silent Path (see below) is not: hard, brutal, combative. Mist Viper ninja, of the Saito clan, are a secretive group known as lethal assassins and top-flight combat agents. On the other hand, their infiltration skills are not nearly as well-developed as those of Silent Path practitioners. A great rivalry exists between these two families; the Saito also despise practitioners of the Way of the Night Dragon and work to eliminate them. Few if any Westerners have ever learned this style.

MIST VIPER TAIJUTSU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Block ½ 4 +2 +2 Blood-Fist Of The Mist Viper ½ 4 +2 +0 Death-Fist Of The Mist Viper ½ 4 -2 +0 The Neck-Throw Of Saito Junzo ½ 5 -2 +0

Damage/Effect Block, Abort STR +2d6 Strike ½d6 HKA (2 DC) ½d6 HKA (2 DC); Target Falls

Saito Masao’s Invincible Grip ½ 4 -2 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Saito Yuriko’s Strike Of Revenge ½ 5 -2 +1 STR +4d6 Strike The Sting Of The Mist Viper ½ 3 +1 +1 STR Strike; Target Falls Skills As Ninjutsu package Elements As Ninjutsu package

MIST VIPER TAIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Blood-Fist and Death-Fist both take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. Saito Yuriko’s Strike of Revenge, a form of kick, takes a 3d6 location roll. The other maneuvers either do not use rolls, do generalized damage to the target, or target a specific location. Special Abilities: 1) Kõdokuso: Immunity to many different kinds of serpent venoms (LS: Immunity).

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2) Saito Serpent Form: Legends say the most puissant of the Saito Clan ninja can take on the shape of a serpent; they use this ability to gain access to secure locations, hide from their enemies, and deliver poisonous bites to their targets (Multiform).

Silent Path Taijutsu The creators of this style, the Morioka ninja clan, value stealth and movement skills over offensive techniques. Consequently, the Silent Path (Komichi Shizukana) contains few strikes, concentrating instead on blocks and defensive maneuvers. Known primarily for their infiltration and escape skills, Silent Path ninja often prefer not to use their abilities to kill. They are fierce rivals of the Mist Viper ninja (see above). Their ranks include many Westerners who have learned the style while in Japan. SILENT PATH TAIJUTSU NOTES Optional Rules: The Fifth and Sixth Paths both take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. The other maneuvers do not require location rolls. Special Abilities: 1) The Seventh Path (Supreme Defense): Defense Maneuver I-IV 2) Various ninjutsu mystic arts of invisibility and stealth (described below). 3) The Path Of No Path: The ability to walk without leaving footprints (see page 127 under Gliding). 4) The Eighth Path (Supreme Movement): Teleportation 10” (assumes character has Running 10”; 20 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-1/2), Only To “Vanish” When No One Is Looking (-1/2), Can Only Teleport To Places Character Could Normally Go (-1/2), No Non-Combat Multiple (-1/4). Total cost: 7 points.


The Way Of The Night Dragon

Skills Stealth* As Ninjutsu package

The Way of the Night Dragon (Yoruryujutsu) was developed by the Kagemura Clan during Japan’s feudal era. The clan strove to create a style which maintained the stealth techniques of ninjutsu while increasing the ninja’s martial prowess. The Night Dragon style also incorporates several mystic skills and abilities the Kagemura ninja found particularly useful. In time, because of this style’s emphasis on the mystical, a religion developed around it. Its adherents worship “the Night Dragon” itself, and look upon him as the source of their abilities (especially the infamous Veil of the Night Dragon). Depending upon who tells the tale, those who worship the Night Dragon are either honorable warriors devoted to an altruistic philosophical concept, or cruel assassins whose god lives by human sacrifice.

Elements As Ninjutsu package


Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The First Path (Avoidance) ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort The Second Path (Escape) ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs The Third Path (Interception) ½ 5 +1 +3 Block, Abort The Fourth Path (Removal) ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll The Fifth Path (Subdual) ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) The Sixth Path (Conflict) ½ 5 +1 +3 STR Strike

The Jaws of the Night Dragon allows a character to break free of a Grab in such a way that he strikes


The Ultimate Martial Artist



defends when his strength is inadequate; he attacks when it is abundant.’ —Sun Tzu, The Art of War

the person who grabbed him. The character first makes his STR Roll to see if he escapes. If he succeeds, he rolls in the normal fashion to see if the Strike part of the maneuver hits. If the escape fails, he must make an Attack Roll with the penalties and modifiers described under Grab on page 386 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Optional Rules: The Sublime Fist Of The Night Dragon, the Claw Of The Night Dragon, and Jein’s Hand Of Shadow all take 2d6+1 Hit Location rolls. The Jaws Of The Night Dragon does generalized damage; all the other maneuvers do not require Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: 1) The Veil Of The Night Dragon: This is the Night Dragon ninja’s most feared power: the ability to avoid detection by those who can sense danger. (Invisibility to Danger Sense (20 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-½); total cost 13 points.)

NIGHT DRAGON TAIJUTSU Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect The Claw Of The Night Dragon ½ 4 -2 +0 ½d6 HKA (2 DC) The Jaws Of The Night Dragon var 5 +0 +1 +10 STR vs. Grabs; STR +2d6 Strike Jein’s Dragon-Wing Fan ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Jein’s Hand Of Shadow ½ 4 -1 +1 2d6 NND(1) Kinuko’s Puzzling Apprehension ½ 3 -1 -1 Grab Two Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Saigo’s Body Of Shadow ½ 4 — +5 Dodge All Attacks, Abort The Sublime Fist Of The Night Dragon ½ 4 +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike

2) Eyes Of The Night Dragon: The ability to remain completely aware of one’s surroundings while asleep (Lightsleep).

Skills Acrobatics Breakfall As Ninjutsu package

3) Will Of The Night Dragon: Equivalent to Saiminjutsu (see below).

Elements As Ninjutsu package

NINJA SPECIAL ABILITIES This section describes some examples of the sort of special skills and abilities ninja characters can purchase, including mystic or paranormal abilities.

Mundane Ninja Abilities THE DANCE OF THE SIX STARS This is a rapid-fire shuriken-throwing ability used not only by true ninja, but by some practitioners of Shurikenjutsu as well. The ninja hides a number of shuriken on his person, anywhere from his feet to his head. (The usual number is nine, which has special significance for the ninja.) Then, in an emergency, he can pull them out and begin throwing them extremely quickly. To avoid presenting a stationary target and to build up momentum for his throws, the ninja spins, moves, and ducks as he draws and throws the shuriken. A highly-trained practitioner’s moves are so fluid they often seem like a sort of “dance,” hence this manuever’s name. The Dance Of The Six Stars: HKA ½d6 (plus STR), Ranged (+½), Autofire (up to nine shots; +1) (25 Active Points); IAF (concealed shuriken; -½), No KB (-¼), Requires A DEX Roll (-½). Total cost: 11 points. Note: with GM permission, characters could add the Trigger Advantage, with the Trigger defined as a “reflex action” or something similar. A character with the Triggered version of this ability should be limited to throwing no more than three shuriken in a Phase.

Hero Games THE DRAGON’S CLAW The Dragon’s Claw (Ryu no Tsume) allows a ninja to inflict rending and tearing damage upon an enemy. Training for it consists of strengthening the hands and wrists. In game terms, a ninja with this ability can buy the Tiger/Dragon Claw maneuver from Kung Fu for his Ninjutsu package. GENJUTSU Genjutsu (the art of illusion) is the ninja’s skill at creating images and illusions using props and other devices. For example, a ninja might set up a lot of dummies and light some fake campfires to make a besieging army look larger than it really is. These illusions are relatively crude and take a long time to set up or change. Genjutsu: Sight and Hearing Group Images, -2 to PER Roll, 1” radius (19 Active Points); IIF (various props; -¼), Limited Effect (Normal Sight and Normal Hearing only; -¼), Set Effect Until Changed (-½), Extra Time (1 Turn or more to set up or change an image, depending upon complexity; -1). Total cost: 6 points. Modern-day ninja could take advantage of current technology (and maybe even holography) to make their illusions more versatile and easy to work with. Additionally, in some campaigns Genjutsu could represent a mystical ability allowing a ninja to create true Images or Mental Illusions to confuse his enemies. HOJOJUTSU/TORINAWAJUTSU This is the ninja’s knot-tying ability, with which they restrained prisoners. Knowledge of knot-tying also helped a ninja escape when someone tied him up. Characters buy Hojojutsu as a Professional Skill: Knot-Tying. For every point a character makes his PS: Knot-Tying by, a character trying to escape from or undo the knots using another Skill (such as Contortionist) suffers a -1 penalty to his roll. Similarly, if a character with PS: Knot-Tying is tied up, his PS: Knot-Tying acts as a Complementary Skill to his Contortionist roll when he tries to untie himself. THE MIRACULOUS SUNBURST This skill teaches the ninja to use the reflective surface of an object to temporarily blind an opponent. Although it’s usually done so the ninja can make an escape, characters can also use it in combat. A ninja who knows this skill usually carries several reflective objects on his person (a silver war fan, highly polished pieces of jewelry or shuriken, and so forth). The Miraculous Sunburst: Sight Group Flash 4d6 (20 Active Points); OIF (reflective object of opportunity; -½), Requires A Light Source To Reflect (-¼), Requires A DEX Roll (-½). Total cost: 9 points. NOROSHIJUTSU In ancient times, Noroshijutsu was the ninja’s skill of using signal-fires to communicate with his

79 allies. As such, characters can buy it as a Professional Skill. Modern-day ninja might expand Noroshijutsu to include all forms of communication and signalling (i.e., Systems Operation). THE SLEEP OF ESCAPE This ability allows the ninja to reduce his heartbeat and rate of respiration, making him appear dead. However, his senses remain active on some level, and he “awakens” when he’s safe once more. Ninja often use this ability to escape from prison cells, hence its name. The Sleep Of Escape: Simulate Death (character awakens when danger has passed or other specified condition is met): 3 points.

Mystic Ninja Abilities In addition to their mundane skills, the ninja were credited with a wide variety of mystical powers. This offers players plenty of opportunities to “customize” their ninja characters and give them unique and interesting powers, such as the ones described below. THE BLESSING OF HOMASUBI By using this special power, a ninja can cause his hands to burst into flame (allowing him to create light or cause damage in combat). Cost Power END 56 The Blessing Of Ho-Masubi: Multipower, 56-point reserve 3u 1) HKA 1½d6, Damage Shield (covers the hands only and so does not affect characters who Grab other parts of the character’s body; +¼), Continuous (+1); No STR Bonus (-½), No KB (-¼) 4 1u 2) Sight Group Images, Increased Size (8” radius; +¾); Only To Create Light (-1) 2 THE BRIDGE OF THE TIDE DRAGON While many ninja can use special devices to seemingly “walk on water,” a few ninja can do so unaided! These ninja know how to extend their ki so it supports them on the surface of the water. Of course, this ability only works on relatively calm water; ninja cannot use it in rapids or surf. The Bridge Of The Tide Dragon: Flight 5” (10 Active Points); Only In Contact With The Surface Of Relatively Calm Water (-1½). Total cost: 4 points. CASTLE WITHOUT WALLS One of the legendary powers of the ninja was the ability to walk through walls and other barriers, thereby gaining access to otherwise impenetrable fortresses and strongholds. Castle Without Walls: Desolidification (affected by any type of attack) (40 Active Points); Does Not Protect Against Damage (-1), Only To Walk Through Walls (-1). Total cost: 13 points.


The Ultimate Martial Artist THE FOLDED BLADE This “origami magic” allows a ninja to spend about a minute folding a piece of specially-prepared paper into a functional dagger or other small weapon. Origami weapons are as vulnerable to most physical forces as their metal or wooden counterparts, but disintegrate completely if they contact water (but not blood). Whispered tales speak of more advanced forms of origami magic, in which the folder creates paper creatures which actually come to life! However, if such magics exist, they are beyond the purview of ninja wizardry. Folded Dagger: HKA ½d6 (plus STR) (10 Active Points); OIF (piece of origami paper; -½), No KB (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), Extra Time (takes 1 Turn to fold into shape before it can be used; -1¼), Requires A PS: Origami Roll To Create (-½), Susceptible To Water Damage (-¼). Total cost: 2 points. Folded Shuriken: HKA ½d6 (plus STR), Ranged (+½) (15 Active Points); OIF (piece of origami paper; -½), No KB (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), Extra Time (takes 1 Turn to fold into shape before it can be used; -1¼), Requires A PS: Origami Roll To Create (-½), Susceptible To Water Damage (-¼). Total cost: 4 points. HANDS OF THE SPIDER Ninja climbing abilities sometimes exceed the scope of the Climbing Skill. In fact, some ninja can actually stick to walls, ceilings, and similar surfaces. Characters can buy this as Clinging, Cannot Resist

Knockback (-¼), or as “Perching” Clinging (see sidebar, page 143, HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). IRON BODY This mystical power, similar to the Kung Fu master’s power of like name, is the ability to withstand blows from edged weapons without injury. A ninja buys it as Damage Resistance for his PD. KUJI KIRI Kuji kiri (“nine ways cutting”) is a form of mystical meditation. A ninja learns nine different ways to interlace his fingers, each with its own symbolic significance. By meditating on this gesture, the ninja evokes special abilities, strengths, and powers. The kuji kiri powers listed below are but one set PCs could develop. Characters could also buy off the Extra Time and Charges Limitations once they became proficient with this power. Cost Power END 14 Kuji Kiri: Multipower, 40-point reserve, all slots Gestures (-¼), Extra Time (1 Turn; -1¼), and Requires A KS: Ninjutsu Roll (-¼) (total -1¾) 1u 1) Rin (“strength”): Aid STR 4d6; Common Limitations (-1¾), Self Only (-½) 4 1u 2) Kyo (“direction of energy”): Telekinesis (20 STR); Common Limitations (-1¾) 3 1u 3) Toh (“harmony”): Aid EGO 4d6; Common Limitations (-1¾), Self Only (-½) 4 1u 4) Sha (“healing”): Simplified Healing 4d6; Common Limitations (-1¾), Self Only (-½) 4 1u 5) Kai (“premonition”): +6 to Danger Sense roll; Common Limitations (-1¾), 1 Charge lasting 1 Turn (-1½), Costs END (-½) 1 1u 6) Jin (“knowing the thoughts of others”): Telepathy 6d6; Common Limitations (-1¾) 3 1u 7) Retsu (“mastery of time and space”): Teleportation 15”; Common Limitations (-1¾) 3 1u 8) Zai (“control”): Aid PRE 4d6; Common Limitations (-1¾), Self Only (-½) 4 1u 9) Zen (“enlightenment”): Aid INT 4d6; Common Limitations (-1¾), Self Only (-½) 4 NINJA INVISIBILITY POWERS The mystical power most commonly attributed to the ninja was the power to become invisible. “Invisibility” actually consists of several different abilities, some as much skills as magical powers. The Mantle Of Night (the ability to become invisible in darkness or shadow): Invisibility to Sight Group, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (30 Active Points); Only Works In Darkness Or Shadows (-½), Requires A Stealth Roll (-½). Total cost: 15 points.

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Ametori-no-jutsu (the art of silhouette distortion): eliminate the Fringe Effect for other types of Invisibility (10 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-½). Total cost: 7 points. Hiding In Plain Sight (the power to create illusions to camouflage the ninja): Images to Sight Group, -3 to PER Roll, 1” radius (19 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-½), Set Effect (only to camouflage the ninja; -½). Total cost: 9 points. Mind Like A Pool (the ability to hide one’s mind from mental detection): Invisibility to Mental Sense Group (10 Active Points); Requires A Stealth Roll (-½). Total cost: 7 points. True Invisibility: Invisibility to Sight Group, No Fringe, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½): 45 points. ONIBI NO JUTSU “The art of the demon’s fire” involves the use of an enchanted demon mask. By putting on the mask, a ninja gains the demonic power to breath flame. The masks, products of blackest ninja magic, are extremely rare; some people say anyone who touches or wears one who does not belong to the owner’s clan becomes cursed.

Onibi No Jutsu: RKA 2d6, Area Of Effect (12” Line; +1) (60 Active Points); OIF (Demon Mask; -½), No Range (line must begin where character is; -½). Total cost: 30 points. PASS WITHOUT TRACE Some of the most skilled ninja possess the power to travel from one point to a nearby point without passing through the intervening space. They most often use this ability to escape pursuers or captors, but can also use it to secretly enter a secured area. Pass Without Trace: Teleportation 15” (30 Active Points); Extra Time (Full Phase; -½), Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1), Requires A KS: Ninjutsu Roll (-¼). Total cost: 11 points. THE PATHS OF THE CAT This power is the counterpart to the ninja’s invis-


ibility powers: he uses his ki to make his movement absolutely silent. This power is for the ninja’s normal ground movement; characters can buy similar powers for swimming and other forms of movement. The Paths Of The Cat: Invisible Power Effects (Hearing Group; +¼) for up to 10” Running: 5 points. SAIMINJUTSU Saiminjutsu (“the way of the mind gate,” also spelled Hsimenjutsu) is the ninja power of mind control. Ninja can use this power to control the minds of others, both in and out of combat; to reverse the same sort of control which has been imposed by another; and to cloud men’s minds, making him invisible to them. Cost Power END 23 Saiminjutsu: Multipower, 40-point reserve, all slots Gestures (-¼) and Requires An EGO Roll (-½) 2u 1) Mind Control 8d6; No Range (-½), Common Limitations (-¾) 4 2u 2) Suppress Mind Control 8d6; Common Limitations (-¾) 4 2u 3) Invisibility to Sight Group, No Fringe; Common Limitations (-¾) 3 SOUL LEECHING This is the darkest and most feared of the ninja’s magic abilities — the power to steal the life force of another. In its lesser form, the ninja simply drains the victim’s life force, injuring or killing him; in its greater form, the ninja actually steals the victim’s life force and uses it to make himself stronger! Soul Leeching (lesser form): Drain BODY 3d6, Ranged (+½), Delayed Return Rate (points return once per Hour; +1) (75 Active Points); Concentration (½ DCV; -¼), Requires A KS: Ninjutsu Roll (-¼). Total cost: 50 points. Soul Leeching (greater form): Transfer 5d6 (target’s BODY half to character’s STUN, half to character’s END), Ranged (+½), Delayed Return Rate (points return once per Hour; +1) (187 Active Points); Concentration (½ DCV; -¼), Requires A KS: Ninjutsu Roll (-¼). Total cost: 125 points.


The Ultimate Martial Artist THE ULTIMATE DISGUISE Perhaps the rarest of the ninja’s mystical powers is the ability to assume the shape of animals or other people (most commonly, that of the crow and the wolf). This is bought as a Multiform or Shape Shift. Consult the HERO System Bestiary for sample character sheets for many animals.

NINJA GEAR AND EQUIPMENT The ninja used many different types of gear to perform their espionage and assassination missions successfully. This section showcases some of their equipment. Modern-day ninja can use “traditional” gadgets of the sort described here, or develop modern equivalents (which tend to be lighter, stronger, and better). The choice often depends on training: an American ninja probably uses modern equipment; a ninja trained by a secretive, tradition-bound clan in rural Japan, even in the present day, probably learns to use “archaic” equipment.

Climbing Equipment The ninja often had to climb walls, trees, and other large objects, so they created several devices to aid them. Collectively referred to as noboriki or toki, these devices include: bashigo (collapsible ladders); various types of claw-like devices which also doubled as weapons, such as the shuko, ashiko, and nekote (refer to the Weapons section of Chapter Three for details); kagiwara or kaginawa (rope and grapnel); kasugai (clamps a ninja could press into a wall to form handholds or toeholds); katsushiya or kasha (a pulley-and-rope device allowing a ninja to slide from one area to another; bought as a limited form of Swinging or Gliding); kumade (a hollow bamboo staff with a rope running through the center; the ninja pulls on the rope to stiffen the staff and make it climbable); musubibashigo (a rope ladder with loops for footholds and a grapnel on one end); musubinawa (a horsehair rope, very strong and easy to hide); shinobikagi (a hollow staff containing a rope and hook which breaks down into a sort of rope ladder); shinobitsue (a hollow staff with a concealed hook and several rope toeholds); and tobibashigo (a bambooand-rope ladder with a grappling hook at the top).

Noboriki: +2 to Climbing roll (4 Active Points); OAF (-1) or IAF (depending upon the obviousness and accessability of the device, -½). Total cost: 2 points (OAF); 3 points (IAF).

Infiltration Equipment The ninja employed a wide variety of devices to aid them in picking locks and infiltrating areas. Drilling devices: Ninja used these devices to drill or bore holes through doors and walls. They could throw them as crude shuriken (doing 1 pip RKA) if necessary. They include: the kunai (a trowel-like

blade for boring or digging); shikoro (a handsaw, either large [oshikoro] or small [koshikoro]); tsubogiri (crescent-shaped borers); and the yajiri (another type of hand-saw). Drilling devices: +1 to Lockpicking (2 Active Points); OAF (-1). Total cost: 1 point. Door jammers: Many doors in feudal Japan were opened and shut by sliding. Ninja would jam specially-shaped pieces of metal or wood called tojime, shimeki, or kasugai between the two sliding panels to prevent them from being opened, thus delaying any pursuers.

Tojime/Shimeki/Kasugai: Telekinesis (20 STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½), Uncontrolled (removable by spending one Phase and making a DEX Roll; +½) (60 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only To Hold Sliding Doors Shut (-2). Total cost: 15 points. Lockpicks: The ninja’s lockpicks were known as kurorokagi and oseku; they do not provide bonuses to his Lockpicking Skill; instead, he must have them to use the Skill at all. If he doesn’t have his lockpicks, he either cannot pick the lock, or must attempt to do so at a -5 penalty for lack of tools.

Water Equipment A ninja often has to operate on or around water, and employs a variety of gadgets to help him use water to his advantage. Ninja water gadgets include boats, swimming aids, and water-walking equipment. Boats: Traditional watercraft adapted to ninja purposes. Ninja could collapse them, or divide them into several parts, for easy carrying. Examples include the hasamibune (a collapsible floating platform for carrying equipment); the kyobako-fune (a waterproof chest which doubled as a type of boat); shinobibune (a boat which split into several sections for carrying or hiding); and the tsubigune or tsugibune (collapsible boat). To use any of these craft properly, the character must know Transport Familiarity: Small Rowed Boats. Swimming aids: Ninja sometimes used mizukaki or mizukakigeta, a “webbed sandal” which acted like modern swim fins, allowing them to swim more quickly than normal. If they had to hide underwater for extended periods, they used a takezutsu, or breathing tube (often disguised as a reed, and also called a mizuzutsu).

Mizukaki: Swimming +3” (3 Active Points); OIF (-½). Total cost: 2 points. Takezutsu: LS: Expanded Breathing (Expanded Breathing: Breathe Underwater) (5 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only Works Close To The Surface (-1). Total cost: 2 points. Water-walking devices: These devices allowed the ninja to “walk on water” so that he could cross relatively calm lakes and streams quickly and quietly. To use them properly, a character must know Transport

Hero Games Familiarity: Ninja Water-Walking Devices. Examples include: kama-ikada (a foldable one-man straw raft); kameikada (large tortoise shells attached to a bamboo frame; the ninja placed his feet in the shells and poled himself across the water with a special collapsible bamboo paddle called a shinobigai); the mizugumo (“water spider,” two groups of boards tied together in a circular pattern and placed under each foot); taruikada (similar to the kameikada, but using flotation pots instead of tortoise shells); and the ukidaru (two tubs joined by a cord, used like the taruikada).

Water-walking devices: Flight 3” (6 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only In Contact With The Surface Of Relatively Calm Water (-1½), Requires A DEX Roll (-½), Concentration (0 DCV; -½), Requires TF: Ninja Water-Walking Devices (-0). Total cost: 1 point.

Miscellaneous Equipment Disguised footprints: By attaching special soles to the bottoms of his sandals, a ninja could disguise his footprints (ashiaro) as those of an animal, a man walking the other direction, or the like. Disguised footprints: Cosmetic Transform 1d6 (recognizable footprint into disguised footprint; Standard Effect Rule applies) (5 Active Points); OIF (-½). Total cost: 3 points. Hito Washi: A type of primitive hang-glider made of cloth and bamboo which a ninja could use to glide over castle walls and other targets of observation. Sometimes ninja also used this device to drop small bombs on the enemy. A similar device, more like a large kite, was the yamidoko.

Hito Washi: Gliding 5” (5 Active Points); OAF (1). Total cost: 2 points. Kitõ-gan: a special type of pill which ninja used to delay thirst for up to five days.

Kitõ-gan: Life Support: Diminished Eating (only has to drink once per week) (1 point); OAF (-1), 1 Charge (-2). Total cost: 1 point. Lighting devices: Ninja devices for providing light include: the gando, a type of searchlight made by placing a candle inside a sort of metal tube; the mizutaimatsu, a torch which continued burning even in the rain; and the ninshokudai, an L- or S-shaped candle (and/or holder) which a ninja could wedge into or hang from something to make others think he was standing somewhere he was not. Lighting devices: Images to Sight Group, 1” radius (create light) (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only To Create Light (-1). Total cost: 3 points. Uchidake: The uchidake was a fire-starter made out of a bamboo tube.

Uchidake: Change Environment 1” radius (start fire) (5 Active Points); OAF (-1). Total cost: 2 points.


NINJA FROM OTHER LANDS Japan is not the only land in which stealth, espionage, and assassination missions were conducted by corps of elite warrior-spies. Several “alternate ninja” are described below. In most cases, these warriors used tactics and fighting styles which are, for game purposes, the same as those used by the ninja. LIN KUEI The lin kuei (“forest demons”) are the ninja of ancient China. Some scholars believe the ninja learned most of their techniques from the lin kuei, described by legends as Taoists who turned their religious martial training to the secular ends of deception, assassination, and profit. The lin kuei used a style of martial arts known as An Ch’i (see page 16). This style emphasizes the use of hidden weapons and gadgets, and of small throwing weapons (similar to shuriken). The lin kuei were masters of the thrown weapon; characters who have received lin kuei training should buy a “throwing master” ability (EB and/or RKA with an OIF, “appropriate objects of opportunity” — thus allowing the character to turn any small object into a deadly missile). SULSA The sulsa are the ninja of Korea. They rose to prominence during the Three Kingdoms period of Korean history, in the first millenia AD. They practiced the art of concealment (also known as sulsa), and in many ways could be considered the opposite of the hwarang (young noble knights) just like the ninja are the counterparts of the noble samurai. TRULKOR The trulkor is the Tibetan equivalent of the ninja. His fighting and espionage arts depended heavily on the principles of deception and illusion — the idea that if a fighter could mask his intent from the enemy, the enemy was helpless. MODERN AMERICAN NINJA The term “modern American ninja” refers to present-day Americans (and persons from other western nations) who have received ninjutsu training. Modern ninja from Japan are often depicted as using ancient devices and weapons, perhaps because of the “flavor” this gives them. American ninja, on the other hand, usually have no reluctance to use the technology of modern warfare and espionage. Modern American ninja are more likely than any other type of ninja to use firearms, electronic devices, and similar high-tech gadgetry. OTHER NAMES FOR NINJA Other names that were sometimes given to the ninja include kuro hagi (“black calves”), nozaru (“mountain monkeys”), rappa (“disheveled waves”), and suppa (“crystal waves”).


The Ultimate Martial Artist



ighting skills play an important role in many genres, from fantasy, to science fiction, to the wild west. This section explores some of the possibilities for using martial arts in various genres.

CYBERPUNK/NEAR FUTURE MARTIAL ARTS Most “cyberpunk” or near future settings include the increased influence of the Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian cultures as an element of the setting. Wherever Asian influence becomes so strong, the martial arts prosper. The fact that cyberpunk worlds tend to be extremely violent places where people need to learn how to fight well doesn’t hurt, either. One way to “customize” martial arts for cyber-

punk games is to give some of the styles new names in the cyberpunk patois. For example, characters might refer to “Street Smarts” instead of Dirty Infighting; Kenjutsu becomes “Samurai Diplomacy.” This helps to blend martial arts into the campaign so they seem like an actual part of the world around the characters, not just a tool for the PCs to use. Here’s an examples of a cyberpunk martial arts style.

Razor Dancing Developed by cyberware-augmented street warriors to improve their odds of surviving in hand-to-hand combat, Razor Dancing focuses on the use of various types of blades or spurs these fighters often possess (including small blades, or “hand razors,” that project from beneath their fingernails, hence the style’s name). Fast, deadly, and graceful, Razor Dancing gives a trained fighter an edge normal street brawlers lack.

RAZOR DANCING Used with Hand Razors; Hand Razors Weapon Element is free Maneuver Block Claw Dodge Jab Slash

Phs ½ ½ ½

Pts 4 5 4

½ ½

5 4

OCV +2 -2 —

DCV +2 +1 +5

Damage/Effect Block, Abort Weapon +4 DC Strike Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort +1 +3 Weapon Strike +2 +0 Weapon +2 DC Strike

Skills WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Hand Razors*

RAZOR DANCING NOTES Optional Rules: The Claw, Jab, and Slash all take Hit Location rolls of 3d6. Special Abilities: None.

FANTASY MARTIAL ARTS Martial arts are both common and popular in fantasy games. In fact, having a martial arts package of some sort is often one of the things which sets a PC apart from his less talented brethren (i.e., most NPCs). Three primary avenues for introducing martial arts into a fantasy campaign exist. The first, and most important, is the use of weapons. Muscle-powered weapons are a major element in any fantasy campaign, and this provides

Hero Games plenty of opportunities for the creation of fighting styles. Some styles focus on a single weapon; examples from the “real-world” martial arts description include Bojutsu/Jojutsu, Fencing, Kenjutsu, Kyujutsu, Naginatajutsu, Saijutsu, Sevillian Knifefighting, Shurikenjutsu, and Whipfighting. The broad Weapons Combat style adapts to many types of weapons, and is perfect for many fantasy campaigns and characters. Fantasy characters can create similar fighting styles for their own weapons (for example, “Dwarven Axefighting” or “Elven Fencing”). Some might even develop a martial arts style for use with a single weapon, such as a unique enchanted sword. For instance, if a character owned a soul-eating sword that drains the life from someone with the merest scratch, he wouldn’t find it efficient to use standard swordfighting maneuvers — he could develop a style of swordplay intended not to wound the enemy, but simply to nick him. You can also use martial arts in a fantasy game to represent the distinctive fighting maneuvers of non-human races. Intelligent creatures such as centaurs, gargoyles, mermen, and lizardmen would develop fighting arts suited to their body structures. Many of these martial arts would seem odd to humans, and in many cases they couldn’t even learn them. Poluraathkaa (see below) provides an example of such a fighting style. The third way to work martial arts into your fantasy game is as an aspect of particular cultures, societies, or groups. Obviously, if your campaign takes place in an Oriental setting, or even near psuedo-Oriental lands, martial arts will be relatively common. But even without such nations, certain societies or groups might develop martial arts styles. In some cases the style constitutes a particular society’s definitive ability, the way skill with horses is the trademark of the horse-riding nomad clans who populate many fantasy novels. Perhaps the best example of this is the Bloodguard, from Stephen Donaldson’s novels about The Land, but there are plenty of others. Here’s an examples of a fantasy martial arts style.

Poluraathkaa Poluraathkaa (pole-oo-RAHTH-kah), a fighting style developed many years ago by the Winged Folk, has been adapted by many other winged races since, such as the gargoyles of the Stony Wastes and the feared vulture-men. Designed by flyers for use against flying foes, it cannot be used by fighters on the ground. In addition to its unarmed maneuvers, the style teaches how to fight with several weapons, including chain and rope weapons, which warriors use to entangle a target in flight and thus remove him from the battle. POLURAATHKAA NOTES The Snare maneuver consists of grasping most of the target’s limbs, including his wings, so he cannot fly. The attacker then dives straight for the ground


POLURAATHKAA Maneuver Phs Escape ½ Evasive Strike ½ Flying Strike ½ Snare ½ Strike


Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs 5 5 5 4

+1 +3 STR Strike +1 +0 STR +v/5; FMove -1 -1 Grab Four Limbs,+10 STR for holding on +0 +2 STR +2d6 Strike

Skills KS: Poluraathkaa WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Chain & Rope Weapons WF: Nets Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Blades +1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Nets

to release the target so close to the earth that he can’t avoid hitting it (but of course must not get so close that he himself cannot pull out of his dive in time to avoid crashing). To execute this maneuver successfully, the character must succeed with a DEX Roll at -1 per 5” of velocity. Failure may indicate that both fighters did not crash, that the target did not crash but the attacker did, or that both of them hit the ground. Optional Rules: The Strike and Flying Strike both take 3d6 Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: None.

HORROR MARTIAL ARTS Martial arts are generally not a common element in the horror genre. After all, many horrors are things characters can’t fight with fists or blades, so martial arts training isn’t of much use. However, there are some opportunities to integrate the two without much strain. The most natural way is a horror story that takes place in Chinatown or the Orient. Weird Oriental monsters may make an interesting counterpoint to the usual run of Western haunts and nightmares. The characters’ unfamiliarity with Oriental monsters and magic adds an element of ignorance and helplessness which serves to increase the fear and desperation they feel.

PULP ERA MARTIAL ARTS Martial arts are an element of games set in the ‘20s and ‘30s, but are not as common as in some other genres. Many of the strong-jawed heroes of the era knew Boxing or Fisticuffs/Cinematic Brawling, and quite a few gangsters and other toughs knew Dirty Infighting or forms of knifefighting. The only time formal martial arts are likely to crop up is with characters who have trained in “the mysterious Orient” (such as The Shadow), or with “sophisticated” characters who


The Ultimate Martial Artist Alternately, a character’s Analyze Style Skill might only apply to martial arts developed by his own species; he would have to purchase the Skill for each species or region whose fighting styles he studies (for example, Analyze Bandarian Styles, Analyze Fomalhauti Cluster Styles, and so forth). Here are two examples of science fiction martial arts:


have studied Fencing (for example, The Shadow or The Spider). Occasionally you’ll also find the “explorer” type of character who has uncovered a lost civilization and learned its fighting arts.

SCIENCE FICTION/FAR FUTURE MARTIAL ARTS As humanity expands out into the galaxy and begins to encounter other intelligent species, the opportunity to learn new and intriguing martial arts styles increases dramatically. After all, a potential student now has not just dozens of styles to choose from, but dozens of worlds’ worth of styles, with all the variation that implies. Of course, some types of aliens are so nonHuman that mankind cannot learn their fighting styles. But in most science fiction universes a substantial portion of the alien species are humanoid, so Humans can probably study their martial arts without much problem. At the GM’s discretion, some maneuvers (such as Nerve Strikes) may only apply to a single species (typically, the character’s own species) when learned; characters have to buy a Science Skill in the anatomy of an alien species before they can use such attacks successfully on members of that species. One option for science fiction martial arts is to limit or abolish the Style Distinctive Feature. In a galaxy possibly featuring thousands of martial arts forms, it’s extremely unlikely a particular fighter has in-depth knowledge of more than a tiny fraction of them. Therefore the odds are against the Style Distinctive Feature actually being a Disadvantage most of the time, particularly if the character travels extensively. Therefore the GM should think about giving fewer points for the Disadvantage, or even disallowing its use entirely.

The Du’karça, a quasi-reptilian species native to the planet Khomura, have achieved an enviable reputation throughout their home galaxy for their fighting skills. Du’karça mercenaries routinely command greater rates of pay than mercs from other species, and Du’karça assassins are likewise considered the best of the best. Much of the Du’karça reputation rests on their species’s long tradition of hand-to-hand combat arts. The most widely known of the hundreds of fighting styles they have developed is Maashira, a weapons-based art whose name comes from a poetic term meaning “shining high, yellow hot” (Du’karça blood is yellowish). Maashira practitioners begin by learning the yinali, a weapon almost identical to a sword, but featuring two distinctive sharpened prongs about one handspan long projecting pointward from the hilt. Some never go beyond the yinali, preferring it to all other weapons because of its versatility and simple beauty. Others broaden their skills, learning how to apply Maashira to spears, other polearms, various flexible weapons, and the staff.

MAASHIRA Used with Blades Weapon Group; Blades Weapon Element is free Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Avoidance ½ 4 — +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort Deprival ½ 4 -1 +1 Disarm, +10 STR to Disarm roll Furious Charge ½ 4 +2 -2 Weapon +v/5; FMove Jab/Thrust ½ 5 +1 +3 Weapon Lunge ½ 5 +1 -2 Weapon +4 DC Parry ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort Reprisal ½ 4 +2 +2 Weapon +2 DC Strike, Must Follow Block Slash/Chop ½ 5 -2 +1 Weapon +4 DC Strike Skills KS: Maashira Two-Weapon Fighting WF: Blades* WF: Chain & Rope Weapons WF: Common Melee Weapons WF: Off Hand WF: Staff Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Chain & Rope Weapons +1 Use Art with Polearms +1 Use Art with Staff

Hero Games MAASHIRA NOTES Optional Rules: The Furious Charge, Jab/Thrust, Lunge, and Slash/Chop all take location rolls of 3d6. The other maneuvers do not take location rolls. Special Abilities: 1. Storm Of Tears: Maashira practitioners of great experience and skill strike so swiftly they can hit an opponent repeatedly before he can react. You can buy this as a No Range Autofire RKA, or as an Autofire Advantage for a favored Strike maneuver (see page 104). 2. Severing: Maashira fighters of some schools train to disable and defeat their opponents by cutting off limbs and heads. Their training focuses on aiming and counterstrike techniques designed to hit these targets with ease. You can buy this as Targeting Skill Levels (see page 66 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised).

Zero Gravity Combat Space Marines, space pirates, and other combative folk who are likely to find themselves fighting in a zero-G environment from time to time learn this martial art. Because of the action/reaction effect of launching attacks in zero-G, Zero Gravity Combat concentrates on grapples, holds, and other attacks which require relatively little linear motion. A character can use Zero Gravity Combat maneuvers in situations where gravity exists, but will suffer -1 to his OCV and DCV unless he has bought the Element “Use Art in Gravity.” For more information on fighting in zero-G environments, refer to Zero Gravity And Martial Arts on page 166. ZERO GRAVITY COMBAT NOTES The Breakaway maneuver is a form of push a fighter uses to “bleed off ” the momentum he builds up when escaping from certain kinds of holds. It moves the target away from the attacker, and also disorients him sufficiently that the attacker can follow up with another attack while the target regains his “balance” (this is simulated with the “Target Falls” element, since of course one cannot fall in zero-G). Optional Rules: The Nerve Pinch takes a 3d6 Hit Location roll. None of the other maneuvers requires Hit Location rolls. Special Abilities: Many people who deal with zeroG environments on a frequent basis buy their legs as Extra Limbs (5 points), so they can perform tasks with them, like manipulating ship controls, typing, or what have you. Such people can also use their legs in Zero Gravity Combat, for example by performing a Choke maneuver with them. The two extra limbs are a big advantage in a zero-G combat situation.


ZERO GRAVITY COMBAT Maneuver Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect Breakaway ½ 4 +1 +2 Strike, +10 STR to Shove target; Target Falls; Must Follow Escape Choke ½ 5 -1 +0 Grab One Limb; 2d6 NND(2) Escape ½ 4 +0 +0 +15 STR vs. Grabs Grab ½ 4 -1 -1 Grab Three Limbs, +10 STR for holding on Joint Break ½ 5 -1 -2 Grab One Limb; ½d6 HKA (2 DC), Disable Nerve Pinch ½ 4 +1 +1 2d6 NND(1); Must Follow Grab Reversal ½ 4 -1 -2 +15 STR to Escape; Grab Skills KS: Zero Gravity Combat KS: Zero Gravity Operations* Environmental Movement (no penalties in zero gravity) Elements Armor Gravity

+1 Use Art in Armor +1 Use Art in Gravity

SUPERHERO MARTIAL ARTS Martial arts are just about as common in superhero settings as they are in fantasy games. Super-samurai, mystic-powered ninja, Chinese sorcerers, and Westerners who have trained at ancient temples in hidden Oriental valleys parade through the pages of thousands of comic books. Superhero characters can learn any style described in this book, or make up their own — just about anything flies in this genre. Many simply learn the Generic Martial Arts package (page 27) to simulate their knowledge of basic fighting maneuvers.

WILD WEST MARTIAL ARTS Anyone who’s ever watched the television show Kung Fu knows it’s possible for characters to use Asian martial arts in a Wild West setting. However, folks like Kwai Chang Caine are relatively rare. Fighting styles like Boxing and Dirty Infighting/ Fisticuffs/Cinematic Brawling are the only ones most Western Hero PCs will ever see, though occasionally a character might encounter someone who knows Fencing.


man with outward courage dares to die,

A man with inward courage dares to live.’ —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


The Ultimate Martial Artist



f the dozens of martial arts styles presented earlier don’t include one that’s quite what you’re looking for, you can design your own styles and maneuvers using the rules and guidelines in this section.

The mongoose dances around in front of its enemy, eluding the snake’s lightning-swift strikes, then darting in to bite the snake behind the head so the snake cannot reach it. Eventually the mongoose’s continued bite kills the snake.


Therefore, as Andy envisions it, Mongoose Style should concentrate on defensive maneuvers, such as Block and Dodge. It needs at least one, high DCV, attack to simulate the mongoose’s ordinary bite, and another for the lethal damage the mongoose does when it gets its prey into a helpless position.

Designing a martial arts style is a three-step process: First: Come up with a style conception — the principles governing the martial art, what effect those principles have on types of maneuvers the style includes, what those maneuvers look like, and so forth. Second: Choose maneuvers corresponding to the principles in the style conception. In most cases you should be able to pick maneuvers from the standard list on page 9; sometimes you’ll have to use the rules presented below to design all-new maneuvers. Third: Now you design the style by taking the maneuvers, then adding special Style Elements, determining the Skills associated with the style, deciding whether the style qualifies for a Style Distinctive Feature, and so forth.

Style Conception The first step in the design process is to develop a style conception. This involves creating a common philosophy, approach, or “theme” which relate all the style’s maneuvers to each other. Style conceptions typically fall into one of three categories: the Animal Kingdom; Energy Flow; and Constraints. THE ANIMAL KINGDOM Animal or natural motifs inspire many martial arts. Such styles attempt to emulate the animal’s movement, speed, and methods of attack. When designing new styles, you can take your inspiration from more fanciful animals which haven’t inspired styles in real life — or perhaps which, like dragons and phoenixes, are entirely mythic. Example: Andy particularly admires the way the mongoose can fight and kill deadly snakes, such as cobras. Inspired by this, he decides to create a Mongoose Style martial art.

ENERGY FLOW Fighters develop some styles around the concept of energy flow — the direction and redirection of energy. Some styles concentrate on straight lines of force, such as powerful, direct attacks; others focus on circular motions and employ force more indirectly, such as through redirecting an attacker’s energy via throws and grabs. A few esoteric styles depend upon the ebb and flow of the figher’s internal energy, such as ch’i, ki, or prana. CONSTRAINTS Lastly, many martial arts arise to deal with constraints — circumstances which ordinarily don’t allow for effective fighting. For example, Brazilian slaves created Capoeira. Because slaves are often manacled, they designed Capoeira to allow fighting while in chains (it uses the feet instead of the hands in many instances). Therefore, capoeiristas don’t suffer the same penalties most martial artists do when their hands are bound. Similarly, slaves are often watched, so early capoeiristas learned to disguise their fighting as dancing and tumbling, thus fooling their overseers. These restrictions require capoeiristas to learn such things as walking on their hands, kicking and fighting while upside down, and tumbling and flipping — which means they have to know the Acrobatics Skill.

STYLE BUILDING BLOCKS With your conception firmly in mind, you can proceed to the second and third steps, which are to choose maneuvers (and if necessary, even build them from scratch) and other style elements (Skills, Weapon Elements, and the like). Of course, the GM has the final say on whether any maneuver or martial arts style is appropriate for his campaign. Once he approves a martial arts

Hero Games


maneuver or style, he may later, after sufficient playtesting, decide he needs to revise it or drop it entirely because it’s too efficient or unbalancing. How can you tell if a maneuver or style is too efficient or unbalancing? One good sign is if everybody in the campaign wants to buy it all of a sudden. This means it’s so combat-efficient players are more than happy to trade in their characters’ individuality for an especially point-efficient attack. When this happens, re-evaluate the maneuver or style, determine what’s “too good,” and modify things to reduce the style’s efficiency slightly — but only slightly. Then, begin evaluating it again.

SPECIAL ELEMENTS These are two special style elements which affect all maneuvers in a specific style.

CHOOSING AND DESIGNING MARTIAL ARTS MANEUVERS Once you’ve got your style conception in mind, you need to choose the appropriate Martial Maneuvers for it. Pick as many as possible from the list on page 9; it will save you a lot of time and effort. Most styles should require no new maneuvers at all; you can find everything they need on that page. If you have a maneuver in mind which isn’t covered by any of the ones listed, you can design it from scratch (with the GM’s permission, of course). See Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers, below, for complete rules on designing maneuvers.

STYLE DISTINCTIVE FEATURE A true martial arts style can, with the GM’s permission, include a Style Distinctive Feature (discussed on page 135). The GM should only give his approval if all the style’s maneuvers are built around a consistent concept and he doesn’t think the style designer has created an unbalancing or abusive style.

How Many Maneuvers? A Martial Arts style may not have less than three maneuvers. Most should have at least five maneuvers, but a style can have as few as three. (Of the real-world martial arts styles presented in Chapter One, the only ones with fewer than five maneuvers is Ancient Boxing, a primitive style, and Naginatajutsu and Saijutsu, fairly simple weaponsbased styles.) A style may theoretically have as many maneuvers as its designers want, but you’ll soon reach a point of diminishing returns, where each new maneuver overlaps others to such a degree it’s fairly worthless. Remember, to purchase Martial Arts, a character must spend at least 10 points on maneuvers, which means a minimum of two 5-point maneuvers. SKILLS Every martial art style described in Chapter One includes a list of Skills. These are Skills a wellrounded practitioner of that particular style should have. Most are not absolutely mandatory; a character usually can learn a style’s maneuvers without learning any of its associated Skills. However, a character must buy a Skill listed with an asterisk (*) when he buys the style (even if he doesn’t buy all of its maneuvers). For example, a character can’t learn Fencing without WF: Blades, or Capoeira without Acrobatics. Most dedicated martial artists should have a Knowledge Skill with their style(s) on at least an 8-. Some styles include specific Weapon Familiarities, Acrobatics and/or Breakfall, and even such Skills as Stealth, Climbing, or Streetwise, all depending on the origins and special goals of that martial art.

Extra DC: +4 points for +1 DC with all normal martial arts attacks (also counts as +½ DC with all K-Damage Martial Maneuvers and +5 STR with Exert-based maneuvers). Weapons: It costs +1 point for the ability to use maneuvers in a style with one weapons group (weapons-based arts sometimes allow characters to buy the “Barehanded” Weapon Element to use the style without weapons).

DESIGNING MARTIAL ARTS MANEUVERS If you’ve thought of a maneuver you can’t simulate with one of the Martial Maneuvers listed on page 9, you can (with your GM’s permission) design your own maneuver. THE BASIC MANEUVER Most maneuvers derive from the standard Strike maneuver (which all characters know — see page 384 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). They take a Half Phase to execute; grant +0 OCV and +0 DCV; and do the character’s STR damage (or weapon damage, if he’s wielding one). As described below, characters can also use the standard Block and Dodge maneuvers as Maneuver Bases. ADDING ELEMENTS Once you’ve got a base for the maneuver, you add elements to it. For example, you can increase or decrease the damage it does, or the OCV or DCV modifiers it applies. You can change the type of damage it does, or Grab or Disarm an opponent instead of injuring him. Each addition, deletion, or change is called a Maneuver Element. Elements which improve a maneuver are Helpful Elements; those which restrict or reduce its effectiveness are Restrictive Elements. COST RESTRICTIONS When creating maneuvers with this system, you should generally operate under one important restriction:

No Maneuver Can Cost Less Than 3 Points or More Than 5. If your maneuver cost comes out to be less than 3, rewrite the maneuver or round the cost up to 3. If, for example, you wanted a maneuver that was +0 OCV, +0 DCV, and gave +2d6 damage, this would ordinarily cost only 2 points. But since the

REDUNDANT MANEUVERS You shouldn’t create a martial arts style with redundant maneuvers. For instance, if the style has a fast, damaging (but not too brutal) punch, you might define that with the Fast Strike maneuver. And if the same style has a fast, damaging kick that falls short of the raw damage of a roundhouse kick, you might also want to define that as a Fast Strike. But that’s putting the same maneuver twice in the same martial arts style. A player isn’t going to want to buy the same maneuver twice, under two different names. If a real-world style has two different moves which, in game mechanics terms, are the same maneuver, put that maneuver in the style once. If the GM approves, give the maneuver both names (for example, “Punch/ Kick”). Also with GM approval, assign a different optional location roll to each name (for example, the Punch taking a 2d6+1 roll, the kick taking a 2d6+7 roll) (if you don’t want to deal with that complexity, just assign the maneuver a 3d6 location roll instead). The temptation to put in redundant maneuvers occurs most often when someone adapts a real-world martial art to the game. When a player designs his own art from scratch, this is much less likely to happen. Another form of redundant maneuver to watch out for is the maneuver that’s so similar to another maneuver that they effectively duplicate each other. The best example of this is Martial Strike and Fast Strike. The only difference between these maneuvers is where they place the CV Continued on next page


The Ultimate Martial Artist Continued from last page

bonus. In most (but not all) cases, it’s pointless to have both maneuvers in the same style, since a character with a Martial Strike can spend the 4 points a Fast Strike would cost him on two Combat Skill Levels with his Martial Strike (giving him +2 OCV and DCV for the same amount of points).

minimum maneuver cost is 3 points, you must either improve the maneuver to cost 3, or just round the cost up to 3 without any improvement, as you choose. If your maneuver cost comes out to be more than 5, tone the maneuver down until it costs 5 points or less. For example, you could build a maneuver that gives +2 OCV, +3 DCV, and provided +4 Killing DC. However, this would cost 18 points, and the listed maximum is 5. You’d have to tone the maneuver way down in effectiveness and bring it down to 5 points or less. This rule regarding the cost of maneuvers is a general one you should follow in most circumstances. However, there may be special occasions when martial artists, particularly Superheroic-level ones, might be allowed to design maneuvers which violate it. Such violations should be allowed only after great consideration. UNARMED VERSUS ARMED STYLES Another thing to consider when creating a martial art is whether the style is unarmed or armed. Most are unarmed, but characters can only use a few of them with specific weapons. Unarmed styles include what we traditionally think of as martial arts: Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido, and other styles relying on empty-hand attacks, not weapons, to do damage. Characters cannot use most unarmed styles with weapons (or they require special, additional, training if a character wants to use them with weapons — represented by the Weapon Style Element). For example, an Aikido practitioner can’t pick up an axe and use his Aikido maneuvers with it. Unless otherwise listed or described, all martial arts styles are unarmed. Armed martial arts — fighting styles reflecting a character’s skill and training with a particular weapon or weapons — include Arnis/Kali/Escrima, Fencing, Kenjutsu, Kyujutsu, and Naginatajutsu. Characters may only use an armed style with weapons from one or more 1-point Weapon Familiarity weapon groups, specified by the style’s designer or when they learn the style. Examples include the Blades Group, Karate Weapons, or Staff. Generally, a character cannot use an armed style without the appropriate weapon; a fencer cannot make a Lunge with his fist. However, the Barehanded Weapon Element will allow characters to use some maneuvers in some armed styles while weaponless. The cost of maneuvers remains the same, whether a style is armed or unarmed. An Offensive Strike is an Offensive Strike, regardless of how you perform it. For information on how Martial Maneuvers add to the damage done by weapons, see the “Adding Damage” section of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. If you create an armed style, note which weapon (or, rarely, weapons) are appropriate for it. When writing up the style, make sure to include the proper Weapon Familiarity under Skills and to put an asterisk beside it to make it mandatory for all practitioners of the style. The GM must approve any decision to make a style usable with a weapon or class of weapons.

MANEUVER BASIS When designing a maneuver, the first thing to ask yourself is this: What is the purpose, or basis, of the maneuver? The HERO System martial arts design rules use ten Maneuver Bases. Some are Exclusive, meaning a maneuver can only have one of them. Some are Non-Exclusive, meaning a maneuver can have just one or can have more than one of them. A NonExclusive Basis can be the only Maneuver Base in a maneuver, or a maneuver can have both a NonExclusive Basis and an Exclusive Basis.


Purpose of Bases


Locks up an opponent’s weapon


Blocks an incoming attack


Attempts to knock an opponent’s weapon out of his grasp


Gives the character a DCV bonus against attacks


Disrupts opponent’s senses

Grab Weapon

Gives the attacker a hold on the opponent’s weapon


Does damage to the opponent

Non-Exclusive Basis

Purpose of Bases


Uses non-damaging strength on the opponent

Grab Opponent

Gives the attacker a hold on the opponent


Puts the opponent on the ground

You’re familiar with Bind from the styles described earlier, and with Block, Disarm, Dodge, Strike, Grab, and Throw from the HERO System 5th Edition. Note that the Throw Basis, in and of itself, does not do damage to a target; a Throw maneuver could be gentle enough to do no damage at all to a foe. Refer to Martial Throw on page 400 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised and in the Combat Maneuvers section of this book for more information. The Exert Basis means the character can exert his Strength (usually with a bonus from the maneuver) on his target for one specific purpose, such as to increase the chances of a successful Disarm, decrease the target’s chances to break out of a Grab, push the target backwards, or the like. Many Exert maneuvers are listed in the maneuvers chart in on page 9 of this book. The extra STR from the Exert does not cost extra END. The Flash Basis means the character has somehow temporarily “blinded” or disabled one of his target’s senses. Common attacks of this sort include poking someone in the eyes, clapping their ears to temporarily deafen them, and striking certain nerve clusters to numb the sense of touch.

Hero Games EXCLUSIVE VERSUS NONEXCLUSIVE BASES You can only use one Exclusive Basis in a maneuver. You can’t, for instance, create a maneuver which performs both a Block and a Strike. A maneuver doesn’t have to have an Exclusive Basis; some use only Non-Exclusive Bases. You can use none, one, or several Non-Exclusive Bases in a maneuver, and can create a maneuver which has both Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Bases. For example, you could have a maneuver where you establish a hold on a target and make it hard for him to escape (the Grab Basis with the Exert Basis), one where you throw a target roughly to the ground, doing him harm (the Strike Basis with the Throw Basis), or one where you establish a hold on a target and hit him simultaneously (the Strike Basis with the Grab Basis). Whatever you choose, this is all just the work of conceiving the maneuver — and understanding the limitation of which bases you can combine to create a maneuver. To actually build the maneuver, to buy the appropriate bases, you have to start shelling out Character Points for Maneuver Elements (see below). TYPES OF DAMAGE Maneuver damage comes in three types: NDamage (Normal Damage), K-Damage (Killing Damage), and NND (No Normal Defense Damage). A single maneuver may have only one of these three types of damage. MANEUVER ELEMENTS The accompanying table lists the Maneuver Elements you can use to build your own Martial Maneuvers. In the first column is the name of the Element. In the second column is the brief description of the Element and its cost. In the third column is the maximum amount of the Element which may be added to a maneuver. To build a maneuver, simply take your Maneuver Basis (or Bases) and add the Elements which will customize it (or them) to your satisfaction. Then make sure that the cost is between 3 and 5 points, and you’ll have a complete maneuver. “Take Once” means the Element can only be taken once in a maneuver. You cannot, for instance, take “Fall” three times for -3 points to the maneuver cost, and explain that you fall down three times during the maneuver execution. That’s not just silly, it’s rules abuse.

Element Descriptions These are the maneuver Elements: Abort The character can Abort his next Phase to perform this maneuver on a Segment not normally his Phase. (See Aborting An Action, page 361 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). This adds +1 point to the cost of the maneuver. Important Note: You can never Abort to any






+1 point if you can abort to maneuver

Take Once


+1 point to bind enemy weapon

Take Once


+0 points if maneuver is based on Block instead of Strike (Abort is Free)

Take Once


+1 point per +1 DCV up to +2, +2 points for additional +1 DCV up to +3



+0 points if maneuver is intended to disable a limb

Take Once


+2 points if maneuver disarms opponent

Take Once


+0 points if maneuver is based on Dodge instead of Strike (Abort is Free)

Take Once


+1 point per +1d6 Sense Group Flash up to +2d6, +2 points per additional +1d6 Flash; +1 point per additional Sense Group



+3 points if can attack after Full Move

Take Once

Grab Oppt

+3 points if hit Grabs two of opponent’s limbs, Take Once +1 point per additional limb

Grab Weap

+3 points if hit Grabs target’s weapon

Take Once


+3 points per +1 DC (Killing)

+4 DC/K


+1 point per +1d6 normal DMG up to +2d6, +2 points per additional +1d6


NND DMG +1 point per +½d6 NND up to +1d6, +2 points per additional +½d6 NND



+1 point per +1 OCV up to +2

+2 OCV


+1 point per +5 STR up to +10 STR, +2 points per additional +5 STR


STR Strike

+0 points if maneuver is based on Strike (+0 OCV, +0 DCV, does STR damage)

Take Once


+1 point to throw opponent to ground

Take Once


+3 points to do +(v/3)d6 extra damage



+1 point to do +(v/5)d6 extra damage


maneuver which does damage or is in any way aggressive, which includes any maneuver with the Disarm or Throw Elements. Therefore, you may only build Abort into Blocks, Dodges, and Escapes (an Escape is an Exert maneuver which uses the STR bonus only for getting out of an enemy’s Grab). Bind Characters can only use this maneuver Element against a weapon. If successful, it “binds” the weapon, pushing it away or locking it into position somehow so its wielder cannot use it. The character using the maneuver does not suffer any damage from grabbing or touching the weapon (if that’s how the maneuver is defined). Bind is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with Bind may not also have any of the following Elements: Block, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike. This Element adds +1 point to the cost of the maneuver. Block This maneuver is based on the normal Block. It grants basic modifiers — +0 to OCV and +0 to


The Ultimate Martial Artist





-1 point per -1 DCV up to -2 DCV



-1 point if you fall

Take Once


-2 points if maneuver must follow other specific successful maneuver

Take Once

Half Move Required

-1 point if maneuver requires character to make a Half Move; see text

Take Once

Lasting Restriction

-1 points if the maneuver’s penalties last for +1 Phase

Take Once


-1 point per -1 OCV up to -2


One Limb

-1 point if Grab only Grabs one limb



-3 points if the maneuver can only be used following a specific maneuver used by one’s opponent

Take Once


-1 point if maneuver is at half STR, -2 points if No STR maneuver uses no STR

Take Full DMG

-2 points if attacker takes full damage

Take Once

Take Half DMG

-1 point if attacker takes half damage

Take Once

Time +

-1 point if attack takes extra segment (landing at end of next segment)

Take Once


-1 point if opponent automatically attacks first Take Once in next Phase

DCV. As with the normal Block, it keeps attacks from hitting the target, sets up the defender to strike first on the next Phase (assuming they both act in the same Phase), and comes with a free Abort option. A Block requires the character doing the blocking to compare his OCV to the opponent’s OCV, rather than to his DCV. Once a character has decided to Block, he can block multiple attacks in a single Phase. (See Block in the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 383.) The Block Element adds +0 points to the cost of the maneuver. Block is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with the Block Element may not have any of the following Elements: Bind, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike. DCV This represents a penalty to the attacker’s DCV. It’s used to build maneuvers which tend to expose the attacker to counterattack. The maximum penalty you can take on a maneuver is -2 DCV. A character may not have both DCV - penalties and DCV + bonuses on the same maneuver. DCV + This represents a bonus to the attacker’s DCV. Use it to build maneuvers so fast, graceful, or unpredictable they make the attacker more difficult to counterattack. The maximum bonus you can take on a maneuver is +3 DCV. A character may not have both DCV + bonuses and DCV - penalties on the same maneuver. Disable This Element signifies a maneuver intended to

disable or cripple a particular limb, such as many jointbreaks. It adds +0 to the cost of the maneuver because it grants as many restrictions as it does benefits. Like other maneuvers which target specific parts of the body, maneuvers with the Disable Element do not suffer Hit Location Attack Roll or damage penalties or bonuses. For example, a Killing Strike defined as a knee-breaking low kick built with this Element would not be at -6 OCV, and the victim would take full damage — not half BODY and a x2 STUN Multiplier, as normally applies to the Leg region. Instead, the victim takes whatever BODY and STUN damage was rolled on the dice. Any possibility of Impairing or Disabling effects, if the campaign uses those rules, could then be determined (refer to the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 417, and the discussion of Disabling Attacks on page 156 of this book, for more information on attacking to Impair or Disable a limb). The limb targeted by a Disable-based attack generally does not need to be chosen in advance. However, GMs should remember that attacks which “Disable” the Head do not affect the victim’s intelligence or his ability to move the rest of his body, they just prevent him from using his head as a weapon. The drawback to using the Disable Element is that a fighter can only use the attack on limbs. He can’t use it to do generalized damage, or against non-limb-like objects. At the GM’s discretion, a character can define a single specific non-limb target (say, the Chest) for use with the Disable Element if he can use the maneuver only against that Hit Location and no other. Also at the GM’s option, a character can use a Disable maneuver against limb-like objects, such as tree branches. Refer to the discussion of Grab maneuvers on page 386 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised and page 144 of this book for more information on limbs. Disarm A character who successfully performs a Disarm can try to knock a weapon or other hand-held device from his opponent’s grasp. Both characters make STR Rolls, counting only the Normal Damage BODY. If the defender rolls more BODY, he holds onto his weapon. If the attacker rolls more BODY or the rolls are tied, the weapon goes flying ½d6 hexes in the direction of the strike (which is the player’s choice, subject to GM approval). (See Disarm in the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 386.) This Element adds +2 points to the cost of the maneuver. Additional damage bought for the Disarm goes to increasing the character’s Disarm strength, not to doing damage to the target; a Disarm never damages the target. Disarm is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with the Disarm Element may not have any of the other following Elements: Bind, Block, Dodge, Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike. Dodge This means the maneuver is based on the Dodge maneuver instead of the Strike maneuver. The character starts out with no OCV (this maneuver can’t do damage), +3 DCV, and can Abort to the maneuver. This costs +0 points because it grants as

Hero Games many restrictions as advantages. Additional DCV bought with the Dodge starts out costing 2 points per +1 DCV. You may not buy a Dodge maneuver with more than an additional +2 DCV (for a possible total of +5 DCV). You cannot “buy down” the OCV of a Dodge maneuver (in other words, you can’t take the OCV - Element on it to reduce its cost). Dodge is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with the Dodge Element cannot have any of the other following Elements: Bind, Block, Disarm, Flash, Grab Weapon, Strike.

93 Attacks built with this Element do not automatically have to take place at the very end of a character’s move. For example, an

Fall You automatically fall down, in the hex where you performed the attack. This Element subtracts 1 point from the cost of the maneuver. In maneuver listings, this Element is normally indicated by use of the phrase “You Fall.” Flash You use this Exclusive Basis to build maneuvers which disrupt and temporarily “blind” one or more of the target’s Sense Groups. The Flash Basis costs +1 point per 1d6 of Flash up to 2d6, and +2 points per +1d6 thereafter, to a maximum of Flash 4d6. The basic attack affects one Sense Group; the character can purchase additional Sense Groups for +1 point. However, the GM should be wary of Flash maneuvers affecting more than one Sense Group and allow them only when they are balanced. Each Extra DC adds +1d6 to the Flash attack. In most cases, the appropriate form of Flash Defense protects a character against a maneuver with the Flash Basis. However, there may be some exceptions, adjudicated by the GM on a case-bycase basis. For example, a character whose Sight Flash Defense derives from his light-based powers (making him used to bright lights) won’t have much defense against a Martial Flash defined as poking him in the eyes. The GM should also remember that there are many things which would prevent a maneuver with the Flash Basis from working, given its nature. For example, a helmeted character usually is protected from Sight and Hearing Group Flashes, since it’s impossible for the martial artist to reach his eyes and ears to affect them. In maneuver listings, this Basis is indicated by use of the phrase, “[Sense] Group Flash —d6.” Flash is an Exclusive Basis, so a maneuver with the Flash Element cannot have any of the other following Elements: Bind, Block, Disarm, Dodge, Grab Weapon, Strike. FMove A character can perform a maneuver with this Element during or at the end of a Full Move instead of just a Half Move. (This does not mean it’s a ZeroPhase Action; if performed after a Half Move or no move at all, it counts as a Half Phase Action.) For example, combining “FMove” with “Fall,” “Throw,” and “v/5” creates a flying tackle a character can perform at the end of a full run. This Element adds +3 points to the cost of the maneuver.

attack defined as a Strike made while the character moves past someone (a “Martial Move By,” if you will) could take place at any point during the character’s move. However, the GM should treat this aspect of the FMove Element carefully and not allow players to abuse it; most attacks with the FMove Element should still take place at or near the end of the attacker’s full move. If used indiscriminately, the FMove Element can make some characters “un-attackable,” which unbalances the game. Example: Nakada Shigeru knows Kenjutsu. He fights a duel with another samurai and wishes to use his Running Stroke maneuver (a Passing Strike). His opponent stands 5” away from him; Nakada-san has 9” of Running. His FMovebased attack takes place 5” into his full move of 9”, so when the attack ends, he’s 4” beyond his opponent. If Nakada-san had been significantly closer to his foe (say, 2-3” distance), the GM might consider forbidding the use of the Running Stroke, since it could unfairly place Nakada-san out of the range of a counterattack (i.e., the attack, if used repeatedly in such situations, could affect game balance, so the GM disallows it). You cannot take this Element for a maneuver which already has the Time + Element. Follow This means the maneuver must follow some other specific successful maneuver (defined when you create the maneuver). An example would be a maneuver which grants a bonus to Crushing STR;


The Ultimate Martial Artist a character can only perform this maneuver on his Phase following a successful Grab. Both maneuvers may not occur on the same Phase; the required attack takes place on one Phase, and the following maneuver on the next. A Following maneuver may also Follow itself; for example, a Crush may follow a Grab or a previous Crush. For a Following maneuver to succeed, the character must have successfully performed (or maintained) at least one of the maneuvers it Follows on his previous Phase. Since the Following maneuver does take place until the next Phase, the character must make a new Attack Roll. Visualize this as the attacker having to change grips or angles of attack to accomplish the maneuver. This applies even when the maneuver Follows itself. With maneuvers following Grabs, the victim is at ½ DCV. (At the GM’s option, the Following attack could occur without requiring the character to make a new Attack Roll, but this should be rare.) Example: Thunderhead, a SPD 3 pro wrestler, has a Crush maneuver, which must follow a Grab. On Phase 4, he successfully Grabs Joe Hall “The Wrecking Ball.” On Phase 8, he may use the Crush maneuver, since it follows Grab, but he must roll to hit against Hall’s new, reduced DCV. If he misses, the Crush doesn’t work, but he maintains the Grab on Hall. Whether he hits or he misses, on Phase 12 he may use the Crush maneuver again, since it can follow itself, but again he must roll to hit. This Element subtracts 2 points from the cost of the maneuver. In maneuver listings, this Element is normally indicated by use of the phrase “Must Follow [Name of Maneuver].” Grab Opponent This Element allows the character to get his opponent in a hold. A character could define a maneuver which uses it as a simple hold placed on the enemy, a bearhug, an elaborate joint-lock, or anything similar. This Element adds +3 points to the cost of the maneuver. The basic Grab Element allows the character to Grab two limbs. Each additional limb costs +1 point. Most joint-lock maneuvers only Grab one to two limbs; pins and full body holds may incapacitate 4 or 5 limbs, thus preventing the character from moving or attacking at all. Of course, characters can use multiple Grabs on a single character to successively pinion all of his limbs — it just takes a few Phases and several successful Attack Rolls. The Grabbing character may, in the same Phase as a successful Grab is executed, apply STR damage to his opponent (crushing or strangling him) or may throw or bear his opponent to the ground (for normal STR damage or no damage at all, as the player prefers). See page 144 of this book for further options. Characters may buy additional damage for this maneuver as N-Damage (for crushing or strangling), or as additional STR for holding on to a struggling target, or as both. A Grab maneuver

could have +2d6 damage, costing 2 points, and +10 STR for holding on, costing 2 more points. For more information on Grabbing and its effects on combat, see page 386 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Grab Weapon This Element allows the character to establish a hold on his enemy’s weapon (or other item carried in hand). The Grabbing character may, in the same Phase as a successful Grab is executed, make a STR Versus STR Contest against the target; if he wins, he wrests the held item away from his foe. (If the target wins, the target wrests it out of the character’s grasp, and if the roll is a tie, neither can pull it away from the other.) This Element adds +3 points to the cost of the maneuver. You buy Extra DCs for this maneuver as additional STR for wresting the weapon away. Half Move Required This Restrictive Element is taken for any maneuver which by its nature requires the character to make a Half Move, usually to “build up momentum.” If the character cannot make a Half Move, he cannot use the maneuver (or, at the GM’s discretion, can only use it to greatly reduced effect). This Element is similar to the Gestures Limitation, because a character can only use a maneuver with it if he can move freely and is not confined or restrained. Flying kicks and similar maneuvers may have this restriction. Half Move Required cannot be taken for any maneuver which has the FMove Element. It can only be taken once for any maneuver. The GM may, if he wishes, expand the definition of what amounts to a “Half Move” to cover any sort of requirement that a character make a particular movement or have a certain amount of space available before he can perform a maneuver. For example, you can use Half Move Required to simulate a maneuver which a character could only perform if he had at least 1” of open space around him on all sides. Similarly, if the maneuver required a character to make some specific motion, such as a cartwheel, before he used the maneuver, you could also simulate this with Half Move Required. K-Damage This stands for Killing Damage. If the maneuver does Killing Damage instead of Normal Damage, additional damage costs +3 points per +1 DC, up to a maximum of +4 DC. The character’s STR also adds to the maneuver’s damage, at +1 DC per 5 points of STR, but this added damage may not more than double the purchased damage for the maneuver (purchased damage includes Extra DC). For example, if a maneuver does +2 DC of K-Damage, and the character with the maneuver has STR 15, he could add +3 DC to the maneuver... except that this more than doubles the purchased damage of the maneuver. He can only add +2 DC to the maneuver, for a total of 4 DC, or 1d6+1 K.

Hero Games Important Note: You may not mix damage types in a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only one of the following three types of damage bonus: K-Damage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneuver may have both K-Damage and v/5, where each 5” of relative movement translates into +1 DC of added K-Damage (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 406-07). Lasting Restriction A character can only take this Restrictive Element for a maneuver which has at least -1 worth of penalties to OCV or DCV. It signifies that the CV penalty lasts for one additional Phase beyond when it would normally disappear. It does not matter for purposes of this Element what maneuver is used in that additional Phase, the penalty still remains. Example: Chang wants to build a Sacrifice Strike-like maneuver which simulates an allout attack he has a difficult time recovering from. He takes the Lasting Restriction Element on his Sacrifice Strike maneuver, reducing its costs to 4 points but subjecting himself to the -2 DCV penalty for an extra Phase. Chang, SPD 6, gets into a fight with Jeung, SPD 5. Chang decides to try to finish Jeung off quickly and uses his Sacrifice Strike in Phase 2. Unfortunately, Chang misses. Jeung also misses in Phase 3. In Phase 4, Chang can act again. Normally, the -2 DCV penalty from the Offensive Strike would no longer apply, since it is a new Phase, but because he took the Lasting Restriction Element on his maneuver, he will start at a base -2 DCV in Phase 4, regardless of what attack he uses. Lasting Restriction penalties do not accumulate if maneuvers with the Element are used in succession. Thus, in the example above, if Chang had used his Sacrifice Strike again in Phase 4, he would be at -4 DCV (-2 from Phase 2, and another -2 for the maneuver he uses in Phase 4). Then, in Phase 6, he would start off with a base -2 DCV penalty because he used a maneuver with a Lasting Restriction in Phase 4 — not a base -4 DCV. Lasting Restriction subtracts one point from the cost of the maneuver. It is most appropriate for maneuvers with DCV penalties, but you can use it for maneuvers with OCV penalties as well. N-Damage This stands for Normal Damage, and adds damage dice to the STR used with the maneuver. It costs +1 point per +1d6 normal damage up to +2d6, then costs +2 points per additional +1d6 up to the maximum of +4d6 (therefore +4d6 would cost 6 points). Important Note: You may not mix damage types in a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only one of the following three types of damage bonus: KDamage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneuver may have both N-Damage and v/5, where each 5” of relative movement translates into +1d6 added N-Damage.

95 NND DMG This stands for No Normal Defense Damage (see page 265 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). Each +1 point spent gives the maneuver +½d6 NND, up to 1d6; each +½d6 thereafter costs +2 points, up to its maximum of 2d6 NND. The character’s STR does not add damage to this maneuver, so NND DMG maneuvers must take the STR - Element at the No STR level (for -2 points). As with any separately-purchased No Normal Defense attack, this maneuver must have a reasonably common defense, such as Life Support (Self-Contained Breathing) for a choking attack or Armor for nerve strikes. See page 148 of this book for a list of suggested defenses. Important Note: You may not mix damage types in a single maneuver. A maneuver may have only one of the following three types of damage bonus: K-Damage, N-Damage, or NND DMG. A maneuver may have both NND DMG and v/5, where each 5” of relative movement translates into +½d6 NND DMG. The added damage cannot more than double the base damage; if the maneuver normally does 2d6 NND, then extra damage from a +v/5 Element cannot boost the maneuver up to more than 4d6 NND, no matter how fast the characters are going. OCV This Element indicates a penalty to the attacker’s OCV. It’s used to represent maneuvers which are awkward and less accurate than ordinary attacks. The maximum penalty you can take on a maneuver is -2 OCV. It subtracts 1 point from the maneuver per -1 OCV taken to the maneuver. A character may not have both OCV - penalties and OCV + bonuses on the same maneuver. OCV + This Element indicates a bonus to the attacker’s OCV. You use it to represent maneuvers so fast, powerful, or unpredictable a defender is less able to anticipate them or defend against them. The maximum bonus you can take on a maneuver is +2 OCV. This Element costs +1 point to the maneuver per +1 OCV taken to the maneuver. A character may not have both OCV + bonuses and OCV penalties on the same maneuver. One Limb This Restrictive Element applies to Grab maneuvers which only immobilize one limb. Many joint-locks, choke holds, and similar maneuvers take this restriction. This Element subtracts 1 point from the cost of a Grab. Response This Restrictive Element applies to maneuvers which can only follow a specific maneuver used by one’s opponent. The attacker’s maneuver can be defined in fairly general terms (such as “a punch,” “a kick,” or “a Nerve Strike”), but cannot simply be defined as “an offensive maneuver.” The GM has final say-so over whether the attacker’s maneuver has been defined properly; the more specific or detailed a definition, the better.


The Ultimate Martial Artist This Element subtracts 3 points from the cost of a maneuver. In maneuver descriptions this Element is indicated by the words “Can Only Be Used After X,” where X is the attacker’s maneuver. STR The character using a maneuver with this Element cannot use some or all of his STR with the maneuver. It subtracts 1 point if he can only use half his STR with the maneuver, or 2 points if he can use none of his STR with the maneuver. A character may not have both STR - penalties and STR + bonuses on the same maneuver. STR + The character may add to his STR for this maneuver. This Element costs 1 point per +5 STR up to +10 STR, then it costs +2 points per additional +5 STR up to the maximum of +20 STR. Important Note: This STR must be defined as being for one purpose only. For example, it may be Only For Holding On With Grab, Only For Shoving, Only For Escaping Grab, Only To Resist Shove, and so forth. A Grab maneuver may have both an NDamage bonus and a STR + bonus; the N-Damage would augment the STR damage done if the character decides to apply STR to hurt the victim, while the STR + bonus would improve his chances to hold onto the victim. At the GM’s option, a character may also have an NND DMG bonus and a STR + bonus, where the STR adds only to the Grab Element; ordinarily, this would not be allowed, since NND DMG maneuvers take the STR - Element at the 0 STR level. If the GM allows a character to purchase such a maneuver, the character cannot take that Restrictive Element, but the maneuver’s STR + bonus still does not add to his NND DMG. A character may not have both STR + bonuses and STR - penalties on the same maneuver. Strike This maneuver does damage to the target. It starts out with +0 OCV, +0 DCV, takes a Half Phase to use, and does the character’s normal STR damage to the target. Even if the maneuver is built in such a way that it does no damage to its target, it counts as an attack (i.e., the character cannot follow it with another action in the same Phase). It’s possible to add the STR - Element to the maneuver so that it does little or no damage, which is especially appropriate with Throw maneuvers which do no harm to the target. The Strike Basis is an Exclusive Basis, so a Strike maneuver may have none of the following bases in it: Bind, Block, Disarm, Dodge, Flash, Grab Weapon. Take Full DMG The character takes full damage from the maneuver. This is especially appropriate for collision-based maneuvers. This Element subtracts 2 points from the cost of the maneuver. For example, a STR 15 character performing a STR+3d6 Tackle with the Take Full DMG Element on it would do 6d6 damage to his victim and would

also sustain 6d6 damage when he successfully performed the maneuver. With NND DMG and K-Damage attacks, the character takes an equivalent DC of Normal Damage (Physical). For example, if the attack does 2d6 K (6 DC), the character sustains 6d6 Normal Damage, and if the attack does 2d6 NND (4 DC), the character sustains 4d6 Normal Damage. Take Half DMG This Element is exactly like the Takes Full DMG Element, except that the character performing the maneuver only takes half damage, not full damage. It subtracts 1 point from the cost of the maneuver. Throw Successful use of a maneuver with this NonExclusive Basis throws the opponent to the ground; in maneuver listings, this is indicated with use of the words “Target Falls,” “He Falls,” or “Opponent Falls,” instead of “Throw.” Throws are typically bought as Strikes, so the target takes the attacker’s STR damage from impacting the ground. This Element adds +1 point to the cost of the maneuver. Throws have an additional effect — if both characters have their next Phase in the same Segment, they allow the character who makes the Throw to attack the Thrown character first in their next Phase regardless of relative DEX, similar to a Block. This represents the disadvantageous position of the Thrown character (either because he’s on the ground, or because he has to do something to get back on his feet). At the GM’s option, the Thrown character can avoid this effect if he makes a Breakfall roll by half (a straight DEX Roll may be substituted, if the GM prefers). Refer to page 152 of this book for more information on Throws and their effects, including an explanation of the relationship between Throws and simultaneous attacks (note that Throws do not automatically Block incoming attacks). Time + A maneuver with this Element takes extra time to perform. A character cannot move in the Phase in which he prepares or performs this attack. It subtracts 1 point from the maneuver cost if the attack is not launched until the end of the next Segment. You cannot take this Element for a maneuver which already has the FMove or Half Move Required Elements. This Element is especially appropriate for maneuvers where the attacker must prepare himself for a second or two before launching the attack. It’s best used to simulate maneuvers where you have to stand in one place to summon a lot of power into a strike, and is sometimes taken with the DCV - Element. In maneuver listings, this Element is indicated in the Phase column of the chart, where “1+” is listed instead of “½.” Unbalancing Take this Restrictive Element for maneuvers which tend to throw the user off-balance. Because of this, the user’s opponent gets to attack him first in the first Segment in which they both have a

Hero Games Phase, regardless of relative DEX — sort of the opposite of the effect of a Block or Throw. However, unlike a Block or a Throw, this effect still applies even if the characters’ first Phase in common is not their next Phase — if necessary, it “carries over” and applies on Segment 12, when all characters move. (If this were not so, characters could take this Restrictive Element on maneuvers and then use them only on Phases when they knew the restriction wouldn’t affect them, because their next Phase would not coincide with their opponents’.) The effect does not “carry over” beyond a Phase which the characters normally have in common, but which they do not have this Turn because one of them Aborted that Phase. Example: A SPD 3, DEX 14 character and a SPD 4, DEX 20 character are fighting each other. In Phase 3, the SPD 4 character uses a maneuver with the Unbalancing Restrictive Element. Since the two characters do not have a Phase in common until Segment 12, the penalty from the maneuver “carries over” until Phase 12, when the SPD 3 character gets to attack first, even though his opponent has a higher DEX. If the SPD 3 character Aborts his Phase 12 (say, to Dodge the SPD 4 character’s Phase 9 attack), the maneuver penalty vanishes, since the SPD 3 character voluntarily “skipped” his own Phase 12 by Aborting. This Element subtracts one point from the cost of a maneuver. v/3 This Element is identical to the v/5 Element (see below), but does more damage. v/5 A maneuver with this Element gets a damage bonus based on the relative velocity of the two combatants. The maneuver does +(v/5)d6 normal damage, where “v” is the relative velocity. This Element adds +1 point to the cost of a maneuver, and may only be bought once. “Relative” velocity means the relationship between the velocities of the attacker and his target — sometimes they add together, sometimes they cancel each other out. For example, if two attackers rush together at 8” each, their relative velocity is 16”; the attack gets +3d6 normal damage. If one runs toward the other at 6”, the relative velocity is 6” and the attack gets +1d6 normal damage. Even if a character only makes a Half Move, his velocity counts as if it’s his full movement speed, because characters can accelerate to their full running speed with a Half Move. Therefore, if a character has Running 8” and makes a 4” Half Move, count his velocity as 8”. GMs may alter this rule if they feel it makes the v/5 Element too powerful. For example, you could distinguish the effects of v/5 based on the type of maneuver: if the maneuver uses the attacker’s impact to injure the target (such as Flying Tackle), velocities should add together; if the

97 maneuver involves using the target’s own momentum against him (such as Martial Throw), then only the target’s velocity matters. Important Note: v/5 may also be added to NND DMG and K-Damage attacks. It adds +1 DC (½d6 NND or +1 DC killing damage) per 5” of velocity to those maneuvers (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, pages 406-07).

MONGOOSE STYLE Now, as an example of use of these rules, let’s put together the Mongoose Style maneuvers described earlier in this section. We decided earlier that the Mongoose Style would have a Block, a Dodge, a high-DCV attack to simulate the mongoose bite, a grab, and a maneuver to perform damage on a held foe. We’ll add another maneuver: an Escape, appropriate for the high-DEX, wriggly mongoose. Now, let’s build these six maneuvers. According to our earlier definition, most or all of the Mongoose Style maneuvers will be high DCV. Mongoose Bite: This maneuver, a crushing technique using the hands, is performed after the Mongoose Grab: the attacker proceeds to crush the defender’s skull and break bones. It’s a Killing Damage attack. OCV -2 (-2 points), DCV -2 (-2 points), KDamage +4 DC (12 points), Follows Grab (-2 points), Time/Extra Segment) -1 point). Total: 5 points. If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Bite takes a 2d6+1 location roll; this indicates where the Grab landed.


ou can observe

a lot just by watchin’.’ — Yogi Berra


The Ultimate Martial Artist Mongoose Block: Unlike the ordinary Martial Block, this maneuver is high-DCV but nothing special for OCV, even though the Block is an OCV versus OCV attack. So, we take +0 OCV (0 points), +3 DCV (4 points), Block (0 point, includes Abort). Total: 4 points. If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Block takes No Location. Mongoose Dodge: This is the ordinary Martial Dodge: OCV not relevant, DCV +5 (maneuver starts with +3 DCV; +2 more DCV costs 4 points), Dodge (+0 point), Abort (+0 point because it’s part of the Dodge element). Total: 4 points. If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Dodge takes No Location. Mongoose Escape: This is similar to the ordinary Martial Escape, but has a slightly better DCV. OCV +0 (0 points), DCV +1 (1 point), +15 to STR versus Grabs (4 points). Total: 5 points. (The extra DCV doesn’t help during the Escape, but does help if the character is attacked in the same Segment once he is free.) If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Escape takes No Location.

Mongoose Grab: This is what enables the Mongoose practitioner to get his hands on his foe. It’s not even as accurate as the normal Martial Grab but still gives the martial artist a DCV bonus. OCV -2 (-2 points), DCV +2 (2 points), Grab (3 points). Total: 3 points. If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Grab is normally counted as taking No Location. If it’s followed by a Mongoose Bite, you check for the location of the Grab and Bite with a 2d6+1 location roll. Mongoose Strike: This is a fast blow that does only the character’s normal STR damage. OCV +0 (0 points), DCV +3 (4 points). Total: 4 points. If you use the optional location rules, the Mongoose Strike takes a 2d6+1 location roll. Those are the basic maneuvers of the style. They give the character what we described originally: a fast, highly defensive style allowing the practitioner to stay loose, grab his target, and destroy the target with the fearsome “bite.” See how to incorporate those maneuvers into a HERO System martial arts style on page 101.

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ot all martial arts involve the use of only hand-to-hand weapons. Some, like Kyujutsu, Shurikenjutsu, and An Ch’i, focus on ranged weapons like the bow or throwing knives. This section presents rules for creating Martial Maneuvers which work at range. In almost all cases such maneuvers involve a weapon of some sort. As always, these rules are optional; if the GM feels they are inappropriate or unbalance his campaign, he should change them enough to make them acceptable, or simply forbid them entirely.

DESIGNING RANGED MARTIAL MANEUVERS You create ranged martial arts using rules based on the Designing Martial Arts Maneuvers section, above; readers should refer to that section for general information on this subject. Most of the rules described in that section, such as the one requiring martial arts maneuvers to cost from 3-5 points, apply to Ranged Martial Maneuvers as well. MANEUVER BASES Like hand-to-hand Martial Maneuvers, Ranged Martial Maneuvers have Maneuver Bases. There are Exclusive Bases, which a maneuver can have only one of; and Non-Exclusive Bases, which a maneuver can have more than one of. You can include one or more Non-Exclusive Bases in a maneuver with an Exclusive Basis. See above for further information.


Purpose of Bases

Disarm +

Attempts to knock an opponent’s weapon out of his grasp


Does damage to the opponent

Non-Exclusive Basis Throw





+2 points per +1 DCV


Disarm +

+1 point per +5 STR up to +10 STR; +2 points per additional +5 STR

+20 STR

N-Damage +1 point per +1 DC up to +2 DC; +4 DC +2 points per +1 DC per additional +1 DC OCV +

+2 point per +1 OCV

+2 OCV

Rng +

+1 point per +1 OCV vs. Range up to +4; +2 points per additional +1 OCV vs. Range

+8 OCV vs. Range


+0 points if maneuver is based on Strike (+OCV, +0 DCV, does STR damage)

Take Once


+2 points to throw opponent to ground

Take Once


+2 points to do +v/5 extra damage


martial arts maneuvers is shorter than the list of hand-to-hand maneuver Elements — there are fewer things a character can do to an opponent at range than to one within hand-to-hand fighting distance. It’s not possible, for example, to grab someone standing a hundred feet away from you. Even though there are three types of damage a character can do using hand-to-hand martial arts, there is only one type at range: Normal Damage (N-Damage). This is because the ranged martial arts design system is intended primarily for building styles involving missile weapons such as bows, guns, and shuriken. The N-Damage bonuses simply add DCs to the weapon, as explained on page 406 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. If for some reason a player wants to design a barehanded ranged martial arts style involving Killing Damage and NND DMG (and can get GM permission to do so), he can import the K-Damage and NND DMG Elements from the handto-hand Elements chart on page 91.


Purpose of Bases




Puts the opponent on the ground


-1 point per -1 DCV

-2 DCV

Half Move Required

-1 point if maneuver requires character to make a Half Move

Take Once


-1 point per -1 OCV

-2 OCV

Rng -

-1 point per -1 OCV vs. Range

-2 OCV vs. Range

Time +

-1 point if attack takes an extra Segment to perform (landing at the end of the next Segment)

Take Once

MANEUVER ELEMENTS The accompanying table lists the Elements, or building blocks, used to construct Ranged Martial Maneuvers. The various Bases are Elements, as are bonuses to CV and various other abilities which you use to “customize” each maneuver. The list of Elements you can use to build ranged



A character can, with GM permission, have a martial arts style with both hand-to-hand and ranged maneuvers. For example, a skilled knifefighter might want to add a Ranged Martial Maneuver to his Sevillian Knifefighting style to reflect his skill with thrown knives. Some of the styles described in Chapter One, such as An Ch’i, have both hand-to-hand and ranged maneuvers. Provided the GM does not think this unbalances the campaign, it’s perfectly acceptable. However, just like Extra DCs (see below), 3-point Combat Skill Levels with a hand-tohand style do not affect ranged maneuvers in that style, and viceversa. Five-point levels with a particular style (not with Hand-ToHand Fighting, with a specific style, such as Karate) do affect to both hand-to-hand and ranged maneuvers in that style.

Element Descriptions Elements not described here work exactly the same as the corresponding hand-to-hand Element (see above). DCV + DCV bonuses are a relatively rare Element in ranged martial arts maneuvers. They indicate a maneuver which the character has practiced so much and is so proficient with that he can move around and avoid enemy attacks while still aiming accurately at his target. DCV + costs 2 points per +1 DCV (with a maximum of +2 DCV). A character may not have both DCV + and DCV - Elements in the same maneuver. Disarm + A Disarm maneuver is used to knock a weapon out of an opponent’s grasp. Determining whether a ranged attack knocks a weapon out of someone’s grasp is a two-step process. First, convert the Damage Classes of the attacking weapon to STR (1 DC equals 5 STR); second, make a STR Versus STR Contest in the standard method for the Disarm maneuver. For example, a 1d6+1 RKA arrow has 4 DC, which equals 20 STR for Disarm purposes. While a ranged “Disarm” of this sort does not take the usual -2 OCV for a standard Disarm maneuver, the shooter suffers OCV penalties for targeting the weapon (typically -6, as for targeting the hand, but shooting at larger weapons such as rifles or greatswords may entail lesser penalties). The Disarm + Element adds STR to a ranged weapon’s disarm ability. This reflects the attacker’s accuracy with the maneuver and his general skill at disarming opponents with his ranged attack. A maximum of +20 STR may be added; the first +10 STR costs 1 point per +5 STR; all STR thereafter costs 2 points per +5 STR. A disarmed weapon usually ends up ½d6 inches away from its former holder in the direction the disarming attack travels (disarming player’s choice, within reason). The GM decides whether the disarmed weapon suffers damage; the Disarm + Element itself does no damage to the weapon. N-Damage This stands for Normal Damage, which adds DCs to the damage done by the missile weapon the character uses. Remember, it takes two DCs to add one DC to a Killing Attack weapon. For this reason characters usually buy N-Damage maneuvers with +2 DC or +4 DC, since odd numbers round down (for example, +3 DC rounds to +1 DC when used to increase a Killing Attack). See page 406 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for a more detailed description of adding DCs to K-Damage maneuvers and weapons. N-Damage costs 1 point per +1 DC up to 2 DC, and +2 points for every +1 DC thereafter, to a maximum of +4 DC. Thus, +4 DC would cost 6 points. OCV + OCV + is the same as the hand-to-hand version, except that it costs 2 points per +1 OCV taken, to a maximum of +2 OCV.

Rng This Restrictive Element reflects the inherent difficulty or inaccuracy of a particular maneuver over distance. Rng - points add to the standard range modifiers imposed by the HERO System rules (refer to the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 373, for information). For every 1 point of Rng -, there’s an additional -1 OCV at Range for the maneuver. Characters may take a maximum of two points of Rng - for a maneuver, at a subtraction of -1 point each from the total cost of the maneuver. A maneuver may not have both the Rng - and Rng + Elements. Rng + Buy Rng + for maneuvers which are inherently more accurate than normal over a distance. Rng + points add to OCV to counteract the standard penalties for ranged attacks. Rng + costs +1 point per point for the first four points, and +2 points per point for the next four points, for a maximum of +8 OCV vs. Range. A maneuver may not have both Rng + and Rng - modifiers. Throw Characters use this Element for ranged attacks designed to trip an opponent or knock his feet out from under him. With larger weapons (such as arrows, spears, and throwing axes), the Throw Element usually means the weapon snags the opponent’s feet and trips him or knocks him down. This form of Throw does no damage to the opponent other than the damage from the fall itself, as with a Martial Throw. With smaller weapons (such as bullets, shuriken, and throwing knives), this maneuver involves hitting the opponent in the legs or feet, thereby “cutting his feet out from under him” or knocking him down. In the description of a maneuver, a Throw is indicated by the use of the word “Falls,” as in “Target Falls.” The Throw Element costs 2 points. Time + Some ranged maneuvers take an extra Phase to perform, simulating the character’s need to carefully aim the attack. This Restrictive Element subtracts 1 point from the cost of the maneuver. In a maneuver’s description this Element is indicated by the words “+1 Segment.” v/5 The maneuver gets a damage bonus based on the velocity of the target (not on the relative velocity of the attacker and his target, like the hand-tohand v/5 Element). “V” indicates the target’s velocity. In most cases, ranged martial arts maneuvers built with this Element do only v/5 damage, not v/5 plus the weapon’s damage or the character’s STR, since the effect is one of tripping somebody, not of knocking them down. Characters may take v/5 once, at a cost of 2 points.

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THE COMPLETE MONGOOSE STYLE As an example of how to assemble a fully fleshed out martial arts style, here once again is the Mongoose Style. You already know the maneuvers. That leaves Skills, Elements, special abilities, and some background. Skills: In addition to the basic KS: Mongoose Style, Acrobatics is appropriate to represent the mongoose’s agility. Since mongooses have short but sharp claws and teeth, it would also be appropriate for practitioners to learn how to use short blades (including the shuko, page 182) with the art. Elements: No style requires Extra DC, so those aren’t listed. Using the art with the short blades mentioned above is appropriate. Special abilities: Mongoose practitioners are fast, both in terms of agility and general speed, so some extra Running is common among them. So, the Mongoose Style looks like this:

MONGOOSE STYLE Maneuver Bite Block Dodge Escape Grab Strike

Phs Pts OCV DCV Damage/Effect 1+ 5 -2 -2 HKA 1d6+1, Follows Grab, Extra Segment ½ 4 +2 +2 Block, Abort ½ 4 — +5 Dodge all attacks, Abort ½ 5 +0 +1 +15 STR vs. Grabs ½ 3 -2 +2 Grab Two Limbs ½ 4 +0 +3 STR Strike

Skills Acrobatics KS: Mongoose Style WF: Blades Elements Weapons

+1 Use Art with Small Blades +1 Use Art with Shuko

MONGOOSE STYLE NOTES Optional Rules: The Strike and Bite take 3d6 location rolls. None of the other maneuvers take location rolls. Special Abilities: Many Mongoose practitioners buy extra inches of Running to reflect their speediness. Mongoose Style developed in India sometime during the ninth and tenth centuries AD, but was known only to a few Buddhist monasteries. But in the late seventeenth century, a Mongoose stylist turned away from his faith and began worshipping Kali; he joined an order of Thugs (Indian stranglerassassins) and taught them his fighting skills. Mongoose Style was nearly wiped out during the British Empire’s crackdown on the Thugs during the nineteenth century, but did survive among descendants of the Thugs. Some of them left the path of Thuggee and practiced the art solely for self-defense and exercise.

Today, Mongoose Style remains a fairly obscure fighting art. One isolated Buddhist monastery still teaches a pure form of the style, and rumors say that sects of Mongoose-stylist Thugs survive in the dark and shadowy corners of India. But mostly the art is taught by Indian martial artists, especially in larger cities such as Calcutta and Bombay. A few instructors have migrated to the United States or Great Britain, and so some large Western cities have Mongoose schools.

ADDITIONAL NOTES ON MARTIAL ARTS STYLES AND ELEMENTS Extra Damage Classes You’re familiar with Extra Damage Classes (DCs) from the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 400. On the Martial Maneuvers Table (page 384 of that book), it’s listed as +1 DC in the bottom of the chart. The Adding Damage section of that book (page 405) discusses how Extra DC add to a maneuver’s damage with unarmed and armed attacks. This section discusses Extra DC to summarize a few facts and clarify some points. ADDING EXTRA DC TO MANEUVER DAMAGE Extra DCs add to damage from martial arts maneuvers. They add both to armed and unarmed martial arts maneuvers. If the maneuver is a fist punch, Extra DCs apply; if the maneuver is a Martial Strike requiring the use of a sword, Extra DCs apply. They do not add to any other sort of damage: not to damage used with non-martial arts maneuvers, not to unarmed attacks bought with the HA or HKA Powers, and so forth. Here is how Extra DCs add to maneuver damage: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs Adds: 1) Normal Damage: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds +1d6 to Normal Damage maneuvers (armed or unarmed). This is true of both unarmed maneuvers and armed maneuvers for Normal Damage weapons you can use with your martial art style (see “Weapons,” below). 2) NND Damage: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds +½d6 to NND maneuvers (armed or unarmed). This is true of both unarmed maneuvers and armed maneuvers for NND Damage weapons you can use with your martial art style (see “Weapons,” below). 3) Flash effects: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds +1d6 to Flash maneuvers (armed or unarmed). 4) STR bonuses: Each +1 DC from Extra DCs adds +5 STR to the STR bonuses from maneuvers built with the “Exert” Basis.

MANEUVERS AND HIT LOCATIONS In the style write-ups earlier in this chapter, you saw that many maneuvers utilize Hit Location rolls other than the standard 3d6 roll. Your GM may or may not adopt this optional rule. If the campaign does not use Hit Location rolls, this rule automatically does not apply. Even if the campaign uses Hit Location rolls, the GM does not have to permit its use. If the campaign uses Hit Locations, and the GM permits its use, you should assign each maneuver one of the following location rolls: 2d6+1, 2d6+7, 3d6, No Roll, and No Location. If you’re using this rule, maneuvers suffer no OCV penalty based on the targeted location (even though, for example, 2d6+1 and 2d6+7 ordinarily suffer a -2 OCV [see page 277 of the HERO System 5th Edition]). 2d6+1: This is a High Shot. Most fist strikes (punches), elbow strikes, and head-butts should be assigned this location. 2d6+7: This is a Low Shot. It’s best suited to kicks which normally center around the stomach, groin, and legs. 3d6: This is the normal, all-around location roll. It’s suitable for kicks which can range from head to foot (which are common in martial arts styles) and for attacks from long weapons (such as swords, whips, and staves). No Roll: The maneuver automatically hits a specific location — usually the head or vitals. However, the damage is not modified by the location, either. If the attack automatically hits the head (as a Choke Hold and some headbutts will), you do not multiply the maneuver’s damage because of the Continued on next page


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location. If the attack automatically goes to a hand (as some nervepinches could), do not halve the maneuver’s damage because of the location. No Location: The maneuver hits no location at all — it doesn’t need one. Either it does no damage, so that no location roll is needed (for example, a Dodge or Block), or it does damage in such a generalized fashion there’s no chance of the damage being affected by the locations hit (as is the case with many throws and takedowns). Generally, ranged martial arts maneuvers use a standard 3d6 roll to determine Hit Location. A few of them, such as maneuvers with the Disarm or Throw Elements, may “target” a specific location. As usual, such maneuvers do not suffer Hit Location OCV or damage penalties or bonuses.

Each +2 DC from Extra DC Adds: 1) Killing Damage: Each +2 DC from Extra DCs adds +1 DC to the damage of Killing Attack maneuvers (armed and unarmed). This is true of both unarmed maneuvers and armed maneuvers for Killing Damage weapons you can use with your martial art style (see “Weapons,” below). LIMITED EXTRA DCS You cannot take Limitations on Extra DCs (for example, to restrict them to only one or two maneuvers in a martial arts style). Allowing that would create significant game balance problems, so it’s forbidden. RANGED MARTIAL ARTS AND EXTRA DCS Characters may buy Extra DCs for ranged martial arts styles. They cost 4 point apiece, just like handto-hand Extra DCs. However, Extra DCs for a ranged martial arts style are relatively rare; ranged martial arts styles rely on accuracy rather than on power in most instances. Sometimes, though, a few Extra DCs simulate a character’s ability to hit particularly vulnerable locations on his target. If a character has both hand-to-hand and ranged martial arts maneuvers, Extra DCs bought for hand-to-hand maneuvers do not add to the ranged maneuvers, and vice-versa. Characters must purchase Extra DCs for ranged martial arts separately. PUSHING EXTRA DC Characters cannot Push Extra DC damage. In appropriate situations (see page 427 of the HERO

System 5th Edition, Revised), they can, of course, Push their STR to do extra damage with a maneuver to which Extra DCs apply. EXTRA DC IN MARTIAL ARTS STYLES Extra DCs are never a required part of any martial arts style — they’re options the GM may allow. Therefore, the Extra DC Element isn’t listed with any style. EXTRA DC AND OUTSIDE MANEUVERS Extra DCs apply to all martial arts maneuvers you have bought (excepting ones like Blocks and Dodges, where it has no function), whether or not those maneuvers all belong to the same style. If a character knows maneuvers from several styles, his Extra DCs affect every one of them. It does not affect the ordinary combat maneuvers every character knows (i.e., normal Strike, normal Disarm, and so forth). For instance, a Kung Fu practitioner who has Kung Fu maneuvers with Extra DCs, who then buys a Kenjutsu maneuver, can apply his Extra DCs to the Kenjutsu maneuver.

Weapons Martial arts styles are initially built for use unarmed, or with one 1-point Weapon Familiarity category of weapons (see page 76 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). By spending +1 point for a Weapon Element, a character can use the appropriate maneuvers of his style with a specific 1-point melee weapons group. For arts which normally require the character to use a weapon, the Barehanded Weapon Element allows him to use appropriate maneuvers unarmed. WEAPONS ELEMENT AND WEAPON FAMILIARITY To buy a Weapons Element for a weapons group, you must already have bought Weapon Familiarity with that group. A +1 point Weapon Element does not include a WF with that weapon group; the character must still buy that separately. Once he has both the WF and Weapons Element, he can use the appropriate maneuvers from his style with that weapon group. NO TWOPOINT WEAPONS GROUPS A character must purchase a separate +1 point Weapon Element for each 1-point Weapon Familiarity weapons group. Unlike the WF Skill itself, a character cannot pay +2 points for the ability to use all Common Melee Weapons with his martial art — he has to spend +1 point for Clubs, +1 for Axes, Maces, and Picks, +1 for Blades, +1 for Pole Arms, and +1 for Two-Handed Weapons, for instance. MARTIAL MANEUVERS USED WITH WEAPONS When performing a Martial Arts maneuver with a weapon, the character gets the maneuver’s OCV and DCV bonuses and penalties in addition to the weapon’s. He also adds any damage bonus from the maneuver (see Adding Damage, page

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405 in the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, for more information). Naturally, a character can use normal (non-martial arts) maneuvers with weapons for which he’s bought Weapon Familiarity; the martial arts Weapons Elements has no bearing on this.

OTHER WAYS TO BUILD MARTIAL ARTS There are a couple of other ways to build Martial Arts-like abilities in the HERO System. Remember, the special effect matters most in the HERO System, not how you define an ability in game terms. The Martial Arts Skill isn’t the only way for a character to simulate a high degree of proficiency at hand-to-hand fighting. THE COMBAT SKILL LEVELS “MARTIAL ART” One way to represent a somewhat limited but still very effective martial art is to structure it entirely with Skill Levels — not using any maneuvers. For example, a three-point Combat Skill Level gives you a +1 CV with three maneuvers. Let’s say you pay 24 points to buy eight of them, and you specify that they apply to the normal Strike, Dodge, and Grab maneuvers. You call this a martial arts style. Here’s what you can do with this “style.” When using your normal Strike, you could have +8 OCV, or +8 DCV, or +4 OCV and +4 DCV, or any other combination adding up to +8. You could also use some or all of the levels to increase your damage, at +2 Skill Levels per +1 DC; if you put them all into damage, you’d have +0 OCV, +0 DCV, and +4d6 normal damage (though the added damage can’t exceed the maneuver’s maximum damage from your STR; you’d have to have STR 20 to use this effectively).


When using the normal Dodge, you would have +11 DCV — enough of a bonus to make most Superheroic-level attackers blanch. When using the normal Grab, you could add parts of it into OCV or DCV as before, or again could be used to increase the damage of the attack (the squeezing part of the Grab) by up to +4d6, or to an amount equal to that done by the character’s normal STR, whichever is less. This is a perfectly viable arrangement. You can’t do some things that Martial Maneuvers can, but you can achieve much higher OCVs and DCVs for a similar expenditure of points. However, if your campaign limits characters to a maximum OCV, the “Skill Levels martial art” still cannot exceed that maximum. If the campaign limits characters to OCV 13, then a character cannot buy eight +1 Skill Levels unless he has a normal OCV of 5 or less (or, if he buys that many, he cannot allocate them in such a way as to violate the campaign’s ground rules). Additionally — and this is an absolute restriction — you can’t buy a batch of Skill Levels, define them as a martial arts style, and then take a Style Distinctive Feature for them. Characters can only take Style for styles built with Martial Maneuvers. POWERS AS MARTIAL ARTS A character can construct “martial arts abilities” with Powers. Examples include extra STR which only works to Grab or Disarm; Hand-ToHand Attacks bought with Advantages to simulate mystic attack powers; inches of Knockback Resistance to reflect the character’s acrobatic ability to avoid taking damage from Knockback; and so forth. In many cases these abilities can be placed in Power Frameworks to make them more affordable. Chapter Two, Character Creation, includes many ideas for “martial arts Powers” and Power Frameworks.


The Ultimate Martial Artist



ome characters may want to apply Power Advantages to Martial Maneuvers to achieve certain effects or create certain powers. This section contains rules for doing so. These rules are strictly optional; the GM does not have to allow them in his campaign. CAVEAT Two warnings are appropriate before the reader explores this section fully. First, adding an Advantage to a Martial Maneuver is a way of giving a character a special, often unique, ability. It should not become common in the campaign for characters to buy “martial Advantages.” Furthermore, and this is an absolute restriction, characters must purchase each martial Advantage separately — a character cannot buy a +½ Armor Piercing Advantage for his base STR and apply it to all of his Martial Maneuvers. That Advantage affects the character’s basic Strike maneuver, but not his Martial Maneuvers. He should purchase the AP effect for each maneuver individually. Since characters can’t put “naked” Power Advantages in Power Frameworks without GM’s permission (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 244), this gets expensive. Second, GMs should not allow characters to use the point figures in the accompanying tables to add effects to their STR or other abilities. A character cannot gain the ability to Throw someone with every punch simply by paying 15 points. He must buy a GM-approved martial arts package with an appropriate maneuver to gain that ability.

Point Value Of Bases To calculate the cost of an Advantage on a Martial Maneuver, first you must determine the Character Point value of the Base or Bases in the maneuver. With some Bases (such as Strike or Exert), this is relatively easy; with others (like Block, Dodge, or Throw), it’s a little more difficult. The solution is to assign standard “Active Point values” to such Bases. The accompanying table sets out the value of the various Bases; GMs may adjust these values as appropriate for their campaigns. The minimum point value of a maneuver involving the application of STR (such as Bind or Disarm) is the character’s base STR. In other words, a STR 10 character can’t build a +5 STR Bind maneuver and then use a point value of 5 (STR 10 + 5 - 10) to add an Advantage to it; his STR 10 is the minimum point value.


Point Value Maneuver’s total STR -10 5 points per +1 OCV and +1 DCV Disarm Maneuver’s total STR -5 Dodge 5 points per +1 DCV Exert Maneuver’s total STR -5 Flash Same as equivalent Flash Attack Grab Opponent Maneuver’s total STR -5 Grab Weapon Maneuver’s total STR -5 Strike Same as an equal number of DC of Energy Blast Throw 25

The rationale for these values is relatively straightforward. Maneuvers which add STR for a certain purpose have that amount of STR, modified by an appropriate “Limitation” reflecting the limited nature of the maneuver’s purpose, plus the character’s own STR as their base value. The character’s own STR gets no “Limitation” value for this purpose, since it is not Limited in any way. Grab Weapon is about the same as Disarm, but Disarm is less disadvantageous than Bind (because in a Bind, the target maintains control over his weapon); hence the values for their point subtractions. The values for Dodge and Block derive from the cost of Combat Skill Levels with DCV (the +3 DCV a basic Dodge maneuver provides), and Throw is considered roughly equivalent to them. Strike is based on the cost of an equivalent Energy Blast, Flash on the cost of an equivalent Flash Attack. If a maneuver has multiple Bases, add their point values together to get the overall value of the maneuver before applying Advantages.

Modifier Value Of Other Elements The other elements used to build Martial Maneuvers are simulated as either additions or subtractions to the total “Active Point value” of the Bases in the maneuver. The accompanying table lists the modifier values for them.

Extra Damage Classes Extra Damage Classes for a maneuver either add to the damage or increase the STR usable with a maneuver, and should be figured in according to how they increase the Bases used with the maneuver.

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MARTIAL ARTS MANEUVER ELEMENTS VALUE Element Abort DCV + DCV Disable Fall FMove Follow Half-Move Required Lasting Restriction K-Damage N-Damage NND DMG OCV + OCV One Limb Response STR +

Value +10 +5 points per +1 DCV -5 points per -1 DCV +5 -5 +20 -10 -5

-5 See below +0 See below +5 points per +1 OCV -5 points per -1 OCV -5 -15 Same as STR added to maneuver, with appropriate subtraction (see above) STR Same as STR in maneuver (if STR is halved); STR is not used to calculate Active Point value if it is not part of a maneuver at all. Take Full DMG -10 Take Half DMG -5 Time + -5 Unbalancing -5 v/5 +10 Flash maneuvers, Killing-Damage attacks, an NND DMG attacks are handled slightly differently than other maneuvers. Calculate the cost of the maneuver as equivalent to the cost of a Flash of the appropriate Sense Group, an HKA (plus the character’s STR), or an NND EB, respectively. See below for some examples.

Endurance And Martial Advantages Although Martial Maneuvers themselves cost no END, Advantages applied to them do cost END, at the standard rate. If the character wants the Advantage to be 0 END, he must pay for Reduced Endurance on the cost of the Advantage.

Examples With the information in these two charts, calculating the cost of adding an Advantage to a Martial Maneuver becomes a relatively simple matter. Calculate the cost of the maneuver without the Advantage, then with the Advantage, and subtract the first number from the second to give you the point value of the Advantage itself. Example: Kickmaster wants to add the Advantage Armor Piercing to his Offensive Strike, which does 12d6 damage (4d6 from his 20 STR, plus 4d6 from the maneuver, +4 Extra DCs).

This Offensive Strike has a simulated cost of 55 points: a base of 60 points for his 12 DC Strike attack, -10 for the -2 OCV, and +5 for the +1 DCV. A 55-point Armor Piercing (+½) power costs 82 points (55 x 1.5). 82 - 55 = 27 points, so that’s what the Advantage costs him. He uses 3 END every time he uses this ability. To make the Advantage cost 0 END would increase the cost to (27 x 1.5) = 40 points. Example: Emiko wants to add a Damage Shield to her Martial Escape maneuver, so she can injure people who Grab her as she breaks away from them. She has a STR of 15. The maneuver adds +15 STR, and she has bought +4 Extra Damage Classes, which add +20 STR, for a total of +35 STR; however, given the nature of this Exert-based maneuver -5 is applied to the +35 STR, reducing its cost to 30. Therefore, the point value of the maneuver is 15 + 30 = 45 points. Forty-five points with a +½ Advantage equals 67 points, 67 - 45 = 22 points. Example: Snake wants to make his Killing Strike an Autofire Double Knockback attack (Snake is a little disturbed). He has a STR of 15. He has +2 Extra DCs for his Killing Strike, making it a 1d6 HKA equivalent, worth 15 points. Thus, the total point value of the maneuver is 20 points (15 STR. plus 15 points for a 1d6 HKA, -10 for the decrease in OCV). 20 points multiplied by +1¼ worth of Advantages becomes 45 points; 45 - 20 = 25 points cost. It costs Snake 2 END for every punch he throws with this Advantage (that’s 2 END per Autofire “shot,” not 2 END total). Example: Snake also wants to make his Nerve Strike an Indirect attack so his opponents can’t Block it. He has a base 2d6 NND(1) attack, and with his +2 Extra DCs, it becomes a 3d6 NND(1) attack. A 3d6 Nerve Strike is the equivalent of a EB 3d6 NND, which costs 30 points; +1 DCV adds 5 points, -1 OCV subtracts 5 points, for a final cost of 30 points for the maneuver. Since the STR - Restrictive Element means no STR adds to this maneuver, Snake’s base STR does not figure into this point value. To make a 30point power Indirect costs 15 points (30 x 1.5 = 45, 45 - 30 = 15). This special ability costs Snake 1 END every time he uses it. Example: Henri Pétion, a fencer, wants to add a Trigger Advantage (takes no time; +½) to his Martial Disarm maneuver so it “goes off ” the first time someone tries to Block his sword in a duel. He is STR 10, and the bonuses from the maneuver and his Extra DCs add +40 STR to this, for a total STR of 50. He applies the -5 subtraction for added Disarm STR and derives a base value of 45 points; the OCV/DCV modifiers cancel each other out, for a final cost of 45 points. 45 x 1.5 = 67 points, 67 - 45 = 22 points, which is what this special ability will cost Henri.

DETERMINING A MANEUVER’S POINT VALUE: STEPS 1) Calculate value of Base or Bases. 2) Calculate additional points from other Elements. a) Add any points from Helpful Elements and from Extra DC. b) Subtract any points for Restrictive Elements. 3) Take the final total from Steps 1-2 and apply the Advantage(s) you wish to add. 4) Subtract the Step 2 total from the Step 3 total. This is the cost of the Advantage, from which you determine how much END it costs.


erceive those things which cannot be seen.’ — Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)

‘One committed to dying can be slain. One committed to living can be captured. One easily angered and hasty to act can be insulted. One obsessed with being scrupulous and untainted can be shamed. One who loves the people can be troubled.’ — Sun Tzu, The Art of War


his chapter explores various aspects creating martial artist characters (besides choosing their fighting styles). It includes character archetypes and notes on various Skills, Powers, Disadvantages, and other building blocks of the HERO System as they apply to martial artist PCs.

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artial artists in movies, comics, and popular literature often fall into one or more of several character “archetypes.” Working from an archetype helps many players get a handle on a character (particularly a beginning character) and establish a basic personality from which to further develop the PC. Some of these archetypes are described below. Note that not all archetypes are necessarily appropriate for all genres; a realistic modern-day action campaign probably won’t feature any Alien Martial Artists.

The Alien Martial Artist ‘I have come to test my skills against your best.’ — Tal Varntep, from Planet 10 This martial artist is from another planet. He practices an form of martial arts from his own world, one he typically considers superior to native Earth fighting styles. He usually has special abilities deriving from his alien physiognomy or high technology. Oftentimes, he’s come to Earth to test his martial prowess against humanity’s best fighters.

The American From The Orient ‘My parents were missionaries. So I guess I’m Zen Baptist.’ — Elwood Coggin, American This archetype is a Westerner who has spent extensive time in the Orient — so much time that he’s an expert on Oriental culture and customs, including martial arts. Usually the American From The Orient actually grew up in an Oriental country — his parents were diplomats, international businessmen, military personnel, or something similar. While they were too busy to pay much attention to him, he learned martial arts from a servant, wandered into a new section of the city and was befriended by a martial arts master who taught him to fight, was seduced by an evil cult that taught him to be an assassin and from whose clutches he later escaped, or the like. Alternately, he might have traveled to Asia as a young adult, been taken in by the wonders of the Orient, and stayed there for years before returning to the West. In either event, the character’s lifestyle and philosophies are typically Eastern rather than Western: he furnishes his home in an Asian style; he collects Oriental art and weapons; he lives by the tenets of Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, or

some other Eastern religion — and, of course, he practices Oriental fighting techniques. He may mix in a few distinctive Americanisms, but it’s clear where most of his sympathies lie. An interesting variant on this archetype is the American From Chinatown, who has spent a great deal of time learning about Asian (usually Chinese) culture in his home city’s Chinatown. He’s often an expert on Oriental organized crime, and acts as a sort of “guardian of Chinatown.”

The Avenger ‘You should have killed me when you had the chance.’ — Bai In-Su, the Avenger This character has been wronged in the past and now his life is a continuing quest for vengeance. Often the campaign centers around clashes between this hero (and his friends) and the group or clan who wronged him in the past, though this is not a good approach to take if the other characters don’t want always to fight this one hero’s Hunted. Any other character stereotype can become The Avenger for a single storyline. All it takes is a nasty or treacherous attacked aimed at someone the PC loves.... The Avenger character tends to have martial arts skills including brutal, devastating maneuvers. He may have many weapons-related abilities. He may have a Psychological Limitation such as Code of Vengeance (see page 137). A variation on the Avenger is the Maimed Avenger, who has a Physical Limitation (usually a missing limb or eye) for which he wishes to exact vengeance.

The Brick Martial Artist ‘I will crush you... now!’

— Yokozuna, Hero of Tokyo This character is a martial artist with comic book-level Strength. He may have gained his superstrength after learning a martial arts style, or a teammate may have taught him martial arts after he gained his powers so he could vary his usual “I smash puny enemy!” fighting style. The most common styles for Brick Martial Artists to use are Boxing and Wrestling, but other are not unheard of (such as “Brick Tricks,” on page 64).

MIXING AND MATCHING ARCHETYPES Not every character represents a “pure” archetype. In many games, few if any characters fit into an archetype perfectly; most mix and match elements of two or more archetypes to create a unique PC. A character could be a martial artist and gadgeteer, or a Kid who’s also a Modern-Day Samurai. How you create a character like this depends on what you consider his primary focus. If the character’s martial arts abilities are his main “schtick,” then you should design him first and foremost as a martial artist. Build his identity around the style you choose for him, and spend a generous portion of his Character Points on Martial Maneuvers and martial arts-related Skills and abilities. Then add on the things you need to round out the rest of his personality and abilities, such as a bunch of Science Skills and a small Variable Power Pool for your martial artist-gadgeteer. On the other hand, if your character is only secondarily a martial artist — and many such characters exist — then de-emphasize his martial arts abilities. Buy his other Skills and Powers first, and then use the remaining points (or a smaller percentage of his points) to buy his Martial Maneuvers and other fighting skills. Unlike the primary martial artist, who probably has several Combat Skill Levels, the secondary martial artist may have none at all.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Fulfiller Of Prophecy ‘My destiny is written in the stars. Can you hope to stop me?’ — John Wa, the Monkey King This character fulfills, or is the culmination of, some centuries-old prophecy. The prophecy can be a good one (“A great champion will be born to your people...”) or a bad one (“The seventh son of your seventh son will be cursed to destroy all he touches”), but in either event it’s a central part of the character’s being. Even if he tries to deny it, it influences his actions, his views on life, and/or the role(s) he chooses for himself. His special destiny may grant him mystical powers (particularly if he’s fated to be the defender or savior of his people).

The Honorable Ninja ‘My motives are as pristine as the darkness of this night.’ — Katso Sho, Ninja This character could have been born into a Japanese ninja clan, or adopted into one. He could have been an a gaijin (an outsider or foreigner) whom the clan agreed to train; or he could be a practitioner of a type of modern ninjutsu which claims no ties to historical ninjutsu, but which works to redevelop the art. Either way, the character is a ninja... but one with an honorable soul, who’s more than a ruthless assassin and spy. Adventures involving him should deal as much with espionage and stealthy assaults as with all-out martial arts combat, and should occasionally bring his honorable nature and loyalty to his clan into conflict.

The Irritable Student ‘This is foolishness, you teach me nothing!’ — Van Harris, Student Although a promising physical specimen who knows some martial arts and is eager to learn more, this character is saddled with a teacher who seldom teaches him anything directly related to fighting. Instead, the teacher makes him perform excruciating and meaningless exercises and chores, hardly ever showing him actual blows or moves, speaking in meaningless aphorisms all the time. Naturally, the student becomes frustrated and irritable. (Of course, the master is using these exercises and chores to condition his body and instill reflexes important to his art, but the student is as yet incapable of realizing this.) For a character to be the Irritable Student, the campaign must feature a prominent PC or NPC master who trains him (and perhaps other PCs) throughout the course of the campaign. The Student himself should be built with high physical Characteristics and a minimal amount of maneuvers (give him the minimum black belt equivalent: three maneuvers valued at 10 points or more total,

an 8- KS roll with his art, and the Style Disadvantage). He often has no other useful skills, and usually has a Psychological Limitation such as Aggressively Impatient (Common, Strong; 15 points).

The Kickboxing Champ ‘My style is impetuous, my defense impenetrable.’ — Meow Yen, World Champion The character is a professional kickboxer (probably using full-contact Karate, though any martial art with a professional sports version is appropriate). He may be an active contender, the current champion in his weight division, or a retired fighter. Many of his adventures revolve around him discovering that his pals or competitors on the professional circuit have gone bad and begun using their arts for crime. Sometimes the police may call on the character to act as a consultant in martial arts-related crimes. The Kickboxing Champion tends to have a well-rounded martial arts style, a few Combat Skill Levels, and Skills related to the business: Streetwise, Gambling, and the like. He often has the Psychological Limitation Overconfident.

The Kickboxing Cop ‘When you walk these streets, you need an edge.’ — Detective Jessica Stinnett, HCPD This character is a policeman, federal agent, or private investigator who just happens to know a martial arts style. In most campaigns, he’s more independent than peace officers are supposed to be: he’s much less prone to report all the details of his investigations, or the fact that he’s just kicked three minor hoodlums to pieces in the course of his case. (This helps streamline his reports and keeps his martial arts friends out of trouble.) The Kickboxing Cop usually has a spare, stripped-to-the-bone martial arts style (three or four maneuvers and a few Combat Skill Levels) and numerous Skills and abilities related to his profession: Deduction, Criminology, WF: Small Arms, Fringe Benefit: Police Powers, Contacts, Favors, Streetwise, Enhanced Perception, and so forth.

The Kid ‘Get between me and that dress and I’ll put you into a wall.’ — Alice Ono, 10th grade student A brash youngster with an astounding affinity for the martial arts, the Kid is usually in his early to mid-teens when he enters the story. He quickly becomes known for his fighting skill, often annoying personality, snide comebacks and rude remarks, and ability to combine Eastern disciplines and philosophies with Western materialism and get the

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best of both worlds. The Kid is often a Fulfiller of Prophecy as well.

The Knight-Errant ‘My cause is just, my heart is pure. I cannot be denied.’ — K’yokt, questing knight This martial artist is a classic adventurer: he travels, seeking out trouble and setting it right wherever he finds it. He tends to be a professional adventurer; he has good martial arts abilities, but his choice of other Skills reflects the campaign setting. In a modern campaign, he’ll probably have several travel-related skills (Combat Driving or Piloting, TF: Skiing), numerous Contacts and Favors, and Skills related to some adventuring profession (private investigator, spy, or the like).

The Master ‘It is in acknowledging our ignorance that we gain wisdom.’ — Zong Hop, Master This character is a teacher of martial arts and the philosophies of his style. He’s often built with most or all maneuvers from his style, and perhaps maneuvers from other styles, making him a very versatile fighter. Often he has somewhat lower physical Characteristics than the younger heroes he teaches, but lots of Combat Skill Levels to make up for the deficit. He may have the Age Disadvantage (though he doesn’t have to). He’s also likely to have the Psychological Limitation Inscrutable (Common; 10 points); this makes him reluctant to explain why he’s ordering his students to do the things they’re doing, which continually frustrates them.

The Modern Day Samurai ‘My soul was forged in the past. My katana is state of the art.’ — Tajiri, Robo-Samurai A modern-day version of the feudal Japanese samurai or ninja, this character lives by his role models’ codes of conduct, practices their fighting arts, and tries to conduct himself as they would. Some versions of this archetype combine ancient training with modern technology and equipment, but just as often the character limits himself to lowtech weapons and gear.

The Naive Hero/Heroine ‘I will not sit still while my home is under attack.’ — Nabo Rai, Heroine This character is a prime physical specimen with a fine command of his martial art; his greatest problem is his naivete. He may have been sheltered all his life; he’s certainly never spent time on the

streets. He’s gullible and susceptible to the wiles of swindlers, con men, and spies. The Naive Hero/Heroine often has good martial arts abilities (numerous maneuvers and Combat Skill Levels) and some profession-related skill. This character should take the Psychological Limitation Naive (Common; 10 points) and roleplay it to the hilt.

The Philosopher ‘How can you think and hit at the same time?’ — Yogi Barrett, Zen Master This archetype, relatively uncommon among PCs, is a thinker rather than a doer. He prefers nonviolent solutions to problems, even though his skill with martial arts makes even seasoned fighters wary of him. His approach to life is generally dictated by some school of religious or philosophical thought, such as Taoism or Buddhism, which he interprets as calling for passive acceptance of most fates, nonviolent responses to violence, or what have you. But the Philosopher’s not an ineffective milquetoast. When push comes to shove, as it usually does in these stories, the Philosopher sheds his cloak of nonviolence and uses his fighting skills to their utmost. Although often trained in one of the internal Chinese fighting styles, he can learn any style that is not overtly aggressive (i.e., he shouldn’t take Thai Kick-Boxing or some other brutal fighting styles, but most forms of martial arts are acceptable).

The Ronin ‘My master has fallen; but my sword has blood yet to taste.’ — Torii Saru, Ronin An unemployed samurai, this character is often forced to wander and undertake short-term assignments (many of them nasty, or which put him in moral dilemmas) to make his living.

The Samurai ‘The reputation of 1,000 years may be determined in one hour.’ — Shin Toju, Samurai This character is normally a samurai in the employ of a lord in feudal Japan; adventures involving this character generally involve him trying to achieve his personal goals (such as revenge) while meeting his obligations to and achieving the goals of his lord (which may directly or indirectly conflict with his own goals).


he Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.’

—Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)



Terms in this Glossary are in Chinese (C), Japanese (D), and Korean (K). ai (J) — harmony aiki (J) — harmony of effort, harmony of force bu (J) — military, martial bushi (J) — warrior chambara (J) — historical-period samurai films, usually quite bloody; name comes from “chan-chan barabara,” the spoken sound effect for swords clashing ch’i (C) — spirit; breath; energy ch’uan (C) — fist, boxing -do (J, K) — the way of; when applied to the end of the name of a martial arts style, it implies philosophical teachings as well as martial arts training (for example, karate-do means “the way of the empty hand”) dojang (K) — training hall, school dojo (J) — training hall, school fa (C) — the way of; Ch’uan fa means “the way of the fist” gaijin (J) — outsider, foreigner; often a derogatory term giri (J) — duty, obligation gup (K) — grade; ranks below black belt in Korean martial arts hapki (K) — harmony hwarang (K) — flowering youth; an ancient term for a korean knight-general caste hyung (K) — forms, exercises, formalized training movements ju (J) — compliance -jutsu (J) — the art of; when applied to the end of the name of a martial arts style, it indicates that this is primarily a combat system (for example, karate-jutsu means “the art of the empty hand”) Continued on next page

The Serious Student

The Unwilling Fighter

‘I am an empty vessel for my master’s instruction.’ — Ba Mingxing, Student

‘You have started what I must now finish.’ — Aaron Bailey, ex-Delta Force

This character, like the Irritable Student, appears in campaigns featuring a teacher as an important PC or NPC. Unlike the Irritable one, this character is sober and studious (and, usually, more boring than the Irritable Student). The Serious Student is built much like the Irritable Student, but without Aggressively Impatient.

The Sidekick ‘Kid-Hostage? Bruce Lee started as a sidekick!’ — Kid-Quick, Sidekick This character is a buddy of one of the other characters; if the campaign centers around a school, he’s another student at the school. A variation of the Sidekick is the Comic Sidekick, who’s a bit goofy, foolish or stupid. This is a demanding role to play, because (by definition) the Sidekick is not as good a martial artist as the character who is his friend. He should have a minimum number of martial arts maneuvers and fewer Skill Levels than his friends have. If no player is willing to have distinctly less fighting versatility than the group’s standard, the Sidekick should not be a PC — if he appears at all, he should be an NPC (often either a DNPC or a Follower). On the other hand, he could have a variety of abilities which make him just as useful to the group as the top-line fighter. He could have Streetwise and dozens of street contacts, scientific and technical skills the group needs, or the like.

The Super-Soldier ‘God and Country! Right will prevail!’ — American Eagle, WWII Hero This character became the ultimate soldier after treatments he received from the government (or some private benefactor) made him quicker, stronger, or tougher than the average human. He may also have cybernetic implants, similar technology, or even magic to aid him. In addition to the abilities he gains from his treatments, the Super-Soldier is trained to fight, and fight well. He usually adopts a straightforward (and Western) fighting style, like Commando Training, Boxing, or Fisticuffs/Cinematic Brawling, but he can learn any style the player can justify to the GM. The Super-Soldier’s combination of enhanced reflexes, superior senses, and superb combat training make him a match for even highly-trained martial arts masters.

This character, though he is a master of the martial arts, doesn’t want to fight. He has other goals, such as the pursuit of philosophy or the desire to be a humble gardener. For some plot-driven reason, he becomes the target of the villains (perhaps he doesn’t let the villains maim or kill his employers, which gives them fits). Finally, the villains’ actions against him and those he protects drive him over the edge, and for a brief and bloody period of time he becomes The Avenger (see above). The Unwilling Fighter is usually an excellent martial artist, having many Skill Levels and at least four or five maneuvers. But the martial arts are not his profession; he must have Skills pertaining to whatever he does to make his living.

Vigilante Martial Artist ‘Can crime really pay this well?’ -- CRACK -— Nightwalker, Vigilante The Vigilante Martial Artist uses his fighting skills to fight crime and clean up the streets. On his own he often acts as the protector of a particular area or neighborhood (such as Chinatown); as a member of a team he usually functions as the group’s expert on gangs and Asian organized crime. In either case his fists and feet have made him a force to be reckoned with on the streets of the city.

The Warrior-Monk ‘Man at his best, like water, serves as he goes along.’ — Brother San Jung-mo, Monk This character is the Buddhist priest with martial arts training. Usually, the Warrior-Monk role is combined with another role, such as Monk/Avenger, Monk/Knight-Errant, and Monk/ Unwilling Fighter.

THE CAREER PATH OF THE MARTIAL ARTIST The creation and development of martial arts characters often follows a definite series of steps or stages. You can think of this process as the “career path” of the martial artist character. The first step on this path is one all players have to take: the creation of the character and the selection of an interesting martial arts style for the character to use. Often the selection of the style dictates other things about the character, such as his appearance, philosophy of life, and goals. Unfortunately, this is as far as many character designers get — even

Hero Games though there are several more stages of development. The second step along the path can happen when the character is first created, or it may take place sometime later, such as when the player rewrites or redefines the character after playing him a while. This is the establishment of a Hunted which involves the character’s martial art in some significant way. For example, the Hunted might be opposed to the character’s martial arts order or school, a practitioner of a corrupted or evil version of the PC’s style, or dedicated to some principle the PC opposes because of his style. At this point, the character starts to develop strong ties to his martial art. It’s no longer a just a means to an end (beating up bad guys). Instead, it becomes a Way of Life, something defining who he is outside of the combat arena. The third step along the path takes place when the player (sometimes with the GM’s help) develops a very detailed view of the principles and aims of his martial art. He now begins to expand its base of maneuvers, manifest special powers associated with it, and so forth. The GM now becomes more involved with the character’s development as he thinks about the character’s role in the Martial World and begins to introduce more plotlines centered around the character, his style, his fellow practitioners, and his enemies. Furthermore, the PC is now proficient enough to begin teaching students in earnest — NPCs seek him out for instruction, perhaps at the behest of the PC’s own sifu or sensei, perhaps on their own initiative (depending upon the character’s fame and reputation). These students may include former enemies whom the PC defeated, who now recognize his wisdom and seek to learn from him. At step four, the character gradually develops into the main defender of his martial art — the champion his master sends for when the style or

111 order is threatened, the main enemy of his master’s enemies, the renowned leader of the art recognized anywhere in the Martial World, and so forth. He may even be the last living practitioner of his art. This aspect of the character may eventually crystallize into a major, large-scale plotline where something threatens his style’s very existence, and only he can save it by relying on its virtues and strengths. The fifth and final step along the martial artist’s career path is when the PC becomes the master of his art. Obviously, this won’t happen to all characters or in all campaigns. It may happen when the PC’s master dies, disappears, becomes One With The Universe, or otherwise becomes unavailable. Depending upon the feelings of the player and/or the GM, reaching the fifth step may signal that it’s time to retire the character and have him devote himself to preserving and promoting his art full-time. The career path of the martial artist usually isn’t nearly as pronounced in other genres as it is in the comic book superhero and martial arts genres. Other genres generally lack the opportunities to focus on the martial artist and his world in the way superhero and pure martial arts campaigns can. However, this is not to say the career path is totally absent — it simply detours a little, based on the strictures of the genre in question. For example, in a fantasy game the GM might have created a race or tribe with its own martial art. As a result of long-standing oaths and customs, the best and brightest practitioners of this art go to the king of a nearby powerful nation to serve as his guards and protectors. In this situation, the martial artist PC’s career path might consist of going out into the world to gain enough experience with his tribe’s fighting style so he can return to the tribe, prove his worth, and become a member of the King’s Guard. Whether this requires him to be removed from play would depend on the GM and the player.

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-ka (J) — suffix meaning “practitioner of ” (for example, judoka means “judo practitioner”) karate (J) — empty hand (originally, China hand) kata (J) — forms, exercises, formalized training movements ken (J) — sword ki (J) — spirit; breath; energy kobu (J) — old-style fighting kuen (C) — forms, exercises, formalized training movements kumite (J) — free sparring training exercise kung fu (C) — hard work, well done kwon (K) — punching, or hand kwoon (C) — training hall, school kyu (J) — grade; ranks below black belt in Japanese martial arts; also means archery (kyujutsu is the art of archery) obi (J) — belt ryu (J) — school, style, or tradition (for example, Nito-Ryu means Nito Style) sabom (K) — teacher sensei (J) — teacher sifu (C) — teacher tae (K) — kicking, or foot ti (K) — belt denoting rank wu shu (C) — military arts


The Ultimate Martial Artist



his section reviews some special applications of Skills for martial arts characters. Many additional Skills, such as Defense Maneuver and Penalty Skill Levels, are not mentioned here because they function normally for martial artists, but that doesn’t make them any less appropriate for this type of character or campaign. ACROBATICS Acrobatics is a very appropriate skill for martial artist characters. It has several uses.

Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-½) In some martial arts campaigns, characters buy the Leaping Power with the Requires An Acrobatics Roll Limitation. Characters can also use this Limitation for DCV Combat Skill Levels and similar abilities. Acrobatics And Being Thrown A character can use Acrobatics to resist being thrown by any maneuver which is supposed to throw him to the ground (including both Martial Maneuvers and the good old Grab & Throw combination). With a successful Acrobatics roll at a -3 penalty, the character keeps his feet and is not thrown down. However, this doesn’t keep him from taking damage from the Throw maneuver. Some Throws are fist-strikes hard enough to take a character off his feet; others are leg-sweeps where the damage comes from the attacker’s blow to the backs of the character’s legs; and the standard Grab & Throw still slams a character hard onto the ground even if he keeps his feet. Whether his roll succeeds or fails, he takes full damage from the Throw maneuver. Acrobatics And Being Prone A character who is thrown or knocked down, one who isn’t able to keep his feet, can use Acrobatics another way. If he makes a half roll (e.g., if his roll is a 13, he must roll a 7 or under), he immediately gets his full DCV, even though he’s prone. If he fails his half roll, he suffers ordinary DCV modifiers for being prone. But on his next Phase, he can try again. The character does not have to get to his feet to have his full DCV when using Acrobatics this way. He may prefer to remain prone. For example, perhaps he’s been injured so that one leg isn’t working right, thus keeping him from standing up — he’ll have to stay down and use his Acrobatics to keep his DCV up. (Of course, he may suffer a penalty for trying to use Acrobatics with an injured leg; this depends on the GM.)

ACTING Martial artists can use Acting to simulate a greater injury than they have actually received. This may make their opponent overconfident and allow the character to make a Surprise Attack. To use Acting this way, make a Skill Versus Skill Contest against the target’s PER Roll. The GM decides, based on how clever he feels the ploy is and how likely the target is to believe it (the Overconfidence Psychological Limitation usually comes into play here), how much of an OCV bonus to give the character. If the ploy is not really clever, or the target knows the character does this all the time, or the target makes his PER Roll by more than the character makes his Acting roll, the character gets no bonus. (In fact, the GM may give the target an OCV bonus, as the Acting character probably has to reduce his mobility [and hence his DCV] to make a fake injury look convincing.) Characters can also use Acting to imitate some other character’s personal fighting style. This ability doesn’t necessarily have much use in combat, but may crop up in other situations. For example, suppose a villain with Acting wants to frame a PC for a crime. He could Disguise himself as the PC, then perform some heinous crime before witnesses who swear it was the hero — they didn’t just recognize his face, they recognized his moves. This requires a Skill Versus Skill Contest pitting the villain’s Acting Skill against the PER Rolls of onlookers familiar with the real person. To do this, the actor must know at least two Martial Maneuvers in the same style as the person he’s mimicking. If the actor is a karateka and he’s trying to imitate a jujutsuka, and does not have any Jujutsu maneuvers, he’s out of luck. A Knowledge Skill of the imitated character’s style can act as a Complementary Skill Roll. ANALYZE STYLE A martial artist can buy the Analyze Skill as Analyze Style, which gives him the ability to assess an enemy’s fighting skills. He may only use it while watching the enemy fight; he must observe his target fighting for at least one full Turn. The information the character can gain from an Analyze Style roll depends on how well he succeeds, as indicated in the accompanying table. A character with Analyze Style gets a +2 to his Skill Roll if his target possesses a Style Distinctive Feature (see page 135). On the other hand, he has a harder time analyzing fighters who have Lack of Weakness; each point of Lack of Weakness imposes a -1 on the roll. Analyze Style is the required Skill for the Analyze Style Aid ability described under Aid on

Hero Games


page 120. In this context, the character analyzes the fighting style of an opponent, then uses his own abilities to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses for a brief time. Analyze Style also allows a martial artist to take advantage of an opponent’s consistency. Some characters tend to favor one or two attack maneuvers, usually because they offer high damage capabilities or some advantageous combination of CV bonuses. In this situation, a character can make an Analyze Style roll to prepare himself for this favored attack. If he succeeds with the roll, he gets +2 DCV against that maneuver in this particular fight. In later fights the character has to make a new Analyze Style roll, perhaps at a small bonus because he made it before. Characters can also use KS: Specific Martial Art (see below) this way.

ANALYZE STYLE TABLE Makes Roll By Information Gained 0 (Exactly)

Whether the target is a poor, medium, good, or master-level fighter.

1 or 2

How the target compares to the character in terms of fighting prowess: i.e., “I’m far superior to him,” “It would be a close thing but I think I’d win,” “It’s anybody’s guess who would win,” “He has the edge over me,” or “I don’t stand a chance.”

3 or 4

Certain Physical Limitations and Vulnerabilities possessed by target (the GM decides what Limitations the Skill can detect; Lame would be, while 2 x BODY from Poisons would not be, for example).

Half or Better

Location of the target’s open Gate (if target has the Breath Control power described under Damage Resistance on page 122.)

BREAKFALL A character can use Breakfall to reduce the damage he takes from any maneuver that throws him to the ground. With a successful Breakfall roll, he only takes half damage for the attack. However, he suffers a -1 penalty to his roll for every 2d6 damage in that attack. For instance, if the Throw is supposed to do 6d6 damage, he suffers a -3 penalty to his Breakfall roll. If he makes it, he only takes 3d6 damage. If he fails, he takes all 6d6. The hardness and evenness of the surface modify the roll (see page 152). This works even if attacker defines the Throw attack as a strike strong enough to knock the character down; some but not all of the damage comes from the strike, and the successful use of Breakfall eliminates the half of the damage which comes from hitting the ground. At the GM’s option, a character can make a Breakfall roll by half to avoid the effect Throw has

on a character’s next action (see page 51 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). If the Thrown character makes a Breakfall roll by half, he avoids this effect, so the characters act on their regular DEXs, just like normal. A character cannot perform a Breakfall roll and an Acrobatics roll in the same Phase both to resist being thrown and to reduce the damage from being thrown: he can only use one of them against a given Throw attack. However, a character could make one Acrobatics or Breakfall roll to avoid some of the effects of the Throw, and then make a separate Breakfall roll to regain his feet instantly (without taking a Half Phase). He could make an additional Breakfall roll in the same Phase to overcome the “first movement next Phase goes to the Thrower” effect. Breakfall is known as ukemi in Japanese and nhao lan in Vietnamese. COMBAT SKILL LEVELS Characters can do several unusual things with Combat Skill Levels. Clarification: 3-Point Skill Levels With A Martial Art If a character has bought 3-point CSLs with a single martial art (say, Karate), and has purchased a Weapons Element for that art (for example, to use Karate Weapons with the Karate maneuvers), the character can use those Skill Levels with weapons used with his Martial Maneuvers. However, if he


The Ultimate Martial Artist

NON-WEAPON COMBAT EFFECTS Flexible, Lengthy: Skill Levels apply to Block, Choke Hold, Strike. Rigid, Intricate, Bulky: Reduced OCV with damaging attacks; Skill Levels apply to Disarm, Bind, Grab. Rigid, Simple, Bulky: Reduced OCV with damaging attacks; Skill Levels apply to Block, Disarm, Bind. Example: A small bookshelf isn’t a good weapon to hit people with; someone using it to Strike with should suffer about a -3 OCV penalty. But a character could maneuver an attacker into stabbing at him between the shelves, and then rotate the bookshelf to Disarm the weapon, Bind the weapon, or lock the attacker’s arm. Therefore the GM decides the character gets his OCV/DCV bonuses with Bind, Disarm, and Grab maneuvers. Small bookcases aren’t much good for hitting people, so the GM might give it 2d6 Normal Damage. Example: A sawhorse also doesn’t look like much of a striking weapon, though it’s better than a bookshelf; give it a -1 OCV. Like the bookshelf, it does have small areas the character can use to trap an incoming limb or weapon, and its shape is suited to blocking attacks. Therefore the GM decides the character can use his skill levels with Bind, Block, and Disarm maneuvers. Sawhorses have rigid legs with narrow points on them, so the GM rules that the weapon does 3d6 Normal Damage. Example: A garden hose would do negligible damage, but it isn’t clumsy; it Continued on next page

buys maneuvers from outside his art (say, a Kenjutsu sword maneuver), he cannot use the 3-point CSLs with his original art with the “outside” maneuvers. In general, characters are better off buying 5-point CSLs with Hand-To-Hand Combat, since these Levels apply to the Martial Maneuvers, other maneuvers bought outside the character’s style, ordinary HERO System Combat Maneuvers, and weapons not used within the character’s style. Combat Skill Levels with Non-Weapon Weapons A character could buy 3-point CSLs with NonWeapon Weapons. Here’s what it means and what it does: When a character picks up a piece of furniture or other unusual item — a weapon of opportunity — and slugs a target with it, the GM usually just determines what sort of club the item corresponds to and assigns damage based on that. But if a character buys 3-point CSLs with Non-Weapon Weapons, the GM should take a different approach. He should consider the item being picked up and then decide which three maneuvers the character’s Skill Levels apply to when he’s using this weapon. (As you know, 3-point CSLs normally only affect three maneuvers.) He should make his decision based on the look of the item and how he imagines the character can use it in combat. The accompanying sidebar provides general guidelines for types of non-weapons and what combat effects they might have. Alternately, a character could buy a 1-point Weapon Element with specific objects (Use Art with Bicycle, Use Art with Sawhorse, and so forth). That allows him to use the object normally with his Martial Maneuvers. COMBAT SKILL LEVELS BOUGHT AS POWERS Though it’s not normally appropriate to buy Skill Levels as Powers, sometimes it’s all right to do so to construct certain abilities or powers. Remember that Combat Skill Levels bought with Limitations only affect OCV (or, very rarely, only affect DCV); see the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 53, for further information. Hand-To-Hand Skill Levels Which Cost END In the movies especially, a character may go out to fight, find his opponent was tougher than he thought, and begin really concentrating on the fight — fighting “above himself,” tiring himself out faster, but fighting more effectively. To simulate this, characters can buy 5-point CSLs for Hand-to-Hand Combat with the Limitations Costs Endurance (-½) and Increased Endurance Cost (x2 END; -½). This creates CSLs that each cost 1 END per Phase to use. Hand-To-Hand Levels Depending On Acrobatics, DCV Only To simulate the incredible DCV acrobatic martial artists have when using their Acrobatics Skill, you can purchase 5-point DCV CSLs for Hand-to-Hand Combat with the Limitation

Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-½). Remember, each two Skill Levels (10 Active Points) result in a -1 to the Acrobatics roll. Hand-To-Hand Levels Versus A Specific Style These CSLs apply Only Against [Specific Martial Arts Style] (-1). They simulate a character who has studied a particular style extensively and learned its weaknesses. Characters may also take the Limitation Requires A KS: [Specific Style] Roll for these Levels. This sort of CSL is especially appropriate for a martial arts villain. He can use his Levels to easily defeat the PCs in an early encounter; later, after the PCs have gotten additional training or learned ways to mask the weaknesses the villain exploited, they can return and defeat him. FAST DRAW In Japan, this Skill is called iaijutsu; it’s the samurai’s ability to unsheathe his sword instantly and attack without hesitation. Tradition attributes the creation of Iaijutsu to one Hõjõ Jinsuke, who developed it as part of a quest to avenge his father’s murder. Warriors often regard Iaijutsu as a martial art in itself, but it’s sufficient for game purposes to describe it as a “companion art” to Kenjutsu. It has four basic techniques: nukitsuke (the sudden drawing of the blade); kiritsuke (the cut(s) used to injure or kill the opponent); chiburi (the shaking of blood from the sword-blade; this maneuver is sometimes used to blind an opponent by flicking blood into his eyes); and noto (resheathing the sword). Other techniques dealt with countering surprise attacks, attacks by multiple opponents, fighting in the dark, and so forth. (Thus, to truly simulate Iaijutsu, a character should purchase not only Fast Draw but Combat Sense and Defense Maneuver as well; Lighting Reflexes is also recommended.) Knowledgeable characters can identify different substyles of Iaijutsu by the grips they teach, the fighter’s

Hero Games emphasis on certain techniques, and so forth. Fast Draw has another function outside of combat: a character can use it to snatch things out of someone’s hand before he can close it — a trick often performed to impress someone. The character has the other person hold something in his open palm, and tells the fellow he can snatch the object out of his hand before the fellow can close his hand. With a successful Fast Draw roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest against the target’s Fast Draw or DEX Roll, he can do this. If the character succeeds and immediately makes an appropriate Presence Attack, grant him +1d6 for every two points by which he beat the target’s Fast Draw or DEX Roll. A character can also use Sleight Of Hand, if he possesses it, to make a switch. With successful Fast Draw and Sleight Of Hand rolls (the target can make a PER Roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest with the Sleight Of Hand), our hero can take the object off the other fellow’s palm and drop another in its place... without the target realizing what’s happened. The target feels the object in his hand and thinks he won the contest. KNOWLEDGE SKILLS The following Knowledge Skills are especially appropriate for martial artist characters. Knowledge Skill: Chinese Healing KS: Chinese Healing reflects a character’s knowledge of ancient Chinese healing techniques. It corresponds, in game mechanics, to SS: Medicine and PS: Doctor. Chinese Healing uses a combination of herbal medicine and acupuncture. It works to put the body’s internal systems back in balance to combat disease or cope with traumatic injury. In game terms, it works just like PS: Doctor (a character with it must buy a 1-point License To Practice Medicine Fringe Benefit separately if he wishes to practice medicine legally). Characters can use Chinese Healing to undo the effects of dim mak attacks (see Drain on page 123). A character with KS: Chinese Healing can make a normal Skill Roll to detect that his patient is suffering from dim mak techniques. To cure his patient, he must succeed in a Skill Versus Skill Contest against the Chinese Healing Skill of the character who performed that dim mak attack. If he wins the contest, he “turns off ” the effects of the dim mak attack. This cure doesn’t instantly heal the victim back to health; it just stops the progressive effects of the dim mak and allows the patient to begin healing normally. If he fails the roll, he can do nothing to forestall the continuation of the dim mak effects. Regional variations on this Skill include KS: Indian Healing and KS: Korean Healing, which are appropriate for some martial arts from those regions. Knowledge Skill: The Martial World In modern-day campaigns, the Martial World is a worldwide martial arts subculture; you find it in any nation or city where there are martial arts schools or traditions. KS: The Martial World is similar to the Street-

115 wise Skill, but deals only with the world of the martial arts. Streetwise doesn’t do much good among martial artists, because those who belong to the Martial World are rather insular and closedmouthed about it when talking to outsiders. A successful KS: Martial World roll allows a hero to use the Martial World grapevine to hear about unusual events and happenings in the Martial World, and to send messages to other people in the Martial World. For example, if a hero hears that an assassination was performed using an interesting but little-known Taijutsu technique, a successful KS: Martial World roll might let him figure out who can reveal the culprit’s identity to him (or, simply, who the culprit is). This Skill also keeps the character up to date about who’s on top in the sporting competition forms of the martial arts and other current affairs in the significant martial arts schools around the world. Knowledge Skill: Mon Mon are symbols and designs used to represent Japanese families; every major Japanese family, especially the more traditional ones, has a distinctive mon design. Knowledge Skill of mon gives a character a good grounding in the recognition of these designs. He can recognize famous designs automatically, and identify others with a successful Skill Roll. This can be important in martial arts campaigns centered around Japan, where recognizing a character’s family by his mon can make all the difference in determining who is friend and who is foe. Knowledge Skill: Specific Martial Art You saw in Chapter One that every martial arts style recommends purchase of a Knowledge Skill. This skill has several functions in the campaign: History: The character has a grounding in the history of his style. He knows the factors that led to its development, the influences which affected the art, and the names of the persons who contributed significantly to its development. With a successful Skill Roll, he can answer more difficult questions about the style’s history. Philosophy: The character has an understanding of the philosophical side of his style. Most Eastern martial arts have a very important philosophical side to them, often grounded in Buddhism. This is seldom important in an action-adventure game, though wise practitioners of the art are often inclined to baffle young adventurers with cryptic riddles and metaphors, which a successful Knowledge Skill roll can help unravel. Personalities: The character knows major practitioners of the art, at least by name and reputation. If the art is practiced as a sport (for example, Karate has a full-contact sport as a sideline), he knows who the current champions and contenders are with a successful Skill Roll. In modern-day campaigns, he also knows what they look like due to appearances in magazines covering the style. Schools: The character can, with a successful roll, recognize the precise style of another practitioner

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shouldn’t impose an OCV penalty. A character can also use it to catch incoming weapons (blunt weapons only — sharp ones would cut right through), to choke a foe, or to swing the metal cap at the end at the target. Therefore the GM decides the character can use his skill levels with Block, Choke Hold, and Strike maneuvers using the hands (i.e., Punches, not Kicks). Garden hoses aren’t terribly effective weapons; the GM rules they do 1d6 Normal Damage. Non-Weapon Weapons are all considered Clubs for purposes of a character’s skill with them... and everyone automatically has Weapons Familiarity with Clubs.


The Ultimate Martial Artist of the same art. One karateka (Karate practitioner) observing another in combat can make his Skill Roll; with a successful roll, he will know (or at least have a good idea) of which branch of the style the other character learned, and may (if he makes his roll by 3 or better) know exactly who trained this character. Symbols: With a successful roll, the character can recognize the distinctive symbols used by many schools or branches of his style. Where appropriate, he can recognize variations in the weapons used by different branches of his style. For example, different ninja clans were supposed to have different-looking shuriken; a character with KS: Ninjutsu could, with a successful roll, determine a shuriken’s school or clan of origin (if any). Other Styles: With a successful roll at -2, the character can recognize a style not his own. He might see a fighter in combat, make his roll, and recognize that the other fellow was performing Savate maneuvers. The GM can apply additional penalties based on how unfamiliar he believes the character to be with the style he’s observing. This use of the Skill doesn’t allow the character to recognize specific schools or styles of the other art. Analyze Style: If the character has the Analyze Style Skill, and has a KS of the same style being used by the character he’s analyzing, he can use his KS as a Complementary Skill to the Analyze Style Skill. LANGUAGE: NINJA CLAN CODES AND SYMBOLS Only ninja who belong to ninja clans may learn this Skill. It’s a series of special code-words, hand-signs, and commands that allow a ninja to communicate secretly and silently with one of his own clan. Characters must buy it this way: 2 points in a language (Ninja Clan Codes), and 1 point for Literacy (Ninja Clan Symbols). Buying more points in the language doesn’t do any good. Each ninja clan has its own set of codes and symbols. Consider each clan’s language linguistically unrelated to all other clan languages (or any other language, for that matter) for purposes of learning more than one. Two ninja of the same clan, sitting together, could hold an ordinary conversation with normal speech and exchange secret information

through use of code-words and hand-signs casual observers could not detect (or would not know the meaning of). A ninja in the field can give tactical commands to his subordinates through spoken words and hand-signs. A ninja can bury an important object at a particular site and leave a “meaningless scratch” on a wall or tree nearby; a ninja of his own clan can interpret the scratches and find the buried goods. Consider this a complete language which may be performed at any time either with voice, or with hand-signs, or both. But it’s not a sophisticated language, so the GM can assign INT Rolls and INT Roll penalties to ninja trying to communicate complicated thoughts or stories when using it. PROFESSIONAL SKILL: INSTRUCTOR Characters who want to teach their martial art to others should buy this Skill. Anyone can teach, of course, but someone with PS: Instructor is more skilled at doing so, and better able to evaluate the best methods for instructing a particular student or class, the progress of a student, and so forth. This Skill includes knowledge of some very basic sports medicine techniques to help with common dojo injuries. SCIENCE SKILL: SPECIFIC MARTIAL ART A Science Skill in a particular style gives a character knowledge of the mechanical aspects of his fighting maneuvers, including their kinesiology and the scientific principles which make them work. At the GM’s option, this may include some appropriate “sports medicine” techniques for common dojo injuries and/or some very basic knowledge of human anatomy. In appropriate circumstances, this SS and PS: Instructor are Complementary to one another, since oftentimes the more one knows about an art, the better one can teach that art to others. SLEIGHT OF HAND At the GM’s option, characters can use this Skill as a Half Phase Action to perform “feints” or “foists” in combat. This means the character’s trying to “fake out” his opponent, creating an opening he can exploit. For every 2 points the character makes his Sleight Of Hand roll by, he gains +1 to his OCV, up to a maximum of +3. However, each time after the first he tries this against a particular opponent, he takes a cumulative -2 penalty to his Sleight Of Hand roll. Thus, sooner or later a recurring enemy learns the character’s tricks and how to avoid them. Other characters who have watched the character fight, or who make the character’s Reputation roll, may also know of his tricks, thus subjecting him to the same penalty even if this is the first time he’s ever fought them. If the character fails his Sleight Of Hand roll, and his opponent makes a PER Roll at -2, the attacker suffer a -2 OCV penalty on his attack, since his target has seen through the “feint” and knows what to expect.

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erquisites which are useful in martial arts campaigns include:

CONTACT Several types of Contacts often appear in martial arts stories: The Ex-Master: The martial arts expert who trained the character. If bought as a Contact, he won’t normally come along with the hero on his adventures, but can often answer questions about the hero’s newest opponent or give the hero additional between-adventures training. The Old Buddy: This character was in the armed forced with the hero, was a co-student with him back in the old days, or something of the sort. He’s often a lower-grade martial artist himself; frequently, he’s also wealthy, or a weaponsmith of some sort. He can make (normal) weapons for the hero, or protect the rescued NPC when the hero doesn’t need to be burdened with the presence of a non-fighter.

FOLLOWER The most common type of Follower for a martial artist to have is a student. Many martial artists attract non-fighters or beginning fighters who wish to learn from them. The character can guide the student’s development by deciding how much to spend on his Follower Perk; when the Follower reaches an ample level of ability and it’s time for the characters to part, the PC can “turn in” his Follower and get his points back. He has to use those points to buy off Disadvantages related to the Follower, or to buy other Followers, Bases, Vehicles, and such things — he cannot spend them on Characteristics, Skills, or Powers. FRINGE BENEFITS Accredited Instructor (1 point) This Perk indicates the character has received accreditation as an expert and instructor in a specific martial arts style by a recognized body which regulates that style (for example, the “World Kung Fu Masters Federation” for a Kung Fu practitioner). This increases his profile in the Martial World and helps him attract students (should he wish to teach). Since this Perk indicates someone who’s an expert and a qualified instructor, the GM should ordinarily require a character to be a black belt (see page 13 for qualifications), or possess a similar level of skill and learning, before he can buy Accredited Instructor.

“Black Belt” (1 point) This optional Perk indicates the character is recognized as a “black belt,” or expert fighter, by a governing body of his style (or some similar organization) and has the right to refer to himself as such. A character with this Perk can sometimes rely on members of the Martial World for work (i.e., teaching martial arts), shelter, and the like. This Perk is strictly an optional one; its availability depends on the GM’s ruling regarding how a character qualifies to be a black belt. Refer to Black Belt Status In The HERO System, page 13, for details. Kirisutogomen (10 points) Only characters in feudal-era Japanese campaigns can take this Fringe Benefit. It represents a samurai’s right to kill anyone of a lower social class. In some periods, samurai all had this right, but different samurai implemented it in different ways. More calm and philosophical samurai exercised it only when deliberately offended; touchier samurai killed anyone who accidentally stepped across their blades, didn’t bow down quite far enough, or otherwise inadvertently bothered them for any reason. However, characters should remember that daimyo (lords) tend to frown upon the indiscriminate killing of their subjects, peasants or otherwise. Right To Marry (1 point) This is a necessary Perk of Buddhist monk characters. Right Of Shelter (1 point) This is a necessary Perk of Buddhist monk characters. It doesn’t mean the character has the right to barge into peoples’ homes and demand food and shelter, but rather that in predominantly Buddhist countries or regions, someone (usually a peasant or a monk from the local monastery) will always offer him shelter (if he’s known to be a monk). MONEY Martial arts campaigns are not about money, and so a martial artist character should only take the Money Perk as part of his background conception. If he’s a multi-millionaire who’s also a martial artist, he should take Wealthy; if he has chosen a lifestyle where he’s continually impoverished, he should take Destitute. REPUTATION Many martial artists have a Reputation reflecting their fighting skill. They should buy this as a Perk, since it causes others to back down rather than fight them, makes it easier to intimidate


he roots of education

are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.’ — Aristotle


The Ultimate Martial Artist punks, earns the character a measure of respect in appropriate circles, and so forth. The Martial World counts as a medium-sized group for purposes of buying Reputation. VEHICLES AND BASES The most common sort of base found in a martial arts campaign is the school. Only masters and master villains have schools, so a character

with a base should also teach his “agents,” or students. Point-purchased special vehicles are very uncommon in martial arts campaigns. The GM may decide that martial arts characters in his campaigns do not get to buy bases or vehicles with their own points — they’re limited to the sorts of bases and vehicles bought with money.



any of the Talents from the HERO System are very useful when building martial arts characters. The most important ones include:

COMBAT SENSE Many martial artists train to fight when blindfolded or blinded; you can represent that ability with Combat Sense. It can be a life-saver for a martial artist when the lights go out, his opponent blows some dust into his eyes, he’s been successfully Flashed, and so on. Blind martial artists also have this Talent. Combat Sense also proves useful if the character has to fight an invisible foe. A martial artist who makes a Combat Sense roll will not have his OCV

reduced by half (the typical effect of invisibility on hand-to-hand and ranged combat) — he can fight the invisible character with his full OCV. The character can get bonuses to his roll if he figures out clever ways to reduce the effects of the invisibility (making his opponent fight in an area with a lot of dust in the air or water on the floor, for example). Remember that standard Combat Sense stands on its own — it isn’t subject to the Simulated Sense Rule. Characters can link it to a Sense Group if they wish. This greatly reduces its cost, but also makes it much more likely their Combat Sense will be Flashed or otherwise “blocked.” DANGER SENSE Like Combat Sense, Danger Sense can alert the martial artist to an attack even when there’s no obvious sign of that attack coming. This is a Talent of skilled masters, intuitive martial artists, and characters with animal-like senses. However, as with all stop-sign Talents, it requires special permission from the GM. LIGHTNING REFLEXES In a martial arts battle, he who strikes first often triumphs. Thus, many martial artists buy this Talent to reflect the almost supernatural quickness they develop through their training. In some cases, characters can apply the Limitation Requires A Skill Roll (-½) to it; possible Skills include Sense Ch’i (see below), Analyze Style, KS: opponent’s martial arts style, or a DEX Roll. SIMULATE DEATH This is an unusual, but not unheard of, ability among martial artists. It’s most often learned by masters who have total control over their bodies.

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-½ if one or more members of a specific team (the team may have up to seven characters total) must be present. The “OCV/DCV Only” Limitation means the character doesn’t change his place on the Combat Order Sheet; this helps to keep the power from irritating the GM.


(5) The character can apply the Delayed Return Rate Advantage to decrease the loss rate for the Aid, up to wearing off at a rate of 5 Character Points per Minute (+¼).

haracters can use many HERO System Powers to create interesting abilities, powers, and “super-skills” for martial arts characters. In Superheroic games, they can even use Powers to create abilities deriving from ancient Chinese sorcery or many other strange sources.

There are many uses for Aid for martial arts characters, including the ones described below. Battles are often unpredictable things, which is why characters should build the abilities described in this section with Aid — Aid’s effects are similarly unpredictable. However, some players find this unpredictability frustrating — they can never know precisely how much increase a Characteristic will receive from an Aid, making it difficult to plan or use certain tactics. If you feel this way, apply the Standard Effect Rule to your Aid powers, or perhaps substitute Combat Skill Levels for Aid (characters can take many of the Limitations applicable to Aid, such as the need to remain close to your partners for an Array, on the CSLs). Arrays An Array is a fighting style where two or more fighters have trained together so long and so well that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When fighting together, the partners in the Array are much more formidable than when fighting alone or fighting alongside someone who is not their partner. A character can buy an Array as an Aid DEX for himself with these Advantages, Limitations and restrictions: (1) Array Aid powers should be limited to a maximum of Aid DEX 6d6. (2) Characters cannot increase the maximum number of Character Points they can add to a Characteristic; i.e., if you have an Aid 6d6, you cannot add more than 36 Character Points to the affected Characteristic (this translates into a limit of +12 DEX). (3) The power must have the following Advantage: Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1). (4) The power must have the following Limitations: Only For Increasing OCV And DCV (-¼), Self Only (-½); Usable Only Within 5” Of [Specific Other Person(s)] (-1½ to -½). The “Specific Other Persons” Limitation is worth -1½ if all members of a specific team must be present; -1 if only one specific other person (a permanent partner) must be present; or

If characters in an Array become separated in combat beyond the 5” range, they cannot use their Aid bonus at that moment... but it does not wear off instantly. If the characters get back within range of one another before the Aid wears off, the Aid bonus is instantly restored. Example: Jiro and Eiko are a brother-and-sister fighting Array. Each of them buys the following power: Aid DEX 3d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (60 Active Points); Self Only (-½), Usable Only Within 5” of Sibling (1), Only Increases OCV And DCV (-¼). Total cost: 22 points. If they later become part of a larger fighting team, one with five members, they could either decide the ability works only when all members were within 5”, or when any one other member was within 5”. Assuming they choose the latter, the ability becomes: Aid DEX 3d6, Fully Invisible (+1) (60 Active Points); Self Only (-½), Usable Only Within 5” Of Any Member Of Five-Man Team (-½), Only Increases OCV And DCV (-¼). Total cost: 27 points. Ch’i Aid Because martial arts characters often tap into their inner strength, or ch’i, they can buy Aid powers (with numerous Limitations) defined as “summoning one’s ch’i.” The following guidelines apply to Ch’i Aid abilities: (1) Ch’i Aid powers are limited to 2-4d6 Character Points of Aid (see below). (2) Characters cannot increase the maximum number of Character Points which they can add to a Characteristic; i.e., if you have Aid STR 3d6, you cannot add more than 18 Character Points to STR. (3) All Ch’i Aid abilities must take the Invisible Power Effects Advantage (Fully Invisible; +1). (4) All Ch’i Aid abilities must take the Self Only (-½) Limitation.


The Ultimate Martial Artist (5) The following Limitations are recommended or appropriate, but not required unless the GM says so: Activation Roll, Concentration, Extra Time, Gestures, Incantation, Increased Endurance Cost. (6) Characters can buy Ch’i Aid to affect one or more of the following Characteristics: STR, CON, EGO, PRE, REC, END, and/or STUN at a maximum of Aid 4d6; or BODY, PD, and/or ED at a maximum of Aid 2d6. Aid BODY powers must take the Limitation Aid Can Only Raise Characteristics To Starting Values (-1). See Kiai Aid, below, for options for PRE Aid powers. (7) Characters cannot buy Ch’i Aid to affect DEX, INT, COM, or SPD. (8) Characters cannot take the Delayed Return Rate Advantage for this Aid. Ch’i Aids must wear off at the standard 5 Character Points per Turn rate (though they could wear off sooner, if appropriately Limited). (9) You can only put Ch’i Aid powers into Power Frameworks with the GM’s permission (refer to the Power Frameworks section, below, for more information). Example: Aid STR 3d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (60 Active Points); Self Only (-½), Activation Roll 14- (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x5 END; -2). Total cost: 15 points. At the GM’s discretion, some of the restrictions described here may diminish or vanish in campaigns which are wilder, Superheroic, or more oriented toward martial arts. Kiai Aid A kiai is a war-shout — a mighty shout which surprises opponents, upsets their timing, sometimes even stuns them. In HERO System terms, a kiai is best represented as an Aid PRE bought according to the following guidlines: (1) Characters cannot buy a Kiai Aid PRE shout with more than 8d6. (2) Characters cannot increase the maximum number of Character Points they can add to a Characteristic; i.e., if you have Aid PRE 3d6, you cannot add more than 18 Character Points to PRE. (3) All Kiai Aid abilities must take the Invisible Power Effects Advantage (Fully Invisible; +1). (4) All Kiai Aid abilities must take the Self Only (-½) Limitation. (5) The following Limitations are recommended or appropriate, but not required unless the GM says so: Activation Roll, Charges, Only To Make Offensive Presence Attacks (-½), Increased Endurance Cost. (6) Characters cannot take the Delayed Return Rate Advantage. Kiai Aids must wear off at the standard 5 Character Points per Turn rate (though they could wear off sooner, if appropriately Limited). (7) You can only put Ch’i Aid powers into Power Frameworks with the GM’s permission (refer to

the Power Frameworks section, below, for more information). A sample of a Kiai Shout power might look like this: Example: Aid PRE 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Self Only (-½), Only To Make Offensive Presence Attacks (-½), 4 Charges (-1), Costs END (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x4 END; -1½). Total cost: 16 points. This represents the sort of Kiai Shout a character might buy initially. As he gains experience, he’d doubtless buy off the Charges Limitation, buy down the Increased Endurance Cost, and perhaps increase the dice of effect. Aid With A Skill Roll Sometimes characters who make a successful Skill Roll can gain combat advantages against their opponent. In HERO System terms, you can simulate such bonuses by Aiding certain Characteristics. Sense Ch’i and Analyze Style are the most common Skills used for this ability, and DEX is almost always the Characteristic Aided. The examples given below assume Analyze Style is the Skill used and DEX is Aided. Here are the Limitations on the power: (1) A Heroic-level character may only buy up to Aid DEX 2d6 (which results in a maximum of 12 Character Points of DEX, or 4 points of DEX). He may increase the amount of Character Points his Aid give him, up to 48 Character Points of DEX (or 16 points of DEX). Superheroic characters may buy up to Aid DEX 4d6, and may increase the amount of Character Points the Aid gives him, up to 63 Character Points (or 21 points of DEX). (2) Characters must take the following Limitations for a Skill Roll Aid: Self Only (-½), Requires An Analyze Style Roll (-½), Extra Time (Full Phase; -½), Must Watch Target Fighting Someone Else For One Full Phase Per Skill Roll (-½), Failed Skill Roll Or Interruption Prevents Further Skill Rolls At This Time (-½), Concentration (½ DCV; -¼), Only For Increasing OCV And DCV (-¼), Only Versus One Observed Foe (-1). Total Limitation: -4. (3) Characters may, if they wish, use Delayed Return Rate to increase the time period over which the Aid’s effects wear off to as much as 5 Character Points per 5 Minutes (a +½ advantage), but no higher. In play, what happens is this: A character with the power observes his enemy fighting. (Often, he asks one of his friends or orders his student to confront the enemy so he can observe.) Each Phase the character watches his target fighting, he may make his Analyze Style roll; with each successful roll, he can activate his Aid power. Each application of his Aid increases his DEX, but only to improve his own OCV and DCV, and only against this one opponent. It doesn’t improve

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his SPD, his placement on the combat order list, his Agility Skill Rolls, or anything of the sort. If he fights a character other than his target, he doesn’t get the DEX bonus; however, if he finishes with the other character and returns to his target before his DEX Aid wears off, then he’ll still benefit from the power. If he fails a Skill Roll, or something interrupts his concentration (e.g., someone attacks or distracts him), he can make no further Analyze Style rolls against this opponent during this fight. (The exact length of a “fight” varies, but it’s long enough for all hostilities to cease and for the character’s Aid bonus to wear completely off. Until both conditions are met, consider the “fight” to remain in effect.) This means once he misses a roll, or something interrupts his observation, or he simply stops making his roll for any reason, he’s gotten all the benefit from his power he can get; he should then start attacking his target (or running away, if that’s what’s called for). He’ll fight his enemy with his OCV and DCV substantially improved. Gradually, his Aid wears off; this corresponds to his opponent figuring out how to compensate for the weak spots in his own fighting style. Here’s an example of how this power is built: Example: Aid DEX 2d6, can hold up to 48 Character Points of DEX (equalling +16 DEX), Delayed Return Rate (points wears off at 5 per 5 Minutes; +½) (72 Active Points); Self Only (½), Requires An Analyze Style Roll (-½), Extra Time (Full Phase; -½), Must Watch Target Fighting Someone Else For One Phase Per Skill Roll (-½), Failed Skill Roll/Interruption Prevents Further Rolls (-½), Concentration (½ DCV; -¼), Only For OCV/DCV (-¼), Only Versus One Observed Foe (-1). Total cost: 14 points; -7 to Analyze Style roll. ARMOR Armor is inappropriate for most martial arts characters or campaigns. If characters want Resistant Defenses, they can buy Damage Resistance (see below); limited forms of Damage Reduction also work well. Characters can, of course, buy Armor as equipment (see Chapter Three of this book and the Weapons and Armor section of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for details). CLINGING Superheroic martial artists can buy Clinging in the usual fashion. So can characters in “wild” style martial arts campaigns, who sometimes display the ability to run up walls and along narrow rooftops effortlessly. For Heroic characters, the GM should consider imposing one or both of the following Limitations on Clinging (perhaps in addition to Requires A Climbing Roll): Sideways Movement Is At ½ Ground Movement Rate: -¼ No Ceiling Movement Or Angles Of Less Than 80o: -¼


With the first Limitation shown above, a character is about as slow going sideways as he is going up. With the second Limitation, the character can scale shallow inclines, steep inclines, vertical (90o) inclines, and even overhangs up to 80o ... but not any steeper overhangs. Heroic characters should not be allowed to buy up the STR of their Clinging; their base STR is quite enough.

Clinging (normal STR) (10 Active Points); Requires A Climbing Roll (-½), Sideways Move At ½ Ground Rate (-¼), No Ceiling Or Angles Less Than 80o (-¼). Total cost: 5 points.

WIRE-FU WALL-SCALING Clinging (normal STR) (10 Active Points); Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-½). Total cost: 7 points.



Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points), Must Be Aware of Attack (-¼), Activation Roll (¾, assuming a 12- EGO Roll), Does Not Work Against Dim Mak (-¼). Total cost: 13 points.

RESILIENCE II Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points), Must Be Aware Of Attack (-¼), STUN Only (-½), Does Not Work Against Dim Mak (-¼). Total cost: 15 points.

DAMAGE RESISTANCE EXAMPLES BREATH CONTROL Damage Resistance (8 PD) (4 Active Points); Does Not Work Versus Guns (-¼), Location 3 (Forehead) Left Undefended (-¼). Total cost: 3 points.

DAMAGE REDUCTION Martial arts characters absorb an incredible amount of abuse in the movies and fiction, then come back for more. You can simulate this with a limited form of Damage Reduction. This ability is especially appropriate for characters in martial arts campaigns. Having this power can mean the difference between being a good, effective minion-type character and being a master martial artist or damage-resistant hero. Therefore, only PCs and the best NPC martial artists (aged teachers, master villains, powerful minions, and the like) should have this ability. The GM should consider imposing the following Limitations and restrictions on this form of Damage Reduction: (1) Characters can buy a maximum of Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50%. (2) Characters can only buy Physical and Energy Damage Reduction (or Physical only, for Heroic characters); they cannot buy Mental Damage Reduction. (3) The Damage Reduction must take these Limitations: Character Must Be Aware Of Attack (-¼), Does Not Work Against Dim Mak (-¼). (4) Optional Limitations include: STUN Only (-½); Activation Roll (equal to character’s EGO Roll; -1 to -¼) (the character must make an EGO Roll whenever he takes damage, and if he fails his roll he takes full damage). (At the GM’s option, the character may substitute other appropriate rolls, such as a CON Roll.) With this arrangement, the character must know he’s being attacked (this is automatic for most attacks from the direction he’s facing, but can require a PER Roll, or even Danger Sense roll for surprise attacks). In one form of the power, he must force himself to ignore the pain, hence the Activation Roll (EGO Roll) requirement. Characters with this arrangement cannot buy their Activation Rolls up higher than their EGO Rolls. This may make them want to have strong EGOs, which is appropriate for martial arts heroes. If a character has an EGO Roll of 13-, he can buy a 14- Activation Roll, since there is no 13- Activation Roll limitation. DAMAGE RESISTANCE Characters in martial arts campaigns can buy Damage Resistance, with this Limitation: Only Versus Unarmed Martial Arts Killing Attacks (-1). (In campaigns where unarmed Killing Attacks are less common, increase this Limitation’s value to -2.) This allows the character to resist the worst effects of martial arts Killing Attacks, but provides him with no extra defenses versus the knife of a mugger, the claws of a bear, the gun of an assassin, or any other type of Killing Attack. Damage Resistance: Breath Control Breath Control is a form of Damage Resistance available to Superheroic martial artists and characters in martial arts-oriented campaigns. It allows

a character to make himself much more resistant to damage by closing off certain vulnerable energy points called “Gates,” thus protecting most of his body against Killing Damage. However, one Gate must always remain open, leaving the character vulnerable to attack there; the character must define his open Gate when he buys Breath Control. When a location is actually two locations (for example, location 7 is forearm, and the character has two, right and left), the player can define which one it is. If he wishes his open Gate to be in his right hand, he defines it as Location 6 (Right). In combat, when someone attacks him and hits the proper location, unless he specifically aimed for the proper one, he must roll 1d6; a 1-3 means he hit the left limb, a 4-6 means he hit the right. Rules for buying Breath Control: (1) The character may only buy Damage Resistance to Physical attacks. (2) The character must take the following Limitations for the power: Does Not Work Against Guns (-¼; Breath Control only works against attacks from hand-to-hand, thrown, and muscle-powered weapons); One Hit Location Left Undefended (-¼) (or 15- Activation, if you’re not using Hit Locations). (3) If the campaign uses the Hit Location chart, and the player chooses as his open Gate a Hit Location which reduces the damage of an attack (Locations 6-8, 15-18), then he must take the following Vulnerability: 2 x BODY To Attacks To Gate (Uncommon), 10 points. This only gives him points to spend if he bought Breath Control when he was first created. If he buys Breath Control after character creation, and defines his open Gate as being in one of the limb locations, he still gets the Vulnerability, but he doesn’t get any Character Points for it. GM’s Note: Breath Control is a very inexpensive, very useful ability. If you allow it in your campaign, just about every character will want it. It makes small bladed weapons next to useless; only martial arts, large weapons, and guns remain effective. If you prefer to keep your PCs respectful of lowerpowered Killing Damage weapons, do not allow this power in your campaign. DESOLIDIFICATION Characters can use Desolidification as a defensive ability — a style of blocking or parrying incoming blows which is so adroit, no one can penetrate it to actually hit the defender. This sort of Desolidification is vulnerable to mystic attacks and to martial arts attacks specifically intended to overcome it. Example: Desolidification (affected by magical attacks or any maneuver specifically designed to overcome this ability), Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points); Only To Protect Against Martial Arts Attacks (-1), Requires A DEX Roll (-½). Total cost: 32 points. The GM must define which attacks are “specifically intended to overcome” this power. A martial arts ability bought with Affects Desolidified (+¼) would certainly qualify (characters take Affects

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Desolidified at the +¼ level in this instance to reflect the fact that the attack only affects a single, limited form of Desolidification). Another possibility is any martial arts attack with the Indirect Advantage. DISPEL A character can buy a Dispel to give himself the ability to use his martial arts to break small gadgets and items of equipment. “Small gadgets” are typically defined as those with 20 or fewer Active Points in them and/or which take the Fragile Limitation. Example: Hitoshi wants to be able to break minor gadgets and similar items, since he considers it unfair for someone to use weapons and equipment against him when he only uses his bare hands. He purchases the following Dispel ability: Shattering: Dispel 5d6, any small gadget power one at a time (+¼) (19 Active Points); No Range (-½). Total cost: 13 points. Hitoshi encounters an attacker wearing a tinted motorcycle helmet (defined as 5 points of Sight Group Flash Defense). Hitoshi, a generally nonviolent person, would prefer to end the fight quickly by using Martial Flash, but the motorcycle helmet offers his opponent a full defense against that attack. Hitoshi decides to use his gadget-breaking power to smash the helmet. He successfully hits his target and rolls 12 on his Dispel dice. This exceeds the 5 Active Points in the gadget, so the helmet’s faceplate shatters. Hitoshi’s attacker’s eyes are now fully exposed to attack. DRAIN General Uses Characters can use Drain to create a wide variety of martial arts attacks which weaken, numb, or otherwise debilitate a target. Most such attacks buy down the recovery time so the target does not recover quickly. Limitations such as Only Works On Humans (-½), Requires A SS: Anatomy Roll (-½), or Requires A Sense Ch’i Roll (-½) are appropriate for most Drain-based martial attacks. Characters can also use Drain to create “feint” maneuvers (refer to Feints, below, for details). Drain: Dim Mak Techniques Dim Mak is the infamous “delayed death touch,” a nearly magical method of striking (or even merely touching) an opponent, transferring ch’i energy into him, and causing an imbalance in his body which eventually kills him. This is a Chinese technique, and not widely known; the GM should restrict its purchase so that only one or two PCs (at most) ever learn Dim Mak. (If several characters know it, it becomes mundane and boring, not the dangerous, mysterious art it should be.) In a Heroic campaign, characters buy Dim Mak this way: (1) Dim Mak is bought as a Drain — mostly a Drain BODY, though characters can add other Drains to

simulate the effect of the victim’s body wasting away. (2) Characters may not buy more than a Drain 10d6. If they Link non-BODY Drains to the BODY Drain, the Linked Drains cannot exceed 6d6. (3) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the following Advantages: Invisible To Sight And Hearing Groups (+¾), Time Delay (+¼), Delayed Return Rate (BODY returns at the rate of 5 Character Points per Week; +1½). (They can improve this last Advantage further, to 5 CP per Month or per Season, if they wish to spend the points.) (4) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the Gradual Effect Limitation, at either the 1d6 of effect per 6 Hours (-1½) or 1d6 of effect per 1 Day (-1¾) level. The damage of a Dim Mak attack doesn’t take effect all at once; the victim sickens before dying. Apply 1d6 Drain at each time increment (if the Dim Mak technique is built as several Drains — for instance, a BODY, STR and CON Drain — apply 1d6 of each Drain at each time increment). (5) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with this special Limitation: Can Be Cured By Chinese Healing (-¼). A character with the Chinese Healing Skill might be able to cure a Dim Mak attack. He can’t make his roll to cure the victim until the onset of the first 1d6 of damage. Since Dim Mak practitioners must also know Chinese Healing (see item #6 below), the GM should resolve this as a Skill Versus Skill Contest between the two characters with Chinese Healing. (Also, if the victim is below 0 BODY, the character trying to heal him suffers a -1 penalty to his Skill Roll for every 2 BODY the victim is below 0 BODY.) (6) Characters must buy Dim Mak powers with the following Limitation: Requires A Chinese Healing Roll (no Active Point penalty, but 16+ automatically misses; -¼). (7) The following Advantage is appropriate for Dim Mak powers but may only be taken instead of (not


The Ultimate Martial Artist

in addition to) Time Delay: Trigger (Trigger can change each time power is used; +½). Usually, the Trigger is a certain number of steps taken by the victim: after three steps, 100 steps, 1,000 steps, or whatever, the target begins suffering the effects of the power. (8) These Limitations are appropriate (but not required) for Dim Mak powers: Attacker Must Make A Special Sequence Of Blows Against Target (one blow, -0; two blows, -¼; three blows, -½; four blows, -¾; five or six blows, -1); Attacker Must Make Very Accurate Blows Against Target (each blow is at -3 OCV for placement, -½; each blow is at -8 OCV for placement, -1); Special Sequence Of Blows Does No Damage (-½); Timing Must Be Perfect: Attacker May Not Miss A Phase Or A Hit (-1). In other words, the attacker must hit his target in several places around the body to set up the Dim Mak chain reaction. One (easy) way to buy it might be Five Blows (-1), no other limitation; this means the attacker must first hit his target five times, and on the sixth may apply his Dim Mak attack. One (very difficult) way to buy it might be Five Blows, Each at -8, Do No Damage, Timing Perfect (total Limitation: -3 ½). The attacker would have to hit his target every Phase with a 0-damage strike (no damage is rolled, and there is no other combat effect), each blow at -8 OCV, not missing a single attack (he cannot miss, he cannot be blocked, and so forth, or he will have to start over); only after all that is set up can he, on the sixth blow, apply the Dim Mak touch. The player and GM should decide what these preparatory blows look like, what locations they must hit (with a -3 modifier, the character can be presumed to hit anywhere he wishes on the character’s torso; with a -8 modifier, the character can be presumed to hit any target on the body he wishes), and the like.

(9) Dim Mak powers are hand-to-hand and so may not be bought with the Ranged Advantage. A character struck by a Dim Mak attack who drops below 0 BODY can be treated by a character with Professional Skill: Doctor. A successful Skill Roll merely means the character doesn’t perish swiftly (in other words, he won’t lose 1 BODY every Post-Segment 12 from being at 0 BODY or below); Skills such as Paramedic and Professional Skill: Doctor cannot keep the Dim Mak effects from continuing, though. GMs should allow characters to buy Dim Mak attacks which far exceed the campaign’s normal Active Point limits. The Limitations on the power keep it from being as lethal as its Active Point totals would otherwise indicate. Here’s one example of a Dim Mak attack as a PC might buy it: Example: Dim Mak: Drain BODY 10d6 plus Drain STR 6d6, Invisible To Sight Group And Hearing Group (+¾), Time Delay (+¼), Delayed Return Rate (BODY returns at the rate of 5 Character Points per Week (+1¾) (600 Active Points!); Gradual Effect (1d6 BODY and STUN Drain per Day; -1¾); Can Be Cured By Chinese Healing (-¼); Requires A Chinese Healing Roll (no Active Point penalty, but 16+ automatically misses; -¼); Attacker Must Make Sequence Of Five Blows, Each At -3 OCV, Blows Do No Damage, And Timing Must Be Perfect (-3); 2 Charges/Day (-1½); Activation Roll 15- (-¼). Total cost: 75 points. Obviously, Dim Mak techniques are very costly, as the heavily-Limited example above shows. They’re most appropriate for really evil villains or very wise masters, but PCs can buy the technique (if the GM approves). Player characters might prefer to buy non-lethal versions which make the target fall asleep, paralyze him, or the like.

Hero Games ENERGY BLAST Characters can use Energy Blast to create an unusual form of martial arts attack: the NND Breath Attack. This is an unusual power not entirely inappropriate for a martial arts campaign. The owner of this attack lives on a special diet (a Dependence Disadvantage is appropriate, but not required). When he wishes to, he may summon up a huge breath of noxious, horrible stench which overpowers, sickens, or knocks out enemies. This sort of attack comes as a great surprise. It’s very appropriate for villain characters — it’s an attack for a weird lieutenant or master criminal to pull out at a dramatic moment. It can be bought in this fashion: Example: EB 6d6, No Normal Defense (defense is Life Support: Self-Contained Breathing; +1), Area Effect (13” Cone; +1) (90 Active Points); 4 Charges (-1), Extra Time (Full Phase; -½), Costs Endurance (-½), Increased Endurance Cost (x2 END; -½), No Range (-½). Total cost: 22 points. ENHANCED SENSES Many Enhanced Senses are appropriate for Heroic characters in martial arts campaigns. Most are bought with various Limitations. The list of Enhanced Senses, and whether they are appropriate, follows: Active Sonar: It would be very unusual for a human character to have Active Sonar, because of the need for the character to emit some sort of sound. Human characters have to take the Limitation Visible To Sound Group (worth a -0, since Visible, a -¼ Limitation, requires that the power can be detected by three whole Sense Groups). Basically, the character whistles or emits some other regular noise which acts as his “sonar wave.” This power is most appropriate for “blind master” characters. Analyze; Discriminatory: These is Sense Modifiers are appropriate for various Senses for characters defined as having a “higher awareness.” Blind characters often have Discriminatory Touch, for example. No special Limitations are required. Enhanced Perception: This is appropriate for any alert character, but the GM should establish and enforce limits on the amount of Enhanced Perception a character can take. A total bonus of +3 to a Sense is more than adequate for most campaigns. Increased Arc Of Perception: Characters can buy this Sense Modifier only for their Hearing Group or a special Spatial Awareness. It’s most efficient when combined with Spatial Awareness, or with Active Sonar or Targeting Hearing; this is common in martial arts fiction and cinema. Infrared Perception: A martial artist character could have this power, if bought with Limitations like Costs Endurance (-½) and/or Extra Time (1 Turn; -1¼). This represents a martial artist’s ability to adjust his eyes to the darkness much faster and better than ordinary people can; this ability must result from some specialized training in his past.

125 Example: Infrared Perception (Sight Group) (5 Active Points); Costs END (-½), Extra Time (1 Turn to activate, but requires no extra time to use thereafter; -½). Total cost: 2 points. Mental Awareness: This, too, is a power permissible to characters who are supposed to have achieved some sort of heightened awareness. However, the GM should limit things so that only one or (perhaps) two characters in a campaign have this power. Spatial Awareness: This is appropriate for characters in martial arts campaigns, especially for masters who fight as well when blinded as not. Again, not all PCs in a campaign should have this power, but its cost is likely to discourage everyone from buying it. Targeting Sense: Buying Targeting Sense for Hearing is appropriate for a master fighter (see Spatial Awareness, above). Targeting Smell and Targeting Taste are not as appropriate; don’t use them in Heroic campaigns. Telescopic: Inappropriate for Heroic human characters. A generous GM might allow a character to buy a maximum of +2 to PER rolls with the Limitations described above for Infrared Perception. Tracking: This is rare, and is perhaps more appropriate for the “boy raised by wolves” sort of charac-


he Way of the

warrior is to master the virtue of his weapons.’ —Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)


The Ultimate Martial Artist ter... but there’s nothing that says such a character couldn’t be a martial artist. Ultraviolet Perception: Can be purchased with the same Limitations as Infrared Vision, above. In Superheroic campaigns, these restrictions basically don’t exist. Superpowered martial artists can take just about any sort of Enhanced Sense justified by their character conception which the GM allows them to have. ENHANCED SENSE: SENSE CH’I The concept of ch’i (or ki in Japanese) pervades many of the martial arts. Meaning literally “breath” or “air,” ch’i signifies a sort of life force or inner power that flows throughout the body. Skilled martial artists can make their ch’i flow correctly and use their command of it to enhance their abilities. In some cases, such as the Monkey Slap of the Hsing-I style, one of a style’s Martial Maneuvers reflects the practitioner’s ability to manipulate and/or project his ch’i; in other cases, it’s bought as a “special ability” or power known to masters of that art. Most of the abilities listed in the “Special Abilities” section of each style’s description could be considered “ch’i abilities,” even if the style does not use that particular term for them. Some martial artists can sense the flow of ch’i within others, which has all sorts of potential benefits for them. In HERO System terms, this is a form of the Enhanced Sense Detect (ch’i counts as a 5-point Detect category, since it can have a significant effect on combat). A successful Sense Ch’i roll allows a character to know what ch’i abilities his opponent is currently using (and, if the roll is made by enough, to know other abilities that he possesses, even if they are not currently in use); will tell the character

the location of his enemy’s open Gates (refer to Damage Resistance, above); and so forth. Often a character can Link other abilities, such as Danger Sense, Lightning Reflexes, or Combat Skill Levels, to his Sense Ch’i ability or can use it as a Required Skill Roll. At the GM’s option, if a character makes a Sense Ch’i roll on himself in a particularly crucial situation (such as right before a major test of his martial abilities or an all-or-nothing attack on which great stakes depend), he may receive a bonus to whatever he attempts — an additional point of OCV, an extra DC or two, or the like. Although Sense Ch’i is a form of Detect, it’s called Sense Ch’i and not Detect Ch’i for a reason — it’s almost always bought as a Sense (+2 points), not as a simple Detect. Detect requires a level of concentration which a martial artist often cannot afford in the midst of combat, when the Sense Ch’i ability is most useful. Similarly, Sense Ch’i is almost always bought so that it’s usable at Range (+5 points). If the situation allows, a character usually takes extra time to gain bonuses to his Sense Ch’i roll. At the GM’s option, he may gain other bonuses from meditating, making an EGO Roll as a Complementary Skill Roll, and so forth. If he’s disturbed, emotionally upset, Enraged/Berserk, suffering from a Dependence, or subject to similar forms of stress (“My mind and my spirit are going north and south!”), he suffers a penalty to his Sense Ch’i rolls, or maybe cannot make them at all. Sense Ch’i: Example: Detect Ch’i, Range, Sense. Total cost: 12 points.

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EXTRA LIMBS Characters with Extra Limbs often have an advantage in martial arts combat — after all, it’s difficult to defend against a large number of attacks from a single source, particularly if the character has Stretching and can launch some of them from behind the target! To simulate this advantage, characters with Extra Limbs can buy Combat Skill Levels with Hand-To-Hand Attacks.

Lasts For One Phase (-½), and Only For Martial Arts Feints (-1). If the target misses his PER Roll he suffers -1 DCV for every two points he missed his roll by. If he makes the PER Roll, the attacker suffers a -1 OCV on the real attack which he makes that Phase (a -¼ Side Effect). When making the target’s PER Roll, the GM should not let the player know the effect of the attempted Feint until after he (the player) makes his real attack.

FORCE WALL A character can use this Power to create a nighimpenetrable defensive “wall” around himself, defined as his ability to block, deflect, or dodge any incoming attack. This sort of Force Wall should take the Limitations Self Only (-½), since the character cannot use it at range or to protect others, just himself.

Example: Sight Group Images, -2 to PER Rolls, 1” radius, Trigger (+¼) (20 Active Points); No Range (-½), DCV Reduction Only Works For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts For One Phase (-½), Only For Martial Arts Feints (-1), Side Effects (if target makes PER Roll, attacker suffers -1 OCV on real attack; -¼). Total cost: 5 points.

FEINTS A Feint is a false or deceptive move designed to trick an opponent into reacting the wrong way so he exposes himself to the attacker’s real attack. In the HERO System, characters can simulate Feints with a Drain DEX or with Images (also refer to the discussion of Sleight Of Hand feints, above). Drain DEX Feints Characters can create a Drain DEX Feint with the following Advantages: Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) and Trigger (character’s decision to use the Drain DEX; +¼). The Drain also takes the following Limitations: Only For Reducing Hand-ToHand DCV (-1), DCV Reduction Only Works For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts For One Phase (-½). The GM may also require the Advantage No Normal Defense (defense is making a PER Roll, Danger Sense roll, or KS: Specific Style roll by 3 or more; +½), since Power Defense should not normally apply against this sort of Drain; however, this may have the effect of inflating the cost of this ability unnecessarily. What these Advantages and Limitations give the attacker is a Drain DEX that only affects the target’s DCV. The reduction in DCV only works for the character using the Drain (the target gets his normal DCV against anyone else who attacks him), and only lasts for one Phase. Since characters usually have to reset Triggers after using them, the GM might rule that a character can only use his Feint once per battle; he resets the Trigger between battles. Example: Drain DEX 6d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1), Trigger (+¼) (135 Active Points); Only For Reducing Hand-ToHand DCV (-1), DCV Reduction Only Works For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only Lasts For One Phase (-½). Total cost: 38 points. Note: a character could construct a similar ability using a Suppress which could not be “continued” (i.e., all points Suppressed would return after one Phase). Images Feints An Images Feint is bought with the Advantage Trigger (+¼) and the Limitations DCV Reduction Only Works For Attacker (-1), DCV Reduction Only

Combat Maneuver Feints At the GM’s option, characters may not need to pay for Feints at all — they may be a basic part of the campaign rules, like Combat Maneuvers. If the GM prefers to take this route, he should come up with an appropriate list of Feints for the characters to use. A character would have to have a KS of a particular Feint to use it; if the target has Danger Sense or a KS in that Feint and makes his roll, he realizes what the other character is up to and avoids the effects of the Feint entirely. Each Feint should be about 6d6 of Drain (enough to reduce the target’s DCV by 2 on the average). GLIDING Characters in Heroic martial arts campaigns cannot fly or glide (except with a boarding pass). However, they can purchase Gliding for one special purpose only: walking without leaving any tracks. This technique is called hing kung in Chinese. All they have to do is buy Gliding with the Ground Gliding Limitation (-¼) (see page 182 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). That way they can walk over rice paper or nightingale floors without leaving a trace or alerting anyone. A character can also buy hing kung as Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) for his Running. HANDTOHAND ATTACK HA Characters can substitute HAs for Martial Maneuvers in many instances. This allows the character to put an Advantage on his attack (which can’t be done for a martial arts maneuver without GM permission) and to put his martial arts attacks in a Power Framework. See page 408 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for rules for purchasing Advantages for HAs. HEALING In Superheroic campaigns, martial artists could buy Healing to affect both themselves and others. There are two rationales for this: kiai (the ki-based shout of martial arts warriors, said to be able to heal as well as harm); and Chinese Medicine. Therefore, for a martial artist to buy this power, he must take it one of these two ways:


The Ultimate Martial Artist Kiai Healing: The character must take these Power Modifiers for his Healing:

“object of opportunity” Focus, as discussed on page 292 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised.

(1) He can only buy a maximum of Healing BODY or STUN (or Simplified Healing) 4d6.

Example: RKA 2d6 (30 Active Points); OIF (appropriate objects of opportunity; -½), Range Based On STR (-¼). Total cost: 17 points.

(2) All Kiai Healing powers must take Invisible to Sight Group (+½), Ranged (+½). (3) Kiai Healing powers may take the Increased Endurance Cost Limitation, but this is not required. Example: Simplified Healing 4d6, Invisible to Sight Group (+½), Ranged (+½) (80 Active Points); Increased Endurance Cost (x5 END; -2). Total cost: 27 points. Chinese Medicine Healing: Characters must buy Healing based on the application of Chinese Medicine this way: (1) They can buy a maximum of Healing BODY or STUN (or Simplified Healing) 8d6. The GM may, if he wishes, also allow the character to buy up to Healing 4d6 to other Characteristics listed on page 119 under Ch’i Aid. (2) All Chinese Medicine Healing powers must take Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1). (3) All Chinese Medicine Healing powers must take these Limitations: Requires A KS: Chinese Healing Roll (-¼); Does Not Work Versus Dim Mak Unless Skill Versus Skill Contest Succeeds (-¼); Extra Time (at least 1 Turn (-1); longer times are acceptable); OIF (either herbs or acupuncture needles, character’s choice; -1). (4) The following Limitation is optional; the GM might permit a character to take a Healing power exceeding the recommended limit if it has this Limitation: Healing Wears Off Instantly When Acupuncture Needles Removed (-1). In other words, the acupuncturist can apply his techniques to get a badly-wounded warrior back on his feet, but the recovery only lasts as long as the needles remain in the body; a Grab or Disarm removing a needle makes the Healing benefit disappear instantly. Example: Healing BODY 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) (80 Active Points), Requires A KS: Chinese Healing Roll (-¼), Does Not Work Versus Dim Mak Unless Skill Versus Skill Contest Succeeds (-¼), Extra Time (5 Minutes; -2), OIF (Acupuncture Needles; -½). Total cost: 20 points. KILLING ATTACK, RANGED A character could buy a Ranged Killing Attack, up to the campaign’s limits, based on a Obvious Inaccessible Focus defined as any weapon of opportunity (any Focus which he happens to pick up, and which the GM agrees is suitable to be used for a thrown Killing Attack). He can’t use the power with an olive, a foam rubber ball, or a pastry — but can use it with practically anything harder or sharper (including silverware, pebbles, broken-off chair legs, playing cards, bicycle spokes, and so forth). OIF, not OAF, applies to this power because it’s an

KNOCKBACK RESISTANCE A character can buy Knockback Resistance to simulate his ability to avoid damage from Knockback and similar occurrences: as a form of “superBreakfall” or “super-agility,” if you will. This means he uses his acrobatic talents to avoid the effects of Knockback, including the resulting damage. At the GM’s option, based on the nature of the attack used against him, the character may actually be “knocked back” several inches, but he won’t take any damage from this and automatically “bounces to his feet” without taking any time or having to make any additional rolls. Example: Knockback Resistance -8” (16 points); Nonpersistent (-¼), Requires A DEX (or Breakfall) Roll (-½). Total cost: 9 points. LACK OF WEAKNESS This Power is usually appropriate for martial artist characters. Heroic-level martial artists may buy up to 5 points of Lack Of Weakness, for just about any defense they have; Superheroic ones may buy as much as they wish and the GM allows. LEAPING In many martial arts films, masters of martial arts can leap prodigious distances, though this seems to require acrobatic training. To simulate this, buy Leaping with the Limitation Requires An Acrobatics Roll (-½). Heroic-level martial artists can only buy enough Leaping to double their basic leap. Example: A STR 20 character can normally leap 4”. Therefore, in a Heroic martial arts campaign, he can buy no more than 4” of Leaping. This costs 4 points, with a -½ Limitation for Requires An Acrobatics Roll, resulting in a final cost of 3 points. Four Active Points does not result in a minus to the Acrobatics roll. Superheroic-level martial artists have no restriction on the amount of Leaping they can buy, other than whatever limit the GM sets. In some movies and comic books martial artists can leap to the horizon; PCs should be allowed to have similar abilities if it suits the campaign. LUCK Luck is a good Power for simulating characters who are “blessed by the gods” or who have achieved such a state of enlightenment that are “at one with the universe” and therefore things always seem to go their way. MENTAL DEFENSE Mental Defense is appropriate for martial artists, who often have extraordinary willpower and keen senses which help them resist most Mental Powers. Heroic-level martial artists may buy any-

Hero Games where from 5 points to a maximum of 10 points of Mental Defense; Superheroic ones can buy as many points as they wish, up the the maximum allowed by the GM. MISSILE DEFLECTION AND REFLECTION A classic cinema martial artist trick is to bat away incoming arrows, thrown knives, shuriken, and so forth — even to snatch them out of the air and throw them back at the attacker. In HERO System terms, this requires Missile Deflection & Reflection. Heroic-level martial artists can buy Missile Deflection up to the 10-point level, which lets them deflect arrows, sling stones, and other nongunpowder projectiles. Many martial artists just buy this Power at the 5-point level (versus thrown objects only). Superheroic martial artists can buy Missile Deflection to any level. Any character can buy bonuses to his Missile Deflection roll, and Deflection to affect attacks not aimed directly at them, normally. To buy the +1 Advantage to deflect attacks at range, the character will also have to have some sort of Focus (i.e., he throws objects in the path of incoming missile attacks to deflect them). Martial artists can buy Reflection, but for Heroic characters it’s only usable against thrown weapons. If a Heroic character’s Deflection affects attacks other than throw weapons, he must apply a -¼ Limitation, Only Works Against Thrown Weapons, to the cost of Reflection. Some characters prefer to buy Deflection with a Focus; war-fans, swords, shields and other weapons are especially appropriate for this. If a character takes the Focus Limitation with the explanation that he can use anything he picks up to Deflect incoming attacks, he takes it as OIF since it’s an “object of opportunity.” The classic cinema-ninja trick of catching an enemy’s thrown knife or shuriken and hurling it back at him would preclude use of the OIF Limitation; if you want that ability, buy the power without a Focus Limitation. A typical purchase of Missile Deflection & Reflection might look like this: Example: Missile Deflection (non-gunpowder projectiles); At Range (adjacent hexes; +½) (15 Active Points); OIF (objects of opportunity; -½) (total cost: 10 points) plus Reflection, Can Reflect Attacks At Any Target (30 Active Points); Only Works Against Thrown Weapons (-¼); OIF (objects of opportunity; -½) (total cost: 17 points). Total cost: 27 points. POWER DEFENSE Martial arts characters may purchase Power Defense with the Limitation Only Protects Against DrainBased Martial Attacks (-1).

129 This will protect them against the sort of abilities described under Drain, above, and Transform, below. At the GM’s option this form of Power Defense might also offer protection against certain kinds of Oriental sorcery. Power Defense would normally work against Dim Mak, since that ability is built with Drain. However, Dim Mak is supposed to be scary; for this reason, GMs should not let Heroic-level martial artists buy Power Defense to protect themselves against it, and should require Superheroic martial artists to take a -¼ (or -0, if the GM prefers) Limitation on the Power Defense because it offers no protection against the death touch. STANCES Stances and footwork are very important in many martial arts styles. Characters can, if they wish, use minor applications of several Powers to simulate stances and other body positioning. At the GM’s option, a character can group his stances together into a Power Framework. The examples given here are taken from stances frequently used in Kung Fu, Karate, and other common martial arts. Players are encouraged to research their character’s style and devise a set of stances appropriate specifically to it. Cat Stance: A short stance in which one foot is drawn up on its ball close to the other foot, so that the character is ready to attack quickly: +2 Lightning Reflexes (3 Active Points); Costs END (-½). Total cost: 2 points. (Alternately, Cat Stance could provide +1 to Fast Draw rolls.) Crab Stance: A high stance in which the character stands with his knees turned inwards and his fists on his hips: +1 OCV with Punch and similar maneuvers (some Killing Strikes, Nerve Strikes, and so forth) (3 Active Points); Costs END (-½). Total cost: 2 points. Crane Stance: A high stance in which the character draws one knee up (so that he stands on one leg) and keeps his hands in front of his face and upper chest: +1 OCV with Block (2 Active Points); Requires A DEX Roll (-½), Costs END (-½). Total cost: 1 point. Horse Stance: A low, solid stance in which the character spreads his legs and squats down (so that he appears to be riding an imaginary horse): Knockback Resistance -1” (2 Active Points); Costs END (-½). Total cost: 1 point. Phoenix Stance: A low stance in which the character bends his rear leg and squats down on it while extending the other leg in front of him: +1 OCV with Block and


The Ultimate Martial Artist TELEKINESIS If the GM permits, a character could buy Telekinesis, defining it as “martial arts usable at range through the character’s extension of ch’i.” Such Telekinesis could not exceed the damage done by the character’s normal martial arts attacks, and must take the Advantage Invisible Power Effects (Sight Group; +½). Remember that, at the GM’s option, characters can use their Martial Maneuvers and any other Combat Maneuver they’ve paid points for with their Telekinesis (see page 230 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised). Characters can only perform Nerve Strikes and other maneuvers requiring precise targeting with Telekinesis if they have the Fine Manipulation Adder. TRANSFER The GM might allow some accomplished martial artists to use Transfer to create abilities which involve “stealing” an opponent’s ch’i and using it to aid themselves. TRANSFORM You should use Transform to create any ability which can permanently injure the target in some way — for example gouging an opponent’s eyes out, Transforming him from a “sighted human” to a “blind human.” Other examples include attacks which permanently deafen, cripple, or weaken another character in some way.

Legsweep (3 Active Points); Requires A DEX Roll (-½), Costs END (-½). Total cost: 1 point. Snake Stance: A low stance in which the character squats sideways with his legs underneath him: +1 OCV with Block and Dodge (3 Active Points); Costs END (-½). Total cost: 2 points. Tiger Stance: In this stance the character leans forward and keeps his hands up in a claw shape, ready to take advantage of a momentary lapse in an opponent’s defense: +1 OCV with a Crush or Killing Strike maneuver (depending upon the style) (2 Active Points); Costs END (-½). Total cost: 1 point. At the GM’s option, characters may not need to pay for Stances at all — they may be a basic part of the campaign rules, like Combat Maneuvers. If the GM prefers to take this route, he should come up with an appropriate list of Stances for the characters to use. Each Phase during a combat, characters declare what Stance they’re using; they may change or “shift” Stances in the same manner as Combat Skill Levels.

TUNNELING A few characters (including some film ninja) can escape capture by digging into soft terrain and then covering themselves with a thick coating of the earth. (They usually do this when concealed by smoke from a smoke grenade, by darkness, and the like.) To simulate this in Heroic campaigns, characters can buy a maximum of 1” of Tunneling, with the Limited Medium (soil; -½) and Maximum Distance 1” (-1) Limitations. This means the character can dig his way into the earth to conceal his entire body, but can’t keep digging a tunnel through the earth. Characters cannot buy the “dig through +1 DEF for +3 points” function; they can only dig through soft, 1 DEF material such as sand, fresh-turned soil, mud, a bog, or the like. They must buy the Fill In Adder, and must always use that function. To make the area he has dug into look natural (i.e., undisturbed), a character should use Concealment Skill; the GM can assign severe minuses on terrain where it’s hard to conceal signs of digging (such as a neat grass lawn, where sod would be torn up and flung in all directions). Dusty and sandy terrain is much better for this purpose. (Another option is to buy the Tunneling with Invisible Power Effects.) Example: Tunneling 1”; Fill In (15 Active Points); Limited Medium (soil; -½), Maximum Distance 1” (-1). Total cost: 6 points.

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POWER ADVANTAGES See page 408 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for rules regarding the application of Advantages to HAs, and page 104 of this book for information on placing Advantages on Martial Maneuvers. AREA OF EFFECT One Hex Characters can use this Advantage to simulate an attack so swift and powerful the target cannot avoid it except by Diving For Cover. Abilities bought with this sort of Advantage should take the Accurate (-0) Limitation (and, possibly Can Be Blocked [-¼]). Selective One way to build a “punch-several-guys-at-thesame-time” ability is to buy an HA or HKA with the Advantage Area Of Effect (One Hex, Doubled, Selective; +1). This way, the character could make one attack each on every enemy in his hex and in surrounding hexes. Because it’s bought with Selective, the character doesn’t have to hit everything in those hexes ... just enemies he wishes to target. Remember, though, with Selective, he doesn’t hit every target as if it were DCV 3; he must attack against each target’s normal HTH DCV. Example: HKA 1d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex, Doubled, Selective; +1). Total cost: 30 points. AUTOFIRE Applying Autofire to an HA or HKA simulates the quick-handed martial artist who can punch his foe so fast and so often he looks like a blur. Damage for the attack should not exceed the character’s usual martial arts damage (and the GM may prefer for it to be one or two DCs less). An example of such an attack might look like the following. Let’s say a character has a STR of 20 and gets +6d6 from his best maneuver (a Martial Strike). For the character to have a similar Autofire attack, he’d buy: Example: HA +6d6, Autofire (5 shots; +½), Reduced Endurance (½ END; +½) (60 Active Points); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½). Total cost: 40 points (5 END per blow). DAMAGE SHIELD Damage Shield For Powers A character can purchase an HA or HKA with the Damage Shield (+½) Advantage to simulate effective counterpunch and counterstrike techniques, or a weapons flourish. Some notes on the way to purchase this: (1) If the ability is bought as an HA, the character must define it as a Physical attack. (2) The damage done by the Damage Shield may not exceed the amount of damage the character does with the attack the power “substitutes for.” In other words, if the character has a 6d6 Punch attack, but

131 no Hand-To-Hand Killing Attack, and he’s defining his Damage Shield as a counterpunch, then the Damage Shield should do 6d6 Normal Damage (or less) — not an HKA 2d6 or a HA +8d6. (3) Remember that the Attack Power used for the Damage Shield must be Constant, or the character must purchase the Continuous Advantage for it. In either case, the character must take the Limitation Power Stops Working Instantly If Character Is Stunned Or Knocked Out (-¼). Ordinarily, such powers keep functioning until the end of the Phase; this one ceases to work as soon as the character is Stunned or Knocked Out. Characters cannot buy counterstrike Damage Shields with the Persistent Advantage, though they may buy Reduced Endurance. (4) Characters must take the Requires A Successful Attack Roll (-½) Limitation for this power. Counterpunch/counterstrike Damage Shields can’t hit automatically — they depend on a successful Attack Roll, just like any other attack. (However, an advantage to this power is that it doesn’t take a character’s attack action; after his Damage Shield counterstrike, or even several, he still has an action left.) (5) Characters may take the Limitation Not When Grabbed (-¼) for one of these Damage Shields, but are not required to. This represents the fact that if the character is restrained, he can’t lash out with his counterstrike or properly flourish his weapon. (6) If the ability depends on a weapon (i.e., it’s defined as a weapons flourish), then it should be bought with the Limitation Cannot Do More Damage Than The Weapon Being Used Would Normally Do (-¼). For example, let’s say a character who can do HKA 2½d6 with his katana buys a Damage Shield which he defines as a deadly weapons flourish. He’s limited (by note #2 above) to HKA 2½d6 damage with the Damage Shield, and he does that damage when using his katana. However, during a fight, he loses his katana and must use his dagger, with which he can only do HKA 1d6+1. His Damage Shield only does HKA 1d6+1 while he uses the dagger. Later, in the same fight, he switches to a greatsword with which he can do 3d6 damage. However, his Damage Shield is still limited to only HKA 2½d6 — that’s what he paid for, so that’s limit of his power. (In other words, characters who want to use a weapon flourish Damage Shield with any weapon they find should buy this ability for use with the highest-damage weapon commonly used in the campaign.) Example: Counterstrike: HA +6d6, Damage Shield (+½), Continuous (+1), Reduced Endurance (½ END; +¼) (82 Active Points); Hand-ToHand Attack (-½), Requires A Successful Attack Roll (-½), Not When Grabbed (-¼). Total cost: 36 points. Example: Blade Kata: HKA 2d6, Damage Shield (+½), Continuous (+1), Reduced Endurance (½ END; +¼) (82 Active Points); OIF (any weapon of opportunity; -½), Requires A Successful Attack Roll (-½), Cannot Do More Damage Than The Weapon Being Used Would Normally Do (-¼),


The Ultimate Martial Artist Power Stops Working Instantly If Character Is Stunned Or Knocked Out (-¼), Not When Grabbed (-¼). Total cost: 30 points. When a character with this ability is hit in HTH combat, the Damage Shield automatically activates. Use the character’s base OCV, plus any OCV and DCV modifiers from the weapon or situation. Combat Skill Levels must stay as they were arranged before he was struck; other Skill Levels do not apply. With a successful Attack Roll, the character counterstrikes his opponent; if his roll fails, the Damage Shield does no harm to the target. Damage Shield For Martial Maneuvers Placing a Damage Shield on a Martial Maneuver can lead to all sorts of interesting and potentially game-unbalancing consequences. Imagine, for example, the effects of a Martial Throw Damage Shield — every time someone attacks the character, the attacker gets thrown to the ground! Not only will he be hurt, he’ll be placed in a highly disadvantageous position, and the character with the Damage Shield may still have an action left in the Phase. Therefore, GMs should be very wary about allowing characters to take this Advantage for a Martial Maneuver. At the very least, all restrictions and guidelines outlined above for counterstrikes should apply. INDIRECT When bought for an HA, HKA, or RKA, this Advantage allows the character to simulate the showoff technique of stacking bricks, striking the top one, and leaving it unharmed while destroying one of the bricks beneath. It has some possible combat uses as well (for example, when a villain is on the other side of a wall, our hero could hit the wall and transmit all the damage of his blow to the target, without the wall itself acting as armor against the attack). To buy this ability, start with an HA and apply the Advantage Indirect (always comes from the same location; +¼) and the Limitations Target Must Be Touching Barrier (-1), and Attack Must Be Made Through Barrier (-½). These Limitations mean that unless the target is touching the barrier through which the character transmits the force of the attack, the attack won’t work. As usual, a character may not buy this ability with more damage than the best of his normal Martial Maneuvers.

Example: HA +6d6, Indirect (always comes from the same location; +¼) (37 Active Points); Target Must Be Touching Barrier (-1), Attack Must Be Made Through Barrier (-½). Total cost: 15 points. When placed on Martial Maneuvers or other HAs, this Advantage has an extremely powerful effect — it prevents the attack from being Blocked (unless the defender has bought the Advantage Hardened for his Block maneuver). Particularly when combined with the Area Of Effect (One Hex) Advantage, which prevents an attack from being dodged, this Advantage may create an attack which unbalances the campaign; GMs should be cautious about allowing its use. INVISIBLE POWER EFFECTS Characters use Invisible Power Effects to create martial arts attacks so swift an opponent cannot see them. If he applies this Advantage to an HA, the character must pay for it for his STR as well as for the HA, regardless of the Active Points involved. If he doesn’t buy the Invisible Power Effects for his STR, the attack is invisible only when used at its purchased damage; whenever the character adds damage from his STR, the attack becomes visible. This rule also applies if the Advantage is applied to a Martial Maneuver (see Chapter One). GMs should allow characters to buy Invisible Power Effects for one Sense Group only. If they’re allowed to buy a Fully Invisible attack (other than in the examples provided elsewhere in this book), they’ll be able to get away with murder (literally and figuratively) in the campaign. TRIGGER This is another Advantage which can have potentially devastating effects if added to a Martial Maneuver. Imagine a fencer whose Martial Disarm is Triggered by his opponent’s attempt to block his Martial Strike; a character whose Killing Strike is Triggered whenever he’s Grabbed; or a wrestler with a Grab maneuver Triggered whenever a character escapes from a Grab the wrestler already had him in! Characters can use Trigger to create “one-two” punches and similar combination attacks. Sometimes they can apply the Limitation Requires A Successful Second Attack Roll (-½) so that they have to make another Attack Roll to hit the target with the second part of the attack. Since Trigger has the effect of giving a character a Zero-Phase Action attack, often in addition to some other attack, the GM should look long and hard at any Triggered Martial Maneuvers. Those which seem unduly effective or which would adversely affect campaign balance should be disallowed. VARIABLE ADVANTAGE Adding this Advantage to a Martial Maneuver or HA at the +½ Advantage level is quick and easy way of giving a character access to a large selection of “special attacks” and powers, particularly in campaigns which do not allow the use of Power Frameworks. For the same reason, though, this Advantage makes an attack unpredictable and possibly unbalancing, so the GM should ensure it’s not abused.

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POWER LIMITATIONS ACTIVATION ROLL This Limitation is a good way to simulate attacks which require such precise targeting or timing that they don’t always work. The Attack Roll indicates the character hit his target, the Activation Roll indicates he hit the target in the right way. Other Limitations which characters can apply to this sort of attack are Concentration and Extra Time. GESTURES As a Limitation on some martial arts powers, Gestures indicates the character has to have his hands (and/or feet) free to perform the ability. For example, a Force Wall ability defined as the character blocking all incoming attacks might take this Limitation, since the character can’t do any blocking if he’s restrained or Entangled. GMs should be wary of allowing characters to take this Limitation on offensive abilities, however, since some players may try to take it on any martial arts attack (claiming they have to use their hands to punch, strike, or whatever). This leans towards abusiveness, so GMs should almost always disallow it. REDUCED PENETRATION A character can use this Limitation to create a “one-two punch” special ability. He simply buys a large HA (or other hand-to-hand Attack Power) and uses Reduced Penetration to simulate a rapid-fire two-punch sequence. This makes it easy to Stun a foe without injuring him severely. He can take the Limitation Separate Attack Rolls Required (-¼) on this ability if he wishes, but it’s not required.

133 a GM allow a character to buy his Armor Piercing HKA (a fist blow), his NND Breath Attack, and his Hing Kung Gliding in the same Multipower? No. Though they’re remotely linked by the buzzword “Martial Arts,” they are, in game terms, three wildly different effects and should not be in the same Multipower. They might, however, be allowed in an Elemental Control, depending upon the campaign and the GM’s standards for such things. The GM should never allow questionable or potentially unbalancing powers in a Power Framework. This includes some of the ones described in this section (such as Skill Levels bought with Limitations). They don’t belong in Power Frameworks. They’re already on the verge of being abusive; putting them in a Framework definitely makes them abusive. Just Say No. MULTIPOWER Below are some examples of Multipowers appropriate for most Superheroic martial artists. The Multipower Martial Art Style The following Multipower is (approximately) a Martial Art. Essentially, it’s a series of attacks the character defines as a Martial Art. This Multipower assumes a STR 20 character and a 10 DC cap on campaign damage. This sort of Multipower doesn’t count as a style for purposes of the character acquiring a Style Distinctive Feature. Characters may only take Style Distinctive Features for martial arts styles built with the rules from the “Designing Martial Maneuvers” section.




Martial Arts Attacks: Multipower, 75 point reserve



Kagamite Punch: HA +7d6 (Kagamite has STR 25, so it is a 12d6 HA total) (35 Active Points); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), Reduced Penetration (-¼). Total cost: 20 points.

1) Slashing Fist: HA +6d6, Armor Piercing (+½), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½)



With this ability, Kagamite has a good chance of Stunning his foes (it’s a 12d6 HA for purposes of calculating Stunning), but relatively little chance of severely injuring them (the two 6d6 attacks have their BODY applied to defenses separately).

2) Flashing Fist: HA +6d6, Autofire (5 shots; +½), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½)


3) Whirlwind Fist: HA +6d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex Doubled, +¾); Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½)



4) Yama Fist: HKA 2d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½)


Example: Kagamite (“Mirrorhand”) possess knowledge of a secret technique allowing him to instantly follow a right-handed punch with a left-handed punch, such that if the first punch connects, the second surely will as well! He buys this ability as follows:

POWER FRAMEWORKS Superheroic martial artists can put martial arts abilities and attacks in an appropriate Power Framework, such as a Multipower of HA attacks. Heroic-level martial artists cannot do this without the GM’s permission. The GM should make sure all the powers in the Power Framework link together logically. Should


Naturally, used with a STR 20, all the HAs go up to 10d6, and the HKA goes up to 3d6+1. Of course, the character spends the END for his STR in addition to any listed for the Multipower slot. This set of abilities is too expensive for most games, but is not at all inappropriate for Superheroic games... and it can be quite effective.



studies others, Wisdom is self-known; Muscle masters brothers, Self-mastery is bone.’ —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


The Ultimate Martial Artist The Kiai Multipower Kiai, the art of shouting and utilizing ki (ch’i) energy, allows a character to do more than surprise (Presence Attack) an enemy. A trained kiaijutsuka can, according to tradition, knock an enemy out cold, promote healing, and even injure or kill an opponent. A Multipower utilizing all of these abilities might look like this:

KIAI POWERS Cost Powers 40

Kiai Powers: Multipower, 80 point reserve, all slots Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1) 24


2) Daunting Kiai: Aid PRE 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1), Self Only (-½); Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1)



3) Painful Kiai: EB 4d6, No Normal Defense (defense is ear coverings [such as earmuffs] or making an EGO Roll at -3; +1); Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1)


4) Deadly Kiai: RKA 1d6+1, Invisible Power Effects (Normal Sight; +¼), +1 Increased STUN Multiplier (+¼); Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1)



CH’I POWERS Cost Powers



Ch’i Powers: Multipower, 80 point reserve, all powers Self Only (-½), Extra Time (Full Phase; -½), Concentration (0 DCV; -½), Increased Endurance Cost (x2 END; -½)


1) Powerful Ch’i: Aid STR 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1); Common Limitations (-2)



2) Mind Ch’i: Aid EGO 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1); Common Limitations (-2)



3) Restoring Ch’i: Aid REC 4d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1); Common Limitations (-2)



4) Iron Ch’i: Aid PD 2d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1); Common Limitations (-2)



5) Iron Ch’i: Aid ED 2d6, Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1); Common Limitations (-2)



1) Healing Kiai: Healing 4d6 (Simplified Option) Invisible Power Effects (Normal Sight; +¼), Ranged (+½); Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1)


The Ch’i Multipower As discussed elsewhere in this book, characters can use ch’i to improve one or more of their Characteristics for a brief period of time. A typical Multipower using the Aid Power looks like this:

A character with this Multipower can only use one of the first three slots at a time, but can have both the fourth and fifth on at the same time. How-

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ever, since each use takes a Full Phase to activate, the character cannot turn them both on at the same time; he could use one on one Phase, and the other on a later Phase.

DISADVANTAGES Many of the HERO System Disadvantages are especially appropriate to martial artist characters, or have special functions in a martial arts campaign. On the other hand, some of the Disadvantages are quite inappropriate. AGE Age is a very uncommon Disadvantage in martial arts adventures. For example, despite his seeming age, the ancient Chinese kung fu master who trains the hero is usually lithe, vigorous, and tough enough to thrash the hero (at least, until the final stages of training). For this reason, GMs should never require characters in martial arts campaigns to take the Age Disadvantage; they can be 90 years old and still have the same Characteristic Maxima as younger characters. (Like younger characters, they have to pay double for any INT, EGO, or PRE above the campaign Characteristic Maxima.) Since Age doesn’t affect DEX and SPD, an aged character with Extra DC to make up for his lack of physical strength can still be a very effective martial artist. DEPENDENT NPC DNPCs in martial arts adventures are more at risk than in many other genres. Martial arts adventures are often revenge melodramas, so DNPCs are abused and killed a lot more frequently than in other genres. Characters taking DNPCs should bear this in mind. That doesn’t make the DNPC less of a limitation than in other genres, though. DNPCs get in trouble just as often, and the trouble is often worse. If an enemy kills a DNPC, you can be sure that the PC has quite a few other cousins, naive younger siblings, and lovers to act as the DNPC in the next adventure. If the PC gets tired of this, he should buy off the Disadvantage. If he doesn’t, and just starts letting his DNPCs get maimed or killed because it’s inconvenient to rescue them, or he gets bored with the whole affair and decides not to avenge them, then he’ll certainly pick up a nasty Hunted to replace the DNPC — the family and friends of the DNPC, intent on killing the PC for his neglect of his responsibilities and/or the insult to their clan. DISTINCTIVE FEATURES Distinctive Features: Style The martial arts Style Distinctive Feature which accompanies most styles is bought as a conditional Distinctive Feature, built this way: Not Concealable (15 points), Always Noticed And Recognizable (+0 points), Detectable By Large Group (-5 points). It has three functions. First, any martial arts practitioner observing the character with the Style Distinctive Feature will, with a simple PER Roll, recognize the style (unless

it is some strange, secret art, in which case he recognizes that fact). If the character does not have a Style Distinctive Feature, it takes a successful KS roll of the art being practiced, or with the GM’s permission an INT Roll at a -2, to recognize the style. Second, since (in martial arts adventures) many martial arts styles and schools are enemies or competitors, the Style Distinctive Feature acts as a “Major Prejudice” factor to practitioners of the enemy style. (On the other hand, other practitioners of the same style may decide to help the character against their mutual enemies.) Third, a character using the Analyze Style skill on a target with a Style Distinctive Feature receives a bonus to his Skill Roll; see the description of that skill. Other Types Of Distinctive Features Other Distinctive Features which frequently appear in martial arts adventures include: Bearing: The character has a distinctive attitude which makes him easier to recognize. The feudal samurai has this Disadvantage. It becomes a strong habit of the character, a habit which is very hard to break, so it is bought this way: Concealable (with major effort), Is Noticed And Recognizable: 10 points. Ninja Night-Suit: The ninja night-suit (also called the igabakama) is a common Distinctive Feature in many martial arts campaigns. If the character usually wears traditional ninja garb when performing his martial arts heroics, he should take this Disadvantage. (Note that a ninja character doesn’t have to wear a distinctive ninja outfit. Most players prefer for their characters to do so, however.)


The Ultimate Martial Artist HUNTED Hunted is a Disadvantage which is both very common and quite rare in martial arts adventures. This is because in the HERO System, Hunteds are ongoing Disadvantages. The characters are often Hunted by the same villain across years of play-time. In martial arts adventures, characters are Hunted all the time... but it’s not usually the same Hunter. At the end of one adventure, the characters obliterate their enemy; at the beginning of the next, they make a new enemy who won’t rest until the heroes are dead. Sometimes the new enemy has some connection to the last one (for example, he’s the former Hunted’s brother); other times he’s brand new. Therefore, in campaigns dedicated to martial arts adventures, characters could take a Hunted Disadvantage which looks like this: Example: Hunted 11- (As Pow, NCI): 20 points. The exact character(s) Hunting the heroes change from adventure to adventure as they’re killed and replaced... but enemies constantly Hunt the PCs, so the PCs should get the Disadvantage points for that.

Igabakama Distinctive Feature (Modern): Ninja Night-Suit (Easily Concealable, Noticed And Recognizable): 5 points. Igabakama Distinctive Feature (Feudal Japan): Ninja Night-Suit (Easily Concealable, Causes Extreme Reaction [fear and loathing]): 15 points. Scars: The character has facial scars, usually from a previous martial arts fight with an opponent who will appear in some later adventure. Bought as Concealable with Disguise Skill, Is Noticed And Recognizable: 10 points. Tattoo: The character wears tattoos, either purely decorative ones or ones which identify his clan, business, or martial arts school. Bought as Easily Concealable (under clothes), Is Noticed And Recognizable: 5 points. If the tattoo is of a famous, hated order, it might instead be: Easily Concealable (under clothes), Causes Extreme Reaction (hatred). If only martial artists recognize the tattoo, subtract 5 points because only a Large Group sees the feature as distinctive. Yakuza Mutilation: Some members of the Japanese yakuza (organized crime families) apologize for grievous mistakes by cutting off parts of their fingers and offering them to their lords (a practice known as yubitsume); if this token of apology is accepted, he does not have to kill himself for his mistake. Characters can buy this as Easily Concealable (wear gloves), Causes Major Prejudice.

PSYCHOLOGICAL LIMITATION Several Psychological Limitations, mostly codes of behavior, are appropriate in these campaigns. They include: Code Of The Buddhist Monk (Common, Strong: 15 points): This is the code of most Buddhist monks. It mandates that the character cannot initiate violence (though he can defend himself); he must remain celibate; he cannot eat red meat. Historically, many monks did not take this limitation; it’s not required of the Buddhist monk, merely recommended. Code Of The Bushi (Common, Total: 20 points): This is the code of the Japanese warrior/retainer. Samurai had it; so did many ninja. The Bushido Code demands absolute obedience to one’s lord, even if he orders the character to kill himself or destroy everything he loves. This means a samurai character often finds himself in situations where his own goals conflict with his lord’s, and his Psychological Limitation demands he follow his lord’s dictates above his own desires. A cruel thing to do to a samurai character is to insult or dishonor him, then have his lord order him to leave the person who insulted him alone. This places the character in a position where he either has to kill himself or wait, suffering from the insult and resulting loss of face, until his lord rescinds the order.

Hero Games Code Of The Chinese Knight (Very Common, Total: 25 points): The Chinese knight’s code of behavior demands he right any wrongs he sees, correct any social injustices, keep any oaths of loyalty he takes, and meet all obligations he accepts. He must always honor good people and spend all his money on good deeds and good times.

137 REPUTATION Many positive Reputations, such as being a master or highly skilled fighter, should be bought as Perks, since they benefit the character in many ways. Such a Reputation may also draw challengers and the like to the character, but that doesn’t make the Reputation a Disadvantage. Some disadvantageous Reputations for martial artists include:

Code Of The Chinese Master (Common, Strong: 15 points): The Chinese master’s code of behavior demands he never refuse a challenge from another fighter. He can, if he chooses, answer a challenge by directing one of his students to meet the challenger; he usually does this to “screen” challengers so he only has to fight the best opponents. Code Of Vengeance: A character with this Disadvantage is driven to acts of vengeance. How often he feels the need to take revenge determines how much the Disadvantage is worth. Must Avenge All Insults to Friends, Family, Protected Parties or Self (Very Common, Total: 25 points): The character must exact revenge on anyone who insults his friends or relatives, anyone under his protection (or whom he suddenly decides to protect), or himself. Most insults require only the vengeance of a good beating. Maiming, an attempted assassination, or any other vicious insult requires him to kill the insulter. Must Avenge All Insults To Self (Common, Total: 20 points): This is like the one above, but only applies to insults directed at the PC. This Disadvantage can also be defined as Must Avenge All Insults To Self And Lord for the same point value (a samurai would buy the Disadvantage that way). Must Avenge Murder Of Any Friend, Family Member, Or Protected Party (Uncommon, Total: 15 points): The character must kill the murderer and anyone who collaborated with him or ordered the murder. This really becomes a limitation when the relative was killed “properly” — he was a crook and was killed by a cop or a hero, for instance. Gunslinger Mentality (Common, Strong: 15 points): A character with this Psychological Limitation must challenge any martial artist whom he hears referred to admiringly or who demonstrates great skill in his presence. He must find out who’s the better fighter, and won’t rest until the other fellow fights him. (A particularly unscrupulous gunfighter-mentality villain will capture or kill a hero’s DNPCs and friends to force him to fight.)


hen you take up

a sword, you must feel intent on cutting the enemy.’ —Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)


The Ultimate Martial Artist

“Hands Registered as Lethal Weapons,” 8-, Extreme Reputation (10 points): Actually, the character’s extremities aren’t registered as weapons — that’s a braggart’s conceit — but the character is known to the police, who consider him a fighter and a trouble-maker. Police officers who check his name in their records tend to be hostile to him and consider him a suspect in any martial arts-related attacks where the identity of the perpetrator is not known.

their art from this specific school have a (usually not-too-fierce) rivalry with another specific school. Rivals from the other school should show up in numerous adventures, always challenging or interfering with the PC. They’re not the villains of the adventures — they’re nuisances, sometimes very capable ones, who delay the hero, intrude on him when he’s doing something much more important, and so forth. If a Rivalry between schools is a bloody feud, characters should usually buy it as a Hunted.

Vicious Fighter, 11-, Extreme Reputation (15 points): Characters who are known for needlessly killing or maiming opponents should take this Reputation; they usually also have several villainous Psychological Limitations. This isn’t a “Gosh, He’s a Tough Dude” Disadvantage for PCs (they should buy a Reputation Perk if they want to be known for their toughness and skill); it’s a Disadvantage for thugs, brutes, and villains in need of a quick trip to the cemetery.

SOCIAL LIMITATION Plenty of Social Limitations work well for martial artists. Martial arts are often developed by oppressed or enslaved peoples who can’t carry weapons, and Social Limitations reflect that status. A well-known martial arts movie star might have Famous or Public Identity. One who fights crime in a superheroes campaign may have a Secret Identity. A martial artist who belongs to a strict school run by a domineering master might be Subject To Orders. VULNERABILITY

RIVALRY Ordinary Rivalries between two PCs are perfectly acceptable. Martial artists can also take “Rivalry with another school” as a Professional Rivalry. This means all characters who learned

Attacks To One Location Some martial artists take extra damage from blows to one specific body location (an Uncommon attack). Buy this Vulnerability as follows:

Hero Games Name, 1½ x STUN (or BODY), Attacks to One Location (Uncommon): 5 points. Name, 2 x STUN (or BODY), Attacks to One Location (Uncommon): 10 points. A character can have one of these Vulnerabilities, or several. Some examples include: Glass Jaw (2 x STUN, Location 5 — chin): 10 points. Old Internal Injuries (2 x STUN, 10 points, and 1½ x BODY, 5 points, Location 12 — stomach): 15 points. For each Vulnerability, the player defines a specific body location which, if hit, activates the Vulnerability. Each location should correspond to one number from 3-18 on the Hit Locations Chart, just as the two examples above showed. When a Hit Location result actually indicates two body parts (for example, there are two Locations 6 — i.e., two hands), the character only has to define one of them as receiving the Vulnerability (for example, Left Hand). If the campaign uses Hit Locations, then any blow which rolls that location activates the Vulnerability. This can be from a random roll on the Hit Location chart, or can be a Placed Shot against that precise body part. If the character chooses a body part which normally modifies damage, use both the location damage modifier and the Vulnerability modifier. For example, a character takes 2 x STUN to his Left Knee (Location 15). He’s hit in the left knee with a 6 BODY

139 Killing Attack. With Location 15, this normally results in 3 BODY and 3 STUN. This character, who receives 2 x STUN to that knee, actually takes 3 BODY and 6 STUN. With Normal Damage attacks, the character first applies the multiplier for the Vulnerability, then subtracts his PD from the attack, then modifies the damage for the location roll. For instance, a character takes 1½ x STUN to Stomach (Location 12) blows. He has PD 8. He’s hit in the stomach with a Punch doing 25 STUN, 8 BODY. Because of his Vulnerability, he actually takes 37 STUN and 8 BODY. Now he subtracts his PD, and so takes 29 STUN and 0 BODY. Then he applies the modifications for the location; Stomach location does x1.5 to Normal STUN, x1 to BODY, so the character has taken a grand total of 43 STUN from the attack. If the campaign doesn’t use the Hit Locations chart, then the GM has a choice. Either he can use the Hit Locations chart, not using their usual damage modifiers, or he can treat each Vulnerability has having an 8- Activation Roll. Many players will wish to take this Limitation on arms and legs, because in campaigns utilizing Hit Locations they start out with a x½ multiplier (for location) on damage. That’s fine, if you’re using the optional Hit Location rules from Chapter Three; these locations are hit more often by 2d6+1 and 2d6+7 Hit Location rolls than by 3d6 Hit Location Rolls, and so they’ll be hit often enough to keep this Disadvantage balanced. To Specific Styles Likewise, a character could take a Vulnerability to a specific martial arts style. The com-


The Ultimate Martial Artist monness of that style in the campaign would determine how much the disadvantage was worth. Obviously, major styles would be more common than rarer ones: Karate (all types) is going to be more common than White Crane Kung Fu. This is a good Disadvantage for aged masters who teach player characters. It explains why they can’t go out and attack the bad guys themselves; they’re Vulnerable to the bad guys’ style. Style To Style You can take the concept of Vulnerability to a style one step further: some styles may be inherently Vulnerable to other styles. For example, if Style A is Vulnerable to Style B, this would signify that all users of Style A are at a significant disadvantage when attacking or defending against Style B. Vulnerability of Style A to Style B’s attacks means all of Style A’s defensive maneuvers are performed at a minimum of -2 (to DCV or OCV, as appropriate) when used against Style B’s attacks. Additionally, Style B’s attacks may do 1-3 extra DC of damage when they hit. The value of the Disadvantage depends upon how common Style B is. Vulnerability of Style A to Style B’s defenses indicates that all of Style A’s offensive maneuvers are performed at a minimum of -2 OCV when used against Style B’s defenses. Additionally, Style A’s attacks may do 1-3 fewer DC of damage when they hit. The value of the Disadvantage depends upon how common Style B is. At the GM’s option, Style Vulnerabilities may always cover both offensive and defensive maneuvers, or characters can buy the offensive and defensive aspects of the Vulnerability separately (the same way characters can purchase STUN and BODY Vulnerabilities separately). The GM should normally declare Style Vulnerabilities at the beginning of the game so all players know about them when designing characters. Players cannot declare that their style is Vulnerable to some other style without GM permission. Some suggestions for possible Style Vulnerabilities: external styles may be Vulnerable to internal styles (or vice-versa); linear styles may be Vulnerable to circular styles (or vice-versa); styles from one nation or region may be Vulnerable to styles from another nation or region.


oday is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is

your victory over lesser men.’ —Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho (“A Book of Five Rings”)


f the enemy opens the door, you must race in.’ — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

A Zen master and one of his students were walking in a field. They frightened a pheasant, which flew away from them and hid in a thicket. Seeing a chance to impress his master with his powers of observation, the student proclaimed, “Birds are so weak and defenseless!” The master turned around and rapped the student sharply on the shins with his walking stick. “Fly,” he ordered. — Zen Koan


his chapter presents revised and expanded information on Combat Maneuvers, optional rules for unusual combat situations or forms of attack, and an expanded list of weapons for use by martial artists.


BINDS IN FANTASY HERO In Fantasy Hero, Weapon Bind is a Standard Combat Maneuver which any character can use. This is because weapons-based combat (particularly swordplay) is a much more common aspect of fantasy games than of other genres. You might consider making Weapon Bind a free maneuver in other sorts campaigns featuring frequent use of weapons. Or, if you prefer more consistency from genre to genre, you can remove Weapon Bind from the list of free maneuvers available to Fantasy Hero characters. Refer to Converting Martial Arts Maneuvers To Standard Maneuvers for more information.

The Ultimate Martial Artist



his text supplements the Combat Maneuvers section from the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, pages 383-400. These rules apply to martial arts-oriented campaigns, and in other types of campaigns at the GM’s discretion.

Bind To use Bind, a character performs an OCV versus OCV attack as with a Block; a successful hit binds his opponent’s weapon, resulting in a temporary deadlock. The attack does no actual damage. Normally, the attacker uses a weapon, and binds the target’s by pinning it up against the target’s body. However, characters can use this maneuver barehanded, usually by pinning the target’s weapon arm against his body, or pinning the target’s weapon under the target’s own arm after a wild swing. If the character’s Attack Roll succeeds, the target’s weapon is momentarily bound; both fighters immediately make STR Rolls. If the target possesses the Escape maneuver or the Bind maneuver, he can use its STR bonus in the STR Versus STR Rolls. If he knows both, he can only use the bonus from one of them. If the attacker wins or the roll is a tie, the Bind stays in effect; if the defender wins, he breaks the Bind and the fight can resume normally.

If the attacker wins another, immediate STR Roll (which takes no time but may only be attempted once per Phase), he may also elect to shove his opponent back 1”, maintaining the Bind, as long as there’s room for the defender to move backwards; if the attacker fails or merely ties this second STR Roll, he may not do this. On each of the Bound character’s Phases, both characters again roll the STR Versus STR Rolls, as before. This takes the Bound character a Half Phase; resisting an attempt to escape the Bind is an action which takes no time. The Bound character can follow his attempt to escape with an attack or movement. (If the weapon remains Bound, the character cannot use it in an attack.) The defender can also break a Bind automatically by moving 1” backward in one of his Phases. While the characters remain Bound together, they may still talk, attack with their free hands (if any), and so forth. They are at their normal OCV and DCV against one another, but the Bound character is at ½ DCV against attacks from third parties, while the attacker is at full DCV against attacks from third parties.

Block Don’t forget the visual element of the combat you’re describing. A Block is a Block, but visually it can be any number of things. A martial artist can Block a punch or weapon by catching the incoming wrist on his own wrist or forearm; he can Block a kick by using the forearm or a counterkick; he can Block a sword attack by clapping the incoming blade between his two hands (a popular technique in the movies). Blocking and Missile Deflection In martial arts-oriented campaigns, Blocks can aid Missile Deflection in some ways. (Gamemasters may apply these rules in other types of campaigns if they wish.) ■ If

the GM permits, a character can use his Martial Block maneuver with his Missile Deflection instead of his normal Block, thereby gaining the Martial Block’s CV bonuses with his Missile Deflection.

■ If

a character has Missile Reflection defined as catching a weapon and immediately throwing it back, he can instead just catch the weapon. He may then use it himself or throw it on a later Phase. Throwing it on a later Phase constitutes an Attack Action, not as a continuation of his Missile Reflection.

■ Weapons

which have large striking surfaces (like war fans and shields) can add their OCV bonuses

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to the Missile Deflection Block attempt.

his Sight Group PER Roll; or

Blocking For Someone Else A character can Block for someone else — for example, to try to defend an injured or defenseless person from an attacker. To do this, he must be in range of either the attacker or the target with a hand-to-hand weapon. If the weapon is Short or Medium, he must be in the same hex or an adjacent hex to either; if the weapon has a range of 1” or more, he must be within that range. He performs the Block at a -2 OCV, as usual against the attacker’s OCV. If it succeeds, he Blocks the attack. See also the rules for Interposing in the Combat Modifiers, Special Cases, And Optional Rules section of this chapter.

■ if

Blocks Combined With Other Elements Some maneuvers, such as Defensive Throw and Grappling Block, combine Block with a NonExclusive Basis such as Grab or Throw. Since these maneuvers have an offensive or aggressive aspect to them, a character cannot Abort to them (even if he wants to use just the Block part of the maneuver).

Choke Hold Choke Hold’s Grab element Grabs one limb — the head. Thus, a character in a Choke Hold can’t speak or shout. This is why it’s a preferred technique for taking out guards. A character who renders a target unconscious with a Choke Hold can kill him by continuing to apply the maneuver. Once the target falls unconscious, a maintained Choke Hold inflicts 1 BODY per Phase (the only defense against this is not needing to breathe). (See the Holding Breath and Drowning rules from the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 424.) A character may make a Choke Hold onehanded, using the usual rules for Grabbing with only one hand (see below under Grab). This only affects the STR of the Grab part of the maneuver; it still does 2d6 NND(2). For more information about martial arts NNDs, refer to Nerve Strike, below.

Cover In martial arts movies, characters seem to be able to break out of being Covered with considerable ease; it doesn’t require a distraction or a momentary lapse on the Covering character’s part to effect this. Therefore, in martial arts campaigns (but not other sorts of campaigns, unless the GM permits), a character can make an attack (usually a Disarm) while Covered, without the Covering character going first, under the following circumstances: ■ if he has Fast Draw and makes his roll by more than the Covering character makes his Sight Group PER Roll; ■ if he has Sleight Of Hand and makes his roll by more than the Covering character makes

he makes a DEX Roll by more than the Covering character makes his DEX Roll. Before attempting to break the Cover, the character must decide which of the three methods to use. If he fails his roll, the character Covering him can choose to attack him with the Covering attack.

Disarm Remember, Disarms aren’t automatically successful when the Disarming character succeeds with his Attack Roll. As soon as he makes his roll to hit, he must make a STR Versus STR Roll with his victim. If the attacker rolls higher or the rolls tie, the Disarm succeeds; if the victim of the Disarm wins the contest, he keeps hold of the weapon. Two optional rules may apply to Disarms if the GM wishes. First, a character attacked with a Disarm while completely unaware of the attack only gets his Casual STR (half his normal STR) to resist the Disarm. Second, characters with Disarms can use the maneuver’s STR bonus to resist being Disarmed. This option prevents fencers and similar characters from constantly Disarming each other. Disarming Two-Handed Weapons It’s a little more difficult to Disarm a twohanded weapon than a weapon held in one hand. A character trying this should take a -2 OCV penalty on his Disarm. Alternately or in addition, the target gets +5 STR in the STR Versus STR Roll to keep hold of his weapon. Disarming Incoming Attacks Often a character delays his attack to Disarm an incoming attack. This happens especially often when a character makes a Half Move and then Holds his Action, waiting for his attacker to reach him. But a Disarm versus an incoming attack doesn’t automatically mean the character Disarms

REDEFINING BLOCK The basic Block maneuver allows the character to avoid all damage from a Hand-To-Hand attack and then go first in the next Phase if both combatants have their next Phase in common. If the GM prefers, he can redefine Block slightly to allow different combat dynamics. The following are some suggestions along these lines: 1) A Block deflects all damage from an attack, but does not let the Blocker go first in the next Phase. This sort of Block is sometimes referred to as an “active Dodge.” 2) A Block deflects half of the damage from an attack, and allows the Blocker to go first in the next Phase. 3) A Block deflects half of the damage from an attack, and does not allow the Blocker to go first in the next Phase. 4) A Block deflects all of the damage from one attack only, and provides its DCV bonus against all other attacks that Phase. In other words, characters cannot use Block to avoid successive attacks in the same Phase, though they get the DCV bonus from the maneuver.


ROLEPLAYING COMBAT As you read through this chapter, remember not only the strategic aspects of the rules, but the roleplaying aspects as well. All too often players and GMs look at combat solely as an exercise in tactics, strategy, and power-gaming, but in fact it has a lot of role-playing potential. When using martial arts, you can best realize this potential if you “talk out” your battles as much as possible. This simply means describing what your character does in real-world terms rather than just game terms. “I hit him with my Offensive Strike” is a lot less exciting than “I step to his side, pivot, and kick him hard in the ribs!” Roleplaying combat is fun, adds an important dimension to the battle, and can even result in some tactical bonuses — such as when the GM likes a maneuver’s description so much he awards a Surprise Move bonus to the character. When describing attacks this way, you don’t have to use Hit Location penalties. A player can say, “Okay, I punch him in the head!” without taking a -8 OCV penalty. So long as the character doesn’t receive the game benefits of hitting someone in the Head (x2 BODY, x2 NSTUN, and so forth), he doesn’t suffer the penalties either. A “described shot” to the Head does ordinary damage, it’s just portrayed that way to make the combat more enjoyable. Of course, if the character wants the extra damage for hitting his opponent in the Head, he can take the -8 OCV penalty for his attack in the usual way.

The Ultimate Martial Artist his target before the target hits him. To decide who goes first, have both parties make a DEX Roll. If the Disarming character makes the DEX Roll by more, he goes first. If he successfully Disarms his opponent, the opponent doesn’t get his attack this Phase. If the Disarm misses or does not succeed, the opponent gets an attack this Phase. If the attacker makes his DEX Roll by more, he goes first and attacks before the Disarm attempt. If the Disarming character is not Stunned or Knocked Out by the attack, he can then perform the Disarm. Throws are handled the same way: they don’t automatically negate the incoming attack.

Flying Kick Several styles, such as Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do, have a flying kick of some sort as one of their maneuvers. In HERO System terms the flying kick is represented as a Sacrifice Strike, not a Passing Strike, to achieve the necessary level of power (the +v/5 element of the Passing Strike rarely adds enough damage to equal the +4 DC of the Sacrifice Strike). However, in Superheroic games, where characters often have large amounts of movement, a Passing Strike might more accurately reflect this sort of attack.

Grab CHANGES TO GRAB The basic Grab maneuver from the HERO System 5th Edition, and Martial Maneuvers built with the standard Grab Opponent Element, only immobilize two of the Grabbed character’s limbs (of course, some targets have no limbs, so this aspect of the maneuver is unimportant). Characters can build maneuvers that Grabs more than two limbs, of course. If a character’s Martial Maneuver only Grabs one limb (like many jointlocks), the basic Grab provides a distinct tactical option (the joint-lock probably has more STR for purposes of Grabbing, but the Grab maneuver immobilizes more limbs). Available Limbs Characters are considered to have five limbs: two arms, two legs, and one head. The head counts as a limb because a character can use it to attack (i.e., headbutt) an opponent close enough to Grab him. Thus, to completely and totally immobilize someone adds 3 points to the cost of a Martial Grab-type maneuver. Joint-locks and similar attacks normally Grab one to two limbs, “pins” and

bearhug-type holds, such as those used in Wrestling, may Grab three or more limbs. Of course, a character can always choose to Grab fewer limbs than the maximum allowed by his maneuver. A character can Sweep a Grab maneuver to Grab more than the maneuver’s basic number of limbs. Each limb (or group thereof, if the maneuver immobilizes two or more limbs at its basic level) counts as a separate attack. Example: Okamura Hiromi is using her Jujutsu to fight a big, tough street thug wielding a pair of knives. She wants to capture him for interrogation. However, her Joint Lock maneuver only immobilizes one limb (typically, one arm), leaving her vulnerable to being stabbed by the knife the thug is carrying in his other hand. She also prefers to prevent him from kicking her with his hobnail boots. Since she has a 12 OCV and the thug only has a 5 DCV, Hiromi decides to try to Grab both of his arms and one of his legs. This requires her to Sweep him with her Joint Lock. The Joint Lock immobilizes one limb, so each additional limb counts as a separate target, imposing a 4 on each of her Attack Rolls. She rolls a 14, an 11, and a 10, hitting all three times. In the space of but a second, she has used her martial arts to almost completely immobilize the thug. Now she can bear him to the ground so he can’t stomp on her foot with his free leg. Had Hiromi missed one of her rolls, no further rolls would be allowed and all remaining target limbs would have been free to move. Example: Suppose the thug in the above example faces Strongarm, a low-level “brick” superhero. Strongarm isn’t any more willing to be stabbed or stomped on by this miscreant than Hiromi was, even though he’s harder to hurt. Since a basic Grab immobilizes two limbs, each additional two limbs impose a cumulative -2 on each of his Attack Rolls. He decides to Sweep his Grab, so he can Grab the thug’s arms and legs. This imposes a -2 to both of his rolls, since the arms count as his first two limbs, and the legs as his second two limbs. He rolls a 7 and a 10, easily hitting both times. The thug is now trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Hero Games ACTIONS WITH GRAB In the HERO System 5th Edition, the Grab maneuver allows you to do a couple of important things: Grab and Squeeze, or Grab and Throw. We’re going to add to that list. Characters can now perform six possible actions with a Grab: Grab and Block Grab and Control Grab and Redirect Grab and Shove Grab and Squeeze Grab and Throw A character can only perform one of these additional elements in a Phase. Having Grabbed a target, the character cannot Block and Redirect in the same Phase, or Squeeze and Throw, or any other combination. Grab And Block With this combination, a character Grabs someone — and then, at any time while the Grab is still in effect, Blocks an incoming attack with the Grabbed character’s body. To do this, he performs the Grab normally. If the Grabbed character does not immediately escape, the Grabber can perform a Block with his body. Roll the Block maneuver (or Martial Block maneuver) at a -2 to OCV. If it succeeds, the Grabber has Blocked the attack; the Grabbed character takes the damage of the incoming attack. You can only Block this way once per Phase, unlike ordinary Blocks. This is a very useful maneuver for PCs. But villains can also Grab and Block, and are fond of doing so with captured DNPCs and other innocents. Grab And Control When a character Grabs someone, he can also attempt to Control that person, meaning turn the victim so he cannot attack the character as easily. To do this, he makes a STR Versus STR Roll with the victim. (If this is immediately after he Grabbed the victim and the victim’s Phase hasn’t yet come up, he does get a Casual STR roll.) If he rolls 2 BODY more than the victim on the STR Versus STR Roll, he can turn the victim so the victim cannot strike him this Segment. To maintain control, the character must make a similar roll on each of his Phases. Grab and Control is very good for subduing someone a character wishes to speak to but not hurt; it does the victim no harm and gives the character a Phase or two to speak. A character can also use Grab and Control to force someone to the ground without hurting him (to force him to the ground and do STR damage to him in the process, Grab and Throw them (see below). Grab And Redirect Redirect follows a Grab of someone’s weapon. If a character Grabs a weapon, he may then make a STR Versus STR Roll to attack with it. If he succeeds (i.e., he ties or betters the victim’s BODY total), he can attack the weapon’s wielder or a char-

145 acter in the same or an adjacent hex as the wielder. If his normal STR is enough to use the weapon, he doesn’t suffer an OCV penalty. However, he only does the weapon’s base damage; because the wielder of the weapon resists him, the character doesn’t get to use any of his STR which exceeds the weapon’s STR Minimum to increase the damage done by the weapon. Grab And Shove Once a character has Grabbed someone, he may attempt to Shove the victim backwards. He makes a STR Versus STR Roll. If he succeeds, he may shove the victim back a maximum of 1”. He moves with the victim and continues to hold on to him as he does so. A character may perform this option even after he’s performed a Half Move and Grab/Shove. For example, a character with 7” of Running moves 4” forward and Grabs his target successfully. He can now elect to Shove his target back 1”, even though, at Phase’s end, he’s moved a total of 5” (more than his half-move) and still performed an attack. Shoving does no damage to a target unless he’s shoved into a surface such as a wall; in that case, he takes the character’s STR damage. A STR 18 character shoving a target into a wall will do 3½d6 Normal Damage to that target. If the campaign uses Hit Locations, this is just generalized damage. Anyone who Grabs can Shove. There’s also a special martial Shove maneuver which allows

GRABBING AND COMBAT VALUES Performing, or being the victim of, a Grab affects a character’s OCV and DCV. See page 256 of the HERO System 5th Edition for details.


The Ultimate Martial Artist characters to shove more effectively. Refer to Shove, below, for more details. Grab And Squeeze Grab and Squeeze allows the character to do his regular STR damage to the victim. If the campaign uses Hit Locations, a Grab maneuver hitting Location 5 (the Head) both does extra damage (Head locations take 2x STUN and BODY from Normal Damage attacks) and cuts off the target’s breath, making him unable to shout or talk (see the rules above for Choke Holds). A Grab maneuver hitting Locations 3 and 4 does the extra damage, but doesn’t cut off the victim’s breath.


xistence is infi-

nite, not to be defined.’ —Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Grab And Throw Grab and Throw acts just as described in the HERO System 5th Edition. The Grabber may choose whether to maintain the Grab after the Throw (of course, if he throws the victim a long distance rather than simply dashing him to the ground, he cannot maintain his hold). Refer to Throw, below, for more information on throwing characters; the effects of a Grab and Throw usually match those of any other Throw in terms of effect on placement in the combat order in the next Phase, damage taken, and so forth. However, because in many situations a Grab and Throw has less “finesse” than a full-blown Martial Throw, the GM may rule that some of the benefits of a Throw maneuver are not available when using Grab and Throw. GRABBING AND HIT LOCA TIONS In the HERO System 5th Edition, Grab immobilizes the target’s arms and accessible Foci. That approach presumes the Grabbing character either specifies the arms as a target or does not specify any particular target. Within the bounds of realism, characters can choose which limbs to immobilize with a Grab maneuver. With a standard Grab, the maneuver almost always affects the two arms, but with a Martial Grab just about any combination is possible. Regardless of which limb the character chooses as a target, Hit Location Attack Roll and damage modifiers do not apply, just like with any maneuver defined as specifically targeting a Hit Location. At the GM’s option, a character may suffer penalties to a standard Grab maneuver if he tries to Grab anything other than the arms or the head.

NUMBER OF HANDS REQUIRED TO GRAB SOMEONE The basic Grab maneuver/element presumes the character uses both hands. Grabs which only immobilize one limb (i.e., which take the “One Limb” restrictive element) only require one hand to perform at full STR. If a character uses only one hand for a Grab requiring two hands, he is at -5 STR, and can only use half of the STR bonus his Martial Maneuver provides to Grab. But if he manages to hold on, he can use his free hand for other attacks. Ken the sumo wrestler is STR 20. He executes a Sumo Grab on his opponent, but uses only one hand, the better to pummel his foe with the other. Ken normally uses his full STR of 20 and gets a +10 STR from the Grab maneuver. But this time, using only one hand, he gets only STR 15 and +5 STR from the Grab maneuver (total of STR 20). Example:

GRABBING AND WEAPONS A Grabbed character finds it harder to use weapons. Depending upon what limbs he has free, he may not be able to use any weapons at all — if the Grabbed character only has a sword, and an attacker immobilizes his sword-arm, he can’t use the sword (at least not in that hand; if it’s possible to draw the sword with his off-hand, he could try to use it with the usual off-hand penalties). Assuming weapons use is possible, a Grabbed character can use any Short weapon at no additional penalty, any Medium weapon at a -2 penalty to OCV, and any Long weapon at a -5 penalty to OCV.

Grab Weapon When one character Grabs another’s weapon (whether with the Standard Grab Maneuver or a Martial Maneuver with the Grab Weapon element), this does not affect the DCV of either character. The Grabbing character take no damage from touching or grabbing hold of the weapon.

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Joint Locks And Related Maneuvers Several types of maneuvers — the Joint Break, the Joint Lock/Throw, and Grabs defined as “Joint Locks” — are performed by grabbing hold of a limb and bending it in such a way the target cannot use it. Sometimes this involves bending the limb in the direction it’s designed to move, but in a manner which “locks” it. More commonly, these maneuvers bends a joint in a way it’s not supposed to bend. This causes great pain (simulated by the NND DMG Element of the Joint Lock/Throw maneuver). This may also break the joint (the Killing Damage and Disable elements of the Joint Break) or force the target to fall down (the Throw element). The holding and locking aspect of these maneuvers is of course simulated with the Grab element. In adjudicating the effects of joint-breaking maneuvers, the GM should carefully consider the nature of the attack. Standard resistant defenses, such as a superhero’s “bulletproof spandex” or a soldier’s flak jacket, offer little (if any) protection against having one’s joints bent backwards. On the other hand, suits of metal armor and similar equipment might completely protect the joint from bending the wrong way. The GM might want to grant these attacks a sort of NND effect where the “defense” against the attack is wearing something which keeps the joint from being bent backwards, having pliable limbs (i.e., Stretching), buying an Exert maneuver to fight the effect of the jointbreak, or something similar. However, this could make joint-breaks more effective than other types of Killing Damage maneuvers, so the GM should be careful not to unbalance the campaign by doing this. GMs should also keep the Impairing and Disabling rules (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, pages 416-17) in mind when characters use jointbreaks; refer also to the discussion of Disabling Attacks in the Combat Modifiers, Special Cases, And Optional Rules section of this book.

Killing Throw Killing Throws divide into two types. The first type, discussed under Joint Locks And Related Maneuvers, above, involves twisting a joint to break it and force the target to fall down. The damage occurs during the throw, not as a result of the target’s impact with the ground. The other is a throw intended to make the target fall in such a way that he takes Killing Damage (broken bones and the like) because of his impact with the ground. Players and GMs should keep these “special effects” in mind when creating Killing Throw maneuvers and adjudicating their effects.

Martial Escape The time required to perform a Martial Escape (or to use the Escape Element of any maneuver) depends upon the situation. See page 399 of the

HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for guidelines. If a maneuver which has Escape as one of its features also has some other element which affects the person whose Grab is being Escaped from (such as Target Falls or Disarm), the second element only works if the Escape succeeds. At the GM’s option, a character does not have to make a complete escape from a Grab or Entangle. Instead, he can try to free only one limb, and then use it as he sees fit. This allows +5 STR on the attempt to “Escape,” since the character can concentrate his efforts on freeing just one limb.

Move By/Move Through Move By and Move Through can increase the damage done by a weapon (see pages 389-91 and 406 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for details). At the GM’s discretion, Move Bys and Move Throughs may add damage to NND attacks. Each 5” velocity from a Move By, or 3” velocity from a Move Through, adds +½d6 NND to the NND attack. The NND attack has to be some sort of physical punch or blow rather than a nerve touch or energy discharge, of course. Move By and Move Through are specific Combat Maneuvers. You can’t do an “Offensive Strike Move Through,” adding both +4d6 from the Offensive Strike maneuver and +v/3 damage from the Move Through. You use only the basic damage for the attack (for instance, STR from a punch, or weapon damage plus STR bonuses for a weapon) plus the velocity modifier. This means if a character has a Killing Strike Martial Maneuver, he cannot use it with a Move By or Move Through: they’re two distinct, separate maneuvers he cannot combine.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

VITAL POINTS AROUND THE WORLD The body’s vital points are known in Japan as kyusho (and an attack against those points is an atemi strike); in China as tien-hsueh; in Korea as kuepso or keupso; in Vietnam as huyet; in Indonesia as rahasia; and in India as marman.

AVLDS If you’re having trouble making NND strikes effective in your games after using the other suggestions offered in this book, consider converting the NND damage to AVLD damage. This may have major effects on campaign balance, however, so treat such a change carefully and remain willing to return to the old system if it becomes too unbalancing or inefficient.

Nerve Strike DEFENSES FOR NERVE STRIKES The HERO System 5th Edition describes two basic types of NND strikes and their possible defenses: solid Armor (resistant PD) or a PD Force Field or Lack of Weakness for a Nerve Strike (“NND(1)”); solid Armor (resistant PD) on the neck or not having to breathe for a Choke Hold (“NND(2)”). These options are perfectly acceptable for most campaigns, but can cause problems in Superheroic campaigns or other games where those defenses are common (which makes the maneuvers useless). If this problem exists in your campaign, there’s a twofold solution: first, define the defenses to a Nerve Strike better; second, offer more potential defenses, so Nerve Strikes have some variety. As always, the GM has the final say on what defenses are acceptable. Here’s an expanded list of possible defenses, with explanations: NND 1: Rigid resistant PD on vital areas or Lack of Weakness NND 2: Rigid resistant PD on the neck or not having to breathe NND 3: Rigid resistant PD on a specific Hit Location NND 4: Solid ear coverings NND 5: Resistance NND 6: PD Force Field or Power Defense NND 7: Various defenses against joint-bending; see below NND 1: Rigid resistant PD on vital areas or Lack of Weakness: The NND(1) defense requires the target to have solid, rigid resistant PD over his vital points. “Rigid” means a sufficiently solid defense to prevent the attacker from being contacting the target’s vital points. The stereotypical “bulletproof spandex” worn by many superheroes is not stiff enough for this purpose. Nor does the super-strong skin of most “brick” characters suffice, since they still have nerve endings a trained martial artist can find and strike. A brick with tough “plates” in place of skin, or who transforms into rock or metal, probably has “rigid” defenses, as does any brick who took Reduced Sense Of Touch as a Physical Limitation because his supertough skin prevents him from feeling things properly. Suits of powered armor, kevlar backed by ceramic or steel plates, PD Force Fields, and similar types of resistant PD block this Nerve Strike, as do most forms of Lack of Weakness (though not, for example, a Lack Of Weakness defined as preventing the attacker from seeing the weak points). “Vital points” are particularly vulnerable places on the body. They include nerve clusters close to the skin, places where an attack can quickly and easily cut off blood flow (such as the neck), places where vital organs are relatively close to the skin, locations where an attack can easily interrupt the flow of ch’i throughout the body, and

so forth. In campaigns featuring a wide variety of humanoid species, such as some science fiction settings, a martial artist may have to buy a Science Skill reflecting his knowledge of a particular species’s anatomy to use this type of Nerve Strike against that species. An NND(1) may have no effect, or reduced effect, on some species (particularly non-humanoid ones). NND 2: Rigid resistant PD on the neck or not having to breathe: This is the defense for Choke Holds and other NND strikes which cut off the target’s ability to breathe. The general comments about defenses appropriate for NND(1) apply here as well. NND 3: Rigid resistant PD on a specific Hit Location: NND(3) is the defense for a Nerve Strike which always targets a specific nerve cluster or vital point. The character must define the target point when he buys the Nerve Strike. As with other attacks targeting a particular Hit Location, such a strike should not receive any to-hit or damage modifiers because of the location struck. NND 4: Solid ear coverings: NND(4) is the defense for a Nerve Strike defined as clapping one’s palms against the target’s ears, causing terrible pain (and sometimes disorientation). A “bulletproof spandex” mask or super-strong skin offers no protection against this sort of attack; a helmet, earphone-like gadgets, or having no ears would. NND 5: Resistance: NND(5) attacks cause so much agony that only characters who can withstand a high level of pain (i.e., who have bought the Talent Resistance) have any defense against them. In some cases, unusual nervous systems and certain other powers or abilities might also act as a defense against this NND. NND 6: PD Force Field or Power Defense: NND(6) usually represents some sort of mystical, ch’i/ki-based ability to hurt a target by attacking his life force. Only a PD Force Field or Power Defense offers enough protection to save someone from this sort of attack. NND 7: Defenses against joint-bending: Characters use NND(7) to simulate the excruciating pain caused by maneuvers which bend or torque a joint in a way it’s not supposed to move. The defenses against this include Resistance, having rigid armor on the joint in question which prevents improper bending, Powers with a similar effect (such as Stretching), or STR (as a Characteristic or Exert maneuver) double or more that of the STR used to bend the joint. In some cases the Talent DoubleJointed may have the same effect. Refer to the discussion of joint-locks and similar maneuvers, above, for more information. DISABLING NERVE STRIKES Characters can use Nerve Strikes to temporarily Impair or Disable a limb. Refer to the discussion of Disabling Attacks in the Combat Modifiers, Special Cases, and Optional Rules section of this book.

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TWO OR MORE NERVE STRIKES As described on page 265 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, characters should not normally have more than one NND attack (at least, not without GM permission). Gamemasters may want to consider carefully whether a character should have more than one Martial Maneuver with the NND DMG Element (including Choke Holds). In many cases, NND strikes are different enough that it doesn’t unbalance play for a character to have more than one.

Partial Maneuvers Many maneuvers have more than one Element or “aspect.” In most cases it’s not necessary for a character to use all aspects of a maneuver — he can use only those aspects he wants to. For example, a Reversal allows a character to Escape a Grab, and then Grab the person who Grabbed him. A character with this maneuver does not have to perform the Grab if he doesn’t want to; he can simply Escape, and then end his maneuver at that point. Another good example is the Joint Lock/ Throw, which involves Grabbing the target’s limb and bending it to force the target to the ground. A character doesn’t have to use either the “NND” or the “Throw” aspects of this maneuver if he prefers not to. (Of course, an attack or maneuver which “Must Follow” a particular maneuver or which is a “Response” to a maneuver cannot be used on its own.) However, sometimes one element acts as a “prerequisite” for another. An example here is the Choke Hold maneuver — a character cannot use the “NND” element of this maneuver without first using the “Grab” element. The GM is final arbiter over whether an element has to be used in a maneuver.

Root Characters use the Root maneuver to counter the Shove maneuver (see below). Use the STR from a Root to calculate the total STR opposing a Shove. Of course, if the character resists the Shove successfully, he does not move at all, and the character attempting the Shove is left looking foolish. Note, however, that Root also has the “Block” element. This is just another way of defining the resistance to being Shoved: if the character Blocks the Shove, it has no effect on him at all. The special effect in this case is “immovability,” not the typical block associated with most martial arts — the Shover has struck the Rooted character solidly, but has not moved him! If the Block fails, the character can still use the extra STR from the Root to resist Shove. In most cases, the GM should not allow characters to use the Block element of the Root maneuver to Block attacks other than Shoves, but this depends upon the situation. Characters with the Root maneuver may add its STR to their own when they brace to resist Knockback (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 421).

Shove The discussion of “Grab And Shove,” above, generally applies to the Shove maneuver as well. However, Shove offers several additional benefits. First, when using Shove, a character does not have to Grab his opponent, which can be time-consuming and potentially dangerous. Second, a character using Shove can propel his target back more than 1”, and does not have to move with him. For every 10 STR in the Shove maneuver, a character can push a target back 1”; thus, at even its lowest level a Shove moves its target back 2”. A Shoved character can make a DEX, Breakfall, or Acrobatics roll (his choice) at -1 for every point by which the Shoving character made his Attack Roll to fall down at any point during his “move.” This eliminates any further movement and halves the damage the Shove would have caused. However, the fallen character is at the same disadvantage as a Thrown character — the Shoving character gets to attack him first on their next Phase (if they both have their next Phase in the same Segment), regardless of relative DEX.


The Ultimate Martial Artist The third advantage to Shove is that the extra STR of the maneuver not only adds to the distance a character can move his target, it adds to any damage he does if he shoves the target into a solid object. The target cannot take more dice of damage than the (DEF+BODY) of the object he hits (just like Knockback). The fourth advantage to Shove is that a character can use it on more than one target at a time, in two ways. First, an attacker can Shove one target into another target, causing damage to both of them. The attacker needs to make a separate Attack Roll to hit the second target; any OCV bonuses bought with the Shove maneuver do not apply to hitting the second target. Second, in some instances a character can use his Shove maneuver on several characters simultaneously — for example, when he’s holding a staff and several thugs grab it and he Shoves all of them off of him. In this sort of situation, the Shoving character uses his base STR plus Shove maneuver bonus STR. To calculate the combined STR of the characters resisting the Shove, determine their lifting capacity, based on the Strength Table on page 34 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Add their lift-

ing capacities together, then use that figure and the Strength Table to determine their combined STR for the purpose of resisting a Shove. Example: Three thugs attack Cheng Fei, a practitioner of Tai Ch’i Ch’uan. Cheng gets his forearm between himself and the three thugs as they try to knock him down, so he decides to push them away from him, using his Shove maneuver; he has STR 40 for this purpose. The thugs have STRs of 10, 15, and 10. Their lifting capacities are 100, 200, and 100 kilograms, respectively, for a total of 400 kg. This equals STR 20 for purposes of resisting Shove. Cheng rolls 9 BODY on his dice, the thugs roll 3 on theirs, so they’re thrown back 4” from their intended target!

Standard Maneuvers Players of martial artist characters sometimes forget that their characters can still use the Standard Maneuvers — the non-martial maneuvers described on pages 383-98 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Any player character who forgets or turns up his nose at the Standard and Optional Combat Maneuvers unnecessarily limits himself. Most beginning martial artist characters won’t start the game with Martial Maneuvers of every type... so a martial artist without Martial Grab should still use the standard Grab, one without the Martial Disarm can still use the standard Disarm, and one without the Martial Dodge can still utilize the standard Dodge. Three-point Combat Skill Levels with a martial arts style do not apply to Standard Maneuvers, but 5-point CSLs with Hand-To-Hand Combat do. CONVERTING MARTIAL MANEUVERS TO STANDARD MANEUVERS In some campaigns, the GM may wish to make a Martial Maneuver (such as a kick or Bind) a Standard Maneuver. There’s nothing wrong with this, if it doesn’t unbalance the campaign and the GM keeps two things in mind. First, there should be some justification in realism or the genre for making a Martial Maneuver Standard. For instance, in Fantasy Hero Weapon Bind is a Standard Maneuver, since weapons combat is such a prevalent part of that genre. Another example is campaigns which allow any character to perform some sort of “kick” maneuver, on the grounds that anyone can kick somebody else and do more damage than a punch, it’s just not as easy as punching them. Second, Standard Maneuvers derived from Martial Maneuvers should never be as effective as their martial counterparts, so characters who buy Martial Maneuvers still benefit from doing so. For example, a standard “kick” maneuver should impose CV penalties a standard Strike does not, and should not add as much damage as a comparable martial arts “kick” maneuver. As a good rule of thumb, a Standard Maneuver should cost about 0-1 points when built using the Martial Maneuver construction rules. Players should also remember that liberal

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application of special effects can “convert” a Standard Maneuver into a Martial Maneuver. For example, you could define a Grab and Throw as a “footsweep” or “takedown” of some sort.

Sweep The Sweep maneuver is very useful in martial arts combats. Characters can use it to simulate a wide variety of unusual and colorful attacks against multiple foes. Characters can perform Sweeps with nondamaging maneuvers as well as damaging ones. Sweeps are especially effective (and flashy) when combined with Martial Maneuvers like Legsweep, Martial Throw, Flying Tackle, and Disarm. A character can perform a Sweep Passing Strike (or other maneuver with the “FMove” element), even if all the targets do not occupy hexes adjacent to him. However, all targets must occupy hexes adjacent to one another, and must be in some sort of relatively straight line so he can get a clean shot at each of them. A character can only perform a Sweeping Choke Hold, Crush, Takeaway, or Bind on two targets. Each attack requires a hand, and the martial artist only has two. (A martial artist with Extra Limbs could Sweep these maneuvers on more than two opponents, at the GM’s discretion.) Grabbing the heads of two opponents and banging them

together constitutes Sweeping a Grab and Crush. Generally, a character can only perform a Sweeping Martial Grab on two targets. The exception is when the character tries to Grab more than one of a single target’s limbs, as detailed above under Grab. In that situation, a martial artist may attempt to Sweep as many limbs as he wants; this reflects his ability to tangle an enemy up so he can’t use his limbs properly. Sweep does not work with maneuvers such as Root and Escape (which are not attacks), Crush or any other attack with the Follow Element (the Sweep would have to be performed with the original attack, such as the Grab part of a Crush), and Shove (which a character can already use on several people at once, refer to Shove, above).


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Takeaway Visually, a Takeaway can look as rough as grabbing a weapon and yanking it out of the target’s hand, or can be more elegant, resembling a Disarm in which the weapon flies out of the target’s hand and into the attacker’s. In any event, the attacking character takes no damage from the weapon when he takes it away. When a character performs a Takeaway, he can immediately toss the weapon to someone or hand it to a character in his hex or an adjacent hex as an Action which takes no time. Tossing the weapon at someone to hurt or even distract him constitutes an attack, so he can’t do it until his next Phase.

Throw DAMAGE FROM THROWS The damage a character takes from a Throw depends in part on the surface he lands on. The surface also modifies the Breakfall roll the character can make to only take half damage (see accompanying table). These penalties are cumulative; an extremely hard, uneven surface (say, a sidewalk with a lot of broken bricks and trash lying around) adds +4d6 damage and imposes a -4 to the target’s Breakfall roll. Remember that the Breakfall roll to halve the damage taken from a fall also suffers a penalty of

-1 per 2d6 of damage the Throw does. Neither that modifier nor the ones described in this chart apply to a Breakfall roll made simply to stand up without taking a Half Phase.




-0 - +1

Average (carpeted floor, average earth or sand)



Hard (wooden or tile floor, packed earth)



Extremely Hard (cement or asphalt, metal)



Smooth or even surface (floor, most sidewalks)


Sloped surface (hillside, ramp)

-0 to -1

Bumpy, uneven surface; cluttered surface (stairs, trash-strewn alley, rocky ground)



Soft (water, a cushion or mat, extremely soft earth)


THROWING DISTANCE Normally a Thrown character lands in the attacker’s hex or an adjacent hex. However, a target can be thrown further, depending upon the character’s STR. Throwing a target further away from you does not add to the damage done by the Throw maneuver. Consult the STR Table and the Throwing Table, on pages 34-35 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, for further information; a human or other living creature is an unbalanced, non-aerodynamic object. Example: “Bull” Robinson is a STR 20 wrestler who wants to use his Slam maneuver to Throw his opponent out of the ring. According to the STR Table, it requires 10 STR to lift a man, leaving Bull 10 points of STR for throwing purposes. Based on the Throwing Table, he can throw his opponent 4”. If he wants to hit something with his opponent (say, an obnoxious fan), he suffers a -4 penalty to the Range Modifier. A characters can also increase the distance he Throws a character by subtracting damage from the Throw. For every -1d6 of damage, he can Throw the target +1”. This reflects the way he uses his skill and his opponent’s momentum to increase the distance of the Throw rather than the damage the Throw does.

Hero Games THROWS AND INCOMING ATTACKS When you delay to Throw an incoming attacker, your Throw does not automatically prevent his attack. See the rules for Disarm, above. RESISTING THROWS WITH SKILLS Acrobatics A character may attempt to resist being Thrown if he has the Acrobatics Skill (this applies to both Grab and Throw, and maneuvers with the “Target Falls” Element). As described on page 112, if the Thrown character makes his Acrobatics roll at a -3 penalty, he keeps his feet. (Visually, he may have been thrown and somersaulted instantly back to his feet, or have jumped above the attacking Legsweep, and so forth.) However, he still takes full damage from the attack (including surface modifiers, as detailed in the accompanying table). Breakfall As explained on page 113, a character can make a Breakfall roll to halve the damage taken from a fall (he can also use Breakfall to stand up without taking a Half Phase, but that requires a separate roll). He suffers a penalty of -1 per 2d6 to the roll; if he fails the roll he takes full damage from the Throw. Additional penalties for the type of surface are described in the accompanying table. These penalties do not apply to a Breakfall roll made to stand up without taking a Half Phase. RESISTING THROWS WITH POWERS Many Powers enable a character to resist maneuvers built with the Target Falls Element. A power which allows the character to resist being thrown sometimes also prevents him from taking damage from the maneuver. This works as follows. If the maneuver is one where the attacker’s impact knocks the target to the ground (such as Flying Tackle and some Killing Throws), the target who uses Powers to resist being Thrown still takes full damage. If the maneuver is one where the attacker knocks the target’s feet from under him (such as Legsweep and Takedown), the target who uses Powers to resist being Thrown takes only half damage from the maneuver. If the maneuver is one where the attacker levers, unbalances, or redirects the target into hitting the ground, and all the damage comes from the impact with the ground (maneuvers such as Grappling Throw, Martial Throw, and Sacrifice Throw), the target who uses Powers to resist being Thrown takes no damage from the maneuver. Clinging When a martial artist uses a maneuver with the Target Falls Element on a character with Clinging, he must also roll and win a STR Versus STR Roll: his STR versus the STR of the target’s Clinging. If he fails, the target does not fall down. If he ties or wins, the target does fall.

153 Density Increase, Growth, And Heavy Targets If the attacker’s Pushed STR (whether he’s currently Pushing it or not) is inadequate to pick up the target, then his attack cannot Throw the target down. The rule keeps human-strength characters from Martial Throwing 700-ton mecha, for instance, but it applies to all situations using Martial Throw maneuvers, not just those involving Density Increase or Growth. The GM has final authority over which characters/objects are too heavy for a martial artist to pick up and/or throw. Note the phrase “...the attacker’s Pushed STR (whether he’s currently Pushing it or not)...” This means a character can Martial Throw anything he could pick up with his fully-Pushed STR, regardless of how much STR he’s currently using. For instance, a STR 5 character in a Superheroic campaign could Push his STR to 15 and pick up 200 kg; therefore, a STR 5 character could Martial Throw any target weighing up to 200 kg. A STR 10 (i.e., normal) character could Martial Throw something weighing in at 400 kg — 880 pounds! A character can build a Martial Throw-type maneuver with a STR bonus from the Exert basis, with the STR bonus applying not to increase the damage done by the Throw but to add to the character’s Throwing strength. Extra DC bought with the martial art with such a maneuver would either add to STR damage or to the Exert bonus, not to both (the character must choose which aspect of the maneuver the Extra DC increase when he buys them; he does not get to switch them around on an attack-by-attack basis). The GM can adjudicate the effects of these Throwing rules as he sees fit; some campaign styles may call for characters to be able to Throw heavy objects; some may not. Flight Characters can use Flight to resist Throws. If the character is not currently flying, has his Flight power available to him, and knows the attack is coming, he can use his Flight to resist being Thrown; he will not be Thrown down. However, if he’s already flying, he can’t do this; the attacker is already using his Flight against him with the Throw maneuver. Knockback Resistance If a character has any Knockback Resistance and is prepared to use it (i.e., is not attacked from Surprise), he does not fall when struck by Throw maneuvers where the attacker’s impact knocks the target to the ground (such as Flying Tackle and some Killing Throws). However, all other Throw maneuvers work normally on him. Stretching; Shape Shift Throws may not work on characters with malleable bodies — a character with Stretching, and some forms of Shape Shift, simply manipulates or “moves” his body so the attacker cannot get leverage to throw him. GMs should adjudicate this effect on a case-by-case basis.


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his section includes some rules for combat in unusual situations, as well as some new types of Combat Modifiers. In some cases, these rules supplement the rules for environmental conditions on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. The GM decides whether to use these rules in his campaign.

BLINDED CHARACTERS AND MARTIAL ARTS As you know, when blinded, a character is at ½ DCV, ½ OCV in Hand-To-Hand Combat, and 0 OCV with Ranged Combat; if he can make a PER Roll with a Nontargeting Sense, then he is only -1 DCV, ½ OCV in Hand-To-Hand, and ½ OCV at range.

However, when a character Grabs another character, he gets a bonus in hand-to-hand combat. Grabbing and holding onto another character automatically gives the attacker a successful PER Roll with a Nontargeting Sense (Touch) against that foe. However, he’s still at ½ DCV against the person he has Grabbed. In other words, if a blinded character can Grab his foe, he’ll be only at -1 OCV and ½ DCV when fighting his opponent. He’s at 0 OCV against anyone he’s not Grabbing, and is at 0 DCV at range.

BOUND CHARACTERS AND MARTIAL ARTS When a martial artist is bound, he suffers OCV and DCV penalties. Hands Bound in Front: The character is at -1 DCV, and is at -1 OCV for all Hand-To-Hand attacks and Combat Maneuvers (including Martial Maneuvers). The GM may rule that he cannot use certain weapons (such as bows). Hands Bound in Back: The character is at -1 DCV, and is at ½ OCV for all Hand-To-Hand attacks and Combat Maneuvers (including Martial Maneuvers). The GM may rule that he cannot use any hand weapons or punching maneuvers. Feet Bound Apart: The character is at -1 DCV, and his running speed is cut in half. He is at -1 OCV because he cannot move in on his foe as fast as normal. (This OCV minus is eliminated if he is Grabbing his opponent; see Grab, above.) Feet Bound Apart means they are shackled together with chains which allow the character a very short, hobbled stride (usually one to two feet). The GM may rule that the character cannot use any kicking maneuvers (except through use of Acrobatics, or when kicking from a prone position). Feet Bound Together: The character is at ½ DCV, and his running (hopping) speed is reduced to 1” per Phase. He is at ½ OCV because he moves in on his foe so slowly. (This OCV minus is eliminated if he is Grabbing his opponent; see Grab, above.) The GM may rule that the character cannot use any Kicking maneuvers (except through use of Acrobatics, or when kicking from a prone position). Combinations: These modifiers are cumulative. Two -1 modifiers means a ½ multiplier to the CV, and two ½ multipliers or a ½ and a -1 mean a 0 CV. For example, a character with his hands bound in front and his feet bound apart is at ½ OCV, ½ DCV, and half running speed. A character with his

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155 Offensive Strike (kick) adds 4d6, for a total of 7d6; therefore half of that is 3½d6. The GM rules the door has 2 DEF, 2 BODY. David rolls his 3½d6, coming up with 4 BODY, just enough to get through. David can do his full Kick damage to his unseen foe.

CONCEALED WEAPONS AND GADGETS hands bound in back and his feet bound together is at 0 OCV, 0 DCV, and cannot run (though if he is able to get up, he can hop at 1” per Phase; the GM should require a DEX roll at -3 or an ordinary Acrobatics roll to stand up unassisted, and one DEX or Acrobatics roll per Phase of hopping). Acrobatics Skill: A character with Acrobatics can negate the effects of being bound for each Phase he successfully makes his Skill Roll. If the character’s hands are bound in front, he receives a -1 to Acrobatics; if his hands are bound in back, he receives a -3; if his feet are bound apart, he receives a -2; if his feet are bound together, he receives a -5; and combinations of the above are cumulative (i.e., hands bound in back and feet bound together mean a -8). Each Phase the character makes his Acrobatics roll at the listed penalties; if he succeeds, he can ignore the OCV and DCV penalties of his bound state during that Phase. Contortionist Skill: Contortionist, of course, allows a character to slip out of bonds. Also, if the character has missed his Contortionist roll to slip his bonds, but the situation warrants (i.e., the GM says it’s possible), the character with Contortionist can change “hands bound in back” to “hands bound in front” by contorting his bound wrists over his legs.

CASUAL STRENGTH VERSUS BARRIERS In martial arts films, characters often punch or thrust through a door, wall, or even roof to stab the assassin on the other side. This can already be done in the HERO System, but it’s not as effective as in the martial arts films, because the DEF and BODY of the intervening surface reduce the damage done by the attack. You can use this optional rule: if the character’s Casual Strength attack (half the character’s Strike damage or half his weapon damage, modified by half his STR) does enough to penetrate a barrier, the barrier does not reduce the damage his attack causes. Example: David Li knows his opponent is on the other side of the door. He cannot see his foe and so attacks at ½ OCV; however, his foe is trying to be still and stealthy, and does not see the attack coming, so he is at 0 DCV. David’s Attack Roll succeeds. His STR is 15, and his

The Concealment rules from the HERO System presume you’re concealing Obvious, Accessible Foci, and require a PER Roll versus Concealment roll (with various modifiers) to detect the object. But many of the weapons built for martial artist characters (the “Concealed” versions of the weapons in the Weapons section of this book) are built as Inobvious Accessible Foci. Though they’re in “plain sight” most of the time, they’re either artfully built into another object, or clever decoration or construction cleverly disguise their true purpose. The Inobvious part of the Focus Limitation corresponds to a Concealment “Skill” of 13- (11base roll, +2 for the fact that the weapon is built into an object); extremely well made concealed weapons may merit higher Concealment “Skills.” Therefore, when someone tries to spot an Inobvious (or concealed) object, that person makes a PER Roll against the object’s Concealment roll in a Skill Versus Skill Contest. A successful roll only reveals


The Ultimate Martial Artist that there’s something unusual in the construction of the item; the perceiving character has to perform a hands-on search with another PER Roll versus Concealment Roll contest to open the weapon up or determine what it does. Naturally, once the Inobvious weapon is used as such, it’s no longer Inobvious. When you pull your ninja-to out of its sheath disguised as a vacuum cleaner, the other fellow doesn’t have to make a PER Roll to realize what it is; its function is now obvious.

CRITICAL HITS Warning: These critical hits rules, if added to a campaign, make combat more dangerous and unbalancing. The GM should only add them to his campaign if he wants unpredictable and lethal combats. A “critical hit” is a blow so accurate it does a lot of extra damage. One occurs when a character’s roll to hit is less than half of what he needed to hit the target.

Characters may only do critical hits to living targets. Critical hit results against targets like doors, walls and cars are ignored (it would be far too easy to get a critical hit on a DCV-0 door, for instance).

DISABLING ATTACKS Sometimes a character benefits most in combat not by doing raw STUN to an opponent but by disabling or weakening him so he fights less effectively, making it easier to defeat him. In the HERO System, there are four ways to attack to disable. Also refer to the rules on breaking limbs on page 412 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised.

Example: An OCV 7 character strikes at a DCV 5 character. He needs a 13 or less to hit. To critical, he needs less than a (13/2) 6.5 to hit — he must roll a 6 or less.

STANDARD IMPAIRING AND DISABLING RULES The first is to do enough damage to a limb to Impair or Disable it, as described in the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, pages 416-17. This form of Disabling usually results from an attack which, though not specifically intended to disable, does enough damage to Impair/Disable the area anyway. Attacks of this sort suffer the standard Attack Roll and damage modifiers for the location struck (but of course, the damage modifier does not matter for purposes of determining whether a limb has been Impaired or Disabled). The advantage to using this form of disabling attack is that it’s likely to result in long-term Impairment or Disablement. The drawbacks are the Attack Roll and damage modifiers, and the possibility of severely injuring the target.

If a character makes a critical hit, he does maximum damage for the attack. Therefore, a Killing Attack 2d6 does 12 BODY. An 8d6 Normal Damage attack does 48 STUN, 16 BODY. A 2d6 NND attack does 12 STUN. If the campaign uses the Hit Location rules, a Killing Attack does the normal STUN Multiplier for the location; 12 BODY to the Vitals corresponds to 48 STUN, for instance. If those rules are not in use, a Killing Attack does the maximum possible STUN; if the STUN Multiplier is 1d6-1, as with most Killing Attacks, then 12 BODY corresponds to 60 STUN.

THE DISABLE ELEMENT The second way is to buy a Martial Maneuver with the Disable Element. Maneuvers of this sort are specifically intended to target limbs, and do not suffer either to-hit or damage penalties for the location targeted. A Disable-based attack makes it easy to Impair or Disable a limb, or even to break or destroy one. On the other hand, characters can normally only use an attack with the Disable Element for that one purpose, and it may be too severe in some situations. Characters should consider Pulling their Punch or using fewer dice in situations where too

Example: An OCV 6 character strikes at a DCV 5 character. He needs a 12 or less to hit. To critical, he needs less than a (12/2) 6 to hit — i.e., he must roll a 5 or below.

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much damage to a limb will have inappropriate or undramatic consequences. DISABLING NERVE STRIKE The third way to disable a limb is to use a Nerve Strike to temporarily Impair or Disable it. To Impair a location, the STUN done by the blow must equal or exceed the target’s BODY score, either before or after modifiers for the Hit Location. If a character has 12 BODY, the Nerve Strike must inflict 12 STUN. To Disable a location, the STUN done by the blow must equal or exceed 2x the target’s BODY score, either before or after modifiers for the Hit Location. If a character has 10 BODY, the Nerve Strike must inflict 20 STUN. Nerve Strike disabling attacks suffer the standard Attack Roll penalties for the area they are aimed at. The precise effects of the Impairing or Disabling blow are listed on the accompanying table. Of course, a character can make no attacks with a disabled limb.


Effect Of Disabling Attack


Target is conscious, but unable to act, and at ½ DCV

Hands, Arms, Shoulders

Target loses use of limb from that point down; anything in his grasp is dropped

Chest, Stomach

Character cannot take Recoveries and is at -2 OCV and -2 DCV


Target is conscious, but nearly paralyzed; he’s at half movement, ½ OCV, and ½ DCV

Thighs, Legs, Feet

Target loses use of limb from that point down; he’s at half movement and ½ DCV

Impairing and Disabling results from a Nerve Strike do not last very long. To determine how long they do last, roll 1d6 and consult the Nerve Strike Impairing/Disabling Time Table.


Time Condition Lasts


1 Phase


2 Phases


1 Turn


1 minute


5 minutes


1 hour or more (GM’s option)

The advantage of using a disabling Nerve Strike are that the opponent suffers no permanent injury. The drawback is the temporary nature of the Impairment/Disability. DECLARED DISABLING ATTACKS The fourth and final way to disable a limb is the Declared Disabling Attack (DDA). This attack, in effect a new Combat Maneuver, is entirely optional and is subject to GM approval — it’s a “caution sign” ability. A DDA allows a character to declare that a particular hand-to-hand attack will be a disabling attack (at the GM’s option, this might require a DEX roll or other Skill Roll). The attack suffers the usual Attack Roll modifiers for that particular target. If the attack hits, convert the BODY damage rolled on the dice into Phases of Impairment: one Phase for each BODY rolled. The target takes the STUN rolled as normal, with the standard modifiers for Hit Location. Thus, a DDA doesn’t cause any real injuries, but does hamper a character significantly for a short but crucial period of time. At the GM’s option, an especially high DDA BODY roll may Impair the limb for a longer time: the entire combat, the rest of the day, or whatever seems appropriate and dramatic. Alternately, it might do some actual BODY to the limb. Example: Jean-Claude, a savateur, realizes he needs to weaken his opponent Francois before he can get in a really telling blow. He decides to use his coup de pied bas (low kick) to target Francois’s right knee with a DDA. His normal 10 OCV will suffer a -6 penalty for targeting the Legs. If he hits he will do normal STUN damage to his target, with the x½ modifier, and the BODY he does will become Phases of Impairment. He rolls a 5 and hits! He does 8 BODY and 29 STUN. Francois has 10 PD; his right leg becomes numb and useless for 8 Phases, and he also takes 4 STUN ([29 x ½] - 10). The GM rules Francois’s movement is reduced by half, he’s at -2 DCV, and he cannot perform several types of kicks because of his Impairment.

DISGUISING DAMAGE Sometimes a character wants to “disguise” the sort of damage he’s doing — usually to keep Killing Damage from looking like Killing Damage, so onlookers won’t suspect the level of force he’s using on his opponent. Another possible use is to make a Nerve Strike look like a Normal Damage attack, so observers don’t know the pacifistic attacker is reluctant to use more damaging maneuvers. To do this, the attacker must make his Attack Roll at -1 OCV for every 2 Damage Classes in the attack — thus, an HKA 2d6 would impose a -3 penalty. If the Attack Roll succeeds, the target takes the damage in the usual method for that type of damage, but to anyone else observing the attack, it looks like a Normal Damage attack. If the GM allows characters to buy Power


The Ultimate Martial Artist Advantages for Martial Maneuvers (see page 104), you can also achieve this effect without the OCV penalty by buying a +¼ Invisible Power Effects Advantage for the maneuver you want to disguise. The character could take a Requires A DEX Roll (-½) Limitation on the Advantage if the GM desires.

HEALING This is an optional rule for campaigns in which characters find themselves nicked to death before ever reaching the story’s climax. If this is happening and you don’t like it, use this rule: In combat, characters should keep track not just of how much BODY they lose, but to which attacks. Instead of just saying “I’ve lost 7 BODY,” a player needs to be able to say, “I took three blows, one doing 1 BODY, one doing 2 BODY, and one doing 4 BODY.” Characters with PS: Doctor or KS: Chinese Healing (or other ethnic healing KSs, but not Paramedics) can cure a little BODY damage from each wound. The character rolls his PS: Doctor or KS: Chinese Healing Skill once for each wound. For each successful roll he makes, the character regains 1 BODY from that wound. Each wound may only be treated once, and may not regain more than 1 BODY from this treatment. The treatment of each wound takes a minute or

two per wound and requires bandages of some sort; even a wound defined as a nasty bruise should be taped up and supported. Thus, the rule is not useful to characters during combat... only afterwards.

HINDERING CIRCUMSTANCES AND MARTIAL ARTS Not every fight takes place when the character is at his best on clear, level ground. This section offers some guidelines on determining the effects of various hindering circumstances to supplement the rules in Chapter Two of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. In many cases, a character can eliminate the effects of hindering circumstances if he succeeds with a roll for a particular Skill. He must make such Skill Rolls each Phase; if he fails a roll he’ll suffer whatever penalties are involved for that Phase. The appropriate Environmental Movement Talent also eliminates some or all of the penalties associated with hindering circumstances. ARMOR Most martial arts styles aren’t designed for use while the fighter is wearing armor — armor often impedes a fighter’s ability to move and to see, which robs a martial artist of many of the benefits of his fighting style. If forced to use his martial arts in armor, a character may suffer the standard DCV penalty for wearing armor (see the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, pages 379 and 487-88, for more information), and always suffers a -1 to -3 penalty to OCV. The extent of this penalty depends on the amount and type of armor, and the character’s fighting style (some styles, such as Wrestling, adapt more easily to armor than others). For example, full plate armor would impose a -3 to just about any style, whereas a chain mail shirt might only impose a -1 to -2 on most styles. To eliminate this OCV penalty, characters need only buy a 1-point Element for their martial arts style, Use Art in Armor. To eliminate the DCV penalties, characters can buy Penalty Skill Levels or CSLs with DCV. Styles specially intended for use by armored fighters (such as Kenjutsu or Weapons Combat) do not require their practitioners to purchase this Element; it’s a “default” Element of that style. CLIMBING

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Penalties for fighting while Climbing are described on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. A character can eliminate these penalties with a successful Climbing roll. If he fails the roll, the penalties still apply; if he fails it badly, he probably falls as well. CLUTTERED AND CRAMPED AREAS Penalties for fighting in cluttered and cramped areas are described on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Based on the type of area, a character may not be able to use certain types of maneuvers (such as Flying Kicks, maneuvers with the FMove Element, and various kinds of kicks and sweeps) at all; this also affects the type of weapons he can use (see below for details). A character may be able to eliminate some of these penalties with a successful Acrobatics roll. FALLING AND FLYING Every now and then a character may have to fight during a long fall. The parachuting sequence from the James Bond movie Moonraker probably provides the classic example of this sort of thing — two falling characters fighting for a single parachute. Falling characters are severely restricted in their use of martial arts. Attacks requiring them to use their legs — just about all kinds of kicks and sweeps, for example — are difficult or impossible to perform, as are most throws and dodges. Punches or hand attacks are allowed, and grappling and choking attacks are the easiest of all (and often the most logical choice, too). There’s no way to eliminate these penalties. In some situations characters need to remember the possibility of doing Knockback, something they’ll often want to avoid — if your opponent has the only parachute, you want to stick close to him and take it from him, not knock him away from you. Parachuting characters often use the reverse of these rules — punching and grappling attacks are not really possible, but some kicks are. The GM should determine what maneuvers a character can use based on the situation. Refer to Zero Gravity And Martial Arts, below, for information about fighting in situations where there is no gravity at all. FOOTING/SLIPPERY GROUND Penalties for fighting when the footing is poor, such as on icy or muddy ground, are described on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. The GM may impose additional penalties on some attacks, such as kicks. A successful Breakfall roll eliminates these penalties. Some styles, such as Pentjak-Silat, specifically train fighters to fight on slippery ground.

GROUNDFIGHTING Sometimes fights end up with two characters struggling on the ground, rather than standing up trading blows. Unfortunately, many martial arts styles do not teach maneuvers for groundfighting (though they may teach a “grounded” fighter to dodge attacks from an upright attacker by using Acrobatics; see page 112). Groundfighting has several effects on the use of martial arts. First, it restricts the maneuvers a character can use. Obviously he cannot use many kicks, and all maneuvers which damage a character by causing him to fall are useless; characters are often limited to punches, grappling, and similar maneuvers. Second, a character not trained in groundfighting suffers a -2 OCV and ½ DCV penalty. He can eliminate these penalties as to his groundfighting opponent if he makes a PS: Groundfighting roll (at the GM’s option, characters could use a special Element, Use Art while Prone, in place of this Skill). The ½ DCV penalty normally applied to prone characters targeted by non-prone characters still applies even if that roll is made (or Element known). MOUNTS Sometimes martial artists have to fight while riding a horse or some other mount. This is of course more common in fantasy campaigns, but can occur in other settings as well. If the mount is unruly and bucks, the character is at -3 OCV while fighting. Characters can eliminate this penalty by succeeding with a Riding roll. See page 368 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for more information on mounted combat. TIGHTROPES AND NARROW SUR FACES Penalties for fighting on narrow surfaces, such as tightropes and some ledges or tree limbs, are described on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Additionally, some maneuvers (such as kicks) are not practical in such a situation, and using them may involve additional penalties. A character can eliminate all of these penalties if he succeeds with an Acrobatics roll. On wide enough surfaces, he may even receive a bonus to his roll.


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INTERPOSING EXAMPLE Lt. Harry Cho tries to defend his injured partner, Mace, from the attacks of an assassin. He moves between Mace and the assassin, Interposing himself. He puts his Skill Levels into DCV and has a base DCV of 10; he opts to reduce it by 5, to 5. This tells the assassin he’s going to have to expose himself to Cho’s attack if he attacks Mace — Cho gets a +5 OCV on attacks against the assassin (which he could use for a Block or an offensive attack). His base OCV is 7; it’s 12 versus the assassin only, and only if the assassin attacks Mace instead of him.

WATER Penalties for fighting underwater or in water are described on page 379 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. The GM may restrict maneuvers characters can use in such circumstances; kicks, for example, are often harder or impossible.

HIT LOCATIONS Some HERO System GMs dislike Killing Damage weapons in their campaigns because they don’t put victims down with even the spotty regularity of real-world weapons. That’s a fair criticism. The HERO System was written and developed to simulate heroic action. That means characters can take a lot of damage and keep going. A GM can use the Disabling/Impairing rules to get around this, but those rules are a little complicated. But it’s easy to institute a simpler fix. If you want Killing Damage weapons to do more damage, but don’t want to use the Disabling/Impairing rules, or (worse) have to change all the damage dice for weapons, try this simple tactic instead: double the BODYx Column of the Hit Location Chart for Killing Damage attacks. With this approach, the Head and Vital locations have a BODYx multiple of x4, instead of x2, with Killing Damage only (Normal Damage would still use x2). Hands, Arms, Legs and Feet would be x1 instead of x½, and Shoulders, Chest, Stomach, and Thighs would be x2 instead of x1. This makes Killing Damage weapons much more fearsome, but you don’t have to fiddle with the damages listed for weapons in all Hero Games rulebooks and supplements. This approach is not recommended for martial arts-oriented campaigns, but it is appropriate for gritty, “realistic” campaigns in which martial arts sometimes appear.

IGNORING OPPONENTS In the HERO System, it’s possible to run right past and ignore an opponent standing in your way, even if he’s delaying to hit you, and you won’t suffer any sort of penalty. But that’s inappropriate for many martial arts campaigns. The following optional rule corrects this problem: If one character moves right past (i.e., through the same or an adjacent hex) a foe using a Held Action to strike at him, the moving character has

only ½ his DCV against the attack. If the character moves right up to the fellow waiting to attack him and stops there, or moves past in a Move Through and attacks him, he keeps his normal DCV. After moving up to that hex and performing a maneuver (Strike, Block, Dodge, anything) the character can continue on during his next Phase and suffers no DCV penalty... but he must spend at least one Phase in conflict with his enemy or he suffers the penalty.

INTERPOSING In the HERO System, it’s very difficult to defend someone else. You can attack whomever is attacking him. Using the Block rules on page 142, you can even Block some attacks made against him. You can Dive for Cover in front of damage coming at him, but that’s a desperation move: you’ll automatically take the damage he would have taken. If you want to have a more aggressive (but dangerous) way to defend someone, you can use this optional rule (for Hand-To-Hand Combat only). These rules are complicated and not particularly intuitive, so only GMs who have felt a particular need for more “defend-someone-else” options should introduce them into their campaigns. To Interpose himself into a fight, a character moves in between the attacker and the person he wants to defend. Then he tells the GM what sort of a DCV penalty he wants to take. Every -1 he takes to his DCV is a +1 to his OCV if the attacker again attacks the person he’s defending. The attacker knows this; he can tell what the character’s doing and the potential consequences. The DCV penalty and OCV bonus apply only against that one attacker; against all others, the character has his usual OCV and DCV. A character who doesn’t want to be defended can cancel the Interpose attempt by moving 1” in the direction of his attacker or otherwise declaring that he chooses not to be defended. If the Interposing character is aware of the decision, the Interposing effects go away; he gets his full DCV back. If the Interposing character is not aware of the decision, his DCV stays reduced... but he does not get an OCV bonus if the other fellow attacks the person the character thinks he’s defending. A character can Interpose to protect a doorway or window, to keep someone from getting through it. If the attacking character tries to get past him, the interposing character gets his OCV bonus.

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KNOCKBACK AND MARTIAL ARTS Increasing Knockback In some source material, such as Japanese animation, martial arts attacks often do tremendous amounts of Knockback — much more than characters normally do with the regular HERO System rules, which restrict the amount of Knockback from martial arts attacks. If you want more free-wheeling combat in your campaign, with lots of Knockback from martial arts attack, you have several options. First, you can have characters roll the standard 2d6, rather than the 3d6 dictated by the regular rules, to determine Knockback from Martial Maneuvers (or even 1d6). Second, you can encourage characters to add the Double Knockback Advantage to their Martial Maneuvers (see page 104) (perhaps even allowing characters to purchase Double Knockback on their STR and apply it to all of their Martial Maneuvers). Lastly, you can work with a player to decide that a particular maneuver always does a set amount of Knockback (no roll necessary). This “free Knockback” usually shouldn’t exceed 3-5”, but it’s up to each GM to determine what’s appropriate and balanced for his campaign.

Decreasing Knockback Conversely, sometimes a character wants to make sure he doesn’t do any Knockback — such as when he’s using a sequence attack (see below), or when he doesn’t want to risk knocking his enemy off of a bridge and into the river, where he can escape. As an optional rule, characters in this situation can “pull” their Knockback, similar to Pulling A Punch. The character takes a flat -2 penalty to his OCV, and if his attack hits, it does no Knockback at all.

Pushback Pushback is a character’s ability to shove an opponent away from him. In some cases he does this to put some space between himself and his foe, but sometimes it has other advantages (such as slamming an opponent into a wall or knocking him off a roof). To use Pushback, a player trades damage for the possibility of doing

161 additional Knockback. The player declares his desire to have his character make a Pushback attack instead of a regular attack. If the attack hits, the player decides how much damage to trade off. For every 1 DC sacrificed, the attack does +2 BODY solely for purposes of calculating Knockback. Visually, the character may use an attack to “throw” an opponent away from him, or project ch’i into an enemy to force him away. Example: Two karateka, Maeda and Egami, are fighting on a bridge over a deep gorge. Maeda Throws Egami, injuring him and putting him near the edge of the bridge. Egami decides to fake


The Ultimate Martial Artist a serious injury rather than get to his feet and risk being knocked off of the bridge by Maeda’s next attack. He makes his Acting roll by 3; Maeda misses his PER Roll and falls into Egami’s trap. Maeda leaps at Egami, planning to knock him off the edge. Egami tries a Pushback attack to move Maeda far enough away from him that he can get up and move away from the edge before Maeda’s next attack. He uses his 10d6 side kick and decides to sacrifice 5 DC for +10 BODY for Knockback purposes. He hits Maeda and rolls 5d6 for damage: 17 STUN and 5 BODY. For purposes of Knockback, this means 15 BODY. The Knockback roll comes up 9, and Maeda goes flying back 6”. The GM explains that Egami got his foot in the pit of Maeda’s stomach and shoved him away. Unfortunately for Maeda, the bridge is only 4” wide.... GMs should only adopt this rule if it’s appropriate and useful in the campaign. In some games it may have the effect of making the Shove maneuver and the Double Knockback Advantage effectively useless.

MYSTERY DAMAGE This is an option which only works for GMs who are willing to keep track of more details in combat. It is not recommended for any GM unless he likes being the one to keep track of character damage, or has a special reason in a one-shot game to keep his players off-balance. In real life, a person cannot take an injury and know “Ah-ha, I’ve taken 4 BODY, it hurts but I’m not in any danger yet.” He just knows he’s hurt; he may have some vague idea of the wound’s severity, but can have no confidence in his ability to shrug off the injury. If you want to simulate this in the game, the GM himself must keep track of all BODY damage done by Killing Attacks; he can let the players keep track of their own STUN damage from Killing Attacks, and of STUN and BODY damage from Normal Damage attacks. He’ll have to know how much BODY the characters start with, and their Resistant Defenses (and what parts of the body they protect). He must make sure the players tell him about any BODY their characters take from Normal Damage attacks, and must record that BODY with the Killing Damage they’re taking. MYSTERY DAMAGE WITHOUT HIT LOCATIONS Whenever an NPC hits a PC with a Killing Attack, the GM rolls the damage, rolls the STUN Multiplier, and announces something like this: “Ed, he’s stabbed you in the chest, right below the ribs. It hurts a lot: take 12 STUN.” Now, Ed knows only that it “hurts a lot” from the STUN total he took; he doesn’t know how bad the injury is. He doesn’t know if the GM rolled 3 BODY and a 4x STUN Multiplier; perhaps it was 6 BODY and a 2x STUN Multiplier; maybe it was 2 BODY and a 6x STUN Multiplier (from the Increased STUN Multiplier Advantage) or even 12 BODY and a 1x

STUN Multiplier. To get an idea of how bad the wound is, he must use a Half Phase Action to look at it. At that point, the GM should say nothing more than: “It looks shallow,” or “It looks deep but you’ve had worse,” or “It’s deep and nasty-looking.” Thus, characters won’t know when they’re mortally wounded, though the GM can tell them how they’re bleeding like stuck pigs and swiftly growing weaker and weaker. MYSTERY DAMAGE WITH HIT LOCATIONS When you use Hit Locations in your game, mystery damage becomes a bit more complicated. A character who’s stabbed in the stomach and takes 12 STUN automatically knows he took 3 BODY. Therefore, in campaigns using Hit Locations, you have to do things a little differently. In this sort of campaign, you don’t just use the STUNx column from the Hit Location chart. You use that column, but also make two quick rolls. The 1d6 roll is for subtract/add: a 1-3 means subtract, and a 46 means add. The 2d6 roll is how much STUN to add or subtract to the STUN done by the attack. Example: Sonoda Toshio is hit in the Chest for 8 BODY. That 8 BODY to the Chest normally does 24 STUN. The GM now rolls 1d6 and gets a 1: Subtract. He rolls 2d6 and rolls a 7. He takes the 24 STUN, subtracts 7, and gets 17. He tells the player, “You’ve been hit in the chest; take 17 STUN.” The player has no way of knowing how that amount was reached; it isn’t possible for him to calculate how much damage he took. Alternately, the GM can simply keep track of the STUN of the attack, along with the BODY.

SEQUENCE ATTACKS A sequence attack (also known as a pattern attack) is an attack built up over several Phases to gain an advantage over an opponent in the end. Visually, a sequence attack usually requires the attacker to make several feints or attacks whose main purpose is to force the target into a disadvantageous position for the final blow — setting the enemy up for the kill, in other words. Characters can use two types of sequence attacks: unstructured and structured. The GM should decide which of these two types of sequence attacks to allow in his campaign, if any. Although sequence attacks are intended primarily for HandTo-Hand Combat, in some situations it might be possible to use them with Ranged Combat (for example, deliberately missing someone with three shots to force him into an open area where he has no cover to hide behind). UNSTRUCTURED SEQUENCE ATTACKS In an unstructured sequence attack, the attacker does not have to specify in advance which maneuvers he’ll use against his target — in fact, maneuvers aren’t really used at all. To begin an unstructured sequence attack, the character declares the length (in Phases) of the sequence he intends to attempt. An unstructured sequence attack can be of any length,

Hero Games but tends to have a practical limit of three to five Phases. To execute the sequence, the character makes an attack against his target in each Phase of the sequence. He makes this attack against the target’s base DCV (DCV as derived from DEX, without any maneuver modifiers or Combat Skill Levels). The attacker may use any Combat Skill Levels he has with Hand-To-Hand Combat or with a martial arts style; he may not use Levels which only apply to one or two specific maneuvers. A hit does no damage — it doesn’t actually contact the target at all, it simply indicates the target was moved into position for the next part of the sequence. For the unstructured sequence attack to succeed, the character has to “hit” his target during each Phase of the sequence. If he stops the sequence at any time, if he misses even one of the attacks, or if he takes Knockback/Knockdown, is Stunned, or is Knocked Out, the sequence is disrupted and ruined. (However, if he takes damage without being knocked back, Stunned, or Knocked Out, the sequence is not disrupted — sometimes a fighter deliberately subjects himself to punishment to deliver a truly telling blow against his enemy.) The character realizes the benefits of making a sequence attack in the first Phase after the sequence ends. That benefit is: for every Phase of the sequence, the attacker may add +1 to his OCV or +1 DC to the damage he does to the target. The attacker must pick one option or the other; he cannot, for example, use half of his Phases for an OCV bonus and half for a damage bonus. Thus, a sequence attack offers the attacker the chance to set a superior fighter up for a devastating blow. STRUCTURED SEQUENCE ATTACKS Structured sequence attacks are similar to unstructured sequence attacks, with a few important differences. First, the attacker must specify in advance which maneuvers he will use in each of the Phases of his attack. Each maneuver must be offensive in nature, whether it’s a Strike, Throw, Disarm, Bind, or what have you — no Dodges, Blocks, or other primarily defensive maneuvers allowed. All normal modifiers apply, and the attack is made against the target’s DCV as modified by maneuvers, levels, and the like. Second, if the attacks made during a structured sequence attack hit, the target does take damage, but only half damage. Third, after the attacker successfully completes the sequence, he gains a bonus of +1 OCV or +1 DC damage per Phase of the sequence, and he may divide his bonuses between OCV and damage as he pleases. DETECTING AND DEFENDING AGAINST SEQUENCE ATTACKS One of the reasons sequence attacks are so difficult is that they’re relatively easy to detect and avoid. To detect a sequence attack (of either type), the target can make a roll against any of the following Skills: Tactics, KS: Analyze Style, KS: [attacker’s specific martial arts style]. If the target does not have

163 any of these Skills, the GM may at his option allow the character to make a PER Roll at -4. Regardless of which Skill the target usea, the attacker may attempt an Acting or Sleight Of Hand roll to make his sequence attack harder to detect; for every 2 points he makes the roll by, he imposes a -1 to the target’s roll. A character can avoid a sequence attack in many ways. The first is to not get hit — if the target can block or dodge even one of the sequence’s blows, the whole sequence falls apart. Second, he can Stun, Knock Out, or do Knockback to his attacker, or hit him with a maneuver that ruins the sequence (such as a Martial Grab). Third, he can simply move far enough away from his attacker to force him to make a full move to catch up — this is enough to break up the sequence, since the attacker has to forego an attack to follow his quarry. Fourth, the GM might rule that some Surprise Moves (HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 381) disrupt the sequence because they startle the attacker. SEQUENCE ATTACKS BETWEEN PLAYER CHARACTERS It’s even more difficult for a PC to use a sequence attack on another PC, because it’s virtually impossible to hide the fact that the character is using a sequence attack. Once the other player realizes what’s going on, he can easily have his character disrupt the sequence. The only way for a PC to use a sequence attack on another PC without giving himself away is to enlist the help of the GM. Usually this is done in advance, but it can also be done by passing the GM a note or speaking with him privately. The player should inform the GM of what he wants to do, and the GM helps him by maintaining a deceptive front. This requires a high level of player and GM cooperation, and may require the player to give false readings of his die rolls in some cases (for example, in an unstructured sequence attack, telling the other player that an attack made against his character just missed, while secretly signalling the GM that the attack hit for purposes of maintaining the sequence).

UNSTRUCTURED SEQUENCE ATTACK EXAMPLE Inohara Mitsuo and Sotomura Takuji, two karateka, fight one another for the hand of the beautiful Princess Miyoko. Inohara, the younger and less experienced fighter, is DEX 20, SPD 4. Sotomura is DEX 23, SPD 4, and does an average of 2 DC more damage per maneuver than Inohara. After the first two Phases of combat, Inohara knows his chances to defeat Sotomura in a straightforward battle are slim. Desperate to win the hand of the Princess, he decides to risk all on an unstructured sequence attack 4 Phases long. The sequence begins in Phase 6. Sotomura attacks and does 22 STUN, 6 BODY to Inohara, no Knockback. The young warrior (PD 12, CON 19, STUN 38) shrugs off the pain and begins his sequence attack. He puts all of his Levels into OCV, giving him a total OCV of 10. Sotomura’s base DCV is 8, so Inohara needs a 13to hit him. He rolls an 11, and his first feint succeeds. (Note that Sotomura takes no damage.) In Phase 9, Sotomura attempts a Knifehand Strike and misses. Inohara counters with a Spin Kick. He keeps his levels in OCV and rolls a 13, barely succeeding and forcing Sotomura further into position. In Phase 12, Sotomura punches Inohara and does 27 STUN, 9 BODY, no Knockback. Inohara is still standing, but the wear and tear are beginning to Continued on next page


The Ultimate Martial Artist Continued from last page

take their toll. He performs the third part of his sequence and rolls a 7, easily drawing Sotomura further into his trap. In Phase 3 of the next Turn, Sotomura once again tries his knifehand attack, and again misses. Inohara feints at him again, rolls a 10, and successfully completes his sequence attack. In Phase 6, Sotomura connects with his Knifehand Strike, doing 8 BODY, 24 STUN, no Knockback. Inohara is on the ropes, but now he has Sotomura right where he wants him. He chooses to add +4d6 to his normal 6d6 attack, puts all of his Levels into OCV, and launches a side kick. Sotomura’s DCV is currently 10, Inohara’s OCV is 8. He rolls an 8 and connects! He rolls 43 STUN, 11 BODY, and 2” Knockback, Stunning Sotomura and knocking him out of the ring. The Princess is his at last!

STRUCTURED SEQUENCE ATTACK EXAMPLE In the example given above, suppose that Inohara had declared a structured sequence attack using these maneuvers: Punch, Punch, Knifehand Strike, and Spin Kick. His attacks are made against Sotomura’s regular DCV (his base of 8, plus any levels or maneuver modifiers available). Each hit damages Sotomura, but he only takes half damage. At the end, after each attack hits, Inohara gets a bonus of +4, which he may split

WEAPON LENGTHS This optional rule is for use in Heroic games; Superheroic campaigns don’t need to worry about it. Gamemasters of Heroic campaigns do not need to include it if they find it inconvenient. All weapons in the Martial Arts Weapons section are listed as Short, Medium, and Long for convenient reference when you use this rule.

Weapon Ranges A Short or Medium weapon (including unarmed combat) can strike targets in the character’s own hex or in adjacent hexes. Long weapons have ranges of 1” or 2”. A weapon with a 1” range can strike characters in adjacent hexes or 1” further than that. A weapon with a 2” range can strike characters in adjacent hexes or up to 2” further than that.

OCV Penalties Unarmed combatants and wielders of Short weapons are at a disadvantage when fighting opponents with Long weapons. When a character with a Short weapon (including unarmed characters) fights a target with a Medium weapon, the character is at 1 OCV. When he fights a target with a Long weapon, he is at -2 OCV. When a character with a Medium weapon fights a target with a Long weapon, the character is at -1 OCV. The character with the longer weapon doesn’t get a bonus to OCV. Now, this OCV penalty only lasts as long as it takes the character with the shorter weapon to hit the target with the longer weapon. As soon as he’s hit the target, it means he’s gotten inside his target’s range, and the situation reverses. The target with the longer weapon now has an OCV penalty identical to the penalty the character previously had. To get rid of the penalty, he has to back up 1” to get his range back, or has to hit his foe in spite of the OCV penalty (that means he has once again thrown his foe back to his preferred fighting range). Now, when a character has a weapon the same length as his foe’s (for example, if both have polearm Long Weapons), but decides to make an unarmed attack (for instance, kicking his opponent), he does not suffer the OCV penalty; because he has a weapon of length similar to his foe’s, he fights at no range disadvantage.

Shields And Longer Weapons A shield constitutes a Short weapon when used to attack a target (i.e., a shield-bash attack). Therefore, a character trying to shield-bash a target holding a spear suffers a -2 OCV. However, the shield does not suffer an OCV penalty when its bearer chooses a Block maneuver, regardless of the length of the weapon being Blocked. A shield blocks a dagger, a sword, a battle axe, and a pike with the same OCV.

Weapon Lengths And Enclosed Space Long weapons aren’t much good when you’re fighting in a space the size of a telephone booth, and this optional rule simulates that fact. The accompanying table lists a variety of different fighting environments and their effects on different types of weapons.

WOUNDS Targeting Injured Areas Sometimes a character wants to target an opponent’s existing injuries or infirmities as a way of weakening, disabling, or torturing him. This isn’t always very heroic, of course — but then again, not all characters are heroes. For purposes of these rules, an injury or wound is defined as any point on the body where a character has taken BODY damage, regardless of the type of attack used to inflict that damage or whether the area is visibly injured. Cuts and stab wounds from swords and knives, claw wounds from animals, bullet wounds, and the like are all “injuries.” Targeting an existing injury can be easy or difficult, depending on the size of the wound. A large wound (for example, a long cut from a sword) imposes a -4 to -5 OCV modifier. A medium-sized

Hero Games wound (for example, claw wounds from a tiger) imposes a -5 to -7 OCV modifier. A small wound (for example, a stab wound or a bullet wound) imposes a -7 to -12 OCV modifier. These modifiers take the place of the Hit Location modifiers normally used for Placed Shots (in effect the wound becomes a separate target). Hitting a wound or injured area has several painful effects. The first hit to an existing wound is so painful that negative damage modifiers (such as x½) for STUN and BODY for the location of the wound are ignored. The victim takes full damage, calculated with any positive modifiers (such as x1½ or x2). The second hit to an existing injury has the same effect as the first hit, plus it Impairs the area (the GM should roll the Impairment Time normally). The third and any subsequent hits to an existing injury have the same effect as the second hit, plus the BODY damage done by the attack is Penetrating. (At the GM’s option, the attack may instead automatically be Disabling.)

Twisting The Blade A favorite trick of many villains (and a few vengeful heroes) is to stick a weapon into an enemy and then twist the blade, causing intense pain and a worse wound. To do this in HERO System combat, the attacking character must declare his intention to twist the blade before he makes the initial attack; furthermore, characters can only perform this maneuver with Short or Medium length weapons. The attack is at -3 OCV (to reflect both the difficulty of impaling someone this way and certain game balance considerations), and must do BODY damage to the target. If the target takes Knockback, the attempt automatically fails. If the attack succeeds, does BODY, and does no Knockback, and the target cannot escape (see below), then in his next Phase the attacker may twist the blade in the wound, doing half of the weapon’s base damage (i.e., damage without STR or Damage




Short Weapon

Medium Weapon

Long Weapon






Phone Booth





Narrow Hallway (3’ wide)



Room Crowded w/Furniture




Doorway (3’ wide)




Room w/ Low Ceiling (6’)


—: Combat abilities are unaffected. n/p: Use of this weapon is not possible.

Classes added to it), against which the target gets no defenses at all. Twisting the blade in this way is a Half Phase Action (but may only be performed once per Phase), so the character can make another attack, if possible. Example: Isamu (CV 7) and Takeshi (CV 6), two kenjutsuka, hate each other bitterly. They begin to duel with katanas. Isamu decides he will try to hit Takeshi and then twist the blade, to make Takeshi suffer. Isamu uses a Lightning Stroke; his OCV is 7 (base of 7, +2 for the maneuver, +1 for the weapon, -3 for the attempt to impale). He rolls a 9 and hits. The weapon does a base 1½d6 HKA, and Isamu is STR 10, so the attack does 2d6+1 HKA total. He rolls 8 for damage, penetrating Takeshi’s 4 PD Armor and doing 4 BODY. The Hit Location Roll says Takeshi was struck in the stomach, so he takes 32 STUN against his defenses. Isamu’s katana is now stuck in Takeshi’s body. Takeshi decides he’d better get off of Isamu’s katana before he’s hurt worse. He decides to try a DEX Roll at -4 (-1 per BODY taken), and fails miserably. Because of his failure, he takes half of the weapon’s base damage, with no defense. Isamu rolls ½d6+1 for damage, for a total of 3 BODY and 12 STUN, which Takeshi takes all of (he gets no defense). In Isamu’s next Phase, he twists the blade, doing 3 more BODY and 12 STUN. Takeshi is unconscious and bleeding to death. The victim of this sort of attack can escape having the blade twisted in several ways. First, he can Knock Out, Stun, or kill his attacker with an attack of his own. Because the attacker has to get extremely close to the target to try an attack of this sort, he is at -2 DCV against attacks the target makes against him. Second, he can use a Full Phase Action to try to move off of the weapon without injuring himself. This requires the target to step away from his attacker and make a DEX Roll at -1 per BODY taken from the initial attack. If the DEX Roll succeeds, the target extracts the blade without sustaining further injury. If the roll fails, the target takes damage just as if the attacker had twisted

WEAPON LENGTH EXAMPLE Harry Cho fights Nakagawa Shiro. Cho is unarmed (corresponding to a Short weapon); Nakagawa is using the kwan dao, a polearm (a Long Weapon). Cho is at a -2 OCV penalty to hit Nakagawa. On his first Phase of combat, he fails to hit Nakagawa; he’s kept back at the range of the kwan dao. On the second Phase, he hits Nakagawa, even with the -2 OCV penalty. This means he’s gotten inside the weapon’s reach. On the third Phase, Nakagawa now has the -2 OCV penalty, while Cho isn’t penalized. Nakagawa suffers the -2 OCV until he backs up 1” or hits Cho even with the penalty.

TARGETING WOUNDS EXAMPLE The tongs hire Xiu Kwan, the lin kuei assassin, to kill a prominent shopkeeper who refused to pay them protection money. The killing is supposed to be painful to set an example. Xiu ambushes his target during the working Continued on next page


The Ultimate Martial Artist Continued from last page

day where several customers and other merchants can see him. First he throws a volley of shuriken, doing 2 BODY to the victim’s Right Leg, 1 BODY to his Chest, and 1 BODY to his Left Arm. Then he moves in to make his victim suffer. The GM rules the leg wound is small and imposes a -8 OCV modifier on Xiu. With all of his levels in OCV, Xiu targets the leg wound and hits it, causing full STUN (no x½ modifier is applied). Then, to make sure the shopkeeper won’t run away, Xiu hits the leg wound again, causing full STUN and Impairing the leg for 1 hour (GM rolls 4 on the Impairment Time Table). If he hits it a third time, the BODY damage done is Penetrating.

the blade. If the target cannot move away from his attacker (for example, if he’s been backed against a wall), then he cannot remove the blade from himself in this fashion.

ZERO GRAVITY AND MARTIAL ARTS It’s not likely to come up very often, but a martial artist could find himself in Zero-G (no gravity). This could occur in a diving plane or in a space station adventure. The effects of Zero-G on Hand-To-Hand Combat fall into four categories: OCV Penalties, DCV Penalties, Damage Penalties, and Action/ Reaction. These penalties all apply when the character is in free fall in Zero-G. If he’s braced against a surface (for instance, if he wears magnetic shoes and stands on a steel surface), they do not apply. OCV/DCV PENALTIES All side kicks, spinning kicks, and other attacks requiring the character to have his feet on the ground take a -3 OCV when performed in free fall. In some situations the GM may rule that characters cannot use these maneuvers at all. Martial arts characters are at ½ DCV when in free fall. DAMAGE PENALTIES All martial arts Strikes take a -1 DC damage penalty when performed in free fall, as they normally benefit from the character’s secure contact with the earth or momentum arising from a leap from the earth. ACTION/REACTION Combat in free fall should always use the Knockback rules, even if the campaign normally only uses Knockdown rules. You always roll Knockback in free fall with 1d6 less than normal, as if the characters are flying — which they are. You roll 2d6, not 3d6, to calculate Knockback from martial arts or Killing Damage attacks in Zero-G combat; you roll 1d6, not 2d6, to calculate Knockback from Normal Damage attacks in Zero-G. However, instead of applying Knockback just to the target, divide it between attacker and target. If an attack does 4” Knockback, then the target doesn’t sail back 4” — both attacker and target sail away from one another 2”. The amount of Knockback rolled is not the total Knockback. It’s the rate at which the characters move every Segment (just like falling). A character who takes 2” of Knockback sails back 2” that Segment, 2” the next Segment, 2” the Segment after that, and so on until he runs into something. GRAPPLING Grabbing someone negates OCV penalties for strikes and the Action/Reaction effect (when you’ve Grabbed someone and hit him, doing Knockback, neither of you goes anywhere).

PROFESSIONAL SKILL: ZEROG OPERA TIONS If a character wants to cancel Zero-G penalties, he should buy the PS: Zero-G Operations. This is a 3-point, DEX-based Professional Skill (+1 to the roll for +1 point). A character with this Skill can perform all ordinary tasks in Zero-G with none of the penalties listed above; when the task is especially difficult or complicated, he must make his PS: Zero-G Operations roll. Failure merely means he suffers the usual penalties, not that he can’t perform the tasks.

Hero Games




his section describes weapons (and other gear) appropriate for martial arts characters and campaigns. Costs for each weapon are given, so you can use them in Superheroic campaigns; for Heroic campaigns, characters don’t have to pay points for these weapons, but are subject to the listed STR Minimum (see below).

STRMin: STR Minimum. See pages 478-79 of the HERO System 5t Edition, Revised for rules. Remember to apply the rules in Adding Damage, pages 405-09, when using STR to increase the damage of a weapon bought with Advantages.

OCV: This is applied as a bonus or penalty against all attacks made with the weapon. OCV bonuses are bought as 5-point Combat Skill Levels with the OAF, Required Hands, and Real Weapon Limitations. OCV bonuses that apply only to a tight group of maneuvers (normally, the Bind, Disarm, and Takeaway maneuvers) are bought with a -½ Limitation. OCV bonuses that apply only to one type of maneuver (normally Block) are bought with a -1 Limitation. OCV penalties are a minor Side Effect (automatically occurs; -½) for the weapon.

Mass: The weight of the weapon in kilograms.

RMod: This represents a modifier to the weapon’s accuracy at Range. Positive values (bought as 3point Penalty Skill Levels versus the Range Group with the Focus and Required Hands Limitations) help to offset the standard Range Modifier; negative values (a minor Side Effect (automatically occurs; -½)) add to it. RMod can never raise a character’s base OCV, it can only negate penalties.

Cultr: The culture or nation which created the weapon. The entries in the “Master List” of weapons descriptions often contain information about equivalent weapons from other cultures.

Damage: The damage done by the weapon. Weapon damage appearing without parentheses — for instance, 1d6+1 — refers to Killing Damage (built using HKA or RKA), while weapon damage appearing in parentheses — for instance, (4d6) — refers to Normal Damage (built using EB or HA). Throwable melee weapons have the Advanted Range Based On STR (+¼). STUNx: This is the STUN Multiplier for Killing Damage weapons (a 0 means “no modification”; use the standard 1d6-1 STUN Multiplier). Apply the STUNx modifier to the STUN Multiplier roll (or to the STUNx for the Hit Location struck, if the campaign uses Hit Location rules). For example, if a character with a War Flail (STUNx +1) hit an opponent in the Head, the total STUNx would be 6.

BODY: The weapon’s BODY. DEF: The weapon’s DEF. Shots: The number of Charges a ranged weapon has (usually Recoverable Charges [RC]). Max Range: The weapon’s maximum Range in game inches (hexes). Of course, its effective range — the range over which it’s likely to hit a target — is much less, thanks to the Range Modifier. A/N/C Cost: The Active Point cost and Real Point cost of the weapon for Normal (OAF, -1) and Concealed (IAF, -½) versions.

Length: The weapon’s length — Short, Medium, or Long. See page 480 of the HERO System 5t Edition, Revised for information on how these are bought, and see page 186 of Fantasy Hero and page 164 of this book for more information on weapons lengths generally. Notes: This catch-all category includes any information not listed elsewhere; refer to the Notes And Key section after the chart for more information. Ultimate Martial Artist PDF Note: The weapons tables in this PDF have been redone to format them like the weapons tables in Fantasy Hero, and revised to take into account new rules and procedures in the HERO System 5t Edition, Revised rulebook and Fantasy Hero. Therefore they may differ in some respects from the tables in the printed Ultimate Martial Artist book; in that case, the information in this PDF supersedes the information in the printed book.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

BOWS Weapon Arrows Dragon’s Tongue Frog-Crotch Hikime Skinsplitter Willow Leaf Chu-ko-nu Hankyu Yumi, One-Man Two-Man Three-Man Four-Man Seven-Man

OCV RMod Damage STUNx 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1

+1 point +1 point (3d6) +2 points +1 point 1d6+1 1d6 1d6+1 1 ½d6 2d6 2d6+1 2 ½d6

— — — — — 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

STR Min — — — — — 10 † 7† 10 † 13 † 16 † 18 † 21 †

Max BODY DEF Mass Shots Range

A/N/C Cost



var var var var var 25/7/8 26/6/7 38/9/11 47/11/14 55/13/15 64/14/16 73/16/18

Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan China Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan

2H 2H, Conc 2H, Conc 2H, Conc 2H, Conc 2H, Conc 2H, Conc

Max A/N/C BODY DEF Mass Shots Range Cost 1 5 0.4 9 RC RBS 21/8/9 1 5 0.4 9 RBS 52/15/17 1 5 0.6 9 RC RBS 35/12/14 1 5 0.4 9 RC RBS 21/8/9 1 5 0.4 9 RC RBS 26/9/10

Cultr Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan

Notes AF5 Poison smoke AF5 AF5 AF5

A/N/C Cost


Notes See text AF5 AF5 See text NWF Ninja Weapon Conc NWF

1 1 1 1 1 5 2 2 2 2 3 3

1 1 1 1 1 4 3 3 3 3 3 3

0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 6.4 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

— — — — — 10 RC 24 RC 24 RC 24 RC 24 RC 24 RC 24 RC

— — — — — 125” 130” 175” 220” 260” 305” 350”

SHURIKEN Weapon Bo Shuriken Endokuken Large Star Small Star Tsubute

OCV RMod Damage STUNx 0 0 1d6-1 0 0 0 1d6 0 0 0 1d6+1 0 0 0 1d6-1 0 0 0 (3d6) —

STR Min 5 7 9 5 7

MISCELLANEOUS RANGED WEAPONS Weapon Arare Joarare Chuarare Koarare Comet Star Hammer Dropped Marbles Fukimi-bari Fukiya Grenade, Smoke Iron Mandarin Duck Kapak Metsubishi Grenade Blown powder Nagedeppo Sling Bow Steel Olive Steel Toad Tetsubishi Toami Small Normal Large Wishful Steel Ball

OCV RMod Damage STUNx 0 0 0 0 — 0 0 0 0 0

0 1d6+1 0 1d6-1 0 ½d6 0 1d6+1/Ent 3d6 — See text 0 ½d6 0 1 point 0 Dkns 1” 0 ½d6 0 ½d6

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0


Max BODY DEF Mass Shots Range

— 0 -1 — 0 0

10 10 8 10 — 2† 2† — 8 6

3 2 1 4 1 1 2 2 3 3

5 5 5 5 4 2 2 2 5 4

0.8 1.3 0.9 1.6 1.2 0.03 0.2 1.0 2.0 0.6

1 RC 9 RC 9 RC 1 RC 2 RC 1 RC 8 RC 8 1 RC 1 RC


20/5/5 36/18/22 30/13/15 37/11/12 See text 10/—/2 5/½ 10/¾ 10/2/3 10/2/3

Japan Japan Japan China Japan Japan Japan Japan China Indon

Flash 2d6 Flash 2d6 1d6 1d6 ½d6 ½d6 1d6

— — 0 0 0 0 0

— — 4 9† 6 6 —

2 1 2 2 1 3 1

2 — 2 3 5 5 5

1.0 0.01 1.0 0.9 1.3 1.8 0.8

8 1 9 12 RC 12 RC 1 RC 2 RC


12/4/5 10/2/2 22/7/9 19/4/5 12/4/5 10/2/3 45/17/21

Japan Japan Japan China China China Japan

Ent 4d6 Ent 4d6 Ent 4d6 1 point

— — — 0

1 1 1 3

3 4 5 1

2 2 2 5

2.0 3.0 4.0 1.3

1 RC 1 RC 1 RC 12 RC


50/13/15 70/19/21 90/24/28 6/2/3

Japan Japan Japan China

AE1, NWF 2H, Conc

NWF, see text See text See text See text

Hero Games


HAND-TO-HAND WEAPONS TABLE Weapon OCV Axes and Maces Axe, Chinese 0 Copper Hammer 0 Hand Mace 0 Soft Hammer 0



Mass A/N/C Cost Length Cultr


1d6 1d6+1 1d6 1 ½d6

0 0 0 0

11 10 11 15

6 5 5 4

4 4 5 4

1.4 1.3 1.6 1.5

26/9/11 30/11/13 22/8/10 46/15/18


China Thr China China China

3 3 3 3 5

4 3 4 5 5

0.4 0.9 0.7 0.8 1.1

22/8/10 44/13/15 27/9/12 30/11/13 40/14/17


Indon Japan Thr, 1½H India +1 OCV w/ Block China Euro +6 DEF on Hand; 1

Blades Arit Bokken Bundi Butterfly Sword Cutlass Blade Hilt Cymbal Darn Do Epee Foil Hook Sword

0 0 0 0

1d6 (5d6) 1d6 1d6+1

0 — 0 0

11 10 10 10

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1d6 (3d6) 1d6 1d6+1 (2d6) (1d6) 1d6+1

0 — 0 0 — — 0

10 10 10 12 7 5 13

2 5 3 3 5

5 5 5 5 5

0.6 1.1 0.7 0.5 1.2

26/9/11 30/11/13 15/5/5 7/2/3 58/19/21


Jien Katana Knuck-Knife

0 +1 0

1d6 1 ½d6 ½d6

0 0 0

10 12 7

5 5 3

5 5 5

1.2 1.5 1.0

22/8/10 49/17/21 33/9/11


Ko-Gatana Kris Knife Normal Sword Kukri Main-Gauche Using Blade Using Hilt










China Thr China Euro Euro China +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway; +6 DEF on Hand on Act 11-; 2 China Japan Thr, 1½H USA +6 DEF on Hand on Act 11-; 2 Japan Thr

0 0 0 0

½d6 1d6 1d6+1 1d6

0 0 0 0

7 11 15 10

3 4 5 3 3

5 5 5 5 5

0.8 1.0 1.6 0.8 0.8

15/5/7 22/8/10 30/10/12 26/9/11 46/16/20


Indon Indon Indon India Thr Euro +6 DEF on Hand; 1

0 0

1d6-1 (2d6)

0 —

7 7


The Ultimate Martial Artist

HAND-TO-HAND WEAPONS TABLE Weapon OCV Navaja 0 Nine-Ring Sword 0

Damage STUNx STR Min BODY ½d6 0 5 2 1d6+1 0 12 5

DEF 4 5

Mass A/N/C Cost Length Cultr Notes 0.4 15/6/7 S Euro 1.1 35/13/16 M China +1 OCV with Disarm, Takeaway 1.6 44/28/36 M Japan Thr, 1½H; Ninja Weapon, see text 3.5 52/15/17 L Japan 2H 1.1 35/13/15 M Indon Thr 1.2 26/9/11 M Indon Thr 0.4 7/3/3 S Euro 1.0 27/10/12 M Euro



1 ½d6





No-Daichi Parang Pedang Puňal Rapier Razor, Straight Large Small Sabre Schlaeger Shinai Spread-TheWater Knife Tanto Tetsu-To Tjaluk Urumi Wakizashi Yoroi-Toshi

0 0 0 0 +1

2d6 1d6+1 1d6 1 point 1d6

0 0 0 0 0

17 10 10 5 10

7 5 5 2 5

5 5 5 4 5

0 0 0 0 0

1d6 ½d6 1d6 1d6 (2d6)

-1 -1 0 0 —

7 5 10 10 5

2 1 5 5 3

4 4 5 5 4

0.2 0.1 1.1 1.1 0.8

22/7/8 15/5/6 22/8/10 22/8/10 15/5/6


Var RP Var RP Euro Euro Japan 1½H

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1d6 1d6-1 2 ½d6 ½d6 1d6 1d6 1d6-1 AP

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

10 6 20 8 12 8 6

4 3 8 3 4 3 3

4 5 5 5 5 5 5

1.2 0.8 4.0 0.9 1.4 1.1 0.8

22/8/10 21/8/9 60/17/20 15/5/7 See text 26/9/11 24/9/11


China Japan Japan Indon India Japan Japan








Japan Thr, 2H




See text


Japan Thr, 2H, Ninja Weapon; see Kama, Kusari

3 4

5 5

1.0 1.4

26/7/8 29/13/15


Japan Thr, 2H, Ninja Weapon Indon

Chain and Rope Weapons Kusari 0 Kusarigama or Kyogetsu Shoge Manriki-Gusari or Kusari-fundo Rante Chain Blade




0 0

(3d6) ½d6

— 0

5 5

Thr 1½H May be up AF (4 shots) Thr

Hero Games


HAND-TO-HAND WEAPONS TABLE Weapon OCV Damage STUNx STR Min BODY Clubs (Do Not Require Weapon Familiarity) Chakar 0 (6d6) 20 6 3 Gada 0 (5d6) — 13 5 Hanbo 0 (3d6) — 7 4 Jo 0 (3d6) — 9 4 Makila 3 Stick 0 (3d6) 8 Spike 0 1d6 8


Mass A/N/C Cost Length Cultr

3.9 45/11/12 M 3 1.8 37/10/11 3 1.1 22/7/8 3 1.2 22/7/8 3 1.0 22/10/12


India 2H M India 2H M Japan M Japan M Euro

Fist-Loads (Do Not Require Weapon Familiarity) Ashiko 0 ½d6 0







Brass Knuckles











+1 point







Fist-Load Nekote Ring Needle Shuko

0 0 0 0

(2d6) 1 point ½d6 1d6-1

— 0 0 0

3 3 5 5

1 2 1 3

3 5 4 4

0.2 0.2 0.2 1.0

15/5/6 7/3/3 17/7/8 20/8/10






4 5

4 4

1.6 2.1

22/7/8 37/15/17


Indon 2H China 2H

0 0

1d6+1 (3d6)

0 —

12 12 5





China 2H

0 0

1d6+1 (3d6)

0 —

12 12 5





China 2H, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm






Japan 2H






China 2H, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm






China 2H






China 2H






China 2H






Japan 2H






Japan 2H, Thr, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway

Polearms Arbir Chai-Dao Blade Shaft Chiang Blade Shaft Ghi

Blade 0 Shaft 0 Naginata Blade 0 Shaft 0 Nine-Dragon Trident

1d6+1 (4d6)

0 —

13 13

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

15 15

Blade Shaft Tai-Dao/Kwan Dao Blade Shaft Tiger Fork Blade Shaft Wolf ’s Teeth Staff Blade Shaft Yari Blade Shaft Yari (Kamayari)

0 0

1d6+1 (4d6)

0 —

13 13

0 0

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

18 18

0 0

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

15 15

0 0

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

15 15

0 0

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

14 14

Blade Shaft

0 0

1 ½d6 (4d6)

0 —

17 17

Japan +1 Climbing, Ninja Weapon; 3 Var +6 DEF on Hand on Act 11-; 2 Greek Adds 1-point KA to Punch, +4 DEF on Hand Var Japan Ninja Weapon China Thr Japan +1 Climbing, Ninja Weapon; 3


The Ultimate Martial Artist

HAND-TO-HAND WEAPONS TABLE Weapon OCV Miscellaneous Weapons Bo (Staff ) +1 Bunot-Page 0 Chain Sword 0 Chain Whip 0 Fang Blade/Point 0 Rod — Flying Claw 0 Flying Guillotine -1 Fo 0 Garrotte Strangling 0 Wire 0 Lajatang 0 Kama 0 Kanzashi 0 Kiseru 0 Mourn Staff 0 Nunchaku 0 Pendjepit 0

Damage STUNx STR Min BODY (4d6) 1 pip 1d6 1d6

— — 0 0

8 8 10 8

½d6 (2d6) 1d6 1d6 (2d6)

0 — 0 0 0

(3d6) ½d6 1d6+1 1d6 ½d6 (2d6) 1 ½d6 (3d6) ½d6

0 0 0

Sai — Karate Weapon Cinematic 0


Mass A/N/C Cost Length Cultr


4 2 3 3 3

3 2 5 5 5

1.0 0.5 1.1 1.1 1.3

42/13/16 7/2/3 22/8/10 29/10/12 15/7/9


Japan 2H, Karate Weapon Phil Poisoned (see text) China China China

8 8 10 10 5

3 3 2

4 4 3

1.0 1.0 0.4

37/15/19 37/12/15 15/5/6

L2 L2 M

China China 2H, aimed at extremities Euro

— 0 0 0 -1 — 0 — 0

5 5 12 11 5 5 14 8 10

1 1 3 3 2 2 3 3 2

1 2 4 4 3 5 4 3 4

0.1 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.2 0.6 1.1 1.0 0.7

30/7/7 20/5/5 30/11/13 26/9/11 15/5/7 15/6/7 37/13/16 22/8/10 20/7/9


Var Var Indon Japan Japan China China Japan Indon

1d6 (3d6) ½d6

0 — 0

10 8 8

2 2 2

1 4 2

0.4 0.5 0.6

22/8/10 26/9/11 30/12/16

L S L2

Indon China Thr China

















Shinobi-Zue Sword-Spear Tetsubo Three-Section Staff

0 0 +1 0

(4d6) 1d6 (6d6) (4d6)

— 0 — —

10 12 15 10

4 3 6 5

3 3 4 3

1.2 0.9 2.4 1.5

50/18/22 26/9/11 57/17/19 47/15/17

L2 M L Var

Timbe Tonfa Umebi War Fan, Basic War Fan, Edged Blunt Attack Razor Attack

0 +1 0 0

½d6 (3d6) 1 ½d6 (3d6)

0 — 0 —

10 7 — 6

2 3 2 2 2

3 3 2 3 3

0.6 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.7

17/6/7 27/10/13 44/—/12 32/11/14 32/13/16


Japan Thr, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway Japan Thr, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway Japan 2H, Ninja Weapon China Thr Japan 2H China 2H, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway Japan Thr Japan Karate Weapon Japan AE1, Trigger (stepped on) Japan +2 OCV w/Block Japan +2 OCV w/Block

0 0

(3d6) ½d6

— 0

6 6


















Petjat Rings Rope Dart


Wind/Fire Wheels Saw-Blade Traditional

2H, see text 2H, see text Thr, Karate Weapon Ninja Weapon

Karate Weapon +1 with Grab, Grab Weapon, Takeaway

China Thr, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway China Thr, +2 OCV w/Bind, Block, Disarm, Takeaway

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NOTES AND KEY Notes All the weapons above are built as follows: 1. This weapon has an additional Power: Armor (6 PD/6 ED) (18 Active Points); Only Protects Location 6 (i.e., the hand holding the weapon) (-2), OAF (-1) for normal form or IAF (-½) for concealed form. Cost: 4 points (normal form) or 5 points (concealed form). This cost is added to the weapon cost. 2. This weapon has an additional Power: Armor (6 PD/6 ED) (18 Active Points); Only Protects Location 6 (i.e., the hand holding the weapon) (-2), Activation Roll 11- (-1), OAF (-1) for normal form or IAF (-½) for concealed form. Cost: 4 points (normal or concealed form). This cost is added to the weapon cost. 3. This weapon is built with an additional Power: +1 to Climbing Rolls (2 Active Points); OAF (-1) or IAF (-½). Cost: 1 point (either form). This cost is added to the cost of the weapon. See page 478 of the HERO System 5t Edition, Revised for more information on building weapons.


MASTER LIST OF WEAPONS To see which weapons require which Weapon Familiarities, refer to the Weapon Familiarity Table on page 76 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. Arare: “Hailstones,” a Japanese missile weapon in the form of a spiked ball. It came in three sizes: joarare (large, thrown one at a time); chuarare (medium, thrown like shuriken, could be used as tetsubishi as well [see below]); and koarare (similar to chuarare, but smaller). Cost Power 16 Chuarare: Multipower, 36-point reserve, 9 Recoverable Charges (+¼) for entire Multipower; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Thrown: RKA 1d6-1, Autofire (5 shots; +½); OAF (-1), Range Based On STR (-¼) 1u 2) Dropped: RKA 1d6-1, Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (removable by spending a Full Phase to sweep them aside; +½); OAF (-1), Activation Roll 14- (-½), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼), Only Affects Characters Moving On The Ground (-¼), DEX Roll Cancels Effect (-¼), Automatically Targets Hit Location 18 (-0)

†: STR Minimum Doesn’t Add Damage (a -½ Limitation)

Total cost: 18 points (or 22 points for IAF (-½) version)

1½H: One-and-a-half-handed weapon (a -¼ Limitation)

Koarare: total cost 13 points (or 15 for IAF (-½) version)

2H: Two-handed weapon (a -½ Limitation) Act: Activation Roll AE1: Area Of Effect (One Hex) AF5: Autofire (5 shots; +½)

Joarare: Change to just RKA 1d6+1 (20 Active Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼), 1 Recoverable Charge (-1¼). Total cost: 5 points (or 5 points for IAF (-½) version)

AP: Armor Piercing Conc: Concentration (½ DCV “throughout” the loading and/or firing process; -½) Dkns: Darkness to Sight Group Ent: Entangle Euro: Europe Flash: Sight Group Flash Indon: Indonesia L: Long-length weapon (see pages 164, 167) L2: A Long-length weapon that’s 2” long M: Medium-length weapon NWF: No Weapon Familiarity required RBS: Range Based On STR RC: Recoverable Charges RP: Reduced Penetration S: Short-length weapon Thr: Weapon can be thrown (i.e., it has the Range Based On STR (+¼) Advantage)

Arbir: A polearm used in some styles of PentjakSilat. It is a 5’-long weapon consisting of a shaft, a convex chopping blade at one end, and a sharpened metal spike on the other end. It’s used two-handed to slash and stab; the pole is not generally used as a staff. Arit: The Indonesian sickle, adapted for combat. Its blade is much rounder than that of the kama. A similar weapon is the tjelurit. Arrows: The Japanese created many unusual types of arrowheads for their arrows (ya). Several of the more interesting ones are listed in the Ranged Weapons Table; they add damage to, or otherwise change the effect of, the damage caused by a standard arrow (their exact cost depends on the type of bow used; if necessary recalculate the bow’s cost with the enhanced damage). Each of these arrows is more expensive and rarer than the average arrow.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

CONCEALED AND INOBVIOUS WEAPONS Almost every weapon described in this section can be carried as a normal weapon or as a concealed weapon. It’s a tradition in martialarts films — especially ninja movies — that characters can disguise many unusual weapons as ordinary objects. Following are some examples of weapons and ways characters could disguise them: Blowgun: As a flute, or a walking stick; it can be combined with a jo or a used as a sword scabbard. Bokken, Katana, Jien, Ninja-to, No-daichi, Wakizashi: Concealed within a bo staff that acted as its sheath; about a foot and a half of the staff would actually be the hilt of the blade. Brass Knuckles: This weapon could be fashioned as the lining of a pair of gloves or as the handle of a suitcase. Cestus: This could be an ordinary-looking pair of gloves. An observer would not notice that the inner lining is Kevlar and that the first heavy blow with these make short spikes poke through the outer lining. Chain Whip, Kusari, Manriki-gusari: Easily worn as a belt. Climb line, Kusari, Manriki-gusari, Marbles, Tetsubishi: Often carried inside the hollow hilt of another weapon. Fist-Load: A fist-load can look like practically anything: a Continued on next page

The Dragon’s Tongue arrow is finelycrafted, with a slightly rounded point that penetrates armor easily. The Frog Crotch arrow is shaped roughly like a V, with a sharpened inner edge; it’s especially useful for cutting cords and similar objects.

Brass Knuckles: This classic street weapon is a ridged brass knuckle-protector which protects the striking hand, allowing the character to strike harder. Brass Knuckles also provide 6 DEF (physical and energy, on an 11- Activation Roll) to the hand wearing them. The Japanese tetsu and tekko and the Indonesian roti kalong all use these statistics. Bundi: Also known as a katar or a punch-dagger, the bundi is a broad, double-edged knife-blade set into a frame/handle grasped in the fist (thus, the wielder’s arm appears to have a blade on the end rather than a hand). Two panels of the frame/handle extend down the sides of the arms for about a foot, helping the user block an enemy’s attacks. Use the bundi’s statistics (minus the +1 OCV for Blocks) for any sort of modern punch-dagger or T-knife.

The Hikime is an arrow with a wooden ball, not an arrowhead, on the tip. It is used to stun, not kill, an opponent. The Skinsplitter is an extremely wide, heavy arrowhead. GMs should consider adding +1 to the STR Min of the Bow whenever a character uses this arrowhead. The Willow Leaf is a long, straight arrowhead which can slip easily between armor plates and the like. These are just a few of the many different types of Oriental arrowheads available; with a little research you can uncover many others. The yazuka, or standard length, of an arrow (without arrowhead) is from the top of the archer’s sternum to the tip of his middle finger. This allows him to achieve extra power, since he has to draw the bow back as far as he possibly can to shoot. Ashiko: These are climbing claws strapped onto a ninja’s feet; they are the companions to the shuko. They can become weapons when the wearer uses a kick attack. They provide a +1 to the wearer’s Climbing roll if he has the Climbing skill. The character must wear both ashiko to get the +1 to his Climbing roll.

Axe, Chinese: This weapon has a medium-length handle and a single broad blade; it’s chiefly used by southern Chinese kung fu fighters.

Bo: A 5’-6’ hardwood staff, also known as a rokushakubo (“six-foot staff ”). Use these game statistics for the Chinese staff (kuen), the Indonesian staff (toya), the Korean staff (jang bong), the Thai staff (plong), and the Okinawan oar (eiku; also known as a chizikunbo or sunakakebo). The bo is one of the principal weapons of Karate (the others are kama, nunchaku, sai, eiku, tekko, timbe and rochin, and tonfa). The kuen is one of the most famous weapon of Kung Fu; these statistics can also be used for two other Chinese weapons, the Long Rod (gunn) and Water & Fire Rod (shui for gunn). Bokken: This is a wooden practice sword shaped like a katana. It does Normal, not Killing, damage. It’s no toy or mere practice blade, though; it’s made of heavy, tough wood, unlike the shinai. Many duels in feudal Japan were fought with bokken; it is possible to kill an opponent with one.

Bunot-Page: This weapon is simply the tail of a stingray, cut from the animal and used to strike an opponent. Some Arnis/Kali/Escrima exponents fight with it. The stingray spine itself does relatively little damage — but the poison in it can kill. Usually enough poison remains in the tail for about two good hits. The effects of the poison are not included in the cost listed in the table, since it varies in amount and potency; the average poison would work roughly as follows: Stingray Poison: RKA 1d6, NND (defense is Life Support [appropriate Immunity]; +1), Does BODY (+1) (45 Active Points); Linked (to HKA; -¼), Spine HKA Must Do BODY (-½), No Range (-½), 2 Charges (-1 ½). Total cost: 12 points. Butterfly Sword: This short sword has a heavy, flat cleaver-like blade with one cutting edge. It is used by ninja and by Kung Fu practitioners, often in pairs. The Willow Leaf Knife, the Korean dan sang gum (twin short swords), and the to of Kuntao are all very similar in appearance to the butterfly sword and share the same statistics. Don’t confuse the Butterfly Sword with the balisong, a switchblade-like Filipino knife sometimes called a “butterfly knife.” Cestus: This weapon is a glove with spikes or jagged protrusions along its knuckles and back. The character using it does his normal Punch damage, and also does 1 point of Killing Damage (he cannot add to this with his STR; it always does only 1 point of Killing damage). The Cestus provides 4 DEF (physical and energy) to the hand wearing it. Cost Power 2 Cestus Spikes: HKA 1 point, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OIF (-½), Linked (to wearer’s Punch; -½), No STR Bonus (-½), Real Weapon (-¼) 3

Cestus Wrappings: Armor (4 PD/4 ED) (12 Active Points); OIF (-½), Only Protects Hand Wearing It (-2)

Total cost: 5 points (or 7 points for IIF (-¼) version).

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Chai-Dao: This Chinese polearm is also called the “Bandit’s Encampment Broadsword.” It is usually about 5’3” tall, with 2’6” of that length a wicked curved blade; the rest is haft. Traditionally, it was used in camp defense, often to chop at the legs of horses riding through. Cost Power 11 Chai-Dao: Multipower, 30-point reserve; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (12; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1d6+1 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (12; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Shaft: HA +3d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (12; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 2

Long Weapon: Stretching 1”, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OAF (1) [or IAF (-½) for concealed form], Always Direct (-¼), No Noncombat Stretching (-¼), Only To Cause Damage (-½), No Velocity Damage (-¼) (total cost for IAF (-½) version: 2 points)

Total cost: 15 points (or 17 points for IAF (-½) version). Chain Sword: This weapon, called lien tzu jen in Chinese, consisted of two sword-like blades about as long as a human forearm connected by 1-2’ of chain. Sometimes the blades can be detached for throwing (this would be bought by turning the weapon into a Multipower: one slot for the connected blades, one with two Recoverable Charges of RKA). Chain Whip: This Chinese weapon (bian) is like a whip, but its length consists of metal plates connected by chain links; it has a slashing blade at the tip. It shares a Weapon Familiarity with the normal bullwhip, but does not have that weapon’s range. This weapon’s statistics also apply to the bian tzu chiang, or Whip Spear, a 6’-plus length of chain whip with a spearhead attached at both ends.

Chakar: This unusual weapon, used by Gatka practitioners, resembles a wagon wheel with a heavy weight at the end of each spoke. To use it, the wielder spins it, building up momentum and power, and then strikes with it to cause serious crushing injuries.

175 Chiang: The Chinese spear, which comes in dozens of unusual styles (use the write-up of the Chai-Dao, above, for its game statistics). Often the spear has a red tassel tied behind its head, partly for decoration and partly to keep blood from running back down the shaft and fouling the spearman’s grip. Use these statistics for the following weapons in addition to the standard spear: mao chiang (“snake spear,” a wavy-bladed spear); the Eyebrow Spear (a spear with a crescent-shaped head); ba (“rake,” a combat rake with sharp tines); ba tou (a hoe converted to combat uses); chan (“shovel,” a term for several types of polearms with heads shaped like large coins, crescent moons, shovels, and other objects); chang (Korean spear); sodegarami (a T-shaped Japanese spear with barbs all around the end to entangle an enemy’s sleeve); tombak and tjio (two of dozens of different types of Indonesian spears); kuntham (Indian spear); kue (an Okinawan hoe used as a weapon by some Kobujutsu practitioners); thuan (Thai spear). Chu-ko-nu: This is the famous Chinese repeating crossbow. It resembles an ordinary crossbow, except that it has a box on top of it holding ten bolts. The shooter works a lever to reload the crossbow by cocking it and dropping one of the quarrels into place. The chu-ko-nu is heavier and has a shorter range than a standard crossbow, but can be fired much more quickly: the STR Min listed is the minimum to carry and hold the weapon, not to reload it, and a character can load the weapon in a half Phase and fire the weapon in a half Phase.

Comet Star Hammer: This missile weapon, called lieu shen chuai in Chinese and also known as a Shooting Star Hammer or Wolf’s Teeth Hammer, consisted of a chain linking two spiked metal balls. It was typically thrown at the legs of horses or soldiers to snare and injure them. Some versions of this weapon had only one spiked ball; the damage and other effects are the same. Cost Power 9 Comet Star Hammer: Multipower, 37-point reserve; 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 ¼) for entire reserve, all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼) 1u 1) Deadly Hammer: RKA 1d6+1; OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼) 1u 2) Snaring Hammer: Entangle 3d6, 3 DEF, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+¼); OAF (-1), No Defense (-1½), Cannot Form Barriers (-¼), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼) Total cost: 11 points (or 12 points for IAF (-½) version)

Continued from last page

statuette, a strangelyheavy telephone receiver, and so forth. Garrotte: This weapon can be an ordinarylooking (though reinforced) scarf or belt; wire garrotes can be built into the lining of clothes or into decorative hair-ribbons. Grenades, Flash and Smoke: Disguised flash and smoke grenades can look like cufflinks, marbles, pebbles, fresh fruit, juggling balls, or anything small, roundish, and inconspicuous. Hanbo: A bo could break down into twin hanbo. Kusarigama: A kama (sickle) with a chain in its hollow hilt could be instantly converted into a kusarigama. Nunchaku: A hanbo or an innocuous-looking walking cane could pull apart or unscrew into nunchaku; a bo staff could break down into two pair. Any normal-looking length of stout material, such as a tent pole, a flag staff, or a chair leg could conceal nunchaku.... Sai: One interesting prospect is that of the high-tech sai, an ordinary-looking stick which (at the press of a button) pops out the extra tines. Shuriken: Small star shuriken can be disguised as buttons, loose change, the glittering baubles sewn onto the skirt of an exotic dancer, or the dangling elements of a mobile. They and bo shuriken can also be hidden in the hollow hilt of another weapon. Continued on next page


The Ultimate Martial Artist Continued from last page

Three-section Staff: Perhaps a character could have a piece of lawn furniture break down into a pair of three-section staves. Tonfa: As any normal cane or baton, with the perpendicular handle a locking swing-out mechanism. War Fan: The best disguise for this weapon is to make it look like a normal fan, carried by some fashionable lady martial artist, and used for the normal purposes of keeping cool and flirting... until it’s time for combat to begin. Wind and Fire Wheels: Worn as the brim of a hat.

Copper Hammer: A short-hafted hammer with a large ball of copper on the striking end. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for other types of Chinese hammers (chuai), and for the ton zen (a type of mace in the shape of a 2-3’ tall solid brass statue of a man, somewhat similar in appearance to the “Oscar” statuette given to Academy Award winners). Cutlass: This is a European weapon, a short slashing blade with a heavy guard to protect the hand; fencers use it. The hand-guard provides 6 DEF to the hand holding it; the character can attack with the blade or punch with the hand-guard. The Vietnamese counterpart to this weapon is the song dao. Cost Power 8 Cutlass: Multipower, 22-point reserve, all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 0 1u 2) Hilt: HA +3d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (10; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 0 4

Protective Hilt: Armor (6 PD/6 ED); OAF (-1), Only Protects Hand Used To Hold It (-2) (or 5 points for the IAF (-½) version)

Total cost: 14 points (or 17 for the IAF (-½) version) Cymbal: This weapon is a small, hand-held cymbal with sharpened edges. Warriors can use it as a punching/slashing weapon, or throw it. This weapon’s statistics also apply to the Tooth Saber, a sort of half-cymbal that comes in two varieties: the Sun Tooth Saber, with sharp teeth along its cutting edge; and the Moon Tooth Saber, which is smooth-edged. Tooth Sabers cannot be thrown.

Darn Do: The Chinese sabre, a long, heavy, singleedged sword with a curved blade. It is also known as a dau. The Vietnamese equivalent is the ma dao. Dropped Marbles: Characters can drop these where they think targets will run. Marbles do not require a Weapon Familiarity. Dropped marbles can be bought one of three ways. The first is as a form of Telekinesis: Dropped Marbles: Telekinesis (20 STR), Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (removable by spending a Full Phase to sweep them aside; +½) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1), Activation Roll 14- (-½), Cannot Be Used To Cause Damage (-1), Only To Throw Target To Ground (-2), Only Affects Characters Moving On The Ground (-¼), DEX Roll Cancels Effect (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 2 Recoverable Charges (-1). Total cost: 12 points (or 13 points for IAF (-½) version). The drawbacks to this form of Dropped Marbles are that they cover only a small area (1” radius) and do no damage to the target when he falls. At the GM’s option, a character can buy the One Hex up to a full Area of Effect (Radius) and can buy off the Cannot Be Used To Cause Damage Limitation. The second form uses Change Environment to make it harder to remain standing in the area covered by the marbles: Dropped Marbles: Change Environment 2” radius, -5 to DEX Rolls to move through, Uncontrolled (removable by spending a Full Phase to sweep them aside; +½) (33 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only Affects Characters Moving On The Ground (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 2 Recoverable Charges (-1). Total cost: 9 points (or 11 points for IAF (-½) version). This version has the advantage of being easier to understand and adjudicate in most game situations. The third form of Dropped Marbles utilizes the “Power Advantages For Martial Arts Maneuvers” rules on page 104. Dropped Marbles: The following Advantages for Martial Throw: Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (removable by spending a Full Phase to sweep them aside; +½) (75 Active Points); OAF (-1), Activation Roll 14- (-½), Only Affects Characters Moving On The Ground (-¼), DEX Roll Cancels Effect (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 2 Recoverable Charges (-1). Total cost: 18 points (or 20 points for IAF (-½) version). The advantage to this form of Dropped Marbles is that it damages the target, and includes the target’s velocity when calculating damage, causing a fast-moving enemy to really hurt himself when he hits a patch of marbles. The drawback is that the character has to have the Martial Throw maneuver to use this weapon (unless the GM permits you to include the cost for Martial Throw with the cost of the weapon itself).

Hero Games Dropped marbles are often bought as IAFs because they’re supposed to be inconspicuous when dropped. Depending on the situation, this might not be the case. Endokuken: A type of shuriken that doesn’t just impale the target with a blade. It also emits a 1” radius cloud of poisonous smoke when it contacts its target: RKA 1d6, NND (defense is Life Support [SelfContained Breathing or appropriate Immunity]; +1), Does BODY (+1), Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½) (52 Active Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (10; -½), Linked (to shuriken’s RKA; -¼), Range Based On STR (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 9 Charges (-¼). Total cost: 15 points (or 17 points for the IAF (-½) version) (in addition to the cost for the blade of the shuriken itself). Epee: A light steel practice sword used by fencers. Modelled after the rapier, it has a light, flexible blade ending in a blunt steel tip (which is itself covered by a plastic cap), and is used only for thrusting. Fang: The fang, a Chinese weapon developed from an Indian elephant goad, is a heavy iron rod about 2’ long with a point at one end. About one-third of the way from the top a curved blade projects to one side, similar to the blade of a kama (see below). The fighter can use the blunt portion of the rod to stun his foes, or the point or blade to injure and kill them. Cost Power 5 Fang: Multipower, 15-point reserve, all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade/Point: HKA ½d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Rod: HA +2d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) Total cost: 7 points (or 9 points for IAF (-½) version). Fist-Load: This is a small, heavy rod held in in the character’s fist. A thong or ring protruding from the center of the rod goes around one or two of the wearer’s fingers to hold it in place. A fist-load is also known as a yawara. Flying Claw: Similar to the Rope Dart (see below), this weapon is a large, clawed metal hand on the end of an up to 25’ long rope. The user whirls the hand around and slashes people with it; sometimes the claws are poisoned. The Chinese call it a fei chua. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for: the Dragon’s Beard Hook (don shu gao), which resembles a U with a serrated, barbed outer edge; the Iron Lotus (tai lien far), which resembles a bladed lotus flower; and the Rope Hook (gin tao sou), a large, barbed hook. Flying Guillotine: This peculiar Tibetan weapon consists of a metal hoop with a very sharp inner edge; the hoop attaches to a rope. It’s an effective ambush weapon; if the attacker can get above an

177 unsuspecting target, he can drop the Guillotine over the target’s head and yank. It’s somewhat less effective in active combat; the weapon only does damage if it hits an extremity (head, hand, arm, leg, or foot). The attacker can roll Hit Locations normally (with attacks to Locations 9-14 simply failing to do damage); or he can choose to aim for specific locations, taking the OCV penalties for aiming. In game terms, the requirement to hit an extremity is a -½ limitation. In campaigns that don’t use Hit Locations, the attacker always suffers a -6 OCV penalty. Fo: A weighted cloak hem, used as a weapon by some fencers. At the appropriate moment, the fencer flicks his cloak at his opponent, causing the weight sewn into the hem to strike him. Foil: This weapon is much like the epee, but even lighter and more flexible. You can also use its statistics for the daab, a Thai sword used in KrabiKrabong. Fukimi-bari: Tiny darts a character hides in his hand (to throw at an enemy) or in his mouth (to blow into an enemy’s face). They’re always bought as IAFs because it’s so easy to conceal them. The attack has No Range (-½), since the character can only throw/blow the darts a few feet at most. (This weapon doesn’t grant an automatic head shot, but most users who place fukimi-bari in their mouths try to achieve a surprise result and take a Placed Shot at the head). This is a ninja weapon. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for the Chinese mei far chen (Plum Flower Needles). Fukiya: The classic blowgun, a weapon consisting of a long, hollow tube and numerous light darts to fire through it. The darts themselves do very little damage, but are usually tipped with some sort of poison. The darts are nearly invisible and are fired silently, but can certainly be felt upon impact. A character who wants darts so light they can’t be felt will have to buy an Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +½ [because the source of the power remains visible]) blowgun with his own Character Points. Use this weapon’s statistics for the Filipino blowgun, or sumpit. Gada: The gada is a heavy wooden club used by Kalaripayit exponents. It has a relatively thin shaft and a large, bulbous head, making it look something like a large wooden mace. It requires great strength to wield effectively. Garotte: This is a strangling cord or wire. It comes in two varieties: the Strangling garotte, which may be any strong rope, scarf, or cord; and the Wire garotte, a piece of strong, sharp wire with a handle tied to either end. The attacker loops either kind around the victim’s neck and applies pressure; therefore the garotte is usually used from surprise — it’s an assassin’s weapon. The Strangling garotte chokes the victim to death, and is no good against any Hit Location except the Head. The Wire garotte can slice through flesh, and can therefore cut a throat or cut a head entirely off; it harms any body part the attacker can loop it around.


The Ultimate Martial Artist Any chain weapon described in this section can be used as a Strangling Garotte; the manrikigusari is especially appropriate. Cost Power 7 Strangling Garrotte: Energy Blast 2d6, NND (defense is having rigid armor on the neck, a PD Force Field, or Life Support [Self-Contained Breathing]), Continuous (+1) (30 Active Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (5; -¼), Real Weapon (-¼), Two-Handed (-½), Must Follow A Successful Grab Maneuver (-¼), Must Be Aimed At The Head Location (-¾), No Range (-½) (total cost for IAF (-½ version: 7 points) 5

Wire Garrotte: RKA ½d6, Continuous (+1) (20 Active Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (5; -¼), Real Weapon (-¼), Two-Handed (-½), Must Follow A Successful Grab Maneuver (-¼), Must Be Aimed At A Target It Can Loop Around (Head or Arm, typically; -½), No Range (-½) (total cost for IAF (-½ version: 5 points)

Hanbo: This is a fighting-stick weapon, from 2’ to 3’ in length. Use these statistics also for the scabbard of a short sword (any blade with a base damage of 1d6) when used as a weapon, for the pentjong (a knobbed club used in Bhakti Negara Pentjak-Silat), and for the following weapons from India: kettukari (cane), lathi (heavy cane), muchan (a tapered 2’ long staff ), and the otta (curved heavy sticks). Hand Mace: This term refers to a number of mace-like Chinese weapons in the shape of hands, fists, or claws. Some of the hands hold objects, such as pens or brushes, or have one or two fingers upraised, which helps the mace pierce armor. Examples of this sort of weapon include the ch’uan bi (“fist pen”), chua (long-handled claw), and fu sou (“Buddha hand”). Hankyu: This is a short, comparatively weak, easilycarried bow favored by ninja. One variant, the tabiumi, was collapsible and hence easily hidden when necessary; hidden arrows could be carried as the ribs of a straw hat or in many other ways.

Ghi: The Chinese halberd, which consists of a spear with one or two crescent moon-shaped blades set just below the spearhead. The Vietnamese equivalent is the dai dao; the Thai equivalent is the ngow. Cost Power 11 Ghi: Multipower, 30-point reserve; all OAF (1), STR Minimum (13; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1d6+1 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (13; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Shaft: HA +4d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (13; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 2


Long Weapon: Stretching 1”, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OAF (-1) [or IAF (-½) for concealed form], Always Direct (-¼), No Noncombat Stretching (-¼), Only To Cause Damage (-½), No Velocity Damage (-¼) (total cost for IAF (-½) version: 2 points) Skillful Weapon: +2 OCV with Block, Bind, and Disarm; OAF (-1), Only Applies To The Three Listed Maneuvers (-½)

Total cost: 19 points (or 22 points for IAF (-½) version). Grenades, Smoke: Some warriors (especially ninja) use these grenades to blind and confound an opponent, or to cloak their next action — such as hiding or preparing a new attack. Smoke grenades do not require a Weapon Familiarity. Smoke Grenades: Darkness to Sight Group 1” radius (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), Limited Effect (Normal Sight only; -¼), Range Based On STR (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 8 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Extra Phase each (-¼). Total cost: 3 points (or 4 points for the IAF (-½) version).

Hook Sword: This is a Chinese sword popular in some Kung Fu styles. It includes a straight, doubleedged blade, a forward-curving hook at the end of that blade, a bladed crescent-shaped guard for the hand (providing 6 DEF to the hand on an 11- Activation Roll), and a butt-spike protruding from the hilt. This weapon has a +0 OCV bonus for most maneuvers, but because of its unusual configuration gets a +2 OCV for maneuvers including the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (i.e., Grab Weapon) maneuver elements. The Fire Wing sword, Elephant Trunk sword, and the sang kauw of Kuntao use the same statistics. Iron Mandarin Duck: A throwing weapon made out of iron and shaped like a mandarin duck. Thanks to the duck’s weight and sharp points (feathers, wings, beak, and so forth), it’s a lethal weapon. Jien: The Chinese broadsword, often used in Kung Fu styles. The weapon’s blade is straight, light, and double-edged; it’s a thrusting weapon, and normally only the four inches at the tip of the blade are used in combat. Sometimes it comes in unusual configurations, such as: the sher ther jien, or snaketongued sword, which has a forked tip; the giau tzu jen, which has tiny serrations along both edges; and the wu grou jen, or Centipede Hook, which has a hook protruding from one side. The Vietnamese equivalent to the jien was the kiem. Jo: This is a single stick around 4’ in length. Use these statistics also for these weapons: the scabbard of a long sword (any sword with a damage of 1d6+1 or better) when used as a weapon; the sticks used in the escrima martial art; the tieh tzu (“iron ruler,” a flat iron bar used as a weapon); the chuu, a weapon derived from the Chinese grain pestle; for

Hero Games the Indonesian sticks, tongkat and tekken (the latter resembles a small walking cane); the Korean sticks, dan bong and joong bong; and the Vietnamese stick, tien bong. Kama: This is the Okinawan sickle, which consists of a short handle topped by a short curved sickle blade. It is one of the principal weapons of Karate (the others are bo, eiku, nunchaku, sai, tekko, timbe and rochin, and tonfa), and is often used in pairs. You can also use the statistics for the kama for the Chinese sickle (lian). Kanzashi: The kanzashi is a wooden or metal hair needle, about 12-20 cm long, with two tines running parallel. It could be used as a weapon, and was a favorite of the kunoichi, or female ninja. Kapak: A small throwing hatchet used by the Batak people of Indonesia. You can also use this for any number of small, hatchet-like throwing weapons used by many different cultures.

Katana: This is the traditional samurai sword; it is the larger of the daisho, the pair of blades worn by the samurai. The odachi is an older-style blade using the same game statistics. The katana is worn in the belt, edge upwards. The tachi, another long Japanese blade, has identical game statistics to the katana, but is slightly more curved than the katana; the tachi is either worn in the belt (with the edge down) or worn over shoulder instead of in belt. Use the katana’s statistics for the traditional Korean sword (gum), the Vietnamese sword (guom), for the Chinese Seagull Sword (a doublebladed sword with a bulbous tip), and for the to sangto, a form of twin swords used in Kuntao. Kiseru: This weapon is a metal smoking pipe about 1’ long. It is easily concealed and can actually be used for smoking. Knuck-Knife: This is a normal folding, lock-back blade... except that its handle is a set of brass knuckles. Ko-Gatana: A small knife attached to one side of the scabbard of a wakizashi (q.v.). Kris: This weapon is the Malaysian double-edged, wavy-bladed sword/dagger. It is mainly a thrusting weapon, and the waves in the blade make wounds very, very painful and more likely to bleed profusely. Kris blades vary in length from 5 inches to over 30 inches. The Kris Knife stats shown are for a blade in the 5-10 inch range, the Normal Kris stats are for a blade in the 10-20 inch range, and the Kris Sword stats are for a blade in the 20-30 inch range.

179 The kris has the same significance for Indonesians that the katana has for the Japanese. Every part of the weapon has its own designation and lore. A large number of magical abilities, or tasawwaf, are attributed to it (see page 50); they are allegedly implanted in the blade by the pande, or master smith, who crafts it. Every male is supposed to possess a kris, and it is a father’s duty to see that his son is furnished with one. Kris from different areas of the Indonesian archipelago can be told by their distinctive styles or forms. Kukri: An Indian knife which is also frequently used by Bando practitioners and by the Gurkas of Nepal. It has a recurved blade and a slightly oval or rounded point. It can be thrown. You can also use the kukri’s statistics for the badik, a type of Indonesian dagger, which is not normally thrown. Kusari: A flexible weapon consisting of a chain about 12’ long with a weight on one end and a metal ring on the other. It can be thrown at a target to do him harm or to grab him (e.g., grab his legs to trip him, or wrap around his arms to bind him). For this reason, the kusari’s Stretching is not bought with the Only To Do Damage Limitation, though it doesn’t provide full manipulation at range. Kusarigama: This is a kusari with a kama (sickle) on one end. The wielder of the kusarigama holds the kama by the hilt and swings the chain to strike or grab a foe; once he snares the target, he follows up with the sickle end. Several variants of the kusarigama deserve mention. The first is the bakuhatsugama, a kusarigama with a nagedeppo (explosive grenade, see below) or metsubishi (flash grenade, see below) attached to the weighted end of the chain. The second is the mamukigama, a kusarigama with a live poisonous serpent loosely attached to the chain! In theory, the snake will bite an enemy wrapped in the chain. Last is the oh-gama, an extremely large (4’+) battlefield version of the kusarigama; it does double the damage of the kusarigama but has a correspondingly larger STR Minimum in Heroic campaigns. Kyogetsu Shoge: This weapon is much like the kusarigama, but has a bladed grappling hook on the end instead of a kama. It is also carried as a grappling hook, its chain acting as its climb-line. Lajatang: A weapon used in the Indonesian fighting style of Kuntao, consisting of a short wooden staff with a crescent moon-shaped blade set perpendicular to it at each end.


The Ultimate Martial Artist Main-Gauche: A European fencing dagger. It has a heavy hand-guard (6 DEF on the hand holding it) and extra-long quillions. It is especially good at, and so receives an extra +2 OCV for, maneuvers with the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) maneuver elements. Cost Power 6 Main Gauche: Multipower, 18-point reserve; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (7; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1d6-1 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (7; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Hilt: HA +2d6 , Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (7; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 4

Protective Hilt: Armor (6 PD/6 ED); OAF (-1), Only Protects The Hand Used To Grasp It (-2) Skillful Weapon: +2 OCV with Block, Bind, Disarm, and Takeaway; OAF (-1), Only Applies To The Four Listed Maneuvers (-½)

ended sword sheath, a small pillbox, or a similar device. This type of metsubishi has No Range, since it can only be used effectively within a few feet. Metsubishi (thrown): Sight Group Flash 2d6, Area Of Effect Nonselective (One Hex; +¼) (12 Active Points); OAF (-1), Range Based On STR (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 8 Charges (-½). Total cost: 4 points (or 5 points for IAF (-½) version). Metsubishi (blown powder): Sight Group Flash 2d6 (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), No Range (-½), Real Weapon (-¼), 1 Charge (-2). Total cost: 2 points (or 2 points for IAF (-½) version). Chinese du sar, “poison sand,” uses the same statistics as the blown metsubishi.

Total cost: 16 points (or 20 points for IAF (-½) version).

Mourn Staff: Known as a Thorn Staff or, in Chinese, as a san men barn, this weapon actually resembles a sword more than it does a staff. It consists of a 3-4’ wooden or metal shaft, with three-quarters of its length studded with metal “teeth.”

Makila: Used by Zipota practitioners, this is a 1.5 meter-long stick traditionally used as a shepherd’s tool. One end has an iron cap, and the handle unscrews to reveal a long, sharp needle-like thrusting weapon.

Nagedeppo: A type of primitive explosive grenade. Its explosion covers a One Hex radius. In feudal Japanese campaigns, the bang and flash from this grenade are as disorienting as its damaging effects, since such weapons were extremely uncommon in that period.


Cost Power 8 Makila: Multipower, 22-point reserve, all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Stick: HA +3d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Spike: HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (8; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) Total cost: 10 points (or 12 points for IAF (-½) version). Manriki-gusari: Also called a manriki or a kusarifundo, this is a 3’ chain with weights at both ends. It can be swung to strike a foe or thrown to ensnare him, just like the kusari. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for the following weapons: the suruchin, a weighted rope used by some Kobujutsu practitioners; the kabit, a chain weapon used in Arnis; the panu, a scarf or handkerchief weighted with coins used by some Arnis exponents; and the sarong, a type of waistcloth worn in the Philippines and Indonesia which is used like the panu, but is much heavier — there are reports of skilled practitioners “flicking” the sarong at thick boards and snapping them in two! Metsubishi: Small grenades which can momentarily blind an opponent. Grenades do not require a Weapon Familiarity. Alternatively, a “flash grenade” could be one use’s worth of eye-irritating dust, either thrown at a foe or blown through an open-

Naginata: This Japanese weapon consists of a 2-3’ edged blade on long staff; the weapon is usually 7-8’ long. It is traditionally a very popular weapon with female Japanese fighters. Warriors use it as both a bladed weapon and as a staff; it is very versatile. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for the nagemaki or nagakami, which has a somewhat longer and heavier blade but a shorter handle. Cost Power 12 Naginata: Multipower, 37-point reserve; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (15; -¾), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1½d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (15; -¾), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Shaft: HA +4d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (15; -¾), Real Weapon (-¼) 2 Long Weapon: Stretching 1”, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OAF (1) [or IAF (-½) for concealed form], Always Direct (-¼), No Noncombat Stretching (-¼), Only To Cause Damage (-½), No Velocity Damage (-¼) (total cost for IAF (-½) version: 2 points) Total cost: 16 points (or 19 points for IAF (-½) version). Navaja: A large folding knife used by European knifefighters, with a very slight curve toward the tip of the three to six inch-long blade.

Hero Games

Nekote: Nekote, or “cat’s claws,” are a set of five metal claws fitting on the fingertips. By themselves they do relatively little damage, but they are often poisoned. Use this weapon’s statistics for Chinese fingernail razors (small blades that fit underneath the fingernails) and the Japanese kakute, or “horn finger” ring. This ring has a small spike on one side that is normally poisoned, making even the lightest punch fatal. Net: See Toami. Nine-Dragon Trident: This Chinese polearm consists of a 6’ shaft with a trident on top, plus two cross-bars further down (turned at 90o to one another) which bear an indescribable array of flanges and protrusions. It grants a +2 OCV to maneuvers including the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) Bases. In Chinese, it is called the gao loon cha. For the Nine-Dragon Trident’s game statistics, use the Ghi, above. Nine-Ring Sword: A single-edged, sabre-like weapon with nine rings set into its back edge. The rings help to catch an enemy’s weapon and disarm him. Another name for this weapon is Ghost Hat Sword.


Cost Power 22 Ninja-to And Saya: Multipower, 44-point reserve, all OAF (-1) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1 ½d6 (plus STR), Range Based On STR (+¼), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (15; -¾), Real Weapon (-¼), One-And-A-HalfHanded (-¼) 1u 2) Hilt/Saya As Club: HA +2d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), HandTo-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (15; -¾), Real Weapon (-¼), One-And-A-HalfHanded (-¼) 1u 3) Saya And Sageo As A Climbing Platform: +1 to Climbing Roll; OAF (-1) 1u 4) Blinding Powder In Saya: As Metsubishi, Blown, above 1u 5) Sageo As Strangling Garrotte: refer to “Garrotte,” above, for details on that weapon 1u 6) Saya As Breathing Tube (Takezutsu): Life Support (Breathe Underwater); OAF (-1), Only Works Close To The Surface (-1) Total cost: 28 points (or 36 points for IAF (-½) version). No-daichi: This is a Japanese two-handed sword.

Ninja-to: This weapon, also called the shinobigatama, shinobigatana, and ninja-ken, is the traditional ninja sword. It has a blade about 24” long and is about 40” long overall. It looks something like other Japanese swords such as the katana, but the blade is straight and the handguard (tsuba) is square instead of round. The ninja-to is a tool as much as a weapon — to use a modern comic book analogy, it is a sort of “utility belt” for the ninja. It can be used for climbing and for digging holes in the earth as well, an indignity the owner of a katana would never subject his blade to. Its scabbard, or saya, is longer than the sword itself and can be used to carry concealed powder weapons or bo shuriken. The scabbard cord, or sageo, has a variety of uses. These additional uses are bought as part of a Multipower. Ninja only use a ninja-to on stealth missions; when disguised as ordinary people, they use whatever weapons are appropriate to those folk. Ninja also often use the katana.

Nunchaku: This weapon, one of the principal weapons of Karate (the others are bo, eiku, kama, sai, tekko, timbe and rochin, and tonfa), is an Okinawan wooden flail. It consists of two pieces of wood (each 12” to 14” long) connected by short chain or cord (itself 1” to 5” long). Nunchaku are often used in pairs. Parang: A cleaver-like Indonesian blade, about 10 inches to three feet in length. You can also use its statistics for other Indonesian weapons, including the golok (which has a more convex cutting edge and a sharper point than the parang). Pedang: A straight or curved Indonesian short sword (10-35” long). It is used one-handed. Other Indonesian blades using similar statistics include the kělewang (a single-edged sword with a pronounced notch near the tip on the blunt side). Pendjepit: A weapon used in Prisai Sakti PentjakSilat. It is a metal pincher with sharp, tiny teeth in the ends which are used to tear at the flesh grabbed. Petjat: A 4-6’ whip used in some parts of Indonesia. You can also use this weapon’s statistics for the chemeti, another type of Indonesian whip with a 1-2’ wooden handle, and a 2-3’ buffalo-hide or human hair whip. Puñal: A folding knife similar to the navaja, but somewhat smaller and more streamlined, without the slight curve at the tip.


The Ultimate Martial Artist Rante: A chain weapon from Indonesia. The chain can be used in typical fashion, to whip and snare, but many rante also have some sort of blade or barb attached to one end, making the weapon more lethal than it otherwise would be. Cost Power 9 Rante: Multipower, 22-point reserve, all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (5; -¼), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Chain: HA +3d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (5; -¼), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Blade: HKA ½d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (5; -¼), Real Weapon (-¼) 2

Long Weapon: Stretching 1”, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OAF (1) [or IAF (-½) for concealed form], Always Direct (-¼), No Noncombat Stretching (-¼), Only To Cause Damage (-½), No Velocity Damage (-¼) (total cost for IAF (-½) version: 2 points)

Total cost: 13 points (or 15 points for IAF (-½) version). Rapier: A long, narrow stabbing sword, a European fencing weapon. Razor, Straight: This is the normal shaving implement; the large variety is larger than the types normally used to shave. It is ineffective against Armor (it has the “Reduced Penetration” Limitation) and doesn’t do as much STUN as cleaving or stabbing weapons. It is the preferred weapon of capoeiristas. Two types of Straight Razors are shown on the chart, one of ordinary length and one extra-long. You can also use the statistics for the smaller Straight Razor for the Justice Pen (bi), a Chinese stabbing weapon which resembled a large metal brush or pen. Ring Needle: Also known as an er mei tzu, or “sting,” this weapon consists of a ring attached to a thin, sharpened metal rod. It was originally designed for underwater fighting. Pakua practitioners use it to stab or thrust, and can throw it. Rings: Steel rings about 8’ in diameter, used as bludgeoning weapons or missiles. Rope Dart: A small blade on the end of an up to 25’ long rope. The weapon was used by whirling the dart around and slashing people with it. The Indonesian equivalent for this weapon is the suk piao, used in Kuntao. Sabre: This is the European fencing sabre, a sharp, curved weapon used principally for slashing. You can also use the sabre’s statistics for the krabi, a sabre-like sword used in Krabi-Krabong. Sai: This Japanese weapon, known as gen or cha in China and as a tjabang or titjio in Indonesia, is one of the principal weapons of Karate (the others are bo, eiku, kama, nunchaku, tekko, timbe and rochin, and tonfa). It is is trident-shaped truncheon, some 15-20” long, made of metal. The point is blunted; it is not a stabbing implement. Due to its trident shape, the Sai

receives an additional +2 OCV when performing maneuvers which include the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) Bases (thus receiving a total of +3 OCV with these maneuvers). These statistics are also used for the jutte and nunte weapons. The jutte (or jitte) looks like the sai but with one tine missing; this makes it easier to conceal, and thus popular among ninja. The nunte looks like the sai but with one tine bent backwards. The sai, jutte and nunte can be thrown; the three weapons share an identical Weapon Familiarity. Sai, Cinema: Though historical sai appear never to have been sharpened, sai in movies are sometimes stabbing weapons. The statistics for this weapon can also be used for the Chinese char, or trident dagger, and for the siangkam, a Kuntao weapon resembling a metal arrow about 1-2’ long. Schlaeger: A duelling sword favored by German students, particularly during the latter half of the 1800s. It has a straight, double-edged blade, a large basket hilt (to allow the wrist a full range of motion), and a dull point (it was used for slashing, not stabbing). Shinai: This is a bamboo practice sword shaped like a katana and used in the sport of kendo. Shinobi-zue: This ninja weapon is a bamboo staff. One end is loaded with lead for a harder impact when it hits. The other is capped with a metal plug; when removed, this releases a concealed 6’ chain. The staff is used as a bo; the chain is used like a kusari but cannot be thrown. This weapon is also known as a shikomi-zue. You can also use the shinobi-zue’s statistics for the chigiriki, a staff or spear with a 3-10’long chain with a weighted end attached to it (use the yari’s statistics for the spearhead). Shuko: These are the ninja climbing claws worn on the hands, usable in hand-to-hand combat to slash a target. They provide a +1 bonus to Climbing rolls (when wearing both the shuko and the ashiko, or footclaws, the ninja gets a total bonus of +2 to Climbing rolls). A character cannot carry a weapon in a hand which has a shuko in it. And the characer must wear both shuko, one on each hand, to get the +1 to his Climbing rolls. Shuko are also known as tekkokagi.

Shuriken: Commonly called throwing stars and throwing spikes, these are ranged weapons used by ninja and by modern martial artist heroes and villains. They come in three basic types: Bo Shuriken are sharply-pointed metal spikes a few inches long. One to five bo shuriken may be thrown at a time. Large (Star) Shuriken are star-shaped metal disks several inches across, about half an inch thick, and possessing three to eight sharp points.

Hero Games Small (Star) Shuriken are shaped the same as Large Star Shuriken, but are only about an eighth of an inch thick and a couple of inches across. One to five small star shuriken may be thrown at a time. Star shuriken are called hira shuriken in Japanese. The four-pointed star, the most popular type, is called a senban shuriken. Shuriken made out of flat metal bars with sharpened ends are itaken. The Chinese have a weapon called a Sleeve Dart (shouu gen, darts easily concealed in a sleeve or in various spring-loaded tubes hidden in one’s clothes) which has the same statistics as bo shuriken. The Chinese also created razor-edged coins (lo han chain [Japanese, nasare en]) and oddly-shaped Dart Knives (biau dau) which have the same statistics as small star shuriken, as does the piau, an Indonesian throwing blade vaguely shaped like a hatchet-head. The Indian chakram or cher-khi, a razor-edged throwing ring also called a quoit, uses the statistics for a large shuriken. The paku, a sort of sharpened throwing stick weapon used in Indonesia, uses the bo shuriken’s statistics. Many dart weapons, including specially-thrown nails or the narrow darts sometimes slipped into war fans, correspond to bo shuriken. The Ranged Weapons Chart shows a load of 9 to 12 shuriken. Ninja traditionally carried nine, because that number has special significance to them. Sling Bow: This missile weapon is a bow designed to fire small iron balls — sort of a cross between a bow and a slingshot. In Chinese it is known as a dan kurn. Soft Hammer: This Chinese weapon (nuan chuai) is the same as the European morningstar: a metal ball (spiked or not) connected to a wooden shaft by a short length of chain. Spread-The-Water Knife: A bladed weapon shaped like a thin D, with the curved edge being the blade and the straight bar being a wooden shaft. The straight bar averaged about 2-3’ long. Steel Olive: An olive-shaped throwing weapon. The ends taper down to sharp points, giving the weapon an eye-shaped profile. Steel Toad: A throwing weapon in the shape of a toad! The toad’s head tapers to slightly more of a point that a normal toad’s does, so the weapon can do more damage than it would if it were blunt. Sword-Spear: A type of short (3-4’) Chinese spear, known as a jen chian. Also use these statistics for a Double Hook Arrow (shunn gou shih), a type of large arrow with two hooks which curve away from the arrow head.

183 Tai-Dao: This Chinese polearm is two meters long and topped with a heavy, curved blade. (Use the Naginata’s write-up for its game statistics.) It was used both from foot and horseback. The kwan dao (also spelled quan tao, meaning “General Kwan’s Knife”), da dau (a long-handled broadsword-like weapon), bisento (a Japanese weapon), and the chun jung whule-do (“heavenly dragon moon knife,” a Korean weapon) use the same statistics as this weapon, as do the kwanto and sjang sutai, two weapons used in Kuntao. Tanto: A Japanese dagger, sturdily constructed, with a curved, single-edged, chisel-pointed blade. It is 9” or so long and has no hand-guard. Use these statistics for two other Japanese blades, the aikuchi and hamidashi, and for several short Chinese bladed weapons, including the shaou dau (“scrape saber,” a small version of the Chinese saber) and shou li jen (“sleeve sword,” a sword about the size of a dagger with a concealed spring that allowed to to expand to twice its length). The tanto’s statistics also apply to a number of Indonesian daggers, including the pisau. Tetsubishi: These are caltrops — four-pointed spikes which, when dropped on the ground, always land with one spike pointed up. When the character throws his tetsubishi onto the ground, he rolls versus DCV 3 to hit his target hex. When a target walks into the hex where tetsubishi have been thrown, the attacking player (or GM) rolls the 14- Activation Roll; if it succeeds, the target takes damage. In campaigns which use Hit Locations, this damage is always to the character’s feet (location 18). A character who sees the caltrops ahead of time may move through the hex without stepping on them. Tetsubishi do not require a Weapon Familiarity. Characters often buy tetsubishi at IAFs because they’re generally inconspicuous when dropped — though depending on the circumstances, this may not be the case. In a pinch, a character can use his tetsubishi as an improvised missile weapon, doing 1d6 to all targets in a 1” radius. You can also use the tetsubishi write-up for igadama (spiked iron balls similar to arare), hishi (dried water chestnuts with spiky shells), and dokubari (spiked balls of plant matter). Cost Power 15 Tetsubishi: Multipower, 45-point reserve; all OAF (-1), 2 Recoverable Charges (-1) for entire Multipower 1u 1) Dropped: RKA 1d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½), Continuous (+1), Uncontrolled (removable by spending a Full Phase to


The Ultimate Martial Artist


sweep them aside; +½); OAF (-1), Activation Roll 14- (-½), Only Affects Characters Moving On The Ground (-¼), DEX Roll Cancels Effect (-¼), Automatically Targets Hit Location 18 (-0) 2) Thrown: RKA 1d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½); OAF (-1), Range Based On STR (-¼), Inaccurate (user is at half OCV, and Range Modifier increment drops to 3”; -¼)

Total cost: 17 points (or 21 points for IAF (-½) version) Tetsubo: A Japanese hardwood war-staff 6’ long and covered with studded iron plates at the end; the plated area of the shaft is octagonal rather than round. You can also use the tetsubo’s statistics for the konsaibo, a hardwood staff reinforced with metal strips and iron studs, and for the kanabo, an iron club. Tetsu-To: A heavy iron sword, curved in the Japanese fashion, used by samurai and ninja alike as a strength-training weapon. It is too heavy for most people to use effectively in combat (see the weapon’s STR Min). Three-Section Staff: A Kung Fu weapon, known as shan gieh kun in Chinese. It consists of three wooden rods connected by rings; each rod is 18”20” long. Fighters use it like a flail for long strikes, or like a jo for close-in attacks.It’s very useful for maneuvers containing the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) Bases: it grants a +2 OCV with them. If you’re using the Weapon Lengths rules (page 164), the Three-Section staff is a special weapon: other weapons attack against the Three-Section Staff as if the staff were a Long weapon, but the wielder of the Staff is never at an OCV penalty when the attacker gets inside his guard and strikes him. The Indonesian equivalent of the Three-Section Staff, used in Kuntao, is the sa tjat koen. You can also use these statistics for the “Sweeper,” or shao-tzu, a weapon consisting of a short staff with an even shorter length of wood attached to one end by a chain (a two-section staff, if you will). The Sweeper was most often used to attack a horse’s legs. Tiger Fork: The Tiger Fork, or hu cha, is a large, trident-like weapon with broadly-spread tines. (Use the Naginata’s write-up for its game statistics.) You should also use these for various types of Chinese tridents, such as the shan char, and the Korean trident, or dang pah. Timbe: A 1-2’ shaft with a small spearhead on one end. It is used in combination with a tortoiseshell shield called a rochin and is one of the principal weapons of Kobujutsu. Tjaluk: A blade weapon used in Setia Hati PentjakSilat. It consists of a hilt (with a curved metal handguard) from which a sickle-like curved blade about 1’ long emerges. The sharp edge of the weapon is the reverse, or outside, edge — so parrying it can be a risky proposition. It is best used in surprise or assassination attacks, not in open combat.

Toami: A net. Its statistics depend upon its size: Small Toami: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+¼) (50 Active Points); OAF (-1), Range Based On STR (-¼), Real Weapon (-¼), 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 ¼). Total cost: 13 points (or 15 points for IAF (-½) version). Normal Toami: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+¼), Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½) (70 Active Points); OAF (-1), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼), 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 ¼). Total cost: 19 points (or 21 points for IAF (-½) version). Large Toami: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+¼), Area of Effect (5” Radius; +1) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1), Real Weapon (-¼), Range Based On STR (-¼), 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 ¼). Total cost: 24 points (or 28 points for IAF (-½) version).

Tonfa: This is one of the traditional weapons of Karate (the others are the bo, eiku, kama, nunchaku, sai, tekko, and timbe and rochin). It consists of a truncheon with handle protruding at 90 degrees near one end. It is often used in pairs. Unlike clubs, it requires a Weapon Familiarity (it’s part of the WF for Karate Weapons). However, ordinary people can pick up a tonfa and use it as ordinary club, keeping the normal weapon damage but losing the OCV bonus. The Indonesian counterparts to the tonfa are the segu, which is used in Tapak Sutji Pentjak-Silat, and the kwai, which is used in Kuntao. Tsubute: A “blunt shuriken,” used to knock an enemy unconscious. The same statistics apply to blunt Chinese throwing coins, shouu chuan, or the Sleeve Ring (a blunt metal ring hidden in the sleeve and thrown at an enemy’s face). Umebi: A form of primitive land mine used by the ninja: Umebi: RKA 1 ½d6, Area Of Effect (One Hex; +½), Trigger (when stepped on, takes 1 Turn to reset; +¼) (44 Active Points); IAF (½), 1 Charge (-2), Real Weapon (-¼). Total cost: 12 points. Urumi: The urumi, or spring-sword, is a flexible sword from India. It consists of a hilt with 1-4 blades of metal (sharpened on both edges) projecting from it. The blades are thin and flexible, allowing them to be whipped through the air and into an enemy. When not in use the urumi can be carried around the waist like a belt. Cost Power 8 Urumi (Single-Bladed): HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (22 Active

Hero Games Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (12; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) (total cost with IAF (-½): 10) 13

Urumi (Multi-Bladed): HKA 1d6 (plus STR), Autofire (up to 4 shots, depending on number of blades and wielder’s desire; +½), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1) (37 Active Points); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (12; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) (total cost with IAF (-½): 16)

Wakizashi: This is the companion sword of the katana; it is the smaller of the daisho pair of samurai blades. The kodachi is the older form of the same blade. War Fan: This weapon, known in Japanese as a tessen or gunsen and in Chinese as a san, looks like a normal hand-fan, but is larger than purely decorative fans and is made of hardier materials. It is used two ways: closed, it is a punching weapon; open, it is effective at blocking attacks (+2 OCV with Block maneuvers). Special War Fans come with an additional blade option. The blade may be a razor edge on the vanes of the fan, used in a slicing motion when the fan is open, or it may be a spike at the base of the fan, used when the fan is closed. Both types are shown on the Melee Weapons Table. War Fans are sometimes made with small darts hidden in the vanes; if a character uses them, treat these darts identically to Bo Shuriken.

185 Wolf ’s Teeth Staff: This weapon, called lan yar barn in Chinese, consists of a staff approximately 6’ long. About 1’ of one end of it is covered with small metal spikes. Use the Naginata’s write-up for its game statistics. Yari: This is the Japanese spear. It comes in two basic versions. The normal version works just like any other spear. Another version, the Kamayari, comes with a back-hook (a backward-pointing spike mounted at the head), which gives the weapon a +2 OCV bonus when used with maneuvers with the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) Bases. There are several other varieties with different spearhead and combinations of hooks and and other projections. The Vietnamese counterpart to this weapon is the thuong. Cost Power 13 Yari: Multipower, 37-point reserve; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (14; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Blade: HKA 1½d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (14; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Shaft: HA +4d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (14; -½), Real Weapon (-¼)

Cost Power 8 War Fan, Edged: Multipower, 22-point reserve; all OAF (-1), STR Minimum (6; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 1) Folded Fan Attack: HA +3d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), HandTo-Hand Attack (-½), STR Minimum (6; -½), Real Weapon (-¼) 1u 2) Spread Fan Attack: HKA ½d6 (plus STR), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½); OAF (-1), STR Minimum (6; -½), Real Weapon (-¼)


Long Weapon: Stretching 1”, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (7 Active Points); OAF (-1) [or IAF (-½) for concealed form], Always Direct (-¼), No Noncombat Stretching (-¼), Only To Cause Damage (-½), No Velocity Damage (-¼) (total cost for IAF (-½) version: 2 points)


Kamayari: +2 OCV with Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway; OAF (-1), Only Applies To The Four Listed Maneuvers (-½)


Kamayari: Increase STR Min to 17


Total cost (Yari): 17 points (or 20 points for IAF (-½) version).

Skillful Weapon: +2 OCV with Block (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), Only Applies To Block (-1), Real Weapon (-¼)

Total cost: 13 points (or 16 points for IAF (-½) version). Wind and Fire Wheels: These are Chinese weapons. They consist of broad metal hoops a foot or two in diameter. Some feature protruding spikes and handles; other are plain hoops. Fighters use them to punch and slash, and receive a +2 OCV bonus when used with maneuvers with the Bind, Block, Disarm, and Takeaway (Grab Weapon) Bases. The statistics for this weapon also apply to the lun, which is similar in function but shaped more like a coin, and the yue, which is eye-shaped. Wishful Steel Ball: A small steel ball similar to a modern ball-bearing, used as a weapon by flicking it at high speed at the target.

Total cost (Kamayari): 20 points (or 23 points for IAF (-½) version). Yoroi-toshi: This weapon, the same approximate size and shape as the tanto, is a dagger designed to pierce armor. It is very heavy and very sharp, and does armor-piercing damage. Yumi: This is the Japanese bow, also known as a daikyu. It can be anywhere from five to eight feet long, and, unlike Western bows, is not held in the middle; the handle is about one-third of the way from the bottom. Therefore it is easily used by horsemen. The “One-Man, Two-Man, Three-Man” designations indicate how many men it theoretically takes to string the bow; for HERO System purposes, the STR Min of the weapon is also the STR Min it takes to string the bow.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

Kendo Armor

ARMOR Though body armor isn’t very common in martial-arts adventures, a few types do show up with some regularity: samurai armor, kendo armor, and body armor for full-contact karate sparring, for example. Superheroic characters generally create armor which provides consistent defense over all the body locations, which does not have an encumbrance rating, and so forth. In superhero campaigns, such armor is usually built with higher DEF ratings than real-world armor, and simply looks identical to the real-world armors described below, which are designed for Heroiclevel campaigns.

Full-Contact Karate Armor This is a set of vinyl or leather-covered padding designed to minimize risk of injury while characters are sparring or training. It includes the following pieces (not all of which have to be worn):

FULL-CONTACT KARATE ARMOR Name Hit of Armor Locations Face Guard 4-5 Full Face Guard 3-5 Gloves (2) 6 Forearm Guards (2) 7 Torso Guard 9-11 Chest Guard 10-11 Rib Guard 12 Athletic Cup 13 Shin Guards, Sm (2) 16 Shin Guards, Lg (2) 16-17 Leg Guard (2) 15-17

Defense R/N 2/6 2/6 2/6

Weight (kg) .1 .2 .2

2/6 2/6 2/6 2/6 2/6

.1 .8 .7 .4 .2



2/6 2/6

.2 .3

The two columns listed under “Defense” are R for Resistant and N for Non-Resistant. Resistant Defenses are bought as Armor (PD and ED); Normal Defenses are bought as Physical Defense and Energy Defense. The Weight column is included for those Heroic campaigns using the HERO System encumbrance rules (see the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised, page 379). If your campaign doesn’t use those rules, don’t worry about the Weight column except to determine whether a character can lift the equipment at all. Weights are given in tenths of a kilogram. You cannot “stack” armor; a character cannot wear a Face Guard and a Full Face Guard and get the benefits of both. He only gets the benefit of the greater of the two.

The armor used by kendoka (practitioners of Kendo, the modern sport form of Kenjutsu) in their practices consists of several items. The men, or helmet, has a wire-frame mask and padded armor which covers the top and back of the head and the throat. Accompanying this are a heavy chest-plate and gloves which cover the forearms, both made of resilient padded material; a padded apron; and a lighter protective jacket. In HERO System terms, it looks like this:

KENDO ARMOR Name Hit of Armor Locations Men (Helmet) 3-5, 9 Kote (Sleeevs) 6-7 Do (Breastplate) 10-11 Keikogi (Jacket) 8-11 Tare (Apron) 12-13

Defense R/N 6/0 4/2 4/2 1/1 2/2

Weight (kg) 1.8 .5 1.1 .6 .6

The Men has an additional Limitation: it acts as Armor 0 versus Guns. The Kote and Do have a similar Limitation: Half-Value versus Guns. In other words, bullets automatically bypass the armor of the helmet, and are automatically Armor-Piercing attacks against the Kote and Do.

Leather HandWrappings Practitioners of ancient boxing (see Boxing, Ancient in the Martial Arts section) protected their hands by wrapping them in leather strips; this was the sort of protection that ultimately evolved into the boxing glove. A character who wraps his hands in this fashion has a piece of equipment that looks like this:

LEATHER HAND-WRAPPINGS Name of Armor HandWrapping (2)

Hit Locations

Defense R/N

Weight (kg)




Rawhide Hand-Wrappings Rawhide hand-wrappings are just like leather hand-wrappings, with one exception. Rather like the cestus (see above in the melee weapons listing), rawhide wrappings can cause a little extra Killing Damage to the target.

Hero Games With each punch that successfully hits a target, the character with rawhide hand-wrappings should make a 3d6 roll. On an 8-, the rawhide do 1 point of Killing Damage in addition to the regular damage of the attack. If the character has rawhide wrappings but uses some sort of NND DMG or Kdamage attack, the rawhide adds nothing.

Samurai Armor This armor is arranged much like the Kendo armor described above, except that it is designed to provide protection in real warfare. It is made of metal and hardened leather plates, usually brightly ornamented with decorative enamels.

SAMURAI ARMOR Name Hit Resistant Weight of Armor Locations Defense (kg) Hachi/Shikoro (Helm/Shoulders) 4-5 6 1 Happuri (Facemask) 3 6 .5 Kote (Sleeves) 6-7 4 1 O-Sode (Shoulers) 9 6 2 Tateage (Breastplate) 10-13 6 9.5 Haidate (Apron) 14-15 6 2.5 Sune-ate (Greaves) 16-17 4 .75 This armor has a Limitation: it is Half Value Versus Guns (-¼). For instance, the Hachi and Shikoro, DEF 6 versus most attacks, is only DEF 3 versus bullets.


CREATING WEAPONS Powers Used In Weapon Creation The HERO System Powers used to create most weapons and armor described in this section include: Armor (either for armor suits or to provide a weapon with protection for the hand holding it); Entangle (for nets); Flash (for metsubishi and other blinding weapons); Hand-To-Hand Attack; Hand-To-Hand Killing Attack (sometimes with “Ranged” Advantage, sometimes with +1 Increased STUN Multiplier); Ranged Killing Attack (sometimes bought with Autofire, such as with small shuriken); and Stretching (to give extra range to some long melee weapons). Telekinesis and Change Environment (for dropped marbles).

Hand-To-Hand Versus Killing Damage Many weapons are built as Normal Damage attacks instead of Killing Damage attacks. In the chart above, Normal Damage weapons are built with the Hand-To-Hand Attack Power, while Killing Damage weapons are built with the Hand-To-Hand Attack Power. Thrown weapons take the Ranged Advantage (+½). Ranged-only Killing-damage weapons are built with the Ranged Killing Attack Power. See page 405 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised for rules on adding damage to weapons.

New Limitations The new Limitations that have been introduced in this section are all examples of the “Limited Use” Limitation. They include: Value Description -¼ Weapon Does Less Damage From Added STR: The weapon receives +1 DC for every 10 STR above STR Min. This is a Limitation for weapons in Heroic campaigns. It simulates weapons deliberately designed to do less damage than they could otherwise. -1 Cannot Be Used To Cause Damage: This Limitation for Telekinesis indicates a form of TK that does no damage at all. (It’s still possible to harm someone by shoving him over a cliff, though.)


The Ultimate Martial Artist -2


Only To Throw Target To Ground: This Limitation to Telekinesis means the power cannot be used to carry people or objects around, to catch someone who is falling, and so forth. It is distinct from “Cannot Be Used To Cause Damage,” and the two Limitations can be taken together on a TK power. Only Affects Characters On The Ground: This Limitation on an Attack Power means it does no harm to characters not touching the ground. You can use it to simulate an electrical attack that requires the character be grounded, or to build attacks where the character must step on some object to receive the damage. Only To Grab: This Limitation on Stretching means the character cannot use it to Strike his target, only Grab and manipulate him. Only Protects One Location (or Two Locations): This is a Limitation for Defense Powers in campaigns using the Hit Locations chart. The builder of the power defines which one location is protected, or which two are protected. Each location covered must be one of the number locations on the Hit Locations chart; a character cannot say “This armor covers two of my locations, Head and Shoulders” because Head is already three locations (3-5) and Shoulders is another (9), making that a total of four locations. This Limitation roughly corresponds to an 8- Activation Roll.

varies Must Be Aimed At Specific Location Or Has No Effect: This Limitation on any Attack Power means the power does not work if it strikes the wrong location. This Limitation only applies in campaigns using the Hit Locations chart. The value for the Limitation depends on how hard the location usually is to hit. If the Hit Location modifier is usually a -1 to a -3, there is no Limitation. If it is usually a -4 to a -5, there is a -¼ Limitation. If it is usually a -6 to a -7, there is a -½ Limitation. If it is usually -8 or worse, there is a -¾ Limitation. The user of this power can increase his chance to hit by striking from ambush, which usually reduces the Hit Location penalties for aiming at specific hit locations. -¼ Must Follow A Successful Grab Maneuver: This Limitation for any Attack Power means the character cannot use the power unless he has Grabbed his target. If the target is not in his grasp, he cannot use the power. -¼ Half Value Versus Guns: This Limitation to Resistant Defense Powers means bullets and other super-high-speed projectile attacks have an automatic Armor Piercing Advantage against this type of armor. (If the bullet is already Armor Piercing, then only onefourth of the defense is applied to the weapon damage.)

Hero Games


BIBLIOGRAPHY Amberger, J. Christoph. The Secret History of the Sword

—Ninja Secrets of Invisibility

Anglo, Sydney. The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe

Lawler, Jennifer. The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Balin, Michael. T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Martial Side Birch, Cyril. Chinese Myths and Fantasies Carella, C.J. GURPS Martial Arts Capoeira, Nestor. The Little Capoeira Book Chow, David, and Richard Spangler. Kung Fu: History, Philosophy, and Technique

—Secrets of the Ninja Lee, Bruce. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do Loriega, James. Sevillian Steel: The Traditional Knife-Fighting Arts Of Spain Malizewski, Michael. Spiritual Dimensions of the Martial Arts Marinas, Amante Sr. Pananandata

Clements, John. Medieval Swordsmanship

McCubbin, Chris, C.J. Carella, and Stephen Dedman. GURPS Martial Arts Adventures

—Renaissance Swordsmanship

McNeil, James. Hsing-I

Corcoran, John. The Martial Arts Companion

Park, Bok Nam, and Dan Miller. The Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang

—The Martial Arts Sourcebook Corcoran, John, and Emil Farkas. The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia: Tradition, History, Pioneers (formerly Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People) Cowie, A.P., and A. Evison. The Concise EnglishChinese Chinese-English Dictionary Craig, Darrell. Japan’s Ultimate Martial Art: Jujitsu Before 1882

Piggott, Juliet. Japanese Mythology Ratti, Oscar and Adele Westbrook. Secrets of the Samurai Reid, Howard, and Michael Croucher. The Way of the Warrior Soet, John. Martial Arts Around the World Spear, Robert. Hapkido: The Integrated Fighting Art

Crompton, Paul. The Complete Martial Arts

Stockmann, Hardy. Muay-Thai: The Art of Siamese Un-armed Combat

Crompton, Paul, trans. A Dictionary of the Martial Arts, by Louis Frederic

Talhoffer, Hans. Medieval Combat

Daniel, Charles. Kenjutsu: The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship Draeger, Donn. The Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia Draeger, Donn, and Robert Smith. Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts Evangelista, Nick. The Encyclopedia of the Sword Finn, Michael. Martial Arts: A Complete Illustrated History Gygax, Gary. Oriental Adventures Hallander, Jane. The Complete Guide to Kung Fu Fighting Styles

Walters, Derek. Chinese Mythology: An Encyclopedia of Myth and Legend Warner, Gordon and Donn Draeger. Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice Wujcik, Erick. Ninjas and Superspies Yang, Dr. Jwing-Ming. Introduction to Ancient Chinese Weapons Yates, Keith. Warrior Secrets: A Handbook of the Martial Arts Zoran, Rebac. Thai Boxing Dynamite: The Explosive Art of Muay Thai

Hatsumi, Masaaki. Ninjutsu: History and Tradition

Various martial arts magazines, including Black Belt, Inside Kung Fu and its progeny, Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated, and Tae Kwon Do Times.

Hayes, Stephen. The Mystic Arts of the Ninja

Various sites on the World Wide Web

Hsieh, Douglas. Ancient Chinese Hidden Weapons In Hyuk Suh and Jane Hallander. The Fighting Weapons Of Korean Martial Arts Kai, Hyõjun. All-Romanized English-Japanese Dictionary Kim, Ashida. Ninja Mind Control


The Ultimate Martial Artist

APPENDIX This Appendix contains some additional information about, and rules for, various Martial Maneuvers and other game elements frequently used by martial artist characters. PAGE 99  RANGED MARTIAL ARTS A character can buy Ranged Martial Arts for innate Ranged attacks, like his Energy Blast — the rules don’t require that a Ranged Martial Art involve a weapon. So, a character could develop a Ranged Martial Art for his Energy Blast or other innate/natural ranged attacks, assuming the GM didn’t object. The GM might, to keep things balanced, let the character take one Energy Blast as a free “Weapon Element,” then require the character to buy any other Ranged attack (even a similar Energy Blast with an Advantage) as a separate “Weapon Element.” Characters cannot buy Ranged Martial Arts for use with Mental Powers. Ranged Martial Arts DCV bonuses only apply against Ranged attacks. The GM may waive this in the interest of simplicity if preferred. If a character wants to apply Advantages or Limitations to a Ranged Martial Arts maneuver, every +1 bonus costs +3 Character Points, ever -1 penalty -3 Character Points. PAGE 101  EXTRA DAMAGE CLASSES A character cannot take a Limitation on Extra DCs. However, if he wants to simulate a special form of attack, he could buy some Extra DCs at full price, then voluntarily restrict them to only certain Maneuvers for no point savings. PAGE 102  WEAPON ELEMENTS In a Superheroic game, where a character pays Character Points for his weapons, he does not have to buy the appropriate WF to use his weapons with his Martial Maneuvers. However, he does have to buy the appropriate Weapon Elements. If a character has natural weapons — claws, fangs, or the like — he cannot automatically use his Martial Maneuvers to enhance the damage they do. He must buy a Weapon Element, Use Art with Natural Weaponry. Alternately, he could buy Martial Arts defined as working with his natural weaponry by default (like the Red In Tooth And Claw style in the HERO System Bestiary). Weapon Elements And Using Martial Maneuvers To Add Damage When a character buys Martial Arts, his Martial Maneuvers work with one form of attack as a “default.” In most cases, that attack is “barehanded STR damage.” A few styles, such as Fencing, Kyu-

jutsu, or Saijutsu, are defined as working with a particular type of weapon as a default, which means they only work with that weapon — the character cannot use them barehanded. If a character wants to expand the scope of attacks he can apply his Martial Maneuvers to, he needs to buy Weapon Elements. It may help conceptually if you think of the term “Weapon Element” as meaning “Game Element Characters Buy To Let Them Add Martial Maneuver Damage To An Attack.” For example, if a character has a weapon and wants to add Martial Maneuver damage and modifiers to its use, he must buy an appropriate Weapon Element. If a character has claws and wants to add Martial Maneuver damage and modifiers when he uses them, he must buy Weapon Element: Claws. Of course, in either case the character could define his Martial Maneuvers as working by default with his weapon or his claws; then he wouldn’t need a Weapon Element for that use, but would need Weapon Element: Barehanded to use the Martial Maneuvers with just his STR. (The same rationale applies to Ranged Martial Arts and Ranged attacks like thrown weapons or Energy Blast.) One exception: characters can add Hand-ToHand Attack damage to Martial Arts normally, as stated on page 185 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. This only applies to HA bought as an innate power, though — if a character uses HA to create a weapon like a club or a staff, he needs a Weapon Element to use that weapon with his Martial Maneuvers. A few Weapon Elements (e.g., Use Art In Zero Gravity, Use Art In Armor) work a little differently — they function sort of as Limited forms of Environmental Movement, allowing characters to use their Martial Arts in situations where they would otherwise be unable to use them or suffer penalties. PAGE 112  ANALYZE STYLE The Analyze Style Skill in UMA lists certain benefits that are different from the ones described in the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised rulebook. These are in addition to the benefits describe in the rulebook, and the character gets all the benefits with a single roll. PAGE 142  MARTIAL MANEUVERS Page 425 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised rulebook notes that Martial Maneuvers don’t cost END. However, unless the GM rules otherwise, a character performing one must still pay the full normal END cost for his STR. This applies even if the maneuver is one that doesn’t benefit

Hero Games from adding STR damage or capacity, such as a Nerve Strike. If a character has a Martial Maneuver with two bases, such as Block-Grab or Block Throw, there may be some circumstances under which the GM would allow him to use one “part” of the maneuver without using the other. It depends on how the maneuver’s defined. Most Throw-based maneuvers, for example, do their damage in whole or in part by slamming the target to the ground, so not using the Target Falls element makes the maneuver meaningless. Some maneuvers have the “Must Follow” element, which obviously indicates that one part of the maneuver must follow another. So, you have to look at the maneuver from the perspective of special effects, common sense, and dramatic sense. In light of that, the GM could allow a character to use only part of a maneuver if he wanted — but even in that case, that should be the exception, not the rule. Maneuvers with multiple elements are packaged together specifically because they’re meant to be used together; a character who doesn’t want to do those things together should purchase two maneuvers that each do one of the things the “combo” maneuver does all at once. A character cannot Link two or more Martial Maneuvers together. Adding Damage Martial Maneuvers that don’t add dice of damage — such as Killing Damage strikes, NND Strikes, Exert-based maneuvers, and so on — cannot be used to add damage to weapons or other attacks. If the Maneuver doesn’t add DCs to an attack — if it allows the character to do a different type of damage than Normal (e.g., Killing or NND) — it’s not going to add to weapon damage at all. Its function isn’t to add, but to differentiate. That’s why weapons-based styles — Arnis, Fencing, Gatka, Kenjutsu, and the like — don’t have Killing Damage-based maneuvers, and why their NND maneuvers (like the Atemi Strike in Naginatajutsu) are expressed as straight damage, not a bonus to the weapon like the other Maneuvers. PAGE 142  BLOCK Generally, a character cannot Block an attack he cannot perceive. That means the GM has to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a character can “perceive” an attack. If the attack is Fully Invisible (including the source of the power), then a character probably has no chance to Block it. On the other hand, if the character can’t perceive the attack but can perceive his attacker gesturing at him or initiating the attack, perhaps the GM would simply apply the penalties for fighting an invisible attacker, or perhaps a Surprised bonus, to the Block attempt. PAGE 143  CHOKE HOLD A Choke Hold prevents the use of headbutts. A Choke Hold does not cut off the victim’s senses, but might interfere with them (i.e., cause PER Roll penalties, as determined by the GM). It might cut off, or diminish the effectiveness of some powers (such as a sonic scream), but that’s up to the GM,

191 who should make the call in light of game balance considerations, common sense, and dramatic sense. The GM should not let a PC turn a 4-point Martial Maneuver into a frequently-used Drain All Powers Emanating From The Head/Skull. If a character has Martial Grab, or some other maneuver that adds STR to Grab, he does not get the benefits of that extra STR when using Choke Hold. Choke Hold and Martial Grab are completely separate Martial Maneuvers. PAGE 143  CRUSH The Crush Martial Maneuver uses the Follow element. As indicated on pages 93-94, the Follow element means the attack takes place on the Phase following the indicated maneuver/event. To use Crush, a character Grabs his target in a Phase (he could then Squeeze the target, if desired, per the usual rules for Grab). In his next Phase, provided the target hasn’t escaped, the character can attack with his Crush. This requires an Attack Roll (modified by the maneuver’s OCV modifier, the target’s DCV penalty for being Grabbed, and so forth). If a character wants to repeatedly Crush someone, he has to make an Attack Roll each Phase he uses the maneuver. PAGE 144  DODGE A character could create a Martial Maneuver that combines Dodge with a Non-Exclusive Element such as Target Falls, thus allowing him to (for example) “trip” people who attack him. However, you must apply common sense when using such a Maneuver. For example, the Target Falls part of the maneuver would only affect HTH attackers, not persons who attack the character at range. PAGE 144  FLYING DODGE If a character has a Held Half Action, he may use it to use Flying Dodge. In that situation, he gets a Half Move and the +4 DCV bonus. If a character Aborts to a Flying Dodge, he gets the Full Move worth of movement normally associated with the maneuver. If a character with Flying Dodge moves out of the way of an area-affecting attack, compare the inches moved to where the attack hits (typically the hex the character was formerly standing in) and the attack’s size — it’s possible that, as with a Dive For Cover, the character’s movement didn’t carry him far enough to get out of the way. If the Flying Dodge’s movement carries him beyond the area covered by the Area Of Effect/Explosion, then the attack doesn’t affect him. If a character uses Flying Dodge to try to avoid a ranged non-area-affecting attack, he still gets to move and still gets a DCV bonus from the maneuver, but he’s not automatically missed — the attacker still gets a roll to hit (unlike with Dive For Cover, where the attack would automatically miss). If it’s a HTH attack, the Attack Roll is irrelevant, since the character won’t be in HTH combat range any longer. If a character performs a Flying Dodge to, for example, move around a corner so his attacker


The Ultimate Martial Artist

cannot see him, that does not mean his attacker’s attack automatically misses. The HERO System combat rules model a highly dynamic situation — two or more characters acting in the midst of battle — with a relatively rigid set of timed and controlled actions. It’s not as if one character moves while everyone else does nothing, then the next person acts, and so on — all the actions in a combat Segment are occurring more or less “at once,” but are resolved in a certain order to manage the game. The attacker’s attack might hit just as the character starts his Flying Dodge or the like. The fact that he declares that he’s moving around an obstacle doesn’t ensure he’ll get there in time — all the maneuver provides is a DCV bonus. If a character Aborts to a Flying Dodge against a Ranged attack, the Range Modifier that applies to the attacker derives from the distance between the attacker and where the character is at the end of his movement. For example, if a character begins a Flying Dodge 4” away from his attacker (-0 Range Modifier) and ends it 12” from his attacker (-4 Range Modifier), the attacker suffers a -4 Range Modifier penalty. PAGE 144  FULL MOVE If a character has a Martial Maneuver with the FMove element, he can perform a Half Phase Action before using it? However, that means he can only make a Half Move when using a Movement Power with his Martial Maneuver. Characters cannot use Martial Arts maneuvers with the FMove element in the same manner as a Multiple Move-By.

PAGE 144  GRAB If a character has Combat Skill Levels with Grab, he cannot apply them to the OCV of, or damage caused with, the Redirect or Block of a Grab-and-Redirect or Grab-and-Block combination. Nor can he apply Extra DCs to increase the damage of those maneuvers. Characters can use Grab-and-Redirect with Ranged attacks, assuming appropriate special effects (such a maneuver might work very well with a gun, less well or not at all with a bow or throwing knife). Characters cannot apply Range Skill Levels with a Redirect, though. Page 146 — One-Handed Grabs If a character Grabs another character with just one hand, that means both characters have at least one free hand. They can use their free hands to attack each other if they want to. Standard Grab modifiers (which include OCV penalties for the Grabbed character to attack the Grabber) apply. Technically the Grabber could squeeze the Grabbed character, but the GM might want to restrict that depending on the exact arrangement (e.g., if the Grabber has only Grabbed the victim by the arm, inflicting damage by squeezing probably doesn’t make much sense). If a character performs a Grab with only one hand, he’s still at ½ DCV

Hero Games PAGE 147  GRAPPLING BLOCK Grappling Block allows a character to Block a HTH attack, and at the same time Grab the person making the Block. If the character just wants to Block, without Grabbing, he can Abort. The character cannot Abort to Grappling Block it if he wants to use the Grab part of the maneuver. PAGE 149  RESPONSE If a character has a Martial Maneuver with the Response Element defined that it only works after his opponent performs some maneuver or action, the opponent has to complete the maneuver/action — just starting it isn’t enough. However, the opponent doesn’t have to complete it successfully; for example, a maneuver that’s a Response to an attack doesn’t require that the attack hit or hurt the character. However, if a maneuver Must Follow Block, the character must successfully Block an attack with it; if the Block fails, he can’t use the maneuver to “respond.” A Response-based maneuver can only be used against the character who “triggers” it. For example, if an attack Must Follow Block, a character can only use its attack against the person he just successfully Blocked; he can’t make an attack against some third party. If a character has a Martial Maneuver with Response that specifies an attack as the precondition for the maneuver, that means any type of that attack. For example, a maneuver with “Must Follow Grab” works with any type of Grab — i.e., a standard Grab Combat Maneuver, or any Maneuver with the “Grab Opponent” Element (Martial Grab, Grappling Block, Joint Lock, or the like). PAGE 149  SHOVE Shove only works on opponents that can fight back; characters cannot ordinarily use it against inanimate objects. However, a character could build a similar Exert-based maneuver that worked on objects, if the GM allowed. The GM can apply the rules and guidelines for resisting Throws with Powers (page 153) to efforts to resist Shove, if appropriate and desired. However, in general, Knockback Resistance should not have any effect — Shoving is not Knockback, and doesn’t really depend on “impact” the way some Throws do. For Clinging, use the standard “STR versus Clinging” rules on page 143 of the HERO System 5th Edition, Revised. At the GM’s option, any character can shove another character the same distance he could throw him with a Prone Throw; this is a standard combat action involving STR and doesn’t require the character to purchase any maneuver. The GM may, if he wishes, allow a character with only 0 Extra STR to still shove someone ½”. The general rules for Shove on pages 149-50 apply to this type of shoving.

193 PAGE 152  TAKEAWAY If a character has a Takeaway maneuver, at the GM’s option he can use it to defend against Takeaway maneuvers used by persons attacking him, using the same optional rule as for Disarms (page 143). PAGE 152  THROWS The weight limit for normal Throws (the character’s Pushed STR) also applies to Ranged Martial Maneuvers with the Throw element. If a character applies the Area Of Effect Advantage to a Throw maneuver, the weight limit for Throws applies per target, not over the entire area. With the GM’s permission, a character can use a Throw-based maneuver to Throw a target into another target. He uses only his base OCV (OCV from DEX, without any positive modifiers) to roll to hit the second target. If he hits, he does the maneuver’s damage to both targets. As a default rule, the “missile” (the character being Thrown) can’t do anything to interfere with or stop this attack — the assumption is that the missile isn’t sufficiently in control to prevent being thrown. However, at the GM’s discretion, maybe the missile’s flailing around imposes a small OCV penalty on the thrower’s Attack Roll, or perhaps the missile would try to “cushion” the impact and take off a DC or two of damage by making a DEX Roll at a -1 penalty for each point by which the thrower made his Attack Roll. Since the “missile” is a Ranged attack, he can be Missile Deflected, but not Blocked. A character cannot use a Throw-based maneuver to Throw a target who’s already prone. The rules indicate that a character can’t Throw someone he can’t lift with his Pushed STR. When using a Throw-based maneuver, a character must use a minimum of enough STR to lift the target. He doesn’t have to use his full STR if he doesn’t want to. Furthermore, he may, with the GM’s permission, use his STR only to “lift,” not to cause damage (though he still has to pay END for the STR when doing this, of course). If the target of a Throw is standing still, his velocity is 0” and adds no damage to the attack. If he’s moving, use his relative velocity, as discussed on page 97. If he’s Thrown in a Segment in which he doesn’t have a Phase but the GM judges that he is “moving” (e.g., he’s in mid-air or mid-run in a situation when he moved last Phase and is obviously going to keep moving in his next Phase), the GM can assign him whatever velocity seems appropriate. As always, apply common sense and dramatic sense. PAGE 159  GROUNDFIGHTING The OCV penalty for groundfighting does not apply to Ranged attacks, unless the GM rules otherwise.


The Ultimate Martial Artist

ULTIMATE MARTIAL ARTIST INDEX Acrobatics ................................................... 112 Activation Roll ........................................... 133 Advanced Ninjutsu ................................ 75-83 Advantages Generally ............................................ 131 For Martial Maneuvers ..................... 104 Age ............................................................. 135 Aid (Power) .......................................... 119-21 Aikido ........................................................... 15 Alien Martial Artist (character archetype) ........................................... 107 American from the Orient (character archetype) ........................................... 107 American ninja, modern ............................ 83 An Ch’i .......................................................... 16 Analyze Style .............................................. 112 Arare (weapon) .................................. 168, 174 Arbir (weapon) .................................. 171, 174 Archetypes for martial artist characters............................................ 107 Area Of Effect ............................................ 131 Arit (weapon) ..................................... 169, 174 Armor (Power) .......................................... 121 Armor (various types) ........................ 186-87 Arnis/Kali/Escrima ..................................... 17 Arrows (weapon) ............................... 168, 174 Arte dell’Abbracciare .................................. 18 Ashiko (weapon) ............................... 171, 174 Asura (substyle of Wrestling)..................... 61 Attack Versus Limited Defense (AVLD) ............................................... 148 Autofire ....................................................... 131 Avenger (character archetype) ................. 107 AVLDs ......................................................... 148 Axe, Chinese (weapon) ..................... 169, 174 Bando ............................................................ 19 Baru Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat)......... 50 Basis, for Martial Maneuvers ..................... 90 Bear Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ............... 40 Belts and Ranks............................................ 13 Bengkong ...................................................... 20 Bersilat .......................................................... 19 Bhakti Negara (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........................................ 50 Bibliography ............................................... 189 Bind ............................................................. 142 Blade flourish ............................................. 131 Blinded Characters and Martial Arts ...... 154 Block............................................................ 142 Bo (Staff ) (weapon) ........................... 171, 174 Bo Shuriken (weapon) ...................... 168, 182 Bojutsu/Jojutsu ............................................ 20 Bokken (weapon) .............................. 169, 174 Bound Characters and Martial Arts........ 154 Boxing, Ancient ........................................... 21 Boxing, Modern ........................................... 21 Brass Knuckles (weapon) ................. 171, 174 Breakfall ...................................................... 113 Brick Martial Artist (character archetype) ........................................... 107 Brick Tricks .................................................. 64 Bruce Lee ...................................................... 30 Building Styles ....................................... 10, 13 Bundi (weapon) ................................. 169, 175 Bûno (substyle of Wrestling)...................... 61 Bunot-Page (weapon) ....................... 171, 175 Butterfly Sword (weapon)................. 169, 175 Capoeira ....................................................... 22 Career Path of the Martial Artist ............. 110 Casual STR Versus Barriers ...................... 155 Cestus (weapon) ................................ 171, 175 Ch’i 15 Ch’i Powers (Multipower) ........................ 134 Ch’uan Po (ancient Chinese boxing) ........ 21 Chai-Dao (weapon)........................... 171, 175 Chain Sword (weapon) ..................... 171, 175 Chain Whip (weapon) ...................... 171, 175 Chakar (weapon) ............................... 171, 181 Chelak (substyle of Bersilat) ...................... 20 Chiang (Chinese spear) (weapon)... 171, 175 Chin Na (substyle of Kung Fu) .................. 40

Choke Hold ................................................ 142 Choy Lee Fut (substyle of Kung Fu) ......... 40 Chu-ko-nu (weapon) ........................ 168, 175 Chuarare (weapon) ........................... 168, 174 Chunin .......................................................... 75 Cireum (substyle of Wrestling).................. 61 Climbing Equipment, Ninja ....................... 82 Clinging ...................................................... 121 Combat Manuevers ........................... 142-153 Combat Sense ............................................ 118 Combat Skill Levels ............................. 113-14 Combat Values, effect of Grab on ............ 145 Comet Star Hammer (weapon) ....... 168, 176 Commando Training .................................. 23 Concealed and Inobvious Weapons ........ 174 Concealed Weapons and Gadgets ........... 155 Contact........................................................ 117 Copper Hammer (weapon) .............. 169, 176 Counterpunching/counterstriking techniques .......................................... 131 Cover ........................................................... 142 Crane Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ............. 41 Creating Weapons ..................................... 187 Critical Hits ................................................ 156 Cutlass (weapon) ............................... 169, 176 CVs, effect of Grab on ............................... 145 Cyberpunk/Near Future Martial Arts....... 84 Cymbal (weapon) .............................. 169, 176 Damage Classes, Extra .............................. 101 Damage Reduction .................................... 122 Damage Resistance .................................... 122 Damage Shield ........................................... 131 Dancing Spider ............................................ 64 Danger Sense.............................................. 118 Darn Do (weapon) ............................ 169, 176 Death touch (dim mak) ............................ 123 Delima (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ............. 51 Dependent NPC ........................................ 135 Designing Martial Arts Styles .................... 88 Designing New Martial Arts .............. 88-103 Desolidification.......................................... 122 Dim mak (death touch) ............................ 123 Dirty Infighting/Fisticuffs/Cinematic Brawling ................................................ 23 Disabling Attacks ....................................... 156 Disadvantages ............................................ 135 Disarm ........................................................ 142 Disguising Damage ................................... 157 Dispel .......................................................... 123 Distinctive Features ................................... 135 Do versus Jutsu ............................................ 15 Doces Pares (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Dragon Style (substyle of Kung Fu) .......... 41 Dragon’s Tongue Arrow (weapon) .. 168, 174 Drain ..................................................... 123-24 Dropped Marbles (weapon) ............. 168, 176 Drunken Clown Kung Fu ........................... 65 Drunken Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ....... 40 Dumog (substyle of Wrestling).................. 61 Eagle Claw (substyle of Kung Fu) ............. 40 Elements, of Martial Maneuvers.. 91-97, 100 Enclosed spaces, Weapon Lengths and ... 165 Endokuken (weapon)........................ 168, 176 Energy Blast ............................................... 125 English School (substyle of Fencing) .. 26-27 Enhanced Senses ....................................... 125 Epee (weapon) ................................... 169, 177 External versus internal styles ................... 15 Extra Damage Classes ............................... 101 Extra Limbs ................................................ 127 Fang (weapon) ................................... 171, 177 Fantasy Hero, Binds in .............................. 142 Fantasy Martial Arts .................................... 84 Fast Draw .................................................... 114 Feints ........................................................... 127 Fencing.......................................................... 24 Fictional Martial Arts............................ 64-74 Fist-Load (weapon) ........................... 171, 177 Flying Claw (weapon) ....................... 171, 177 Flying Guillotine (weapon) .............. 171, 177

Flying Kick ................................................. 143 Fo (weapon) ....................................... 171, 177 Foil (weapon) ..................................... 169, 177 Follower ...................................................... 117 Force Wall ................................................... 127 Frameworks, Power ................................... 133 French School (substyle of Fencing) ......... 27 Fringe Benefits ........................................... 117 Frog-Crotch Arrow (weapon) .......... 168, 174 Fukimi-bari (weapon)....................... 168, 177 Fukiya (weapon) ................................ 168, 177 Fulfiller of Prophecy (character archetype) ........................................... 108 Full-Contact Karate Armor ...................... 186 Gada (weapon)................................... 171, 175 Garrotte (weapon) ............................. 171, 177 Gatka ............................................................. 26 Generic Martial Arts ................................... 27 Genin............................................................. 75 Gestures ...................................................... 133 Ghi (weapon) ..................................... 171, 177 Ghost Eye Techniques ................................. 66 Ghost Palm Techniques .............................. 66 Gikan Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu) .............. 46 Gliding ........................................................ 127 Glimae (substyle of Wrestling) .................. 61 Glossary ...................................................... 110 Goju-ryu (substyle of Karate) .................... 34 Golden Demon Kung Fu ............................ 67 Grab ............................................................. 143 Grab Weapon ............................................. 146 Grenade, Smoke (weapon) ............... 168, 178 Gulat (substyle of Wrestling) ..................... 61 Gyokko Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu) ........... 46 Gyokkushin Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu) ... 47 Hakko-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu) ............... 31 Hanbo (weapon) ................................ 171, 178 Hand Mace (weapon)........................ 169, 178 Hand to Hand Maneuvers ............................ 9 Hand-To-Hand Attack .............................. 127 Hand-Wrappings, leather and rawhide... 186 Hankyu (weapon) .............................. 168, 178 Hapkido ........................................................ 27 Harimau Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........................................ 51 Healing ........................................................ 127 Healing ........................................................ 158 Heidelberg School (substyle of Fencing) .. 27 Hikime Arrow (weapon) .................. 168, 174 Hindering Circumstances and Martial Arts ...................................................... 158 Hing kung ................................................... 127 Hisardut ........................................................ 27 Hit Locations Generally ............................................ 160 Martial Maneuvers and .................... 101 Honorable Ninja (character archetype) .. 108 Hook Sword (weapon) ...................... 169, 178 Horror Martial Arts..................................... 85 Hsing-I .......................................................... 28 HTH and Ranged Maneuvers, mixing .... 100 Hung Gar (substyle of Kung Fu) ............... 40 Hunted ........................................................ 136 Hwarang-Do ................................................ 29 Igabakama .................................................... 45 Ignoring Opponents .................................. 160 Indirect........................................................ 132 Infiltration Equipment, Ninja .................... 82 Inobvious and Concealed Weapons ........ 174 Internal versus external styles .................... 15 Interposing ................................................. 160 Invisible Power Effects .............................. 132 Iron Mandarin Duck (weapon) ....... 168, 178 Irritable Student (character archetype) .. 108 Isshin-Ryu (substyle of Karate) ................. 34 Italian School (substyle of Fencing) .......... 27 Itto Ryu (substyle of Kenjutsu) .................. 36 Jailhouse Rock.............................................. 29 Jeet Kune Do ................................................ 30 Jien (weapon) ..................................... 169, 178 Jigen-Ryu (substyle of Kenjutsu) ............... 36

Jo (weapon) ........................................ 171, 178 Joarare (weapon) ............................... 168, 174 Joint Locks and Related Maneuvers ........ 147 Jonin .............................................................. 75 Jujutsu ........................................................... 30 Jukenjutsu ..................................................... 32 Jusul (Hwarang-Do special ability) ........... 29 Jutsu versus Do ............................................ 15 Kage Ryu (substyle of Kenjutsu)................ 36 Kajukenbo (substyle of Karate) ................. 34 Kalaripayit .................................................... 32 Kama (weapon).................................. 171, 178 Kamayari (weapon) ........................... 171, 185 Kampfringen ................................................ 33 Kanzashi (weapon) ............................ 171, 178 Kapak (weapon) ................................. 168, 178 Karate ............................................................ 33 Karate Armor ............................................. 186 Kashima (substyle of Kenjutsu) ................. 36 Katana (weapon)................................ 169, 178 Kelantan (substyle of Bersilat) ................... 20 Kendari Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ... 51 Kendo Armor ............................................. 186 Kenjutsu ........................................................ 35 Kenpo (substyle of Karate) ......................... 34 Kerojok.......................................................... 49 Ki ............................................................... 15 Kiai Powers (Multipower) ........................ 134 Kick-boxing, Thai ........................................ 58 Kickboxing (substyle of Karate) ................ 34 Kickboxing Champion (character archetype) ........................................... 108 Kickboxing Cop (character archetype)... 108 Kid (character archetype) ......................... 108 Killing Attack, Ranged .............................. 128 Killing Throw ............................................. 147 Kirisutogomen (Fringe Benefit) .............. 117 Kiseru (weapon) ................................ 171, 178 Kito-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu).................... 31 Knight-Errant (character archetype) ...... 109 Knockback and Martial Arts .................... 161 Knockback Resistance .............................. 128 Knowledge Skills........................................ 115 Knuck-Knife (weapon) ..................... 169, 178 Ko-Gatana (weapon) ......................... 169, 178 Koarare (weapon) .............................. 168, 174 Kobujutsu (variant of Karate) .................... 34 Korogi Taijutsu ............................................ 76 Koshti (substyle of Wrestling).................... 61 Koto Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu) ................ 47 Krabi-Krabong ............................................. 58 Krav Maga .................................................... 37 Kris (weapon)..................................... 169, 179 Kuk Sool Won .............................................. 37 Kukri (weapon) .................................. 169, 179 Kukushinden Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu)............................................... 47 Kumango Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........................................ 51 Kumogakure Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu)............................................... 47 Kung Fu ........................................................ 38 Kunoichi ....................................................... 75 Kuntao........................................................... 43 Kusari (weapon) ................................ 170, 179 Kusari-fundo (weapon) .................... 170, 179 Kusarigama (weapon) ....................... 170, 179 Kwan Dao (weapon).................... 171, 182-83 Kyogetsu Shoge (weapon) ................ 170, 179 Kyokushinkai (substyle of Karate) ............ 34 Kyujutsu ........................................................ 43 Lack Of Weakness ..................................... 128 Lacoste (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Lajatang (weapon) ............................. 171, 179 Language ..................................................... 116 Largo Mano (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Leaping........................................................ 128 Learning Martial Arts ................................. 10 Leather Hand-Wrappings ......................... 186

Hero Games Lee, Bruce ..................................................... 30 Leopard Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ......... 41 Lightning Reflexes ..................................... 118 Limitations ................................................. 133 Limitations, for weapons creation ........... 187 Lin Kuei .................................................. 16, 83 Long Fist (substyle of Kung Fu) ................ 40 Lua 44 Luck ............................................................. 128 Maashira ....................................................... 86 Main-Gauche (weapon) .................... 169, 179 Makila (weapon)................................ 171, 179 Mallayuddha (substyle of Wrestling) ........ 61 Mana ............................................................. 15 Maneuvers and Weapons ............................ 10 Maneuvers Basis .......................................... 90 Manriki-Gusari (weapon) ................ 170, 179 Martial arts Archetypes .......................................... 107 Designing new ones/styles ......... 88-103 Fictional .......................................... 64-74 In other genres ..................................... 84 Maneuvers, designing ......................... 89 Other ways to build .......................... 103 Power Advantages for ....................... 104 Real world............................................. 15 Weapons ....................................... 167-86 Martial Escape ........................................... 147 Martial Maneuvers Generally ................................................ 8 Using weapons with ............................ 10 Master (character archetype) ................... 109 Melee Weapons Table ........................ 169-172 Mental Defense .......................................... 128 Metsubishi (weapon)................... 168, 179-80 Mijin (substyle of Kenjutsu) ...................... 36 Miscellaneous Equipment, Ninja............... 83 Missile Deflection And Reflection .......... 129 Mist Viper Taijutsu ...................................... 76 Mixing and Matching Archetypes .......... 107 Mixing HTH and Ranged Maneuvers .... 100 Miyamoto Musashi................................ 35, 37 Modern American ninja ............................. 83 Modern Day Samurai (character archetype) ........................................... 109 Modifying and Building Styles .................. 10 Money ......................................................... 117 Mongoose Style .................................... 97, 101 Monkey Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ......... 40 Mourn Staff (weapon) ....................... 171, 180 Move By/Move Through ........................... 147 Muay Thai (Thai Kick-boxing) .................. 58 Muk’na .......................................................... 58 Mundane Ninja Abilities............................. 78 Musashi, Miyamoto ............................... 35, 37 Muto (substyle of Kenjutsu)....................... 36 Mystery Damage ........................................ 162 Mystic Ninja Abilities .................................. 79 Naban (substyle of Wrestling) ................... 61 Nagedeppo (weapon) ........................ 168, 180 Naginata (weapon) ............................ 171, 180 Naginatajutsu/Sojutsu ................................. 45 Naive Hero/Heroine (character archetype) ........................................... 109 Navaja (weapon) ................................ 170, 180 Nekote (weapon) ............................... 171, 180 Nerve Strike ................................................ 148 New and Multiple Styles, learning ............. 12 Nine-Dragon Trident (weapon) ...... 171, 180 Nine-Ring Sword (weapon) ............. 170, 180 Ninja From Other Lands ............................... 83 Gear and Equipment ........................... 82 Package Deal ........................................ 75 Special Abilities .................................... 78 Ninja-To (weapon) ...................... 170, 180-81 Ninjutsu Basic ...................................................... 45 Advanced ........................................ 75-83 Ninjutsu/Taijutsu, Variant Styles of ..... 76-78 Nito (substyle of Kenjutsu) ........................ 37 No-Daichi (weapon) ......................... 170, 181 Nunchaku (weapon) ......................... 171, 181 Okol (substyle of Wrestling) ...................... 61

195 Optional Rules and Special Cases ..... 154-66 Other Styles .................................................. 63 Pakua ............................................................. 47 Pamur (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) .............. 51 Pankration .................................................... 48 Parang (weapon) ................................ 170, 181 Partial Maneuvers ...................................... 149 Patai Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........ 51 Paths of the Seven Ghost Sisters ................ 67 Pauh Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........ 51 Pedang (weapon) ............................... 170, 181 Pekiti Tersia (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Pendjepit (weapon) ........................... 171, 181 Pentjak-Silat ................................................. 49 Perisai Diri (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ...... 51 Perquisites................................................... 117 Petjat (weapon) .................................. 171, 181 Philosopher (character archetype) .......... 109 Poluraathkaa ................................................ 85 Power Advantages Generally ............................................ 131 For Martial Maneuvers ..................... 104 Power Defense ........................................... 129 Power Frameworks .................................... 133 Power Limitations ..................................... 133 Powers Generally ............................................ 119 Resisting Throw with ........................ 153 Used in Weapon Creation ................ 187 Prana ............................................................. 15 Praying Mantis Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ............................................... 41 Prisai Sakti (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ...... 51 Professional Skill........................................ 116 Professional Wrestling ................................ 62 Psychological Limitation .......................... 136 Pulp Era Martial Arts .................................. 85 Puñal (weapon).................................. 170, 181 Pushback ..................................................... 161 Qwan Ki Do ................................................. 52 Ranged and HTH Maneuvers, mixing .... 100 Ranged Martial Arts Generally ...................................... 99-100 And Weapon Types ............................. 10 Ranged Martial Maneuvers Table................ 9 Ranged Weapons Table ............................. 168 Rante (weapon) .................................. 170, 179 Rapier (weapon) ................................ 170, 181 Razor Dancing ............................................. 84 Razor, Straight (weapon) .................. 170, 181 Re-Efi Areh-Ehsee ....................................... 53 Real World Martial Arts.............................. 15 Reduced Penetration ................................. 133 Redundant Maneuvers ................................ 89 Repeticion (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Reputation (Disadvantage) ...................... 137 Reputation (Perk) ...................................... 117 Resplendent Dragon Kung Fu ................... 68 Ring Needle (weapon) ...................... 171, 181 Rings (weapon) .................................. 171, 181 Rivalry ......................................................... 138 Rokushakubo (Staff ) (weapon) ............... 174 Roleplaying Combat.................................. 144 Ronin (character archetype) .................... 109 Root ............................................................. 149 Rope Dart (weapon).......................... 171, 181 Sabre (weapon) .................................. 170, 181 Sai (weapon) ................................. 171, 181-82 Saijutsu .......................................................... 53 Sambo (substyle of Wrestling) ................... 61 Samurai (character archetype) ................. 109 Samurai Armor .......................................... 187 Sandang Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) .. 51 Savate............................................................. 53 Schlaegar Swordfighting (substyle of Fencing) ........................................... 27 Schlaeger (weapon) ........................... 170, 182 Science Fiction/Far Future Martial Arts ........................................................ 86 Science Skill ................................................ 116 Sense Ch’i ................................................... 126 Sequence Attacks ....................................... 163

Serada (substyle of Arnis/Kali/Escrima) .. 18 Serious Student (character archetype) .... 110 Setia Hati (substyle of Pentjak-Silat)......... 52 Sevillian Knifefighting ................................ 54 Shaolin Animal styles (substyles of Kung Fu) ............................................... 41 Shinai (weapon) ................................. 170, 182 Shinden Fudo Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu)............................................... 47 Shinobi-Zue (weapon) ...................... 171, 182 Shinobifuku .................................................. 45 Shinobijutsu ................................................. 75 Shinobizukin ................................................ 45 Shito-Ryu (substyle of Karate) ................... 34 Shorei-Ryu (substyle of Karate) ................. 35 Shorin-Ryu (substyle of Karate) ................ 35 Shorinji Kempo (substyle of Kung Fu) ..... 41 Shotokan (substyle of Karate) .................... 35 Shove ........................................................... 149 Shuai-chiao (substyle of Wrestling) .......... 61 Shuko (weapon) ................................. 171, 182 Shuriken (weapon) ............................ 168, 182 Shurikenjutsu ............................................... 54 Sidekick (character archetype) ................ 110 Silent Path Taijutsu ...................................... 77 Silken Blade Kung Fu .................................. 70 Simgomdo .................................................... 55 Simulate Death........................................... 118 Skills ............................................................ 112 Skinsplitter Arrow (weapon) ............ 168, 174 Sleight Of Hand ......................................... 116 Sling Bow (weapon) .......................... 168, 182 Snake Style (substyle of Kung Fu) ............. 41 Social Limitation ....................................... 138 Soft Hammer (weapon) .................... 169, 182 Sosuishitsu-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu) ....... 31 Spanish School (substyle of Fencing) ....... 27 Special Cases and Optional Rules ..... 154-66 Speedster Martial Arts ................................ 71 Splendid Fist ................................................. 71 Spread-The-Water Knife (weapon) ..................................... 170, 182 Stances......................................................... 129 Standard Maneuvers ................................. 150 Steel Olive (weapon) ......................... 168, 182 Steel Toad (weapon) .......................... 168, 182 Sterlak Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ..... 52 Style Descriptions .......................................... 8 Style Distinctive Feature ........................... 135 Styles Additional ones not described elsewhere .............................................. 63 Designing new ones .................... 88-103 Modifying and building...................... 10 Suio (substyle of Kenjutsu) ........................ 37 Sulsa .............................................................. 83 Sumo Wrestling............................................ 55 Super-Soldier (character archetype) ....... 110 Superhero Martial Arts ............................... 87 Sweep .......................................................... 150 Sword-Spear (weapon) ..................... 171, 182 Tabi 45 Tae Kwon Do ................................................ 55 Tai Ch’i Ch’uan............................................. 56 Tai-Dao (weapon)........................ 171, 182-83 Taijutsu, Variant Styles of ...................... 76-78 Takagi Yoshin Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu)............................................... 47 Takeaway..................................................... 152 Takenouchi-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu) ....... 31 Takijutsu ....................................................... 72 Talents ......................................................... 118 Tameshiwara ................................................ 34 Tang Soo Do ................................................. 57 Tanto (weapon) .................................. 170, 183 Tapak Sutji (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ...... 52 Targeting Injured Areas ............................ 165 Tasawwaf .............................................. 50, 179 Tegumi (substyle of Wrestling) .................. 61 Telekinesis .................................................. 130 Tenjin-Shinyo-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu) .. 31 Terelak (substyle of Bersilat) ...................... 20 Tetsu-To (weapon) ............................ 170, 183 Tetsubishi (weapon) .......................... 168, 183

Tetsubo (weapon) .............................. 171, 183 Thai Kick-boxing ......................................... 58 Than Vo Dao ................................................ 59 Thang-Ta ....................................................... 58 Three-Section Staff (weapon) .......... 171, 183 Throw .................................................... 152-53 Thunder Dragon Kung Fu .......................... 73 Tiger Fork (weapon) ......................... 171, 183 Tiger Style (substyle of Kung Fu) .............. 41 Timbe (weapon) ................................ 171, 184 Tjaluk (weapon)................................. 170, 184 Tjampur Silat (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ........................................ 52 Tjimande (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ......... 52 Tjingkrik (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ......... 52 Toami (Net) (weapon) ...................... 168, 184 Togakure Ryu (substyle of Ninjutsu) ........ 47 Toledo (substyle of Arnis/Kali/Escrima) .. 18 Tonfa (weapon) .................................. 171, 184 Transfer ....................................................... 130 Transform ................................................... 130 Tridharma (substyle of Pentjak-Silat) ....... 52 Trigger ......................................................... 132 Trulkor .......................................................... 83 Tsubute (weapon) .............................. 168, 184 Tuju 50 Tunneling.................................................... 130 Twisting the Blade ..................................... 165 Uechi-ryu (substyle of Karate) .................. 35 Ueshiba, Morihei ......................................... 15 Umebi (weapon) ................................ 171, 184 Unsinbbop (Hwarang-Do special ability) ................................................... 29 Unwilling Fighter (character archetype) ........................................... 110 Urumi (weapon) ................................ 170, 184 Variable Advantage .................................... 132 Variant Styles of Taijutsu ...................... 76-78 Vigilante Martial Artist (character archetype) ........................................... 110 Villabrille (substyle of Arnis/Kali/ Escrima)................................................ 18 Vital Points ................................................ 148 Vovinam Viet Vo Dao ................................. 59 Vulnerability......................................... 139-40 Wado-Ryu (substyle of Karate).................. 35 Wakizashi (weapon) .......................... 170, 184 War Fan (weapon) ............................. 171, 184 Warrior-Monk (character archetype) ..... 110 Water Equipment, Ninja ............................. 82 Way of the Night Dragon ........................... 77 Weapons Creating .............................................. 187 Flourish ............................................... 131 Lengths ......................................... 164-65 Martial arts weapons ................... 167-86 Martial Maneuvers used with .... 10, 102 Ranges ................................................. 164 Weapons Combat ........................................ 59 Whipfighting ................................................ 60 White Crane (substyle of Kung Fu) .......... 42 White Eyebrow (substyle of Kung Fu) ...... 42 Wild West Martial Arts ............................... 87 Willow Leaf Arrow (weapon) .......... 168, 174 Wind and Fire Wheels (weapon)171, 184-85 Wing Chun (substyle of Kung Fu) ............ 42 Wishful Steel Ball (weapon) ............. 168, 185 Wolf ’s Teeth Staff (weapon) ............. 171, 185 Wounds ....................................................... 165 Wrestling....................................................... 61 Wrestling, Professional ............................... 62 Yaghliguresh (substyle of Wrestling) ........ 61 Yagyu Shinkage (substyle of Kenjutsu)..... 37 Yari (weapon) ..................................... 171, 185 Yoroi-Toshi (weapon) ....................... 170, 185 Yoshin-Ryu (substyle of Jujutsu) ............... 31 Yu-Sool.......................................................... 62 Yumi (weapon) .................................. 168, 185 Zen Riflery .................................................... 73 Zero Gravity and Martial Arts ................. 166 Zero Gravity Combat .................................. 87 Zipota ............................................................ 63

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