Friday, December 18, 2015

Martial Arts: Combination Attacks Example

The rules for combination attacks in Martial Arts were a little confusing to me, but I believe I have unraveled them. I think they are still a bit complicated, so for future reference, I will spell out here the process of creating a two-hit combination attack involving a sweep with a quarterstaff followed up by a Stamp Kick to the face.

Gather Information

Combination attacks are found on page 80 of Martial Arts, and it is basically a rule for creating a custom special move that is basically an extension of the Rapid Strike mechanic using techniques. Our combination attack will use three different techniques to achieve this effect. The first technique is Sweep (Quarterstaff) presented on page 81. The second technique is Stamp Kick, on p. 80. The final technique is Targeted Attack (Kick/Skull), explained on p. 68.


Sweep (Quarterstaff) is the easy part, it is a -3 technique, based on Quarterstaff skill. For the sake of this example, let's say we have a Quarterstaff skill of 16. Since Quarterstaff is 16, and Sweep (Quarterstaff) is Quarterstaff -3, that makes Sweep (Quarterstaff) a 13 until we improve the technique.
Stamp Kick is -3 from Brawling. Let's say we have a Brawling skill of 14. That would make Stamp Kick, which is Brawling - 3 equal to 11.
The technique, Targeted Attack (Kick/Skull) is -7 from Brawling. We want to use it in conjunction with Stamp Kick, so that makes it -7 from a technique that is -3 from brawling. -7 + -3 is -10 So that means:
Targeted Attack (Stamp Kick/Skull) is Brawling - 10= 14 - 10 = 4.

Now that we know that the first move [Sweep (Quarterstaff)] is at 13, and the second move [Targeted Attack (Stamp Kick/Skull)] is at 4 we can start the next step.
We combine the 2 attacks and we add -6, a penalty that includes the -4 penalty for rapid strikes and some more for the usefulness of a combination attack.

An important note, if our hypothetical character had any of the typical Trained By a Master or Weapon Master techniques, the -6 penalty would become -3. Check Martial Arts, p. 88 for more information.

To properly format this ability we write it like this:

Combination( Sweep(Quarterstaff) + Targeted Attack(Stamp Kick/Skull)) -7 + -2

That is not "Negative seven plus negative two" at the end, by the way, it is "hyphen seven plus negative two." That is, the 7 comes from the Sweep (Quarterstaff) at 13, minus the 6 we get from the penalty of the combination attack. "-2" is similarly the 4 from Targeted Attack (Stamp Kick/Skull), minus 6 for the penalty of being a combination attack.

Now, this is a very unreliable technique right now, in fact, impossible, with our modest skill investment. But as we have a trickle down effect with attributes to skills, and skills to techniques, the same goes for techniques to combinations. So improving any of the basic attributes, skills, or techniques referenced by this combination attack will also improve it.

To get to Combination( Sweep(Quarterstaff) + Targeted Attack(Stamp Kick/Skull)) 13+4, we need to invest 9 points to get all of the -6 penalty from both skills to go away.

We can make it even better if we invest 5 points in Targeted Attack (Kick/Skull), Which will make it Brawling - 3 (or 11.) And this will make the ability of the combination attack:

Combination( Sweep(Quarterstaff) + Targeted Attack(Stamp Kick/Skull)) 13+8

Because of the trickle down effect. If we max out the Stamp Kick technique, which costs 4 points, we also make the combination attack better. That makes Stamp Kick 3 skill levels higher, which makes the 8 in the combination attack also 3 levels higher, so it becomes:

Combination( Sweep(Quarterstaff) + Targeted Attack(Stamp Kick/Skull)) 13+11

We can also independently max out Sweep (Quarterstaff) by spending 4 points. If we spend that, Sweep (Quarterstaff) becomes a 16 just like the Quarterstaff skill, and once again the difference trickles down to the combination attack and we get:

Combination( Sweep(Quarterstaff) + Targeted Attack(Stamp Kick/Skull)) 16+11


For an investment of 22 points, we begin to have a reliable combination attack. The first piece of this attack seems reliable enough, but it looks like we could stand to throw some more points in dexterity or brawling to make the second piece work a bit better. Overall, I think the process is still a little difficult to suss out. Someone with Trained By A Master can save 3 points because of their less harsh penalty, so combination attacks are a more attractive option for expert martial artists, but conceivably, not a bad one for people that have the basic techniques already mastered anyway.

I was told the original version was a little difficult to read, so I rewrote it a bit. I hope it is easier now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...