View Full Version : The Land of the Warriors (Age of the Warriors subdivision)

2010-06-18, 06:55 PM
So; I'm currently working on the flavor section of the Age of the Warriors (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134088&page=21)project.
Unfortunately, this task is quite extensive, and I'm looking for collaborators so that we can finish the project as quickly and well as possible. I'd greatly appreciate the effort of anyone willing to help.

The Age of Warriors project introduces a large number of 'lesser disciplines' - disciplines that, for various reasons, are very obscure, with only small and distant followings.
Our task is to weave these disciplines, as well as the legacy weapons some of them are tied to (being worked on in the Age of Artisans (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156540) thread), into one cohesive and coherent narrative of the Sublime Way and its history.
Some of these disciplines have background provided by the authors, but others have nothing; here's a full list:

Army of One - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Black Heron- Done
Black Lotus - No fluff
Blood Sage - Done
Broken Blade - Done
Chthonic Serpent - Done
Coin's Edge - Done
Dancing Leaf - Done
Dread Crown - Done
Falcon's Eye - No fluff
Falling Anvil - Done
Falling Wave - Done
Far Realm - Done
Fool's Grip - Done
Gentle Breeze - No fluff
Golden Saint - Done
Holy Word - No fluff
Infinite Torment - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Iron Rain - ?
Kaleidoscopic Dream - Done
Knowing Heart - No fluff
Leaping Gale - Done
Lost Lyrics - No fluff
Masked Moon - Done
Mental Grip - Done
Monkey Paw - Done
Mystic Cobra - ?
Narrow Bridge - Done
Nightingale Feather - ?
Ninefold Damnation - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Ocean Tempest - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Oncoming Storm - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Piercing Point - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Placid Lake - Done
Quicksilver Aegis - Done
Rending Scream - Done
Scarlet Bravura - Done
Scarlet Rose - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Sleeping Goddess - Done
Silver Crane - Done
Silver Pegasus - Done
Solaris Arcanum - Done
Steel Mountain - Partially done, could use some more fluff
True Arrow - Done
Twin Spirit - Done
Untamed Essence - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Viper Fang - Done
Way of the Gear - Partially done, could use some more fluff
Witch Razor - Done

Links to these can be found in the Age of Warriors archives, here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7623906).


2010-06-18, 07:11 PM
Chthonic Serpent already has something of a backstory, but I'm more than happy to work on anything related to it. For other disciplines or the overall stuff, I'm unsure, but I'll be following the thread and if anything piques my interest I'll let you know.

2010-06-18, 11:24 PM
Knowing Heart also has a backstory written.

Anything that doesn't fit elsewhere can be crammed into The Masters' Circle (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134088&page=14#post7821241).

If we're going to include True Arrow and Falling Star at all, we could romanticize what we did to explain the repetition: Those two schools were independently invented by the elvish communities of the forested hills and the hilly forests respectively (these regions are thousands of miles apart). Centuries later, when both realms were ruled by a great human conqueror, practitioners of the two schools met. They were greatly disturbed to learn of eachother. At last, the greatest masters of both, along with martial experts from throughout the empire, gathered at the town of Kinea. For 27 days, they neither ate nor rested, but argued, pondered and shot arrows. Scribes, lacking the masters' mystic stamina, took minutes in shifts, and the written account of the council of Kinea is beloved by scholars. In the end, they proclaimed three disciplines, and all the great masters refused to again teach the old disciplines, saying they were flawed and the new ones were closer to truth. On the 28th day, having rested, eaten and begun packing to return to their homelands, they realized they had not named the new disciplines. A new flurry of hasty discussion ensued, and the names "Falcon's Eye" and "Iron Rain" were quickly agreed on. Alas, they could not so easily agree on a third name. As many grew impatient to depart, they accepted "Nightingale Feather", which no one deeply hated, but many continued to call it by other names which they preferred, and the writings have come down to us muddied. Since the breaking of the council, a few maneuvers have been added by great masters, but mostly the schools remain as they were proclaimed.

Frog Dragon
2010-06-19, 06:21 AM
Aww, my discipline is missing again. Piercing Point (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141042)

2010-06-19, 06:38 AM
If we're going to include True Arrow and Falling Star at all, we could romanticize what we did
Genius Move... I like it.

2010-06-19, 01:17 PM
Monkey Paw (which I renamed Maula Kae sometime after I created it) has a backstory, some of it told through the legacy weapon and is basically what the goliath style of wrestling became known as when it was taught to non-goliaths.

2010-06-19, 02:53 PM
Aww, my discipline is missing again. Piercing Point (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141042)

I apologize. It's there now.

So, let's start by asking ourselves a few questions:
How was the Sublime Way created? (This may or may not be important).
What led to its popularization?
What was it like before Reshar?
What are people's general views on it?
How has it affected the world of the Nine Swords throughout history?

Personally, I imagine that the Sublime Way has been used, throughout time, as a way of resolving conflicts without having to resort to large-scale war; instead of massing armies and fighting devastating wars, two kingdoms or factions would each supply a champion or two, who would battle instead.

What are everyone's thoughts?

2010-06-19, 05:48 PM
Broken Blade (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122533) and Narrow Bridge (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113982) both have fluff already. Copying from original threads for convenience:

Narrow Bridge:
The Narrow Bridge was first studied by an order of monks who studied the border of life and death. The practitioners of The Narrow Bridge understand that death and life are more closely intertwined than most realize. Those trained in the proper martial arts can cross the narrow bridge that separates life from unlife. While most practitioners of The Narrow Bridge are living, it is not uncommon for undead martial warriors to also dabble in the techniques.

Although the discipline involves much use of negative energy and undeath, it also involves the use of positive energy and the ability to combat the undead. It is thus not wholly evil, but a mix of powers.

The great masters of the discipline realized the ease at which the discipline could be abused and so were very careful to not teach the discipline to many outsiders. Traditionally, a master would take on a single disciple at a time, one whose ethics and outlooks matched those of the master. However, over time the discipline has slowly become more widely practiced.

The Narrow Bridge was never taught at the Temple of Nine Swords. Due to its association with necromancy and the undead, Reshar disliked the discipline and thus never dedicated much time studying it although he did locate a master who was willing to teach him the basics. In addition to his own dislike, the highly specialized nature of much of the discipline and the reticence of masters to teach it has stopped many martial warriors from taking too much effort to master its techniques.

Broken Blade

"This study could as well be a study in irony rather than a study in The Sublime Way. Our internal disputes for so long have focused on which of the nine discipline was supreme. Despite that, in our readiness to now fight amongst our brethren, we have learned how foolish that argument is; None of the nine are supreme. Truly, they are not even distinct paths. There is only one Sublime Way. If Reshar is watching, even as he takes joy in our work, he must be crying at what it took for us to get to here."
- Words written by the last Master of the Diamond Mind, from an apparently unfinished letter found in the ruins of the Temple of Nine Swords. The intended recipient is unknown.

After the exile of the Shadow and Tiger Masters from the Temple of Nine Swords, some of the remaining Masters worried that they might one day need to combat the other the two renegade Masters along with possibly some of their apprentices who had left with them that day. Thus, they considered attempting to develop martial skills devoted to defeating other martial adepts. The Council of Masters officially decided not to condone such study, believing that it would further inflame the tensions in the Temple. Despite this, the Master of Stone Dragon, Master of Diamond Mind, one of the best apprentices of White Raven, and the new Master of the Shadow Hand and a handful of lesser apprentices worked together to develop a new discipline.

To develop this new discipline, they tried to focus on the commonalities among all the martial disciplines to thus better understand their weaknesses. The discipline they tried to develop revealed to them that all martial disciplines could be best thought of as facets of a single all encompassing discipline. Truly, there was only one Sublime Way. Due to the lack of official approval, only a small number studied the discipline.

The discipline was not finished by the time the attack of the Shadow Tiger army came. Indeed, some historians and swordsages have pointed to an additional irony that if the Masters studying this discipline has instead turned their sight outwards they might have noticed the gathering armies in time.

After the fall of the Temple, a handful of the surviving apprentices who had studied the basics of the discipline gathered together. They decided to honor their fallen masters and honor the philosophy of the Temple by completing the new discipline and teaching it to others. However, the discipline did not have the wide-ranging ability to completely encompass all disciplines as they had hoped. Whether this was due to a flaw in the underlying philosophy or the fact that they were simply not as skilled as the great Masters is unknown.

Where the name of the discipline came from is also uncertain. It may have arisen from the disciplines ability to defeat other martial adepts or possibly out of memory for the fallen Temple of Nine Swords. Still others say that the Blade in the title is in fact a stand in for the misconception that the different disciplines are fundamentally different and that this blade must be broken to truly understand this discipline.

I apologize. It's there now.

So, let's start by asking ourselves a few questions:
How was the Sublime Way created? (This may or may not be important).
What led to its popularization?
What was it like before Reshar?
What are people's general views on it?
How has it affected the world of the Nine Swords throughout history?

Do we want to focus this much on detailed fluff? Some of this, such as the creation of the Sublime Way is already in ToB. I would think that focusing much more on this is going to construct more fluff than necessary which could instead be constructed by DMs as it fits into their worlds. Some of this will also be very difficult to address in any general fashion that would be at all useful. For example, people might react to a Narrow Bridge disciple very differently than a Golden Saint disciple (and yes, before anyone points it out, I'm aware of the emo potential in Narrow Bridge. Hopefully no one will try to make a character who is a good dark elf who uses the Narrow Bridge techniques.)

2010-06-19, 07:10 PM
Hopefully no one will try to make a character who is a good dark elf who uses the Narrow Bridge techniques.

Hm, now that you mention it...

But in all seriousness, you make a good point. Not everyone will be interested in running a game in the Nine Swords world specific to the Tome of Battle, and lots of people dislike the ToB specifically because they don't like the fluff.
So we'll stick to the disciplines. I'll make note of those that have fluff already, and then let's decide who should do which of the remaining.

Is anyone interested in fluffing a particular discipline or disciplines?

Edit: In the list of disciplines at the top of this thread, I've added the "fluff status" of each discipline.

2010-06-19, 07:54 PM
Guess I will do some copy-paste too...

Falling Anvil
It was said that the grand master of this discipline first came upon it when he missed a turn at Albuquerque.* Some suggest that rather than a discipline that the way of the Falling Anvil is actually a mental disorder. This is quite plausible, but if so it is a mental disorder that those whose minds are attuned to the sublime way are especially prone to. The concept that the sublime way has anything to do with this opening of the way directly is firmly rejected by proponents of this theory. Rather they claim that those who still have a small part of them self that wishes they weren't training so hard, or, indeed that they had never taken up the sublime way at all. This part of them feels that the power granted by such study really isn't worth the effort, and would rather simply listen to a good tale they have heard 50 times before than to actually do anything particularly productive. The opponents of this point of view claim that students of the Falling Anvil find power in simplicity and ridiculousness. That appreciating that the universe is, in some sense, one big joke, allows them to direct the tragedy of misfortune befalling others that is at the core of that cosmic comedy at others while avoiding harm themselves. Whatever the case, both sides agree that those who have set foot on this path are extremely vexing foes and that they literally have the universe working in their favor. and they KNOW it. Martial adepts who have not gone down this road may not be sure EXACTLY what those who have know, but even such outsiders will acknowledge that initiates of the Falling Anvil DO know it.**

* Credit for this line goes to Elliot20.
**Edited from suggestion by one Witty Dodo.

Reshar never studied this discipline, considering it utterly beneath not only himself, but anyone worthy of the least respect. He did, however, say that his mastery of the Diamond Mind discipline reached new heights when he accidentally offended a master of the Falling Anvil and managed to NOT attack him for the entirety of their 22 minute (30 minutes with interruptions) confrontation.

The associated skill for the Falling Anvil discipline is Bluff.

Mechanically, there are two ways to master the discipline. The first is to have been trained in it intentionally, via the inclusion of prank-wars and seeking the services of bards or experts with ranks in Perform(Comedy) (often on the stages at various taverns), or to have "contracted" it from the stress of your training regime as a novice. If you choose to make a martial adept that has already been trained in or contracted the Falling Anvil discipline, you simply replace one discipline that adept could normally learn with maneuvers from with the Falling Anvil discipline. He loses the associated skill of the replaced discipline as a class skill, but gains Bluff as a class skill.

The other way is to seek out a master of the Falling Anvil discipline–a martial adept capable of using at least 5th-level maneuvers from the discipline–and training under him. You must train for a month under the master, and spend 1,000 xp at the end of your training. Alternatively you must suffer a psychotic episode, and spend at least a month confined to a sanitarium, or other mental institution, being unsuccessfully treated. This costs the same 1,000 xp. In either case, you gain the ability to learn maneuvers from the Falling Anvil discipline, and add Bluff to your martial adept class’s list of class skills. In addition, you may exchange your maneuvers known for maneuvers of the Falling Anvil discipline. You may exchange one maneuver of each level, and the new maneuvers you learn must be of the same level as the exchanged maneuvers, unlike normal.
Is it too soon for us/me to start thinking about which of the option I outlined earlier for the "humorous-version" Temple of Nine Swords policy on students with Falling Anvil Maneuvers?
Options, break down into two axis I think:
Axis I:
1.) Not allowed in, expelled if developed (either as quarantine or as punishment).
2.) Not allowed in, development later tolerated (perhaps only if a certain degree of honor/progress shown both before and after that point).
3.) Allowed in, development later at least tolerated.
4.) Falling Anvil students specifically sought out and invited to the temple, BECAUSE the discipline is so unusual (spontaneously occurring at least some of the time, draws power from a very unusual source), probably well treated, including socially, but the primary objective was more "study them" than "teach them", although teaching them would be part of the best way of studying them. Propagation and sharing of the discipline (almost certainly Reshar's goal in uniting the nine disciplines in the first place), seen as superfluous due to spontaneous occurrences.

Axis II (only applies in cases 2 through 4 above) :
1.) Falling Anvil students allowed to mix freely, and Falling Anvil even taught informally, much like you might see speed chess or other variants being practiced at a tournament chess-focused summer camp.
2.) Falling Anvil taught even in formal classes, but publicly denied so as to maintain public image, possibly even a Master with equal say in administration of the temple to the nine other "board members" (Reshar being the president during his tenure) masters of the nine. The very unlikeliness of this scenario might suit it well to a humor campaign.
3.) Falling Anvil students forbidden from practicing such maneuvers publicly, but allowed to refine them with eachother in isolated areas.
4.) Falling Anvil students forbidden from practicing such maneuvers even with eachother, either as a distraction from their "true studies" or in hopes of "curing" them.
5.) Falling Anvil students quarantined to specific dorm, encouraged or discouraged from practicing it with eachother, but discouraged from even socializing with other students.

Part I have written (although it may not fit the established terminology, and will probably need tweaking to fit the fluff that the rest of this thread writes, and is dependent on the above choices):

The fighting grew even heavier on the third day, with the Shadow Tiger Horde pressing the attack from all directions. Mira Sepuk, Grand Pooba of Ridiculousness, and president of the dorm that those infected with Falling Anvil were quarantined in, begged permission of the Council of Masters to escape, since it was obvious that the aim of the horde was nothing less than the elimination of Reshar's legacy. She was granted this, provided she took as many other students as she could with her. The next day she mounted the battlements in clothing made of paper, and constructed the second largest slingshot ever to be historically documented. The ones being left behind bit their tongues at her odd mode of dress, and it was not until she was being helped into the cup of the slingshot along-side the other passengers to be fired that it was realized that she was wearing a copy of some of Reshar's teachings, thus saving a few more chapters with her, since her pack was overflowing with books of the great teacher's words. The method to her madness brought tears to the eyes of the one helping her (whose name has been lost to history), but it is known that he or she swore bloody vengeance on the spot on any who would there-after claim that the Path Of The Falling Anvil was fundamentally disrespectful to the Nine Paths. Of those fired, only one was intercepted mid-air, and even that one slew his foe in a free-fall duel before crashing to her death on the earth below. Mira and about half of the others fired fled to attempt to preserve Reshar's legacy elsewhere, while the rest turned back to attack the rear of the Shadow Horde in concert with the efforts of Mr. Senko. Matthew Senko, an illusionist of the Shadowhand school, managed to delay the Horde with a brilliantly executed foray comprised mostly of illusionary troops who he conjured up further illusions of individual Rakasha illusions to fight against, thus simulating a death-or-glory charge that diverted the attacks on all but the main gate. He died leading the charge, but not before creating sufficient chaos to allow the defenders time to repair several damaged portions of the walls.

2010-06-19, 07:58 PM
Hm, now that you mention it...

But in all seriousness, you make a good point. Not everyone will be interested in running a game in the Nine Swords world specific to the Tome of Battle, and lots of people dislike the ToB specifically because they don't like the fluff.
So we'll stick to the disciplines. I'll make note of those that have fluff already, and then let's decide who should do which of the remaining.

Actually you might check this in the main thread... I think we were going to keep all the fluff from ToB basically the same, including Reshar and the Temple and so on.

2010-06-19, 11:35 PM
I find it particularly amusing that you say that my Black Heron discipline is partially done, with me having completed it a year ago. Good grief. And if you're not going to be calling it by the right name, I'd prefer you didn't use it or Silver Crane at all.


2010-06-20, 02:56 PM
Again, my apologies. Both of those are fixed now.

If anyone else has corrections, I'd be happy to hear them.