View Full Version : [3.5/PF]Book of Arts, or Martial Arts in D&D[WIP, PEACH]

2013-10-28, 10:55 AM

Martial Arts, Wushu, the Jianghu... all of that is often poorly designed in D&D. I know about ToB, but it's often stayin capped in the "somehow plausible mundane" range, which martial arts are often not in movies. The work I'll expose here is, right now, largely in progress : Martial Artswill need tons of work to be diversified, flavorfull, and cool.

On design :
-Martial Artists are supposed to be balanced of body and mind, thus reaching enlightment of soul. They won't be focused on Wisdom, nor on any ability score : my goal here is to promote MADness, because everything needing to be SAD makes me sad.
-Depending on the martial arts you'll choose, you'll apply different abilities to attack, damage.
That may be bothersome to keep track of, though.
-Power Abilities are Strength and Charisma. (so Power modifier is strength mod + cha mod, and so on)
-Resilience Abilities are Constitution and Wisdom.
-Swiftness Abilities are Dexterity and Intelligence.
Those three will be my basic, the thing that's pretty much central in that homebrew. Not all martial arts will use those, but DC will usually be based on one of those three.
-the balance class features will make you apply the modifier of any of those type to the other one. That's not making an upward going spiral, and I'll need some help on wording for that.
With an example : you have 16 strength and 12 charisma. Both apply their modifier to the other with 1 balance feature, thus bring both up to 17 strength and 15 charisma. Next balance applied there will make it 19 strength and 18 charisma, then 23/22 and so on. It's not supposed to be retroactive, and I'm still asking myself if that will be taking OM bonuses into account.

On my line of thought :
-First thing I have in mind while creating a class is the rule of Cool (or Awesome in that case), then the rule of balance. My goal is, technically, a pretty solid tier 3, I hope I won't overdo it.
-The book being intended for both PF and 3,5, some class features will have part added with PF : added, to be sure it's clear.
-I find the general trend to push all classes to SADness, well, sad. I'm gonna try to make that book works really better with MADness (in fact, a lvl 20 Xia should probably have no main attribute except one if you want so... well, wait and see).
-My first idea about martial arts was to make a list of prefixes, each of those allowing to choose among some abilities, and a list of weapons, each of those giving some choices, allowing customization. I'm still thinking about it, but right now I'm just making a list of martial arts.
-Most of the ideas I'll write here (for martial arts i mean) will be based on Age of Wushu, I recognize it.
-Martial Arts are not magic! Xias will be able to do things people usually need magic to do, but they aren't using it. The majority of martial arts will be ext effects, some very rare (and powerfull) will be supernatural, but that's because the inner power of the xia force the world to do something the world itself considers as magic.

On Martial Arts:
-all ideas of new martial arts are welcome.
-all martial arts will state a weapon. They will only work with that kind of weapon (but kind is wide, sword allow all types of non exotic swords.)
-before level 15, you can't use more than 1 martial art at the same time, but you can use the parry effect of another martial art you know. Switching parry effect still requires an action. (gonna have to choose which kind of action quick enough....)

On Parry:
-first, parry is any kind of defense making you not getting hit/reduce damage. It can be a dodge, a block, or a parry, as you want to describe it (you being generally the player, rule of cool and all that)
-if you have a breathing pool, you can choose to parry or not whenever someone else take her turn (but you have to choose before knowing what exactly he is up to. He can't choose after you neither.)Breathing pool in first class, main MA user, the Xia.
-using the full defense option, the fighting defensively option, or the combat expertise feat are all considered parries. Furthermore, casting defensively is one, too.
-martial arts all have a feint mechanism, dealing bonus effects on someone who is parrying and canceling either their defensive casting or their defensive option. The same thing apply to Xias: a non xia can use the feint option (the basic one, with bluff roll) to try to cancel their parry.
-the parry mechanism may be too heavy for fights... but GM are encouraged to consider that mooks (each non important enough monster) are unable to feint.

The Xia should be ready soon (I'll post it in current state soon and keep working on it), Martial Arts will need some more time : I already have tons of MA to write down.

2013-10-28, 11:00 AM
Reserved for Summary

2013-10-28, 11:24 AM
The Xia: (so far, still WIP)
"You see that big guy with his giant sword and his reckless style? He is weak."

The way of fighting is an harsh way, yet there exist a lot of different ways. Some people learn how to ride their anger, other how to perfectly swing their weapon... But those aren't dedicated enough. Those learning to reach complete harmony between their body, their mind, and their soul are called Xias. They are the one who study martial arts to, later, create their own arts. That's not their only target, however : to learn about oneself allow to learn about ones ennemies.

Adventures : Staying in one to cultivate oneself may, indeed, be efficient, but a Xia need far more than basic study to progress, and that's, basically, what she wants : progress, either make herself stronger and test her own limits, or make the world better by correcting what she feels wrong.

Characterics : Xia are extremely mobiles, and very hard to predict, as they can switch from one style to another very quickly. They are rather resilient, and they abilities should be able to sustain them in a lot of situations. Their ability with weapons and self study allow them to teach some usefull things to the others.

Alignement : There is no solid trend among Xias, however a given Xia would most probably very rarely live through an alignement change, as their studies are often linked to a whole code of ethics and morale, thus giving them issues to apply what they learned earlier through their new scope.

There is no crunch effect on that, still just raw fluff ^^

Religion : Most Xia are affiliated to one or another religion, at least in believing in an higher purpose of their lifes. Some are deeply religious, other just barely. A Xia can believe in any deity.

Background : Xias may come from all types of origins, be it a very young an autodidact prodigy or a student of some notorious school of the Jianghu, or maybe someone possessed by an ancient Xia?

Races : Xias may be of any race, though the stronger a race is, the less they tend to have xias. That isn't remarkable among the standard races, but creatures like Ogre have far less xias (proportionnally) than elves, for exemple.

Other classes : The interaction between a Xia and other classes can be either very interresting or very boring, as the Xia can consider them as potential students or sparing partners, or just consider them as unable to learn anything. They therefore tend to get along well with Fighters, Swordsages, Warblades, but with prepared casters too, as their study of different theories often push those to being able to study themselves. They don't usually get along well with barbarians (except with refluffed rages, like battle trances and so on) or the most explosive spontaneous casters.

Role : At it's core, a Xia is a frontline melee character able to do some skirmish and some disturbing, but martial arts given them other options as well.

Xias have the following game statistics :
Abilities : Xia usually rely on all their abilities, often still favoring the two focus abilities of their favored martial art over the other, but rarely in a very large way.
Alignement : Any
Hit Dice : D10
Starting Age : Your choice (xia can be very young prodigies. In any way, GM has last word in what constitutes an accepting starting age)
Starting Gold : As barbarian (xia only use light armors, but may need some different weapons given how martial arts work)

Class Skills :
The Xia's class skills (and the key ability) are : Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Martial Lore (Int), Knowledge (Int, any 3), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex). PF : fuse corresponding skills and add Fly (Dex).
Skill points at first level : (4 + Int modifier)x4 (PF : x1 as usual)
Skill points at each additionnal level : 4 + Int modifier.

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+2|Martial Arts, Breathing, Duel (Sparring, To the death), Parry and Counter.

+3|Flying skills (air dash)

+3|First Enlightment

+4|Balance of Body and Mind empowers the Soul, Flying skill (Goose graze the Earth)

+4|Mastery, Duel (pedagogic)

+5|Flying Skill (Walk on Riddles), Balance

+5|Flying Skill (Fly)

+6|Second Enlightment


+7|Flying Skill (Phantom Step), Immortal, Advanced Martial Arts

+7|(WIP), Balance

+8|Flying Skill (Ride the Wind)

+8|(WIP), Balance, Third Enlightment

+9|Flying Skill (Swift Steps)

+9|(WIP), Ultimate Martial Arts, Balance

+10|Flying Step (Ghost Graze Soil)

+10|(WIP), Balance

+11|Flying Skill (Awesome Reach of the Immortal), Fourth Enlightment

+11|(WIP), Balance

+12|Flying Skill (Follow the Soul's Eye)[/table]

Class Features :
All of the following are class features for the Xia.

Weapon and armor proficiency :
A Xia is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as light armor. In addition, if a Martial Arts she knows requires a specific exotic weapon, she adds that weapon to her list. The same is true for medium and heavy armor, as well as shields (including tower shields).

Breathing (ext)*: Starting at level 1, you gain a breathing pool, in which she can draw to power her other abilities. The maximal amount of breath points it can hold being equal to the sum of all your ability modifiers + your Xia level (minimal 1). Those points replenish at a rate of 1 point each turn. As long as you have at least 1 point in your breathing pool, the length/height you can jump change according to the following table*:

{table=head]DC|Horizontal length|Vertical Height

5 |
5 feet|2

10 |
10 |4

15 |
20 |8

20 |
40 |16

25 |
80 |32

30 |

35 |

40 |

45 |

50 |

Do NOT gestalt with jiriku's monk... wait, do it, that's awesome!

Furthermore, whenever you use acrobatics to move on narrow/uneven surfaces, if your breathing pool isn't empty, you keep you dex midifier to AC and are not considered flat footed. You don't have to reroll if taking damage. You can always do a jump (or acrobatics for PF) roll to soften damage from falls, even if falling non deliberately. If falling deliberately, double the distance ignored, and ignore 5 more feet for each +2 by which you beat 15.

Yes, that's a ton of things at level 1, and yes, it's natural. That's basically here to allow daring jump at flying things. Not sure the wording is correct though.

Duel (ext)*: Duelling is fondamental to the development of all Xias. Starting at level 1, a Xia can ask any of her sentient opponents for a duel, as long as she isn't already in a duel, having to choice between 2 kinds of duels*:

-To the Death*!*: if the duel is accepted, the Xia will gain a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls against the target of the duel as long as she's not attacking anyone else. The target of the duel is not compelled to attack only the Xia, but if he does not, the Xia instead gains a +2 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls against the target. The duel ends when one dies or surrenders.
If the target refuses the duel, the Xia gains +1/2 her Xia level (rounded up) as bonus to Diplomacy/Intimidation/Bluff checks against the acquaintances of her target.
Without serious reason, killing someone in a duel to the death remains a murder...
If you ask a Xia in a duel to the death, she receives the same bonus as you.

Allow basically to claim things like *your leader is weak and fears me*!* really easily. And yes, the bonus in case of accepted duel is weak, but Xias aren't knights, and duels are at will. To GM*: if you have a Xia that's abusing that duel, throw him same/higher level xias asking him to duel to the death*: he is reknown for his duels to the death, thus becoming a target for fame*: and now either he tries a difficult fight one on one, or he allows his opponent toeasily influence his friends...

-Sparring*: if the duel is accepted, whatever the results, the Xia may increase the target attitude toward her by 1 rank by making an attack roll instead of a diplomacy check. Friends cannot become fanatics. The sparring duel ends when one gives up/is reduced to half hit points/is inconscient due to subdual damage.
If the duel is refused, the lack of training inflicts a -1 untyped penalties to all checks of the target for one full day or until it accepts another duel. This penalty does not stack with itself.

Bashing things to make the plot advance*? Hell yeah*! More seriously, I had some issues finding the refused effect, if anyone has some better idea*: it has to be flavorfull, still a nice effect, and not too powerfull as it's *at will*

As she advances in level, the experience the Xias acquires allows her to issue other kinds of duels : at 5th level she acquires the confidence necessary to do a pedagogic duel, thus helping the development of her opponent. At the end on the duel, for one full day, the opponent receives a +1/4 level competence bonus to attack, CA, or saves (her choice).

I will add something allowing to expend that bonus, ending it, for a nice effect.

Martial Arts (ext unless specified otherwise)*: All Xias are really prouds of their martial arts, and they won't exist without those. All Xias begins play knowing 2 basic martial arts, and learn 1 additionnal every level.
Switching from one martial art to another is a full round action that does not provoke AoO.
At level 10 they gain access to the advanced martial arts, and at level 15 they gain access to the ultimate martial arts. At level 12, 14, 17, and 19 she may, in addition to learning a new martial arts, combine a martial art she already knows with a new one of a superior tier, using both effects simultaneously. She can online combine a basic martial art with advanced or ultimate arts.

I may, again, need some wording here

Parry and counter (ext)*: the Xia learns how to shield herself from incoming attack. At the beginning of each opponents turn, the xia may choose in secret if she wants to parry or to counter (counter is an AoE). If she parries and the ennemy tries to attack her without feinting, the damage is halved. Furthermore, she is considered as benefiting from Evasion and Mettle as long as she is parrying. If she already has Evasion or Mettle, then she is considered as having Improved Evasion or Improved Mettle, whatever is appropriate.
If the opponent feint while she is parrying, then she can't parry till her next turn and the next attack deals double damage.
If she tries to counter (she makes an AoE against that opponent) and the opponent is feinting, his feint is cancelled and she can parry the following attack as if she had chosen to parry.
If she tries a counter and the opponent isn't feinting, both attacks are resolved, but she can't then choose to parry.
A Xia can parry as many attacks as she has breathing points per encounter.

Flying Skills (ext unless specified otherwise)*: You cannot allocate more than 1/4th your class level breathing per round in a given flying skill.

At level 2 a Xia may now expand breathing to move freely around*: each time she moves, she may expand a number of breathing, up to her class level rounded up to gain a bonus to acrobatics (or whatever the necessary roll) equal to twice the number of points expanded.

At level 4 she may, as an immediate action, goose out*: she spend 1 breathing and move by 5 feet. If that movement makes her leave a threatened area, she risks AoO as usual. If that moves brings her out of range of an effect, that effect is wasted.

At level 6 she may allocate (not coming back as long as she maintains that feature) 1 breathing to walk/run on any surface as if it was on horizontal.

At level 8, by allocating 2 breathing, the Xia may fly with good manoeuvrability and a flight speed equal to her land speed.

At level 10, the Xia may spend 4 breathing to move to any square she can see as a standard action, as if using dimension door. This is a supernatural ability.

At level 12, she may allocate more breathing into her flight ability, each point doubling her flight speed. Going above twice her land feet makes the ability supernatural.

I don't want to allow the Xia to teleport, yet that flight speed should allow near as short travels, kinda like Wind Walk (first supposition brings me to something like 40 times your land speed as flight speed... kinda DBZ like i think, probably too much). The dimension door like ability is already stretching the mundane limit i think.

At level 14, she may allocate 1 breathing to increase her land speed by 10 feet. She may allocate up to 1/4th her level, rounded up into this ability.

At level 16, instead of goosing out as an immediate action you may forfeit an Attack of Opportunity (you still have to spend the breathing) to goose out. In that case you can spend more than 1 breathing (up to 3 more) to move that many more squares.

At level 18, whenever she should jump over 1000 feet (vertical or horizontal, even if she hasn't enough place to do the jump, all she need is to beat the DC... if she fails to beat it, that may hurt in close areas), she may spend 5 breathing to land in another plane of her choice. She lands in a 1000 feet radius of her place of choice in that plane (she still needs to know enough information about the place to be that precise. If the place is barred from extraplanar/extradimensionnal travel, she lands at the nearest possible place.). Her jump rip the substance between the planes open, allowing her to take people with her. If she uses that ability more than once per day the unbalance between the planes makes her lose all her remaining breathing, barring her from recovery until she sleeps 8 hours.

Well, easy planar travel*? Right now it's more like a possible *free* 1 per day plane shift, with a 2nd plane shift in case of emergency. Without that limit i would have changed the recovery speed of breathing.

At level 20 she gains blindsight up to 180 feet, and by touching a living being and spending 2 breathing she may learn all relevant informations about that kind of being and that particular being among them (Will save DC 20+ power modifier), including general number of members of the species/race, favored landplaces, food, breeding times, and so on. That gives her a +20 on all handle animal checks or to diplomacy checks for non-animals. Furthermore, by touching the same creature, if the will save failed, she may use her connection to nature to teleport to any member of the species, whatever the distance or the plane of destination.

First Enlightment (ext)*:
Building ones place in the Jianghu isn't only a story of mastering martial arts, it's about training both body and mindin order to reach enlightment. At third level, the Xia reaches her first enlightment, the one who will lead all her very existence*: she will reach 2nd enlightment at 8th level, 3rd at 13th level, and 4th at 18th level. She can only use 1 of those enlightments at any given time at 3rd level, then one more at 10th, 15th, and 20th. She must choose one path of enlightment among those, then will open a new one at first enlightment at 8th level, a third at first at 13th, and a fourth at 18th*:

Path of the Peacefull Monk*:
Monasteries are numerous in the jianghu, and monks ready to protect the meeks have honned some special arts against the evil that prey on those poor souls.

Special requirement*: must be lawful or good.

First Enlightment*: Battle Meditation*: as long as your breathing pool isn't empty, whenever you're caught in a serious battle (sparring and pedagogic duels count as serious) you gain fast healing equal to half your level.

Second Enlightment*: Zen*: as long as your breathing pool isn't empty, the first attack you do each turn hit each opponents you're threatening.

Third enlightment*: Demon Subduing*: Each time you hit an outsider with the Evil or Chaotic subtypes they must pass a will save (DC 10+1/2 your level + your resilience modifier) or become shaken. If they are already shaken, they become frightened. If they are already frightened, they are banished and can't come back within one week. Creatures immune to fear aren't immune to that ability, but receive a +5 bonus to the will save.

Fourth enlightment*: Battle Hardened Eternal Endurance of the War Monk*: Each time you hit an opponent, you gain DR (2/-) until that DR reachs your class level. When it happens you are healed and recover from all effects hindering you in any way, as if under the effect of Heal, Break Enchantment, Restoration and Freedom of Move. Furthermore, you gain an effect similar to Righteous Might, treating your Xia level as your caster level for that purpose.

I could use some serious tweaking here i think.

Path of the Immortal Taoist*:

Special requirement*: any good

First Enlightment*: Heart Protect Body : Each time someone threaten a critical hit against you, you gain temporary hp equal to 2 per xia level before suffering from any of the crit effects, including damage. When those temporary hp are depleted, you recover 1 breathing per 2 class level (rounded up).

Second Enlightment*: Soul empower Body*: as long as your breathing pool isn't empty, all your attacks deal bonus damage equal to 1/5th your remaining breathing points then make you recover 1 breathing.

Third Enlightment*: Body keep Heart and Soul Pure Forever*: the first time each encounter you are reduced to 0 HP or less, you are healed back to full HP and enter the *Pure Soul and Heart unleashed* state, granting all allies in a 30 feet circle around you fast healing 5 and making you recover 2 breathing each round. That state ends at the end of the encounter.

Fourth Enlightment*: Body-Soul-Heart in Balance, overflowing Purity*: you exist in all state of existence. All your attacks and defense are considered to have the Ghost Touch property, and your touch AC is now equal to your total AC. Furthermore, each time you hit a creature, you may spend 10 breathing as a non-action to make them roll a fort save, a ref save, and a will save in order to avoid the following effects*:
-reflex*: 10d6 divine damage. A successfull save halves the damage. The save DC is 10 + your class level + your resilience modifier.
-fortitude*: stunned for 2 rounds by the sight of your dedication and selflessness. This effect bypass immunities. A successfull save reduces the stun to dazed for 1 turn. The save DC is 10 + class level + your power modifier.
-will*: the target confess his sins and discover how grievous they are. This is not a mind affecting effect. A successfull save allow the target to not feel remorse, but he will still confess (think like evil mastermind exposing his scheme...). The save DC is 10+ class level + your swiftness modifier.

Again, needing some help here. I'm trying to balance and diversify something like 24 effect based on something were most effect are either *do more damage* or *recover quicker*. Monk was already the goddamm powerhouse, taoist is resilient too, but has more to do with recovery and team support. Some other

Path of the Wandering Beggar*:

Path of the Maiden*:

Path of the Battle Artist*:

Path of the Hidden Blade*:

Path of the Gruesome Guard*:

Special requirement*: any Lawful

First enlightment*: Chain the Body to Reap the Soul*: Your knowledge of the ways of torture and anatomy allow you to mark deeply any creature you hurt. Whenever you hit a creature with Fast Healing, that Fast Healing is halved for 3 rounds. Whenever you hit a creature with Regeneration, that Regeneration is cancelled for one round, allowing you to deal lethal damage on those (PF*: you cancel that Regeneration for 3 rounds instead).

Second Enlightment*: Drink the Blood to study the Soul*:

Path of the Monster*:

Balance of Body and Mind empowers the Soul (Ext) : At fourth level, and then at 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19th levels a Xia further advance her work on balancing both her body and mind. She must choose among Power, Resilience, and Swiftness abilities. Both abilities of her choice apply their current modifier as an untyped bonus to the other (stacking with former applications of that ability). Then:
-the first time she chooses resilience, she adds her strength bonus to her Willpower save. the second time, she no longer fails saving throw on a 1.
-the first time she chooses swiftness, she adds her intelligence bonus to her Reflex save. The second time, she gains Evasion.
-the first time she chooses power, she adds her charisma bonus to her Fortitude save. The second time she gains Mettle.

That one is trixy, at least wording-wise.

For yet, that's as far as I am for the class itself. Martial arts are in progress.

2013-10-28, 11:25 AM
Reserved for Martial Arts (1)

2013-10-28, 11:30 AM
Reserved for Martial Arts (2)

2013-10-28, 11:32 AM
Reserved for Martial Arts (3, for good measure)

2013-10-28, 11:44 AM
Reserved for Feats

2013-10-28, 11:56 AM
Reserved for good measure

2013-10-28, 01:48 PM
Silphael, I really like that your are going to do this!

I wanted to do something like this too, but I'm not a great brewer. Put the (real) martial arts in a better light!

I'm going to hold of further comments untill I see the Xia and it becomes a little clearer what you want. but I love the initiative!

2013-10-28, 08:24 PM
Ok, current work on the Xia is now available for PEACHing/ open to suggestions.