Adding Fighting Arts to Lifepaths

First, I’d like to say the idea of Fighting Arts is really interesting. Like so much of character burning, it seems to imply a setting and culture simply through mechanics, as different cultures will teach different weapons, and even with the same weapon will have different techniques. It’s also nice to not have the option of saying “I know I should know all these other weapons too, but I’m putting all my points in Sword because that’s better than a mediocre rating in Sword and Dagger and Mace and Spear.”

The advice in “Adapting these Rules” says to replace weapon skills in lifepaths with a Fighting Art. How would you handle settings/subsettings that have many lifepaths with weapon skills? Would you create a single fighting art that pretty much covered that setting (or type of character) and just replace all the weapon skills in that setting with that fighting art (for example, Page/Squire/Knight all receive Seven Points of Agilities, criminal-type LPs get Street Fighting, etc.)?

I’d say look to the individual LP. Think about the difference between a Street Thug and a Duelist; it seems strange that a Duelist would have Streetfighting (since his fighting style is clearly meant to incorporate a sword and possibly a parrying dagger), yet giving a Thug a Fighting art that starts with a Sword form feels strange. While both are in the same setting, there are numerous potential cultures in that setting. Ultimately, look to the LP itself, ask what it’s trying to say about how and why that person fights, then select a Fighting Art that expresses that. Thugs just need to beat up on victims, but a Duelist has to hold his own against other skilled fighters. A Knight has to smash his way through a field of soldiers, but a cavalry archer is relying on his horse to keep him out of the fray.

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We’ve built a lot of custom fighting arts for our campaign—Street Fighting (to replace Brawling), Wrestling (to act as a trained unarmed skill for warriors), Archery Traditions (to replace bow and skirmish training), Military Traditions (to replace spear, polearm, etc. and Formation Fighting) and Cavalry Traditions (to replace Lance and Sword and Mounted Combat).

We combine weapon skills into the appropriate forms for the arts. Then we use the techniques to expand base actions and add special abilities appropriate to the culture.

I will release these eventually, but they’re not quite ready for prime time. Thor has also developed a couple of these for his current Burning Warhammer campaign. Maybe he’ll be less shy. :slight_smile:


Sure. Here’s the first one: Warhammer Fighting Arts: Shadow Sword


And one more: Warhammer Fighting Arts: Fire Dancer


Thanks for all the replies; it’s given me a great deal to think about. This question came about because I was so excited by the War chapter I started burning up commanders, and realized that a number of Orcish lifepaths have similar but somewhat different weapon skills listed.

Right now I’m leaning toward two main fighting styles for orcs (at least among Great and Black and the Black Legion): one for wolfriders (which I’d add to Astride the Beast and Black Destroyer in place of their weapon skills) which would contain spear and axe and have techniques for Mounted Combat Training (obviously) as well as Armor Training, and another for more general melee weapons (with various weapons like spear, axe, mace, brawling, and techniques like Armor Training, Shield Training, etc.).

The more I work with it the more I like this system. One thing I noticed recently is that if you already know a weapon or a training technique, you don’t have to bother relearning it in another art…unless you want to use the maneuvers and techniques of the second school with it.

We’ve been using Fighting Arts in my ongoing game, and we’ve written a bunch. Basically whenever we burn someone, we replace Appropriate Weapons with any fighting art. Or, if they have a single weapon skill, we kinda build something for how we see this person. Then, when needed, we reuse it.

Our game’s wiki is here (we have playtested almost none of these, we have had two fights in >20 sessions):

I also wrote on an NPC’s sheet recently “Cultist Style (Poisoner, wont poison himself when poisoning a blade, can feint. Cudgel, Athame) B3” and moved on.


King’s Gambit is crazy powerful!

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Yeah! Especially if you have Twin Queen and can position at Short and Long, you basically can control an entire battlefield! And that is why the Montevar do no use armour!

Here’s what I have for wolfriders so far. I plan on burning up another Art to cover most other Great and Black or Black Legion fighting techniques. I tried to replicate what was on Astride the Beast and Black Destroyer (Axe and Spear, Mounted Combat Training and Armor Training).

Wolf Rider Power/Agility
Wolf Riders are honored, or at least feared, among the orcs, if for no other reason than their command of the Great Wolves who form their mounts.
Exponent Forms   Default Fight Actions
2 Bare Fist, Spear Avoid, Beat, Push, Strike, Charge/Tackle
3 Axe
Technique Training Ob
Wolf Riding Instruction Ob 1 Will Ob 1 WR Ob 1
Great Strike Instruction Ob 2 Power Ob 2 WR Ob 2
Push Instruction Ob 3 Power Ob 3 WR Ob 3
Leap Away Instruction Ob 3 Speed/Will Ob 3 WR Ob 3
Armored Rider Instruction Ob 4 Power Ob 4 WR Ob 4
Savage Rend Instruction Ob 5 Power/Will Ob 5 WR Ob 5

Wolf Riding: The central technique of this art, Wolf Riding teaches Mounted Combatant Training.

Leap Away: As fearsome as Wolf Riders are, it’s sometimes necessary to fall back, reassess, change weapons, etc. Wolf Riders with this Technique can test Wolf Riding for Disengage attempts. Opponents testing Speed do have double obstacle penalties due to this technique.

Armored Rider: This Technique grants Armor Training.

Savage Rend: Great Wolves are fearsome combatants themselves, and the best riders train to work in tandem with them. This technique grants a Great Wolf mount +1D to a Lock & Strike against a foe successfully targeted by a Charge/Tackle in the previous action.

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@Thor I love how Shadow Sword really paints a picture of how this Art works.

Thanks @Hirram!

My orcs are heavily based on the Mongol Empire being steppe nomads, and I think I’m going to steal some of your Wolf Rider (mostly Obstacles) and reflavour it to ride horses.

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@Silverwizard you may want to consider either adding Mounted Archery as a Technique or replace an existing Technique with that, then!

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As per the advice, I’m trying to keep archery out of my melee styles, so Horse Archery is gonna be a different beast.

It does kinda mean that my two dwarven styles overlap a huge amount, and I’m not sure exactly how to walk that middle.

I’ve been thinking a lot about things like “What if a Duelist also masters the Dwarven Grunt Style, can they wield a sword, use the duelist techniques, and also use armour?” and of course “What if someone has two styles with the Axe in them, but armour training as a technique, can they use armour when rolling the style they don’t have?”

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That’s something I’m curious about too, especially with the various Trainings. With weapons it’s clearer- you may get the ability to learn a weapon you already know from another style, but you can’t use this style’s techniques with it (or use this Art’s skill with it) unless you learn it in this Art.

My assumption would be that you can’t use it in armor or with a shield unless that Art teaches those Techniques.

That’s what the forms are for—and why Thor and I are so specific with weapons when we design forms.

If you want to use a technique, you need to know the weapon form and have the weapon in hand (or foot or mouth). You can switch fighting arts from action to action, but you only gain your benefits when you fulfill the reqs and are using the skill.

There’s some gray area around passive abilities like mounted combat, but I think they’re resolveable with a bit of a think.


Here’s another: Warhammer Fighting Arts: Asrai Archery

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Last one for now: Warhammer Fighting Arts: Saearath (Wood Elven Spear-Stave)

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