Virtuous Aegis Style
The Virtuous Aegis Style is among the most thoroughly developed Mortal arts in Creation. Practitioners can be found almost anywhere.
This style is designed for Power Combat. The rules for Divert Steel and Evading Deflection can be confusing at first, but play out pretty easily.
The Virtuous Aegis Style was developed millennia ago in the First Age, probably by mortal rangers on the ragged edges of Creation, interested more in avoiding harm than outright lethality. The style became popular within the Realm as well, however, and its teachings and practice survived the Usurpation and Great Contagion.
Teachers and even dojos devoted to the Virtuous Aegis style dot Creation, and can be found nearly anywhere. The training regime is demanding, but techniques have been refined over the centuries, making this one of the easier Martial Arts forms to learn.
Weapons and Armor
The Virtuous Aegis style favors a simple staff. It is not compatible with the use of armor.
<b>Type: Bonus Min. Martial Arts: 1 Prereqs: None
The first lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is to be able to block incoming attacks from all directions. Whenever the adept is parrying an attack, any penalties she incurs are one less than normal. (e.g. for Full Parry, her blocks are at -0, -0-, -1, -2).
<b>Type: Bonus Min. Martial Arts: 2 Prereqs: Two-Direction Block
The second lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is to be ever-ready to block. If the adept declares or aborts to a Full Parry, she doubles the rate of her weapon.
<b>Type: Technique Min. Martial Arts: 2 Prereqs: Snap-Parry
The third lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is to capitalize on the seconds-long opening when an attack is deflected. After a successful parry (not dodge), the adept may make an immediate counterattack at +1 difficulty. If the block was part of a full parry, the accumulated penalties to the parry also apply to the riposte. The riposte counts as an action against the rate of the weapon, but does not add to the difficulty of further parries or dodges.
<b>Cost: 1 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Extra Action Min. Martial Arts: 3 Prereqs: Riposte Kata
The Virtuous Aegis must do more than simply turn aside blows if it is to triumph, for even the best defense can fail. While carefully placed attacks and ripostes can turn the tide, the principle of Virtuous Aegis style is not offense, and some practitioners choose to disarm their foes rather than harm them. After a successful parry, this charm allows the character to immediately attempt to disarm their opponent, with two automatic successes.
<b>Type: Bonus Min. Martial Arts: 3 Prereqs: Riposte Kata
The fourth lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is to parry lethal damage, even when unarmed. While such parries can be attempted, even if they deflect the attack entirely, it may still deal damage. Count the number of successes the parry succeeded by, and reduce the raw damage of the attack by this amount. This may reduce the damage of the attack to zero. If the adept combines an unarmed parry with a dodge, as with Evading Deflection (below), dodge successes function in the same way as parry successes: they reduce raw damage, but cannot avoid the attack as they might normally. Parries that exceed the attacker's successes are considered successful, even if the adept suffers damage, and may be used to trigger effects like Riposte Kata or Turn Asunder. Damage is dealt before the counterattack.
Example: Firwen, an adept of the Virtuous Aegis style, is unarmed, and aborts to parry against an opponent wielding a Straight Sword. Firwen's opponent strikes true, rolling five successes. Firwen parries the blade unarmed, rolling his Dex+MA, and rolls seven successes. This would normally deflect the attack entirely, but since the sword deals lethal damage, it does not; instead, Firwen's opponent will subtract two dice from his raw damage. The attacker's strength is 3, so the raw damage becomes 4L. Firwen ripostes and lands a good solid hit.
The next turn, Firwen aborts to full defense (see Evading Deflection, below). His opponent strikes home with four successes, but Firwen's parry only gets three successes. He chooses to dodge the attack as well, rolling Dex+Dodge at -1 and getting four additional successes. Normally, this would be enough to deflect the attack, but since Firwen already performed an unarmed parry, the extra successes reduce raw damage by 3, and Firwen suffers 3L in damage.
<b>Type: Bonus Min. Martial Arts: 4 Prereqs: Riposte Kata
The fifth lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is to bring the whole body into the act of defense. The adept may now combine Full Parry and Full Dodge seamlessly, interchanging parry and dodge actions throughout the turn (called Full Defense). The accumulating penalty is calculated across both actions. The adept may both dodge and parry the same attack.
Example: Firwen is beset by three attacking guards. He aborts to a Full Defense, and parries the first attack with his staff, rolling his full Dex+MA pool. This does not fully deflect the attack, so he dodges as well, rolling his Dex+Dodge pool at -1. The second attacker strikes, and Firwen dodges this attack, rolling Dex+Dodge with a -2 penalty. He parries the third attack, rolling Dex+MA at -2 (it would be -3, but Two-Direction Block reduces the penalty on parries by one), and dodges it as well, rolling Dex+Dodge at -4.
<b>Type: Bonus Min. Martial Arts: 4 Prereqs: Evading Deflection
The sixth lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is a simple improvement on the first lesson. When in Full Parry or Full Defense, penalties on parries are now reduced by 2.
<b>Cost: 1 Willpower Duration: One turn Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 5 Prereqs: Three-Direction Block
Some practitioners of the Virtuous Aegis Style specialize in fending off large numbers of opponents. This technique is for them: with it, the adept suffers no penalties for multiple actions on parries while in Full Parry or Full Defense for the rest of the turn. She still suffers penalties on dodges as normal, and her parries remain restricted by her rate.
<b>Cost: 1 Willpower Duration: Instant Type: Reflexive Min. Martial Arts: 5 Prereqs: Three-Direction Block
The final lesson of the Virtuous Aegis is how to turn aside blows with absolute precision. The adept may block any single incoming attack with absolute precision: if the attack is not enhanced by a charm or stunt, it is entirely avoided. She may even block lethal attacks unarmed in this manner, without penalty.