While the path of a martial artist is a hard one, it is not necessarily a straight one. With different styles available all over Creation, a martial artist must choose his Sifus wisely, training in the style best suited to them. As they walk this Lotus-covered road, they become more skilled, more aware, and eventually, can claim the title of master. These so-called masters have walked the road of their style to its end, and have no more to learn from this style. Treading back down the Lotus-covered road, they find another fork, another path, and begin another style. Yet, one must realize that eventually, it could be possible to learn all of the styles, all of the techniques, and then, where would one walk? One must eventually leave the safety of the road, the familiarity of ground treaded by countless others, and step into the unknown, forging their own path. These paths, while difficult, can prove most fruitful, eventually shifting existing styles, or forging new styles entirely.
Leaving the well-worn parts of the Lotus-covered path is not easy, and requires a concentration and effort not commonly seen. The following charms are similar to the Ox-Body Technique in that they are not necessarily charms proper, but instead represent the internal growth, direction, and discipline that a master must demonstrate before he is ready to step off of the beaten path. It is through these charms, or some very similar, that many of the martial arts of old were discovered, developed, and altered into the forms commonly known today. None of these charms may be taught, and must instead be learned on one's own through arduous experimentation. As such, the training time for learning these charms is always that of 'without teacher'.
Of note is that the following charms do not explicitly allow the creation of entirely new martial arts styles. Instead, the character must first branch off from an existing martial arts style, making new non-form-type charms. Once a number of these charms have been created, and a sufficient divergence of thought and technique acheived, only then can a character create a new form-type charm, and with it, a new martial arts style. Thus, for a practioner of "Tired Hippopotamus Style" to create a new style, "Lightning Thought Style" would not be easy - the martial artist would need to slowly expand his existing knowledge 'horizontally', making new charms for "Tired Hippo Style" that leaned more and more in flavor to "Lightning Thought Style". It might not be possible to do so in one large leap. Instead, he might find that after some time, he can use his knowledge to create the "Wild Animal Style", which he never bothers to finish, instead, working on yet another style - this time "Quickened Animal Style". Finally, after years of effort, he could convert his knowledge of "Quickened Animal" into "Lightning Thought Style". Only then, having reached his destination, would he bother to create post-form charms.
This also explains the sheer difficulty of creating new Sidereal Martial Art styles. With so few martial artists possessing the skill, time, and training to even learn the charms to make new styles, the possible researchers are limited. Adding to the problem is that the Sidereal styles are conceptually quite large. To make a new style requires significant divergence from the known styles, and thus, years of such "style hopping" and transitional periods.
Wandering from the Lotus-Covered PathGreenLantern/B>GreenLantern/I>
<B>Cost:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Duration:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Type:GreenLantern/B> Permanent <B>Minimum Martial Arts:GreenLantern/B> 5 <B>Minimum Essence:GreenLantern/B> 5 <B>Prerequisite Charms:GreenLantern/B> One Complete Celestial Martial Art Style, or Two Form-Type Charms from Different non-Terrestrial Martial Art Styles
Leaving the beaten path, the martial artist begins to experiment with what he knows, stepping outside of what he already knows. Upon successfully learning this charm, the martial artist is able to create new charms relating to a given Celestial martial arts style in which he already knows the form-type charm. These custom charms must have an essence requirement one less than the Solar's current Essence. In many ways, the learning of this charm internalizes a martial arts style much as Solar Hero Style is already internal to all Solar Exalts, allowing charms to be learned. A character may create up to (Essence) such charms before the essence of the original style is lost, and they are hopelessly off of the beaten path. In such a situation, no new charms may be added to the existing style, and instead, a new road must be forged, through the creation of a new style. This charm may be taken up to three times, with the second purchase allowing new charms to be added to an additional style. Once the charm has been purchased for the third time, this limitation is lifted, as the character can now add new charms to any martial arts style with whose form-type charm he is familiar.
<B><I>Freedom From the Lotus-Covered RoadGreenLantern/B>GreenLantern/I>
<B>Cost:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Duration:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Type:GreenLantern/B> Permanent <B>Minimum Martial Arts:GreenLantern/B> 5 <B>Minimum Essence:GreenLantern/B> 5 <B>Prerequisite Charms:GreenLantern/B> One Complete Celestial Martial Art Style, Wandering From the Lotus-Covered Path, Two Custom Martial Arts Charms from a single style
Having left the safety of the beaten path, the martial artist who has learned Freedom From the Lotus-Covered Road has already begun excursions into experimental techniques, and is now ready to realize the concepts of a new style. Upon learning this charm, the character is can develop a new form-type charm, for a new martial arts style, related to the custom martial-arts charms they have already developed. Often, this form-type charm will be similar to one they already know, and, as with Freedom From the Lotus-Covered Road, the created form-type charm must have an essence requirement that is at most one less than the Solar's current Essence.
<B><I>Exploration of the Perfected BlossomGreenLantern/B>GreenLantern/I>
<B>Cost:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Duration:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Type:GreenLantern/B> Permanent <B>Minimum Martial Arts:GreenLantern/B> 6 <B>Minimum Essence:GreenLantern/B> 6 <B>Prerequisite Charms:GreenLantern/B> One Complete Sidereal Martial Art Style, or Two Form-Type Charms from Different Sidereal Martial Art Styles, Wandering from the Lotus-Covered Path
As with Wandering from the Lotus-Covered Path, but allowing non-Form-type charms to be created for a single Sidereal Martial Arts style the character is familiar with.
<B><I>Lotus-Petal Forging TechniqueGreenLantern/B>GreenLantern/I>
<B>Cost:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Duration:GreenLantern/B> -- <B>Type:GreenLantern/B> Permanent <B>Minimum Martial Arts:GreenLantern/B> 6 <B>Minimum Essence:GreenLantern/B> 6 <B>Prerequisite Charms:GreenLantern/B> Two Complete Sidereal Martial Art Styles, Freedom from the Lotus-Covered Road
As with Freedom From the Lotus-Covered Road, but allowing a Form-type charm to be created for a new Sidereal Martial Arts style the character has already created other charms for.
Hmmm, doesn't Sid MA work the same way as Sid charms? You can't add new ones to a style, can you? Also, is it a good idea to allow Sids to add on? The new Sid MAs are scary enough without my players thinking of new stuff to add. --Overshee
- Overshee - I've got to admit that canonically, you can't add new charms to any MA style, unless you are talking about the appropriate 'Hero' style. (For Solars, for example, you can only make new charms as part of Solar Hero Style). The issue I've got with that is that it doesn't make sense to me how one can make a new style, if there's no way of experimentation, building, et cetera. I agree that yes, it's quite possible to create unending avalanches of broken charms once you're making new SMA charms. At the same time, once you're making any Essence 6+ charm, you're talking about avalanches of game-breakingness. It's almost tough not to fully exploit the power of an Essence 6+ exalt and have amazing things happen. One of the biggest reasons I wrote these was because of a problem I noticed in my high-Essence exercises, where eventually, a Martial Artist ends up needing many many more charms than a Meleeist to acheive the same level of effect, as they're forced to continually buy essentially the same charm over and over and over again, just to get to what they really want out of a style. This might seem intentional, and canonical, but it's really tough to deal with in a game where you've got one MA'ist and one Melee'ist (or Archer, or whatever). The two seem to work out fairly evenly, with interesting and different styles of combat at first, each shining in their own way, until the MA'ist finishes an MA or two.
- By this point, they've got nearly 20 MA charms, and hopefully some really nice comboes. The Melee-ish has conveniently taken 5 dodge charms, 5 resistance charms, and 10 melee charms, giving them also a very solid spread, without form-type limitations, and almost all listed Melee charms. Still not a problem, really. Beyond this point, however, things get iffy. The Melee-ist is making up new charms readily, moving into custom charms that do exactly what's needed, and tending towards higher Essence charms. The MA'ist is forced to start learning another MA, again at the ground up. Due to the relative dearth of Celestial styles, the style they're learning is most likely Essence 2 at minimum, and doesn't have any MA weapons that 'cross over', causing them to essentially waste charm slots. As they move through most Celestial trees, they see the same charm type over and over again - the Join Battle Improver, the Simple-type big-wallop charm, the Reflexive Defense Technique, et cetera. Again, the way the styles are printed, this leaves them with few Essence-appropriate choices, and often 'wastes' slots to get to the real 'meat' of a style - often only 2-3 charms the character actually wants. Thematically, this is great - you spend two years mastering Jade-Body Style so that you can master the Jade-Palm Strike, a devastating blow. In practice, all the charms that led to the Jade-Palm Strike are functionally junk, while your Melee buddy over there could spend those charm slots on custom useful charms, getting exactly what he wants, how he wants it.
- Thus, in the high-Essence experiments I've run (not full games, as those are truly world-shattering games), I find that MA, while thematically great, ends up making characters that aren't quite able to enjoy themselves as much as others, and tend to be much weaker in most cases - once you break the 25+ charms in a combat ability case. Thus, these charms explicitly address this issue, requiring at least one fully completed MA before you can start making custom charms, and even then, limiting you to only a few customs before you start on a new style. Rather than just house rule things, I tried to make a ruleset that would allow for characters to not only make some custom charms (to 'keep up with the Melee-joneses') but also to mechanically define new styles as an extension of their current knowledge. In this way, the setting now has a mechanic for how all those old Martial Arts masters are able to customize their styles, and make new ones, without stepping too far outside of one's own training. It explains how any martial artist can make a new style, and how things like the <Element>-Dragon Styles were possibly created.
- Finally, I note that these charms are exceedling unlikely to come into play unless you've got a serious MA devotee in your ranks. Making a new form-type charm requires, at minimum, one complete MA style, plus four additional charms - putting you in the range of 15 charms or so, two of which are pure 'speedbumps' that don't actually do anything other than make you able to make custom charms. No starting character can easily acheive this, and if they can, their concept is fairly obviously "Creator of a new MA Style". By the time you put 15 charms into any single ability, you're really quite terrifying. These charms, as I imagine them, won't imbalance any game - merely provide a pressure-release valve of sorts to keep long running games balance-able, and to provide in-setting reasons and methods for those NPCs that do develop new MA styles. -- GreenLantern, in a long-winded reply
I've edited Freedom From the Lotus-Covered Road and Lotus-Petal Forging Technique, as they had some erroneous charm-title self-reference and back-reference. If I did it wrong, please put it right. Putting aside that confusion, I love these charms, and I'm going to use them for my character. - IanPrice
- Ian - glad to hear you like them. They fill a void that, to me, has been around for ages, finally explaining how one can make a new Martial Art style in canon. Still, having your good graces makes me all the happier. Have you checked out my latest SolarLinguistics/GreenLantern charms, by chance? -- GreenLantern
When you say "Essence minima must be Ess-1" do you mean at most (ess-1), or MUST be exactly (ess-1) ? Seems odd the second way, although that's what the wording implies.
- I mean the one that makes sense, and have changed the wording as such. Thanks for catching that. -- GL