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Even if fate decreed it, you could not avoid the trap your own folly has laid. Now mop the dojo floor before sifu gets mad.
Descending water emphasizes basic martial arts attacks and defenses for its physical training, with students spending nearly as much time practicing those as the students of Descending Earth do (though with less time correcting their stances). Swimming is also an essential physical training, immersing the student in the nature of water, understanding how it controls him or her before seeking to escape that control. The essence of this style develops as a study in philosophy, and the practice of one-upsmanship through pranks. Sifu who found schools for this style always have a ringer or two in their first class of students to ensure that a tradition of rivals pranking each other develops, while simultaneously inflicting harsh punishments on those who are caught being involved in these pranks.
The philosophy favored by Descending Water masters is derived from Sidereal scriptures of the house of endings, adapted to the element of water. Essentially, students are taught that each action eliminates options, just as water which flows one way cannot go back and take a different course. Actions which "freeze" the situation, which eliminate as many options as possible, are favored highly - but also greatly guarded against, because the enemy who takes these actions will benefit from them.
Students who realize the philosophy of the style in their pranks on other students are able to adapt their basic physical training to the advanced martial knowledge of this style.
Weapons and Armor
Improvised weapons, tonfa, fighting sticks (including staves, though not seven-section), and sai are form weapons. Armor is not allowed.
Larceny ••, and Investigation ••, and an Athletics specialty in Swimming are prerequisites to this style. Students often develop good ratings in Lore, but it is not required.
Carve the Channel
Cost: 2m/attack Minimums: Essence 2, MA 4 Type: Supplemental Keywords: Combo-OK, Stackable, Cooperative Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: None
If you attacked an opponent at least twice on your last action, you may use this charm on your attacks this action, so long as you flurry at least two attacks. Your repeated assaults force your opponent into a defensive position of your choosing, leaving him vulnerable to you. Each 2m spent on this charm adds an additional -1 of onslaught penalty to the opponent's DV, as if he were still defending against your original flurry. This may add a penalty up to the number of attacks in the original flurry, or equal to your Martial Arts rating, whichever is lower. If invoked every action with repeated flurries, the number of attacks which qualify may add up. Also, Dragon-Blooded who are members of a Sworn Brotherhood together may cooperate, using this charm to grant their onslaught penalty to sworn brothers who are coordinating attacks with them, so long as both terrestrials know this charm.
Barrel Catches Rain
Cost: 3m/attack Minimums: Essence 2, MA 4 Type: Reflexive Keywords: Combo-OK, Stackable Duration: One Action Prerequisite Charms: None
Descending Water teaches students to defend with an eye to the next seven attacks an opponent could make. With this charm, you put yourself in an advantageous position by successfully parrying an enemy's blow. For 3m, invoked when the successes are compared to Martial Arts Parry DV and found to be less, add +1 to MA PDV (as a success bonus) for the rest of this action. This charm may be invoked following the use of a perfect parry if that parry is a martial arts charm. On your DV refresh, you may re-invoke all stacks of this charm you currently had active for the same 3m each, but if you let them lapse for an action you must successfully defend against new attacks to get the bonus. The maximum bonus this charm may add is equal to Essence.
Frozen Rain Cracks Barrel
Cost: 4m Minimums: Essence 2, MA 5 Type: Reflexive Keywords: Combo-OK Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: Carve the Channel, Barrel Catches Rain
Water in its icy, winter state resembles the Earth. It expands and hardens to immobility, and in doing so it may damage or destroy its container. This charm may be invoked when rolling to control a clinch, if you have spent two actions inactive (the opponent clinching you has refreshed DV twice, in other words). Instead of rolling, you automatically escape the clinch, and you and your opponent both inflict Crush damage on each other as an undodgable/unblockable clinch effect.
Descending Water Form
Cost: 6m Minimums: Essence 3, MA 5 Type: Simple (Speed 7, DV -2) Keywords: Form-Type Duration: One Scene Prerequisite Charms: Frozen Rain Cracks Barrel
Descending Water masters lay traps for their enemies, ruining options opponents thought they had. They also leave tools and weapons for themselves in places they predict will be convenient. Stunts which build on arrangements made with the scenery ahead of time, whether the form was active then or not, convert dice to automatic successes. Finally, though fate binds all, the flow of water cannot bind the master of its Descending aspect. No penalty to attack or defense while fully or partly in water, though thicker muck may apply a penalty since it binds through Earth rather than Water.
Fool Slips From Icy Path
Cost: 2m/attack Minimums: Essence 3, MA 5 Type: Supplemental Keywords: Combo-OK Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: Descending Water Form
Your attacks seem to inevitably find the weakest spot in an opponent's defenses, but there is truly no mystery to it - you set him up for this fall. By supplementing the attacks in a flurry with this charm, you may count as up to (Martial Arts) separate attackers coordinating an attack against the target, automatically inflicting the full coordinated attack penalty. If an actual coordinated attack is made, the penalties stack.
Snowy Path Conceals Icicles
Cost: none (3m1w) Minimums: Essence 4, MA 5 Type: Permanent Keywords: none Duration: Permanent Prerequisite Charms: Fool Slips From Icy Path
This charm is an upgrade to the previous Icy Path charm. With this understanding, the Descending Water master sets up an attack using every trap and trick available, ultimately flustering her opponent with an attack he could do nothing about. Make any combination of 8 martial arts attacks, as a regular flurry but without needing to worry about rate, and spend 3m1wp in addition to invoking Fool Slips From Icy Path on the attacks. The final attack is unexpected as if the opponent were completely surrounded by opponents who had coordinated attacks against him.
Cracked Barrel Holds Nothing
Cost: 1m1w Minimums: Essence 3, MA 5 Type: Reflexive Keywords: Combo-OK Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: Descending Water Form
You treat your opponent as a vessel for water, and one you know to have flaws; he cannot contain you. If you have previously escaped a clinch from that opponent this scene, then this charm allows you to perfectly escape that person's clinch. You still take damage from any initial Crush maneuver.
Useless Barrel is Discarded
Cost: none (4m) Minimums: Essence 4, MA 5 Type: Permanent Keywords: none Duration: Permanent Prerequisite Charms: Cracked Barrel Holds Nothing
This charm upgrades Cracked Barrel Holds Nothing with more cunning understanding of an opponent's flaws. For 4m more, the upgraded charm becomes a complete defense against being clinched, with the necessity to have escaped that opponent's clinch without that charm previously in the scene considered a unique flaw of invulnerability. When using this upgraded version, the charm also provides the opportunity to throw the opponent and cause damage as per your own Crush statistics, as a counterattack which requires an opposed clinch roll. If you fail to beat your opponent on the clinch roll, nothing happens, and neither of you is clinched, thrown, crushed, or otherwise affected (save for having paid the cost of charms).
Winter's Onset Ruins the Lazy
Cost: 3m/attack Minimums: Essence 4, MA 5 Type: Reflexive (Step 8) Keywords: Combo-OK, Stackable Duration: (Essence) Actions Prerequisite Charms: Snowy Path Conceals Icicles, Useless Barrel is Discarded
Your mastery of Descending Water's devious attacks no longer requires you to flail wildly in an undignified manner. Each attack may position an opponent for the next, whether it falls immediately or not. Each time you successfully strike an opponent with a martial arts attack, you may pay 3m to reduce his DV by 1 until you have refreshed your DV (Essence) times. This may be done up to (Martial Arts) times, and each time a new penalty is inflicted, the entire stack's duration is reset. It is not possible to refresh the duration of this charm without striking the opponent, however it only costs 3m to refresh the stack no matter how many points of penalty are currently active.
The Wise Yet Cruel Sell Grain at Steep Prices, aka, Wisdom May Forgo Mercy in Winter
Cost: 8m Minimums: Essence 4, MA 5 Type: Simple Keywords: Combo-Basic, Obvious Duration: One Scene Prerequisite Charms: Winter's Onset Ruins the Lazy
Winter's essence infuses the Descending Water master's mind, giving her the aspect of a cruel miser who laughs at the misery she inflicts on others. Conviction may be channeled on any combat action for the duration of this charm, while Compassion may not be channeled at all. Compassion rolls may be ignored without gaining Limit or spending Willpower, however, except in the case of any Lures associated with a Virtue Flaw. Further, the amusing antics of opponents doomed by your plans and their own folly add to each other in a delightful comedy of errors. Each time one opponent - chosen when this charm is activated - fails a roll or is hit by an attack, add 1 success to a pool of bonus successes you may use on any attack or defense against that opponent. The pool may not exceed (Essence), and once used the successes are gone until new ones are added by repeated failures from the targeted opponent.
Fools Never Change
Cost: 7m1w Minimums: Essence 4, MA 5 Type: Simple (Speed 4, DV -2) Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: The Wise Yet Cruel Sell Grain at Steep Prices, aka, Wisdom May Forgo Mercy in Winter
Though you seek to destroy an opponent's ability to be flexible, as a true master of this style, you realize that most combatants do not truly alter their course even without your influence. This is their weakness, and your victory. If your opponent successfully defended against the last attack you made, this charm allows you to make an attack which treats the DV which was not used to defend against that last attack as inapplicable. That is, if your opponent dodged your last attack, this attack is unblockable. If your opponent parried your last attack, this one is undodgable. This is a combination of situational positioning and unnatural mental influence; if 2wp are spent to shake off the UMI, this charm merely inflicts a penalty of (Essence) on the DV it penalizes. This willpower need only be paid once per scene to defend against multiple invocations of this charm.