Wednesday, June 12, 2019

50 Special Moves

Special moves, secret techniques, or “blade arts” are the names of special fighting techniques that characters can learn or develop. They act as a in-universe rule or justification for supernatural fighting prowess. Note that no special move should be able to grant a character a new power that should already be available to everyone; you don't need a special feat to swing on a rope while fighting with the pirates.

Each Technique has a difficulty. This is the minimum to hit bonus a character must have from their class in order to learn this skill. For example, a Fighter with +4 to hit total and has +1 Strength modifier would be able to learn difficulty 3 or less blade arts, as their Strength bonus does not reflect their martial mastery.

To learn a technique takes a number of Seasons of downtime equal to its difficulty -1. Difficulty 1 Blade Arts can be learned with just a few days or lessons of practice. Blade Arts also cost coins to learn, but this cost may be in addition to or supplemented by a minor or major quest, especially for higher level blade arts, which are only taught be reclusive masters in misty mountain dojos.

Every character can learn a number of Special Moves up to their class HD's highest possible roll. The exception are Monks, who can learn as many as they want.

Most techniques require a simple attack roll to execute, or have their own requirements listed. This list also assumes that unarmed attack damage begins at 1d2 or 1d3 for untrained characters without natural weapons; if this is not the case, then slide up the die sizes of moves that improve unarmed combat damage.

-Training Cost by Difficulty-
Difficulty 1 : 1,000c
Difficulty 2 : 4,000c
Difficulty 3 : 9,000c
Difficulty 4 : 16,000c
Difficulty 5 : 25,000c

-Move List By Difficulty-
Difficulty 1
[1] Dragon's Sheathe
This move lets you draw your blade in such a way to create a shower of sparks without causing damage to the blade or needing a special sheathe. You can only use this move with a bladed weapon, like a sword, dagger, or glaive. You can also draw your sword or dagger at a different angle, which does not create the sparks. The sparks fly out at anyone standing within melee striking range, dealing no damage, but allowing you to go first or temporarily blind those with sensitive eyesight. If the opponent is flammable, such as being covered in oil or wine, then this move instead ignites them and deals 1d4 or 1d6 damage from the quick burn. This move is mostly a dishonorable parlor trick.

[2] Blind Oracle's Touch
This special move isn't used in combat. Instead, it allows a simple touch from one character to potentially learn what skills and abilities of another creature has by studying their muscles and skin. Running a hand along theirs can sense their skills in archery or close combat, touching their legs can feel their stealth or speed, and touching their chest and back can sense if they are used to wearing heavy armor. The target of this ability doesn't get a saving throw, but unwilling targets will usually be restrained anyway or secretly being felt up to learn their combat prowess. If the character knows any specific powerful 5th difficulty blade arts then specific clues can be found in their body, such as light vibrations in their muscles for Quivering Palm.

[3] Sting of the Master's Blade
You never inflict real damage from your weapon unless you intend to. You can spar with full force and always stop short before dealing any real damage to your partner. Additionally, you can use this to change the damage type of a sword to blunt of one die size less without risking damage to the blade. Magic weapon bonus still applies but at a ½ rate, rounding down. +1 Magic swords therefore do not confer any magic bonus, as most of their magic is in the sharpness of their blade.

[4] The Falling Butterfly
Allows you to catch something sharp, dangerous,or explosive without hurting yourself. If the object is burning hot or acidic you will only be able to hold it for a single round before it start to harm you. This is “catch” from above, such as a oil lamp falling to the ground, not “thrown” such as an attack from an enemy. You do not need to roll or use a save to perform this skill, unlike other characters who may need to save to avoid the negative effects of whatever they're catching.

[5] Plug up the Dragon's Nose
If you put a finger in the barrel of a black powder weapon, it cannot fire. You cannot attack or perform any other action with that hand, and it only works if your finger totally blocks the hole, meaning you could not block up a cannon this way. If your setting doesn't use black powder, instead make it the tip of a crossbow bolt.

[6] The Lobster sheds its Skin
With a single combat round of precise movements, you can jump out of any suit of armor. This move will let you escape from armor that is burning or slowly crushing you from a spell or effect, but won't necessarily grant any protection from cursed armor unless taking it off this quickly would defend from the effects of its curse. You can treat the doff time of armor as essentially zero.

[7] Gears with Oil, Red as Blood
By learning this technique, you can now perform all of your martial arts pressure point and special moves on machines as well as people, with an appropriate level of effect and damage. This only works if you have an Intelligence of at least +1, or have special training in how complex machines like automatons and clockwork-men work.

[8] Way of the Open Palm
You get +1 to hit with unarmed melee attacks. While useful as a self defense tool, professional warriors can use much more sophisticated and powerful martial arts techniques to make their punches, kicks, and slaps as deadly as forged weapons of iron and steel.

[9] The Merchant's Only Friend
You can fling coins as deadly projectile weapons. They are flicked from between your fingers, and impact with almost the force of a sling. You deal 1d3 damage from the improvised weapons. Crushed and impacted coins lose surprisingly little value; gold is still gold.

[10] Nineteen Legged Stool
You can use a stool, farming mat or basket, metal bucket, a ladder, or other improvised item as a shield. Gain the normal AC bonus of a shield while using these items, though they will be destroyed from blocking powerful attacks such as axes or beast bites, since they were never meant to defend against weapons as a shield was. You still have to use up a hand to use the item.

Difficulty 2
[1] The Drunken Master
This special move lets you fight with your normal skill (normal To-Hit, AC, movement, saves, etc.) while under the effects of an intoxicating drug like alcohol or mad salts.

[2] Wick the Wax from the Scorpion's Tail
This move allows a character to remove the poison coated on a blade or other material by spending their turn dodging instead, granting +2 AC from no aggressive action. They will use their sleeve, scarf, or fur to remove the poison, thus no longer having an effect on the next successful attack roll, as long as this attack roll missed. You can also make a stealth roll to see if the enemy is aware of your trickery. Rogues can add their stealth bonus/sneak chance to this ability.

[3] Fists of Fury
Increase your unarmed attack damage to 1d4. If you had a natural weapon that already gave you 1d4 unarmed attack damage, such as cat claws, then just add +1 to your unarmed damage rolls. You can train this technique multiple times, but each time you must train it at the higher cost and difficulty of one higher, needing a new and better master to learn from, and each time you finish your training you gain a die size higher unarmed damage die; up to a maximum of d10 for a Difficulty 5 martial arts technique. Additionally, each martial arts school has their own name and style- some are based on animals, some on gemstones, some on elements, and so on. If an enemy combatant knows your martial arts school, they may be able to counter it, gaining a bonus against you in combat. Learning a different martial arts school may let you disrupt an enemy; it costs ½ the normal training costs of Fists of Fury, but you get to keep your highest possible damage die from your highest level technique.

[4] Broom in the Old Study
You can spin your arms around and spend a combat turn to push away gas, dust, or floating particles or even a swarm of small insects that aren't too aggressive or powerful. This creates a small radius of 15ft where the cloud will be absent from for at least two combat turns, and slowly fill back in or continue disappaiting depending on the source. If you use a staff with this move, then can be integrated into your normal attack and doesn't requires a round, plus the radius is doubled in size to 30 ft.

[5] I am but a Straw Mannequin
If you are at full hit points and are hit by a non-magic attack, you can roll a d20 + your to-hit bonus to make a very hard saving throw to avoid the damage instead; tucking the weapon under your armpit, allow the arrows to pin your bags and miss you by inches, etc. You can pretend to fall over or be in pain, but will require a stealth roll to fool anybody too close or clever to be easily deceived by this trick.

[6] Wanderer Digs for Water
You can go an extra day without water and an extra week without food. If you are a Fighter and have a Constitution score of at least +1, you can also learn a special technique where you sit absolutely still while awaiting rescue, conserving all your energy but allowing any attacker to get surprise against you in your deep stasis. While in that state, you can last up to a week without water or an entire month without food.

[7] Two Finger Steel Defense
If you are using unarmed combat while fighting an opponent that has a roughly human-like physiology and is also unarmed- you add +2 AC against their attacks. This doesn't work against anyone who knows a martial arts style; you stop clumsily thrown fists with just two fingers.

[8] Rigid Spine counters Earthquake
You can resist stun effects on a hard saving throw. If the stun effect already gave a saving throw to avoid or mitigate, then you just get +2 to that saving throw. Additionally, if you are capable of learning 5th Difficulty special moves, you can learn this move again at the 5th Difficulty cost and become totally immune to all stun effects outside of the ultimate magical or divine effects. Any stun effect that can force itself upon you only lasts a single turn.

[9] Falling Comet smites a Bird
When you are falling, you can grapple an opponent that is also falling to transfer the damage of your fall into them. If they die from the fall damage, you have to soak the remainder of your own fall damage. Additionally, you can jump from a high fall onto an enemy to transfer the speed of your fall into a powerful attack, dealing your fall damage into the enemy instead, but the enemy gets a saving throw to step out of the way and it requires stealth and positioning to use this move.

[10] Acupuncture
You are as skilled in the body for combat as you are for healing. As long as you use a proper acupuncture kit that costs at least 500c, you can employ it while healing other characters with spells or first aid, granting +2 to healing. Additionally, if anybody you heal has a damaged attribute that is one point away from the next ability modifier up, you can restore just enough functionality to that body's system to recover that one point.

Difficulty 3
[1] The Monkey's Tail
Using this move, the character can use a long rope or cord of fabric as a method to control a weapon at a distance. This allows for short ranged weapons to be used with reach as though they were a spear or whip. The long cord requires both hands to use, and can only make basic attacks with the weapon, meaning it cannot be combined with most other blade arts. Secondly, the cord can be cut as it must be made out of something flexible and soft. The enemy combatant may make an attack with a sharp weapon against the AC 10 cord and on a hit, it is severed, ending the control you have over the extended weapon and dropping it at their feat. If you are a Fighter with at least +4 to hit from your class bonus, then you may spend 50% of the training cost again to learn how to use this blade art with metal chains instead, raising the AC of the “monkey tail” to 18.

[2] Drinking Rain from a Falling Leaf
This move is similar to Wick the Wax from the Scorpion's Tail and requires that move to learn this one. This ability instead removes a temporary enchantment or power from a blade in the same method as poison; by dodging the lightning-infused sword so closely, you can cause it to fire off harmlessly next to you. This move only works on Blade Arts of an equal difficulty or less, and only works on spells of an equal level or less.

[3] Eagle's Cry
You can focus your voice into a powerful weapon. With intense training, your voice becomes powerful and shrill enough to deal damage; whenever you use this power you deal 1d6 damage to enemies directly in front of you in a small cone. All normal glass within a 50 ft radius shatter from the loud noise. If you use this power more then once in a single day, you lose your voice and cannot speak, cast spells, or use this ability for 1d3 days afterwards.

[4] Dancing Dagger
You can only use this move on a dagger, ninja star, or other small, concealable throwing weapon. Once you learn it, any dagger you throw will ricochet back to your hand on a missed ranged throwing attack, allowing you to use it in melee the next round or throw it again.

[5] Locklimb Chop
By hitting an unarmed attack, you can chose to deal no damage and instead lock an enemy's limb in place. If their arm is straight, then they cannot bend it. If it is bent, then they cannot straighten it out, etc. Saving throws are given to flexible enemies or those using weapons to still retain use of them, but some tools like shields or magic staves for spells may still be used even when the limb is locked in place. The creature has their limb locked like that for 1d6 combat rounds.

[6] My Body is Mountain
Once per day, your character can meditate for an exploration turn to stop their bleeding and close up wounds. This restores 1d6 hit points and requires no first aid or medical supplies to perform. You also get a second saving throw to resist a poison in your system.

[7] Speak no Spells
This move requires an unarmed attack roll to be made against an opponent and successfully hit. The attack deals no damage, but strikes a pressure point in their throat that prevents them from speaking. Using this prevents magic users from speaking a spell incantation; thus silencing their magic. This lasts for 1d4 combat rounds.

[8] Rawhide is my Flesh
By concentrating on defense for a combat round instead of attacking, you can lower all the damage you take from acid spells, attacks, or other sources by -2 damage per hit. Attacks that deal 2 or less damage are totally ignored, as you wipe them off your skin before they can burn into you, but any secondary effect of the acid or spell still occurs. Additionally, this move raises your AC by +1 whenever you use another defensive combat action or use up your combat round to defend yourself.

[9] This Blade I So Name
You can name a weapon using the ancient arts. You must also impact the weapon with some tradition and mark; such as a rune, a bright tassel, or a notch for each life it has taken. This weapon counts as magic for the purposes of hitting enemies immune to normal weapons, but has no special magical properties. If you can learn 4th Difficulty moves then you can spend ½ the training cost again, you can make any weapon you have named have an ego score of 1. This means laymen cannot use it without fumbling the weapon, as it refuses to serve lesser warriors. You can only name one weapon a year.

[10] The Shadow Cuts at Noon
You can make an extended attack with a spear, rapier, or other mostly piercing weapon melee weapon. This requires you not to move and charging your balance. The weapon is thrust forward, but the piercing energy of the attack is carried forward- piercing through all enemies in a line in front of the weapon, extending up for a maximum of 25 ft. This ability is more tiring then standard attacks and as such can only be used a few times before the character will be too tired to continue using it in a fight. Make a saving throw to avoid fatigue if you use it more then twice in any combat encounter, or if you use it too many times once per day.

Difficulty 4
[1] Hand of the Typhoon
This move allows for the transfer of force through the medium of water. The slash of a sword or punch of a fist transfers through water and can strike your foe at a distance, dealing 1d4 damage of the appropriate type. By paying ½ the training cost again, you can learn to do this through all other similar mediums, such as through sheets and blankets in the Sultan's palace, sand and gravel along a beach, or long grass in a field.

[2] Dragon's Blade
By cultivating an inner fire and practicing lightning-fast movements with a sword, you may engulf your blade in fire by spending a combat round waving it around to gather the heat and ignite the metal. The scorching heat of the blade deals +1d6 fire damage on any successful hit. Weapons that use this technique that are not magical are singed and corroded with soot, giving -1 to hit with that weapon until it is properly cleaned and polished. Magic weapons or weapons made of super heat-resistant material ignore this effect. The Dragon's Blade lasts up to an exploration turn and can be used as a makeshift torch. Those who cultivate this ability use an inner flame, and as such it can only be used once per day until the spark is rekindled.

[3] The Hidden Knife
You can redirect the force of your fists and feet into cutting damage instead of blunt damage. You can do this to either deal damage to an enemy immune to slicing damage, or to cut through something vulnerable to cutting like a rope or vines. This does not change the damage of your unarmed attacks, just the type of damage it deals. Additionally, you can use just a single finger as a penetrating or piercing type damage attack as well, if your game is so specific with damage types.

[4] Clawing Tiger
If an enemy you are facing has AC of 10 or lower, you don't have to roll to hit, you hit automatically. This applies to standard weapons and unarmed combat attacks, but not ranged weapons.

[5] River God's Skin & Scale
Your body is toughened and hardened by this technique. The training time for this technique is doubled, as your body must be constantly subjected to light scratches and wounds as well as beaten and rinsed with special oils and salts. After the training is over, your skin is much tougher. You gain +2 maximum hit points and no longer take damage from caltrops, light needle traps, or being trapped in an iron maiden. This also means you cannot be poisoned by a blowgun or similar, as the needle lacks the depth and strength to reach your bloodstream.

[6] Death After October
When you die, your character can instead have their blood and body instantly freeze with ice, going totally stiff. This prevents any healing spells or medical attention from being used on them until they thaw, but also prevents their body from being further ravaged or rotten or turned into an undead slave by an evil necromancer. Their body thaws in typical summer weather and if they are placed next to a fire, but can stay frozen essentially forever if placed in a cold, damp place. This spell can be used to preserve a corpse for a resurrection spell, or to protect a vital treasure held close to the corpse's breast, since nothing they are wearing or carrying can be taken until they thaw.

[7] Hold Fast against Death's Specter
You can project your life energy into a barrier that protects you against the terrible effects of negative energy. You get +2 to saves vs death. This power is passive, and is always on as long as you are capable of fighting. When against ghosts or level-draining undead, your skin glows a white sheen, and black smoke rises whenever they touch you and you succeed your saves against them.

[8] Strike the Hidden Point
By studying one race's biology, you can learn their secret pressure points. Whenever you defeat a foe with an unarmed melee strike, or are attacking an otherwise helpless or near-death victim, you can choose to instead paralyze them temporarily or deal 1d6 damage to any stat of your choice from disrupting their bodies own channels. You have to pay the training cost again each time you want to learn a new race's biological systems. Some races, such as High Elves, may be too supernatural or superior biologically for them to have pressure points you can exploit in the first place.

[9] Shear-Steel
Anyone can attempt to break armor or weapons of significantly weaker quality or material then the type they are using; even a layman without this move can damage iron weapons with steel, or destroy iron with mithril. This power lets a warrior channel their own toughness into their blade or armor, treating it as one level of material strength higher. Wooden weapons become as tough as iron, iron is as steel, steel is as mithril, and so on.

[10] Dream of the Slave
When you are bound and tied, you may attempt to burst free. Roll a saving throw, and on a success you can rip apart ropes, leather muzzles and leashes, and wooden bindings. If your Strength score is at least +3, you can also do this to iron chains. If you are trapped by magical shackles or locked in place or in a prison made of magic, you can also attempt this but instead use your Wisdom score as a limit on how powerful an enchantment you can break free from.

Difficulty 5
[1] The Flying Swordsman
This ability teaches the fighter to be able to balance and hold their weight on things too weak to do so normally, run across light surfaces like fabric or water without falling through, and balance on precarious places. Learning this ability requires at least +2 from your Dexterity from natural talent, training, or magic items. While this ability is similar to the ninjitsu Rogues gain through leveling up, yours is always a bit more brutish and less agile then theirs.

[2] The Spirit in the Sword
Using this power, you can evoke a magic weapon's ability at a range to create a single spell-like effect. Blades with an ice enchantment could throw out a blast of ice, dealing the damage of the ice enchantment as a ranged attack. Swords with incredible sharpness instead could cut something at a distance instead, or do a simple ranged attack. Magic blasts caused by this power deal the enchantment/special damage plus the magic value of the weapon, such as +2 to the damage for a +2 magic sword, etc. Magic weapons with a more powerful, intelligent spirit are actually manifested as a real spirit entity, with stats and abilities befitting of what the sword's spirit is. After using this power, the sword loses its magic enchantment (but remains as durable) for the rest of the day. Weapons with intelligent spirits can last for up to 1d4 exploration turns before disappearing and falling silent for the rest of the day, until the sword has had time to recuperate.

[3] The Pit of Death
You must use a blunt weapon or the blunt end of a specialized weapon to use this power. When you strike the ground with all your might, you can create a small crack in the floor, rocky earth, or soft soil to create a small pit. The pit is filled with spikes, including the bones of dead animals, cave stalagmites, and bits of buried wood all pointing up. Anyone pushed into this pit or thrown down there would take massive damage from the fall and being impaled; equal to 3d10 piercing damage. You can also choose to hit the ground a little less hard to make the pit just flat instead, which could be used to trap people or make an impromptu arena for you to fight something 1 on 1. This power has no daily limit but if abused to dig trenches or latrines it still tires you out as though you had dug the pit yourself; it's a powerful martial arts move, not a magic shovel.

[4] Quivering Palm
This ability lets you channel the vital energy of a foe into a deadly weapon. Creatures killed by this move have their blood boil and explode like a bomb, their eyes pop out, muscles spasm and break their spine or any number of other of gruesome fates. You can do this whenever you kill a living creature with an unarmed attack if you so choose. Additionally, if you hit a foe with low enough hit points that your attack could have killed them, but your damage roll was too low, you can instead strike their pressure points and make them into a ticking time bomb. They get one final round to act, either to make an attack or blurt something out, and then their body rips apart in a manner described above. If they manage to heal enough hit points that your strongest attack couldn't kill them anymore in their final round, then they get a save vs death. On a failure, they die anyway. On a success, they survive but take 2d6 damage in a random stat or lose -1 HD from the internal damage.

[5] Flawless Thoughts of Crystal
You are immune to mind control and mind-effecting powers. You can always sense illusions, and your roll to disbelieve is an easy saving throw. If something absolutely has to still mess with your brain, or if you are hit by a spell or move that is god-like in power, then just resist 90% of the effect. For example, if you were to see a Lovecraftian horror that kills you just by seeing it, just take a maximum of 1d6 damage instead. Additionally, you may tap someone on the head to give them a bonus saving throw against any mind effecting ability that is harming them.

[6] Limitless Breath within your Breast
You cannot be paralyzed. Any spell or effect that would paralyze you is ignored, saves automatically succeed against paralysis. If an effect is so powerful as you cannot resist it, such as a curse by the Gods, then you are half paralyzed instead. Additionally, this power lets you break out of being petrified or turned to stone after 1 exploration turn of being trapped- this works even on permanent changes into stone.

[7] Suffer thy Sorcery
This move requires an unarmed attack roll against a target, which must hit- you deal normal damage. If you already know Speak no Spells, then you get +2 to hit with this move. This ability penetrates the aura of a magic user and disjoints their magical powers; reversing the effect of their next spell or a current spell and sending it back to them. Additionally, this move ignores magical shields and barrier 3rd level and lower in strength. Magic users get the same saves against their own spell effects, but at -2 if you know Speak no Spells.

[8] Power Within
By concentrating and spending your combat round channeling your energy, you can temporarily enter a state of increased power. The character's muscles bulge and clothes rip, and subtle energy collects around their frame. After channeling this power, the character gains temporary bonuses of +1 HD and treat their level as one higher. Additionally, they get +2 to hit, damage, AC, saves, and treat all stat modifiers as +1 higher, and get an extra attack per round. This state lasts an entire combat, but is very draining and causes extreme fatigue once it wears off. It cannot be used again until the character has gained several thousand XP or has had a long recovery period with ancient remedies.

[9] Enlightened Master God Defense
This move is one of the most powerful and rare of the martial arts moves. Increase training cost by an additional +10% and requires a very special tutor. Additionally, once this move is learned you gain +1 AC permanently from this ancient wisdom.

You stand still in absolute concentration, and focus the perfect flawless defense of the Gods into your stance. No matter what attack strikes at you, they are blocked, parried, dodged, or absorbed without taking any damage. This applies to melee attacks, ranged attacks, direct damage spells, and supernatural attacks such as dragon breath or the damaging bolts from magic rods- however this protection does not apply to cursing spells or spells that cause damage indirectly. While using the Enlightened Master God Defense stance, you are restricted by several factors.

  • You cannot advance forwards even a single step. You can only step back, thus ceding ground to the enemy.
  • You cannot attack while using this move.
  • You cannot use this move while under the effect of a poison or disease strong enough to make you feel sick or feeble.
  • Your equipment takes damage; your armor and weapon will start to chip, crack, and break from the strain and absorbing all the damage of the attacks.

If you are struck in combat, you lose the ability to use the perfect defense move for the rest of that combat- the technique requires a certain focus and esoteric energy reserves in the body that take time to replenish. It is said this move is so perfect it can even block a single attack from a divine weapon, but this only works once.

[10] Enlightened Master God Assault
This move is one of the most powerful and rare of the martial arts moves. Increase training cost by an additional +10% and requires a very special tutor. Additionally, once this move is learned you gain +1 to-hit permanently from this ancient wisdom.

You concentrate, then jump at any foe you choose with supernatural vigor and ferocity. Every attack you hit will strike. The opponent will always take the hit, and you will always deal the maximum possible damage that your attack can deal. Next round, you can attack the same foe again and automatically hit, dealing maximum damage each and every time. If your character has multiple attacks, then all of them do the same thing as long as you focus them on your one opponent.

  • You cannot change targets or shift focus. As in; you cannot change weapons, use other fighting moves, drink a potion, etc.
  • If an enemy successfully grapples, blocks your path, or restrains you, the effect will end early.
  • You cannot use this move if the enemy is a friend or if you do not wish to truly kill them. This is a mostly flavor restriction, and unlikely to come up in actual play.
  • If your weapon is broken, you must cease the assault.

Once the assault ends, you cannot perform another this combat. The Master-God attack requires a sort of mental state that cannot be reused so quickly after the first one, and relies on esoteric energy reserves in the body that take time to replenish. This move is so powerful that no blade art or magic armor could stop it, with only the exception of a divine level defense. However, this move can still get one strike in against such a defense, even where a normal attack would have no chance, but you can only pull it off once versus a divine defense.


  1. Heck yes I've had these sorts of things in my campaign forever but I've always needed more and better ones

    And these are more and better