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Gloranthan Martial Arts


ZedAlpha

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55 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

What I was trying to say, and I think you agree, is that every Martial Cult/society has a "martial art".

And I think that is just terminological confusion. Every culture knows how to fight. Most in some systematised way. But that is not necessarily anything we would consider a martial art, unless we just use the term martial art as a synonym for 'war of fighting', whether it is individual or only in formation, unarmed or armed, systematised or somewhat improvised, etc. 

20 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

For the purposes of this discussion, I think it's kinda implied that there is a need for some sort of supernatural element. How else would the PC be useful in combat situations? (Unless RQ is just super-confident in grappling and kicking for some reason).

though that supernatural element does not need to be anything more complex than 'and you can learn Ironhand/Strength/Protetion etc'. 

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1 minute ago, metcalph said:

Except there's no martial arts style mentioned for Loskalm in the rulebook - only Seshnela, Peloria, Teshnos and Kralorela (apparently confining itself to Genertela).

Do you have a different version of the rulesbook? What does that sentence on pg 181 say? 

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43 minutes ago, Eff said:

The RQ Martial Arts skill, which significantly expands the ranges at which criticals and specials can occur, seems to represent something almost as grandiose as Hokuto no Shin Ken.

Are you thinking of Land of Ninja Ki skills or something? Because that is not what the RQG Martial Arts skill does.

45 minutes ago, Eff said:

There's a fair amount of unarmed combat training that presumably consists of appropriate skill training and Ironhand spirit magic, but which is nevertheless aesthetically a martial art school or style.

Yes, for sure. The fancy Sivolic magical martial arts magic absolutely only represents particular ways of doing martial arts related magc. 

49 minutes ago, Eff said:

One disadvantage is that the emphasis on increasing raw damage does make unarmed combat feel like all hard/striking arts and little or no soft/grappling arts.

Yes. If you wanted to run a game with lots of martial arts in it, you'd want to distinguish between styles, and not just in associated magic and other skills. It wouldn't be hard to add some extra Grapple options for successful Martial Arts skill use. 

The Martial Arts skill was written about 30+ years ago and never updated. It could do with some expansion. 

42 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

What I would like to see is a variety of effects based on different styles. These can be things as a counterattack strike in the same round, or a skill penalty on the opponent in the following rounds and of course additional damage or increasing/decreasing the level of success.

Agreed on different styles and a few more options. 

I'm wary of adding more damage than it already does - within the RQ rules, anything too fancy, definitely your crazy wuxia stuff, is probably better represented as magic than a skill. 

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see, I meant "martial arts" as "systematized, often ritualized forms of formally teaching specific, usually named styles of combat, either armed or unarmed." We all know about karate and kung fu and pankration, but the Italian fencing schools are just as much a martial art. As are kendo/kenjutsu and Filipino stickfighting (whose proper name name escapes me right now). 

It totally makes sense to me that the culture that requires constantly having a weapon on hand would have these systematized, formal styles of weapon training. It also makes sense to me that cultures that can turn into animals would develop specialized fighting styles based around capabilities they get in those animal forms. 

And the Alkothi probably developed a specialized martial art that exists solely around kicking Elmal worshippers squarely in the genitals. That last one's just speculation, though. 

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also, the whole question about the Martial Arts skill needing expansion just applies to RuneQuest. I'm running a HeroQuest/QuestWorlds game, and all that we need to do is write down traits or breakout abilities. That's simple enough. Hell, if we end up going back to FATE instead of HQ/QW, but keep the setting, all we need to do is define a new Stunt for our characters.

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

Are you thinking of Land of Ninja Ki skills or something? Because that is not what the RQG Martial Arts skill does.

Yes, for sure. The fancy Sivolic magical martial arts magic absolutely only represents particular ways of doing martial arts related magc. 

Yes. If you wanted to run a game with lots of martial arts in it, you'd want to distinguish between styles, and not just in associated magic and other skills. It wouldn't be hard to add some extra Grapple options for successful Martial Arts skill use. 

The Martial Arts skill was written about 30+ years ago and never updated. It could do with some expansion. 

Agreed on different styles and a few more options. 

I'm wary of adding more damage than it already does - within the RQ rules, anything too fancy, definitely your crazy wuxia stuff, is probably better represented as magic than a skill. 

Oh ho, so I was confused. It merely doubles the damage of your fists and allows you to parry with your hands and feet. Somewhat less grandiose.

 

3 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

see, I meant "martial arts" as "systematized, often ritualized forms of formally teaching specific, usually named styles of combat, either armed or unarmed." We all know about karate and kung fu and pankration, but the Italian fencing schools are just as much a martial art. As are kendo/kenjutsu and Filipino stickfighting (whose proper name name escapes me right now). 

It totally makes sense to me that the culture that requires constantly having a weapon on hand would have these systematized, formal styles of weapon training. It also makes sense to me that cultures that can turn into animals would develop specialized fighting styles based around capabilities they get in those animal forms. 

And the Alkothi probably developed a specialized martial art that exists solely around kicking Elmal worshippers squarely in the genitals. That last one's just speculation, though. 

Oh, the Alkothi have many secret techniques. Stop Hitting Yourself, Flick Cigarette Butt At Passing Dog, Demon Sun Stuffs Nerd Spirit Into Locker, their dreaded familiarity with underworld magic perhaps culminating in the dreaded, awe-inspiring Swirlie...

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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13 minutes ago, FungusColombicus said:

that is a perfect description of what the Humack cult does.

Okay, so is there any information about the actual Humakti styles of combat written down anywhere other than "These guys are really hard to beat in a fight because they worship the god of Death?"

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41 minutes ago, ZedAlpha said:

Okay, so is there any information about the actual Humakti styles of combat written down anywhere other than "These guys are really hard to beat in a fight because they worship the god of Death?"

Not much. They are stated as using one-handed swords and shields, and their swords are generally straight cut-and-thrust ones. 

Beyond that... nada. And if/when you want to bring in chambara movie references, those swords can quickly gain a fair quantity of length and focus more on edge than tip. 

That said, I'd assume that there are rival schools of fencing, some possibly teaching the use of a main-gauche-like dagger in the off-hand, others emphasizing the shield as a means of battering down guards. Still others might use two-handed swords and teach half-swording, even the Mordhau/Mordschlag. And of course, there's certainly iaijutsu techniques mixed up in all this. 

Which is to say, the field is pretty much open. 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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12 minutes ago, Eff said:

Not much. They are stated as using one-handed swords and shields, and their swords are generally straight cut-and-thrust ones. 

Beyond that... nada. And if/when you want to bring in chambara movie references, those swords can quickly gain a fair quantity of length and focus more on edge than tip. 

That said, I'd assume that there are rival schools of fencing, some possibly teaching the use of a main-gauche-like dagger in the off-hand, others emphasizing the shield as a means of battering down guards. Still others might use two-handed swords and teach half-swording, even the Mordhau/Mordschlag. And of course, there's certainly iaijutsu techniques mixed up in all this. 

Which is to say, the field is pretty much open. 

As you mention those German references, and although this is not really appropriate for the era, I do long for a picture of a Humakti doing this:

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/end-him-rightly

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36 minutes ago, Eff said:
1 hour ago, ZedAlpha said:

Okay, so is there any information about the actual Humakti styles of combat written down anywhere other than "These guys are really hard to beat in a fight because they worship the god of Death?"

Not much. They are stated as using one-handed swords and shields, and their swords are generally straight cut-and-thrust ones. 

A few folk upthread postulated using or not using magic for martial art styles (I believe referring to unarmed styles). Maybe it is time to put that thinking to use here for Humakti martial arts with weapons. Truesword style or Sword Trance style for instance.

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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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11 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

A few folk upthread postulated using or not using magic for martial art styles (I believe referring to unarmed styles). Maybe it is time to put that thinking to use here for Humakti martial arts with weapons. Truesword style or Sword Trance style for instance.

and the known fact that every time that more than two Humakties are together they spar for a beer and giggles...

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A ‘martial art’ even in this much broader sense still needs to be something more to be meaningful in most game rules (even HQ) than just ‘learning weapon skill’. I’d suggest something like ‘multiple fighting skills learned together as a system with some synergistic benefit’ - and then I’d give the concept another name to avoid confusion.

And even then, I’m not sure it’s clear that all warriors learn fighting systematically in this way - and whether it would be worth including ideas as basic as ‘using a sword and shield together’ - is there a reason to treat it as anything but two separate skills that are somewhat complementary? 

What about ideas that really only apply to group, not individual, training (like forming a shield wall or phalanx)? A lot of ancient soldier training is like this. 

I think Renaissance fencing counts - but are there similar styles that aren’t anachronistic? and what would they do? 
 

10 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

It totally makes sense to me that the culture that requires constantly having a weapon on hand would have these systematized, formal styles of weapon training

Yes, but

  • it’s clear to me that this isn’t Martial Arts in the RuneQuest rules sense, and
  • and it's not clear if there would need to be any rules support for such a form? What sort of difference would it make if the weapon training was systemic and formal or not? 
     
10 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

It also makes sense to me that cultures that can turn into animals would develop specialized fighting styles based around capabilities they get in those animal forms. 

Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean those specialised fighting styles are systematized or formal - quite the opposite, I would imagine, as you need to be able to do it while you have a somewhat animal mind too, in many hsunchen cultures in active cooperation with animals. Probably taught as animals do, by play and mock combat. 
It’s a much deeper thing than superficially resembling, or being inspired by, animals, like Shao Lin animal styles. 

There is a pretty strong case that the RQ concept of a Martial Art is far too narrow, and should perhaps be replaced with something far broader like the RQ6 concept of ‘fighting styles’, but the boat has sailed on that one for now. And what would we get from it that we wouldn’t get from just noting that ‘this group uses these skills and techniques together effectively’? What can you do by fighting, say, ‘Humakti style’ that isn’t the same as just being really good at the sword and shield skill? 

 

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To be clear: I think the thread has drifted into discussion of rules, when I'm trying to just find out if there's anything that we'd recognize as a "martial art" described in the lore, so I can build on it for our own HeroQuest campaign. You're asking rules questions. I don't know the answer to those, tbh. YGWV. Whatever works for your game, I guess? 

As far as your question about similar swordfighting or weapon arts? The ancestors of escrima, mardani khei and krabi-krabong don't have much documentation, but there's some evidence that they might have been taught and practiced in the same way as their modern counterparts long enough ago that it might not seem anachronistic for a Bronze Age-styled RPG. Kalarpiyat and silambam do have archaeological evidence supporting that they have been around for that long in some form. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

There is a pretty strong case that the RQ concept of a Martial Art is far too narrow, and should perhaps be replaced with something far broader like the RQ6 concept of ‘fighting styles’, but the boat has sailed on that one for now. And what would we get from it that we wouldn’t get from just noting that ‘this group uses these skills and techniques together effectively’? What can you do by fighting, say, ‘Humakti style’ that isn’t the same as just being really good at the sword and shield skill? 

I did like that idea in RQ6, come to think of it. It was a good way to give your character a certain "way" they learned to fight.

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2 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

To be clear: I think the thread has drifted into discussion of rules, when I'm trying to just find out if there's anything that we'd recognize as a "martial art" described in the lore,

Well, we got the main answer for unarmed martial arts long ago - the canonical answer is “Different schools of Martial Arts exist in the Lunar Heart-land, Loskalm, Seshnela, Teshnos, and Kralorela.” - and clearly also in the East Isles, Vormain, etc. And there is a bunch of stuff in Revealed Mythologies about the various Eastern traditions, and a few mentions of unarmed fighting in the West that clearly Joerg and I deeply disagree on.

Lots of people have suggestions for additional possibilities of unarmed fighting traditions, which are totally fun variants or small traditions that can meet their campaign needs, of wildly varying plausibility to me. 


And literally almost everything past that, pretty much everything about traditions of armed combat, is half about how you define the term martial arts, which some people define broadly enough to include essentially every warrior tradition, and half what stuff you make up, because many Gloranthan sources will tell you that people fight, and what weapons they fight using, but almost none will get into the nitty gritty of how integrated their training is, how formal it is, whether it has ritual elements, etc - and even when we know a little, many people extrapolate strangely from a small amount of info (can bears learn kung fu? Can schoolyard bullying form the basis of a martial art?). How do we tell whether Humakt is a sword martial art tradition, or just an expert sword fighting tradition that is integrated into their religion? What would be the difference, and what would it mean in a game? 

The other question is who integrates their magic into their martial practice, and when is that forming martial arts magic or just martial magic? I personally think it’s best to keep the magic and mundane separate in all the Gloranthan rule systems, but there does seem to be a closer connection for the Eastern traditions - which opens up another entire box of worms (as this was typically connected to mysticism). Luckily, for the vast majority of games that aren’t in the East, this can be ignored.
 

For Humakt, etc I think we already have a pretty good understanding of how they integrate their magic with their fighting, and I would suggest that further trying to tweak the rules to make a difference on how they do this based on the arbitrary line between between mere skilled sword fighting and sword martial arts is arbitrary, is needless over complication, and will probably lead you astray on the deeper magical implications too. 
 

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12 minutes ago, davecake said:

Well, we got the main answer for unarmed martial arts long ago - the canonical answer is “Different schools of Martial Arts exist in the Lunar Heart-land, Loskalm, Seshnela, Teshnos, and Kralorela.” - and clearly also in the East Isles, Vormain, etc. And there is a bunch of stuff in Revealed Mythologies about the various Eastern traditions, and a few mentions of unarmed fighting in the West that clearly Joerg and I deeply disagree on.

Lots of people have suggestions for additional possibilities of unarmed fighting traditions, which are totally fun variants or small traditions that can meet their campaign needs, of wildly varying plausibility to me. 


And literally almost everything past that, pretty much everything about traditions of armed combat, is half about how you define the term martial arts, which some people define broadly enough to include essentially every warrior tradition, and half what stuff you make up, because many Gloranthan sources will tell you that people fight, and what weapons they fight using, but almost none will get into the nitty gritty of how integrated their training is, how formal it is, whether it has ritual elements, etc - and even when we know a little, many people extrapolate strangely from a small amount of info (can bears learn kung fu? Can schoolyard bullying form the basis of a martial art?). How do we tell whether Humakt is a sword martial art tradition, or just an expert sword fighting tradition that is integrated into their religion? What would be the difference, and what would it mean in a game? 

The other question is who integrates their magic into their martial practice, and when is that forming martial arts magic or just martial magic? I personally think it’s best to keep the magic and mundane separate in all the Gloranthan rule systems, but there does seem to be a closer connection for the Eastern traditions - which opens up another entire box of worms (as this was typically connected to mysticism). Luckily, for the vast majority of games that aren’t in the East, this can be ignored.
 

For Humakt, etc I think we already have a pretty good understanding of how they integrate their magic with their fighting, and I would suggest that further trying to tweak the rules to make a difference on how they do this based on the arbitrary line between between mere skilled sword fighting and sword martial arts is arbitrary, is needless over complication, and will probably lead you astray on the deeper implications too. 
 

That’s a good answer. Honestly, yeah, my question was answered like...pages ago, then it just sorta spiraled out of the original scope of my question (as these things tend to do) when other people started debating about what would count as a martial art and what wouldn’t, then brought the runequest rules into it. 

 

Not criticizing anyone, ‘cause everyone’s brought some good input into it. Everybody.

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4 hours ago, davecake said:

I think Renaissance fencing counts - but are there similar styles that aren’t anachronistic? 

The Griffin Warrior agate might depict something like that. At least, the dynamics in that find remind my of Dürer's Fechtbuch.Those bronze blades ending in a round attachment part for a handle to rivet on appear to forbid slashing, at least without the chance for the handle getting unattached from the blade. A weapon like that might require quite a bit of instruction.

 

I'll speculate about possible sources for Malkioni unarmed combat practices in a separate topic.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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