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Old July 11, 2014, 08:52 AM   #1
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A Primer to Combat

A guide to combat skills.
Combat is a part of life for adventurers and citizens in the world of Aelyria, a land filled with fearsome beasts and dangerous opponents. The weapons and fighting styles found in the Aelyrian Empire are as varied and diverse as its inhabitants. In [wiki]Enamoria[/wiki], a common farmer reaches for an axe to defend his homestead from starving wolves during a lean winter. A merchant in [wiki]Vortex[/wiki] grabs a weighted club to protect his business from thugs sent by the local criminal syndicate. Insulted by a rival lord, an [wiki]Arium[/wiki] nobleman draws his sword and challenges his tormenter to a duel to the death. Despite their differences, each person must reach for a weapon and gamble life and well-being on physical prowess. Like other skills, adventurers progress through proficiencies as they fight on the field of battle.
Further Reading: [wiki]A Primer to Skills[/wiki]
[h=2]Weapons and Styles of Combat[/h]
New fighters can find almost any kind of weapon imaginable in the Aelyrian Empire. Major types of weapons include:
  • [wiki]Bladed weapons[/wiki] – Thrusting and slicing weapons including daggers, swords, and axes.
  • [wiki=bludgeoning weapons]Blunt weapons[/wiki] – Bludgeoning weapons including maces, flails, and warhammers.
  • [wiki]Pole weapons[/wiki] – Long two-handed weapons including staves, spears, and polearms.
  • [wiki]Thrown weapons[/wiki] – Thrown projectiles including darts, axes, javelins, and spears.
  • [wiki]Bowed weapons[/wiki] – Fired weapons including bows and crossbows.
  • [wiki]Unarmed combat[/wiki] – Hand-to-hand combat including wrestling, pit fighting and zinn'ka.
More [wiki]exotic weapons[/wiki] such as the [wiki]kusari-gama[/wiki], [wiki]matare[/wiki], or the [wiki=ribbon blades]ribbon blade[/wiki] can be acquired and trained as well.

Most fighters will naturally gravitate towards a combat style focusing on a particular weapon. Besides using a weapon, a style covers a broad range of skills acquired as a player hones his combat abilities. A knight may learn to wield a longsword during his training. He will also learn how to oil and sharpen his blade. After a few months of adventuring, he might gain proficiency in wielding the sword from horseback or paired with a shield. With time, he can apply his knowledge of the longsword to a claymore. This information is broadly referred to as combat lore. Other examples of combat lore include throwing, dual wielding, or wielding a weapon on horseback.

Some players may choose to track combat lore in their Character Information Repository. For purposes of advancement, proficiency is awarded for weapons and not for combat lore.

As a fighter learns to handle a weapon and develops his combat style, he learns or develops tricks and trademark attacks. Termed maneuvers, these represent more than just physical movements. They encompass the tactical awareness, physical conditioning, and mental will to execute a complicated attack in the heat of battle. Fighters can begin learning maneuvers at a Veteran level through consultation with a more experienced fighter. Elite level fighters are experienced and skilled enough to begin developing and teaching maneuvers on their own.

Examples of maneuvers include:
  • Shield Bash (Veteran) – A [wiki=dwarves]dwarven[/wiki] warrior specializing in using an axe and shield learns to smash the iron rim of his shield into another fighter’s face without opening himself up for a counter attack.
  • Winding Snake (Elite) – After carefully training her steed, an archer can guide her steed through rapid turns over rough terrain while still pepping pursuers with arrows.
  • Dervish of the Sands (Master) – With a running start, a dagger wielder can vault over a target, strike twice as she’s passing overhead, and land to deliver a deadly strike to their unprotected back.
  • Against the Worlds (Grandmaster) – An armored paladin’s sword and shield turn away spells and ballista bolts like raindrops. With careful knowledge of terrain, the grandmaster can hold off a legion for hours alone.
[h=2]Skill Tree[/h]
As with other skills, proficiency with a single weapon can be measured in five levels: Basic, Veteran, Elite, Master, and Grandmaster.

[h=3]Learning a new weapon[/h]
Different opportunities exist for would-be fighters to learn a new combat style. Many people learn to wield a weapon through sheer necessity. A farmer does not have a chance to train in proper scythe technique before lopping the head off a raiding bandit. Players can embark on a rip-roaring adventure, fight a duel against another player, or start a shooting contest to learn a new combat style.

For a more structured learning experience, players can seek out a trainer or mentor. Sell-swords, old hermits, retired veterans, and private tutors are usually willing to pass on their hard-earned knowledge for a few gold coins or sometimes just a listening ear. Larger organizations like the Imperial legions or the [wiki]Church of Faith[/wiki] will often put new recruits through a training program.

Untrained players are by no means helpless. They can expect to have basic knowledge of a weapon (hold the hilt, stab with the pointy end) though they will be hard-pressed against a trained opponent.

An individual with a basic combat skill is considered generally competent in his chosen weapon. He knows how to attack, defend, and move around the battlefield. While fancy maneuvers are inadvisable, he can hold his own in a fight. Examples of basic weapons skills include the average legionary soldier, well-trained city guards, and cut-throat bandits that infest the countryside.

A fighter with a veteran combat skill is considered experienced in his chosen weapon. Instead of focusing on rote mechanics, he can begin exploring combat lore and defining his chosen style for the weapon. With assistance from a more experienced fighter, they may begin executing special maneuvers. Examples of veteran weapon skills include a battle-hardened legionnaire or an experienced mercenary in the service of a major noble family like House Lylles or House Maeve.

Someone with an elite combat skill have reached the limits of the human body. They can routinely run faster, strike harder, and take more punishment than lesser men. Their peers routinely seek them out for advice in combat lore and tactics. Examples of elite skills include battle-scarred orc warlords or the captain of a Vysstichi house’s elite guard.

An individual with a master combat skill can perform unnatural feats of physical prowess and skill. Furthermore, they are widely considered experts and trend-setters in their chosen weapon. An example of master skills is Noe, Head Maid of House Evile.

Grandmaster combat skills are limited only by the fighter's imagination. Leaping through a curtain of flame without being singed, dodging a flight of arrows shot by unseen archers, cutting apart spells, and slaughtering a charging horde single-handedly are just the beginning. An example of grandmaster skills is Baron Faust Kitrye’veresi, Grandmaster Swordsman and High Lord of Har’oloth.
Credit goes to Noe.

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