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15 July 2014 @ 10:09 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom: Martial Orders  
I've been thinking about martial counterparts to the sorcerous orders since I decided to try switching the rules over to Exalted, and since I can grab pre-existing Terrestrial Martial Arts it's coming along pretty well. Here's what I have so far, and it's a good example of where I'm going with this.

The Blossom Guard
For centuries, the Blossom Guard were the chosen royal guards of the Kingdom of Flowers, sworn to serve the throne and to stay out of the conflicts between the Houses over who would sit on it. Every seven years they would hold a tournament where the greatest warriors in the kingdom, and some of those outside it, would compete for the right to be one of the seven warriors chosen as apprentice guards, and those who qualified would enter a decade-long apprenticeship before emerging as full Blossom Guards. They were disqualified from the line of succession and officially members of no House, but the other guards became their brothers and sisters because of the Guards' longevity--their training slowed their aging process and eventually stopped it altogether, and as their birth families and friends died, the new Blossom Guards came to rely on those who they knew could understand them. Then the Dragon Emperor came.

For many nobles who were there, the scene still replays itself in their dreams: the stoic Blossom Guard fighting before the Efflorescent Palace, resplendant in their incarnadine lamellar armor, with their twin short swords flashing in the sun as they carved a swath through the ranks of the Dragon Emperor's army. But in the end, they were not enough, and those guards who did not die in the war fled into hiding or exile. The deathless Blossom Guard lay in ruins on the field of battle.

The Blossom Guard are hunted now, and anyone who kills one and brings in their armor and swords as trophies may claim their weight in gold from the Dragon Empire. The old system of tournaments has given way to apprenticeship, and new Blossom Guards do not have the luxury of a decade of training before they are thrust into battle. They wander the kingdom as mendicant warriors, or seek aid from nearby kingdoms. Some have rallied to the banner of House Daisy in the Raptok Isles as the remaining center of Floral power. All seek to be at the forefront of a restoration of the Kingdom of Flowers, but there is little agreement as to where that restoration will come from, and so the Guard fights a hundred tiny battles and hopes that they might contribute, somehow, to the freedom of their homeland.

Requirements: Athletics ••, Dodge •, Melee ••
Style: The Blossom Guard's combat style is the Steel Whirlwind, focused on scything their way through groups of foes and remaining mobile. Blossom Guards are a terror against groups of lesser foes, but they can find themselves out of their depth when fighting a single powerful opponent. Steel Whirlwind permits the wearing of light and medium armor and is fought with paired daggers or short swords.
Style Skill: Melee
Benefit: Blossom Guards may purchase one level of the Longevity mutation for every Charm they buy. When they master the final Charm of Steel Whirlwind style, they may buy the Immortality mutation. Guards who have lived at least 60 years may raise Athletics, Dodge, and Melee to 6. Guards who have lived at least 200 years may raise them to 7.

[martial arts style snipped]

The Brothers of the Hammer
The Brothers of the Hammer are a new organization, only a scant handful of years old. When the Dragon Emperor overthrew the Kingdom of Flowers and instituted his rule, he realized that he could not only rely on the Circle of Xhamekh to maintain his power and the safety of his person, and so he called together some of the greatest warriors of the kappa tribes and had them fight to determine which fighting style would be supreme. The winners were a pair of warriors from the Split Rock Tribe, and the Dragon Emperor immediately recruited them, and the surviving losers of the tournament, and forged them into his personal guard.

The modern Brothers of the Hammer are simultaneously the foremost representation of the Dragon Emperor's power and a symbol of how he is trying to forge a single nation out of the disparate kappa tribes. Members renounce their tribal membership and loyalties and swear to personally serve the Dragon Emperor, they live in Floral-style communal housing, practice with members of other tribes that they might formally have killed on sight, and are essentially the nucleus of the slowly-unifying Dragon Empire. In many ways, the Brothers of the Hammer and the Blossom Guard are two facets of the same gem, though members of both organizations would vehemently dispute that.

While they obviously spend much of their time guarding the Dragon Emperor's person, Brothers of the Hammer are also sent out to hunt down Floral loyalists, seek out those who are worthy to join them and train those who are not in the art of "civilized" war, and root out dissidents. The populace has already learned to step lightly at the sight of their iron armor and enormous hammers, which is exactly what the Dragon Emperor wants. He has a long road to walk to his unified Dragon Empire, but the Brothers of the Hammer will be there to smooth out the path for him.

Requirements: Backing (Dragon Empire) ••, Melee ••, Stamina •••
Style: The Brothers' style is the Invincible Avalanche, a slow but powerful style that destroys the landscape and deals massive blows to their enemies. Brothers' attacks are incredibly powerful and hitting them is often like hitting the rock itself, but a nimble opponent who can avoid their blows can whittle them down. The Invincible Avalanche permits all types of armor and is fought with maces, hammers, clubs, and (far more commonly) sledges.
Style Skill: Melee
Benefit: Brothers of the Hammer may buy the 2 pt Superior Soak mutation when they buy the second Charm of their style, and may purchase another 1 pt worth when they buy the Form Charm, allowing them to resist wound infection (and only wound infection) with a Difficulty 1 Stamina + Resistance roll.

[martial arts style snipped]

The Boar Children
The Boar Children were a group of raptok who had taken the jungle boar spirit as a totem and developed this style in emulation of the boar when it fights--though the Children would say that the original practitioners were taught it from the spirit of Boar itself. They were even more primitive than most raptok, often abandoning their families for long periods of time to test their skills against the predators of the Raptok Isles before returning to their homes.

And that's probably where the style would have remained, if three sisters who were also Boar Children had not left the isles all at once to seek adventure in Agarica two centuries ago. Some of the songs of their deeds are still sung by the bards, but the greater legacy they left behind were their traveling companions that they taught the style to. Some of those companions died, some returned to quiet left, but two of them founded dojos of their own to teach the school and so spread it further.

Most non-raptok practitioners do not practice the extreme primitivism of the raptok Boar Children, though they are known for spending time in the wilderness, meditating under waterfalls, bull-rushing bears, and other uncouth feats of strength. It has never been popular among the nobility, but the commoners in the Kingdom of Flowers and traveling Muscalan mercenaries provide a large clientele. Now that the Dragon Emperor has come, some of the kappa study this art as well, finding their massive frames and claws to be perfectly suited to the style. The Board Children may not be true to the original vision of the raptok, but the evolved version of the style seems to have a bright future ahead of it.

Requirements: Athletics •, Martial Arts ••, Resistance ••
Style: The Boar Children practice the Raging Boar Style, which relies on charging forward fearlessly into battle and trampling those who would die to stand in their way. It is strong on the attack, but relies on overwhelming force and smashing aside its enemies and has a difficult time against foes who will not be moved. Furthermore, it is highly lethal and of little use against foes who must be taken alive. Raging Boar does not permit the use of armor and is usually fought only with the raptok's claws and teeth, though practitioners without such natural weapons may use khatars, tiger claws, or sais.
Style Skill: Martial Arts.
Benefit: Boar Children may purchase one level of the Painless mutation for every Charm they buy, and may buy Enhanced Painlessness when they master the style.

[martial arts style snipped]
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