I started reading Legend of the Condor Heroes and it inspired me to make some more magical kung-fu. Some ideas borrowed from the author, Jin Yong.
Magi postulate that mana, or life energy, is derived from the soul and does not interact with the body, except in that it uses a Wizard's physical gestures and the movement of his mouth and tongue to manifest itself. The practitioners of the Fist Arts and other Martial Schools have a different perspective. They postulate the existence of five nodes of power- the Chakras. These nodes produce or transmit life energy through the body, through a network of spiritual channels called Spiritual Channels, Mana Circuits or Chi Lines. It is thought by many that the proper flow of energies along these lines enables vitality and good health. Similarly, if the channels become obstructed or clogged, physical sickness or mental instability is sure to follow. Some regions of the world host Priests and Sages who study the structure of these lines and through the use of needles and meditation, they can speed healing, relieve pain and cure diseases. But there are less wholesome uses for this knowledge.
One of these is the Martial School called Orchid Dance, a school which prioritizes precision, grace and sublime technique. The practitioners of Orchid Dance pride themselves in being delicate and gentle, as their techniques enable incredible defense and allow a fighter to incapacitate a foe without doing great harm. Yet Orchid Dance is not as gentle as it often appears, as it leaves minimal marks on a target's body, making it prized by assassins. Additionally, it requires absolute dedication and near-manic focus to master it. Despite how the practitioners often behave like petty aristocrats, cultured, quietly dignified, clad in soft fabrics, they are one and all utterly dedicated to their ruthless school, which is in truth, as delicate as dragon-forged steel. It just happens to be a sword carefully wrapped in soft, elegant reeds.
Novice: "The true mark of elegance is to appear uninterested." Your fists do 1d6 damage on a hit. You can parry one attack as a reaction, reducing that attack's damage by 2d6. As an action, you can attempt to make an attack on your enemy's Air Chakra. Make an attack roll. On a hit, instead of doing damage, the enemy gains a penalty to his Atk rolls equal to 1d4+[Your Level in Orchid Dance]. This effect lasts for 1 hour or until a Fighter trained in a Fist Art successfully undoes your effect by succeeding on a COG check with a DC equal to 8+[Your COG Modifier]+[Your level in Orchid Dance]. This also applies to other Chakra strikes done through Orchid Dance.
Journeyman: "Do not strike first, instead arrange so your enemy can only harm himself through attacking." As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Water Chakra. Make an attack roll. On a hit, instead of doing damage, your paralyze one of your enemy's limbs. If you choose an arm, the enemy cannot use two-handed weapons and some tasks will become impossible with only one limb. If you paralyze a leg, the enemy halves their movement speed and has disadvantage on DEX checks, DEX saves and pursuit rolls.
Expert: "Most battles are decided before the first blow is thrown- a practitioner's skill is in recognizing this fact." As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Fire Chakra. Make an attack roll. On a hit, instead of doing damage, you stop the flow of chi through an enemy's body. This prevents spellcasters from being able to cast spells and will prevent Fighters from being able to use any of their Secret Techniques that involve utilizing chi.
Master: "Seek victory first, then go to battle." As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Spirit Chakra. Make an attack roll. On a hit, instead of doing damage, you may select one broad category of action such as "Running Away", "Attacking", "Hiding", etc. The enemy cannot perform that action for the duration of your Chakra strike. An enemy can only be affected by one of these restrictions at a time.
While often thought to be the most vicious of the Cat Kingdom, many savage tribes venerate Jaguars as precise and effective killers, as Jaguars, with their powerful jaws and ambush tactics, are often known to kill with a single bite to the head. Members of these tribes studied the hunting styles of the Jaguar and gradually developed a fighting style based on that. The Spotted Terror School is not formalized, varying greatly from place to place, though it is generally only practiced by the jungle tribes of the Sweltering North who dwell in regions of forest not claimed by the Handsome Men, or in the Shrouded Forests of the Teeth of Artax.
These savage assassin-warriors form warrior lodges and cloak their teachings in mysticism and veneration of ancient and primordial spirits, those likely to be pleased by martial skill, warrior pride or blood sacrifice. These lodges highly prize their independence and will often refuse to teach those not of the appropriate birth or bloodline, but exceptions are sometimes made to the truly exceptional, or those thought to be touched by the lodge member's ancestral spirits or otherworldly patrons.
Novice: "There is nothing so cruel as a fair contest." Your fists do 1d8+Atk damage on a hit. If you attack an enemy from a position of advantage, such as from stealth, from behind, from a greater elevation, etc (Referee's Discretion applies) then you may reroll your damage dice and take the better result.
Journeyman: "He who strikes first strikes last." You learn the pouncing strike. As an action, you may leap up to 30' in any direction to make a melee attack against an enemy. This move also allows for vertical, as well as horizontal movement. If you successfully hit an enemy while using this move, you take no fall damage, if any.
Expert: "Be careful when throwing down the gauntlet, lest your enemy snatch it from the air." You can give yourself advantage on any roll, but if you do so, you suffer a penalty to your Atk rolls equal to -1d6 for the next four rounds or until you can sit down and rest for ten minutes.
Master: "There is no victory in conflict, only those who survive and those who fail to." 1/Day, you can, after a successful attack, add +1d8 damage to any damage done as a result of the attack. If you slay a creature in a single blow with this ability, you may use it again. However, each time you use it, you take 1d4 damage, as you strain your muscles.
|by Saeed Jalabi
The Poison Palm Fist Art was found by Outcast Hyang-zo, a traveling martial artist better known by the alias Master Blue Ring. An exile from his own homeland, Hyang-zo was said to be a practitioner of a variant of a defensive Fist Art that enabled him to strengthen his body, which enabled him to cross the Iron Dunes on foot. It is said that he was abandoned there with nothing more than a skin of water by those who meant for him to die- who that was, none could say, though there are many theories. And there are plenty who say that whoever they were, they had a good idea.
Hyang-zo nearly died in his attempt to cross the desert, and by the time he reached the Inverted Mountain, he was dying of thirst and faint with hunger. As such, when he saw one of the Blue-Swirled Squids in one of the many shallow pools around the Mountain, he seized it and ate it, not knowing it was poisonous. Any normal man would have died, but Hyang-zo was able to marshal every ounce of spiritual and physical strength he had to suppress the poison within his body, to prevent it from destroying him. The technique he improvised was so effective he soon began testing it on other poisons, until he was traveling far and wide to seek out rare poisons to improve his technique and gain resistance to new, more exotic toxins.
Soon he attracted students eager to learn his secrets, and from these early disciples the Poison Palm Art first began to spread. These disciples became the first masters of the Art, and it is said that they alone learned the true identities of those who attempted to kill their master, a secret that is said to be known only by the High Fraternity and the Grandmaster of the School. Some say that when Master Blue Ring died, it was this secret that motivated his students to continue his mission, building monastery-labs wherever they went, training up new students and refining their study and collection of poisons. Whether or not this is true, practitioners of Poison Palm enjoy relative acceptance in many nations, as they are willing to sell their services and are often employed by the wealthy as food-tasters, bodyguards and secretly, as assassins.
But even among those who employ these secretive martial artists, it is not known whether or not their claim of fidelity to their late master's thirst for vengeance is a mere pretext to motivate ever-greater technique and innovation, or a secret, bloody faith that could potentially lead to an imminent explosion of violence on some future date. And who knows, that day of retribution they often joke of, it may never come. Or it could come tomorrow, and by the time you realize the danger, it will be far too late.
Novice: "Hatred is like fire, it cossets and warms the heart, but unguarded it will devour you." Your fists do 1d6+Atk damage on a hit. 1/Day, instead of taking damage from a poison you are exposed to, you can instead absorb the poison. This poison remains in your system but does no damage. As a free action, when making an attack, you can secrete it through your limbs, doing bonus +1d6 bonus poison damage. You may do this for a number of rounds equal to the number that the poison would affect someone. Alternatively, if the poison only does damage once, then you may secrete it until your fists collectively do enough bonus poison damage equal to the maximum damage that poison could do. For example, if the henbane you absorb does 3d6 damage, then you may do bonus poison damage until you have done 18 poison damage.
Journeyman: "Anger is a vice you can ill afford- let it simmer at your peril." You gain resistance to poison damage from any poison you have been exposed to before. You may absorb poison up to 2/Day, but you can only secrete one poison at a time. Additionally, you can fully expel a poison from your system into another container. This "other container" could be another creature, but only if they were helpless. If the creature can resist or move in any way, they may save to take no damage. Creatures that take a full dose of poison from you must save or take damage as if they had been poisoned ordinarily.
Expert: "Perfection of body is nothing if the mind that rules it is disordered and full of weakness." You can gain immunity to a poison if you have been exposed to it ten times. You may absorb poison up to 3/Day. You can also fully expel a poison by spraying or spitting it. This is done in a 10' or a 15' line, your choice, and targets may save to take half damage on a success.
Master: "Emotions are like the weather, deceptive and fleeting. Trust them not." You can secrete any absorbed poison from your skin in a cloud, forming a toxic aura around yourself. When any creature comes within 10', they take poison damage. Your toxic aura follows the same rules as secreting poison from your limbs to do bonus damage. You may also secrete one type of poison from your limbs and another using your toxic aura.
One can experiment with powerful hallucinogens for only so long before one finds something that allows the user to separate his soul from his body. This is the perspective of how astral projection was first developed, by early mortals sampling mushrooms and other herbs until they found some that didn't just taste good, but allowed them to see their Gods face-to-face. Eventually, the reaction produced by these drugs were studied and mortals found ways to replicate them without the use of chemicals. It was this technique that first led to the notion of using the soul as more than a way to protect against magical attacks- some scholars saw much greater implications, including some scholars who practiced the fist arts. This led to the Tranquil Silence of the Eternal Mountain Fist style, though it is better known by it's common, laconic name, Dead Hand.
The Dead Hand Fist Art is one that involves the manipulation of the soul, allowing the user to fully utilize the resources of their own soul to augment physical strength. Practitioners of this school seek perfection in both mind and body, living in monasteries in desolate places, training endlessly to strengthen their bodies while also practicing sharp discipline and self-denial, refraining from indulgences such as unhealthy or rich foods, alcohol and in some cases, all form of carnal or intimate relations. Any are able to apply to enter their monasteries, but few can last beyond a few weeks of nothing but meat, yogurt and brutal training, mixed with mortification of the spirit and interminable hours of meditation.
Novice: "The world is wide and vast, yet thinner than a pane of glass." Your Fists do 1d8 damage. You may parry one attack per round as a reaction, reducing the damage by 1d8. You gain the ability to see into the Shallows of the Astral Sea, so you can see all the little spirit creatures romping around on the other side of the veil. You can also sense the presence of ghosts and undead.
Journeyman: "You may slay your enemies, but leave no wound upon their bodies, nor limbs, nor spill a single drop of blood." You gain access to your Chi. You gain X Chi points, equal to your COG+CON modifier. You may spend one of these Chi points to do +1d6 necrotic damage for 1 minute (10 rounds). While this ability is active, you also gain resistance to necrotic damage. Chi points are lost once used but are fully recovered after a long or short rest. Also, for each Fighter level you gain, you gain +1 Chi point starting now.
Expert: "To the man who has no one, do not despair, for in the union of flesh and spirit, one has all the love they could ever need." By spending 2 Chi points, you can separate your soul and body by a hair, allowing you to make two attack rolls, striking body and soul at the same time. Body attacks work as normal and do HP damage on a hit. Soul attacks are fended off with a Defense roll composed of 1d20+[CHA modifier]+[number of Mana Dice/Chi Points (if any)]. Soul attacks do COG damage. If you reduce a creature's COG to 0, they automatically fail any save against a spell or magical ability. Additionally, by spending 1 Chi point, you may separate your soul and astrally project. While you do this, your body falls comatose and cannot move. Your soul and body are also connected via a silver cord that is invisible to most creatures. However, if this cord is cut, you die. The cord can only be cut by a magical weapon and a creature that can see it or by taking damage from fire. The cord has HP equal to half your COG score and can only be damaged by magic weapons or fire.
Master: "Through division, unity, through emptiness, overwhelming strength." The By spending 3 Chi Points, your soul separates from your body and physically manifests. Each round, if you pay one Chi point, you can continue this separation. This allows you to make two actions, with your Body making one and your Soul-form making another. Your Body, when in this state, cannot be charmed or frightened, but also counts as non-magical. It cannot use magic weapons or items, but can walk through barriers designed to keep out magic as if they weren't there. Your body also is immune to necrotic damage.
Your Soul-form can fly and takes half damage from non-magical weapons or sources of damage. Your Soul-form is immune to radiant damage. When the Body and Soul-form are separated, they are connected via a silver cord, the same one present when you astrally project.