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A case for Martial Arts Styles that use axes

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  • A case for Martial Arts Styles that use axes



    Time-stamps don't work, so in the video below, skip to 8:25 to see Rachel's smash-and-grab-and-throw attack.


    Time-stamps don't work, so in the video below, skip to 1:19 to see Darius perform a similar hooking grab attack.





    Axes do not natively possess the smashing, grappling, disarming, or flexible tags, and that is fine.

    But I want a Martial Arts Style that lets me:

    * Use a chopping attack to clobber my target prone or away through sheer force like a smashing attack.

    * Use a withering attack to hook my ax around someone's arm, neck, sword, or shield to pull it out of the way, creating an opening for my ally or my fist or second weapon. And a decisive attack to bury my blade in the meat and bone of my opponent's arm to do the same thing. Especially effective against a prone opponent.

    * Following a successful attack, reflexively execute a gambit to disarm, trip, or outright grapple my target for an immediate slam/throw action.

    * With a counterattack following a successful defense, reflexively execute a gambit to disarm, trip, or outright grapple my target for an immediate slam/throw action.

    * Deliver a devastating strike to a prone opponent, like an executioner's axe or a guillotine.

    * Cripple.

    * Bury my blade in someone's flesh and then punch or kick it deeper.

    * Following the Charm to knock someone down and the Charm to cripple them: Pin someone to the ground by throwing an ax at them; if withering, the blade strikes the ground or their clothing/armor and the haft pins them. If decisive, the blade punctures their foot (or, if they are prone, their arm) and may cause a crippling injury.

    * Based on Darius' Apprehend ability, a Charm to help counter Disengage actions by hooking an opponent who attempts to flee.


    I'm frankly sick of hook swords, but this Style could potentially use hook swords as well, and possibly also kama (hand sickles), two-handed scythes, and pick-axes.


    The exclusion of axes from the Martial Arts Styles is ridiculous. It is in the family of humanity's most basic and ubiquitous weapons, together with the club, the staff, the spear, and the hammer.

    Swords have had Fire Dragon and Violet Bier of Sorrows Styles, and now have Single Point Shining into the Void and Steel Devil Styles, and they also had Even Blade and Five Dragon Styles in a previous Edition.

    Spears have had White Reaper and Golden Janissary Styles, and they also had Crimson Pentacle Blade, Lightning Hoof, and Five Dragon Styles in a previous Edition.

    We currently and traditionally have more Styles that use hook swords, seven-section staves, and war fans than Styles that use hammers, and none that have ever used axes.

    Conversely, what do you suppose was the most popular weapon in the world? A weapon which doubled as an indispensable tool of labor, and which was far simpler and cheaper to make than swords. A tool that peasants could still reliably own and use in self-defense, even when conquered by oppressors who refused to let them make or own weapons.

    The humble ax.

    If Swaying Grass Style is being included because Luna famously chooses slaves in bondage and because Lunars foment rebellion among slaves, then axes deserve Martial Arts representation as the weapon of choice for poor peasants and farmers and militias defending their homes from imperial conquerors, and also iconically used by raiding bands of barbarians and “sub-human” monster races like goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres, minotaurs...


    Exalted hasn't spurned Artifact axes, but it's time for a Martial Arts Style that lets us use those magical weapons with greater flair, flexibility, and fatality.

    What better place for this simple, cheap, brutal weapon than Lunars: Fangs At The Gate?
    Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 06-07-2018, 11:50 PM.


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  • #2
    Axes are very common in martial arts movies. Reason enough for me.


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    • #3
      sounds like a great idea to me

      a style about hooking, disarming and bashing your opponent - a very CC-focused style, using a big ol' axe. I like it


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      • #4
        This thread is really interesting, but it's not because I think that Axes really 'need' a martial arts style. To clarify on that, when I say need in quotation marks, it's not me saying they don't need one or that I'm against it. If they have one that's cool. I think it's more of a question I still continue to have;

        What should a Martial Art 'be', and the fact that there's still not an answer to that.

        Why do you need a Martial Art to do the things you've listed? Why can't you accomplish them through Melee Charms, some good stunting, etc.? Some of those effects just sound like stunts to specific actions already; the one about moving someone's arm away to create an opening just sounds like a Distract gambit, for instance, while 'Burying my blade in their flesh and then punching or kicking it deeper' sounds like Peony Blossom Technique, which specifically allows you to swap to a different ability when attacking, or even a permissive GM letting you continue to stunt that as melee. A lot of those could be connected to specific Solar Melee charms, or enhancements on those charms you could theoretically make and buy. I know you're thinking about this in regards to Lunars, so I can't say that in regards to Lunars, having not seen their charms, but I'd be very surprised if they don't have somewhat similar charms lurking in their Strength and Dexterity trees.

        And the reason why, I think, is because the game presents 'Melee' as being 'dumb fighting'. The idea that if you use Melee, you're just swinging your sword around at stuff casually and things are falling apart. And I think that's because 'what' Martial Arts is has always been very confusing and frustrating. As it currently is, Martial Arts is 'Smart' fighting; you can't do those kinds of things with Melee because a Melee person just chops you with axe until your dead. But that's not really correct in actuality; the concept of 'Martial Arts' embodies basically any way of fighting, since Martial means 'appropriate to War'. But in Exalted, that's not what it means. But honestly, I don't really know what it means, because it's difficult for me to understand what makes someone a 'Martial Artist' in Exalted versus 'a martial artist' being a person who just uses a weapon. In theory I know it; standardized charm across exalt types, learning specific, focused charms, etc. But those explanations don't really feel satisfying to me either.

        That's a lot of words for me to say, I guess, 'Sure, you could have a martial art that uses axes, but why do you have to instead of just using Melee or Strength/Dex charms?'

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Flare View Post
          That's a lot of words for me to say, I guess, 'Sure, you could have a martial art that uses axes, but why do you have to instead of just using Melee or Strength/Dex charms?'
          I don't necessarily disagree with the general point you make, but I could ask the same question about Single Point Shining Into the Void Style.

          Why do you need Void-Slicing Wind when we have Leaping Tiger Attack? We have Peony Blossom Attack and Iron Whirlwind Strike, so why do we need a Form Charm that gives you double actions?

          The point of a Style is to capture a style. A specific combat strategy, rather than Melee's well-rounded, jack-of-all-trades generalization.

          It's also to provide a common body of techniques that all splats can use.

          For Lunar Exalted, it stands to reason that Martial Arts Charms will be more specific and focused in application than their Attribute Charms, and thus more effective within those limitations. So for a Lunar who wants to use a katana, Single-Point Shining into the Void Style might offer more return on investment than raising her Dexterity dots and buying Dexterity Charms.


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          • #6
            MA's in Exalted are esoteric, spiritual practices, not just "A way of fighting with a weapon". If you want to make a martial art around one, what is the unique concept you are selling it on? Golden Janissary: Anti-Darkness style. Crane: Defensive Master style. Single Point: over the top one shot style. So what is the hook the axe style? And will it be like SPSitV, where only one specific weapon can be used? because most of the others let you go in unarmed.

            I love axes. I mean it- i think they are the most underrated and underrepresented weapon in fantasy. Dwarves get axes, maybe a ranger takes a throwing hatchet, but heroes get swords. I go out of my way to use axes in games, like Monster Hunter and Skyrim (where they suck!). But I haven't seen any... unique idea about them, yet. If you figure that out though, let me know. I'll help you once you have a hook.

            and how did you forget this?


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
              MA's in Exalted are esoteric, spiritual practices, not just "A way of fighting with a weapon". If you want to make a martial art around one, what is the unique concept you are selling it on? Golden Janissary: Anti-Darkness style. Crane: Defensive Master style. Single Point: over the top one shot style. So what is the hook the axe style? And will it be like SPSitV, where only one specific weapon can be used? because most of the others let you go in unarmed.

              I love axes. I mean it- i think they are the most underrated and underrepresented weapon in fantasy. Dwarves get axes, maybe a ranger takes a throwing hatchet, but heroes get swords. I go out of my way to use axes in games, like Monster Hunter and Skyrim (where they suck!). But I haven't seen any... unique idea about them, yet. If you figure that out though, let me know. I'll help you once you have a hook.
              The ax seems to be about locking down and dismantling your opponent.

              You deny them the ability to escape. You deny them the ability to defend themselves. You deny them the right to hold a weapon. You deny them the right to stand. You deny them possession of their own limbs. Once you have them under your power, there is no escape but death or being thrown away like trash.

              The ax-man captures his prey and eats them alive, piece by piece.


              I have never watched that movie except for specific scenes on youtube, and THIS video includes no fighting at all; just murder. No technique.


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              • #8
                There needs to be a philosophical undertone to an axe based MA style, letting you axe people questions and axe your questions.


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                • #9
                  I seem to remember back during Second edition (or maybe it was First edition) someone wrote up (I think) "Grim Executioner Style." I believe it was a Terrestrial Style which focused on wielding a big executioner ax to deliver killing blows. The fluff for the style was that it was created and primarily practiced by a small order of professional executioners located in the Hundred Kingdoms and other parts of the Scavenger Land who were typically hired to kill nobility or other people who were considered worthy of a death with respect, due to the practitioner's ability to deliver an instant, painless death with their ax.

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                  • #10
                    What if the axe style was Wolf Style? It could take the hooking tricks of the style and attach a metaphor of packmates helping a wolf kill prey by harrying it and cutting off its paths of escape.

                    Throwing your axe at someone to pin them down is the alpha commanding a packmate to jump ahead and delay the prey as the rest of the pack catches up.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      What if the axe style was Wolf Style? It could take the hooking tricks of the style and attach a metaphor of packmates helping a wolf kill prey by harrying it and cutting off its paths of escape.

                      Throwing your axe at someone to pin them down is the alpha commanding a packmate to jump ahead and delay the prey as the rest of the pack catches up.
                      This is a good start, yes.

                      When you ask me about the same point of Single Point, the truth is that I end up agreeing with you; Single point is Iaijutsu Style, but there's no reason that Solar Melee can't do Iaijutsu other then the fact the martial art exists. It's very Air Breathing Mermaid. This is even worse for Steel Devil Style. The only thing these styles generally kind of offer over just using Melee is that the mechanics are different, which is something I find valid on some level but that doesn't mean it's good.

                      When making a martial art, how I see it, It needs to have a theme and an idea. It can't just be offbrand Melee charms, or Brawl, or Archery, because that is where you start getting into the issues of 'why can't Solars use Flamepieces very well? Oh, because Righteous Devil Style exists', or something like that; where you're assigning a thing that another combat style can't do because 'I want this to be a martial art'. It's why I prefer Martial Arts styles that have things to do outside of combat, or do things more then just parrying and attacking, such as aiding in Soaking or giving bonuses to Athletics. These kind of things aren't within the umbrella of Melee, and thus a martial art using them more distinctly clarifies it as being different from just being 'Melee Charms that you lean with Martial Arts' or 'Brawl Charms you can't use with other Brawl Charms'.

                      When you're talking about this kind of stuff instead, where you're trying to emulate a wolf and doing interesting mechanics with it, I think you're starting to get into the idea of making a Martial Arts style, instead of just some Melee Charms you can also use with Dexterity and Strength.

                      Obviously I'm sure you already get all this stuff, I'm just noting for the benefit of others why I'm holding the opinions the way I do.

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                      • #12
                        I have to disagree with some of this. I don't feel that Single Point or Steel Devil would work as melee charms. Neither having your sword swinging with its own initiative nor the offhand charges are things that would fit in melee charms. Those are things that the styles do that would be firmly martial arts as they're part of their own enclosed system.

                        {As for their styles, sure. You can say you're melee and you use an iaijutsu combat style or a two-sword style. I'm playing a brawler right now who uses kicks primarily, but I don't need Swaying Grass Dancer for that.)

                        Likewise for the Wolf Style being proposed, you're going to want a special something that separates it from being just some tricks that melee could easily have. So wolves hunt in packs, are your axes going to be considered your packmates? If so, that seems to indicate that you might want to have a few on you at once. Maybe have throwing the axes being a part of the style. Perhaps the thrown axes, after they land on the ground can still be helping you out and if the opponent doesn't move from them, they could get penalties.

                        Now I'm imagining it as an ambush style where you can toss a few axes into trees in the area before the fight and they could help by herding or intimidating your opponents. Heck maybe one of the attack actions could be recalling an axe from a tree or on the ground and it swipes at an opponent from behind them on the way to you. Combo that with the proposed hooking in an enemy and you could bring an enemy at range into close with you. So it could be both a style that forces an enemy to move constantly (and disengaging uses up a combat action) while also making all that movement ultimately futile.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kunoichi View Post
                          I have to disagree with some of this. I don't feel that Single Point or Steel Devil would work as melee charms. Neither having your sword swinging with its own initiative nor the offhand charges are things that would fit in melee charms. Those are things that the styles do that would be firmly martial arts as they're part of their own enclosed system.

                          {As for their styles, sure. You can say you're melee and you use an iaijutsu combat style or a two-sword style. I'm playing a brawler right now who uses kicks primarily, but I don't need Swaying Grass Dancer for that.)
                          My 'like' button isn't working, but I do strongly agree with this point. imo, in 3e MA is more clearly separated from other combat abilities than it has ever been. Not by the aesthetics of the fighting style but by the actual mechanics. 3e MA are "non-native" (extrinsic, derived, received) fighting enhancements, contrasted against the native fighting enhancements of Melee, Brawl, etc.

                          So the question re: Axe Style isn't so much "what can it do that Melee can't" or "what is the aesthetic being evoked" as it is "in what way is Axe Style *functionally* distinct from normal melee fighting?" That's where the hook is.

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                          • #14
                            Solar Melee isn’t allowed to directly, specifically enhance smashing or chopping attacks, nor enable grappling gambits with the Melee Ability.

                            If you want Charms for using an ax to smash people to the floor, hook them on the backswing, and then use that clinch to throw them back into the ground (or into one of their allies) you must look to Martial Arts.

                            Just like you have to use Martial Arts to get unarmed parry Charms worth anything, because Brawl is deliberately geared to be heavily aggressive and weak on defense.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                              What if the axe style was Wolf Style? It could take the hooking tricks of the style and attach a metaphor of packmates helping a wolf kill prey by harrying it and cutting off its paths of escape.
                              In the Wheel of Time books there is a guy who is a "wolfbrother" and fights with an axe. His fighting style is often described in wolf-like terms, slashing a foe's hamstring to bring him down, his axe biting into the enemy's throat, etc.

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