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Thousand Blade Style - Esoteric Martial Arts

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  • Thousand Blade Style - Esoteric Martial Arts

    So by this point, everyone has seen the exciting news hopefully, we have gotten to Sublime Danger and the Thousand Blade Martial Art Style. Though it won't be out for about a year at least, its never too early to baselessly speculate on what new and exciting design space it opens up. The thousand blade style is unique in that it is the first style of martial art which appears to be fundamentally supernatural and as such not available to mortal practitioners (setting aside the possibility of a series of sorcerous workings to enchant some blades to fly at their whim). There might have been many such styles in the first age, which are now held by sidereals (though they are wholly distinct from SMAs), or whose scrolls are just waiting to be found in ruins across creation.

    I am considering referring to martial art styles as 'esoteric martial arts', and I wanted to see if you all had ideas for other such esoteric styles, or what kind of design space they might inhabit. I'm thinking that they might function similarly to Immaculate Styles, in that they have unique or even splat specific keywords, and go from essence 1 to 5 (as opposed to my idea for SMA which goes from 3 - 6). Ideally, they shouldn't be more powerful than regular martial arts (so still below SMA) but have a wider variety and being more obviously magic. Perhaps they might be similar in style to a Melee tree, in that it contains a toolbox for combat, rather than a pre-packaged strategy.

    In order for a style to be an 'esoteric' style it must have been invented by and for Supernaturals, be unperformable on a fundamental level to mortals (mortals can still make the motions for the immaculate styles, but they can't mentally command swords or have their limbs act like Luffy's), be mostly forgotten or otherwise difficult to learn, and rely on magic a basic part of the style.

    What do you guys think, is this space already covered by SMAs? Do you all have a different vision? But most of all what other styles like this might you imagine?


  • #2
    A sufficiently badass mortal can totally wield more then two swords at a time, they will just look like a really acrobatic sword juggling weirdo and have weird at rest stances while doing it instead of the way easier telekinetic sword wings trick. They can even throw the swords at people as shown by Killer Bee here in this Naruto video that has spoilers in it.



    Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

    Senator of the Greater Chamber

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    • #3
      So if it's because of charm use is necessary for the style. That's one thing. If it's due to esoteric and metaphysical reasons well dreaming pearl is the best you can get into. A lot of SMA though was weird from the start and end. They let you also break some of the traditional rules of MA. Like prismatic arrangement which allows you to use multiple form charms. Like take that out of mechanics and into lore. A form charm represents getting into one specific mindset so much you mimic it. The fact that you can break that rule is on another level. Also, take a look of citrine poxes which (if I remember correctly) was the only way to make a supernal disease. you were so good at punching people you could inflict horrible diseases or heal them. It's important to note that while they will most certainly be limited in nature to the current system, IE not as broken. It'll still keep the fundimental esoteric underpinning it has. Normal MA should let you dabble in this but never be equal to it.

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      • #4
        MA are Abilities before they are Charms. Dreaming Pearl Style is a tree with some freaky Charms, but it's also a perfectly normal Ability that can be used for attacks and parries. I don't see any reason (at this time) to assume Thousand Blades is different.

        Maybe the mortal version involves throwing your weapon; this easily explains why it's rare among mortals (you want to disarm yourself?). Or maybe the mortal version emphasizes multi-weapon fighting (like mortal steel devil), or drawing-and-attacking (like mortal single point), and the Blade-Wing Charms are just outgrowths of those mundane ideas, letting you keep more than one or two blades "active" ar a time.
        Last edited by Blackwell; 03-13-2019, 10:26 PM.

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        • #5
          Voice of the Nightengale is also explicitly supernatural when used with Essence but is still practiced by mortals— as are the immaculate styles. Maybe I’m misunderstanding?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mizu View Post
            A sufficiently badass mortal can totally wield more than two swords at a time, they will just look like a really acrobatic sword juggling weirdo and have weird at rest stances while doing it instead of the way easier telekinetic sword wings trick.

            I think to call Killer Bee a mortal beggars belief somewhat.

            To respond to Blackwell, I don't really buy that. That holds up for some styles like Snake, and DPS but there is no reason to think that this is always going to be the case. Case and point VoN style (as JiveX brings up), sure this is hypothetically an ability, but that basically can't actually be the case. Either the mortal practitioners have the first charm, and thus the ability to harm with their voice (and thus some small measure of magic) or they are just practicing whatever hand-to-hand element (it can still be used to parry, after all) the style might contain. If it's later, then the supernatural practitioners are effectively doing something totally different from the mortal practitioners. If anyone is suggesting that the mortal style is doing kung-fu while singing, and the magic just latches on to the singing, consider what possible utility that could have in a real fight, other than winding the practitioner. Even the weirder real-life styles had some utility, even if they were too impractical to use in most combat.

            The immaculate styles are more of a mixed case, but we might consider them somewhat analogous in that they are designed by and for supernatural beings, but they presumably contain a purely-physical element that is achievable without magic. Even so, it becomes quite clear looking through the charms that the styles are designed around having access to elemental essence that you channel for various effects. We might even consider the mortals to be practicing some 'dumbed down' style that isn't really the same as the exalted, but easily translates if they do exalt.

            If the mortal version of the style involves throwing swords, or dual wielding then its not the same style. We can call it 'conceptually similar' all we like, but most other martial arts styles are about discovering the magic side to a mundane activity. The mortal version presumably involves using sorcery to get some floating blades, but it is still on a base level supernatural. It might be worth remembering that in the First age the Exalted had their own society, in which they primarily interacted with each other. In these conditions, it would not be weird for them to design martial arts that were designed for them, with their supernatural abilities in mind. There might be ways for mortals to do practice it, but it was designed first and foremost for supernatural practitioners.

            Here are a few examples of what forms these might take.

            Adamant Circles of Enlightenment Style: a style focused on weaving sorcerous endeavors into physical combat, contains the ability to build sorcerous motes by attacking and defending, and some charms have a split sorcerous and regular mote cost.

            Protean Defender of Creation Style: a style specifically for Lunars which focuses on shifting rapidly through different animal forms to take advantage of powerful protean effects. (Think beast-boy). Certain Exigents other supernaturals might also be able to make use of it.

            Quicksilver Limbs of the King Style: Mostly just a shout-out to one piece, but a martial art style developed to take advantage of the lunar's flexibility to have stretchy limbs and unarmed attacks at range. Solars and

            The first and 3rd aren't really opposed to the idea of having an ability that encompasses the non-charm kung-fu, but the second very much is and all of them are very different for the supernatural users.
            Last edited by Nabirius; 03-14-2019, 05:01 AM.

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            • #7
              The first one seems viable, the second two— and forgive me for disagreeing— just feel like what lunar charms are— particularly the beastboy thing (he’s basically using hawk style but randomly turning into an elephant or whale to bodyslam people, based on my memory of the cartoon anyway)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JiveX View Post
                The first one seems viable, the second two— and forgive me for disagreeing— just feel like what lunar charms are— particularly the beastboy thing (he’s basically using hawk style but randomly turning into an elephant or whale to bodyslam people, based on my memory of the cartoon anyway)
                I was just spit-balling, you're not wrong, in that the lunar charms already kind of allow for that. However they aren't really designed for that, protean effects are usually nice bonuses, not something you need to aim for. Lunar charms mostly seem to be designed with the idea that you have a single 'battle form' in mind (usually the Spirit shape) and you get benefits that help the boar-fighter feel different from the bear-fighter.

                I heavily disagree about the 3rd, Lunar charms don't really make this into its own fighting style, plus this one would be available to other exalts as well, just developed by a lunar.

                Edit: As a second note this is about opening up new design-space between mortal martial arts exalts expand on and SMAs which tend to be bizarre and revolve around a metaphysical concept. I think I overstated the case with the idea the mortals couldn't do them at all. Immaculate-esque styles designed by and for exalts simplest explanation.
                Last edited by Nabirius; 03-14-2019, 02:11 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JiveX View Post
                  The first one seems viable, the second two— and forgive me for disagreeing— just feel like what lunar charms are— particularly the beastboy thing (he’s basically using hawk style but randomly turning into an elephant or whale to bodyslam people, based on my memory of the cartoon anyway)
                  The names don't work at all because those are the terms for SMA styles.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                    The names don't work at all because those are the terms for SMA styles.
                    and Violet Beir of Sorrows Style.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JiveX View Post
                      and Violet Beir of Sorrows Style.
                      Which is a style with a sutra, it was entirely outside of the normal naming conventions and worked differently than most MAs.

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                      • #12
                        Jesus Christ, look past the naming conventions, please. I made them up. They could have easily been called Magician's Fist, Beastboy, and Anime-Reference style. The real question is what should Martial Arts designed specifically for those with supernatural powers.

                        You are correct though I inadvertently used Sidereal Martial Art nomenclature. Though none of them really follow the Color-Noun-of-Noun format strictly. Adamant refers to willpower, Protean is an adjective for defender, and Quicksilver is a metal (though there is an SMA that uses it). Do these names work better for you?

                        Three Circles Style
                        Protean Defender Style
                        Mercurial Branches Style

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nabirius View Post
                          Jesus Christ, look past the naming conventions, please. I made them up. They could have easily been called Magician's Fist, Beastboy, and Anime-Reference style. The real question is what should Martial Arts designed specifically for those with supernatural powers.

                          You are correct though I inadvertently used Sidereal Martial Art nomenclature. Though none of them really follow the Color-Noun-of-Noun format strictly. Adamant refers to willpower, Protean is an adjective for defender, and Quicksilver is a metal (though there is an SMA that uses it). Do these names work better for you?

                          Three Circles Style
                          Protean Defender Style
                          Mercurial Branches Style
                          Sorry. Naming conventions does feel important though for MA. Also, yes.

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                          • #14
                            According to Vance in Discord Thousand Blades is specifically limited to artifact weapons, meaning the vast majority of mortals will be essentially shut out of the style.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yamajin View Post
                              According to Vance in Discord Thousand Blades is specifically limited to artifact weapons, meaning the vast majority of mortals will be essentially shut out of the style.
                              Eh, they can always make a line of swords that let mortals attune to them in return for shaving years off their life or something like that in the vein of Gunzosha armor.


                              Exalted Whose Name is Carved in Leaves of Jade

                              Senator of the Greater Chamber

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