Country of Origin: Cathay
Dojos: Potala (Small), Xi Huo Guan (Tiny), and Yolyn Am (Tiny)
Founded: 451 AUC
Description: Nearly two thousand years ago, three itinerant monks came to learn at the foot of the great philosopher, Master Kung. Though the monks had never met before, they found in one another kindred spirits who came to believe that one could achieve Enlightenment only through mastery (and union) of the four elements of creation: air, earth, fire, and water. Water, they realized, was so essential to life as to already be mastered (through the human form itself) by every man, woman, and child in Cathay. This left three elements…and three ambitious monks eager to spread their revolutionary new views across the seven kingdoms.
One of the monks, Shi Quan by name, took this new philosophy home to Khimal and, with the blessing of the High Lama, established the Monastery of Unyielding Stone. The second monk, Huoyan, built the Temple of Unblinking Flame in the eternal light of the Firewall. Baofeng, the final monk, established the Temple of Unfolding Wind in his home city of Yolyn Am, and the three agreed that any student must study under all of the Masters in order to be granted highest honors and guided on the path towards Enlightenment.
Qishi is considered a blended martial art, as it incorporates the brutal strikes and kicks of a hard style with the joint locks, throws, and evasions of a soft style. The primary stance of a fighter using this style depends on where they received their initial training; each dojo trains its students to adopt a handful of specific stances, depending on their approach (hard or soft) and intent (attack or defense). From there, a student receives training in breaking items with his bare hands, redirecting an attacker’s energy to put him on his back, or launching deceptive attacks that seem to come from several angles at once.
The weakness of this style is its lack of flexibility. A student learns only a few basic stances at the Apprentice level, and learns how to incorporate them into a singular attack or defense as a Journeyman, with little adjustment as a Master. In all, even a Master has only about eight combinations of stances for attacking, and eight more for defense. Once an opponent has deduced what forms the martial artist has studied, and when, his attacks become much easier to predict and his defenses much easier to penetrate.
Basic Curriculum: Hard Martial Arts, Soft Martial Arts
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Qishi), Feint (Hard Martial Arts), Sunder (Hard Martial Arts), Yield
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint to be successful. If you are successful, he cannot avoid the attack using any Active Defense. The Raises taken on this roll add Unkept Dice to your damage roll as usual.
New Swordsman Knack: Sunder. When making an attack, you can choose to strike at an enemy’s weapon, hoping to break it and leave your opponent defenseless. To make this attack, you roll Finesse + Sunder, taking two Raises to target the enemy’s weapon. If your hit is successful, roll damage as normal; this damage is not applied to the opponent, but compared against the following chart to see if the opponent’s weapon breaks:
|Type of Weapon||TN to Sunder|
|Dagger, Knife, Main Gauche||20|
Game Masters should use their discretion in applying the Sunder Knack to other kinds of weapons. These Target Numbers can be adjusted by the following modifiers:
|Weapon Quality||TN Adjustment|
|Inferior Weapon or Shield||-5|
|Quality Weapon or Shield||+5|
|Djinn or Sidhe Weapon||+15|
Revised Swordsman Knack: Yield. Yield consists of a nimble dodge followed up immediately with a body-to-body attack. You first attempt an Active Defense using Footwork against the incoming attack, and then, if the Active Defense is successful, make a Corps-á-Corps attack of your own against the person who just attacked you. When performing a Yield, you receive half the dice from your Footwork Knack (rounded down) for your Active Defense, and half the dice from your Corps-á-Corps Knack (rounded down) for your counterattack. For every Rank in Yield, you may add one Kept Die (+1k1) to either the Active Defense attempt or the Corps-á-Corps attack. These dice are added after you’ve halved the appropriate Knacks.
Apprentice: As an Apprentice, a student of this style learns to balance his inner energies to exceed normal limits in combat. The nature of the benefit depends upon which dojo provided the student’s training:
If he studied at the Monastery of Unyielding Stone in Potala, he may add his Rank in Resolve to any Wound Check he attempts.
If he studied at the Temple of Unblinking Flame in Xi Huo Guan, he may add his Rank in Finesse to any Attack (Martial Arts) roll he attempts.
If he studied at the Temple of Unfolding Wind in Yolyn Am, he may add his Rank in Wits to any Active Defense he attempts using Footwork.
The Apprentice may select only one of these benefits, and once he has studied at the appropriate dojo, he may not select it again for either his Journeyman or Master Techniques.
The Apprentice does not receive free Membership in the Swordsman’s Guild; instead, he receives a free Rank in the Swordsman Knack of his choice.
Journeyman: A Journeyman of Qishi focuses his training on one specific attack or defense, achieving expertise in that feat above all others. The nature of the benefit depends upon which dojo provided the student’s training:
If he studied at the Monastery of Unyielding Stone in Potala, he gains a free Rank in his Sunder (Hard Martial Arts) Knack. This may raise his Rank in the Knack to a six. If it does not, he may increase it from a five to a six later by spending 25 XP.
If he studied at the Temple of Unblinking Flame in Xi Huo Guan, he gains a free Rank in his Feint (Martial Arts) Knack. This may raise his Rank in the Knack to a six. If it does not, he may increase it from a five to a six later by spending 25 XP.
If he studied at the Temple of Unfolding Wind in Yolyn Am, he gains a free Rank in his Yield Knack. This may raise his Rank in the Knack to a six. If it does not, he may increase it from a five to a six later by spending 25 XP.
The Journeyman must study at a different dojo than he did for his Apprentice training, and must complete his Master training at the dojo where he has not yet studied.
Master: The benefit a Master of Qishi receives depends upon the dojo where he completed his training in the style:
If he studied at the Monastery of Unyielding Stone in Potala, the Master’s training consisted of punching (and breaking) large stones, so that his hands became truly lethal weapons. All of the Master’s successful Attack (Martial Arts), Feint (Hard Martial Arts), and Sunder (Hard Martial Arts) Roll and Keep an extra die (+1k1) of damage.
If he studied at the Monastery of Unblinking Flame in Xi Huo Guan, the Master learns to exploit weaknesses in his opponents’ defenses, like a flame seeking fuel to consume. You may add three to all attack and Active Defense rolls for every Rank in Exploit Weakness you have in a Swordsman School or fighting style he is using against you, and for every Dramatic Wound he has suffered. Thus, if a Master with five Ranks in Exploit Weakness (Qishi) is facing a Journeyman in the style who has taken three Dramatic Wounds, the Master may add twenty-four to all attack rolls made against him, and to all Active Defense rolls made to resist his attacks.
If he studied at the Temple of Unfolding Wind in Yolyn Am, the Master may use Interrupt Actions to make attacks. Furthermore, he may spend more than two Action Dice on the Interrupt Action; each additional Action Die spent equates to an additional attack taken at the same time as the initial attack in the Interrupt Action. Thus, if a Master with a Rank of four in Panache has rolled three eights and a nine on his Action Dice, he may spend all four of them to make three attacks using an Interrupt Action at any time he likes in the Round. This cost of this ability cannot be reduced by the Lightning Reflexes Advantage.