Friday, June 1, 2012

Proficiency of the Week: Local Fighting Style

Local fighting style is a catch-all weapon proficiency used for historical or literature-based two-weapon fighting. The example used is main-gauche and rapier, but this could refer to any two-weapon fighting style associated with a particular culture or area. For example, it is not uncommon in the badlands of Southern Conteria for hill dwarves to wield an axe and a hammer simultaneously. This is usually achieved by taking two-handed combat and ambidexterity. Two handed combat allows a character to wield two weapons, as long as one is smaller than the other, and when paired with ambidexterity allows a character to wield two weapons of identical sizes. A hill dwarf in the badlands of Southern Conteria might take Two-handed combat, Ambidexterity, Hammer and Axe, for a total of four proficiency slots, and be able to wield the one-handed hammer and one-handed axe with one in each hand, and effectively double his number of attacks (he would attack simultaneously with the weapons, rolling a d20 for each, so if he normally has 1 attack per round he’d attack simultaneously with the two weapons on that attack (functionally having two attacks). If he had 2 per round, he’d attack simultaneously twice in a round. (The usual way this is done is by using two different colored dice and declaring one the ‘hammer’ and one the axe.
Local Fighting Style, in this case “Conterian Hill Dwarf Hammer and Axe” would allow the character to spend three slots (Hammer, Axe and Local Fighting Style: Conterian Hill Dwarf Hammer and Axe) to get the same result. He would not, however, be able to wield any weapon of proficiency with ambidexterity and Two-handed combat.
Each local fighting style adds a different bonus to the attacks of the weapon. These are placed on the combat part of the character sheet. The player and the DM must determine what the bonus is, based on the description of the local fighting style (usually discussed in the supplement for the area.) If the player already has the abilities of the local fighting style (such as having Two-Handed Combat and Ambidexterity and then taking Local Fighting Style: Conterian Hill Dwarf Hammer and Axe) the DM may assume another bonus from the Local Fighting Style proficiency, or s/he may just not allow the player to take that local fighting style. If the bonus provided by Local Fighting style is not recorded on the character sheet, the character will not have that bonus during the session. If the Local Fighting Style allows for a choice of different bonuses, the character cannot change which bonus he has after the proficiency is selected.
Local Fighting Style takes one slot, is generally available only to fighters (some specific Local Fighting Styles may be allowed to other classes, and will be mentioned in the Local Fighting Style description) and cannot be specialized in. The default bonuses are: +1 to hit OR one free block or trap per round OR free punch or unarmed kick per round, OR removal of penalties to use two weapons. Only one of these per Local Fighting Style is allowed. Multiple slots of the same Local Fighting Style are not allowed, but a character can take different Local Fighting Styles.
Some frequent Local Fighting Styles are:
Name of Style
Conterian Hill Dwarf Hammer and Axe
1-handed axe, 1-handed hammer
Weapons used w/out penalty
Usually dwarven only
Rapier (or saber) and Main-gauche
Rapier (or saber) and Main-gauche
Weapons used w/out penalty
Usually human
Halfling meister thrower
Sling and/or thrown stone
+1 to hit with sling/stones
Halflings only
Arena Kicker
Two handed weapon, feet
Free kick attack per round

Net and Spear
Net, spear
Use without penalty

Phalanx Spearman
Spear, Special shield
+1 Bonus to AC (+3 in phalanx)
On top of shield bonus
Pilium and gladius
Pilium, Gladius
Free Pilium attack at start of round

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