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Old 06-24-2011, 07:41 AM   #21
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
There are quite a few fictional examples I can think of where this isn't true. Anastasia Luccio, Gandalf, Kvothe...
Actually, I bet the majority of fictional "wizards" can handle themselves in combat, starting with Elric and Kane. The academy trained wizard is more an exception in novels -- apart from those based on gaming worlds, of course. There's no need for niche protection or CP limits. And if you're not a member of a bigger party, you have to do all the protagonist work of the story by yourself…

But what would the stereotypical academic wizard do for martial arts training? I would imagine something rather regimented, where there might be some real-world self-defence benefits, but not as the sole (or primary) purpose. And including the wizard's symbol, the better. So I'd expect something like Tai Chi, but with staves, i.e. some "Staff Art" in there. Helps you to focus your mana, is a decent cardiac workout and maybe helps you out in a brawl when you're too hungover to cast.

Assuming you're going for the robe-and-staff type of wizard, of course. If you're in a slightly more modern world, I'd expect pretty much the same "martial arts" as have been common for real-world affluent students, i.e. some kind of "fencing" in the broadest sense. Maybe even with silly fraternity rituals. But again, that's a pretty generic academic subset, not specific to wizardly academies, and probably not on their regular schedule.

In some campaign backgrounds, I can easily imagine ranged combat. First, it helps you aim your magical bolts, too, it's good workout, and if you're at war and you're out of spells, you're probably in a good position for some bow shots anyway. Probably a good idea for state-sponsored, medieval-type academies.

One neat thing out of a popular German RPG: As magic flows through a wizard, their unarmed attacks are considered magical. Now, if magical weapons are rare enough, but opponents who're hard to harm without them are somewhat common, this might open some interesting possibilities. Even people who won't get far in the academy (Magery 0?) could use some basic training to battle those creatures, and the martial arts taught would probably be based on the particular type of creature.
Imagine "spirits" in the broad sense, where you'd need lots of mobility, but your strikes would be rather devastating. This style would be much more "Wire Fu" like than if you're battling tough zombies, where strong punches and a good defense are paramount.
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:58 AM   #22
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

I worked it the other way; Judo or Aikido, with some airbending (Air Jet) to help the thrown person along. My most experienced player would start a fight with Death Vision as a distraction to get in the first hit, and of course nothing says Dim Mak like Might and few dice of Deathtouch delivered with a black laquered boken if you're partial to Kendo.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:12 AM   #23
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

Wealth and a deathtouch-enchanted bokken would work, too, but then if you lose it, you are out of luck.

Also, a twinkilicious technique for Wizards would be to take a normal attack that does less damage and gives +4 to skill (per creating new techniques) , so you can take a -4 to do a deceptive attack at base skill.

In a modern campaign, Judo skill is the way to go, Parry, grapple and release your spell.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:40 AM   #24
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

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Originally Posted by mhd View Post
But what would the stereotypical academic wizard do for martial arts training? I would imagine something rather regimented, where there might be some real-world self-defence benefits, but not as the sole (or primary) purpose. And including the wizard's symbol, the better. So I'd expect something like Tai Chi, but with staves, i.e. some "Staff Art" in there. Helps you to focus your mana, is a decent cardiac workout and maybe helps you out in a brawl when you're too hungover to cast.
Its been very common for students to practice a martial art in their spare time as long as there have been universities (in the middle ages, students were clergy and therefore exempt from pesky city laws against wearing a sword and buckler). The dominant fencing style in 16th century Italy grew out of the law school at Bologna! I think your paragraph 3 reflects most fantasy settings than one with wizardly academies with standard but artistic martial arts training.
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:17 AM   #25
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

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Its been very common for students to practice a martial art in their spare time as long as there have been universities (in the middle ages, students were clergy and therefore exempt from pesky city laws against wearing a sword and buckler).
Which brings up a good point: How are wizards treated legally? Which in turn is probably quite dependent on the relative power of students. If this isn't really, really low (either by the general level of magic, or some kind of blocking), you might not want to increase the belligerence of them. Law students might sue you, but they're not able to level your tavern with a few mystical words (or boil your blood after they snatched a lock of your hair). Academies might have some rather strict rules for that. (Even if using magic is generally forbidden outside of academy grounds, forbidding mundane duels or brawls is a good idea, as not to tempt fate)

Or they just try to avoid this by being rather secluded (Earthsea's island academy, mountaintop monasteries). In which case it's not very likely that nobleman/bourgeoise dueling styles will be popular enough.

Whether you're emulating real-world student combative training also depends on whether your wizardly academies resemble real-world universities. A lot of fantasy students enter when their talents are discovered. A school where you attend from age 10 to 20 will have different possibilities and requirements.
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #26
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

I think some thing like this is a setting question, martialarts could be either an extensial part of the training like say in Avatar: the last Airbender or simple some kind of minor part of the proffesional training like a few stickfighting lessons in your run of the mill fantasy mage academy.

If the staff is sign of there profession its would naturall to use it in self defense outherwise they would use the same weapons other civilians use. Handguns, daggers or Rapiers depending on the actual TL.
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:35 AM   #27
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It's all about the Style Perks. Staff Attunement is a godsend, and works really well as a Style Perk for any magical staff or stick form. Blocking Spell Mastery is useful, too. It's pretty straightforward to create new perks, to improve Will rolls for concentration, or to allow Rapid Strike spellcasting, or whatever.

Then, it's a matter of function. In general terms, improving your defense while you prepare spells is good, but I would suggest focusing on getting casting times down to 1 second more than on defending while you concentrate.

Death Fist is a good example of a touch-based magical martial art. Foot Archery or Kyujutsu work with Missile spells with almost no alteration.

For proper toe-to-toe fighting with Regular spells, I'd suggest some kind of reasonably defensive style, like Sword-and-Buckler Play or Fencing, and allow DWA or DWD with spells, either as a perk or just as a cinematic feat. If you attack the same subject with a melee weapon and a Regular spell at once, using DWA, they'd take a penalty to both their defense roll and their resistance roll.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:31 AM   #28
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Realistically, Judo or some form of Ringen am Schwert. Basically, they don't want to actually close and fight, they want to hold off an opponent until they can cast a spell. Quarterstaff also makes sense for the ability to parry well.

This is a set of the requirements I see:
-Good defensively
-Unobtrusive, the equipment has to be socially acceptable (no polearms, but a smallsword would make sense)
-Able to be used quickly and with little warning
-It doesn't need to kill, there are spells for that

Actually using an edged weapon seems overkill in most cases.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:41 PM   #29
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Default Re: Martial Arts for Wizards

Also, easy to learn. You want to be able to defend yourself acceptably without sinking too many points in it. Quarterstaff is Hard but gets +2 to Parry, so that's OK, but you won't really hit anything...
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:17 PM   #30
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Isn't Staff an Average skill? It also comes out above pretty much anything else in terms of defense/pt, since you get your +2 to parry.
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