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    Default [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    The Age of Warriors thread inspired me to write a ToB discipline. Let me know what you think.

    Knowing Heart

    The Knowing Heart school is intended for use against enemies one does not wish to kill, whether out of principle, because they are friends who have been dominated, or because you intend to sell them as slaves. It specializes in disarming, paralyzing, entangling and otherwise disabling.

    It is an alternate discipline for swordsages.

    Weapons: sap, net, bolas, whip and quarterstaff.

    Skill: Heal, by which a practitioner can distinguish nerves, tendons and arteries and strike and avoid those they choose.

    History:
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    The Knowing Heart school began in a monastery, long after the destruction of the temple. The monks had retreated from worldly affairs to perfect themselves. To perfect their bodies, they studied the sublime way. To perfect their minds, they expanded their knowledge of all subjects. To perfect their hearts, they practiced reverence for all life.

    Out of these three sources they developed a new martial path. One that required great precision and control, so as not to cause excess damage. Less-knowing warriors laughed at the thought of warriors who do not kill, but masters knew what a difficult task the monks had taken on.

    At first the inventors taught their way to any who would learn. The first students who came were much like their teachers, but the second wave was more practical. Police, for whom ending brawls and taking prisoners are simple matters of duty, came to learn. Some served honorable nations, and some served the tyrannical and corrupt. From the latter, the art spread to slavers, to whom damaged merchandise is money lost. The monks were greatly saddened, and resolved from now to teach only the worthy, but a secret cannot be re-kept. For good and for ill, the Knowing Heart path is free in the world, and will remain so.


    Maneuver List:
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    1st level:
    stance of mercy -- do nonlethal damage
    stabalize -- touched creature with negative hitpoints stops losing hp
    basic disarm -- deprive foe of weapon
    basic stun -- briefly stun foe
    2nd level:
    unbalance -- knock foe prone
    distraction -- make spellcasting dificult
    touch of calm -- end rage or frenzy
    3rd level:
    ranged disarm -- disarm using thrown weapon
    forceful disarm -- disarm and send the weapon 40 ft away
    paralyzing strike -- paralyze enemy
    4th level:
    partial paralizing strike -- paralyze specific limb (with high dc)
    fluid movement -- gain movement skill bonuses
    powerful netting -- knock targets prone while entangling
    5th level
    amidst the fray -- gain DR 30/- but cannot attack
    interposition -- protect someone else
    stance of dignity -- gain diplomatic bonuses
    6th level
    mass disarm -- disarm everyone within reach
    chain unbalance -- knock many targets prone
    just a dance -- use attack bonus for perform checks
    greater stun -- stun foe longer
    7th level
    whirlwind stun -- stun everyone within reach
    distraction, greater -- make defensive casting difficult
    8th level
    nerve pinch -- make target unconscious -- no save
    casual parry -- ignore attack and inflict morale penalty
    stance of peace -- prevent all attacks near you
    9th level
    whirlwind paralysis -- paralyze everyone within reach


    Maneuver Details:
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    amidst the fray
    level 5
    prerequisites: 1
    Stance
    You stand in the midst of the battle, not a part of it and not effected by it.
    You gain DR 30/- but cannot take any hostile action. This is a supernatural ability. You cannot assume this stance if you took a hostile action in the past round.

    casual parry
    level 8
    prerequisites: 3
    Counter
    You brush aside the attack with a small motion of one hand, and a look of withering contempt.
    Gain a +30 parry bonus to AC for one attack. If the attack misses, the attacker takes a -4 morale penalty to all attacks for the next round.

    disarm, basic
    level 1
    Strike
    A quick hook and an unexpected movement, and the sword drops to the ground.
    Make a melee touch attack. Do not deal damage. Instead, your target must make a reflex save (dc 10 + half your initiator level + your str mod) or drop the weapon. If your target is holding multiple weapons, select one before rolling.

    disarm, forceful
    level 3
    prerequisites: 2
    Strike
    You smash the blade aside, sending it flying through the air to land far away.
    Like disarm, but on success you select where (within 40 ft) the weapon lands.

    disarm, ranged
    level 3
    prerequisites: 2
    Strike
    Your hurled instrument wraps around the ricasso, and carries it away.
    Like disarm, but with a thrown weapon

    disarm, mass
    level 6
    prerequisites: 3
    Strike
    You spin in place, hitting every weapon in sight.
    Like disarm, but for every weapon held by every enemy within reach.

    distraction
    level 2
    Counter
    You know exactly where you cannot be ignored.
    When someone within your reach casts a spell (not defensively), make a melee attack to cause a distraction. Roll the attack and damage normally. Do not deal the damage (at all). Instead, the caster must make a concentration check as if you had done twice the damage you normally would have.

    distraction, greater
    level 7
    Counter
    prerequisites: 3
    Like distraction, but works against defensive casters, too.

    fluid movement
    level 4
    prerequisites: 1
    Boost
    Extensive practice allows you extraordinary feats of movement.
    Gain a +10 competence bonus on balance, jump and tumble checks for the next round.

    interposition
    level 5
    prerequisites: 1
    Counter
    As an assailant readies his blade, you are quicker, slapping your staff against the flat and redirecting the blow into the ground.
    When someone within your reach attacks someone else (not you), you may intervene. Make an attack role and subtract 15. Add what remains (if positive) to the original target's AC for this attack.

    just a dance
    level 6
    prerequisites: 1
    Other
    You seek perfection in movement, whether in a fight or not.
    You may your total attack bonus as a perform(dance) bonus for any purpose where perform checks are useful.

    nerve pinch
    level 8
    prerequisites: 4
    Strike
    You strike precisely against a nerve and meridian confluence, disrupting chi and thought.
    Melee touch attack renders target unconscious. The target awakes naturally within 1d4 hours, or upon receiving a restoration spell.

    paralyzing strike
    level 3
    prerequisites: 1
    Strike
    You strike the nerves of the neck, temporarily disconnecting mind from body.
    Make an attack and resolve damage as normal. The target must make a fort save with dc = 13 + your str bonus or become paralyzed from the neck down. Positive energy does not remove this paralysis, but lesser restoration or iron heart surge does.

    paralizing strike, partial
    level 4
    prerequisites: 2
    Strike
    You strike the most vulnerable exposed nerves, doing specific damage.
    Make an attack and resolve damage as normal. The target must make a fort save with dc = 18 + your str bonus or become paralyzed in one limb (your choice).

    paralysis, whirlwind
    level 9
    prerequisites: 5
    Strike
    You whip about too fast to follow, striking nerve after nerve.
    Like paralysis, but all targets within reach, and the dc is 19 + str bonus

    powerful netting
    level 4
    prerequisites: 1
    Strike
    You hurl a net with great force and efficiency.
    When you successfully throw a net over a target, they must make a reflex save (dc = 14 + your str bonus) or be knocked prone in addition to being entangled.

    stabilize
    level 1
    Other
    With a few well-placed movements, you staunch the immediate bloodflow.
    As a standard action, you stabilize one creature within reach which has negative hit points (they no longer lose hp)

    stance of dignity
    level 5
    prerequisites: 2
    Stance
    Your poise and perfect balance impress all who see them.
    Gain a +4 circumstance bonus on all charisma-based checks except use magic device.

    stance of mercy
    level 1
    Stance
    You have learned where to hit that is sure to heal.
    While in this stance, you do only nonlethal damage, even with weapons that normally can't.

    stance of peace
    level 8
    prerequisites: 4
    Stance
    You walk calmly, arms upraised, radiating peace from every pore.
    Anyone wishing to make a hostile action within 50 ft of you must first make a will save dc 19 + your wis bonus. This is a supernatural ability.

    stun, basic
    level 1
    Strike
    A sharp blow to the head, and a moment is needed to recover wits
    Make a normal melee attack. If it hits, the target must make a fortitude save (dc 11 + your str bonus) or be stunned for 1d4+1 rounds

    stun, greater
    level 6
    Strike
    A sharper blow to the head, and a longer moment is needed to recover wits
    Make a normal melee attack. If it hits, the target must make a fortitude save (dc 20 + your str bonus) or be stunned for 3d4 rounds

    stun, whirling
    level 7
    Strike
    So many heads, so many sharp blows.
    Make a normal melee attack against every target in range. Each target hit must make a fortitude save (dc 17 + your str bonus) or be stunned for 1d4+1 rounds


    touch of calm
    level 2
    Strike
    You reach the mind of your target, and set it back at peace.
    Melee touch attack does no damage but ends targets rage and/or frenzy. This is a supernatural ability.

    unbalance
    level 2
    Strike
    You strike carefully at the targets knees, forcing him to the ground.
    Make an attack role to serve as a DC for your targets reflex saving throw. If he fails, he falls prone.

    unbalance, chain
    level 6
    prerequisites: 3
    Strike
    Soldiers often stand in neat lines -- very much like dominoes.
    Like unbalance, but you may select an adjacent square for your partner to fall into. Anyone in this square must make a similar reflex save with a DC 2 less. If they fail, you select the squares they fall into, and so on. The chain continues (with the dc decreasing each time) until a reflex save succeeds or the chosen square is empty.


    Metagame notes:
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    Many maneuvers here have saving throws where they might normally allow opposed rolls or skill checks. This serves two purposes. First, it makes these sublime versions a bit more powerful than their traditional equivalents (as befits techniques which require great dedication to learn. Secondly, it make Vow of Nonviolence an effective choice for a KnowingHeart-focused character.

    The availability of touch of calm, especially for a single Martial Study feat, makes Frenzied Berserker a much stronger option. This shouldn't be game-breaking, as FB is not an especially powerful class, but a DM may wish to limit this.

    Knowing Heart is made available only to swordsages because it derives from the Shadow Hand and Setting Sun schools (which are swordsage-only) and because its emphasis on motion and precision fit a monastic lifestyle best. Nevertheless, it might be made available to crusaders whose principles demand it.



    Edits, see: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showp...3&postcount=14
    Last edited by dspeyer; 2010-01-04 at 01:33 AM.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by dspeyer View Post
    Skill: Knowledge (nature), by which a practitioner can distinguish nerves, tendons and arteries and strike and avoid those they choose.
    I think the Heal skill is a more appropriate Discipline skill than Nature.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Do martial classes even get 9th level stances in their progression? I'm pretty sure there aren't any stances above 7th level, IIRC.

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    I agree on the heal skill, and as for the stance, well, you can take the feat at 18th level or delay the level at which you gain the stance by taking levels in other classes.
    He fears his fate too much, and his reward is small, who will not put it to the touch, to win or lose it all.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    I agree on the heal skill, and as for the stance, well, you can take the feat at 18th level or delay the level at which you gain the stance by taking levels in other classes.
    So you have to take a feat in order to get a stance you qualify for and have as a class discipline? In other words, a feat tax, which I (and most people) probably detest as bad design.

    Rather than make it a 9th level stance, why not just design the class with the stance and maneuver levels of the other disciplines?

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    THere has been at least one other homebrew discipline with a 9th level stance I beleive... just means you can only get it pre-epic by taking Martial Stance as your 18th level feat.

    I agree htat Heal makes a better choice than Knowledge(Nature), but if there is some game balance reason for it, then it MIGHT be justified.

    Maneuver summaries needs the type of each entry, and spaces between the levels...
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2010-01-02 at 12:17 AM.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    THere has been at least one other homebrew discipline with a 9th level stance I beleive... just means you can only get it pre-epic by taking Martial Stance as your 18th level feat.
    Again, forcing a feat tax to actually get the features of the discipline makes it far, far less appealing. Granted, the stance is powerful, but it isn't really enough to justify forcing a feat tax to get it when you've already invested in the discipline.

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    What about having both a stance and a regular Maneuver at that level? Then the stance simply feels more like a bonus.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    I've seen and helped make some crazy disciplines, but this is the first Fighting Style I've ever seen when you actually don't fight.

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Hmm, I hadn't thought about how to get the stance. Most schools have 8th level stances, but nor 9th. It could still be gotten by a swordsage 15 / master of nine 5, but that's awkward. It's a shame, because this otherwise makes a great capstone.

    As for heal, it kind of fits too. What I really wanted was knowledge(anatomy), which is a subset of both heal and knowledge(nature). I picked nature because heal is completely useless in game. You'll note that nothing in the school actually calls upon you to make knowledge(nature) checks.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Actually, a swaordsage 20 could get it, or a (Initiator class)16/swordsage 2...
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    So you have to take a feat in order to get a stance you qualify for and have as a class discipline? In other words, a feat tax, which I (and most people) probably detest as bad design.

    Rather than make it a 9th level stance, why not just design the class with the stance and maneuver levels of the other disciplines?
    In the original ToB that's pretty much how it works in some ways, unfortunately. Especially the Warblade's stance progression.

    edit: But yes, a swordsage 20 could get it.
    Last edited by Haven; 2010-01-02 at 01:46 AM.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Hmm....wow this looks pretty awesome actually! A martial discipline based on not doing damage! You should definetly go and get this added to the Age of Warriors book!

    Just a question though. Was looking through it and came across "Just a Dance". It's a little confusing to me; what exactly is this supposed to do?

    EDIT: Also, I laughed at Unbalance, Chain. (particulary the description). The image of pushing down half a dozen enemies in the middle of the round is priceless
    Last edited by JKTrickster; 2010-01-02 at 09:22 PM.

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    I think the right answer to the 9th level stance problem is to drop Stance of Peace to 8th, then make whirlwind paralysis the capstone. It's a lot like Mass Hold Monster, which is a 9th level spell. This means I need something for 7th level, which I think will be whirlwind stun (stunning is the obvious thing I don't have). I'll need to introduce a basic stun and maybe a greater stun earlier.

    As for Just A Dance, it can do anything Perform(dance) can. If you can hit ac 30 (fairly easy), you can also perform a slow kata that impresses the gods. If you can hit ac 50, you can turn hostile people helpful simply by awing them with the beauty of your movements. It probably won't get used a lot, but I think it fits.

    As for skills, I'm coming around to heal. I wish it weren't so useless, but it doesn't have the creature-type problem, and you don't actually need to take ranks.

    I'll make the edits.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Rather than make a new thread, I'll ask here:
    Is there a discipline that centered around ranged combat? If so, what is it called and where can I find it?

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrono22 View Post
    Rather than make a new thread, I'll ask here:
    Is there a discipline that centered around ranged combat? If so, what is it called and where can I find it?
    Many, see http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showp...&postcount=187

    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a well-organized list, but Falcon Eye, Silver Rain, Twilight Tempest and Falling Star all seem to be ranged. Others may be as well.
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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    AoW submission thread updated.

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    Again, forcing a feat tax to actually get the features of the discipline makes it far, far less appealing. Granted, the stance is powerful, but it isn't really enough to justify forcing a feat tax to get it when you've already invested in the discipline.
    That's how the crusader works as well. They have 8th level stances, yet they cannot learn them unless they multiclass or spend an extra feat, since the last stance they learn naturally is obtained at crusader 13. OMG crusader suckorz!

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    Default Re: [ToB] Knowing Heart School -- the way of nonlethal combat

    Black Rain is ranged (firearms), and so might some Way of the Gear maneuvers be.
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