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House Rules for a more kungfuy game of 3.5/pathfinder

House Rules for a more kungfuy game of 3.5/pathfinder

I'm not sure where to put House Rules here on the weave. If this is the wrong place let me know. But here's something I just started writing up. I've had this on my mind for some time now, and a game currently in the game planning thread sparked my interest to finally start writing these things down...

It's a few feats I came up with plus a potential adaptation of several psionic feats to make 3.5/pathfinder much better for a martial arts/kung fu type of setting:

Martial Artist [Martial]

You are no mere brawler; your mastery of a particular style of martial arts sets you apart from the average combatant. Just as a master painter is able to use their aptitude in painting and a fine brush to bring their imagination and creativity into the world, so too can you use your body and knowledge of the arts to gracefully and effortlessly bring change to the chaotic world of battle around you.

Benefit: While martially focused, you may spend a move action to enter a martial stance. Once you are in a martial stance, you remain in this stance until you willingly end your stance (a move action), change your martial stance, become unconscious, or go to sleep (or enter a meditative trance, in cases such as elves). In addition, if you lose martial focus, you lose the benefit of your martial stance at the start of your next turn.

When you first take this feat, you must choose a particular combination of specific types of weapons, armor, and/or shield. For example, a character taking this feat could choose a longsword, a heavy shield, and platemail, or two short swords and leather armor. You do not have to choose each category when you take this feat, for example choosing to take no shield or armor, but once made, this choice is permanent. This choice becomes the basis of one of your martial stances.

While in this martial stance, you are treated as if you are wearing the chosen armor and shield and wielding the chosen weapons when making attacks, regardless of any items actually worn or weapons used. You count as armed when making unarmed attacks and you gain all features and penalties associated with using these items while in your martial stance, including armor and shield bonuses to AC, armor check penalties, weapon damage and critical threat range, properties such as reach or tripping, penalties for using weapons you are not proficient in, etc. In addition, the complex body movements required for a martial stance means that both your hands are considered full for the purposes of somatic spell components.

Special: This feat can be taken multiple times. Each time, choose a different combination of items and a different martial stance.

Martial Caster [Martial]

You have mastered both the martial arts and the arts of complex spellcasting and are able to interweave the two together, paths divergent in focus to many but not to you.

Preqrequisites: Martial Artist, any spellcaster

Benefit: While in a martial stance, you may ignore the somatic component requirements for any spell you cast with a range of touch or personal.

In addition, you may spend a move action or expend your martial focus as a free action to ignore the somatic component requirements for the next spell you cast this round.

Advanced Martial Caster [Martial]

cast touch spells as part of an attack etc

Mystic Style [Martial]

Through your knowledge of martial arts, you have developed a harmonious relationship with the world and have tapped into something blah blah blah

Preqrequisites: Level 3, Martial Artist

Benefit: While in a martial stance, the martial artist's weapons improve as the character gains higher levels. At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter, the weapons gain a cumulative +1 enhancement bonus that may may be spent on an actual enhancement bonuses or on weapon special abilities. The martial artist's level determines
the maximum enhancement bonus (Table). The martial artist may apply any special ability from the table below instead of an enhancement bonus, as long as the martial artist meets the level requirements. A martial artist can choose any combination of weapon special abilities and/or enhancement bonus that does not exceed the total allowed by the martial artistís level, but must assign at least a +1 enhancement bonus before assigning any special abilities.

Maximum Enhancement Bonus
Level 3 - +1
Level 6 - +2
Level 9 - +3
Level 12 - +4
Level 15 - +5

+1 Defending
+1 Distance
+1 Flaming
+1 Frost
+1 Ghost touch
+1 Keen
+1 Merciful
+1 Mighty cleaving
+1 Shock
+1 Vicious
+2 Anarchic
+2 Axiomatic
+2 Flaming burst
+2 Frost burst
+2 Holy
+2 Shocking burst
+2 Unholy
+2 Wounding
+4 Brilliant energy

Aligned Attack [Martial]

Your attacks overcomes your opponentís alignment-based damage reduction and deals additional damage.

Prerequisite: Base attack bonus +6

Benefit: When you take this feat, choose either chaos, good, evil or law. (Your choice must match one of your alignment components.) Once youíve made this alignment choice, it cannot be changed.

As long as you maintain martial focus, your attacks are treated as either a good, evil, chaotic, or lawful attack (depending on your original choice) for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

You may choose to expend your martial focus when making an attack to power this featís secondary ability. When you make a successful melee or ranged attack in this fashion, you deal an extra 2d6 points of damage of the type you originally selected if your target is of the opposed alignment. This attack is still treated as the appropriate alignment type. You must decide whether or not to use this ability prior to making an attack. If your attack misses, you still expend your martial focus.

Deep Impact [Martial]

You can strike your foe with a melee weapon as if making a touch attack.

Prerequisite: Str 13, Martial Weapon, base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: To use this feat, you must expend your martial focus as part of a melee attack. You can resolve that attack with a melee weapon as a touch attack. You must decide whether or not to use this feat prior to making an attack. If your attack misses, you still expend your martial focus. Abilities that do not work on touch attacks similarly do not work with this feat.

More converted psionic feats

they do the same thing etc

I gotta ask, why are you so set on making a wuxia/martial arts game out of D&D? There's lots of systems are designed from the bottom up to handle this sort of thing, not to mention point-buy like M&M or Tristat that still handle it a lot better than D&D. So why try to force a system to do something that it's not supposed to?

Originally Posted by Raveled View Post
I gotta ask, why are you so set on making a wuxia/martial arts game out of D&D? There's lots of systems are designed from the bottom up to handle this sort of thing, not to mention point-buy like M&M or Tristat that still handle it a lot better than D&D. So why try to force a system to do something that it's not supposed to?
Why not? They've been able to turn d20 into a working system for:
  • Low fantasy (Iron Heroes)
  • Superheroes (Mutants and Masterminds, highly modified but still)
  • Spies (Spycraft)
  • Star Wars (take a wild guess)
  • Anime (Big Eyes Small Mouth 3e, see note for M&M above)
  • ???? fantasy(Arcana Unearthed/Evolved)

etc. There's even games out there that use bits and pieces of the SRD to jury-rig together something resembling 2e or older versions of D&D. And when you add the Book of Nine Swords on top of that, as something made by WotC themselves, it makes the idea of wuxia/martial arts in D&D a lot less outlandish than you seem to want to give it credit for.

Nice write-up. I always enjoy new ways to do things within the confines of a game. Perhaps work on some kind of blind-fighting, pressure point manipulation, some way of fooling the senses of an opponent (using psionic enhanced powers)?

I do think the arcane aspect may be just one path, psionics being another. Perhaps make three different types Martial Artist (Mundane, Arcane, Psionic). Heck even throw in some animal aspects also. I suppose I could go on and on, but that is the fun of being creative.

This is interesting and well written!

However, it's also quite a powerful feat. What's to stop any and everyone from taking it at level 1? A fighter could simply pick Bastard Sword, Full Plate, Heavy Shield at 1st level. And what happens if someone picks a ranged weapon? The feat as it stands now doesn't restrict it. You also didn't mention whether spell failure is included in the stance (everything else is). If you want everyone to run around with this, however, I see no problem with it as it's your game, but I personally would've been careful with concepts that potentionally voids weapons (and even armor) for everyone. I'd probably introduce the concept as prestige classes (a martial, arcane and psionic, possibly), using the prerequisites as a threshold for how easily accessible I wanted the abilities. But that's just me.

Yes, it probably is a powerful feat for certain characters at level 1. Honestly, if I'd allow these feats in a game I'd probably give everyone the first one for free anyway because that's the style of game I'd want to run. As written, there certainly isn't anything stopping a first level fighter from gaining free platemail via taking this feat. Further stipulations could have a gold limit that increases per level or something but I just didn't feel like adding anything to complicate it any further. In your example, a bastard sword would probably face nonproficiency penalties unless used two-handed, though

Also, I noticed the ranged weapon thing as I was writing it. Currently, there's nothing stopping someone from picking a longbow and using it "unarmed." I'm not sure if they'd need to have ammo or not, though... It doesn't seem too against the spirit to let someone substitute anything for ammo, ie someone who tosses chopsticks with the power of a longbow etc but the whole ranged issue was an intentional oversight until I thought about it more. Maybe require an additional feat?

Also, I'd say that arcane spell failure is included in the "features and penalties associated with using these items".

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