In Dragonfist (The Forgotten D&D Editon) there are 4 character classes Fighter, Wizard, Shaman, and Thief (yeah Thief not "Rogue"). Kits are applied to focus characters more on the style of play and setting. Most importantly of all however is everyone PC is trained in the Martial Arts, you can't be sure how an encounter is going to end but there's a fair chance someone is getting kicked.
Every class has access to a martial arts maneuvers in a scheme not at all unfamiliar to D&D players as it resembles how spells were gained by classes. Here's a clipping of the wizards martial arts chart showing the first 7 levels of the Wizard's martial arts maneuvers.
Pretty clear and straight forward. An entirely new sub-system bolted onto the existing framework using a mechanic any experienced player would be familiar with.
The martial arts maneuvers are split into 5 ranks, which is plenty for this game which covers characters of levels 1 to 10.
1st and 2nd Rank Martial Arts Maneuvers:
The names for the maneuvers are flavorful and evocative but while certainly mechanically effective the descriptions just don't always live up to the cool names. These are the descriptions of the first two maneuvers straight out of the rules:
Cobra Strike:The character can make a called shot (see the “Combat Considerations”section below) at –2 to hit instead of the usual –4.
Crane Stance:The character’s AC is increased to 12.
Wow... talk about a missed opportunity. There's a lot of flavor throughout the rules but somehow the descriptions of the maneuvers that the game sort of focuses on are pretty darn dry. They are pretty solid mechanically but...darn those descriptions are dull in comparison to a lot of the rest of Dragonfist.
Oh yeah... did you notice "AC is increased to 12" in Dragonfist AC starts at 10 and goes up. Due to the stunt mechanic and how ability bonuses function a character's Dexterity Bonus is not always applied to AC. One of the chief ways to improve aC beyond using a DEX stunt is to use maneuvers that raise the AC score. Worn armors do not boost this score but are the default when worn, most PCs aren't going to bother much with armor however and generally highly armored combatants will be the goons serving some bad guy.
The list of maneuvers isn't huge but it certainly gets the job done. Maneuvers are typically general modifiers or specific actions that can be attempted as often as the player wishes.
As mentioned above characters are covered from 1 to 10 and have slightly larger Hit Dice than their analogs would have in most versions of D&D because the CON bonus doesn't always add to HP. PCs also are meant to start at level 3 since this gives them an interesting range of maneuvers and class abilities compared to the fairly frail level 1 which would still work in play but fights would end real darned quick and a martial arts focused game really does need fights that typically last at least 3 or 4 rounds because that's where the excitement comes in.
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