Knightly Force Swordsmanship

Alternate Names: The Guardian’s Form, the Caliban Form, the Old Way, Alexian Style Force Swordsmanship,

When space knights helped forge the Alexian Dynasty, they used Knightly Force Swordsmanship. They served as the vanguard of invasion forces, especially when boarding ships. With heavy armor and force buckler, they absorbed most incoming fire, and with force sword, they cut down their foes. Knightly Force Swordsmanship is slow, patient and powerful. It presents the force buckler to the opponent and keeps the force sword in reserve, waiting for an attack while slowly (or, when necessary, quickly) advancing. It prefers to react than to act, engaging in counter attacks and ripostes, but when it acts, the knight uses the force sword with complete commitment, relying on his force buckler to keep himself defended. The result is a slow, patient and defensive form, perfect for the classic space knight with force sword and buckler who has just boarded a ship and needs to advance on the enemy.

For centuries, most of the Maradonian Aristocracy relegated Knightly Force Swordsmanship to re-enactments and exhibitions on Atrium. Today, though, the increased need for the aristocracy to justify themselves, and the war with the Valorian Empire has renewed interest in the ancient style. Grimshaw knights often learn it out of a love of tradition, while members of House Kain like to learn it because they favor its battlefield practicality. Knightly Force Swordsmanship also contains its share of cinematic techniques, so true weapon masters who want to master all intricacies of force swordmanship might learn this style to supplement what he already knows.

This style is widely available to Maradonian Space Knights and Templars (especially the Wardens of the Monolith).

Knightly Force Swordsmanship as a Style

Knightly Force Swordsmanship is Force Sword-And-Buckler Combat from Pyramid #3-9, with a couple of minor changes: replace Precognitive Block with Precognitive Defense, Feint becomes Beat, remove Chi Resistance. In Optional Traits, remove Psionic Talents and Forceful Chi.

New Traits

Power Slam [1]: You may replace DX with ST when making Slams, and you may add the character’s basic thrust to his slam damage, to a maximum of +2d.

Rolling Stone [1]: This perk replaces the one from Pyramid #3-9 to account for how Evaluate works in Psi-Wars: if the character Evaluates, he gains +4, rather than +3, to his next attack.

Armor Attunement
8 points

The character may use a limited set of Defensive Imbuements with specific sets of armor. For more details, see GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements and Pyramid #3/4, “The Perfect Defense.”

Statistics: Imbuement 3 (Accessibility, only with attuned diamondoid armor or force bucklers -10%; Limited Skill Access, 2 skills -60%; Psionic -10%) [8]. This works under the assumption that the character must learn each skill individually, but he can actually only access two of them at any one time, based on what armor set he’s wearing, thus it’s not modular (he doesn’t “swap out” skills).

Knightly Force Swordsmanship Power-Ups

Knightly Force Swordsmanship – Student

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: None

The student of Knightly Force Swordsmanship differentiates himself from all other practitioners with a deep focus on the force buckler. In addition to learning to use it to defend himself, he also learns to use it to defend others, and to negate the -2 for attacking while using it (Shield Wall Training).

Perks: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship) [1]; Shield Wall Training [1]


  • As Primary Style: Force Sword (A) DX+3 [12]; Precognitive Defense (H) IQ-1 [2]; Shield (Force) (E) DX+2 [4];
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points; Shield (Force) (E) DX+2 [4];

Knightly Force Swordsmanship – Adept

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: Knightly Force Swordsmanship – Student

The Adept builds upon his force swordsmanship skills and his mastery of the force buckler. Additionally, he engages in a great deal of body training to “bulk up” and better slam opponents and to resist slams.

Traits: HP +1 [2]


  • As Primary Style: Improve Force Sword to (A) DX+5 [20] for 8 points; improve Precognitive Defense to (H) IQ+1 [8] for 6 points; improve Shield (Force) to (E) DX+3 [8] for 4 points; Force Sword (A) DX+3 [12].
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Shield one level to (H) DX+3 [8] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points;

Knightly Force Swordsmanship – Master

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: Knightly Force Swordsmanship – Adept

The Master of Knightly Force Swordsmanship reaches unparalleled defense capabilities with his force buckler and learns, most of all, patience. Nothing gets past his defenses while he waits for his opponent to make a mistake.

Traits: Enhanced Block (Shield) [5]

Perks: Rolling Stone [1]


  • As Primary Style: Armoury (Force Sword) (A) IQ [2]; Improve Force Sword to (A) DX+7 [28] for 8 points; improve Precognitive Defense to (H) IQ+2 [12] for 4 points.
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points;

Knightly Force Swordsmanship Moves

Blade-Deflecting Defense

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship), Weapon Master or Trained by a Master

This move teaches the Blade Deflecting Defense trademark move. This move also teaches the Guardian to Beat with his shield in all circumstances, and to make Dual-Weapon Attacks with his force sword, but it does not teach Off-Hand Weapon Training, as shields already work in the off-hand!

Trademark Move (Blade Deflecting Defense): After blocking an attack with your shield, make a Dual-Weapon (Shield) Beat against your opponent’s weapon. Roll ST-Based Shield(Force)+2 against your opponent’s ST-based weapon skill. Apply your margin of success as a penalty to their defense with that weapon; if you succeed by 5 or more, they may neither parry nor attack with that weapon until the end of their next turn, or until they Ready it, whichever comes first. Then make a Dual-Weapon (Force Sword) Attack against the torso. Roll Force Sword-3. Your opponent defends at the noted penalty. You may defend normally.

If the character is a Knightly Force Swordman Adept, the character attacks with Force Sword-5; his opponent defends at the noted penalty -1. If the character is a Knightly Force Swordman Master, the character attacks with Force Sword-7; his opponent defends at the noted penalty -2. In all cases, characters with Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship) ignore up to -1 in penalties to their active defenses from this attack.

Perks: Trademark Move (Blade Deflecting Defense) [1]

Techniques: Beat (H) Shield+4 [3]; Dual-Weapon Attack (Force Buckler) (H) Shield -3 [1]

Defiant Guardian Stance

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship), Weapon Master or Trained by a Master

The Space Knight deflects all attacks unflinchingly, holding his position no matter how much force his opponents apply. He also flows over the torn, damaged conditions of the battlefield with ease, fighting where he needs to fight, rather than where he’d prefer to fight. He ignores the -2 to attack and the -1 to defense for uneven ground and learns Immovable Stance.

Perks: Sure-Footed (Uneven) [1]
Skills: Immovable Stance (H) DX [4]

Guardian’s Hammer

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship)

The Guardian performs a shield bash with astonishing force. Roll the better of Shield (Force) or Push, both at +1 to hit. If you hit, roll Swing+3 using the better of your ST or your Push skill as ST. This inflicts double knockback but no damage.

Due to the Special Exercise perk, characters who learn this move without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master may still use Push, but only with their Force Buckler. Characters with Trained by a Master or Weapon Master may use Push unarmed as usual; the GM might allow them to trade in the special exercise Perk for a new perk, or give them +2 to effective ST for their push.

Perks: Special Exercise (May use Push with Force Buckler)

Skills: Push (H) DX [4]

Guardian’s Retribution

4 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship)

The Guardian learns to use the moment an opponent makes an attack as an opportunity to retaliate. This move teachers the Guardian’s Retribution Trademark Move. This move also teaches the guardian to make Counter Attacks even without his shield. See Martial Arts p. 70.

Trademark Move (Guardian’s Retribution): After defending, make a committed, deceptive counterattack with your force sword. Roll Force-Sword-1; your opponent parries at -4 and dodges/blocks at -3. Success inflicts damage on the torso. You may not parry with your force sword or retreat, and you block and dodge at -2.

If your character is a Knightly Force Swordsman Adept, roll at Force Sword-3; your opponent parries at -5 and dodges/blocks at -4. If your character is a Knightly Force Swordsman Master, increase the Force Sword Penalty to -5; your opponent parries at -6 and dodges/blocks at -5.

In all cases, characters with Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship) may reduce the defense penalties by 1.

Perks: Trademark Move (Guardian’s Retribution) [1]

Techniques: Counter Attack (H) Force-Sword+0 [3]

Heroic Guardian Assault

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship)

The Guardian uses his armor and his shield to make himself a veritable juggernaut. This move teaches the Heroic Guardian Assault trademark move. This move also teaches the character Sumo-Wrestling, which he can use outside of this specific signature move (for slams, shoves, grapples, etc); the character has +1 damage per die on all slams, and has +1 to ST to resist grapples or takedowns.

Trademark Move (Heroic Guardian Assault): Make a Move and Attack to Slam with your Force Shield. This requires a Shield (Force) roll at +1. Deal slam-damage (the higher of your Thrust or (HP×Move/100)) +3 and +1 per die, and your shield absorbs all damage from the attack. You may not block with your shield or retreat for the remainder of your turn.

Perks: Trademark Move (Heroic Guardian Assault)

Skills: Sumo-Wrestling (A) DX+1 [4]

Knightly Force Swordsmanship Exercises

Knightly Weapon Master

25 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship)

Most Space Knights learn to master the Force Sword alone, but Knightly force swordsmen master both Force Sword and Force Buckler.

Advantages: Weapon Master (Force Sword and Force Buckler) [25]


20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship)

The Guardian Form prizes the ability to charge into battle, as it gives them a form of mobility on par with the Graceful Form, and allows them to get out ahead of those they’re protecting and clear the way for them. Many characters learn the Heroic Guardian Assault move, and they greatly benefit from this exercise, which turns them into a veritable living tank. These exercises involve a great deal of strength training to “bulk up,” sprinting exercises to greatly improve their move and the special knowledge of how to maximize their impact into their opponents.

In addition to improving HP and Basic move as listed, this exercise allows the player to up to double his ST in HP, allows him to replace DX or DX-based Sumo with ST or ST-Based Sumo when slamming opponents, and allows him to add his basic thrust to his slam damage when slamming into targets, to a maximum of +2d.

Secondary Characteristics: +4 HP [8]; Basic Move +2 [10]

Perks: Power Slam [1]; Special Exercise (HP may exceed ST by +100%) [1]

Knightly Force Swordsmanship Secrets

Armor Attunement

21 points
Prerequiste: Style Familiarity (Knightly Force Swordsmanship), any Psionic Talent 1 or bettter.

Armor Attunment as Bullshido

Given Knightly Force Swordsmanship's relatively recent return to the limelight, the martial arts world positively buzzes with stories about it, and with con-artists trying to get in on the action. Many experts of the Guardian Form dismiss claims of Armor Attunement as exaggerations of the real characteristics of ancient armor that is legitimately superior to many modern forms of armor.

Most "Bullshido" around Armor Attunement is, at worst, Connoissuer (Armor), but in some cases, gullible martial artists legitimately believe that they've gained some special attunement to their armor. These characters have Delusion ("My armor has special powers that require it to be hit to activate") [-5 or -10] depending on how durable their armor is, and how often they willingly allow themselves to be hit by potentially lethal attacks to "power their armor."

The actual art of Knightly Force Swordsmanship has lain fallow for so long that legends have sprung from the fertile imaginings of those who romanticize it. Many of these legends focus on the armor itself and the relationship between warrior and his harness. Those who study this style once more lovingly reconstruct the old forms of armor with archived data-patterns found in the cathedral-factories on Maradonian worlds and seek to form some bond with their armor.

If the GM decides these legends are true, then practitioners of the Guardian Form may learn the secrets of Armor Attunement. This involves Imbuements (See GURPS Power-Ups 1; Imbuements) for armor (See Pyramid #3/4, “the Perfect Defense”) and thus is highly optional.

Armor Attunement is an extensive body of lore. Once the character has learned the secret to it, he might continue to expand his knowledge by learning additional skills. When the character purchases this secret, he may only use it with a single sort of armor. The character may learn additional skills for other forms of armor, but the character can only ever access the two Defensive Imbuement skills associated with his armor at once. Always add your best psionic talent to your Armor Attunement skills!

How Armor Attunement behaves depends on the armor worn by the character. It only seems to work with Diamondoid armor, like those forged by ARC, though some Templar chapters (such as the Wardens of the Monolith) seem to make it work too. The character must attune to their armor: this requires donning the armor and meditating for a full minute. The character may only have one suit of attuned armor, but may freely change which armor is attuned to him.

To use your Armor Attunements, spend 1 fatigue and roll your (your imbuement skill/2)+3 with an additional +1 for Combat Reflexes; this does not count as an Active Defense, but it gains any penalties or bonuses for defenses based on your chosen maneuver (Committed Attacks, Defensive Attacks, etc) and you may not use them if you made an All-Out Attack (that is, you may still parry, dodge or block when using an Armor Attunement skill). If your skill succeeds, apply its effects immediately.

Crusader-Pattern Armor: Crusader-pattern armor has a reputation for resilience and sacredness. Those who attune to it seem impervious to the curses of ghosts and psychics and can brush off attacks that should punch right through.

  • Nullifying Armor: If you are attacked by a psychic or ghostly power, successful use of this skill doubles your DR against it. For malediction-style attacks that bypass armor (TK-Crush, Drain Energy, etc), instead apply 1/4 the armor’s DR against the attack.
  • Reinforce Armor: If you succeed at applying this skill, your armor gains Hardened 1 against this attack.

Gothic-Pattern Armor: Gothic armor gained a reputation as the “armor of sorcerers.” When attuned, Gothic Armor can super-charge the psychic powers of the wearer, and protects him from underhanded tactics such as poisons.

  • Energizing Armor (Psychic Reserves): The damage taken by the armor instead supercharges its psychic amplifier. The character gains access to free Psychic Energy Reserves equal to one third the damage suffered, which drain at a rate of 1 per three seconds unless used.
  • Healthful Armor: The armor helps the character resist poison and disease. Successful application of this skill doubles DR vs toxic damage, and applies ¼ DR against toxic attacks that would bypass armor completely (such as follow-up attacks, blood agents, etc)

Cavalier-Pattern Armor: The predecessor to duelist armor, this armor had a reputation for high mobility and swashbuckling displays of athletics. When attuned, the character can turn the energy of damage endured by the armor into even greater mobility and lighten the armor until it seems barely present.

  • Energizing Armor (Mobility): If the character took a hit that inflicted at least 20 damage (before applying DR) and succeeds with this skill, he gains Enhanced Dodge 1 and +1 Basic Move for the next 1d seconds.
  • Lighten Armor: Successful use of this skill reduces the weight of the armor by 20% (5 lbs). This effect lasts for a full second.

Traits: Armor Attunement [8]

Perks: Secret Knowledge (Armor Attunement) [1]

Skills: Choose one of:

  • Crusader-Pattern Armor
    • Nullifying Armor (Psychic) (VH) IQ-1 [4]
    • Reinforce Armor (VH) IQ [8];
  • Gothic-Pattern Armor
    • Energizing Armor (Psychic Reserves) (H) IQ [4]
    • Healthful Armor (Psychic) (VH) IQ [8]
  • Cavalier-Pattern Armor
    • Energizing Armor (Mobility) (H) IQ [4]
    • Lighten Armor (VH) IQ [8]
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