The Destructive Form

Alternate Names: Brutal Force Swordsmanship, The Reaper’s Form, the Seven Killing Strokes, Caliban Style

The Destructive Form is House Kain’s answer to the dueling styles of the other Maradon houses. While others focus on pretty tricks to distract their foes and impress the audience, Kain focus on ending the fight and teaching their opponent a lesson. It has proved a decidedly unpopular dueling style with audiences, but it serves equally well in a dueling arena as on the battlefield, and the modern space knight gives it grudging respect.

The Destructive Form focuses on destroying one’s opponent's ability to fight. Against opponents armed with weapons other than force swords, the stylist focuses on destroying their weapons first. Against force-sword opponents, the same tactic results in beats that batter aside their opponent's weapon and opens them up to an attack. Against all opponents, the Reaper’s form exercises patience. It seems to demolish defenses first, through a combination of eliminating weapons, pushing aside defenses, injuries to the arms or legs, shoves and stuns, and then goes in for the kill with a simple and direct attack. It also prefers the greater power, and the improved defensiveness, of the defensive grip, in and out of which it seamlessly flows. Because of their similar focus on dismemberment, patience and defensiveness, some consider the destructive form the purest heir to the Old Way.

The Reaper’s Form places a great deal of emphasis on personal strength over mobility or internal, emotional balance. Practitioners learn strikes (and sometimes kicks) to supplement their force sword attacks (and often have a reputation for being dirty fighters). Beats and shoves also place emphasis on strength. In addition to precognitive parries, practitioners of the destructive form perform feats of great strength and utter terrifying shouts. Some stylists expand their techniques with kicks or by throwing their force sword at more distant foes.
Students of the three forms argue that the Destructive Form’s unique strengths lie in the precision with which it targets their opponent’s limbs, and its focus on pure strength, which often unbalances lighter, quicker fighters, and its willingness to accept unconventional methods to win. They argue that its greatest weaknesses are also its reliance on strength (since power and size rarely decide a duel), it’s lack of mobility and, naturally, it’s lack of crowd-pleasing moves. It tends to have the most adherents in the house of Kain.

The Destructive Form as a Martial Art

Skills: Force Sword, Brawling
Techniques: Beat, Elbow Strike, Force-Sword Shove, Hammer Fist, Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Arm), Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Leg), Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Weapon) Targeted Attack (Force Sword Pummel/Face), Targeted Attack (Brawling Elbow Strike/Vitals)
Cinematic Skills: Immovable Stance, Kiai, Power Blow, Precognitive Defense
Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Defense (Force Sword), Timed Defense (Force Sword)
Perks: Deadly Pose, Dirty Fighting, Finishing Move (Force Sword), Grip Mastery (Force Sword), No Nuisance Roll (Precognitive Defense), Special Setup (Power Blow works with Force Sword), Sure-Footed (Uneven), Sure-Footed (Slippery), Trademark Move.
Optional Traits: Fearlessness [2/level]; Striking ST +1 to +3 [1/level]; High Pain Threshold [10], Weapon Master (Force Sword)
Optional Skills: Armoury (Force Sword), Fast-Draw (Force Sword), Intimidation, Karate
Optional Perks: Weapon Bond (Force Sword), Breaker (Machine, Robot or Tank), Secret Knowledge (Breakpoint Treatise), Special Exercise (Breaking Blow works with Force Sword), Special Exercise (Striking ST may exceed ST by up to +10), Technique Mastery (Targeted Attacks)
Optional Techniques: Kicking

New Traits

Perks

Breaker (Machine): Treat industrial scale machinery, such as power-plants or factories, with Injury Tolerance (Unliving) as having Injury Tolerance (Homogenous) for the purposes of using Breaking Blow.

Breaker (Robot): Treat robots with Injury Tolerance (Unliving) as having Injury Tolerance (Homogenous) for the purposes of using Breaking Blow.

Breaker (Tank): Treat vehicles with Injury Tolerance (Unliving) as having Injury Tolerance (Homogenous) for the purposes of using Breaking Blow.

Deadly Pose: See GURPS Action 3 page 15.

Finishing Move: See GURPS Action 3 page 15.

Grip Mastery (Defensive Grip, Force Sword): The character is able to switch into and out of the Defensive Grip as per Grip Mastery (MA p. 50). In Psi-Wars, the Force Sword can be held in a two-handed grip: apply +1 to parries against attacks from the front, -1 to parries against attacks from the side or back, -2 to hit, and +1 per 2 dice to damage (thus, most force swords deal 8d+4 burn damage in Defensive Grip) and +1 to all Beats and Force-Sword Shoves; treat the weapon as two-handed for all purposes.

Special Exercise (Breaking Blow works with Force Sword): The character may use Breaking Blow with their Force Sword. Treat this as the cinematic version of Breaking Blow (its effects apply even to mobile characters in armor); increase the Armor Divisor of the Force Sword to (10), and against targets with Unliving (Homogeneous), triple all damage that penetrates DR, as well as treating the target as Fragile (Brittle).

Technique Mastery (Targeted Attack, Any): This allows the character to buy off all penalties for attacking the given targeted hit location.

Techniques

Force Sword Shove
Hard
Default: Force Sword-1; cannot exceed Force Sword+4.

The force swordsman, after connecting with another force sword, pushes that force sword, similar to a beat, but in such a way that their entire opponent is pushed off balance. After parrying or being parried by another force sword, treat this as a Beat against the opponent’s body; the character rolls their ST-based force sword skill against their opponent's ST-based Melee skill or their Acrobatics; characters with Immovable Stance may roll against their skill if they fail the contest to negate its effects. This penalizes their Dodge and kicking skill, and with a margin of success of 5 or more, inflicts one yard of knockback (and the opponent must make a DX roll or fall).

Destructive Form Power-Ups

Destructive Form – Student

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

The Student of the Destructive Form learns, in addition to the basics of Force Swordsmanships, the fundamentals of improvisational hand-to-hand. Their instructor will often attack them with hand-to-hand attacks in the midst of their sparing session, to encourage them to think about more than just the force sword, as a sudden jab to the eye can end a fight as quickly as a force sword through the guts. He also teaches the student to switch quickly between grips, to learn to grasp the weapon as needed on demand, quickly flowing from grip to grip. Finally, when the student learns to wield their force sword, they learn to do so through a series of seven highly specific cuts meant to strike specific parts of the body. This does not make them better at striking targets (rather, it's the basis of their Style Familiarity perk), but it prepares them for a variety of moves they will learn later.

Perks: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form) [1]; Grip Mastery (Force Sword, Defensive Grip) [1]

Skills:

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

Destructive Form – Adept

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: Destructive Form – Student

As the student advances into being an adept, they gain greater mastery of hand-to-hand skill, though it remains raw and unfocused when compared to other martial arts. The character also learns that intimidation and fear play a part in their battles. They learn to carefully frame the fight in fear, intimidating their opponent before the fight has even begun, and using their presence and their force sword to "win" the fight before it's even begun, and then to re-emphasize that fear throughout the fight through long pauses and a steady defensiveness punctuated by sudden and horrific violence.

Skills:

  • As Primary Style: Improve Brawling one level to (H) DX+3 [8] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword to (A) DX+5 [20] for 8 points; Intimidation (A) Will [2]; improve Precognitive Defense to (H) IQ+1 [8] for 6 points.
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Brawling one level to (H) DX+3 [8] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points; Intimidation (A) Will [2].

Destructive Form – Master

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.
Prerequisite: Destructive Form – Adept

Masters of the Destructive Form perfect their ability to "shape combat." Their training in hand-to-hand culminates in superior power that lets them better shove their opponents around or beat their weapons out of line, as well as making it more likely that their unarmed attacks will leave a mark. They master the art of maximizing the psychological impact of the defeat of a foe: they gain a free intimidation roll after every opponent's defeat. Their presence dominates the battlefield, making them a terror to approach. Many masters of the Destructive Form has a characteristic "swagger" that people trained in the force sword forms can readily recognize.

Traits: Striking ST +4 [4]

Perks: Deadly Pose [1] Special Exercise (Striking ST may exceed ST by up to +10) [1]

Skills:

  • 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;

Destructive Form Moves

The Balance-Killing Stroke

4 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form), Grip Mastery (Force Sword).

Balance Killing Stroke at Default

To perform the Balance Killing Stroke at default, after successfully parrying a force sword attack with your force sword, or after having your force sword attack parried by another force sword, while in Defensive Grip, roll ST-based Force-Sword+1 in a quick contest with the better of your opponent’s ST-based Force Sword or their Acrobatics; characters with Immovable Stance may roll against their skill to negate the effects of the Force Sword Shove. If the shove is successful, apply the margin of victory as a penalty to opponent’s dodge and kicking skill. If success by 5 or more, inflict one yard of knockback (including a DX roll to avoid falling). You may defend normally.

The Balance-Killing Stroke teachers the fighter to use contact between two force swords as a force to push his opponent around. This often sends an opponent reeling! This teachers the “Balance Killing Stroke” trademark move, as well as the Force Sword Shove special technique at +4.

Trademark Move (The Balance Killing Stroke): After successfully parrying a force sword attack with your force sword, or after having your force sword attack parried by another force sword, while in Defensive Grip, roll ST-based Force-Sword+6 in a quick contest with the better of your opponent’s ST-based Force Sword or their Acrobatics; characters with Immovable Stance may roll against their skill to negate the effects of the Force Sword Shove. If the shove is successful, apply the margin of victory as a penalty to opponent’s dodge and kicking skill. If success by 5 or more, inflict one yard of knockback (including a DX roll to avoid falling). You may defend normally.

Perks: Trademark Move (the Balance Killing Stroke) [1]

Techniques: Force Sword Shove (H) Force Sword +4 [3];

The Blade-Killing Stroke

3 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form)

The Blade-Killing Stroke teaches the Trademark Move of the same name, and teaches the character to reduce the penalties on all Targeted Attacks against weapons by 2.

Trademark Move: the Blade-Killing Stroke): In standard grip, make an Attack against opponent's weapon with Force Sword. Roll Force Sword +0 (for long polearms or rifles) to -2 (for small weapons, like force sword hilts or pistols) and destroy the weapon. You may defend normally.

Adepts at the Destructive Form increase this penalty to -2 for long weapons and -4 for short weapons; their opponents parry at -1. Masters of the Destructive Form increase this penalty to -4 for long weapons and -6 for short weapons; their opponent’s defend at -2. In both cases, opponent’s with the Style Familiarity (Destructive Form) may ignore up to -1 in these penalties.

Perks: Trademark Move (the Blade Killing Stroke) [1]

Techniques: Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Weapon) (H) Force Sword -2 [2];

The Dignity-Killing Stroke

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form), Brawling

Dignity Killing Stroke at Default

To perform the Dignity Killing Stroke at default, in standard grip, make a pummeling strike; Roll Brawling-6. Deal thr(+brawling bonuses) damage. If any shock is inflicted, target must roll vs stun. You may defend normally.

This move teaches the Trademark Move “Dignity Killing Stroke;” it also teaches the character to make “pommel strikes” with his force sword, and reduces the penalty to making such a pommel strike to the face to -2 rather than -5. It also teaches the character to make Dirty Fighting attacks in general (such as throwing dirt in someone’s face). See Power-Ups 2 Perks p. 5 and B 405.

Trademark Move (Dignity Killing Stroke): In standard grip, make a pummeling strike; Roll Brawling-1. Deal thr(+brawling bonuses) damage. If any shock is inflicted, target must roll vs stun. You may defend normally. This counts a dirty trick (Add +1 to roll if it’s a “sucker punch” during a duel, or if it’s the first attack of the fight, or the GM decides that the opponent really didn’t expect such a move) if done in a duel or if your opponent isn’t expecting such a move.

Perks: Dirty Fighting [1]; Trademark Move (the Dignity Killing Stroke) [1]
Techniques: Hammer Fist (A) Brawling+0 [1]; Targeted Attack (Pommel Strike/Face) (H) Brawling -2 [2];

The Reaping Stroke

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form)

Considered by most the signature coup-de-grace of the Destructive Form, this teaches “the Reaping Stroke” Trademark Move. Destructive duelists usually use this outside of duels, on opponents who have already been stunned or otherwise unable to defend themselves. It furthermore reduces penalties for attacking the neck with a force sword swing to -2 and allows the character to double his damage when swinging attacks to the neck with a force sword, as though his weapon inflicted cutting damage.

Trademark Move (The Reaping Stroke): While in Standard Grip, make a Committed Attack (Determined) Force Sword attack for the neck. Roll Force Sword-1. Opponent defends at -1. If you hit, deal your normal damage (+1 per die if your opponent is stunned, knocked down or, at the GM’s discretion, “at your mercy”), and double all damage that penetrates DR! You may not parry with your force sword, you may not retreat, and you dodge at -2.

Destructive Form Adepts who use this move roll against Force Sword-3 to hit; their opponent defends at -2; Destructive Form Masters who use this move roll against Force Sword-5; their opponent defends at -3.

In all cases, opponents with with Style Familiarity (Destructive Form) reduce these defense penalties by 1.

Perks: Finishing Move (Reaper’s Stroke) [1]; Special Option (Force Sword treated as cutting for purposes of damage to the neck) [1]; Trademark Move (The Reaping Stroke) [1];

Techniques: Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Neck) (H) Force Sword -2 [2];

The Spirit-Killing Stroke

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form), Grip Mastery (Force Sword)

Spirit-Killing Stroke at Default

To perform the Spirit-Killing Stroke at default, if you parried your opponent’s attack with your force sword last turn, or your force sword attack was parried by your opponent last turn, while in Defensive Grip, make a Beat against your opponent’s force sword. Roll a Quick Contest of ST-based Force Sword+1 vs your opponent’s ST-Based Force Sword. Success applies margin of victory as a penalty to attack and defense, while success by 5 or more unbalances the weapon (he cannot make any attacks with the weapon, or parry with it, until the end of his next turn, or until he Readies it).

This move teaches a collection of related trademark moves all designed to destroy the opponent’s ability to fight; the character who learns it can only have the “best” version of the move. The Cinematic Trademark Move requires the character have one of Trained by a Master or Weapon Master (Force Sword); if your character learns this move and later gains Weapon Master or Trained by a Master, upgrade their trademark move immediately!

Additionally, this move always teaches the character to make Beats with their force sword at +4, and reduces penalties to attack their opponent’s arm to -1.

Trademark Move (The Spirit-Killing Stroke, Standard): If you parried your opponent’s attack with your force sword last turn, or your force sword attack was parried by your opponent last turn, while in Defensive Grip, make a Beat against your opponent’s force sword. Roll a Quick Contest of ST-based Force Sword+6 vs your opponent’s ST-Based Force Sword. Success applies margin of victory as a penalty to attack and defense, while success by 5 or more unbalances the weapon (he cannot make any attacks with the weapon, or parry with it, until the end of his next turn, or until he Readies it).

Trademark Move (The Spirit-Killing Stroke, Cinematic): If you parried your opponent’s attack with your force sword last turn, or your force sword attack was parried by your opponent last turn, while in Defensive Grip make a Rapid Strike Beat against your opponent’s force sword. Roll a Quick Contest of ST-based Force Sword+3 vs your opponent’s ST-Based Force Sword. Success applies margin of victory as a penalty to attack and defense, while success by 5 or more unbalances the weapon (he cannot make any attacks with the weapon, or parry with it, until the end of his next turn, or until he Readies it). Then immediately shift to Standard Grip and make a second Force Sword attack against his weapon arm. Roll Force-Sword-3. Your opponent defends normally (though with the noted Beat penalties!). If you deal damage more than ½ HP, the arm is crippled; if you deal more damage than HP, the arm is severed.

If your character is a Destructive Form Adept, increase the force sword attack penalties against the arm to -5 and your opponent defends at -1 in addition to the Beat penalties. If your character is a Destructive Form Master, increase the penalties to attack the arm to -7, and your opponent defends at -2 in addition to the beat penalties. In both cases, characters with Style Familiarity (Destructive Form) may ignore -1 point in defensive penalties.

Perks: Trademark Move (the Spirit Killing Stroke) [1]
Techniques: Beat (H) Force Sword+4 [3] Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Arm) (H) Force Sword -1 [1];

Destructive Form Exercises

Carbide Body

20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Destructive Form), Brawling 15+

Strength and durability matters to the practitioners of the Destructive Form. They go through grueling exercises meant to harden their body and muscles, giving them great power when striking, and allowing them to disregard a hit or two from even a force sword.

Characters with a Carbide Body toughen their skin (DR 2), gain +2 striking ST, have high pain threshold, and gain 1 impulse buy point per session that they can only spend on flesh wounds; this often results in interesting scars when used thus.

Advantages: DR 2 (Tough Skin -40%) [2]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Impulse Buy Refresh (Aspected, to collect scars, on flesh wounds only -40%) +1 [6]; Striking ST +2 [2];

Secrets of the Destructive Form

The Treatise on Breakpoints

20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (The Destructive Form); Trained by a Master or Weapon Master (Force Sword)

Breakpoints as Bullshido

The antiquities market in the Glorian Rim is positively flooded by "authentic" copies of Kusari Kain's famous treatise. Masters who claim to know it often command high interest from the aristocracy, even members of House Kain who really ought to know better. Most such hucksters teach their pupils to, first, Evaluate until they can claim a full bonus, and then to make an All-Out Attack (Strong) against the target limb, using the evaluation boost to mitigate the penalty. Treat this as Preferred Tactic (All-Out Attack (Strong) against a limb) [-1], and Delusion ("I know breakpoints") [-5]

According to lore, Kusari Kain mastered the Destructive Form to such a degree that he expanded upon its body of knowledge. Kusari Kain mastered the art of finding weak points in armor, in striking where a target was most vulnerable, and in destroying duelists who relied on heavy dueling vambraces to defeat the Destructive Form. The bulk of Kusari Kain’s treatise on breakpoints has been lost, as well as most of its masters during the war after the fall of the Federation. The House of Kain seeks to regain this knowledge and will pay dearly for even scraps of the treatise.

Those who master this secret may use Breaking Blow with both their unarmed attacks and their force sword. They also gain the ability to inflict extra damage against a single subset of unliving targets (at the GM’s discretion, they may expand this with their own points) and can buy up a single form of targeted attack so that they suffer no penalties at all when making attacks against that target.

Perks: Secret Training (Breakpoints) [1], Special Exercise (Breaking Blow works with Force Sword) [1]; Choose one of Technique Mastery (Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Arm)), (Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Weapon)), or (Targeted Attack (Force Sword/Neck)) all [1]; Choose one of Breaker (Machine, Robot or Tank), all [1].

Skills: Breaking Blow (H) IQ+3 [16]

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