The Graceful Form

Alternate Names: The Dancer’s Form, Courtly Force Swordmanship, the Persephone Waltz

The Graceful Form is the oldest of the dueling styles, and may have evolved side-by-side with the Old Way of Knightly Force Sworsmanship. It involves highly ritualistic techniques (some schools even teach their stylists to dance before they teach them the actual fighting techniques) and involves highly kinetic movement. The result is a beautiful, if wasteful, combat display largely better suited for dueling (where its impressive moves will earn the practitioner high praise) than on the battlefield. Even so, it’s high mobility helps the force swordsman close on the enemy very quickly, meaning that quite a few knights do manage to use it effectively in the battlefield.

The Graceful focuses on mobility and theatricality to defeat its foes. The characters remain in near constant motion, and seek to gain an advantage on their opponent by moving to points where their opponent cannot defend well. It folds its antics into its techniques, so their opponents are never sure if they actually intend to attack or not. When they finish off their opponent, they generally do so as stylishly as possible and, if that is not possible, they'll pause after victory to demonstrate an artistic flourish. This makes the style a smash hit among spectators, making this a preferred technique for gladiators, duelists, or easily-impressed youths. Legends swirl around the style, but one must be Trained by a Master to make most of those legends come true, and thus to get the most out of the style.

The style focuses on high speed, agility and dexterity. It also relies on its opponent's inferiority. A master of the Graceful form will tear apart a novice of another form with stylish ease, but he'll certainly lose against someone of greater skill than his own. This does make the Graceful form an excellent means of disposing of unskilled opponents, however.
Students of the three forms argue that its greatest strengths are its high mobility, which serves it well even on the battlefield, and its unpredictability. By constantly staying in motion, a fighter can always find his opponent’s weakest point. The greatest weakness is its wasted motion, and while the style can be highly effective, it requires an intense amount of training to reach the dizzying heights of skill necessary to defeat opponents of the other two forms. House Elegans and House Sabine use this style more than most.

The Graceful Form as Martial Arts Style

Skills: Acrobatics, Force Sword, Jumping
Techniques: Acrobatic Stand, Combat Art (Force Sword), Counter Attack, Evade, Feint (Acrobatics or Force Sword), Spinning Attack (Force Sword)
Cinematic Skills: Flying Leap, Light Step, Precognitive Defense
Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Defense (Force Sword), Flying Strike, Timed Defense (Force Sword), Whirlwind Attack (Force Sword)
Perks: Acrobatic Feints, Flourish, Grip Mastery (Force Sword), Sure Footed (Uneven), Sure-Footed (Slippery), No Nuisance Rolls (Flying Leap), Trademark Move.
Optional Traits: Basic Move +1 to +2 [5/level]
Optional Perks: Weapon Bond (Force Sword).
Optional Skills: Armoury (Force Sword), Dancing, Fast-Draw (Force Sword), Force Saber, Intimidation, Savoir-Faire (High Society)

New Traits

Enhanced Dodge (Tumbling)
3 points

The character gains a +1 to dodge all ranged attacks while moving if they succeeded at an Acrobatics roll to Tumble (-4). This is in addition to the +2 for the first dodge that second, and the penalty for attacking a character with ranged attacks while they’re tumbling

Statistics: Enhanced Dodge (Accessibility, during Move Maneuver only -10%; Requires Acrobatics Roll -10%; Hard to use, -4, -5%; Only against Ranged Attacks -20%; Reduced duration 1/60th, -35%) [3]

New Techniques

Evasive Attack
Hard
Prerequisite: Melee Skill; Trained by a Master or Weapon Master
Default: Melee Skill-6; cannot exceed Melee Skill.

This technique uses Chambara move-and-attack rules (MA 128) and thus requires Trained by a Master. The character must make an acrobatic movement (Evasion) at their opponent, rolling Acrobatics or Evasion (halving the penalties) to bypass their opponent and attack from the rear. They make their attack with Evasive and do not have a cap of 9 or less. They may not retreat or parry with their attacking weapon (but see the Rapid Recovery Extra Effort option).

New Perks

Graceful Leaper: You needn’t roll Flying Leap so long as you only jump twice your normal distance and you gain no bonus to damage. Alternatively, if you do not have Trained by a Master or Weapon Master, you may still learn Flying Leap, but only if you use it to jump twice your normal distance and you gain no bonus to damage.

Graceful Form Power-Ups

Graceful Form – Student

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

Those who begin their steps down the path of the Graceful Form must first learn agility. They practice acrobatics (flips, handsprings, tumbling) constantly, and they constantly train at jumps, usually jumping extensively with added weights until their springs become higher and higher. Characters without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master learn Jump, while those with that added mastery learn Flying Leap instead.

The Graceful Form is often used as a “dance” or an exhibition thanks to its beautiful forms. Characters who wish to learn this may learn the Graceful Forms Dance instead or as well as the Graceful Form. See “The Graceful Dances as Bullshido” below.

Perks: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form) [1];
Skills:

  • As Primary Style: Acrobatics (H) DX [4]; Force Sword (A) DX+3 [12]; Precognitive Defense (H) IQ-1 [2]; Choose one of Jumping (E) DX [1] or Flying Leap (H) IQ-2 [1].
  • As Secondary Style: Acrobatics (H) DX [4]; Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points; choose one of Jumping (E) DX [1] or Flying Leap (H) IQ-2 [1].

Graceful Form – Adept

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

Graceful Form Adepts actually can make prodigious, seemingly inhuman leaps! The training regimen of the Graceful Form finally pushes the character into inhuman leaps, though those without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master should adjust their expectations, as they’ll only be able to double their distances and see no increased damage. Adepts also continue to perfect their acrobatcs.

Perks: Graceful Leaper.
Skills:

  • As Primary Style: Improve Acrobatics one level to (H) DX+1 [8] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword to (A) DX+5 [20] for 8 points; improve Precognitive Defense to (H) IQ+1 [8] for 6 points; Choose one of improve Flying Leap (H) IQ-1 [2] or replace Jumping (E) DX [1] with Flying Leap (H) IQ-1 [2], both for 1 point.
  • As Secondary Style: Improve Acrobatics one level to (H) DX+1 [8] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points; Choose one of improve Flying Leap (H) IQ-1 [2] or replace Jumping (E) DX [1] with Flying Leap (H) IQ-1 [2], both for 1 point.

Graceful Form – Master

20 points as primary style; 10 points as secondary style.

Prerequisite: Graceful Form – Adept
A Master of the Graceful Form is truly a sight to behold. They gain uncanny perfection to their Acrobatics, allowing them to tumble and gyrate around the battlefield. They also achieve their final mastery of the flying leap, able to do it fairly casually and reliably. A master of the Graceful Form proves that the form is more than just a ceremonial gimmick, but a real threat as he is able to outmaneuver his opponents in the blink of an eye.

Skills:

  • As Primary Style: Armoury (Force Sword) (A) IQ [2]; Improve Acrobatics one level to (H) DX+2 [12] for 4 points; improve Flying Leap to (H) IQ [4] for 2 points; 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 Acrobatics one level to (H) DX+2 [12] for 4 points; Improve Force Sword one level for 4 points; Improve Flying Leap to (H) IQ [4] for 2 points.

Graceful Form Moves

The Approach

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Acrobatics.

The character advances rapidly towards the enemy using their acrobatics to move in an unconventional way (rolling on the ground, doing constant back-flips). This requires an Acrobatics+0 roll; if successful, the character is able to move at full move towards their opponent, all ranged attacks suffer a penalty based on their speed on the speed/range table, they gain a +2 to their first dodge of their turn (+3 if it’s against a range attack), and they gain a +1 to all subsequent dodges against ranged attacks.

Advantages: Enhanced Dodge (Tumbling) [3]

Techniques: Tumbling (A) Acrobatics+0 [2].

The False Pirouette

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form)

This move teaches a premier defensive technique, the trademark move “The False Pirouette” as well as how to use Acrobatics as the basis of their Feints (whether or not the character is armed with a force sword), and grants +4 to all Acrobatic feints! Graceful stylists often use these feints outside of the False Pirouette to diminish an opponent’s defenses.

Trademark Move (The False Pirouette): The Stylist spins or tumbles around his opponent similar to the Pirouette, but instead of attacking, the display turns into pure acrobatics. Make a Defensive Attack (Feint) with Acrobatics+3 in a contest with the best of your opponent’s DX-based Weapon skill or Tactics; Defend at +1 for the remainder of your turn with an additional +2 to your first defense of the turn; furthermore, apply a penalty equal to your margin of success (minimum 1) to all attacks made against you by your opponent this turn.

Perks: Acrobatic Feints [1]; Trademark Move (the Playful Step) [1]

Techniques: Feint (H) Acrobatics+4 [3]

The Graceful Arc

4 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Flying Leap, Weapon Master or Trained by a Master.

This move teaches the Graceful Arc as a signature move, and the Flying Lunge at Force Sword+0, which can be used without activating Flying Leap if the character wants to use it outside of the Trademark Move.

Trademark Move (Graceful Arc): The stylist sails gracefully into the air, and then descends on his foe like a terrible meteor. After concentrating for one turn, move the character’s full Basic Move, then spend one fatigue and make a Flying Leap roll at +1 to jump up to ×3 your Basic Move and make a Flying Lunge; roll Force Sword-1 to hit. Your opponent parries at -3 and dodges and blocks at at -1. If you hit inflict +1 damage per die. For the rest of the turn, you may not parry, and you dodge at -2 and may not retreat.

If your character is a Graceful Form Adept, increase the Force Sword penalty to -3; your opponent parries at -4 and dodges and blocks at -2. If your character is a Graceful Form Master, increase the Force Sword Penalty to -5; your opponent parries at -5 and dodges and blocks at -3.

In all cases, characters with the Style Familiarity (Graceful Form) ignore up to -1 in defensive penalties!

Perks: Trademark Move (The Graceful Arc) [1]

Techniques: Flying Lunge (H) Force Sword+0 [3].

Pirouette

4 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Acrobatics, Weapon Master (Force Sword) or Trained by a Master.

This move teaches the “Pirouette” trademark move; This move also teaches the Spinning Attack (MA 79) with the force sword at no penalty, which may be used outside of this trademark move, and how to Spin when moving (allowing the character to change facing after moving) at no penalty.

Trademark Move (Pirouette): The Stylist defends an attack and uses that momentum to perform a pirouette and attack. Once per turn, when attacked, roll Acrobatics+1 to spin while making a side-slip retreat (see Martial Arts p. 124). Roll Force Sword parry +2 if you succeeded in your Acrobatics roll, and at +0 if you did not. On your turn, make a Spinning Riposte Attack against your foe's torso; roll Force-Sword-1 vs your opponent’s best weapon skill; if you succeed, apply your margin of success+1 as a penalty to your opponent’s defense; if you fail, apply your margin of failure as a bonus to your opponent’s defense; either way, your opponent defends with an additional -2 penalty. You may defend normally for the rest of the turn.

If your character is a Graceful Form Adept, increase the Force Sword penalty to -3; your opponent defends at a penalty equal to margin of success+2. If your character is a Graceful Form Master, increase the Force Sword Penalty to -5; your opponent defends at a penalty equal to margin of success+3.

In all cases, characters with Style Familiarity (Graceful Form) may ignore -1 point in defense penalties.

Note: Technically, in Martial Arts, you must apply your deceptive attack penalty to both the Spinning Attack roll, and to the attack itself. This makes deceptive attacks useless for Spinning Attack. If you wish to enforce this rule, remove all deceptive attack penalties from the Pirouette trademark move.

Perks: Trademark Move (Pirouette) [1]

Techniques: Spinning (A) Acrobatics+0 [1]; Spinning Attack (H) Force Sword+0 [2]

The Trickster’s Step

6 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Acrobatics, Weapon Master or Trained by a Master

This move teaches the “Trickster’s Step” trademark move, how to make Evasive Attacks, and how to Evade at Acrobatics+4.

Trademark Move (Trickster’s Step): Move your full Move at your standing opponent, then Evade and attack from behind. After making a full move, roll a Contest of Acrobatics-1 vs your opponent’s DX. If you succeed, you bypass him and as you bypass them, you may make a Run-Around attack against them as part of your acrobatic move and attack. Roll Force Sword-2. Your opponent defends at -3 due to a combination of deceptive attack and a “runaround attack” and may not use any forward facing defenses (such as a shield or the +1 from Defensive Grip which also suffers an additional -1). You may not parry and you may not retreat and you dodge at -2, but your first defenses is at +2 (for a total Dodge of +0).
If your character is a Graceful Form Adept, increase the Force Sword penalty to -4; your opponent defends at -3. If your character is a Swift Form Master, increase the Force Sword Penalty to -6; your opponent defends at a -4.

Characters with Timed Defense may reduce these penalties by up to 2, and characters with Style Familiarity may reduce the Deceptive Attack penalties by -1.

Perks: Trademark Move (Trickster’s Step) [1]

Techniques: Evade (A) Acrobatics+4 [2]; Evasive Attack (H) Force Sword-1 [3]

The Triumph

5 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form)

The character learns to flourish his weapon. He may add a flourish to any move during the fight by making a free Force Sword+0 roll; success grants him a non-cumulative +1 to Reaction rolls to those watching the fight. Furthermore, if the character defeats an opponent (killing them, knocking them down, stunning them, etc), they may make Ready Maneuver to flourish his weapon and roll Force Sword+3. If you succeed, in addition to a +1 Reaction from the audience, you gain a free Intimidation roll at +4; to intimidate those in combat, the normal -5 still applies (see Uttering Threats on page 39 of Action 2: Exploits), but add an additional +2 if you knocked your opponent out and a +5 if you killed them.

Perks: Flourish [1];

Skills: Intimidation (A) Will [2]

Techniques: Combat Art (H) Force Sword+0 [2]

Graceful Form Exercises

Light Body

20 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Weapon Master (Force Sword) or Trained by a Master

The Graceful Form teaches its practitioners swiftness and lightness of form. Those who masters these can move far faster than those who cannot, barely touching the ground as they race forward. They can also double their jumping distances with Flying Leap: a successful Flying Leap roll allows them to jump 4× or 6× rather than 2× or 3× their jumping distance.

Traits: Basic Move +2 [10]; Super Jump (Accessibility, only with a flying leap -20%) [8]

Skills: Light Walk (H) IQ-1 [2];

Graceful Form Secrets

Graceful Dances as Bullshido


The dance-like nature of the Graceful Form impresses many people, who often suggest that it has some hidden purpose. These dances are real: people who go to the Glorian Rim can watch beautiful, staged exhibitions of force swordsmanship, especially on Atrium or Persephone. The “Bullshido” only happens when people claim that the dances hold hidden secrets that only they know.

Any character can learn the dances of the Graceful Form. Use the move below as an example. Characters who wrongly believe that these dances have some secrets within them might have Delusion (I know the secrets of the Graceful Form Dances) [-1] if they mostly brag about it or just do an extra unnecessary flourish in combat, or at [-5] if they regularly waste turns in combat dancing rather than attacking.

Graceful Form Dance
5 points

Skills: Dancing (A) DX [2]; Stage Combat (A) DX-1 [1]

Techniques: Combat Art (A) Force Sword+0 [2]

Gemini’s Ballet

7 points
Prerequisites: Style Familiarity (The Graceful Form)

The Graceful Form may have begun as a ceremonial dance with force swords. Some, especially on Persephone, still practice that traditional dance. Those who practice this dance can, according to whispered stories, attack with amazing coordination, flowing around one another like a single entity.

Pairs of characters who have both learned the secret of the Gemini’s Ballet may make coordinated attacks. They must first “form up,” which requires a ready maneuver. After they have formed up, they act together on the slowest character’s turn. They may swap the benefits of feints with one another, they may ignore the -2 to attacking while their partner is in close combat, they may make complementary rolls during the Triumph move (use the best character’s Intimidation, Dancing or Force Sword Combat Art, and the lesser character’s roll, if successful, adds +2 to the first character’s skill, rather than +1), and they may make coordinated attacks at Force Sword +1.

When making a coordinated attack, both characters must use their Coordinated Attack technique (Force Sword+1) and attack the same character. The second character to make a coordinated attack against the character applies a -2 to their active defenses; characters with Enhanced Time Sense halve this penalty. They may use any Graceful Form move or technique during the attack.

This secret move is most commonly taught by House Sabine to twins.

Skills: Dancing (A) DX [2]

Perks: Drills (Coordinated Triumph) [1]; Secret Knowledge (Gemini’s Ballet) [1]; Teamwork [1];

Techniques: Coordinated Attack (Force Sword) (H) Force Sword+1 [2];

The Dance of the Forlorn Sabine

18 points
Prerequisite: Style Familiarity (Graceful Form), Trained by a Master or Weapon Master (Force Sword).

The Graceful Form may have begun as a ceremonial dance using the force sword. One possible example of this dance was a very close, very romantic dance between two “fighters.” Those who learn this dance today claim it gives them powerful insights into how opponents tend to fight and move, allowing them to predict their opponent’s (or their “partner’s”) actions.

The character learns to gain a feel for their opponent, as though both were partners in a dance. The character gains the benefits of Sensitivity (see Martial Arts p. 62) so long as you are in close combat with your opponent (practitioners of the Forlorn Dance halve penalties for fighting in close combat with a force sword, and often step in “close” if their opponent refuses to let them “touch” force swords), you have “detected” your opponent with Blind Fighting, or your force sword is in contact with theirs. Parrying or being parried by their force sword counts, and you can also reach out to touch their force sword with a Ready maneuver (which their opponent can make an Active Defense against); a single touch in a turn is enough, though most practitioners let the touch linger. This does not count as “binding,” and so long as the force swords are in contact, either character can Beat the other character’s weapon.

According to legend, this secret is known only by House Sabine, hence its name, but this may be a misunderstanding of how members of House Sabine will use their ESP to guide them in combat, and this will look like Blind Fighting. Members of House Elegans also sometimes claim to know it.

Traits: Secret Knowledge (Dance of the Sabines) [1]; Special Exercise (Sensitivity works through Force Sword contact) [1]

Skills: Blind Fighting (VH) Per-1 [4]; Dancing (A) DX [2]; Sensitivity (VH) Per [8]

Techniques: Close Combat (Force Sword) (H) Force Sword-2 [2]

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