Country of Origin: Cathay
Dojo: None (the style is taught by a handful of wandering Masters)
Description: The Zuijiu fighting style was created by an itinerant monk whose travels frequently took him through the port cities of Tiakhar. The monk, Kefeng Liu, had a history of drinking and of being jumped by press gangs or muggers, whom he fended off with a combination of martial arts, natural ability, and drunken desperation. In the process, Liu created a fighting style without really meaning to, and over time other wandering monks (and a handful of commoners) sought him out for training so they could defend themselves, too.
Zuijiu is a mixed hard and soft style that combines skilled holds and throws with fierce kicks and the unorthodox use of whatever happens to be lying about for defense and the occasional attack. The style’s focus is on putting an opponent on the ground and taking him out of a fight as quickly as possible. Within those parameters, the style almost appears random as the Zuijiu fighter is always reacting to his environment, to changes in the melee, and to the addition (or subtraction) of opponents.
Controlling the battlefield is the key to defeating a Zuijiu fighter. If an opponent can force the fight to take place in an area with very little debris for the fighter to use in his attacks and defenses, he forces the fighter to close for an attack (rendering him vulnerable to a well-placed sword or knife) and to use his hands and feet for defense, making them unavailable for grapples, strikes, or throws.
Basic Curriculum: Improvised Weapon, Soft Martial Arts
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Soft Martial Arts), Exploit Weakness (Zuijiu), Snap Kick, Throw
New Swordsman Knack: Throw. Once you have grappled someone, you can choose to release them in a more dramatic fashion than simply letting him go. Instead, you may throw him away from you and onto the ground or into a wall or some other obstruction.
To throw someone you must currently have him Grappled. Make a Finesse + Throw roll against a TN equal to 5 + 5 times your opponent’s Brawn. You may throw another person 5 feet if they are normally sized (you may throw a Small opponent 7.5 feet, or a Large opponent only 2.5 feet), plus another increment (2.5 feet, 5 feet, or 7.5 feet, depending on the opponent’s size) for each Raise you take on the roll. If you succeed, you throw the opponent to the ground. He does not take any damage, but he lands prone.
You may attempt to target something other than the ground. Hitting a wall or some similar structure (e.g., a table) has a TN of 15 + 5 times the opponent’s Brawn. Hitting a wall or some other hard surface inflicts damage as if the opponent had fallen from a height equal to the distance he was thrown (i.e., 1k1 Flesh Wounds per ten feet thrown). Throwing one person into another raises the TN to 5 times the grappled opponent’s Brawn + the TN to hit the second opponent. Hitting another person inflicts 2k1 damage on each opponent, and both land prone. These damage ratings may be increased by Unkept Dice (+1k0) by taking Raises on the attack roll as normal. If you fail to meet the TN of your Finesse + Throw roll, you have released your opponent and he neither takes damage nor falls prone.
This is the same as the Throw Knack found in the Soft Martial Arts Skill, but it is considered a Basic Knack for students of Zuijiu.
Apprentice: To a Zuijiu fighter, the battle is over when someone is on the ground, so they learn quickly to keep themselves upright and to prevent attacks by any means necessary. The fighter may pick up and Actively Defend with an Improvised Weapon by spending a single Action Die, and may spring or roll to their feet from a prone or supine position in any Phase in which they have a legal Action, without spending that Action.
Zuijiu is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, so its students receive a free Rank in the Kick Knack, learning it as a Specialty if it is not provided in one of their other Skills. Kick does not count against the character’s limit of three Specialty Knacks.
Journeyman: Zuijiu fighters look for any opening to take control of their opponents and put them on their backs. Whenever an opponent misses their Passive Defense with an attack, Journeymen may immediately attempt a Corps-á-Corps attack without spending an Action Die.
Master: At this level, Zuijiu fighters have learned that putting an opponent down is only the first step in winning the battle; getting them to stay down is equally important. After a successful Corps-á-Corps attack against an opponent, a Master may spend a Current, Held, or Interrupt Action to attempt an axe kick (using his Kick Knack for the attack roll) against the same opponent. The Master’s Rank in Brawn is doubled for purposes of adding damage dice to the axe kick. If this ability is used in conjunction with the Journeyman technique, the opponent does not make a Wound Check after the Corps-á-Corps attack, instead waiting until the follow up Kick attack is resolved.