Weapon Proficiencies

As explained in a previous section, a basic "attack" can be made with nothing more than an Avatar's fist, pseudopod, foot, etc. However, Items and specifically Weapons can be used to increase an Avatar's natural abilities. Some Weapons are so ridiculously easy to use that someone can just pick them up and use them - brass knuckles, a cudgel, a metal rod, etc. These are called "Null Weapons" because they can be used by anyone. But most weapons need SOME sort of training to use them, and additional training to use them WELL. In order to use a real weapon, an Avatar must have a proficiency Skill in that Weapon Class in order to use the Weapon. The following Weapon Proficiencies can be purchased as Skills (see Appendix C):

Edged Weapons: Swords, knives, and other sharp Weapons have a Proficiency set which revolves around AGI. As Proficiency grows with Edged Weapons, the wielder of the Weapon gains a bonus for Defense as well as he is able to block some types of attacks. Unless otherwise specified, the DR bonus is applied only to (R) attacks. Edged Proficiency is the only one that has a fifth level of mastery, as it is the most elegant of Proficiencies. Edged Weapons are ONLY used in Short Range Combat.

Blunt Weapons: Relying on brute force (STR & CON) rather than dexterity, Weapons such as hammers, maces and quarterstaves need Blunt Proficiency. Any Blunt Weapon can be used as a Null Item at +0 OR with no Proficiency, but such weapons are designed to inflict extra damage for someone who knows how to wield them properly. While a Proficient wielder of a Blunt Weapon gains no DR bonus for using it, he can achieve a higher OR because of the force of a hit inflicted with the Weapon.

Cleaving Weapons: Falling in between Edged Weapons and Blunt Weapons are the Cleaving Weapons, which rely on STR, AGI and CON. Axes, scythes and polearms need this Proficiency to do ANY damage. Very Proficient wielders gain the larger OR bonus of Blunt Weapons and the benefit of some DR bonus. In addition, ALL Cleaving Weapons can score a "Critical Hit", a special bonus which is applied ONLY to Cleaving Weapons - it refers to the additional damage which can be done by the accentuation of a Cleaving Weapon in a gaping wound (either by twisting or pounding or some other continued movement after the initial hit). On ANY successful hit (meaning an Avatar's Offensive Calculation involving a Cleaving Weapon has exceeded the target's Defensive Calculation and has caused damage), the attacker may decide to use the Critical Hit - he draws a single card from his AC deck, and if it is higher than his Critical Threshold (which changes based on the level of Cleaving Proficiency), he scores the Critical Hit. In that case, the amount of damage done to the target's LIFE Stat is IMMEDIATELY DOUBLED, and the wielder of the Cleaving Weapon loses control of the Weapon (and must hand the Item Card to the target). If the target is still alive, he MUST remove the Cleaving Weapon from his body during his NEXT available Action, or NOT take another Action until he does.

If the target removes the Cleaving Weapon from his body during an Action (an automatic success), he gets to keep the Weapon. If he chooses NOT to remove the Weapon (or is forced to not remove it for whatever reason) and instead leaves it embedded, the original Attacker (ONLY) may use HIS next Action to remove the Cleaving Weapon and reclaim it (also an automatic success). If the target dies and has NOT removed and claimed the Weapon (either because of the Critical Hit or because of a subsequent hit with another attack), the original Wielder of the Cleaving Weapon may reclaim the Weapon for free, and in addition to the normal looting of the target's body.

Marksmanship: In order to use any Long Range Weapon which is not a natural part of the Avatar, the Marksmanship Profiency must be employed. It relies on AGI and CUN to aim a Long Range Weapon properly for it to be effective. As an Avatar gains proficiency in Marksmanship, he also gains the ability to target a Short Range Combatant involved in a melee. At Marksmanship II, he gains one extra "chance", be it an extra card or an extra pip on a die to hit the target he intends to out of a group of Avatars who are involved in a Short Range melee situation. At Marksmanship III, he gets three extra chances. At Marksmanship IV, he can automatically target an Avatar involved in a melee, no matter how many other Avatars are involved in that melee.

As an example, assume two Avatars are involved in melee and an Avatar is shooting at one of them. With Marksmanship I, he has an equal chance of targeting either one of them. At Marksmanship II, he has a 2 in 3 (67%) chance of getting his intended target. At Marksmanship III, he has a 4 in 5 (80%) chance of getting his intended target.

Throwing Weapons: Utilizing AGI and STR, the Throwing Weapons Proficiency involves knives, axes, shurikens and other things which are flung at high speed through the air at an intended target. Unlike the Marksmanship Proficiency, Throwing Weapons require balance and force, and can do a lot of damage if used correctly.

All Throwing Weapons have the capability of breaking the "one Weapon" limit, both in the Item pile and in the Weapons used in an Action. When an Avatar has Throwing Weapons II and III, he gains the ability to handle and throw more weapons in a single Action (the exact number of Throwing Weapons which can be used vary with the type of Weapon and are printed on the IC). These Weapons are all added together in a CUMULATIVE Offensive Calculation as if they formed a single Weapon. In addition, Throwing Weapons of the same type count as a single Weapon for the purpose of the Item Pile, up to the maximum number allowed to be used at once.

All Throwing Weapons used in a Combat are recovered AT THE END OF THE COMBAT on simple chance pulls from the deck. If the card pulled is anything but an Ace, the weapon is recovered; on an Ace, it is destroyed or lost. An Ace does not negate the possibility of other weapons being found - the Ace goes back into the deck for the next pull. Cards pulled in this way stay out of the deck until all Weapons are pulled for.

Although Throwing Weapons are a Long Range Attack, they have a very special rule attached to them which separate them from other Long Range Weapons. When using Throwing Weapons, a player ADDS his OR to his DR and uses that in his Offensive Calculation (there is no penalty to DR as there is with Marksmanship). However, for every 10 feet (rounded down for convenience) that the weapon travels (up to its maximum range), the OR + DR used is reduced by 1/4 (BEFORE modifiers, and rounded up). Throwing Weapons cannot be used in Short Range Combat (unless the Item Card specifically states otherwise).

Martial Arts: Although technically not a Weapons Proficiency, Martial Arts are a specialized form of a basic attack. They assume that the user knows how to hit more often and harder when using nothing but his bare hands and feet (or whatever passes for these limbs). Martial Arts Proficiency depends entirely on AGI because it doesn't really matter how strong the Avatar who is using them is.

Since the Avatar employing Martial Arts flows with the art form, he gets a significant bonus to both OR and DR for non-Weapon combat; even so, some Weapons do exist which can facilitate and enhance the Skills.

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