Codex Martialis: Core Rules (Martial Combat Rulebook)

hard core, fast-paced, historical combat for Your RPG

Make a character with a real martial skillset that makes a difference when you fight. No more waiting for an opportunity to make one attack… move, defend, attack, and attack again all in the same round, without getting bogged down in charts or arithmetic, and without relying on miniatures. Chose your weapons based on your personal fighting strategy, emphasize attack, defense, grappling from a distance, or armor-piercing. Specialize in fighting close-in or far away, with missile weapons or melee.

Hit the ground running with new options that won’t bog down your game. If you want something that feels like a fight in your game, this is it.

New Combat Options based on Renaissance Martial arts​

Codex Martialis: Core Rules is a sourcebook of new combat options for your d20 game, based on martial-arts manuals from the Renaissance era.  This is not another complex damage system or a spreadsheet of tables and formulae, but a fast-paced, cinematic system based directly on the real martial arts of Europe and Asia. 

Emphasizing action, combat maneuvers and the deadly interplay of attack and defense with a minimum of complexity, the Codex is designed to make combat fluid, dynamic and intuitive, in order to bring a greater level of immersion and excitement by adding new tactical options to your gaming session.  

Written by martial arts practitioners with real-life fighting experience and based on five hundred year old combat manuals penned by the true Masters of the ancient martial arts such as Sigmund Ringeck, Joachim Meyer, Jud Lew, Miyamoto Musashi, Fiore Dei Liberi, and Achille Marozzo, the Codex Martialis is a window from your game into the lethal reality of combat in the ancient world.

Combat mechanics in the service of narrative

Codex Martialis is designed to engage that feeling of being in a brawl, so that combat can more seamlessly become part of the story. Whether your RPG is about ‘armed hobos’ kicking in dungeon doors, or heroic avatars of good and evil battling it out in the clouds, CM helps you to tell your story, up to and including the bloody bits, while retaining a sense of immersion and agency. Using Codex, you can emphasize attack, defense, or maneuver just like you would with a sword in your hand. Your choices of kit and training affect how you fight, and are part of the story.

Combat is drama, it is an acceleration of a story, an escalation of tension, it should not stop the story or become a detour. It should add to the story, Intensify it. By making a careful analysis of real fighting techniques, weapons, and historical armor, and how these elements interplay, we created combat rules which were bring this all together in an intuitive manner. To let the gamer experience some of the natural flow of decision making, dilemmas, and innovation which can take place in a fight.

This is the complete core rules for combat using the Codex Martialis system, with new sections including horses and mounted combat, OGL Feats compatability charts, sample characters, sample animals, and new optional combat rules. For more rules related to character generation and historical gaming, see the Codex Integrum Player’s Guide.