If the Martial Pool is the core of this system, the Martial Feats are the arms and legs.} These special learned abilities give you extra options in a fight. Which Martial Feats you choose during character development determine where your greatest strengths lie, and what your optimal fighting strategies are likely to be. Many Martial Feats grant a circumstantial ‘Free Dice’, conferring that extra edge, a little luck when you need it most.
Martial Feats are a new type of Feat introduced in the Codex Martialis. Martial Feats either confer specific tactical options for combat, or they grant ongoing bonuses for the use of certain weapons or techniques. It is recommended that Martial Feats be conferred to players at a rate of at least one Martial Feat per BAB. It is up to the DM’s discretion as to whether to apply Martial Feats at the same rate to NPCs or Monsters. Martial Feats can be used as another way to distinguish the unique abilities of PCs and/or special NPCs, or they can be viewed as being universal.
Martial Feats allow players to customize the fighting style of their character and take full advantage of the nuances of different types of weapons. Players are given a greater range of tactical options in order to balance the increased lethality of the system (especially if the recommended Hit Point Ceiling option is used).
Most Martial Feats have prerequisites which may include other Martial Feats, certain ability scores, certain types of weapon or a certain movement speed.
Many Martial Feats confer a special advantage in the form of Free Dice. This means from one or sometimes two dice added to a single attack or defense roll without any cost to your Martial Pool. For example, a fighter with 4 dice in his MP decides to execute a Counterstroke. He waits for his opponent to attack and then strikes with a 2 die attack. Due to the Counterstroke Feat he gains a bonus third die for his roll. Thus he retains 2 dice in his MP while rolling 3 dice for his Counterstrike.
Free Dice must be used in the same round and in the same action which invokes the Feat. They cannot be held in reserve or used later.
A special single-time counter.
Summary: Throw a 2nd die after a parry to attack against their last attack die roll. Piercing attack only.
Benefit: When an opponent attacks you with a slash, chop or a bludgeon attack, and your Active Defense is successful, you may then spend one or more MP to immediately counterattack with a thrusting-attack only, and your attack applies against their original Attack die-roll. If you only attack with one die they may only defend with that original die roll value.
You may throw in more dice for your counter, but if you spend more than one MP they may also throw in additional Active Defense dice to defend with (if they have any). Of course, if they are out of dice they do not have this option… This is useful in cases where your opponent rolled low in their attack.
You are skilled at the art of safely exiting Melee range.
Summary: Free Dice when defending as you move from Melee to Onset or out of Melee range altogether.
Prerequisites: Sidestep MF
Benefit: Any time you are performing Active Defense with your last die in the round you may make a ‘free’ move from melee to Onset range, or from Onset to out of contact – and gain a +2 on your Defense roll. If you throw in a Second Die you can move beyond melee combat range, to a distance of up to your move rate (30’ or whatever it is). Either way you gain a Free Dice on one Active Defense roll, so long as you spend 1 MP.
Special: Stacks with Distance Fighting
Summary: Free Dice with thrown missile weapon
Prerequisites: This MF requires a Dex Mod of at least +1.
Benefit: You have a knack for flicking thrown weapons like knives or axes. This confers two benefits:
- Gain a Free Dice once per round which can either be applied to a single missile attack, or be used to make an extra missile attack after you have expended all your MP (assuming you still have a missile left to throw). For cinematic reasons you can make this bonus two Free Dice when used against an inanimate object, such as to cut a rope holding up a chandelier…
- You can expend one MP to cause an extra die of damage in a thrown missile attack similar to the Wrathful Strike rule. This is on top of your Str Mod where applicable.
Optional: Once per day you can allow a character with the Sanguine Temperament to use their Temperament Bonus to one thrown missile weapon attack.
Bind & Strike
Summary: Bind on your opponent’s weapon and gain a Free Dice for your next attack against them and negate their weapon’s defense bonus.
Benefit: When an opponent attacks you, and you generate a Bind (tie roll) or an automatic counter-attack (a natural 20 on Active Defense roll) with your shield, buckler, or off-hand weapon, you gain a Free Dice in an immediate counterattack which applies against their Passive Defense. You get this Free Dice (and the counterattack) whether you have any MP remaining or not.
Works in conjunction with counterstroke, but you don’t get the penalty effect (attack vs. their Passive Defense) unless you generated the counterattack automatically or got a Bind (tie die roll). Works in conjunction with Sprechfenster (you must then seek the bind with your shield)
Interrupt the attacks of your opponent with an immediate counterattack.
Summary: Attack during your opponents round.
Benefits: Gain an automatic counter attack against a designated opponent. You must announce that you are using Counterstroke before being attacked. Once attacked by the selected target (assuming you survive) you may immediately attack them as a special Opportunity Attack. This only applies to their first attack. Once the Counterstroke is executed if the original attacker survives the Counterstroke then they may continue their attacks for the round. This can be very useful when you have lost initiative.
Special: If you generate an automatic counterattack (via natural 20 on defense) when executing a Counterstroke you gain a Free Dice for your attack, even if you have no MP remaining.
This feat can be used in conjunction with Nukitsuke, Riposte, Nachreisen, or the Main Gauche MF. In this case the off-hand weapon can still be used to defend.
Summary: +2 To Hit with one type of missile weapon. Ignore Concealment.
Prerequisites: This MF applies to only one type of missile weapon, for example: Bows, crossbows, firearms, javelins and darts, thrown daggers, thrown axes, and so on. If you have the Phlegmatic or Melancholic Temperament you can roll a new Character with this MF, if you have any other Temperament you can only gain the MF with one type of weapon you have used since the previous level-up. It is possible to gain this MF more than once with different weapon types.
Benefit: You are unflappably calm during combat and retain your professional focus despite distractions. The Dead Eye has three effects:
- Gain +2 To Hit for every attack with one type of missile weapon.
- Suffer no To Hit penalty for shooting at Melee range, and no penalty when shooting into a Melee (with no chance of hitting your allies even if you miss)
- Ignore ‘Concealment’ Defense mod if you win a contested Spot vs. Hide check against your target. This applies even if the target made their Concealment ‘Hide’ roll.
Optional: Once per day you can allow a character with this MF who has the Phlegmatic Temperament to add their Temperament Bonus to one single shot of their choice.
You may make a 5’ step away from your opponent to void (dodge) your enemy’s attacks more effectively.
Summary: Gain a Free Dice on Defense so long as you can back away.
Prerequisites: Sidestep feat, Movement at least 20’
Benefits: Whenever you are attacked in Melee or Onset range, you receive a Free Dice for Defense, and you are allowed to change range to Melee or Onset at your discretion, same as Sidestep. This MF can be used with the Nachreisen MF. You do have to spend at least 1 MP to get the Free Dice.
Special: you move a step either sideways, diagonally, or backward relative to your opponent each time you use this MF. You can use it over and over as long as you have space to move. step is ‘free’ and does not cost any extra MP but you must have room. This MF does not work at grapple range.
This Martial Feat allows the character to cut with both the true and the false edges of the sword without rotating the blade. This in turn allows faster follow-up attacks.
Summary: +2 Speed for cutting attacks
Prerequisites: Only works with swords with at least a partial false edge (see glossary), or staff-like bludgeon weapons with a speed of at least 3.
Benefit: +2 to the speed bonus for cutting attacks only from hand-and-a-half or two-handed weapons with full double edges (longsword, jian, greatsword, bastard sword, zweihander etc), +1 to the speed bonus for the weapon for single-handed two-edged weapons (arming sword, katzbalger, akinakes, gladius, broadsword, and so on), clubs, bata or other light bludgeon weapons (those with a speed of at least 3), or for two-handed weapons with a partial false edge (falchion, langen messer, bagua dao, and so on), thus improving the To Hit bonus for follow-up attacks.
Summary: Make a Bluff attempt to draw off MP from your opponent’s pool.
Prerequisites: Bluff or Intimidation skill 2 levels.
Benefit: You expend one or more MP to roll a contested skill check, your Bluff or Intimidation vs. your target’s Sense Motive. If you succeed you draw off one of your opponents Martial Pool, plus one per MP expended. If you roll a natural 20, you draw off all their MP. This can be used in conjunction with many other maneuvers.
Special: A Feint can draw off a Counterstroke or Meisterhau-counterstroke.
Summary: Free Dice if you commit all MP to attacks.
Benefit: Make one extra attack if you make no Active Defense. Gain a Free Dice for attack only but you may make no Active Defense die rolls in the round.
Fight with the staff gripped in the center rather than the end.
Summary: Use the staff better at close range, Free Dice for attacks after a Bind.
1) Weapon Defense Bonus (including bonus for Poll Axe fighting if applicable) applies even when in Grapple, unless pinned or prone.
2) While in Grapple range your weapon can still be used to make Piercing, Grappling and Slash attacks only but not Chop or Bludgeon attacks. Your weapon gains no speed bonus but grapple bonus does apply.
3) Gain a Free Dice for any Feat triggered from a Bind.
Special sword fighting technique for use with most swords which allow the weapon to be used in close combat (that is, at Grapple range). The technique involves grabbing your sword blade with your free hand
Summary: Choke up on your sword to make close range stabs and grappling attacks, can use swords at grapple range.
Prerequisites: Any sword which can cause Piercing damage (or equivalent sized staff weapon).
1) Gain +2 AP (for thrusting attacks only) with your sword.
2) While in Grapple your weapon can still be used to make thrusting (piercing), Bludgeon, and Slash attacks but not Chop attacks, regardless of the weapons size. Bash damage of a sword pommel is equivalent to a light mace.
3) Gain a Free Dice for any Feat triggered by a Bind.
1) You lose your Reach To Hit Bonus (RTHB) while half swording.
2) Rolling a natural 1 while using half sword techniques without heavy gauntlets or mail lined gloves causes you to injure yourself (D4 Damage) and you must roll a Reflex Save DC (15) or drop the weapon.
Summary: Double range increment and Str bonus with thrown weapon.
Prerequisites: Thrown weapons only, requires a Str mod of at least +1. Must spend one 1MP on movement (and move at least 20’) then all other available MP for the turn must be spent on the throw.
Benefit: Double range increment, so the range that counts as close or short range, (and thereby the range which qualifies for the close or short-range To Hit bonus), and double the Str bonus for both damage and To Hit. Strength Bonus applies at all ranges.
Optional: Once per day you can allow a character with this MF who has the Choleric or Sanguine Temperament to add their Temperament Bonus to one single shot of their choice.
This is the ability to utilize mundane objects for defense.
Summary: Defend yourself with candelabra, stools, cloaks etc.
Prerequisites: Situational Awareness MF.
Benefit: May use a variety of mundane objects for defense. A shield bonus of +1 or +2 is conferred, depending on the GM’s judgment as to the nature of the object used. A cloak, hat, or dinner knife would confer a +1 bonus while a stool, candelabra, fireplace poker, or torch would confer a +2 bonus. The object is held in the off-hand. Just about any object may be used (a hat, a cloak, a chair, a candlestick, and so on). This technique was taught in many historical fencing schools going back to the Middle Ages.
A special thrusting attack developed for the rapier or cut-and-thrust sword during the Renaissance, though it can also be used for shorter weapons. A leap forward is made in coordination with the thrust. This enabled the attacker to reach an opponent who thought he was out of attack range. It also allowed the attacker to concentrate power and energy and to attack with remarkable speed. Once gained the technique can be applied to any finesse weapon.
Summary: Free dice on a thrusting attack once per round at Onset range.
Prerequisites: Weapon must be a sword or staff with a speed of 3 or better, capable of P or B attacks.
Benefit: You may conduct a single multi-dice thrusting attack, (with at least 2 MP) and gain a Free Dice on the attack. You can take an additional 5’ step in your attack if necessary.
Restrictions: A Lunge attack cannot be initiated unless you are in Onset range. It cannot be executed as a followup attack. Can only be used once per round. You may not perform an Active Defense on the same round as a Lunge. That is, all of your Martial Pool dice must be applied to attack(s).
Two weapon fighting style which allows the off-hand weapon to be used defensively.
Summary: Combine dagger defense bonus with main weapon defense bonus (thrusting weapons only).
Prerequisites: Off-hand weapon must be a Size S or T weapon.
Benefit: Add the off-hand weapon’s full Weapon Defense Bonus to Defense against melee attacks for the entire round (max combined +8).
Restriction: The off-hand weapon may not be used to attack for the entire round.
Meisterhau (‘Master Cut’)
Another ancient fencing technique for two-handed swords, similar techniques were taught in Japan, in Europe, and in the Philippines. A Meisterhau (master-cut) is a cut in which the fencer simultaneously defends against any attack as they cut their opponent. This is done either by cutting through the opponent’s potential avenue of attack (a single time counter, in effect defense through complete concentration on attack) or by controlling the opponents weapon to set up a rapid follow-up attack (double time counter).
Summary: Use two or more dice to attack and keep the same roll for next Active Defense against the same opponent.
Prerequisites: Any two-handed cutting weapon with a cross.
Benefit: Once per round when you have a higher initiative roll than your opponent you may attempt to make one ‘perfect’ strike. You make a single focused cut against your opponent (Chop or Slash attacks only). Whether you hit or miss, your modified Attack roll is used in place of your Defense roll against the next attack from this same opponent if that attack is made within one round. For example, a Meisterhau is attempted with a die roll of 17 including all modifiers. When the defender attacks next they must roll 17 or better to get a hit. All Meisterhau must be made with at least 2 dice from your Martial Pool.
A mezzo tempo attack is often a pre-emptory quick strike or half-attack that does not often cause much damage, but does allow you to maintain distance.
Summary: Interrupt your opponents attack with your own spoiling attack.
Prerequisites: Weapon speed and reach at least 3
Benefits: You get an extra quick slashing or piercing attack once per round during your own initiative with a single Free Dice, at onset only, but you can’t throw any other dice into it. This attack does not pull you out of Onset range even if it is your second attack. Damage for these attacks is stepped down one die, so D8 becomes D6, D6 becomes D4 etc. The main purpose of this is to use up your opponents Active Defense dice.
Special: Stacks with Contra Tempo. If you have both Contra Tempo and Mezzo Tempo MF, you can use up to two dice in your Contra Tempo spoiling attack.
Summary: Use your weapon’s active defense to parry missiles.
Prerequisites: Dexterity of 12+.
Benefit: Bat spears, javelins and darts out of the air with your weapon or your hand. May apply your Weapons Defense Bonus to Defense against thrown missile weapons, bows or crossbows. Does not apply against firearms.
Mutieren / Duplieren (‘Mutate’)
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves”.
– Bruce Lee
Summary: Shift your attack from thrust to cut and back again. Make a second attack of a different type against their original Active Defense roll.
Prerequisite: Any type of sword or staff with a speed of 2 or better, Fuhlen MF.
Benefits: Can be used either offensively or defensively.
1) On any Bind (tie roll) in an attack, you can immediately throw another die in for a second attack against their original Active Defense die roll, except that your new attack must be a different type from the last, so a cut (chop) is followed by a thrust (piercing) or a thrust (piercing) is followed by a cut (chopping) or a cut with a slice (slashing).
2) On any automatic counterattack, your Attack die roll will be applied to their previous attack die roll instead of a new Defense roll (similar to Meisterhau). You can do any type of attack except the type you already made (so a cut must be followed by a thrust or a slash or a bash, a thrust by a cut, etc.)
Summary: Aim for a whole turn for 2 Free Dice
Prerequisite: For bows, crossbows, or firearms.
Benefit: Spend a whole turn (all MP) aiming, then gain two free dice on one shot on the next round. You can also spend more than one MP on this shot, up to your maximum. Aimed bonus also applies.
Optional: Once per day you can allow a character with this MF who has the Melancholic Temperament to add their Temperament Bonus to one single shot of their choice.
Improved Attacks of Opportunity with a thrusting weapon.
Summary: Free Dice in any OA against someone closing for Grapple.
Prerequisites: This feat can be used with any weapon with a primary attack type ‘P’ and a Speed of at least 3
1) By keeping the thrusting weapon’s point leveled at your target you prevent a single opponent from rushing you and entering into Grapple range. You gain a Free Dice for all Attacks of Opportunity against a single designated opponent when using a thrusting weapon, even if you have no MP left.
2) Also gain an Opportunity Attack against any opponent which attempts to close to Grapple but has Improved Grab, Graceful Rush, Improved Grapple, or some other feat which normally confers immunity from OA when initiating Grapple. This feat works with any primarily thrusting weapon but not with weapons with a secondary thrusting capability. The OA is always considered a thrusting (Pierce) attack.
Special pole arm technique in which the user wields a hafted weapon such as a spear, pole-arm, or staff, attacking from both ends at the half-staff and utilizing defensive techniques.
Summary: Fight effectively with hafted polearms. +2 Def, +1 Speed with polearm.
Prerequisites: Any pole arm or staff.
1) +2 Weapon Defense Bonus (max 6)
2) +1 Weapon Speed Bonus (max 6).
Ringen is the German term for no-holds barred grappling, called jujitsu in Japanese fencing or “Abrazare” (Grips) in Renaissance Italian fencing, it was known as Pankration by the ancient Greeks, and by many other names in many other cultures around the world. This is an unarmed martial art involving striking, wrestling, grappling, throws, arm locks and grips. This MF represents the basic skill level and is the gateway to many other specific techniques.
Summary: Free Dice on any attempt to enter or avoid Grapple. Throw attempt without triggering OA.
Benefit: This is a grappling / unarmed combat feat.
1) Add a Free Dice to any attempt to initiate or avoid Grapple once per round. You must spend at least 1 MP.
2) Once at grapple range, you may attempt to initiate grapple such as executing a throw without incurring an Opportunity Attack.
You may counter attack by thrusting when your opponent makes a mistake.
Summary: Counter your opponents attack with a deadly thrust. Free Dice on any naturally generated counterattack.
Prerequisite: Can only be used with a single handed weapon with a primary attack type of P or B and a minimum speed of 3.
Benefit: If your opponent attacks and you Bind, or score a counterattack or they fumble, you gain a Free Dice in your counterattack. If you have not already attacked in this round, then your counterattack is still considered to be at Onset range.
Special: Can be used in conjunction with the Counterstroke, Fuhlen, and Steal Initiative feats. The Free Dice effects stack.
Summary: Rise quickly from a prone position with no MP cost
Prerequisites: Dex at least 12
You can recover from Prone status more quickly than normal.
Benefit: You can recover from Prone status instantly, at no MP cost, and drawing no Opportunity Attack.
Step aside as your opponent attacks, avoiding engagement.
Summary: Take a 5′ step as an OA and / or change range from Grapple to Melee, Melee to Onset, or Onset to out of range.
Prerequisites: Movement 20’
1) Evade by moving aside instead of making an Opportunity Attack. You have the option of expending one die from your Martial Pool and taking a step instead of making an Opportunity Attack. This feat can be used to move multiple steps, five feet at a time. This can also move you from melee to Onset range.
2) Gain a Free Dice for any Grapple check for purposes of avoiding Grapple only. The Sidestep Feat can be used multiple times against the same opponent. Each Sidestep requires spending one die from your MP. If your MP is empty, you may not Sidestep.
You are not distracted by the chaos of battle.
Summary: Gain Free Dice when attacked by two or more opponents.
Prerequisites: Charisma 12,
Benefit: You may defend against multiple attackers. Gain a Free Dice for Active Defense or Reflex Saves only when attacked by two or more opponents in the same round. Situational Awareness kicks in with the second attack but can be used in any subsequent attack in the round, including by missile weapons, spells, magic items or magical effects. It can be used only once per round.
Summary: Combine shield defense with main weapon defense.
Benefit: The Defense Bonus of the shield can be combined with the Weapon Defense Bonus of any S to M sized weapon (including axes, maces, and so on), for a maximum combined Defense Bonus of +8.
Grab the opponent’s shield and tear it out of their hand or twist it and the attached arm. Your opponent loses their shield bonus until they recover their shield.
Summary: Grab your opponents shield and neutralize it during your next attack.
Prerequisites: Shield Fighting MF
Benefit: Make a grapple attempt (this draws an Opportunity Attack if not already in Grapple). For center-grip shields a success indicates their shield is twisted out of their hand. For strapped shields a success indicates that they will be thrown and must make a contested Reflex Save against your grapple roll or be prone.
Summary: Strike your opponent with your shield more effectively.
Prerequisite: Shield Fighting MF
Strike your enemy with the boss or edge of your shield. On any melee round in which you are in Grapple range with an opponent but not currently pinned or grappled, you may attempt to strike your opponent with your shield as if it were a club as a move equivalent action.
Benefit: Attack with the shield at +2 To Hit in Grapple range only. Bash damage is 1 for wicker or leather shields, 1-4 for wooden shields, 1-6 for iron or bronze shields. Shields with a spike can also attack for 1-6 Pierce damage with a D6 Pierce critical.
A special thrusting attack, similar to the Lunge, but used with two-handed hafted thrusting weapons (only) which are not normally reach weapons, including most spears, staves and pole-arms. This technique allows the wielder to attack targets normally out of range, and to concentrate power and energy while attacking with remarkable speed. Functionally, the wielder pushes the weapon forward with one hand while letting it slip through the other.
Summary: Stab distant targets by slipping a hafted weapon through your hands. Free Dice in thrust at Onset.
Prerequisites: Must be a thrusting or bludgeoning weapon with a reach of at least 4.
1) This technique allows the weapon to function as if it were a reach weapon in the attack, Attack any target within 10’ (i.e. outside of normal range), instead of the normal 5’.
2) Gain a free dice in your attack once per round against any target at onset range.
Special: Once gained, this technique can be applied to any applicable weapon for which the user has Proficiency.
Restrictions: Attack must be made from Onset range. Slip-thrust requires at least 2 dice be used from the Martial Pool. This technique can only be used by two-handed, hafted, thrusting weapons which are not normally reach weapons. A slip–thrust cannot be used in an Opportunity Attack.
Take the momentum in a fight.
Summary: Reverse the initiative in combat
Prerequisites: Dexterity 12+
Benefits: At the beginning of the round, on your initiative, designate one opponent you expect to attack. If you generate a counterattack against this opponent, or they fumble (they roll a natural 1) you may immediately swap initiative values with your attacker. All subsequent attacks by this enemy in this round and hereafter take place at your former initiative turn. So if they rolled a 16 and you rolled a 6, you are now considered to have rolled a 16 initiative and they a 6 (effective on the beginning of the next turn). Can be used in conjunction with Counterstroke or Meisterhau Counterstroke, but it is only triggered by a ‘natural’ counterattack (i.e. generated by your 20 or their 1 die-roll).
Special: If you have the Fuhlen MF you may Steal Initiative any time you enter a Bind.