Battlefield Maneuvers

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The Emperor Wars touched every planet in the Known Worlds, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers formed ranks on dozens of worlds to oppose would-be conquerors or to raise the flag of their lord on some distant world. The veterans of this war, and the hundreds of other smaller, regional conflicts have been taught by experience how to survive on the modern battlefield. The techniques taught below are learned most often through trial and error, as only a few noble houses have the time, money, or interest in preparing their foot soldiers for war. What they lack in the cultured refinement of the dueling schools above, they make up for in brutal efficiency.

Battlefield Traditions

Unlike fencing styles, warriors on the battlefield can mix and match, using multiple traditions at once. However, they need at least the basics of a style before they can pick up more maneuvers based on it.

Sword and Board

One of the most common combinations for a battlefield soldier is a shield in one hand and a sword, axe or mace in another. Anyone can pick up a shield and hold it in front of them, but the veterans of the battlefields of the 5th millennium are experts at using their shield for both defense and offense.

Characters trained in this style receive a +1 when using a shield in Defensive stance.

Additionally, they have access to the following maneuvers:

  • Shield Rush
  • Shield Expert
  • Pommel Strike

Mastery-at-Arms

Other warriors focus on mastering their weapons, as the battlefield is a vicious place. Swords can get stuck in bone, axes can lodge in armor, and a mis-swung hammer blow can leave a combatant off balance and vulnerable. Veteran soldiers and knights know all of these dangers and have adapted their fighting style.

Such a soldier gains a +1 in Balanced stance when using a broadsword or heavy weapon.

Additionally, they have access to the following maneuvers:

  • Hammering Blow
  • Hack and Slash
  • Pommel Strike

Mounted Combat

On the battlefields of the 6th millenium, the horse once against is king: it can maneuver through ruined landscapes, flank enemies, and does not require expensive fuel or difficult maintenance.

Warriors trained in mounted combat treat their Ride skill as 2 points higher for the purposes of determining their Melee skill's cap.

Additionally, they have access to the following maneuvers:

  • Overrun
  • Mounted Knight
  • Hack and Slash

Other Maneuvers

Some battlefield maneuvers are not learned as part of a style, and any character can purchase them.

  • Unshakable Fighting
  • Close Combat

Battlefield Maneuver List

Shield Rush

Once a soldier has mastered how to use a shield defensively she can begin to use it as a weapon in its own right. By using the edge of the shield to batter at her enemy or to pin enemy weapons the soldier opens up opportunities, but at the cost of losing the defensive benefits of her shield. While using this style the soldier receives a +1 goal in aggressive stance.

Shield Expert

Once a soldier masters the fundamentals of fighting with a shield she can begin to use it both as an offensive and defensive tool. A soldier using this style uses her shield both to knock aside her enemy's weapon and to keep her opponent off balance. The soldier using this style receives a +1 goal in balanced stance.

Hammering Blows

Few swords can pierce or hammers dent ceramsteel. The most many soldiers can hope for when facing well-armored opponents is to exhaust their foe. A soldier using this style purposefully aims not for the most exposed areas on her target but the areas most likely to cause shock. When a soldier is delivering hammering blows she does 2 points less damage. However, if she hits her opponent suffers 1 additional stun flesh wound. This technique can only be used in balanced or aggressive stance.

Hack and Slash

Momentum is key in the whirling maelstrom of battle. A master of this style of fighting gives his opponents no quarter, cleaving her way across the battlefield. While in aggressive stance a soldier using this style receives a +1 to damage. If the soldier switches her stance from aggressive she has lost the momentum and as a result she suffers a -1 penalty for that round.

Pommel Strike

The blade is not the only dangerous part of a blade and a survivor of war knows this. Whether striking with the pommel of a sword or clubbing with the haft of an axe, a soldier with this style knows how to strike her opponent in an unexpected way in order to gain the advantage. Whenever a character with this maneuver ties in melee combat she is treated as having won the round for purposes of determining the Edge.

Overrun

With the invention of polymer-knit barding armies have returned to using cavalry not only as a tool to scout out enemy locations but for shock charges against massed infantry. Every soldier mounted on a horse knows the advantage gained by fighting from horseback but it takes special training and experience to know how to best use a half-ton beast for tactical advantage. A soldier trained with this maneuver knows how to not only fight from horseback better, but to use his mount's size to keep his opponents off-balance. A soldier with this maneuver always receives the edge.

Mounted Knight

A cavalry style of fighting with melee weapon and shield. The mounted warrior can use shield maneuvers on a horse.

Unshakable

Though many nobles prefer the reliable protection afforded by heavy armor, many still walk the modern battlefield wearing their energy shields. The immunity offered by this technological advantage has born a fighting style among nobles and certain shielded priests and guilders that makes use of this invulnerability in order to gain the advantage in a fight. The warrior is taught to imagine themselves immune from danger while aiming her own strikes for maximum effect. This style gives a +1 goal while fighting aggressively or balanced, but every round the fighter takes shield hits equal to the number of opponents+1. This style requires its practitioner to be cognizant of how many hits remain on their energy shield- an unshielded fighter using this style gives all opponents a +2 to their goals to hit him, both in melee and ranged combat.

Close Combat

More than a few fights have devolved into two combatants rolling around in the dirt trying to stick a knife in the other. There is some art to using a melee weapon or firearms while pressed up against an opponent, and though few formal schools teach it, it is a skill that many veterans of battlefields and barroom brawls alike have learned. While grappling the fighter does not take a penalty for using a knife or other small weapon, and may use a medium weapon at a -2.