Martial Artist Theme

One Theme I'd very much would like to see included is the Martial Artist Theme.

The Martial Artist Theme should grant access to Feats based on real-life (or inspired by Hollywood) fighting styles like the five Kung-Fu styles (Crane, Monkey, Mantis, Tiger and Viper), Aikido, Taek-Won-Do, Capoeira, Thai Kick-Boxing, regular Boxing, Sumo and regular Wrestling. Did I forget any?

The Monk class provides a bunch of KI-powered abilities like the 1E and 3E Monk classes but it should also grant access to the Martial Artist Theme as a bonus Theme. 

The Fighter class should also grant access to the Martial Artist Theme as one of its bonus Martial themes. 
I'd rather see such a theme be universal so any class can take it. How do you know my frail-looking wizard isn't a master of jujitsu?
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Sorceror+Martial Arts Theme=Iron Fist?
I'd rather see such a theme be universal so any class can take it. How do you know my frail-looking wizard isn't a master of jujitsu?


Making it a universal theme is a practical necessity.  How do you make a ninja if not by giving the rogue the martial arts theme?

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Sounds like more than one theme.

Maybe this is one reason fighters might end up with two themes. I could see a brawler/martial artist theme (do decent damage with unarmed attacks) and another fighting style them (a mobile martial artist, who perhaps specialized in Flying Kick attacks, and a more stationary martial artist who focuses on tripping or grapples).
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.



You seem to misunderstand how themes work.

Instead of picking feats as you level up, you pick a theme at first level, and as you level up your theme grants you your feats.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.



You seem to misunderstand how themes work.

Instead of picking feats as you level up, you pick a theme at first level, and as you level up your theme grants you your feats.



No I understand that but one feat every number of levels doesn't seem to be particularly interesting, it is after all just a feat tree. I would like to see several elements to themes, somewhat like what was contained in the 2E Complete Fighter's Handbook. That series included character kits, and each kit had several elements to it including advice on playing the role, secondary skills, proficiencies, and special benefits and hindrances.

So I would like to see themes include a couple of feats and or skills when taking it, plus some role playing advice defining the character's role, and some limitations or hindrances placed on the character.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.



You seem to misunderstand how themes work.

Instead of picking feats as you level up, you pick a theme at first level, and as you level up your theme grants you your feats.


Ditto.

I wouldn't mind seeing each of the styles mentioned by the OP (and any additional styles not specifically mentioned) each be their own theme; with associated feats that represent the different types of attacks and special abilities granted by those styles.

For example, the Ninja theme would start with a base feat (Ninjitsu?), which would represent the basic attack(s) that a student would know; then successive feats would add better, more powerful/specialized attacks and, eventually, even the supernatural features that are commonly attributed to ninjas). Although this would result in certain feats that have prerequisites, and that may be something they are trying to avoid.
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.



You seem to misunderstand how themes work.

Instead of picking feats as you level up, you pick a theme at first level, and as you level up your theme grants you your feats.


Ditto.

I wouldn't mind seeing each of the styles mentioned by the OP (and any additional styles not specifically mentioned) each be their own theme; with associated feats that represent the different types of attacks and special abilities granted by those styles.

For example, the Ninja theme would start with a base feat (Ninjitsu?), which would represent the basic attack(s) that a student would know; then successive feats would add better, more powerful/specialized attacks and, eventually, even the supernatural features that are commonly attributed to ninjas). Although this would result in certain feats that have prerequisites, and that may be something they are trying to avoid.



But how would one feat at 1st level make you a credible ninja character? What I"m saying is I think you need more elements in order create the subclass. Maybe themes are not appropriate for subclasses like the ninja or swashbuckler.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
It's going to be interesting to see how far the design team take themes. If the playtest rules are any indication then it looks like they will keep them fairly simple with only an additional feat adding to the flavor of the character.

I'm hoping that they will evolve further or otherwise I'm not sure how you would create a cavalier or an illusionist or a swashbuckling pirate subclass from themes and backgrounds alone. We'll have to wait and see, perhaps they'll just add a bunch of subclasses to the DDI material.



You seem to misunderstand how themes work.

Instead of picking feats as you level up, you pick a theme at first level, and as you level up your theme grants you your feats.


Ditto.

I wouldn't mind seeing each of the styles mentioned by the OP (and any additional styles not specifically mentioned) each be their own theme; with associated feats that represent the different types of attacks and special abilities granted by those styles.

For example, the Ninja theme would start with a base feat (Ninjitsu?), which would represent the basic attack(s) that a student would know; then successive feats would add better, more powerful/specialized attacks and, eventually, even the supernatural features that are commonly attributed to ninjas). Although this would result in certain feats that have prerequisites, and that may be something they are trying to avoid.



But how would one feat at 1st level make you a credible ninja character? What I"m saying is I think you need more elements in order create the subclass. Maybe themes are not appropriate for subclasses like the ninja or swashbuckler.


It might if it granted you a suite of abilities, like they feats they mentioned (in the live chat) being in the works for the fighter.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I imagine a ninja character might require multiple parts to make him work right.

For example, we know that rogues get schemes, like thief, right? Well, let's start off with a ninja scheme for the rogue. Mix that with a ninja background for the appropriate skills and add in a ninja theme, and bam! Ninja!

That said, I'm sure some subclasses might be simple enough to do with nothing more than a theme.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
I missed the rogue scheme thief, thanks for pointing that out. Schemes must form the basis for subclasses. I wonder what differentiates a scheme from a class other than schemes are class specific (i.e only Rogues can be thieves, but they can also be other schemes.) If so that makes a lot of sense, and now I can see why themes would be non class specific.

So we might imagine a player who has a wizard characters that decides they want to be thief like or has picked up the lifestyle of a thief through adventuring. They can't choose the Rogue's thief scheme (short of multiclassing) but they could take a thief like theme that would give them a feat or skill within the sphere of the thief scheme. Maybe, maybe not. Themes might be limited only to feats and feats don't include the skills of the thief scheme.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
Skills come from backgrounds.

So if you want to play a wizard who knows how to be stealthy and steal stuff, you'd play a wizard with, say, the Cutpurse background (which might give you Stealth, Pick Pocket, Open Locks, and Perception as its skills).

If you think that this wizard also knows how to stab people in the back with a dagger, you'd pick up the Lurker (or other appropriate) theme.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I was thinking of this.
Basically, way monks have been done before (well, not sure about 4e) is just wrong.

- most of the shaolin monk's amazing abilities come from crazy training and thus comparable fitness
- you can pick up credible martial arts techniques in few months, but how well you can apply those, varies.

So, a background in monastic training could give something like, CON bonus to DEX bonus when figuring out AC (so you'd still get +0 with heavy armor, and you could cap it at +5 or something)  or WIS to CON checks.

Martial Arts Theme could add unarmed combat (never being unarmed is more valuable, as I think people would have advantage vs. unarmed opponents) and various techniques with levels on top of that.

You could get the 'traditional' D&D monk with a cleric using monastic background and martial artist theme.
For example, the Ninja theme would start with a base feat (Ninjitsu?), which would represent the basic attack(s) that a student would know; then successive feats would add better, more powerful/specialized attacks and, eventually, even the supernatural features that are commonly attributed to ninjas). Although this would result in certain feats that have prerequisites, and that may be something they are trying to avoid.



But how would one feat at 1st level make you a credible ninja character?  What I"m saying is I think you need more elements in order create the subclass. Maybe themes are not appropriate for subclasses like the ninja or swashbuckler.


It might if it granted you a suite of abilities, like they feats they mentioned (in the live chat) being in the works for the fighter. 



This is what I'm suggesting.

I imagine a ninja character might require multiple parts to make him work right.

For example, we know that rogues get schemes, like thief, right? Well, let's start off with a ninja scheme for the rogue. Mix that with a ninja background for the appropriate skills and add in a ninja theme, and bam! Ninja!

That said, I'm sure some subclasses might be simple enough to do with nothing more than a theme.



This is another way of getting there; or, maybe both combined.

Perhaps a Martial-Artist Scheme, open to any class, to give the basics of a style; then Themes or Theme Suites that fill out the style's other features (such as the more unique abilities associated with the style).

I think Rogue Schemes are going to be where Ninja-type stuff fits in. And with the current popularity of Assassin's Creed, I think it's likely that (either combined with the basic Ninja scheme or separately) we're going to see an Assassin Rogue Scheme.

As for martial arts, as I indicated on the 'Ranger as theme' thread, I think one or more martial-arts focussed themes are both likely and desirable.

Belonging to a ninja clan might be the product of a background, though - perhaps a generic 'clan member' background for mafiosi, ninja, highlanders, whoever, which the DM can add appropriate fluff to for each clan or clan-based society in the game world?

Z.