Drifting Clouds Style

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Drifting Clouds teaches a detached mien which conceals a purity of intention and focus and the skill of immediate reaction.

The Style has been dated to the early Shogunate, remaining popular throughout that period, particularly amongst the Air-aspected Gens. It continues to be known in Creation, practiced by some Outcaste communities as well as officers of Lookshy and the Realm, where it finds particular favour with House Tepet.

SOURCE: Adapted slightly from Bolo on RPG.net, here.

ELEMENTAL ASPECT: Drifting Clouds Style is aspected towards Air.

FORM WEAPONS: The form weapons of Drifting Cloud Style include any sheathed sword with a single cutting edge (including slashing swords and many knives), their scabbards, and their artifact equivalents (such as reaper daiklaves). It is elementally aspected towards Air. It may not be practiced in armor.

[OOC: Drifting Clouds Style is used as a wholesale replacement for Even Blade Style, to provide an iaijutsu martial art without the muddled themes and iffy charms ranging from extremely weak to Celestial power scales].

Wall of Clouds

Cost: 2m;
Mins: Melee 3, Awareness 1, Essence 1;
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

Deep in the mountains
A storm is surely raging-
On Mt. Marukan
The blossom is a mist of
Trailing clouds across the sky

The Drifting Cloud can predict violence, even from far off. This Charm supplements a Join Battle action, adding the martial artist's Essence in dice. In addition, the practitioner has a +1 bonus to her DV against attacks before her first action in combat.

Tiger Wind Step

Cost: 2m;
Mins: Melee 3, Essence 2;
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Form-weapon
Duration: One tick
Prerequisites: Wall of Clouds

The fierce tiger walks
For a thousand leagues, and yet
Soon it will return
At an even faster pace
Than on its outward journey

This Charm may be invoked whenever you abort an Aim or Guard action to attack. You may reflexively Dash with no DV penalty for this tick only, and may parry while Dashing without need for a Stunt. You only benefit from this enhanced movement while your weapon is sheathed.

Flash of Lightning

Cost: 3m;
Mins: Melee 3, Essence 2;
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Form-weapon
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Wall of Clouds

They may see the light
That flashes in the moment
That the lightning strikes
But they will not know the roar
Of the following thunder

This Charm may be invoked in response to anyone targeting an expected attack at you. You may immediately abort your Aim or Guard action to attack the person targeting you, and your action is resolved before all other actions which happen this tick (simultaneously with anyone else using this or a similar Charm). Even if the person attacking you is not the target of your Aim action, you do not receive any penalty for aborting your Aim (although you do not receive any bonus, either).

Drifting Cloud Form

Cost: 6m;
Mins: Melee 3, Awareness 2, Essence 2;
Type: Simple
Keywords: Form-type, Form-weapon
Duration: Scene
Prerequisites: Tiger Wind Step, Flash of Lightning

Floating clouds are blown
From the base of the mountains
Up to their summits
Rising to envelop each
Of the lofty mountain peaks

So long as your sword is sheathed for the duration, the Aim action and Ready Weapon action are DV -0, and you may draw or sheathe your weapon reflexively. Your Aim action can be aborted to and also benefits attacks generated by Simple Charms, though it still only benefits the first attack in a flurry. If you abort to an attack, even one generated by a Simple Charm, the Speed of that action is reduced by the number of ticks spent Aiming, to a minimum of 3. You also receive no penalty to attacks or parries made while sitting.

Mountain Wind

Cost: 3m;
Mins: Melee 3, Awareness 2, Essence 2;
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Form-weapon
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Drifting Cloud Form

The powerful wind
Blowing down from the high peak
Is so powerful
No snow can settle upon
The trees at the mountain’s base

This Charm supplements an attack with at least a +3 Aim bonus. The attack is Piercing and has an Overwhelming score of (Essence + 1). If the attack would already normally inflict piercing damage, add your Aim bonus to your pre-soak damage as well.

Boulder's Waves

Cost: 3m;
Mins: Melee 4, Essence 2;
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Crippling, Stackable, Form-weapon
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Mountain Wind

Sailing ships, too, are
Powerless to alter course
When overcome by
The powerful waves which form
When boulders strike the waters

This Charm supplements an attack. If the attack does at least one level of damage, the target receives a crippling wound which provides a -1 internal penalty to relevant rolls for the remainder of the scene.

Fish-scale Stance

Cost: 4m 1w
Mins: Melee 3, Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Scene
Prerequisites: Drifting Cloud Form

The glistening scales
Of the carp who rise against
The raging currents
When cut away, dam the flow
And calm the river once more

For the rest of the scene, you reduce coordinated attack penalties to your DV by your permanent Essence. In addition, unexpected attacks from being surrounded are considered expected.

Water-wave Offensive

Cost: 5m;
Mins: Melee 4, Essence 2
Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-basic, Form-weapon
Duration: Special
Prerequisites: Fish-scale Stance

The pink winter rose
Crosses the channel, floating
Above the water
The river carries along
Even boulders and mountains

While you unsheathe your sword only once, you may still make multiple strikes. You make a maximum number of attacks equal to your Martial Arts plus applicable Specialty; each must be against a different opponent, so if you run out of opponents before reaching that limit the Charm's effects end prematurely. The attacks are made sequentially, one per tick, and you may take your normal reflexive Move between them. The attacks ignore the Rate of your weapon, do not suffer multiple-action penalties, and altogether impose a -1 DV penalty. After the final attack is made, you must wait a number of ticks equal to the Speed of one attack as normal before acting again.

Waterfall Draw-cut

Cost: 4m;
Mins: Melee 4, Awareness 3, Essence 2;
Type: Reflexive (step 2)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Counterattack
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Fish-scale Stance

Just like diving in
A raging waterfall and
Being washed away,
If it opposed the current
Even a stone would lament

You may trace the murderous intent of any unexpected attack upon your person back to its source. While this does not make the attack expected, it does give you a DV bonus equal to half your normal PDV against the attack. For a ranged attack, you also know the exact location of the attacker (at the time the attack was made); for a melee or martial arts attack, you may (in step 9) make a reflexive counterattack at your full dice pool. This counterattack may be activated whether or not you successfully defend against the original attack, and may also be activated if the attack was once unexpected, but you made the attack itself expected by other means.

Drifting Through Life

Cost: –;
Mins: Melee 4, Awareness 3, Essence 3;
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Boulder's Waves, Water-wave Offensive, Waterfall Draw-cut

Having integrated the meaning of the previous nine techniques, the practitioner understands the true intention of the style. This is a Permanent upgrade to Drifting Cloud Form. Drifting Cloud Form changes Duration to Indefinite, gains the Social keyword, and now affects Study actions in the same manner as Aim actions (reducing their DV penalty to 0 and reducing the speed of the following Social attack by 1 per longtick spent Studying, to a minimum of 3). This reduced Speed represents choosing the right words for the occasion, so overly long social attacks cannot benefit; the intended practice is to use the Study time to compose a short poem, such as those illustrating each other technique. The Indefinite duration now allows the Form to be maintained even while sleeping, allowing the reflexive weapon draw at any time.