Of Monsters and Men
This is the skill for fighting with hand-to-hand weapons, from swords and knives to axes and clubs, and anything in between. It covers everything from duelling swordsmen in imperial courts to club-wielding thugs jumping you in a dark alley. Melee Weapons also covers the ability to throw small handheld weapons up to one zone, or use weapons with unusually long reach (like whips or polearms) to attack adjacent zones; characters use this skill to be equally good at fighting with knives as throwing them. Melee Weapons includes the ability to defend oneself in a fight, and so may be rolled for defence. Users are well-versed in fighting styles and weapons, and may use this skill as a limited knowledge skill covering those areas. To actually create weapons, use Artificer. Characters with high Melee Weapons include nearly every adventurer, as well as nobles, barbarians and some circus performers. See Chapter Six: Equipment for more on how weapons are used in the course of play.
Flawless Parry (Melee Weapons)
Characters taking a full defence action using Melee Weapons gain a +3 bonus rather than +2.
Riposte (Melee Weapons)
Requires Flawless Parry
If a character is physically attacked in melee and defends well enough to gain spin, he may inflict one Physical stress on the attacker per point of spin, immediately, as a free action. Armour doesn’t protect the attacker who’s inadvertently exposed a weak point.
Turnabout (Melee Weapons)
You can turn an opponent’s action into an advantage for yourself. Once per opponent per scene, under the same conditions as Riposte, spend a Fate pointand use your spin to treat your defence roll as a free-action attack, dealing Physical stress equal to the shifts on your defence roll (at least three points since you got spin).
Tactical Advantage (Melee Weapons)
The character may carry forward one or more points of spin and use it to counter any points of spin generated by his opponent’s next attack. For example: Luxor the Great swings his broadsword at Eldroth the Dark Lord, and gets 3 spin. Both have the Tactical Advantage stunt. 1 spin is absorbed by the 1 point of spin Eldroth carried forward from his previous exchange using the Tactical Advantage stunt. That leaves 2, so Luxor chooses to use 1 spin on his Crippling Strike stunt to inflict one consequence, and saves the final point of spin using the Tactical Advantage stunt to counter any spin generated on Eldroth’s next attack.
Weapon Specialist (Melee Weapons)
Requires Military Training occupation stunt or similar aspect
The character receives a +2 damage bonus to one type of weapon.
Weapon in Both Hands (Melee Weapons)
Requires Weapon Specialist
Normally, fighting with two weapons just looks cool, without providing a bonus. With this stunt, a two-weapon fighter has an advantage, and whenever he causes at least one stress damage (excluding the weapon’s damage bonus), the damage is increased by one (meaning he never hits a target for less than two stress). Also, he gets a +1 defence against manoeuvres aimed at depriving him of either weapon.
Cleave Through Hordes (Melee Weapons)
Requires Weapon Specialist and three other Melee Weapons stunts
Using his specialist weapon, the character automatically takes out as many groups of minions as he has generated spin.
Crippling Strike (Melee Weapons)
Requires Weapon Specialist and three other Melee Weapons stunts
Using his specialist weapon, the character automatically inflicts a number of consequences on a target equal to the points of spin.
Whirlwind Attack (Melee Weapons)
Requires Cleave Through Hordes
The character may spend a Fate point to hit multiple opponents in his zone. This is treated as an area attack (see page 179); roll Melee Weapons against a Mediocre (+0) difficulty to determine the difficulty of the Athletics roll required to avoid it. It affects 1 target, plus 1 additional target per point of spin on the Melee Weapons roll. Weapons damage bonuses are added to the shifts generated for those affected by the area attack.
Great Blow (Melee Weapons)
Requires Weapon Specialist and Cleave (Might stunt) The character can attack targets beyond his usual scale range. Each point of spin generated on an attack roll may be used to affect an additional point of scale. For example a scale 2 hero attacks a scale 5 monster and generates 9 shifts. He uses 1 spin to hit an out-of-scale target 1 level above his maximum scale, and uses the remaining 6 shifts for other effects.
Catch (Melee Weapons)
The character can use Melee Weapons instead of Athletics to defend against thrown weapons. If you generate defensive spin against a thrown object, you may declare you’re catching the item, provided you have a free hand and it’s something you have the Might to catch. For a Fate point, you can also throw it back as an attack in the same exchange.
Ricochet (Melee Weapons)
The character can bounce a thrown weapon off one or more surfaces, so that it comes at an opponent from an unexpected direction. Describe the throw and take a -1 attack penalty; if successful, you deal +2 stress damage. You may also use this stunt to throw a weapon at a target around a corner, provided you can see him somehow (maybe with a mirror?).
Good Arm (Melee Weapons)
The character can throw weapons with great force, making them effective at a longer range than usual. You may take a -1 Melee Weapons penalty with a thrown weapon to increase the attack’s range to two zones instead of the usual one.
Anything Goes (Melee Weapons)
The character incurs no penalties for awkward or improvised weapons – virtually anything is a lethal weapon in his hands, as long as he can comfortably and casually lift it. The weapon must be improvised, ie a chair, priceless urn, beer bottle, etc. You never need to spend a Fate point to declare an improvised weapon, unless the surroundings overtly prevent it (such as a prison cell). Most improvised weapons don’t survive more than a single use unless you also have the Bottles and Barstools stunt (page 88).
Close at Hand (Melee Weapons)
The character brings his weapon to hand faster than the eye can see, allowing him to draw a weapon as a free action. If someone’s actively blocking the action, the block incurs a -2 penalty. Combined with Anything Goes, the character is always effortlessly armed in an even moderately cluttered environment.
Weapon of Destiny (Melee Weapons)
Requires an aspect referring to the weapon by name
The character has a signature weapon well-known in certain circles, with a name and a long, chequered history. It has a tendency to be always near at hand, even when circumstances conspire against it. If you’d normally need a Fate point to ensure it’s nearby, you can do so for free; if it would be normally impossible to access it, you can spend a Fate pointto get access to it anyway. Once the Fate point is spent, the Story Teller doesn’t have to furnish the weapon immediately, but must work to bend circumstances to make it available in short order. So, you can’t be deprived of the weapon for long unless you voluntarily give it up or pass it to another. The weapon has the Craftsmanship improvement (see page 142), giving it a +1 bonus; plus one other improvement selected using the guidelines on page 141.
Weapons of the World (Melee Weapons)
Requires any three Melee Weapons stunts
Every proper (not improvised) melee weapon in the world has been in your hands at one time or another, and you never face a familiarity penalty no matter how strange a weapon is. Also, if you tell a quick (two or three sentence) story about how you came to use the weapon before, you may get a +1 bonus for a scene, once per “new” weapon per session, at no cost. The story may be told aloud or an internal monologue shared with the other players.
Shield Training (Melee Weapons)
The character has trained extensively with shields. This stunt is required to be able to use shields properly. First, the stunt allows your shield to give you a defence bonus instead of an armour bonus, and to accept a Minor or Major consequence for you (like armour). Second, when taking a full defence or block action, your shield acts as an aspect. Third, if you obtain spin on a Melee Weapons attack when fighting an opponent with a shield, his shield doesn’t benefit him at all, including any benefits he might normally gain from this stunt.