Changing the name of the “Martial Feat”

Home Forums Gaming Codex Sourcebooks Codex Martialis Core Rules Changing the name of the “Martial Feat”

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  • #1194
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Over the years some people have suggested that we change the names of the Martial Feats in the Codex rules. One guy suggested ‘Trained Manuevers’, somebody else said ‘Combat skills’. There are a few problems – many of the Martial Feats are basically maneuvers (say, ‘Mutierin’ or ‘Versetzen’) but others are much more general (‘Ringen’, ‘Cooperative Fighting’ or ‘False Edge cutting’).

    Use of the words ‘Feat’ or ‘Skill’, particularly the latter, are inevitably confusing with the existing OGL (3.5 or 5E) rules.

    I’m interested in A) do people think we should change it and B) what are your alternative ideas…

    #1195
    Thaeris
    Participant

    Some uneducated opinions:

    1. So long as there is a degree of consistency, it should not matter what you choose. The only question should be if you intend to adapt your system to the OGL, or if you intended to adapt the OGL to your system, if you get my meaning.

    2. What sounds better is probably best. That doesn’t mean that’s always going to be the case, but having to convolute your work on account of someone else’s generally renders a lackluster result. I personally think the original “martial feat” sounds good. “Martial skill” is also a nice option, but if semantics have been introduced which make these terms difficult, then perhaps you need to take control of the language being used here – refer back to point #1.

    3. If you do opt to look for “free” or “available” terminologies, it might be best to determine which ones you CAN’T use. If you care to compile a list, that would help to determine what your options are by quite a good deal.

    4. Ignoring what I don’t know about the OGL, here are some potential ideas:

    “Martial Abilities,” or some other types of abilities, like “Combat Abilities,” etc.

    If use of conventional words results in a wordblob, introduce some fresh new terms (I’m trying to be hip and failing at it). Maybe something like “Ars Martia” (some Latin stuff which I guessed at and apparently is mostly right) would do as a replacement. Also ties in with “Codex Martialis,” so perhaps that could be a winner. Also, something like that becomes your own “proprietary” term, so no matter when the OGL changes or a new one is introduced, you kind of lock in your own mechanics to the system regardless.

    …That’s all I’ve got.

    #1197
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Great feedback with several helpful suggestions. I like “Martial Abilities” and “Combat Abilities”. I like the idea of using Latin too but there are some other games already which do that.

    #1227
    Cuddlefission
    Participant

    “Arts” or “Techniques” are other single word options that people won’t likely find it off to associate with martial skillsets. I don’t believe they’re used elsewhere in the OGL system itself, and they’re simple English words in common usage rather than another term of art players new to the genre might find it wearing to juggle.

    Aside: It was a very welcome bit of nostalgia having this show up in my inbox from DT unexpectedly, I was much into the game back in high school. [Apologies if I just made anyone feel their years weighing, kids these days…] In any case, best wishes with your relaunch and I’m looking forward to getting a crack at your take on magic when it’s ready for press.

    #1376
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Great suggestions, thanks Sean! I will send you an email about the magic thing.

    #1378
    Cuddlefission
    Participant

    I think you may have actually confused me for someone else with a similar story? Sean isn’t a name I’ve ever used.

    #1432
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Oh, pardon me, I did confuse you for another user. Care to share anything about your background? No problem if you’d rather not. Anonymous Nom de Plume was very common in the Renaissance!

    #1484
    Cuddlefission
    Participant

    Well, I was operating under my legal name at the time (it’s actually in the acknowledgements of one of the books – I don’t remember the flow of events precisely but I did early version feedback reading at one point with some minor corrections re: table mishaps and such, and I remember something about sending a worried email regarding very similar bulk copy between a section and equivalent text in The Flower of Battle which turned out to be written by the same person rather than there being anything strange going on) and while I don’t have a new one to replace it finalized, that one is very much not me. So it’s a hard spot.

    Mostly, I’m juggling between life stuff, trying to do basement game dev, etc. Still haven’t gotten a chance to _use_ Codex in live play, but it’s been a favorite collection element for ages, as said. Closest thing I’ve been able to get a group for is Kevin Crawford’s recent game “Wolves of God”, which if you haven’t had change to read it is a masterwork of conveying the past (or a mythic version thereof, at least) as a foreign country worthy of exploration, in much the way as the Baltic guide sets out to.

    #1517
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Sounds like it’s worth a read, what is the (rough) setting? Time and place?

    #1519
    Cuddlefission
    Participant

    Saxon England, some time prior to the Viking incursions but a few generations after Christianity was adopted. It’s a fantastic version of it – among other things, the old Roman city ruins are avoided by Englishmen on account of the dire sorcery that surely lurks within, but in general it does a good job of trying to make that setting feel like a neat place to explore.

    In particular, the classes (a worker of sung magic, one who invokes divine intercession, and everyone else, who are considered to be Warriors where it counts on account of the social demands on free people, whatever else they might do) each come with their own ‘Glory’ and ‘Shame’ states, which are basically XP and anti-XP.

    If you’re a Warrior, you get your XP for doing worthy deeds in service to lord or kin. You get XP for facing great challenges in said tasks. And you lose XP for betrayals, for cowardice, for failing to keep your freely given word.

    A worker of magic, meanwhile, their XP is all about basically proving themselves a worthy member of the community – a foe to monsters and devilry and pagans, and a boon to good honest Christians (and their ilk explicitly do not count). They lose XP for basically confirming the fears about them, in basically the opposite direction.

    Notably, they gain a Shame for being friend to Pagans when a Warrior would not – because that’s not the thing the Warrior needs to struggle against to prove their worth, they need to struggle against the appearance of being a treacherous coward.

    So on and so forth, the player incentives are about immersing yourself in the things that matter to people in the setting, and to the social role your character occupies, and thus it tries to get the player in that mindset as well.

    #1555
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Interesting dynamic, I like the social tie-in and have been using something kind of myself as part of the new lifepath character generation system for Codex (Codex Ingenium). More on that in a second.

    The problem I would have with that system is the idea that everyone had to follow the same pattern, i.e. fealty to your lord and war against the pagans (for warriors) and so forth. I think historically here is always more variation.

    Also I’m a bit dubious about the “Roman Magic” thing, at least as being universal, since most of the major Saxon settlements (like London / Londinium) were old Roman settlements. The Saxons were relying on Roman fortifications just as the Britons did before them. That said I have read about the concept of the Saxons being (understandably) superstitious of Roman ‘magic’ so I know that is a thing.

    In my system I am using Ehren, which a German word very roughly meaning ‘honor’ or ‘face’. There was historically also different versions of Ehren based on the diffrent Estates. For example in German-speaking areas there was the concept of Adelsrechte (iura nobilium in Latin) means something like “Nobles Rights” but it also refers to their responsibilities, which would be considered somewhat similar to the ideas of fealty and defending the community and so forth which you outline for Warriors above. Rights always also mean responsibilities back then, whereas today we separate the two concepts. Then there is Bürgerrechte, which today means just “citizens rights” but in the middle ages it meant specifically town citizens (Bürgers) rights – and their corresponding responsibilities, including helping to maintaining the harmony of the community and doing things to beautify and improve the community, as well as defending it and upholding civic honor.

    Ehren means all of the above, depending on your estate(s), but also has a strong overlapping connotation of personal honor. You have to maintain your reputation and not make a fool of yourself, both for your own individual merit and that of your family, your community, and your estate.

    Aside from that though there seems to be a separate concept of Ehren for priests, which I would call Piety. Some priests and especially prelates had Ehren, (some were strait up warlords) but many did not, and this was reflected in the public opinion of priests and a lot of the animosity against them, which was fairly widespread in Central and Northern Europe by the late medieval period.

    I think for criminals and outcasts, there is another version I would call élan, which means sort of the thrill of doing something daring, or pulling off something risky with style. This is the honor system for pirates and bandits.

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