Schattelgeist - developing a 40k roleplay setting

HorribleHedgehog

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I decided I wasn't happy with my previous take on the conspirator, so I started another from scratch. I think I got a nice mysterious socialite vibe down.

Q0FCvd5.jpg
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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Agreed - nothing screams "SUSPICIOUS" more than a masked stranger in a plain black robe sneaking about. Better conduct those shady dealings hidden in plain sight.
 

HorribleHedgehog

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A little bit of progress on the conspirator. The hand holding the wine glass almost broke me - I've spent as long trying to get the fingers right as I've done on the shading of the whole picture thus far.

SIBI3Qc.jpg
 

HorribleHedgehog

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I figured that a conflict-strewn world like Schattelgeist ought to have a rich tradition of martial arts, so I thought up a couple, each more or less based on a real-life martial art. More to come. Also, I need a better name for USCS.

Khar Duna

An ancient martial art originally developed among the southern tribes, Khar Duna (roughly translatable to Low Gothic as "Eight-headed beast") is a discipline emphasizing relentless aggression, clinch fighting, and diverse striking. Known for incorporating numerous knee and elbow strikes alonside more usual punches and kicks, a trained practitioner (called "Drak Khar Duna", or "Warrior of the Eight-headed beast") has a devastating array of strikes at their disposal at any range. As an almost purely striking-based art, however, Drak Khar Duna competing in mixed-rules bouts are often vulnerable to grappling exchanges. Because of this, some disciples choose to practise their takedown defense in addition to traditional Khar Duna techniques.

A traditional Khar Duna bout lasts for eight three-minute rounds. Bouts are judged according to damage inflicted, with emphasis put on visible damage like cuts and bruises. Because of this, it is possible (though excedingly rare) for a sufficiently dominant fighter to win a bout despite being on the wrong end of a fight-finishing move.

The weaponized variant of this discipline is called Khar Toom ("Twelve-headed beast"). Techniques cover polearms, long and short blades, and axes. Notably, Khar Toom is known for being much more defensively-minded than its unarmed counterpart, because even the most tenacious warrior can only take so many axe-blows to the head.


USCS (Universal Soldierly Combat System)

Originally developed for use by the Spire Guard of Ovligath, USCS is pragmatic to the extreme. The core principle of USCS is that there are no rules in a fight, and unsportsmanlike conduct like eye-gouging, low blows, kicking downed opponents, and bringing a gun to a knife fight are actively encouraged in practitioners. Although this makes USCS the perfect martial art for life-or-limb situations, if thrust into a competitive environment an USCS practitioner can often find themselves unintentionally fouling in the heat of the bout.

Unsurprisingly, USCS extensively covers defense against armed assailants. A proficient USCS user can disarm an untrained assailant in the space of a second, assuming they can get close enough to do so.


Liedradan wrestle-boxing

Brought to Schattelgeist by the Void Children inhabiting the wreck of the crashed Imperial cruiser Liedrada, wrestle-boxing is a simple but effective martial art combining basic boxing technique with a strong wrestling base to allow for an all-rounder fighting style - skilled Liedradan wrestle-boxers are renowned for their ability to nullify superior strikers with smothering wrestling while defending the takedown attempts of grappling specialists. However, as kicking is prohibited in traditional rules, pure wrestle-boxers in mixed-rules bouts tend to have little idea how to defend against a kick-heavy game - although it should be noted that a poorly set-up kick is prime grounds for a takedown attempt.


Exhaustion wrestling

Originally practised by the motor nomad tribes, Exhaustion wrestling is widely considered the most physically intensive martial art on Schattelgeist. The discipline revolves around controlling your opponent by smothering wrestling and little else - striking is completely prohibited, as are joint locks and chokeholds. Uniquely, a traditional bout has no set duration; the combatants will go at it until one concedes defeat or is deemed unable to continue. This utterly uncompromising nature favours individuals of remarkable cardiovascular capability, and many masters of Exhaustion wrestling carry a reputation of being able to push a fearsome pace for hours before showing signs of fatigue.

Unsurprisingly, in the mixed rules circuit the style is as unpopular with crowds as it is with opposing fighters; due to their preference for controlling their opponents over trying to put them away, Exhaustion wrestlers have gained a reputation as point-fighters, being saddled with numerous derisive nicknames such as "combat cuddlers" and "entertainment leeches". Many dominant practitioners have found their careers stalled due to their consistent failures to excite the audience. Some disciples try to alleviate this perceived dullness by integrating fearsome ground-and-pound or submissions to their game; while others have adopted outlandish and larger-than-life personalities outside of competition to draw attention to their performances in-arena.


Servoboxing

A popular bloodsport in the hive city underground, in which combatants outfitted with industrial-grade servo claws fight in striking bouts reminiscent of ancient Terran boxing.The massive punching power afforded by the claws all but guarantees that both servoboxing bouts and careers tend to be equally short and brutal. Shattered bones, torn-off jaws, crushed organs and even partial decapitation are all very real risks in a servoboxing fight. Due to high rates of mortality and career-ending injury, any servoboxer who has survived more than a handful of bouts must possess some degree of skill, luck or both, and fighters will often be considered seen-it-all veterans after as few as ten fights.

Servoboxing is as poorly-officiated as one would expect of an underworld bloodsport. Rules are considered more of an question of honour than something to be rigidly enforced. Heavy use of performance-enhancing bionics, drugs and psycho-conditioning is so common that many veteran servoboxers could conceivably be mistaken for heavy-duty combat servitors.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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Certainly! Khar Duna is the obviously Khornate style, but I wonder about the other gods. For Tzeentch I'm thinking Jiu Jitsu-style submission grappling or maybe a combat sambo-type hybrid discipline with a bit of everything, and for Slaanesh maybe some Capoeira- or Tae Kwon Do-influenced flashy striking, but what about Nurgle? Greco-Roman wrestling?

(Also, I added Liedradan wrestle-boxing to my previous post)
 
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Punktaku

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i’d kind of imagine Slaanesh as having a more Kung-Fu style with all the flowing, sweeping movements.

maybe Tzneetch would be more like mystic monks, or Avatar style benders. but instead of the elements (or in addition to them?) they would channel magic power or even tiny bits of warp energy (very dangerous! masters only?)

i think you’re on the right path for Nurgle with the grappling, so how about Sumo?
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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Slowly getting there with the conspirator. Clothing is hard - I much prefer drawing half-naked barbarians.

M6v8ECf.jpg

i’d kind of imagine Slaanesh as having a more Kung-Fu style with all the flowing, sweeping movements.

maybe Tzneetch would be more like mystic monks, or Avatar style benders. but instead of the elements (or in addition to them?) they would channel magic power or even tiny bits of warp energy (very dangerous! masters only?)

i think you’re on the right path for Nurgle with the grappling, so how about Sumo?
I don't know much about Kung Fu, but glancing at the wikipedia page it does seem like a good fit. This calls for further research!

Tzeentchian warrior monks will definitely feature, but I'm having trouble pinning down a discipline they'd practise. Pragmatic and grounded, or flashy and spiritual?

Concerning attaining extraordinary abilities through martial arts, I have a background piece idea for the imperviant that's still waiting for a write up - a legendary warrior-poet-philosopher-monk who had attained such incredible control over their body that they could shut down pain receptors at will and even speed up their natural healing process. Their eventual demise was very, very Rasputinian. Aside from relatively subtle things like that, I'd like to keep most martial arts grounded in reality, unless specifically used by psykers. Perhaps this calls for a martial art specifically developed for biomancers to take advantage of their superhuman physical ability?

Sumo is a possibility. Perhaps some mixed striking-and-grappling style with emphasis on defense and outlasting one's opponent in long, grueling matches?
 

Punktaku

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i’d say flashy for Tzeentch. they could put magic into it as special effects (looks real cool, but that’s it. no enhancements) or split them into flashy and stoic schools that compete.

(if this keeps going, you may have your first supplement for the RPG. :LOL:)
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I can see it in my mind's eye - Martial traditions: a sourcebook for warriors. Including three new specializations: martial artist, career soldier and hive ganger.

Better shelve that thought for now... 😅

I think I'm getting a read on the Tzeentchian discipline - striking with a side dish of grappling, with lots of feinting and unorthodox movement to confuse opponents. Potentially very difficult to deal with but leaves the practitioner open to counters from opponents who see through their strange movement patterns.
 

HorribleHedgehog

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Aaaand the conspirator is done. I think. A lot of details I'm not happy about, but I'm not sure if I have the energy to fix them.

YCxJK5C.jpg
 

HorribleHedgehog

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I've been thinking about the society of the Void Children, or Liedradans.

It's not much changed from the Liedrada's spacefaring days. Although formally the authority of the Lord-Captain of Liedrada applies only within the vessel itself, in practise they control a vast swathe of the territory between the Knives and the Bitter Expanse. Liedradan priesthood is utilized extensively to fortify the authority of the captain's office; official doctrine maintains that the captain is a direct conduit for the will of the Emperor, and therefore, the Gods. Every person of Liedradan descent is considered crew and therefore a part of the vessel, therefore owing spiritual allegiance to the captain. Backed up by a 'nobility' of officers and a strong corps of armsmen - whose loyalty is secured with preferential treatment over common voidsmen - most know better than to dispute the claim.

The High Factotum's office handles all trade flowing through Liedradan territories. Liedrada's chief export is raw promethium from mines in the Knives, from where it is then shipped to the Blood Forges and the Hive, in exchange for technical expertise to maintain the Liedrada's void shields and defense turrets and legions of hiver soon-to-be ratings, respectively.

The commoners are divided into two classes - voidsmen, who are overwhelmingly made up of the descendants of 'native' Liedradans, and the ratings, who are in turn mostly press-ganged tribals or bought hivers. Although in practise, both are considered no better than wage-slaves, the authorities routinely play these groups against each other by stoking racial tensions to reduce the likelihood of an organized uprising.

Despite these ongoing efforts to maintain the Lord-Captain's iron grip, a revolutionary organization calling themselves "The Emperor's True Heirs" has taken root in the underground of Liedradan society. Depicted as a crazed cult in official Liedradan propaganda, the group believes that the Emperor was not, in fact, a champion of the chaos gods, but a man who rose to defy them for the good of his fellow men; eventually conquering death itself in his tireless struggle against the powers that be. Claiming to uphold his legacy and to free the masses from chains of oppression, they intend to drag down the natural order - starting with the Lord-Captain and ending with the gods themselves.
 
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Punktaku

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could make for some weird player groups! or will the True Heirs be NPC opponents? i’d recommend NPC’s unless you want the option of player groups being imperials fighting for survival on a chaos world. the corrupted Lord-Captain and priesthood makes sense to me.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I've no real plans for the True Heirs besides as a potential story hook if the players happen upon the Liedrada - like have the players be thrust right into the middle of a standoff between Naval Security and True Heirs agents and have to choose sides - or just make it out in one piece.
 

HorribleHedgehog

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Added Exhaustion wrestling to the list of martial arts. No points for guessing which god's servants it's favoured by!