Unarmored and Dangerous
“For my part, if a man must needs be a knave I would have him a debonair knave... It makes your sin no worse as I conceive, to do it à la mode and stylishly.”- Anthony Hope, The Prisoner of ZendaHeroic deeds of derring-do are often done without armor in fantasy and fiction.
Yet role-playing is often tied to its wargame roots, making warriors lumbering mountains of steel. Taking inspiration from fighting legends around the world, Unarmored and Dangerous introduces styles of martial arts made for the unarmored or lightly armored warrior; mystic ascetics, canny fencers, daredevils of luck and charm, and scarred warriors simply to tough to die. Finally, it develops magic used as a defense for true high-fantasy. The focus is on unarmored defense using weapons. Unarmed combat is covered for styles that use it.
This is presented in over 30 easy-to-use archetypes for most classes as well as five full classes, the boxer, fencer, lin kuei, mystic dancer, and swordmage.
Unarmored and Dangerous allows a campaign where every character of every class is a martial artist, each different in style and execution. It is not a list of esoteric moves for monks, rather it is a robust set of rules for making tough heroes without cramping their style with armor, while not outshining those who chose to encase themselves in steel.