"No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."
In the universe of Dream Chasers, "technique" is a catch-all term used to describe the various styles and disciplines governing both unarmed combat and armed combat using low-technology weaponry. It covers self-taught and formal schools of fighting, and is distinct from both Sorcery (which governs the use of mental disciplines to channel natural forces) and ARMs (which governs the use of firearms and other forms of advanced technology).
While sorcery and firearms are becoming more popular across Filgaia, they remain inaccessible and unusable for the majority of the population. Sorcery is difficult to master, and ARMs are both prodigiously expensive and have a sinister reputation. As a result, low-tech weapons -- everything from fists to swords to bows and arrows -- remain the most reliable form of self-defence for the majority of the population. Indeed, many Drifters seem to prefer them to more unusual choices, and true masters of the fist or sword can unleash internal energies that rival those of the most powerful guns or spells.
Dozens of dojos and schools of combat are scattered across Filgaia, offering youngsters seeking formal teaching in a particular style or discipline the opportunity to learn. Their numbers are diminishing over the years, but the remaining masters view these developments as an opportunity -- only the most skilled and powerful will remain relevant in this new era. The weak will perish, blowing away like dust in the wastelands.
Several of the most notable formal disciplines active on Filgaia and Lunar are listed below. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and the creation of original schools or self-taught styles for your OCs is highly encouraged.
A sword school practiced almost exclusively by the Fenrir Knights of the Arctica Kingdom, Fast Draw is built around the rapid drawing and sheathing of the user's sword. Fast Draw practitioners typically rely on their speed and reflexes to deliver lightning-quick, punishing strikes to their adversaries.
With the fall of Arctica several years ago, this school is thought to be lost, but rumours abound that a handful of retired masters -- and one still-living practitioner -- can be found throughout the Wastelands.
- Jack Van Burace: Formerly the Fenrir Knight of the Vambrace, this wandering drifter has demonstrated considerable proficiency in the Fast Draw school;
Shevat Open-Handed Arts
Created in the nation of Shevat five hundred years ago, this school has been passed down over the generations to successive members of their special operations forces which travel to the surface. While unable to openly carry advanced weapons for fear of being identified as agents and saboteurs by Solaris, this bare-handed fighting art focuses on manipulation of chi and powerful focused strikes to eliminate opponents.
- Fei Fong Wong: While not formally taught in this school, Fei Fong Wong utilizes a close variant of these martial arts techniques.
- Wiseman: As one of Shevat's best field agents and a friend of Khan Fong Wong, Wiseman utilizes Shevat's style of open-handed fighting with skill and expertise, often defeating his foes without allowing them to even touch him.
- Citan Uzuki: Learned from his wife as a means of self-defence once he decided to put away his sword, Citan utilizes Shevat's open-handed style (combined with several other styles) in order to continue his work as a simple country doctor.
Clear Mirror, Still Water
This ancient sword style, based in the floating city of Shevat, is said to predate the Day of Collapse. It bears a superficial resemblance to the Fast Draw school -- draw-and-sheath forms the basis of both -- but where Fast Draw relies on speed, this style is its polar opposite. A true master of Clear Mirror, Still Water makes almost no unnecessary movement, using footwork and body positioning to create an opening in an opponent's defence and then exploit it with a single, brutal strike.
- Gaspar Uzuki: One of the three Sages of Shevat, Gaspar is the current master of the Clear Mirror, Still Water sword style. While his fighting days are behind him, Gaspar is occasionally known to take students.
- Yui Uzuki: Once a Shevat field agent, Yui Uzuki has retired from active service to raise her family. Stories of her duel against a Solaris commander in their second invasion of Shevat are told widely, and she is considered by Shevat to be one of the greatest living users of any sword style on Filgaia. When asked once what distinguished Yui from his other students, her grandfather Gaspar answered: "She doesn't know what it's like to cut someone twice."
- Citan Uzuki: A little light exercise helps work off the giant bird eggs, and this simple country doctor has been known to engage in some light swordplay with his beloved wife from time to time.
Solarian Blade Arts
An informal school which focuses upon mastery of the blade combined with channeled ether abilities in order to overcome the foe. Developed as a specialty school by Solaris within the last two hundred years, learning some variant of this particular art is required for any of Solaris' higher ranking military personnel, including the Elements and Guardian Angels.
- Kahran Ramses: Utilizing a very straightforward and direct style, Ramses is known for breaking his opponent with both brute force and overwhelming technique inherited during his time training in Jugend, the Solarian military academy.
- Citan Uzuki: During his training as a simple country doctor, Citan studied under the tutelage of a blade master, becoming one of the most adept swordsmen in Solaris.
Lion's Heart Style
This style is popular among the Knights of the Rolance Empire of Lunar. Georg Heldalf, a prominent commander of Rolance, is seen as the practicioner who refined the style. It focuses on using a one-handed sword, though it translates well enough to punches. It is typically offensive and slower-moving, focusing on particularly heavy hits. Its signature attack is called Lion's Howl, which projects an energy blast in the shape of a lion's roaring head. To date, White Knight Leo and Sergei Strelka are the only living people to master it.
- Georg Heldalf: When he lived, Heldalf was one of the masters of the style. It is well known that he had his own, supposedly perfected version of Lion's Howl.
- Sergei Strelka: The commander of Rolance's knights employs this style and is considered to be the living master of it.
- White Knight Leo: Leo trained in this style under Heldalf when he was young, learning the way of the sword alongside Sergei and his brother. While Leo has since branched out to focus on the Waning Crescent Style, he incorporates part of the Lion's Heart Style into his swordsmanship. He can use Lion's Howl.
Azure Lance Style
This style is popular among the Kingdom of Hyland's knights on Lunar. It uses the spear, focusing on attacking with reach and using a mixture of defense and offense. The style is often practiced with heavy armor, though not exclusively. Variants of the style, more popular among common soldiers than the nobility, emphasize fighting shoulder-to-shoulder and combining shields with the style.
- Lady Maltran: The Blue Valkyrie of Hyland is considered the finest practitioner of Azure Lance Style alive. She tends to focus on a fast, furious offense, which has successfully overcome many Rolance knights.
- Alisha Diphda: The Princess Knight of Hyland is Lady Maltran's protege. She has shown considerable promise, but she is still young and largely unproven.
Waning Crescent Style
Based on Lunar, this relatively minor school rose to prominence recently when it was chosen as the official style to be taught to Althena's Guard. Featuring variants for use with both a two-handed blade or a sword and shield, this style is renowned for its defensive techniques, making it an ideal choice for the protectors of the goddess.
- White Knight Leo: The foremost living user of the Waning Crescent is the commander of Althena's Guard, and one of the Four Heroes. Leo's natural strength (courtesy of his Beastfolk heritage) and dramatic flair have made him an exemplar of the style.
Edarl Blade Arts
Originating on the planet of Roak, generations of relative peace had transformed this style into more of an artistic display than a true school of combat, similar to the Terran discipline of Tai Chi. While only individuals from Roak -- or taught by masters there -- can be considered inheritors of the Edarl school, similar techniques have appeared in the styles of swordsmen on several planets.
- Roddick Farrence: During his quest to save Roak from the curse of petrification, the Fellpool hero modified his family's style into one more suited for actual combat, returning the Edarl Blade Arts to their martial origins.
- Claude C. Kenny: Claude displays a familiarity with the Edarl Blade Arts that is undoubtedly a result of training with his father's former comrade.
Terran Martial Arts
Several colonists traveling on the Seeds fleet had experience in forms of Terran martial arts, and their descendants have continued to teach and nurture their family schools. OCs raised in the Seed territories -- or from the Pangalactic Federation -- can choose to be familiar with any form of martial art found on Earth. Fantastic variants involving chi manipulation can also be designed and used, although these should fit the setting -- firing chi blasts is fine, but tearing Gears to pieces with your bare hands is generally not.
- Bowman Jeane: Like all simple country doctors, Bowman is an expert in Terran martial arts, specifically a form of karate that also employs pharmaceuticals as weapons.
- Ilia Silvestri: Like most Federation science officers, Ilia is also is a master of a Terran martial art (kung fu), and has taught her son Claude both combat forms and chi manipulation since an early age. He counts several of her techniques among his arsenal.