Heroic Endeavors and Exertions

(Martial Practices Revised)

Martial Practices as defined in 4e often lack the impact to make them worth there price in fact many feel like they could be made generic or even be replaced with relatively simple adjustments to the skill use and others are hands down inferior to their closest analog in rituals without any recompense. Blood Rites open more concept space for effects that go beyond those currently covered and allow closer parity with rituals.

The Feat for gaining access to martial practices is similarily mundane in flavor "practiced study" is far too mundane.

Forge Mastery (Endeavor): You can create magic weaponry or armor or actually just about any tool of war. Your level determines the level the magic item can have . The component cost is equal to the price of the magic item which you forge although additional effect price beyond the original bonus quality generally require a bit more (and may be paid in the coin of charity). The war tools can be seeded in such a way as to leave them open to gaining additional more magical empowerment often featuring a quest involving the slaying of magical beast ... in some cases usage over time will gradually enhance these opened items (see weapon gifts).

Level 4.

Inventive/Clockwork Genius - this allows creating of renaissance or occasionally more modern style tech items which duplicate some of the usefulness of rituals that are not normally weaponry (like scuba gear for breathing underwater - a davinci hang-glider for flight) or atleast not melee weaponry in fact it does depend primarily on non-karma points rare materials and many of the items break during use resulting in monetary prices and preventing extensive distribution. (karma expenditure may be useful for increasing a duration).

Grand Mastery or Martial Artisty: This allows one to create/teach extraordinary capabilities akin to those described in the alternate rewards system (grand master trainings). Allowing the practicioner to achieve a state of perfected martial skill these extraordinary abilities are tied to regimen. These regimen are often a daily kata (exercise of forms) which maintain the perfection in arms obtained. Forgoing the regimen decays the performance due to confidence and clarity loss and the ability is eventually lost. A daily Kata might include an hour of excercise per day (during which you are totally focused unable to do guard duty even) or even an hour of extra sleep (representing extra exhaustion incurred in ones normal excercise).Lancelot is the inspiration here as in many stories where Lancelot is found deeply sleeping during odd hours of the day due to the excessive martial regimen which allowed him to be the mightiest of all knights.

The price of Grand Master training usually involves a trial of humility and a test of worthiness. The former often involves menial labor often for a third party. The labor itself may not end up as menial as it first appears and generally the forces of fate work to make it so. The test of worthiness is sometimes an actual smokescreen for an extension of the trial of humility. These like Blood rites come with Karmic cost.

Heroic Exertion this refers to spending a healing surge to enhance a trained skill performance in several ways

Land Charisms

Master of all which you Survey: In general a blood-line rights to lands and services by those bound to it is limited to ones own property but few adventures are to be had within ones own demens so many effects extend to ones immediate surrounds and more are of more striking potency when one is at home.

"Health Affects the Land" -- each healing surge you have above 3 grants a bonus on your parties nature checks for purposes fo harvesting and hunting. (the master of the land you are in supercedes this when in his presence - otherwise it is controlled by the highest cumulative karma in the hunting/gathering party.

"Land Bound" you can always sense your home's direction - even can guide you accross dimensions or when suffering amnesia or similar effects; Those so bound even when abandoned as children will gravitate back to the place of there rightful heritage.

"Land Sense" you can spend a healing surge and 1 hours time in quiet remeniscence to survey your home this is oven done while visiting a favorite sanctum and doesnt necessarily involve much movement, you can use this martial practice to survey the health/harmony of your homeland.See above for master of all you survey. If not in your homeland this affects any locale in a 1·mile radius or your homeland if you are within 3 miles of it. At the end of the ,meditation, in addition to the intimate knowledge of the features and lands of your home you may find you can sense the presence or absence of strangers, hostile and allied inhabitants (at the DM's discretion).

Blood-lines and King's Magic

Bloodline magic is an age old concept far older than its association with D&Ds sorcerors (which is indeed akin to the Daemonic heritage of Merlin and other spell caster's). In fact the idea of being descendents of Dragons and Gods, Daemons and Fae with heralded and strange birth is a common element of many classic heros and legendary/historic kings alike.

From the ancient greek - hero which largely meant half-god to the royal lines of many real world places which attribute there kingship and nobility with blood of Dragon's and Gods to those like Aragorn who invokes his bloodline to great and epic effect more than once in Tolkein's chronicles to In Arthurian Legend you have Galahad/Lancelot blood descendents of Joseph of Arimethea who's skin turns aside thorned plants and resists boiling heat with confidence to Gawaine and his family bearing a fae blood-line granting a gift of sun born strength each with empowered and awakened blood.

This is the kind of magic where true oaths can bring back the dead and your magic item only responds to those of your blood and oaths of allegience create brotherhoods whose unity grants them power. It might involve fated companions and is often focused through marks of authority. It can involve influence of followers, and those under your jurisdiction or whom you have mastered by force of arms. It could involve your lands health and prosperity being influenced by yours like ancient Celtic Kings. It might include Fate and Destiny manipulation and it's price is often marked in units of charity.

This magic is not that of a spell caster in any classic sense and is more subtle than any sorcery. It is the Magic when Uther smashes caldwych/excalibur in to the stone and declares only he and his will have it. Its the magic which causes Aragorns hand to catalyze a weed in to a healing herb. Its the magic when the bearer of the Sword of Truth drives his companions in to a berzerkergang. Its the magic which causes Arthurs enemies to crown him king inspite of there own desires and its focused through his famous Sword of Kingship and again Aragorn calling in the oaths of the unforgiven dead.

In a world where oaths are bindings of magic it is warlords who are the creators of paladins and shamans the creators of spirit warriors.

Additional Concepts:

Scions of Ancient Bloodlines: Being of a special blood-line often has benefits though they are not necessarily "realised" but rather dormant til awakened.

Awakening / Fosterage - sometimes its on purpose and sometimes its by providence but it is a fact that Heroic Blood is more often Awakened to discover its gifts when raised outside their immediate family or atleast by family that is not themselve awakened heritage (some say that the empowered parentage overshadows an ofspring supressing their expression).

Mark's of Authority Blood-line rites are often enhanced with marks of authority and personal crests through which they evoke their own personal power and which symbolise the practicioners family and personal identity.

The Primaries: Dragons, Divinities Daemonics and Fae consistitute the primary bloodlines of myth and legend.(In fact each of the main characters from Arthurian tales feature these blood-lines).

Specific blood-lines generally show tendences, and styles even if there is no actual restrictions, for instance Fae blooded heros might have ancient learning, agelessness and gifts involving illusions but not necessarily.

The Blood of Adam: At some level we are all related and in that truth lies a blood-line common to all humans - it is considered divine or more precisely in the image of the divine and features free-will and dominion over beasts the power of naming and immortality of the soul.(in heroic manifestation see reincarnation and reincarnative memories) and long livedness.

In fact in game terms it takes no special feat to have a special blood-line this is fundamentally an aspect of background under player control. However control over the gaining of blood-line gifts can be excercised via rites or various feat benefits can be associated with your blood-line.

Blood Regency (Feat)

Allows one to learn Blood-line rites and access gathered karmic power.

Bloodline Rites/Gifts

These are much like Rituals and Legendary Boons or Charisms which have aspects in common with martial practices.

The Price: Though they often lack the overtly physical and rare components seen with rituals those long term effects have an additional more symbolic price they are said to incur a debt of Charity or a Karmic Debt. In game terms this is tracked via Karma points. Abilities created via rites usually incur a blood price ie a cost in terms of Healing Surges or sometimes use of Second Wind akin to martial practices/heroic exertion.

Karmic Price is for simplicities sake measured in gold but is often gained and paid in heroic affirmation quests which lack recompence, direct anonymous gifting to charity granted to those without means to compensate meaningfully, as well as spirit quests where in very little is ultimately real and anything aquired evaporates and turns to dust is also common as is garnering Karma via service to community (including benign rulership) .

Titheing this is a practice that allows one to gain Karmic surfeit. It also may allow a gift to be aquired somewhat prior to its Karmic debt being paid . Breaking a vow of titheing can have impact on multiple gifts.

Fated returns/Blood coin is a very odd effect when a gift is lost due to breaking a binding oath you sometimes regain your 30 pieces of tainted silver in away that feels wrong.

Cumulative Karma - in certain circumstances it is necessary to rank two bloodlined individuals (for instances when determining who's land gift affect party nature skill - Current Karma and Cumulative Karma are two such measures.

Rites:

Blood Brotherhood: Allows one to create Blood Brotherhood via an Oath of Joint Allegianceit creates social and mystical ties this is an alliance as true as those of a native bloodline its most often seen amongst elite groups of heros like the Aesir or the Round table,Tuathans and similar groups. It is an enabler for several other rites such as the Affirmation of Bonds. This sometimes takes its most primitive form of cutting of palms to allow blood of members to mingle though its also performed as a grand ceremony with great pomp and circumstance and feasting. In some ways this is a very basic blood-rite and can be learned even at level one.

Affirmation of bonds: is a rite which allows the members of a bloodline (or brotherhood) to exchange the deep heroic energies of the healing surge according to their needs (its most common form its relatively informal as a breaking of bread and sharing of a meal or simply rich libations where one member leads the rite and pays the blood price (ie paying the opening healing surge). The cost is relatively small and is often buried in rich foods or packed away in karma point 1kp per tier per participant. (increase cost and increase cost of comrades succor also house rule) - requires: Blood Brotherhood.

Blood Claim or Heritage Binding (sometimes called Blood Attunement): You can attune an item to your heritage. If broken the item can be restored or reforged with magic intact additionally fate manipulates events to return the bonded item to your hand (if it is lost) or those of your descendents (if you are lost).First Blood rights are the most basic for of this (followed by Familial rights) which causes an item to be useable by the currently living blood-line inheritor even this is sometimes stretchable to the next in-line if the primary inheritor is incapacitated. A Form of Blood Attunement is said to also allow passing less physically embodied gifts such as those obtained by Blood Oaths to a descendent as well but such gifts often have to be awakened this awakening may involve accepting the same oath or not those not paid for may become a faded gift. A faded gift is much like a normal gift which has been lost or must be upgraded after 5 levels) but enemies or even allies beyond the central group never will. The concept of rightful ownership based on bloodline is significant enough to those of heritage that this ability is not made light of but in game terms it is uncertain if it is more than a flavor element its primary impact is if an item is stolen it cannot be used against its rightful owner and in concert with a brotherhood those who are bonded may share an item normally not shareable.

Grail aka the Cauldron of Life : from whence the dead can be drawn living once more - The grail/cauldron is a focus item associated with raising the dead, discovering it enables a ritual which can be used to raise dead heros. It is often itself sought in an otherworld quest though its mouth is itself to be the gateway in to the otherworld which one travels when inviting the dead to return back to the world. This has an extraordinary cost in Karma but it is often spent by the individual returned or by the group in the case of a heroic team.

Creating Oath Bound Gifts and Charisms
These effects (4e calls Legendary Boons and Divine Boons as mentioned in the alternate rewards chapter in the DMG2 ) normally have ambiguous durations and unlike magic items lack conditions for their loss. The following makes them creatable by characters themselves and also loseable as they are tied to the maintenance of Oaths/Geasa *aka taboos.

Oath Binder: You can create gifts and blessings that breaks the boundaries of normal capability a these effects are bound up in an oath which allows the effect to be lost if the oath is broken or abandoned or even upgraded these are bound with an oath "a behaviorial stricture" which when broken - releases/rescinds the gift or blessing associated or decays the skill due some would say confidence and clarity loss. These gifts have a charity price which is sometimes paid in advance or tithed or attained via affirmation questing. An affirmation quest may be a mystical quest or spirit journey and failure is possible (though such a failure means the gift is not created/affirmed/awakened). This cost is a direct analog to the cost an item creation ritual. An oath binder must be trained in requisite skills for certain subsets of gifts (such as nature for the Totemic Oaths and gifts).

Gift Awakener : a Shamanic style rite which allows one to create Legendary and pseudo divine gifts which are bound by taboos aka Geasa

It is possible to awaken a gift in others you do not possess yourself or seat in them an oath or taboo you do not follow.

Blood-line Gifts or Charisms

Many of these may be enhanced via Heroic Surges ie Heroic Exertions and may be visualized as qualitative extentions beyond mundane skill application.

Channelling Ancestral/Ancient Memories - You enter a trance, for the duration of your trance state you are channelling an ancestors mind or perhaps merely remember something from a mortal life time ago when you were not really the same (For ancestral memories you might get their personality in minor overlaps for flavor) and understand a relevant time period (pick an approximate life span of years) as though you were living in it add d10 to each of your performances involving a specified skill use although its often history skill (applicable to that time period). This trance might last till you spend a healing surge or recover one. ( this is most often a mental skill )

Blood Demand: This Gift allows one to create a single service involuntary oath. It is a compulsion to do something with actual negative repercussions if you dont follow the demand, these may infact be as extreme as the intimidation which initiates them. An intimidation vs a bloodied enemy may resutl in an infliction as extreme as eventual death if you fail to follow the oath. It isnt always totally obvious that an oath has taken. This is a power often attributed to Paladins such as Lancelot. A common example of the task being "Travel to Camelot and peacefully offer yourself up for penance to the king and his mercy" - with a tacit you will sicken and die? if you dont . A Blood Demand creates an affliction and is always performed as an heroic exertion (intimidation)

The Power of Naming/The Heraldic Gift /The Blood sense At one point this ability was considered solely the province of heralds but is infact valuable and discovered by many who value perception - at its basic this is conveys the ability to recognize or sense the bloodlines (generally this includes sensing of fully Fae, Daemons, Divine and Draconic entities) and even make some measure of their empowerment. At its deepest expression you will know the name of any sensed though they may otherwise be a stranger. In a combat context this makes it far more difficult for those of awakened blood to achieve surprise this alongside honorable combatant oaths makes more straightforward fighting styles the norm amongst many bloodlines. This ability is sometimes fairly subtle. and doesnt necessarily involve use of a healing surge, though a heroic exertion might increase its range or similar effects.(enhancing perception and insight)

Wrestling/Chatting/Duelling with Death: Some blooded individuals can sense and interact directly with mystical entities like death and in so doing create effects which defy expectations. For instance recently dead individuals not necessarily heroic ones neednt actually involve a journey to the otherworld to raise, just the awakened perceptions and being at the right place and time following the death of another 3 days following the demise no more no less. This is normally only performed for a great friend as it entails a similar karmic price as raising a hero. This practice may sometimes feature becoming extremely enebriated on expensive wines or similar chemical adjustments. Convincing death to forgo taking someone for a time may be an athletics or charismatic test or similar challenge.

Concepts Regarding Gifts and Oaths/Geasa

Limits on Gifts (Charisma): In the normal rules their are subtle and not so subtle limits on items you can exploit based on slots and encumberance. Carrying "too many" boons might penalize one in a manner similar to encumberance with carrying too much weight. (in what manner? to be determined).The term charisma is derived from divine/innate gifts and in some sense can be taken to mean how well you carry them so it might act as the spiritual strength which allows one to carry and exploit divine and legendary boons.

Drawbacks : Legendary Gifts are not unlikely to have drawbacks. After a battle Cuh Culaines Warp Spasm gave him a fever which took some effort to quell - it is described very extremely as skin hot to the touch so hot as to boil water repeatedly - its not even clear if this cooling the fever was anything more than to allow him to interact with people. Perhaps if the fever is not treated it might result in temporary loss of speech (both understanding and the use of) followed by unconsciousness for a period.

Resuming/Recovering a failed oath: Part of the premise of losing an oath is that just as an item can be stolen... it can be recovered basically this doesnt have to be huge it might be as simple as repaying it's karmic price.

More Gifts/Charisms

Oaths association with a gift are loose or somewhat arbitrary from a mechanical point of view - though some oaths/taboos and gifts are traditionally associated with one another and are recommended because they seem to recompense each other.

Purifying Touch

binding oath: Forego the use of poison

type: Honorable Combatant Oath / Chivalric

gift : your touch removes poison and disease from a feast additionally those you lay on hands or use your heal skill to aide gain a +5 bonus against poison attacks til the next encounter.

Healing Touch

type: chivalric

binding oath: remain chaste

gift : "Laying on of Hands" or "Bonded resurgence": if you spend a secondwind a single adjacent ally may recover 10 hp in response additionally you can spend a healing surge once a day to heal an ally an amount ased on your own hs value. For this latter If you have reached a milestone today fate shines brighter and the amount healed is increased by an amount equal to your level.

gift : (low heroic) Healing Touch --> 1 time per day may spend a healing surge to heal touched ally

Radiant Health

type: chivalric

gift : 1 time per encounter may spend a healing surge to heal 2 allies at range 10 or 1 at range 20.

level paragon or mid epic.

Just/Retaliatory Smite

type : "Honorable Combatant Oath"

binding oath: "forego attacking first":

gift: once per day when an enemy misses you or an adjacent ally with an attack you make a basic attack as an immediate reaction.

Additionally when you are first bloodied or struck while bloodied by a melee attack you may make 2 basic attacks in a furious response.

Protected By Providence

type: An "Honorable Combatant Oath"

binding oath "forgoe using ranged attacks" - To some thinking lesser beasts are distinct and are not granted this dispensation so a bow may be freely used for hunting (Boar spear and similar weaponry are safer) but greater beasts and monstersfall well within the field of honor this is considered a cheap interpretation and by others who look upon that as self serving. (those with Totemic oaths generally take this to mean never use ranged attack)

gift: Gain damage resistance 5(heroic)/10(paragon)/15(epic) versus ranged attacks.

Warded vs Fel Harm

binding oath: "forego striking the fallen"

gift: Once per encounter you can counter advantage granted to an enemy and gain an oath bonus to insight.

type "Honorable Combatant Oath"

Totemic Gifts

Cradled in Flight or Feat First

Type: "Totemic Bond"

binding taboo: "never eat bird" or "never eat cat" flesh

gift: primary effect take no falling damage and always land on your feet. Daily:minor action, allies within 10 squares may be cradled in your wings/paws once per day benefiting from the effect.