Kisat Dur: the Dwarven Martial Art¶
This book is a translation of a manuscript believed to have been written by Thiktog Idashtathur in Kogsakozon. For an authoritative retranscription of the original runes, visit our office in Telingvath.
While written in the somewhat eccentric style of an in-game martial scholar, the combat advice in this tutorial really does work and can make your adventurer unstoppable.
Become Strong by Fighting Alligators¶
Before you become a master of dwarven combat techniques, you must become a master of your body.
This usually works. It probably works even if you’re an elf. (I don’t know.) You should fight according to this technique:
If you are more interested in dodging than using shields, use this technique instead. I don’t care:
|Charge-Defense:||Dodge Away or Move Around|
Get a shield and a weapon, and a full suit of armor. Then find a river and some alligators (this is easy) and slap them with your weapon. You want to inflict as little damage as possible while still raising the conflict level to Lethal.
I know everything about alligators. For instance, I know you are now surrounded by them.
Enter a Creeping Swim. Lie down in the water (
s). Now move in circles
slowly around the alligators. They won’t be able to kill you, because
they’re really stupid. In about five minutes you will be really good at
dodging, observing, using shields, using armor and fighting.
The next thing you should do: wrestle them until you’re tired. (maybe using the techniques described later in this manual) You will probably be an expert wrestler at that point.
After that, just punch them to death.
Prepare mentally to start a fight.
During your fight, just flip to the page that starts with whatever situation you’re in right then and see what the book says you should do. If you follow all the steps you will probably win the fight.
These techniques are not especially good for fighting more than three people at once and that’s a situation you should try to avoid.
Against One Enemy¶
Do anything you want if your enemy doesn’t realize you’re going to fight them.
If your enemy can close the distance between yourself and them, you should probably skip to the next section.
Before initiating, try offering your enemy something expensive in exchange for their weapon. This only works if you have something expensive.
Against Two or Three Enemies¶
You should try to disable at least one of your enemies instantly, if you can. The tricks to do this usually involve exploiting distance, which means you won’t be able to execute them more than once in the same fight unless one of your enemies is very insistent about using ranged weapons only.
These techniques are still worth a shot if you don’t have distance! But I’m not going to guarantee they will work. As a general rule, remember that your efforts to wrestle don’t commit until you move, attack, jump, or let time advance – this enables you to do a whole lot of things at once that you might not have realized you could.
The korumid strike will disarm, stagger, and often cripple one enemy while leaving you with his weapons and prepared to face another. You’ll need to be about five steps away to employ it.
Sprint as fast as you can towads the enemy you’d most like to disarm. When in melee range, grab their weapon and shield with your weapon and shield hands respectively. (you can grab their arms if they’re missing one of those – or grab only their weapon for more reliability and speed) Then jump over them as best you can do, and body-slam them. This will probably snap their arm or leg and leave them on the ground.
If you’re a novice this will be easier than disarming using wrestling alone (see the Nabasuthar technique below) but you will probably have to catch an incoming strike, which won’t work for you.
If you’re a vampire you can drink people’s blood while midair, which will increase the power of your tackle and cause it to hit everybody in the way instead of just one. Drinking blood will not affect the efficacy of any other grabs you queue up while in the air.
Start a korumid strike with a longer-than-usual running start. You must run at least three dwarfmiles per hour, and you’ve got to jump about four steps. Instead of grabbing both weapon and shield, grab only one thing belonging to a nearby enemy before jumping. Start the jump before your first grab has actually connected and then make a second grab while in midair. It will be impossible for most enemies to evade your first grab. (the second grab won’t usually connect, but will prevent the enemy from evading)
Whatever you’re grabbing doesn’t necessarily have to belong to the enemy you’re jumping over, which makes this technique potentially useful against groups as large as three. But fights like that are always dangerous.
Sometimes you can even use this to knock your enemies into your other enemies, but I don’t think this is very reliable.
Against Four or More Enemies¶
I don’t know. Throw rocks at them? That sounds like a good idea.
You can also try standing somewhere important and waiting for someone to try to crawl under you. Then you can stomp on their throat. That also sounds like a good idea.
If you’re very fast, try charging into the center of groups, then charging isolates at the edges. Attack ranged weapon users first and exploit full-body strikes (like the previous two) as much as possible. Obviously, melee weapon users can’t attack you unless you enter melee range.
Against Enemies Who Don’t Realize You’re Trying To Fight Them¶
There’s a technique for fighting while maintaining the appearance of not fighting:
Stand pretty close to them and jump on them a bunch of times until they die. (or fall unconscious) This takes much less preparation than the other whole-body techniques, and most enemies will assume you didn’t mean to lethally hurt them. (provided you don’t take a significant running start)
You shouldn’t rely on enemies asuming this isn’t a combat action, though.
Standing Combat Against an Enemy¶
Your goals are to get the enemy into any of these conditions:
- off-balance (by using wrestling tricks to stop their strike)
- unarmed (by taking their weapon)
- incapacitated by pain/nerve damage (by attacking any of the four preferred zones, tearing muscle tissue, or locking a joint if you’re strong)
To do this you need either to strike opportunistically at one of the four weak zones, or to defend by grappling until you can set them off-balance and lock a joint. (or quickly strike a weak zone then) The point is to inflict suffering, so they can’t fight you toe-to-toe.
Often your enemy is armed. Weapons are very dangerous to you but they also open up some initial techniques to disable your enemy. It’s almost always better to use grappling if they have a weapon, because they will use it very predictably.
Determining What Your Enemy Wants To Do¶
This is the standard observational trick everyone uses:
Rashgur Nitem Technique¶
If an enemy is apparently attacking you, figure out what the easiest place to strike would be. If one of their limbs looks easier to hit, that probably means that’s the limb they’re attacking with.
You’ve got no good reason not to do this first. These are techniques (predominantly grappling) that will remove your enemy’s weapon. You may also be able to take the enemy’s armor, which will make them more vulnerable to unarmed attacks.
If an enemy is attacking with a weapon you can probably grab the weapon and that will confuse them. This almost always works. You might even be able to get their weapon.
If they attack you with a shield (they usually do that next, if they have one) you can use wrestling tricks (the sodel ar technique) to block the attack. It’s easier to employ wrestling tricks against someone’s shield than against their bare hands.
If you grab your enemy’s shield, even when they’re still holding onto it, you might automatically be able to block your enemy’s attacks. This means you don’t need to maintain possession of it to use it.
This isn’t that reliable.
Grab your enemy by the weapon as above, but instead of using wrestling to disarm them, scratch their hand until you sever a nerve and then take the weapon after they drop it. Even if you don’t hit a nerve, you’ll probably loosen their grip. This works well on enemies that are stronger than you.
If the enemy is wearing armor (particularly plate armor) you can grab it, but dodge out of melee range before the grab connects. This will protect you from an imminent melee attack, and remove the armor from the enemy’s body. (I don’t know how, but it’s true.)
Offensive wrestling works best on large enemies, but defensive wrestling works even if your enemy is really big. (particularly if they’re trying to punch you instead of using weapons) Against a large enemy you should use wrestling to set them off balance before taking an opportunistic strike
When fighting reactively, you should use wrestling tricks to interrupt the enemy.
Your most common trick will be to block an attack midswing with a grapple:
Sodel Ar Technique (Wrestling Tricks)¶
If they attack you with their left hand, you can use your right hand to catch it. If they use their right hand you can do the same with your left. (Remember – the limb easiest-to-hit is probably the limb they’re attacking with!) This will probably leave them off-balance.
As a novice you will not reliably be able to do this: dodge frequently and use the Zimesh strike instead.
There’s also a defensive striking technique to accomplish this, but it won’t leave your enemy off-balance. (it may inflict pain, since it can damage nerves and muscle tissue) Here it is:
If you scratch up the enemy’s hand or do another really quick strike while they’re about to strike, they might get confused or miss. If you get lucky it won’t hurt very much. This works really well when they’re punching you. Since this won’t affect enemy balance or put them in preparation for a joint-lock, you will probably need to do this a lot of times before you inflict enough pain to disable the enemy.
Another disabling technique is to stand on top of them, but you need to be strong enough to throw them to the ground first. This is a lot like taking them off-balance by grappling but it lasts longer and will allow you to make a lot of quick strikes before they can do anything about it:
Throw your enemy to the ground (preferably a weak throw, if possible) and stand on top of them before they land. Don’t let your enemy strike you first or else they’ll stand on top of you. (They might also knock themselves down, mind.)
The four zones likely to disadvantage an enemy are:
If you hit your enemies here they will be sick. They might even vomit.
There are ribs in the way, but if you bruise your enemies in the lung they will probably have trouble breathing. If you bruise both lungs they will probably drop dead.
The Neck (Throat and Spine)¶
If you break their spine it will paralyze your enemy. If you crush their throat your enemy will probably suffocate. If you tear their throat your enemy will probably bleed to death. If you strangle their throat for a little while you can choke your enemy unconscious. (This is a good idea!)
If you break joints your enemy will be in a lot of pain and probably pass out. (This isn’t very hard to do if you’re strong.)
Of these, the guts and throat are least likely to be protected by bone, but they might be protected by armor.
Remember these guidelines when about to deliver a strike:
- When you decide to hit something, you should hit it a lot of times, so long as you’re at least bruising the muscle or the bone. It will eventually break. (this principle is called zilirakith)
- Punching is almost as good as kicking, and much faster. (this principle is called nonub) Scratching is also fast, and scratching muscles can inflict a lot of pain.
- Most enemies can be incapacitated by pain and sickness.
It isn’t strictly necessary to grapple before striking. Your key technique to get good blows against the enemy without having to wrestle defensively or significantly disadvantage the enemy is the opportunistic dodge-and-strike:
If you dodge to your enemy’s side (by moving diagonally), you can punch or scratch your enemy a lot more easily. You should probably try to use fast (not wild) attacks so that you hit them before they turn and so you aren’t left off guard.
Using biting against the throat, hands, or feet is called idrazoluth and requires too much committal to be safe against an enemy on equal footing. But scratching those areas is generally safe and can inflict pain against enemies not vulnerable to defensive wrestling.
Standing Combat Against a Disadvantaged Enemy¶
If your enemy is off-balance or stunned, you should take advantage of high-risk striking techniques that will more permanently disable them.
If your enemy is unconscious from pain or extremely nauseated, instead flip down to the next section.
The combat advice from the previous section applies, but a few more striking attacks are viable now that weren’t before. Your goal is still to permanently incapacitate the enemy, and many techniques from the previous section can still accomplish that. A brief list of those you should still consider:
- gakit kun (tearing the muscles and motor nerves)
- nidostegul (standing on the enemy)
- zinesh strike (dodging diagonally and striking: doing so will still reduce the enemy’s ability to counter)
Asas Break (Rapid Break)¶
If you grabbed the enemy’s hand, lock the wrist. You can usually break the joint if you’re strong enough. Most of the time your enemy will double over in pain. This is one of the most reliable techniques you can employ, even against armored enemies.
This only works on enemies weaker than you. Grab your enemy by the head and gouge out their eyes. It’s often easier to grab their neck but pinch their throat. (Grabbing their throat itself is more difficult)
If you can use wrestling tricks (the sodel ar technique) to interrupt your enemy, you will probably leave them off-balance. While they’re off-balance you can easily quick-attack the guts or the throat. Being very fast usually works since there aren’t any bones protecting those places.
If you’ve already incapacitated your enemy by stabbing the guts, (the stod-suton strike) you will probably be able to attack the lungs. Your goal is to bruise at least one of them. Breaking the ribs helps but isn’t necessary: throwing a wild punch will probably work because your enemy won’t be able to counterattack.
You can also punch the head, which might kill them. You probably shouldn’t rely on being able to do that, because you have to get lucky.
Using the zinesh strike against the spine has a special name. While the initial dodge is a mildly defensive move, you’ve got to have an opening to punch again and again, because single spine strikes aren’t very reliable.
You have to be really strong to do this, but if you punch your enemy in the back of the neck they’ll probably break their spine and die. You might need to catch them offguard but if you’re actually doing this you probably don’t care, because you’re very strong.
This last technique involves a wrestling technique but unlike most wrestling techniques, it doesn’t work as a defensive option and it requires too much committal to be safe against an enemy on equal footing. Unlike most wrestling techniques, this will work offensively on larger enemies too:
Idrazoluth (“Dog Combat”: Tearing Technique)¶
If you bite people you will be able to tear them up (skin and muscle) and cause blood loss without using a weapon.
The other way to do this is scratching, but biting lets you hold on afterwards. You can shake the body part to injure it more and you can often completely sever the body part if it’s small, like an ear or a finger. This leads to even more blood loss and pain.
Good places to do a lot of damage with this technique are the throat, hands, and feet, because disabling the throat will kill your enemy and disabling the hands and feet will keep them from using a weapon or walking respectively. (provided you disable both feet)
This is effective against animals because animals are typically susceptible to muscle pain, but latching onto an animal might hurt your mobility. If that worries you, use scratching instead.
When You Have Permanently Incapacitated Your Enemy¶
If You Only Have One Enemy¶
If You Have a Weapon¶
Follow the advice under Striking and use wild strikes to the four preferred zones to defeat your enemy.
Stomp on their neck (to suffocate them) or on their throat. (to bleed them to death) Punching or wildly kicking the head several times will often kill them more quickly but is less reliable. (this is often the most effective way to finish off very large enemies)
If they’re wearing lots of armor, choke them instead, or take the armor off first. But armor doesn’t usually protect the neck very well, so try stomping on that first.
If You Have More¶
Ignore the one you just knocked down and subdue the others.
If Your Enemy Can’t Walk (or Doesn’t Want To)¶
Many of the techniques described in ‘Initiation’ will now be possible again, because you can get back the distance you had at the beginning of the fight. Don’t give too much time to ranged enemies, but if they’re already at a distance you may be able to exploit that distance. (e.g. by disarming them via the korumid strike)
There’s at least one technique where you’ll have to have disabled the enemy to succeed.
Walk a little ways away from your enemy (who is lying on the ground) and then sprint as fast as you can in their direction. Then, when you’re in melee range, attempt to jump over your enemy. You’ll fail but you’ll clobber them with both feet and generally you’ll disembowel them too. (I don’t understand how it works, but it does.) Unfortunately this technique isn’t very practical.
When You Are On The Ground¶
If the enemy isn’t standing over you, you should stand up. If the enemy is standing over you, you have probably lost the fight and will die. But you still have one chance to dramatically turn the fight around.
Interrupt your enemy’s attack with a body part other than your hand. Then use a throw to put them on the ground and stand on top of them. This works well when you’re already on the ground. You can usually use your hold to break their joint after you’re done.