Excerpts Archive | 2/12/2010
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Martial Power 2 Excerpts: Martial Practices

In today's Martial Power 2 preview, we look at martial practices; beyond the exploits for which they’re famed, martial heroes can push the bounds of what is possible for ordinary mortals by mastering these challenging techniques. Using these rare methods, an adventurer can run for days, swim to great depths, and even create magic items. Although martial practices approach what’s possible with rituals, they exist wholly in the realm of martial power.

A martial practice is similar to a ritual. To use a martial practice, you must acquire it, master it, and perform it. The component costs sometimes include healing surges. After you finish performing a practice, you gain its benefit.

Acquiring Martial Practices

You can learn the rudiments of martial practices from a master or purchase them on the open market. Unless you find the practice as part of a treasure hoard, you’ll pay something for it.

Learn through Training: Any character who has mastered a martial practice can teach it to you. The instructor can be another player character or a nonplayer character you meet. Training is costly and arduous. Usually, you pay the cost in gold or other treasure. Learning a martial practice costs half the market price if you learn it from another player character. In such a case, you are paying for the supplies needed for training, not for your ally’s work and time.

Purchase: If you can find a merchant that deals in rare goods, you can pay the market price of a martial practice to acquire it.

Find in Treasure: You might also find martial practices inscribed in ancient manuals hidden away in dusty libraries or haunted castles. Practices contained within these texts offer detailed instructions so that with careful study you can master them. Your DM accounts for the market price of a martial practice you find in the treasure you acquire.

Mastering Martial Practices

You must master a martial practice before you are able to perform it. To master a practice, you must:

  • Acquire the martial practice.
  • Have the Practiced Study feat.
  • Meet or exceed the practice’s level requirement.
  • Be trained in at least one of the key skills for the practice.
  • Study the martial practice for a total of 8 hours.

The studying process differs depending on how you acquired the martial practice. If you acquired it through training, the study period takes place at the same time as acquiring the practice. If you bought or found the practice, the time is spent closely studying the manual and repeating the lessons and steps within the text.

Performing Martial Practices

The steps to perform a martial practice correspond to the headers of the practice’s description.

Time: Martial practices take time to perform. You might have to adopt the right physical and mental state, sweat over a forge to craft an item, or painstakingly camouflage your party’s campsite.

Component Costs: Martial practices are strenuous. Unlike rituals, which usually require only a monetary component cost, most martial practices require an expenditure of healing surges. This cost reflects the strain on your body and mind.

A few martial practices also require materials to properly perform them. When a practice has a component cost, you must pay the price from your store of treasure, whether you’re spending gold, gems, or other valuables. The component cost represents the price of equipment and raw materials.

You pay the component cost, including both the monetary cost and the healing surges, when you complete a practice. If you cannot pay the full cost, the practice has no effect.

Skills: Each practice has one or more key skills, and you must be trained in at least one of these skills to master and perform the practice. Some practices also require skill checks to determine your effort’s effectiveness. Usually, the practice succeeds regardless of the check result, and high check results produce the best effects.

Unless a practice says otherwise, you make your skill check at the end of its performance. As with rituals, you cannot take 10 on this check.

Effects of a Martial Practice

After you finish performing a practice, you gain its benefit for the practice’s duration. Sometimes the duration is instantaneous: You have learned the information or completed the task. Other times, you gain a benefit for a set amount of time, or you create a permanent object.

Martial Practices

Level Martial Practice Key Skill
1 Master Artisan Athletics
1 Temporary Fix Athletics or Thievery
1 Tracker’s Eye Nature or Perception
1 Travel Sense Nature
2 Embalm Heal
2 Survivor’s Preparation Nature
3 Speech without Words Diplomacy
3 Warded Campsite Nature or Thievery
4 Forge Armor Athletics
4 Forge Weapon Athletics
5 Fortify Beast Nature
5 Hidden Pocket Thievery
5 Precise Forgery Thievery
5 Reliable Balance Acrobatics
5 Thorough Search Perception
5 Uncanny Strength Athletics or Endurance
6 Decipher Script History or Streetwise
6 Long-Distance Runner Athletics or Endurance
8 Alter Ego Bluff
8 Feign Death Bluff or Endurance
8 Handle Steed Nature
11 Word on the Street Streetwise
12 Peerless Exploration Stealth
15 Use Scroll Thievery
17 Survivor’s Assurance Nature

Alter Ego

With a little makeup and a bit of misdirection, you can appear to be anyone.

Level: 8
Time: 1 hour
Duration: 24 hours
Component Cost: 50 gp plus 1 healing surge
Market Price: 275 gp
Key Skill: Bluff

You alter your own appearance or the appearance of an ally who is present throughout your performance of the practice. The disguise can alter facial and physical features and appear to modify height and weight by up to 10%. You can also use this martial practice to disguise gender, race, and age.

Make a Bluff check with a +5 bonus. Your result determines the Insight check a creature must make to determine that the person you are disguised as is not who he or she appears to be.

You can use this practice to impersonate another humanoid. When you interact with a creature that is familiar with the person you’re imitating, that creature gains a +10 bonus to its Insight check.

Forge Weapon

Using ancient crafting techniques, you forge a weapon of such artfulness that it becomes enchanted.

Level: 4
Time: 1 day
Duration: Permanent
Component Cost: See below
Market Price: 175 gp
Key Skill: Athletics (no check)

You construct a magic weapon. Your level determines the highest enhancement bonus the weapon can have (see the table below). You can create only a magic weapon (Player’s Handbook, page 235). You can also make the weapon silvered while you perform this practice by paying the normal price (Player’s Handbook, page 220).

The component cost is equal to the price of the magic weapon you create.

Weapon Created Minimum Level Component Cost
+1 magic weapon 4th 360 gp
+2 magic weapon 6th 1,800 gp
+3 magic weapon 11th 9,000 gp
+4 magic weapon 16th 45,000 gp
+5 magic weapon 21st 225,000 gp
+6 magic weapon 26th 1,125,000 gp

Tracker’s Eye

From a few discrete markings, you learn astonishing information about the creatures you pursue.

Level: 1
Time: 10 minutes
Duration: Instantaneous and special
Component Cost: 1 healing surge
Market Price: 50 gp
Key Skill: Nature or Perception

You examine tracks to learn crucial information about your prey. You must study the tracks and their vicinity while you perform the practice. At the end of that time, make a Nature check or a Perception check to determine what you learn. You gain information from your check result and all lower results.

In addition, you gain a +5 bonus to Perception checks to follow the tracks until you take an extended rest.

Nature or Perception Check Result Information Learned
9 or lower The tracks of any natural beasts, their numbers, and travel direction.
10−19 The tracks of any natural humanoids, their numbers, and travel direction.
20−29 The tracks of any natural creatures, their numbers, and travel direction.
30−39 The tracks of any creatures, their numbers, and travel direction. You also discern their pace, such as running, walking, sneaking, and so on.
40 or higher Whether or not the creature was encumbered, injured, and any other pertinent details related to the creature’s movement.

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February 5

Epic Destinies

February 8

Combat Styles

February 12

Martial Practices