From the publisher:
"I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me."
--Sherlock Holmes, from "The Empty House."
Whether it be back-alley brawling, fencing challenges, or kickboxing tournaments, martial arts were alive and well in the Victorian age. While the term "martial arts" conjures images of East Asian karate, kung fu, and related styles, the term itself means any form of combat. While historical versions of these styles did find their way west during the Imperial Age, especially in growing "Chinatowns" and similar communities, European combat styles had also been developing for centuries. Many of these, including boxing, fencing, and savate, were organized into official schools and tournaments. Toward the end of the Imperial Age these techniques were blended with East Asian styles to form hybrid styles such as Bartitsu.
The Imperial Age: Fisticuffs & Swordplay is designed to enhance martial flavor in your campaigns. To this end, a number of melee combat flavored advanced classes are presented. These classes are designed to work within any
campaign, and include:
- The Baritsu Master: The martial art of Sherlock Holmes, baritsu is a gentleman's art, concentrating on attacks with the walking stick and defense with the coat or cloak.
- The Boxer: Fighters who operate under the famed rules of the Marquess of Queensberry.
- Fair Defender: While a martial art for women is generally frowned upon in polite society (shouldn’t a lady always have a gentleman chaperone to protect her?), there are a growing number of women interested in protecting themselves...
- Fencing Master: A master of the blade, from any one of the myriad fencing associations and clubs of the Imperial Age.
- Savateur: A practitioner of Le Boxe Francaise, the French system of kickboxing, Savate.
- Scrapper: Brutal fighters commonly found in public houses, back alleys, or employed in the Victorian underworld, who have honed their skills through numerous brawls, muggings and gang fights.
Also included are a number of new martial-arts related feats for use with the above classes.