A Path to Steam
This is not one skill, but an entire collection of skills – one per class of closely related melee weapons. Melee Weapon skills are based on DX, and default to DX-4 if Easy, DX-5 if Average, or DX-6 if Hard. See specific skill descriptions for other defaults.
Make a Melee Weapon roll to hit an opponent in combat. You may also use these skills to parry. Your Parry defense is (skill/2) + 3, rounded down.
Melee weapons fall into broad categories on the basis of overall balance and function. When a rule refers to one of these categories, it applies to all weapons in that category and all Melee Weapon skills used to wield them. For instance, “fencing
weapons” means “all weapons used with any of Main-Gauche, Rapier, Saber, or Smallsword skill.”
A whip is a flexible weapon made from a length of chain, leather, wire, etc. A whip can be up to seven yards long – but note that a whip two yards or more in length cannot strike at one yard or closer, and is slow to ready after an attack. A whip tends to wind
around its target, making it an excellent disarming and entangling weapon. However, a whip’s lack of rigidity makes it a poor parrying weapon. For details, see Special Melee
Weapon Rules (p. 404).
The skills in this category default to one another at -3.
Kusari (DX/Hard): A weighted chain wielded in two hands. Default: Two-Handed Flail-4.
Monowire Whip (DX/Hard): A whip made of a weighted length of monomolecular wire attached to a handle.
Whip (DX/Average): Any ordinary whip.
Whips are effective disarming weapons. When you strike to disarm with a whip, you get +2 in the ensuing Quick Contest; see Knocking a Weapon Away (p. 401).
You may try to entangle your opponent instead of his weapon. This attack is at an extra -4 to hit, and inflicts no damage, but follows the Lariat rules (p. 411) if successful.
Whips are poor defensive weapons, and get -2 to Parry. Whips are also unbalanced, and cannot attack and parry on the same turn – and long whips actually become unready after
an attack or a parry. It takes one turn to ready a two-yard whip, two turns to ready a whip three yards or longer.
Additional rules apply, depending on the type of whip:
Whip: You can “crack” an ordinary bullwhip – this is the sound of the tip breaking the sound barrier! This requires an attack at -4 to skill, but inflicts +2 damage. Any whip blow is painful: anyone who suffers a whip wound to his arm or hand must roll against Will, modified by the shock penalty for the injury. On a failure, he drops anything in that hand.
Kusari: This is a weighted chain. You can adjust reach from 1 to 4 yards with a Ready maneuver. Treat it as a whip when disarming, entangling opponents, or readying. Treat it as a flail vs. enemy defenses: -2 to block and -4 to parry. If someone parries your kusari with a weapon, make a skill roll immediately. On a success, your kusari entangles his weapon. A failure has no special effect; a critical failure means you drop the kusari! Your opponent may disentangle his weapon on his turn. This requires a free hand and a DX roll. If he does not, you may make a disarm attempt on your next turn without rolling to hit first: state that you are attempting to disarm and immediately roll the Quick Contest. This still counts as an attack. You cannot use a kusari if there is no headroom, or in an area full of obstacles (nearby people count as obstacles). On a critical miss, a roll of 3, 4, 17, or 18 indicates that you have hit yourself in the face!
Monowire Whip: An ultra-tech whip made of superfine wire. A control allows you to vary length from 1 to 7 yards, changing both reach and ready time. Adjusting the length
requires a Ready maneuver. When used to snare an opponent or a weapon, the whip cuts into its target, inflicting thrust+1d(10) cutting damage every turn it is pulled taut until the victim escapes. A “drop weapon” critical miss indicates that you have hit yourself or a friend.