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The school of the Sublime Way focuses on versatility and efficiency. Their students are taught to use many weapons, and to excel in the weapons most suited to their disciplines. Reshar believed strongly that a weapon must be usable in all situations and that a martial adept must use any weapon available.
As such, the 'soft' weapons were largely scorned by Reshar. Though masters of Setting Sun could put nunchaku to powerful use, and the spiked chain was a thing to be feared in the most skilled of Shadow Hand adepts, Reshar himself found that the weapons, though potent in the hands of a master, simply did not offer enough to warrant the special training necessary in their use. If warriors were to be efficient, choosing how to spend their time training is crucial - and time spent mastering such a complicated weapon was wasted, thought Reshar, for his vision of a martial adept was one who would not be dependent on any single weapon.
Alikarin ahn Tollerria, a friendly rival of Reshar's, disagreed with this decision. He felt, strongly, that the weapons offered opportunities that could not be found with in rigid weaponry, and that training specially in their use could offer rewards to a dedicated student.
In many ways, Alikarin did find that Reshar was correct - he spent many decades simply experimenting with the weapons, and never had the success of his friend. He drew few students, because he felt he himself was still a novice. Nevertheless, he persevered, and after many years, his small dojo, though obscure and remote, had succeeded, through the combined efforts of Alikarin and his students, in developing ways of using soft weapons not only with the techniques of the Sublime Way, but also with their own discipline: the Chthonic Serpent.
The ways of the Chthonic Serpent rely on throwing one's opponent off-guard, distracting him and ruining his timing, before finally trapping him within the binding chains of their weapons. The weapons associated with the Chthonic Serpent discipline are the Dire Flail, Flail, Flindbar(MM3), Heavy Flail, Kusari-Gama(DMG), Spiked Chain, Tentacle, and Whip. The skill associated with Chthonic Serpent is Use Rope (Dex).
- 1 Learning Maneuvers from the Discipline
- 2 Maneuvers of the Chthonic Serpent Discipline
Learning Maneuvers from the Discipline
Because Alikarin had only succeeded in developing a successful discipline for these weapons by the time both he and Reshar were quite old, Reshar never mastered the discipline and it was never included in his school. As such, it never gained nearly the fame as Reshar's nine, but Alikarin's little dojo lives on, and masters of Chthonic Serpent may be found on occasion. Only Swordsages and Warblades may learn maneuvers from Chthonic Discipline, but most cannot. There are two ways to learn maneuvers from the discipline.
The first is to have received prior training in the discipline. A Warblade or Swordsage may start with access to Chthonic Serpent, but doing so means neglecting their training in another discipline. A Swordsage or Warblade may during character creation select one of the disciplines he has access to, and replace it with Chthonic Serpent. That discipline's associated skill is no longer a class skill for the character, and they gain Use Rope as a class skill instead.
The other way is to seek out a master of the Chthonic Serpent, one capable of 5th or higher level maneuvers from the discipline. Such a one may train a Swordsage or Warblade in the discipline. Training costs 1,000 XP and takes a month. After the month, the character gains the ability to learn maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline, and may further swap out any maneuvers he does know at the time for maneuvers from the Chthonic Serpent discipline of the same level. He also gains Use Rope as a class skill. The difficulty of finding such a mentor is left to the DM to decide.
Maneuvers of the Chthonic Serpent Discipline
- To see the full, expanded description of every maneuver, click here.