Sorry about the title of this post. Old joke. So, anyway, I’ve been recently working on combat disciplines for Swords of the Eastsea. They’re cool little abilities that you can buy for you character which show that your character is extra skilled at some form of combat. Most of them are about mastering a specific weapon, such as the rapier or the pike, but some are defensive in nature too. They also say something about your character: where have they learned these skills?
Almost all disciplines are tied to a specific culture or group. For instance, Swedish swordfighters would know academic fencing, which is a form of swordfighting developed for duels. The Weirlanders who are obsessed with swordfighting have their own version of the fighting arts, which is perhaps a bit more brutal and aimed at ending fights fast and lethally.
The Norse are great wrestlers, the Karelians use their big axes, Landsknechts of the Danubian Empire learn defensive arts to live a bit longer, and so on.
My aim is to make all of these interesting and simple enough to not add an unnecessary level of complication to the game. Maybe even do small cards that spell out exactly what your character does differently.