Age of Ambition: Fighting Styles

Age of Ambition: Fighting Styles

As is inevitable in many RPGs, sooner or later diplomacy will fail. Blades will be drawn. Blood will be spilt. And someone will decide that they would rather murder their opposition than stand aside.

These situations call for a combat system, and Age of Ambition has one with a variety of dramatic and tactical options. Key to this combat system for all but the most simple of opponents are Fighting Styles—special skills that grant access to powerful combat maneuvers. In this post I want to talk a bit about how fighting styles work and then show an example fighting style.

If you're not familiar with Age of Ambition, you should know that it's coming to Kickstarter on January 21, 2020 and its blurb is below:

Age of Ambition is a roleplaying game set on a world rapidly leaving the traditional fantasy milieu behind. It's the game of forward-facing fantasy! Where the heroes guide the world into a brave new era of promise or peril.

So strap on your breastplate and pick up your pistol. There are discoveries to make, wrongs to right, tyrants to overthrow and new social orders to trial.

Fighting Styles

Fighting styles are special skills that can be used with your Attack score. Each fighting style grants access to several maneuvers, which are special tricks taught as part of the style. Most, but not all, maneuvers are some variation of an attack. You may only use one maneuver per turn. Note that maneuvers which are reactions usually occur during a different character’s turn, and thus you might be able to use more than one per round.

Each fighting style is compatible with certain weapons, and maneuvers that are attacks may only be used with those weapons.

Like all skills, each fighting style has three ranks—proficient, expert and master. Boons from the expert and master ranks apply to all attacks made with a compatible weapon, regardless of whether the attack is a special maneuver granted by the style.

Many maneuvers either grant or cost a Bolstered consequence. This represents good positioning, boosted morale or some other tactical advantage. Maneuvers that cost a Bolstered consequence make use of this advantage to gain the stated effects. This removes the consequence without its usual benefits.

Example Fighting Style: Pikeman

Compatible Weapons: Any melee weapon with the Reach property

You are skilled at using superior reach to attack your enemies from beyond the range of their weapons.


  • Action: Attack/pikeman-style vs. Defense; beginning of round.
  • Costs:

You are experienced at bracing the butt of your weapon against the ground to gain an added advantage against oncoming foes. Declare your brace at the beginning of the round. This round you may not move or take the Dodge reaction. After you make an attack on your turn, gain the Bolstered consequence.

Hold at Bay

  • Action: Harry reaction
  • Costs: Bolstered consequence

You are adept at holding your enemies at bay. By spending a Bolstered consequence when an enemy first enters your reach, you may take the Harry reaction against her. Furthermore, if she uses a defensive reaction against this attack, she cannot move further this turn.

Long Reach

  • Action: Attack/pikeman-style vs. Defense
  • Costs: Bolstered consequence

You are skilled at making the most of your weapon’s reach. By spending a Bolstered consequence when making a melee attack, you may treat your weapon as having +1 to its Reach property. The extra reach for this attack does not require an action to change grip.

Sliding Grip

  • Action: Attack/pikeman-style vs. Defense
  • Costs: Bolstered consequence

You are well practiced at quickly adjusting your grip. By spending a Bolstered consequence when making an attack, you may change the grip on your weapon for free this round, both before and after the attack. This allows you to attack at full reach or within your reach without spending an AP to adjust your grip.

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