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Martial Arts





Battlelords of the 23rd Century Scenario


This is our take on writing this martial art up for Rifts RPG, using Palladium's Ninjas and Superspies and Mystic China books. 


This is the martial art of the Sikhs. Its origin is said to have been lost in the mist of time. It was known as and still is known as Shastra Vidyaa. It is first mentioned in the Indian epic the Mahabarat. Vidyaa  can mean living science or scientific discipline. Shastra Vidyaa is the Science of combat, a living science practicd today as it was thousands of years ago. It was taught to the Sikhs as a thank you by a group of Rajput princes who the Sikhs freed from Mughal prisons. This became the Sikhs martial art when Guru Hargobind established the concept of Saint/Soldier, and the Khalsa was founded. These warriors were known as Nihangs, akin to the Knights that emerged in Europe and other holy warriors that emerged elsewhere in the world. Over the years just as in the order of the knights, miscreants enter their ranks who abused their position for selfish gain, so to did people start abusing the good name of the Nihang. These false Saint/Soldier became known as Nangs.

These Saint/Soliders taught this martial art to others who were persecuted, irrespective of their religion or caste, and they protected their own people and of others faiths, when they were persecuted. At the founding of the Khalsa, the people of other minorities were being persecuted by the Muslim Mughal rulers. The Saint/Soldiers even though outnumbered, managed to defend themselves and others and found their own empire in northern India. Ranjit Singh is a well known leader of this Sikh Empire. However just as they overcame the Mughals the British Raj arrived. They banned martial practices in India and persecuted the Saint/Soldiers. Very nearly wiping them out, Most of these warriors disbanded and lived as wanderers, teaching their art to those who would learn it of them. When the British lifted their ban, this martial emerged as Gatka, more of a sport in colleges than a way of life. This martial art pretty much disappeared from the annals of history. With  the odd Nihang demonstrating it in Melas (fairs) around the Punjab for food. This martial art was revived in the late 20C and early 21C, but many dismissed it as not being the true art, but more the false sporty version of Gatka. Then this version is said to have been influenced by other martial arts from the east and west, which had come to the attention of the practitioners of Gatka. Many claimed that Gatka lost most of the intricacies of the older art, and it focused to heavily on sword and stick weapons. It lost the knowledge of unarmed combat, grappling techniques, targeting vital points and even lost some pentras. Whatever the case, it is Gatka that survived the coming of Rifts to Earth. It has been taught to those who need it and willing to learn it and use it to defend themselves and the weak and innocent.

Entrance Requirements: NONE

Skill Cost: 7 (SEVEN) years

Costume: none usually, though a conical turban is worn with Chakra hidden on it. Traditional Indian clothes (salwar/kameez) are worn. Yellow or Blue colours are worn by Gatka practioners.

Character Bonuses:

Add +1 ME

Add +1 PP

Add +1 PS

Add +1 PE

Add +1 Spd

Add +10 SDC


Combat Skills:

Attacks Per Melee: 2 (TWO)

Escape Moves: Roll with punch/fall/impact, Maintain balance

Basic Defensive Moves: Dodge, Parry, Automatic Parry

Advanced Defences: Automatic Roll, Circular Parry, Multiple Dodge, Disarm

Hand Attacks: Strike (Punch), Backhand

Basic Foot Attacks: Kick Attack, Backward Sweep,

Jumping Foot Attacks: Jump Kick

Special Attacks: Death blow, Leap Attack, Combination Strike/Parry, Front Flick -an attack designed to make space for the warrior, standard damage, but opponents must roll against maintain balance, or find themselves upto 1D6 feet away from warrior after being hit by this attack. Maroaara - attack/block move, the attack is always directed at the head or throat of opponent. It does X4 normal damage if a roll of over 17 is rolled including bonuses. Chungii Escape - an escaping leap, which allows warrior to protect herself against numerous opponent while jumping to safety. During this action the warrior can attempt to parry/dodge all incoming attacks, is able to Leap 6ft +2ft at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 high and long from standing or fighting position. (do not include other jump bonuses to this ability or add this to running leaping distance, this is a combat move ONLY). CHATKA (beheading). Using a sword or bladed weapon, the warrior tries to behead opponent in ONE Attack. Only warriors of 7th level or above can attempt it. The warrior must prepare for a melee and declare death blow, can not attack during this or lose concentration (parrying or dodging have chance of breaking concentration). At level SEVEN each time character rolls to parry/dodge while concentrating to do this attack he must roll under 40% +5% per level to keep concentration. Obviously being knocked back/stunned will mean automatic loss of concentration. If after melee concentration is kept, the warrior can attempt Chatka strike, this will do double death blow attack damage, and use up all attacks for that melee and warrior will be exhausted for the next melee of fighting, HALF EVERYTHING. A roll of Natural 20 will mean beheading, irrespective of how much damage left on opponent. An opponent will not be beheaded if chatka roll is unsuccessful, he may be killed from damage done by attack, but his head will not be removed from his body in one clean attack, that only occurs on a successful chatka roll. At level 12 this roll goes to a natural 18-20. NB: this attack is open to all the weapon based martial arts, especially Gui Long kung fu, Zanji Shinjinken ryu and executioner occupations. Executioners get to add their W.P bonus to this roll and have a combined strike roll of 20 or above for a successful beheading attack.

Hold/Locks: None

Weapon Katas: W.P Sword and W.P Paired sword, W.P short stick (Soti), W.P Paired Short Sticks. W.P Knife, W.P Paired in any Combinations of these weapons.

Modifiers to Attacks: Pull Punch, Knock-Out/Stun, Critical Strike, Critical Strike from Rear


Special Katas: Simple Pentra-The word for kata in Punjabi is Pentra (Pantra) and The Simple Pentra is the beating heart of the martial art known as Gatka, without the simple pentra there is no Gatka. This four step movement is practiced daily, repeated over and over again. Whether you are a novice or a Guru of Gatka, you perform this pentra daily. The Simple Pentra aligns/balances the body and minds energy meridians, making the mind and body act as one. This meditative state is known as the neutral mind. How many times have you thought about something and found that your body simply didn't respond, or responded too late. Even though you had realised and planned a response to a situation almost immediately. The simple pentra brings this discrepancy between the mind's reaction and the body reaction more in line with each other. With practice the neutral mind becomes second nature and the practitioner starts to master it, and it is never truly mastered, it makes the body and mind more attune with each other, and the body therefore responds much quicker to the mind. The practitioner will also find him/herself using both hands and feet a lot more, for the neutral mind starts utilising the full capacity of the mind and body, and this gives a certain amount of ambidextrous ability. Gatka users practice endlessly using both hands equally with their weapon training to further master this ability. This naturally induces full ambidextrous and paired weapons skill. When in the neutral mind the person's body reacts quicker, their awareness become more acute, and their sense of balance is enhanced a lot. They are more conscious of time and space.


Once Mastered the Simple Pentra gives these abilities: Receives 4(FOUR) additional skills from any category at +10%. Ambidextrous, (and thereby Paired Weapons with all applicable weapons including in appropriate firearms, like pistols). Knows where the magnetic poles are located in relation to him (Land Navigation skill of 98% to a location visited previously anywhere on a planets surface). +10% to ALL skills and + 20% to skills requiring balance/Physical skills. On Rifts Earth there is a 25% chance of being major psionic instead of 10%.

When performing the Neutral Mind character gets these abilities: Summon Inner Strength, Advanced Zanshin (+4 initiative, +2 Strike, +3 Parry, +2 Dodge), +4 to Maintain Balance. PROWL skill gets +25%. In neutral Mind is able to hide emotions and feelings and can fool interrogators and lie detector machines. Is +3 to HF and is +2 magic/psionic/illusion and poison/drugs saving throws, +1 to spell/psionic strength, Double isp/ppe base, Double normal healing rates and can double duration of any spells/psionics cast. This kata allows full use of martial art as well as other katas, once it has been activated. However while it is being activated only defensive actions can be taken, and it won't be activated if concentration is broken. Concentration can be broken by being knocked down/stunned or HF failed, or drastic evasive action is taken, if the users concentration is broken, he will need to start concentration all over again. Neutral Mind takes ONE melee to engage and can last for a MELEE per characters level for combat purposes. Neutral Mind can be maintained as long as character desires when meditating or practicing simple pentra.

NB: The Simple Pentra must be practiced every single day, the longer the better, usually an hour at dawn and an hour at dusk. The warrior will start of practicing Simple Pentra, and then integrate Dance of the Sword, finished of Nine Hit Pentra or the Chatka attack.


The Neutral Mind also gives the warrior the Advanced Chi Sword technique with his swords. In Rifts this will allow warrior to do MDC attacks with his swords and hurt supernatural, and his swords will do an additional 1D6 damage at lvls 2,3,4,6,8,10, 12 and 15


Special Katas: Dance of the Sword Pentra. The Sword has a special place in the heart of warriors, it is seen as a manifestation of God's power, and as such comes with a heavy responsibility to use it wisely, a warrior understands that even with the best of intentions its use can be abused. Through the Simple Pentra a warrior understands the flow of energies around him and through the Dance Of The Sword Pentra, a warrior uses this awareness of energy and space around him to best effect in a battlefield situation. Gatka is primarily a weapon based art, and it is through Dance of the Sword Pentra that full use of weapons is made on the battlefield.

Dance of the Sword Pentra gives these abilities: Starts with THREE attacks instead of two and +1 to attacks at lvls 3 and 7. Automatic dodge, +1 Strike, Dodge, Parry,(all combat moves with weapons) at lvls 2, 3, 5, 7. Critical Strike 18-20, Knock Out/Stun 18-20, Death Blow 18-20 at level 2. Critical Strike 17-20, Knock Out/Stun 17-20, Death Blow 17-20 at level 11. All these are in addition to normal level advancement of hth (accumulative where appropriate with the level advancement bonuses of the martial art).


Nine Hit Pentra: In attack Mode: it gives +3 strike, +1 attack, can fire of all attacks in First attack if he so chooses or attack normally. CANNOT DODGE or circular parry during this pentra. And can parry at +2 only, add P.P bonus, simple pentra/neutral mind, do not add bonuses from dance of sword or lvl advancement bonuses.


In defence mode, add +3 to parry, and it creates an automatic defensive shield around character with his paired weapons moving all around warriors body. This gives an A.R of 4 +1 every lvl. A roll under A.R means the attack hit the weapon and was deflected, the character does not need to roll to parry. Can be used against arrows at lvl 7, but A.R is halved  (A.R starts at 5), and can be used against SINGLE GUN SHOTS not bursts at lvl 11 but A.R is halved (A.R starts at 7)


GM's Option: These are Pentra(kata) that are said by some to have been part of Shastra Vidyaa, Gatka Practitioners do not associate them with Sikh gatka. A GM may allow a Player on Rifts Earth to uncover this lost knowledge and let it be part of Gatka or make it part of Shastra Vidyaa. The  Pentra's are in no particular order:

1: Cobra Pantra, 2: Combination Peacock/Eagle, 3: Langoor Monkey, 4:Tiger, 5: Wild Boar.

Bonus Skills and Abilities:

Martial Art Powers: Select a total of 1 (ONE) powers from amongst Martial Art Techniques, Body Hardening and Demon Hunter Body Hardening Exercises.

Language Skills: Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi

Training Skills: Fencing, Gymnastics, Horsemanship (equal to Cyberknight), W.P Blunt, W.P Shield, W.P Staff, W.P Spear, W.P Axe. NB: W.P Paired Weapons in these and W.P Paired weapons in any Combination of these weapons means that the above weapons can be used in any combination, such as sword and shield, sword and knife, mace and axe, and W.P Chakra (throwing disk) and W.P Bow, Military Intelligence, Wilderness Survival, Play Nagara (War drum), dancing

Philosophical Training: Sikhism


Level Advanced Bonuses:

1st +1 to roll with punch/fall/impact, +1 Strike, Parry, +1 Maintain Balance, Critical Strike 20, Knock Out/Stun 20, Death Blow 20

2nd +1 to Maintain Balance, +1 dodge

3rd Select ONE (1) Martial Art Power From Martial Art Techniques, Special Katas, Demon/Body Hardening Exercises

4th +1 to roll with punch/fall/impact, +1 Parry, +1 Maintain Balance, +1 Initiative

5th +1 Attack Per Melee, +1 Initiative,

6th Select ONE (1) Martial Art Power From Martial Art Techniques, Special Katas, Demon/Body Hardening Exercises

7th + Maintain Balance, Critical Strike 19-20, Knock Out/Stun 19-20, Death Blow 19-20

8th +1 Attack Per Melee,

9th Select ONE (1) Martial Art Power From Martial Art Techniques, Special Katas, Demon/Body Hardening Exercises, All Chi Mastery not Chi katas, Zenzorike

10th +1 Initiative, +1 to roll with punch/fall/impact, +1 Strike, Dodge, Parry, +1 Maintain Balance

11th +1 Attack Per Melee, Add +10 Chi

12th +1 to roll with punch/fall/impact, +1 Strike, Dodge, Parry, +1 Maintain Balance

13th Double Chi

14th +1 Attack Per Melee

15th Select ONE (1) Martial Art Power From Martial Art Techniques, Special Katas, Demon/Body Hardening Exercises, All Chi Mastery not Chi katas, Zenzorike


Why Study Gatka

This is a proven battlefield martial art, effective against multiple opponents in the heat of a battle. Provides excellent weapon training, though it lacks in unarmed combat. And most of its moves can only really be done with weapons.


This webpage was created by the OneTen rp'ing group. All work that appears on this page is (C) Copyright the OneTen rp'ing group 2011.