Country of Origin: Eisen
Salon: Wolfbühel (Average) – a moderately-sized town in southern Insel, near the border with Heilgrund
Description: Over four hundred years ago, a legendary duel was fought between two Eisenfaust masters in the Königreich of Pösen. The duel seemed to be over when one combatant seized the other’s broadsword with his Panzerhand and snapped it in half, leaving only a few inches of blade intact. Rather than accepting defeat, the disadvantaged duelist lifted his shattered weapon and wielded it like a dagger, stabbing with what was left of the blade and punching with the hilt. Throwing in a few wild strikes from his own Panzerhand, the mostly-disarmed Swordsman managed to overwhelm his opponent and claim victory.
Witnesses to the duel were utterly amazed, and one, Gustav Noether, realized that fighting with a short blade and a ready fist, and remaining inside an opponent’s guard, could allow anyone to defeat a supposedly unbeatable Eisenfaust Swordsman. Gustav took what he had witnessed and turned it into a dagger-and-fist style: the dagger for slipping between plates of Dracheneisen armor, and the fist for knocking out any unarmed opponents who get in the way. While the fighting style is meant to be used with a dagger, it may also be used with a broken Fencing or Heavy Weapon.
Noether relies on constant movement of the user’s feet and short, jabbing attacks from the dagger. Meanwhile, the off hand waits for the opportune moment to land a haymaker on an opponent’s jaw. Defenses come from parrying with the stiletto or, more commonly, blocking with the bare hand by intercepting an opponent’s wrist rather than his weapon.
Because an opponent must step inside an opponent’s guard before attacking, it is painfully obvious when such attacks are about to occur: the fighter must rush forward, batting aside his opponent’s weapon and making a quick jab with his blade or his fist. While he is closing, the Noether fighter is vulnerable to attack and his own strikes will be easier to intercept because the opponent knows they are coming.
Basic Curriculum: Knife, Pugilism
Knacks: Disarm (Knife), Exploit Weakness (Noether), Flurry (Knife), Pommel Strike (Knife), Uppercut
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flurry. You roll Resolve + Flurry, taking a number of Raises equal to the opponent’s Resolve. If the attack is successful, the opponent cannot Actively Defend, and the Raises add Unkept Dice to your Damage Roll as usual.
Apprentice: A Noether fighter is so used to attacking and defending with both his bare hand and his weapon that the off-hand penalty is negated when using his Attack (Pugilism), Block (Unarmed), or Uppercut Knacks. In addition, the Apprentice may use Block (Unarmed) as a Passive or Active Defense Knack against knives, stilettos, daggers, and similar weapons.
Noether is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. As a result, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: A Journeyman of Noether has learned to keep his hands stiff and his arms loose, using his wrists and empty hand as shields to protect himself from the weapons of his foes. The Journeyman receives a +5 bonus to his TN to be hit while using Block (Unarmed) to determine his Passive Defense. In addition, the Journeyman may use Block (Unarmed) as a Passive or Active Defense Knack against Fencing Weapons.
Master: Sometimes to give, one has to take. The ebb and flow of combat, which the Master has perfected, allows him to focus his pain into a forceful counter blow when struck by an enemy’s weapon. After suffering a Dramatic Wound from a melee attack, the Master may immediately make an Attack Roll against the opponent who struck him using Attack (Knife), Attack (Pugilism), or Uppercut without spending an Action Die. For every Dramatic Wound inflicted by the triggering attack, the Master receives a free Raise on his Attack Roll. In addition, the Master may use Block (Unarmed) as a Passive or Active Defense Knack against Heavy Weapons.