Muleta Fighting Style

Country of Origin: Castille (any member of the Order of Muleta may purchase this School for 25 HP; in the unlikely event that a nonmember is learning the School, it costs 30 HP for Castillians and 40 HP for others)
Salon: None (individual Masters are peppered throughout Madeira and Castille, primarily Rancho Gallegos
Founded: 1591

Description: The Order of Muleta is a group of bullfighters who continue to practice their art in all its original, barbaric glory. They are the only remaining matadors who practice the tercio final, which requires those who would seek glory in the arena to kill a bull with their ritual rapiers or, presumably, be killed themselves by the enraged beast. The earliest and most successful members of the Order refined their techniques and combined them into one comprehensive fighting style (they refuse to call it a Swordsman School), which has been passed down through four generations of bullfighters.

The Order has nothing but disdain for other bullfighters and the watered-down version of the “sport of kings” they practice. To tease and annoy a noble creature, then drive it into a pen to be humiliated again another day is simply scandalous. It denies the bull the chance to die with honor, and exposes the bullfighter as weak of character or technique, unable to master the Final Third. This contempt has boiled into visceral hatred of the Torres family and those who study at their salon (particularly since the secession of Rancho Torres from Castille). It’s bad enough that they use their talents to engage in a mockery of what their sport is meant to be, but teaching their techniques to mere Swordsmen who have never set foot in a bullfighting ring is unforgivable.

A Muleta fighter almost always begins combat by circling his opponent, measuring his strength while using a cloak for defense, attempting only the most rudimentary attacks (primarily testing feints to gauge the opponent’s skill). Eventually, he will shift from a defensive posture to one suited for offense, then attack ferociously. This change in stance is quite noticeable, and these attacks suffer from a lack of subtlety. A crafty opponent will exploit these tendencies to weather the initial period of defense, brace himself for the inevitable lunge, and strike when the Muleta fighter is completely exposed.

Basic Curriculum: Cloak, Fencing
Knacks: Blur (Cloak), Exploit Weakness (Muleta), Feint (Fencing), Lunge (Fencing), Sidestep

New Swordsman Knack: Blur. Your cloak is an ever-present blocking device, obscuring your footwork and your exact position from your opponents. If you have not attacked yet this Round, then each Rank of this Knack increases your TN to be hit by 2 if you use Footwork to determine your Passive Defense.

Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, taking a number of Raises equal to the opponent’s Wits. If the Feint is successful, the opponent cannot Actively Defend, and the Raises add Unkept Dice to your Damage Roll as usual.

Apprentice: The first lesson of this style involves the use of a cloak to ensure survival until the tercio final. Apprentices suffer no off-hand penalty for the use of a cloak, and receive a free Raise when using Block (Cloak) for an Active Defense.

Muleta is not (and never will be) sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. Instead of Guild Membership, students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks.

Journeyman: Journeymen learn the “single strike” technique that allows them to dispatch opponents with ruthless (some would say reckless) efficiency. This takes the form of a particularly aggressive strike, commonly called a floor lunge, that provides extra power but leaves the fighter in a vulnerable position. The attack is resolved like a normal Lunge, but instead of the penalties normally associated with the maneuver, it leaves the fighter prone until he spends an Action to rise to his feet. In exchange, the attack adds two extra Kept Dice (+2k2) to the Damage Roll rather than two Unkept Dice.

Master: Masters of Muleta have learned to manipulate an opponent leading up to the Final Third, so that exhaustion and injuries leave them vulnerable to the moment of estoque. For every Dramatic Wound an opponent has suffered, the Master is considered to have one Rank of Exploit Weakness with regard to that opponent, to a maximum Rank of six. The effects of this virtual Knack are cumulative with any other Exploit Weakness Knacks that apply.

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