Desargues Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Montaigne
Salon: Crieux (Tiny)
Founded: 1648
Sanctioned: 1667

Description: The Desargues School was developed nearly twenty-five years ago by a fraternity of Montaigne fencers, but only sanctioned (and subsequently coming into vogue) since 1667. Heavily influenced by exposure to the fighting styles of Castille and Vodacce, the primary weapon of Desargues is a rapier. However, Desargues duelists are known for using almost anything (especially their own bodies) as an effective weapon. The School focuses on observation and manipulation of one’s environment, both in and out of combat. Over time, a Desargues duelist begins to see the world as one enormous, potential brawl; he must learn to anticipate danger and strike quickly and effectively to dominate any situation.

A Desargues Swordsman’s first lesson is to constantly survey the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of one’s surroundings (and one’s opponents), looking for any advantage that might be exploited. They typically take their time in the early stages of a duel, offering up a defense with their blades (or whatever more effective items they may find) while they study their opponents and prepare to unleash a swift, surprise attack. Once a Desargues duelist has his opponent on unfamiliar ground, he may toy with that opponent as long as he likes, dispatching him at his leisure. Desargues Swordsmen practice swordplay in a variety of unusual situations (on tables and staircases, balanced on thin beams, knee-deep in water, etc.) so that they may more effectively take advantage of any environment.

The primary flaw of Desargues is that it tends to be a reactive School, leaving it particularly vulnerable to feints and early offensive flourishes. An opponent who presses a series of rapid or misleading attacks can leave a Desargues swordsman struggling to mount an effective defense before he has a chance to feel out his opponent or develop a sense of his surroundings.

Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Fencing
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Desargues), Feint (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Tagging (Fencing)

Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint to be successful. If you are successful, he cannot avoid the attack using any Active Defense. The Raises taken on this roll add Unkept Dice to your damage roll as usual.

Apprentice: Early in his training, a Desargues Swordsman develops senses based on more than simple vision. An Apprentice’s enhanced instincts give him a free Raise to any Wits check (or similar roll) to spot an ambush or otherwise avoid being surprised. This ability is active outside of combat, but not during fight scenes where the character is using a fighting style other than Desargues.

In addition, the Apprentice may select one building (a tavern, fencing academy, etc.) as his “home turf,” receiving a number of Lair Dice per Scene equal to his Mastery Level while fighting in this location. Per the rules in Strongholds and Hideouts, each Lair Die may be used to add one Unkept Die (+1k0) to any roll made by the Swordsman while he is on his “home turf.”

Journeyman: Through careful observation of an opponent’s defenses, a Desargues Journeymen can isolate weaknesses and deliver fierce strikes wherever they will be most effective. If the Journeyman has at least one Rank in the Exploit Weakness Knack corresponding to an opponent’s fighting style, in addition to the standard benefits, he may add twice his Rank in that Knack directly to any Damage Roll made against that opponent.

Master: A Desargues Master’s blade speed is legendary; he is capable of striking so quickly, an opponent may still be reacting to the first attack when the second is driven home. The Master may spend one Action Die to perform two swift rapier attacks, making a separate attack roll for each. However, each attack suffers a penalty of two Unkept Dice (-2k0) on any Damage roll, as the set-up and follow-through occur so quickly that the Swordsman does not have the time or opportunity to put full force into either strike.

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