Hackenschmidt Fighting Style

Country of Origin: Eisen
Salon: Insel (Tiny)
Founded: 1670

Description: Georg Hackenschmidt was an Eisen mercenary, and a good one at that. He displayed considerable talent not just in warfare, but in hand-to-hand combat. There were times in battle when Georg would drop his weapons and challenge an opponent to fight him barehanded; should the enemy refuse, Georg was also adept at taking away the opponent’s weapons and using them against him. With the War of the Cross long since over, Georg searched for another epic battle that would push him to his limits. He occupied himself with leading patrols, protecting caravans, and fighting bandits, until Montaigne went to war with Castille. Georg was quick to leave his country and join the closest army (specifically the Montaigne army), offering his services for the war.

Impressed by Georg’s military knowledge and great skill at fighting, General Montegue readily accepted him into the ranks of the Montaigne forces and gave him a position as one of his advisors. Though Georg initially chafed at what he saw as a “soft” assignment, he soon learned that Montegue was a front-line general, and that there would be many opportunities for Georg to polish his fighting skills. When Montegue was recalled from the Castillian front to march on Ussura, he arranged for his advisors, including Georg, to accompany him. Within the borders of the frozen nation, Georg (and everyone else in the army) fought constantly against the weather, the supernatural plagues of Matushka, and especially the Ussuran people defending their homeland. Georg’s challenges for hand-to-hand combat were almost always accepted, and Georg dominated these contests, until he ran into someone trained in the Dobrynya fighting style.

Even in defeat (or perhaps because of the defeat), Georg was fascinated by the concept of an organized style of unarmed combat. When Montegue ordered the retreat from Ussura, Georg requested permission to remain in Ussura to study the fighting style he had encountered. Montegue reluctantly acquiesced, and Georg traveled the nation to study under a variety of trainers. When he had learned all there was to learn, he returned home to Insel and founded his own fighting style, not just to combat students of Dobrynya, but to eventually compete in the unarmed fighting tournaments taking place in Avalon, Inismore, and the Highland Marches.

Hackenschmidt is an aggressive style: when a practitioner is not grappling with an opponent, he is taking any number of cheap shots picked up during the many tavern brawls initiated by (and won) by its founder. Unlike Dobrynya, where the intent is to wrap the opponent up and cause damage through sheer force, Hackenschmidt is focused on putting an opponent on the ground, either by tripping him up, tossing him some distance from one’s self, or knocking him out with a well-placed throat strike or head butt. In a bout fought under Hackenschmidt rules, the first fighter to hit the ground loses; in genuine confrontations, the Hackenschmidt fighter will take an opponent down, then pounce on him and wail away with elbows, knees, eye rakes, or anything else he can imagine.

A Hackenschmidt wrestler’s aggressive nature also serves as his primary downfall. All offensive movement requires a fighter to press forward and step into close melee range; any time the Hackenschmidt fighter is moving forward, an opponent will know that an attack is coming and brace for it. Likewise, when a Hackenschmidt fighter is retreating, an opponent can be sure that no attack is forthcoming and strike without mercy.

Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Wrestling
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Wrestling), Exploit Weakness (Hackenschmidt), Sidestep, Throw

New Swordsman Knack: Throw. Once you have grappled someone, you can choose to release him in a more dramatic fashion than simply letting him go. Instead, you may throw him away from you and onto the ground or into a wall or some other obstruction.

To throw someone you must currently have him Grappled. Make a Finesse + Throw roll against a TN equal to 5 + 5 times your opponent’s Brawn. You may throw another person 5 feet if they are normally sized (you may throw a Small opponent 7.5 feet, or a Large opponent only 2.5 feet), plus another increment (2.5 feet, 5 feet, or 7.5 feet, depending on the opponent’s size) for each Raise you take on the roll. If you succeed, you throw the opponent to the ground. He does not take any damage, but he lands prone.

You may attempt to target something other than the ground. Hitting a wall or some similar structure (e.g., a table) has a TN of 15 + 5 times the opponent’s Brawn. Throwing one person into another raises the TN to 5 times the grappled opponent’s Brawn + the TN to hit the second opponent. Hitting a wall or some other hard surface inflicts damage as if the opponent had fallen from a height equal to the distance he was thrown (i.e., 1k1 Flesh Wounds per ten feet thrown). Hitting another person inflicts 2k1 damage on each opponent, and both land prone. These damage ratings may be increased by Unkept Dice (+1k0) by taking Raises on the attack roll as normal. If you fail to meet the TN of your Finesse + Throw roll, you have released your opponent and he neither takes damage nor falls prone.

This is the same as the Throw Knack found in the Soft Martial Arts Skill originally described in Cathay: Jewel of the East and revised in Salvaged Skills of the 7th Sea. It remains an Advanced Knack for students of Hackenschmidt, since the training is much less common in mainland Théah.

Apprentice: The Hackenschmidt student learns early that maintaining hold of an opponent is the best way to keep himself from being attacked, especially if that opponent is armed. After succeeding at a Grapple attempt against an opponent, the TN to escape the Grapple is immediately Raised by 5, as if the Apprentice had spent an Action to improve his hold.

The Hackenschmidt fighting style is not endorsed by the Swordsman’s Guild. Therefore, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks instead of Guild membership.

Journeyman: At this level of training, the Hackenschmidt fighter has learned to grab an opponent and immediately slam him to the ground, ending a friendly contest and taking a distinct advantage in an unfriendly one. The Journeyman may use Interrupt Actions to make Corps-á-Corps attacks against an opponent he has successfully Grappled. If the Journeyman is willing to fall prone with the opponent, this does not break the Grapple.

Master: A Master of Hackenschmidt is fully adept at outmaneuvering an opponent and reacting almost without thinking when he tries to squirm away. The first time in any Phase that the Master makes a Grapple attempt against an opponent and fails, he may immediately attempt another Grapple against the same opponent, at the same TN.

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