Country of Origin: Castille
Salon: Vaticine City (Large)
Description: Venegas has its origins early in the fourteenth century, a time when the Vaticine Church was still stinging from old wounds inflicted by the First and Second Crusades and the Hieros Wars, hundreds of years before. While the Church had come out of those conflicts stronger, many promising, faithful men and women were killed in battles fought in the name of the Church. Cardinal Enrique Venegas, a historian as well as a man of the cloth, had studied these conflicts in great detail, recounting in sadness how many lives were lost, and wondering how many could have been saved if they had benefitted from Church-sanctioned training. Cardinal Venegas drew upon the expertise of several members of the Church Guard—men who had been specially trained in swordsmanship and squad tactics—to create a Swordsman School which combined personal defense with discipline, teamwork, and a generous amount of faith. Professors in theology, philosophy, and military history were recruited to join the repurposed Church Guardsmen, and the Venegas War College accepted its first students in 1341.
The Venegas School only obliquely covers individual weapon training, focusing in greater detail on the psychology and strategy of small-group tactics. The School only benefits a Swordsman who believes strongly in teamwork; the larger the group, the more benefit they receive from the skilled leadership of a dedicated Venegas commander. While the School teaches a few tricks to keep a single opponent at bay (ranging from flashy, demoralizing attacks to cheap shots with the hilt of one’s blade), a Venegas Swordsman is only at his best when accompanied by allies, directing their assault against a single target whether it is a single Swordsman or a squad of enemy soldiers.
If Venegas has a weakness, it is that it is reliant on having allies in close proximity: to draw on for inspiration, to surround an opponent, or to provide cover while the Swordsman charges. By attacking a Venegas Swordsman while he is alone (or, more commonly, by maneuvering him into a position away from his allies) an opponent can take advantage of the Swordsman’s separation, attacking and defending with greater confidence and effect.
Basic Curriculum: Commander, Fencing
Knacks: Charge, Exploit Weakness (Venegas), Lunge (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Tagging (Fencing)
Apprentice: A student of Venegas learns that sometimes a powerful opening charge can be the edge the Swordsman needs. The Apprentice receives a bonus of two Unkept Dice (+2k0) to Attack Rolls (including the use of his Swordsman Knacks) if made with the Action Die adjusted by his Charge Knack.
Venegas is not recognized by the Swordsman’s Guild, so students do not gain membership in the Guild for free. Instead, they receive an extra Rank in the Leadership Knack of the Commander Skill at no cost.
Journeyman: At this level, a Venegas Swordsman has learned to draw inspiration from his companions, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. So long as he has a conscious ally within thirty feet, the Journeyman ignores the effects of being Injured. In addition, he may use his Charge Knack before every Round of combat, not just the first.
Master: The Venegas Master calls for absolute and crushing victory through overwhelming force of numbers. He gains a +1 bonus to his Attack (Fencing) and Active Defense rolls for each conscious ally within thirty feet. (For purposes of this ability, a Brute Squad is considered a single ally.) In addition, his allies gain one-half of this bonus (rounded down) to their Attack (Fencing) and Active Defense rolls. The maximum bonus the Master may receive from this technique is twice his Rank in the Leadership Knack; the maximum his allies may receive is half that, even if they are in the presence of more than one Venegas Master.