Calderón Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Castille
Salon: Avila (Average)
Founded: 1668
Sanctioned: 1671

Description: The Calderón style of fencing was established by a Castillian Swordsman (Juan Carlos Calderón de Gallegos del Castillo) after an extended visit to Eisen and an encounter with the Master of the Cesáro style. Although the School is relatively new, it has already become fairly popular among members of Castille’s lesser gentry seeking a method of self-defense that allows them to thumb their noses at the more traditional schools favored by their parents and older siblings. Master Calderón is never at a loss for well-to-do students, and no one was surprised when the School received sanction as part of the 1671 “modernization” of the Swordsman’s Guild.

The stance of a Calderón Swordsman is quite distinctive: body slanted away from the opponent, feet close together, sword extended towards the opponent and held at shoulder level. The Swordsman’s off hand is held down and out of the way, generally curled into a fist. He relies on quick movement and evasion to keep the opponent at a fixed distance, while directing his attacks at the opponent’s upper body, especially the face. A Calderón Swordsman keeps a careful count of how many facial scars he has doled out; those with higher counts are accorded greater respect. At one point, students of the school were fairly evenly split between the use of a traditional rapier and a heavier cavalry sabre. After the rapier-wielders dominated a friendly tournament sponsored by the style’s founder, use of the sabre dropped off completely. Calderón is now exclusively a rapier style.

The style’s primary flaw is its reliance on upper-body attacks. Not only does this make a Calderón Swordsman predictable, it increases the likelihood that he will fall victim to a strike to the legs or abdomen, especially if it is preceded by a series of attacks to the head and chest. Fencing in the Calderón School does not permit the use of low strikes, particularly during friendly training contests, so a Swordsman using this School is less prepared to defend against them.

Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Fencing
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Calderón), Riposte (Fencing), Sidestep, Tagging (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing)

Apprentice: The stance of the Calderón duelist, particularly the positioning of his weapon, makes him adept at intercepting attacks and delivering quick, slashing responses. Whenever the Apprentice attempts a Riposte, he receives his choice of a Free Raise to the Parry associated with it, or to the Attack portion of the Riposte instead.

Journeyman: Journeymen of the Calderón style have begun to make their Wall of Steel Knack an essential part of their defense. Once they have abandoned it to attack, every strike they make is designed to maneuver themselves into a better defensive position, reestablishing the Wall one layer at a time. Every attack a Journeyman makes which successfully penetrates the target’s Passive Defense increases the TN to hit the Journeyman by two if he uses Parry (Fencing) as his Passive Defense Knack. The TN to hit the Journeyman can be increased to a maximum of twice his rank in the Wall of Steel (Fencing) Knack. At the end of the Round, these bonuses disappear, and the Journeyman once again has full use of his Wall of Steel Knack to begin the next Round.

Master: Masters of Calderón have virtually perfected both their blade control and their economy of movement. They rely on their graceful maneuvering to keep themselves out of harm’s way, while their opponents struggle to keep up, off-balance and susceptible to vicious attacks. A Master may attempt a Riposte by using Footwork as his Active Defense Knack instead of Parry, and he may still apply the Free Raise granted by his Apprentice technique to his Active Defense if he wishes. Furthermore, when making the Attack portion of a Riposte, a Master does not have to declare Raises until after he has made his Attack Roll. Once he has chosen to do this, he is no longer able to increase the roll by adding Drama Dice. Raises may be used for called shots, to impress onlookers and gain Reputation, or to add Unkept dice to damage rolls.

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