Country of Origin: Eisen
Salon: None (knowledge of this School is gained alongside the dark Sorcery called Kreis; these Sorcerers, the hereditary rulers of the village of Rabensumpf, pass this School on to their allies and followers at their own discretion)
Description: When the Sorcery of Kreis was passed on to its first mortal recipient, knowledge of the fighting style called Ernte was passed along with it. It was intended not so much as a complement to the Sorcery, but a mechanism for giving a Sorcerer’s servants greater ability to defend themselves (and, of course, the Sorcerer) and instill fear in the populace. A frightened community is a community more easily manipulated by the dark arts of Kreis.
Ernte is designed to be used with either a sickle (1k2 Improvised Weapon) or a scythe (2k2 Improvised Weapon). Its practitioners wear flowing brown robes and expressionless plague masks, designed to instill fear in their opponents. It is an unusual fighting style in that the choice of weapons is fluid, but the choice of apparel is not; without the robe and mask, this School loses much of its effectiveness.
The main weakness of Ernte is that it relies on instilling fear as much as, or maybe more than, effective fighting techniques. If an opponent can steel himself against the Ernte fighter’s creepy weapon and eerie garb, the School becomes little more than a collection of tricks with a farming implement and can be easily countered.
Basic Curriculum: Hunter, Improvised Weapon
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Ernte), Flurry (Improvised Weapon), Lunge (Improvised Weapon), Whirl (Improvised Weapon)
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. A Flurry is a sweeping series of repetitive attacks designed to wear down an opponent’s defenses. When attacking an enemy, you may declare a Flurry. Roll Resolve + Flurry. You must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Resolve. If you manage this, 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: The apparel and weapons of an Ernte fighter are selected to terrorize opponents. When using this School and wearing its signature robe and plague mask, Ernte fighters gain a Fear Rating equal to their Mastery Level in Ernte.
Ernte is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. As a result, its students receive an extra Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks instead of Guild membership.
Journeyman: The flowing robes of an Ernte fighter make it difficult to pinpoint where cloth ends and flesh begins, while his plague mask hides expressions of fear, pain, or similar emotions that might provide clues to an opponent’s defenses during combat. While using this School and wearing its signature garments, the Journeyman’s TN to be hit is increased by 5, regardless of the Knack used for Defense.
Master: The scythe and sickle are reaping weapons, effective for striking down opponents as well as bringing in the harvest. By taking four Raises on his attack roll, the Master may make a Called Shot to an opponent’s neck. Unlike an ordinary Called Shot, these Raises do add Unkept Dice to the Damage Roll, and when a Wound Check is made, opponents suffer an additional Dramatic Wound for every ten points the roll is failed by, as if they had been injured by a firearm.
Is it important or necessary to have guild membership?
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That’s a great question. Legally, Swordsmen–that is, member of the Swordsman’s Guild–are the only people allowed to initiate a duel. They are sort of like assassins, really: they take contracts to challenge other people to a duel, hoping to defeat them, or even kill them. The only difference is that a Swordsman (most of the time) engages in a fair fight, rather than striking from the shadows, and it’s possible they may lose.
In this case, it’s not really important at all to someone fighting in the Ernte style. He or she isn’t interested in legality or dueling; he or she just wants to terrorize the populace in support of their master (who will have Kreis Sorcery).