Country of Origin: Avalon
Salon: Wandesborow (Tiny)
Description: The Steele School has its origins with Clayton Steele, a young Swordsman with aspirations towards becoming a Knight of Elaine. Clayton trained for nine months in the Robertson School, and to complement its effectiveness, he began experimenting with a series of tricks he could execute with a weighted cloak. Without realizing it, he informally created this Swordsman School, and though he has only perfected the Apprentice technique, this is what the School will look like if he sticks with it unto completion.
Steele relies on the use of a rapier with a weighted cloak (one with metal balls sewn into the hem, a 2k1 weapon) held in the off hand. Even without a weapon, a Steele Swordsman can ward off sword blows by wrapping the cloak around his arm to cushion impacts, entangle axes and daggers, ensnare arrows, conceal their outline to foil opponents, and disarm and trip foes. He might not be able to strike back as effectively as with his rapier, but that is true of any swordsman caught unarmed.
Without their cloaks, however, Steele Swordsmen are robbed of their greatest asset, leaving them unable to employ their special techniques. A simple disarm directed at a Swordsman’s cloak, or an even more simple shift in stance to lead with one’s sword (so that a Swordsman must take care or risk having his cloak damaged) leaves him susceptible to attacks and easily defended against.
Basic Curriculum: Cloak, Fencing
Knacks: Attack (Cloak), Blur (Cloak), Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Cloak), Exploit Weakness (Steele)
New Swordsman Knack: Attack (Cloak). Attack is simply the ability to hit your enemy. While most cloaks are unsuitable for attacking, a weighted cloak (with a Damage Rating of 2k1) may be used as an effective blunt weapon. This is an Advanced Knack in the Cloak Skill, though it is considered a Basic Knack for students of the Steele School.
New Swordsman Knack: Blur. Your cloak is an ever-present blocking device, obscuring your footwork and your exact position from your opponents. If you have not attacked yet this Round, then each Rank of this Knack increases your TN to be hit by two if you use Footwork to determine your Passive Defense.
Apprentice: Apprentices of the Steele School begin learning to use their cloaks offensively, particularly by tripping an opponent up while he is trying to maintain his footing. The off-hand penalty is negated while using a cloak in combat, and so long as the Apprentice has a cloak in hand, he may add his Rank in Attack (Cloak) to any Corps-á-Corps attacks he attempts.
Since Steele is not recognized by the Swordsman’s Guild, students do not gain membership in the Guild for free. Instead, they receive an extra Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks at no cost
Journeyman: A Steele Swordsman carrying (not simply wearing) a cloak can use it to distract foes, deflect weapons, and conceal his outline more effectively than an ordinary sword-and-cloak fighter. The Journeyman’s benefit when using his Blur (Cloak) Knack is increased to three times his Rank in that Knack.
Master: In addition to using a cloak defensively, Steele Swordsmen learn how to ensnare weapons and knock them from the wielder’s hands, and whip their cloak towards their foes to force them off balance. The Master receives a Free Rank in his Attack (Cloak) and Disarm (Cloak) Knacks. This should increase his Rank in each Knack to a six; if for some reason it doesn’t, he may increase his Rank in those Knacks from a five to a six later by spending twenty-five Experience Points per Knack.
How would one acquire a weighted cloak?
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One can be purchased from pretty much any tailor. It’s just an ordinary cloak with weighted balls sewn into the hem, so it can be whipped around and used as a bludgeoning weapon. It costs around 8 Guilders.
Some tailors also make a bladed cloak. The cloak is pleated, and thin, retracting blades are sewn into the pleats. When one whips the cloak at an enemy (or if one simply twirls while wearing the cloak), the blades extend and slice up your enemy. These cloaks cost 18 Guilders and have a Damage Rating of 2k2.