Country of Origin: La Bucca (any member of the Brotherhood of the Coast may learn du Paix for 25 HP, regardless of nationality)
Salon: La Bucca (Tiny)
Description: Jean-Paul du Paix was once a Swordsman of great repute, until he was manipulated by a rival into killing another Swordsman. Convicted of murder, disowned by his family, and sentenced to life imprisonment on the island of La Bucca, Jean-Paul received a second chance at life after the prisoners rebelled, forming the Brotherhood of the Coast. Serving first as a marine aboard the Hanged Man, and later as a fencing instructor for interested sailors on the fledgling island nation, Jean-Paul drew upon his natural athleticism to develop a Swordsman School that would give the Brotherhood’s marines an edge in boarding conflicts.
Like the Valroux school he studied in Charouse, Jean-Paul’s signature Swordsman School relies on the use of a rapier and main gauche in tandem, though the School remains quite effective if the Swordsman does not have, or is disarmed of, his off-hand weapon. The School also places a heavy emphasis on footwork, teaching three distinct stances that a Swordsman assumes at appropriate points in a duel, each with its own strengths. Mastery of these stances is essential to achieving the highest levels of proficiency with du Paix.
On the other hand, clever opponents can rely on their knowledge of these stances to anticipate a Swordsman’s next move. While the Swordsman is in his assessing stance, the opponent can be certain that no attack is forthcoming, whereas a Swordsman in a forward stance will be striking soon, and the opponent can prepare to defend himself.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Knife
Knacks: Bind (Fencing), Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (du Paix), Riposte (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing/Knife)
Apprentice: The first lesson taught by Jean-Paul is not to press an attack when you are unsure of an opponent’s skill. This lesson is applied through a defensive (or “assessing”) stance which maximizes the Apprentice’s ability to deflect an oncoming attack with his blades. So long as the Apprentice has a knife of some sort in his off hand, his Wall of Steel Knack provides a bonus of three per Rank to his TN to be hit instead of two per Rank. In addition, the off-hand penalty is negated when the Apprentice uses a dagger or main gauche as a secondary weapon.
The School is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, and the only man in a position to offer it up for testing, Jean-Paul himself, has no intention of doing so. Instead of receiving Guild membership for free, students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks.
Journeyman: Jean-Paul’s second lesson is to never give your opponent an opportunity to rest when you have the advantage. Once the Journeyman has committed to attack, he shifts from his defensive posture to a harrying stance that allows him to strike swiftly and with great precision. Whenever the Journeyman successfully hits with a Fencing attack (including an attack as part of a Riposte), if his Damage Roll is lower than his Initiative Total, he may substitute his Initiative Total for the roll.
Master: Jean-Paul’s final lesson to his students is a simple one: when your opponent leaves himself open to an attack, oblige him. The Master learns a forward stance that allows him to intercept an opponent’s blade and counterattack with great ferocity. When attempting a Riposte, the Master no longer halves his Rank in Attack (Fencing), and may add a number of Kept Dice equal to or less than his Riposte Knack to the attack roll as usual.
As I read this type of swordsman school characteristics, I especially liked the part that read…”While the Swordsman is in his assessing stance, the opponent can be certain that no attack is forthcoming, whereas a Swordsman in a forward stance will be striking soon, and the opponent can prepare to defend himself.” The awareness is the first rule of any combat between two people. Great to have it acknowledged! Now…en garde!
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Avast! Have at you! I challenge you to Nerf guns at ten paces!