Country of Origin: Vodacce
Salon: None (the School is unique to the sons of Vincenzo Caligara)
Description: After the sinking of Caligari Island in 1668, Prince Vincenzo and his surviving sons (one of them drowned trying to escape from the island) were forced into hiding. With most of their wealth destroyed and their lands seized by rival princes, the family was in real trouble. So they hid, and they schemed, and they prepared themselves to re-emerge into Vodacce once they were ready.
Vincenzo knew that his sons would eventually be targeted by assassins, bounty hunters, and countless other threats, so while he cobbled together a makeshift Syrneth laboratory in his secret headquarters, he tasked his sons with developing a unique Swordsman School that would give them an edge in battle. The oldest son, Tommaso, took the lead in this endeavor, and since the loss of any one of his brothers would be a devastating blow to the family, he knew it must be a defensive style: something more conservative than Ambrogia, which all of Vincenzo’s sons had already studied. After a year of development, the School (and the renamed Caligara sons) entered Vodacce society.
Caligara relies on the use of a rapier and main gauche, with the latter weapon relegated to a defensive role. The School incorporates an aggressive thrusting technique as well as complex footwork and dodges to complement the use of the main gauche, which functions as a sort of shield. The School’s primary weakness comes from its persistent off-hand defense; an opponent who focuses his attacks on the Swordsman’s dominant side takes the main gauche largely out of play, while entrapping or disarming the Swordsman’s rapier leaves him in dire straits, indeed.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Knife
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Caligara), Feint (Fencing), Lunge (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing), Sidestep
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint to be successful. If you are successful, 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: Students of Caligara are trained to fight with a rapier in their left hand and a main gauche in their right. The Apprentice receives the benefits of the Left-Handed Advantage, but only while using this School. In addition, the off-hand penalty for wielding a main gauche is negated, and the Apprentice receives a Free Raise on all Active Defenses he attempts using Parry (Knife).
As the “secret style” of the Caligara family, the School has not been submitted for sanction by the Swordsman’s Guild. In lieu of Guild membership, the Swordsman receives a free Rank in one of his Swordsman Knacks.
Journeyman: A Caligara Swordsman uses his main gauche exclusively for defense, never for offense, and he must learn the best way to deflect attacks, even from a disadvantageous position. At all times, including after a Lunge, the Journeyman may add his Rank in Wits to his TN to be hit.
Master: The Master of Caligara has perfected a dual-handed riposte technique that combines a parry using the main gauche with an aggressive thrust from the rapier. Whenever the Swordsman successfully executes an Active Defense using Parry (Knife), he may immediately attempt a Lunge against the attacker without spending an Action.