Country of Origin: Vodacce (the School may be learned for 15 HP if the character already knows Ambrogia)
Salon: None (the School is taught privately by Veronica Ambrogia to those she considers worthy)
Description: A clever Swordsman, after defeating one of his most gifted students in a duel, allegedly quipped to his friends, “I taught him everything he knows, but not everything I know.” Those close to Veronica Ambrogia suspect that this anecdote was her inspiration in formalizing Ambrogia as a sword-and-knife school, while simultaneously developing this style (named for one of her many rumored lovers). Once it was completed, she passed the techniques along to a hand-picked cartel of fencing masters, including the private tutors of each of Vodacce’s ruling families. Since then, these masters’ most promising students have secretly learned Corsari alongside Ambrogia, and the combination has made them very dangerous (and successful).
In stance and technique, Corsari closely mimics the traditional movements of Ambrogia. Since Corsari was developed, Ambrogia has become marginally more conservative and defense-oriented, though even Masters of other Schools are hard-pressed to notice the difference. What Ambrogia has lost in pure aggression, however, has been picked up by Corsari. A Swordsman of the style is as likely to attempt a head butt as a skillful feint, or launch a foot past his opponent’s defenses instead of his blade.
Like Ambrogia, Corsari’s main weakness is that it relies on forcing an opponent to react to its practitioner’s tricks: tricks a seasoned opponent is likely to avoid. Moreover, cagey opponents learn to exploit the fact that Corsari Swordsmen are responsible for maintaining the style’s secrecy. Corsari techniques must be subtly slipped in between Ambrogia attacks and defenses. If a Corsari maneuver would be too obvious to onlookers, it must be avoided, giving the opponent a better idea of how to defend himself (or precisely where to strike).
Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Fencing
Knacks: Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Corsari), Feint (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing)
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 Corsari, like students of Ambrogia, are trained to use their left hands predominantly, and receive the benefits of the Left-Handed Advantage for free (but only when using this Swordsman School). In addition, they may use their right hand to wield a knife or make barehanded attacks without penalty. Finally, the dirty tricks of Corsari Swordsmen are particularly vicious: they may add their Mastery Level in Corsari to all damage rolls arising from any attack Knack in the Dirty Fighting Skill, including Advanced Knacks like Kick or Head Butt, but excluding Knacks like Throat Strike which do not result in a damage roll when successful.
Corsari is not likely to be submitted to the Guild for approval any time soon; Vodacce duelists in general (and Veronica Ambrogia in particular) relish the idea of a relatively secret style that blends seamlessly with their most popular fencing school. As Corsari continues to filter slowly through the ranks of Vodacce Swordsmen, Apprentices gain a Free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks instead of Guild Membership.
Journeyman: Journeymen of Corsari have distilled the reckless attack to an art form. By reducing their TN to be hit, they may increase their results for a single attack roll. For every five points their TN to be hit is reduced, they receive a Free Raise on their next attack in that Phase. The Journeyman’s TN to be hit remains lowered until his next Action becomes legal, or until the beginning of the next Phase, whichever occurs later. (Thus, a Corsari Journeyman with Action Dice showing 4, 7, and 8 may use this technique on Phase 4, but his TN remains lowered until Phase 7. If he had Action Dice showing 4, 4, and 8, and used only one of his Action Dice in Phase 4, his TN would remain lowered until Phase 5, instead.)
Master: The aggressiveness of Corsari Swordsmen often leaves them overextended. As a result, they learn to fling themselves out of harm’s way as a survival strategy. Once per Round, after an opponent has succeeded at an attack roll, a Master of Corsari may force the opponent to re-roll the attack. If the second roll fails, the attack is negated. The opponent may change the number of voluntary Raises he makes on the second roll (e.g., attempting to inflict more or less damage), but the type of attack cannot be changed. The Master may use this ability even if he is out of Actions for the Round, but he cannot force a re-roll of any attack that denies the opportunity for an Active Defense (e.g., a Beat or a Feint).