Country of Origin: Vodacce (any Swordsman charged with security at the Dilatente finishing school may learn this school for twenty-five HP; however, the Masanda family prefers to teach the style only to Vodacce Swordsmen, and it is rare for anyone other than a member of the family to reach the level of Master)
Salon: Serine (Small; the School is taught out of the Dilatente Finishing School, and only to Swordsmen charged with the defense of the institution and its students)
Description: The so-called “guardian families” of Vodacce are entrusted with the safety of the noble families’ Fate Witches. This is considered a sacred duty, and these guardians will go to any lengths to ensure that their charges are protected. The Masanda family has taken their duty a step farther, creating a Swordsman School designed to protect a Strega by exploiting the Sorte magic Twisted into their rapiers.
The Masanda School relies on a strong defensive stance, with the Fate Witch charge either immediately beside or slightly behind the Swordsman on his weak side. The School focuses on neutralizing threats to the Fate Witch so that she and her protector can make it to safety. This is accomplished by letting the Swordsman’s Twisted Rapier guide his or her hand, finding the chinks in an opponent’s armor brought about by the circumstances of the moment. This Sorcerous advantage, coupled with a handful of reaction-based tricks, makes the Masanda School extremely effective at fulfilling its purpose.
Because Masanda is designed to protect another person, its weaknesses run counter to those of most Schools. So much attention is focused on defending the weak side, where a Fate Witch would typically stand (sometimes even holding hands with the Swordsman) that attacks against the Swordsman’s strong side are less likely to be intercepted.
Basic Curriculum: Bodyguard, Fencing
Knacks: Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Masanda), Interpose, Riposte (Fencing)
New Swordsman Knack: Interpose. Interposing is the act of putting your own body in between someone else and an attack. When you use this Knack to protect someone else, your TN to be hit is reduced by 10 (minimum 5), and your charge may use your Rank in Interpose as their Defensive Knack for calculating their TN to be hit.
Interpose may also be used for an Active Defense to protect someone else. Use your Action Dice for this, not the Action Dice of the person you are protecting. Roll Wits + Interpose for this Active Defense attempt. If you succeed, you take the damage from the Attack instead of its intended victim. If you receive one or more Dramatic Wounds from using Interpose for an Active Defense, you gain a Drama Die.
This is the same as the Interpose Knack found in the Bodyguard Skill, but it is considered a Basic Knack for students of Masanda.
Apprentice: While incapable of sensing the strands that have been Twisted around their weapons, Masanda Swordsmen have trained with them so extensively that they can feel their blades “tugging” themselves into proper position for an attack or a parry. Whether it is the result of Sorcery, incredible luck, or simple confidence in themselves and their swords, Masanda Swordsmen may increase all attack and Active Defense rolls made with their rapiers by the number of Destiny Dice currently “stored” in the weapon.
Masanda is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, so its students do not receive Guild membership for free. Instead, a Masanda swordsman receives a free Twisted Blade containing a single Destiny Die. If he wishes to have a more powerful blade at character creation, he may purchase one normally with a two HP discount.
Journeyman: Through a combination of tricky footwork, surprise changes in position, and supernatural good fortune, a Masanda Journeyman keeps his opponents slightly off-balance, allowing him to capitalize on the slightest miscue. When an opponent fails to penetrate the Journeyman’s Passive Defense with a melee attack, the Journeyman may spend a Destiny Die to immediately attempt a Corps-á-Corps attack against that opponent. The Journeyman may add the amount the opponent missed by to this attack roll. For example, if the Journeyman has a Passive Defense of twenty-five and the opponent rolls a seventeen to hit him, the Journeyman may add eight to his Corps-á-Corps attack roll if he decides to use this ability.
Master: The Master of Masanda knows that his primary duty is protecting the women under his care, and sometimes, that means pressing an attack to eliminate a threat once and for all. Masters of Masanda may use their Interpose Knack to make an Active Defense for another person as the first step in a Riposte. When doing so, they do not halve their Rank in the Interpose Knack before attempting the Active Defense (though they must halve their Rank in Attack (Fencing), as usual). The Master may still add dice to his Active Defense, following the usual rules for a Riposte.
Note: While the Masanda school may be used with an ordinary (i.e., non-Twisted) rapier, many of its techniques will be diminished. The Swordsman still has the use of his Swordsman Knacks and his Master ability, however, which may provide a slight edge in a desperate situation.