Country of Origin: Ussura
Salon: Ekaternava (Small)
Description: Not content with his experiment in modernizing Ussura by commissioning the development of the Marchenko Swordsman School, Knias Aleksi v’Novgorov of Rurik brought in a pair of Swordsmen from Eisen to develop a second Ussuran fencing style. The two Masters pooled their talents and developed a practical saber style which combined the strengths of their respective Schools: the precise cuts of Durchsetzungburg and the powerful fisticuffs of Eisenfaust.
While the hybrid style does not rely on a Panzerhand, its students train by punching the carcasses of butchered deer, oxen, or other large animals, building up a tolerance for pain and permitting them to put extra force behind every blow. Simultaneously, they use their blades to weaken their grisly sparring partners, inflicting dozens of tiny cuts until one good punch can break through flesh and bone alike.
The School’s weakness arises from its reliance on both swordplay and fisticuffs in combination. An attacker who angles himself to attack from one side or the other, or who manages to prevent an opponent from using both arms freely, will throw a Stefanov Swordsman off his game and keep him at a disadvantage.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Pugilism
Knacks: Beat (Fencing), Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Stefanov), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Uppercut
Revised Swordsman Knack: Beat. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Beat. You roll Brawn + Beat, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Brawn in order for your Beat 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: An Apprentice of Stefanov trains to become a skilled fist fighter, as well as a Swordsman, and eventually learns to combine the two into a seamless blend of flesh and steel. The Apprentice suffers no penalty for making an off-hand attack with his fist while wielding a saber. In addition, he always adds his Mastery Level to Damage Rolls after successfully hitting an opponent using Attack (Pugilism) or Uppercut.
Journeyman: A Journeyman of Stefanov learns a technique called the Fist of Winter, in which he uses his blade to create an opening, then cracks the opponent in the face with a closed fist. After the Journeyman has successfully executed a Beat against an opponent, he may immediately use his off hand to make an Attack (Pugilism) roll or attempt an Uppercut without spending an Action.
Master: Stefanov is an aggressive style; those who reach the level of Master are known to inflict dozens of wounds en route to defeating an opponent. These cuts are small, but deep, and sap an opponent of strength over the course of a lengthy duel. For every Dramatic Wound inflicted by a Master’s attacks, an opponent is considered to have three Flesh Wounds which do not go away until the end of the Scene, or until the Dramatic Wound is healed.
For example, if a Master has already inflicted two Dramatic Wounds on an opponent and strikes again for fourteen Flesh Wounds, the opponent must make a Wound Check against a TN of twenty, not fourteen. If he fails this Wound Check, in addition to three Dramatic Wounds, he will now have nine recurring Flesh Wounds to deal with. If the opponent manages to heal a Dramatic Wound before the end of the Scene (perhaps through use of a Blood Elixir or some other mystical means), his Flesh Wound total would drop to six.
Should a Stefanov Swordsman ever attain Grandmastery in the Stefanov School, this benefit would increase to four recurring Flesh Wounds per Dramatic Wound inflicted.