Country of Origin: Vendel (any Swordsman trained in Yael receives a five HP discount on Thiele, regardless of nationality)
Salon: Kirk (Average)
Description: A Vendel woman named Kirsten Thiele developed this style after representing her father’s business interests in Montaigne and Eisen, and leading an expedition into the Crescent Empire to explore the possibility of establishing a trading relationship. Traveling in the company of hired bodyguards, Kirsten discovered that she had a love for (and a natural proficiency with) the blade equal to her aptitude with mathematics and economics. She mastered the undisciplined style of Tout Près in the bars of Montaigne, and studied Eisenfaust at night in Kirk while negotiating contracts during the day. Introduced to the flowing Crescent style of Yael by her Jadur-rihad guide, Kirsten was immediately enchanted and offered to trade the “alien mysteries” of her mainland schools for instruction in the exotic art. She fulfilled her end of the bargain by combining all three into a new Swordsman School.
Thiele relies on the use of a sabre or scimitar in the right hand, while a custom-fitted gauntlet is worn on the left. This gauntlet is constructed of hardened leather, expertly reinforced with lengths of chain around the wrist, across the palm, and over the joints of each finger. Use of this gauntlet has enraged the people of Eisen, who feel that it infringes upon Eisenfaust’s use of a Panzerhand, a national symbol to the fiercely proud Eisen. Kirsten spent several years in hiding in the Crescent Empire until 1671 when the modernized Swordsman’s Guild finally sanctioned her School and offered their support and protection.
Thiele is an athletic School, featuring attacks along graceful, arcing circles that take advantage of the natural curve of the attacking weapon to deliver devastating blows. Meanwhile, the spinning duelist finds it easy to whirl away from attacks, send her gauntlet flashing upwards at the tail end of a revolution to slap a blade away, or duck down and sweep a clumsy opponent’s legs out from under him. The School’s footwork is reminiscent of a number of Crescent reels, and while dancing is not formally taught as part of the Thiele style, it is nevertheless so important that every Thiele duelist acquires proficiency (if not mastery) with the art.
The main weakness of the School is its need for near-constant motion. If a Swordsman is forced into an area of uncertain footing, or presented with a flurry of offensive blows that prevents her from making her turns, she cannot make effective use of most of the School’s maneuvers. This leaves her at an offensive and defensive disadvantage, one from which she may not be able to recover.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Panzerhand
Knacks: Bind (Panzerhand), Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Thiele), Whirl (Fencing)
Apprentice: A Thiele Apprentice trains extensively with her custom-made gauntlet, so that she can use it effectively to defend herself and for an occasional, surprise attack. (Use of this gauntlet requires the Panzerhand Skill, but it inflicts 1k1 damage. A student’s first gauntlet is traditionally a gift from her instructor. If it is lost, replacements can be made for eight guilders, but the student must provide the design to a leatherworker willing to risk Eisen retaliation.) The off-hand penalty is negated when a student uses the gauntlet with any of her Panzerhand Knacks, and she receives a Free Raise on any Active Defense using Parry (Panzerhand).
Journeyman: At the Journeyman level, Thiele duelists learn to use their constant, spinning motions to set up quick combinations of maneuvers designed to throw an opponent off his game. Whenever an opponent misses the Swordsman’s Passive Defense with an attack, the Journeyman may spend an Action Die (even if it is not current) to make an immediate Corps-á-Corps attack against that opponent. Additionally, whenever the Journeyman performs a successful Bind on an opponent’s weapon, she may immediately spend an Action Die (current or not) to attempt a Disarm against the bound weapon. As usual, taking two Raises on the Disarm attempt allows the Journeyman to wind up with the weapon in her possession.
Master: A Thiele Master has fully integrated the Schools that led to the style’s design into her technique, focusing on the adaptability of Tout Près, the conditioning of Eisenfaust, and the graceful dances that inspired Yael. At the beginning of every Round, the Master receives a number of Technique Dice equal to her Rank in the Dancing Knack. Technique Dice may be added as Kept Dice (+1k1) before the roll is made to any Attack Rolls, Active Defenses, or Wound Checks the Master attempts in that Round, or may be used instead of Action Dice to activate either of the Journeyman abilities.