Berthelot Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Montaigne
Salon: Vraise (Average)
Founded: 1670
Sanctioned: 1672

Description: The founder and Master of this School is Francois Berthelot, a bull of a man and a veteran of the war with Castille. Among his pupils and admirers, he is affectionately known as le fils du dragonne (“the son of the dragon”). Stoic and laconic most of the time, Berthelot is a true monster worthy of his nickname when demonstrating his School. Except when discussing fencing (of any School), he communicates through a mixture of grunts and facial expressions.

Berthelot’s students begin their instruction by building up their strength and resilience through rigorous exercise. The School’s methods for toughening its pupils’ bodies are considered barbaric by many: students are expected to stand in the center of the salon while their peers punch, kick, and beat them with sticks. Berthelot Swordsmen are expected to be able to shrug off blows in combat; only when their bodies are properly developed are they permitted to pick up a weapon.

Students of this School don’t believe in expending energy unleashing a rain of frantic blows. Better, they say, to hit once and make it count. The School’s pace is glacial: slow, methodical steps and single, powerful blows are taught in preference to nimble movement and lightning-fast strikes. Once a Berthelot Swordsman enters a fight, he is an unstoppable force, crushing all in his path while relentlessly moving forward. He is expected to be able to deal punishing blows with his hands and feet as well as his blade.

The reliance on continuous forward movement is the School’s primary weakness. An opponent who holds his ground (or worse, pushes the Swordsman back with his own attacks) undermines the School’s focus and leaves the Swordsman in a vulnerable position

Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Fencing
Knacks: Beat (Fencing), Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Berthelot), Fortitude, Sunder (Fencing)

New Swordsman Knack: Sunder. When making an attack, you can choose to strike at an enemy’s weapon, hoping to break it and leave your opponent defenseless. To make this attack, you roll Finesse + Sunder, taking two Raises to target the enemy’s weapon. If your hit is successful, roll damage as normal; this damage is not applied to the opponent, but compared against the following chart to see if the opponent’s weapon breaks:

Type of WeaponTN to Sunder
Dagger, Knife, Main Gauche20
Fencing Weapon25
Buckler, Shield30
Heavy Weapon35
Firearm, Polearm40

Game Masters should use their discretion in applying the Sunder Knack to other kinds of weapons. These Target Numbers can be adjusted by the following modifiers:

Weapon QualityTN Adjustment
Inferior Weapon or Shield-5
Quality Weapon or Shield+5
Dracheneisen Weapon+10
Djinn or Sidhe Weapon+15

Revised Swordsman Knack: Beat. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Beat. You roll Brawn + Beat, and must take 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: Berthelot Swordsmen disdain the fancy footwork of other Schools, relying on their bladework to deflect attacks and their raw toughness to absorb those they cannot turn aside. An Apprentice receives a Free Raise on any Active Defense he attempts using Parry (Fencing), and adds his Mastery Level in Berthelot to all Wound Checks he makes (this is cumulative with the Swordsman’s Fortitude Knack).

Journeyman: Journeymen of Berthelot are taught how to focus their strength into shoving opponents backward, leaving them off balance and unable to press an attack effectively. The Journeyman may use his Corps-á-Corps Knack to determine his Passive Defense. While doing so, if an opponent fails to hit with his initial attack roll, the Journeyman may use an Interrupt Action to make an immediate Corps-á-Corps attack against that opponent.

Master: Berthelot Masters have perfected the single-strike technique taught by Berthelot himself. The Master may sacrifice up to his Mastery Level in Action Dice when making an attack or using one of his Swordsman Knacks. Doing so adds the value of the sacrificed dice directly to the attack roll. Thus, a Swordsman with Action Dice showing values of two, five, eight, and nine may make a single attack in Phase Two, sacrificing his other Action Dice to add twenty-two to his attack roll. This ability may be used in conjunction with the Journeyman technique.

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