Volterra Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Avalon/Vodacce
Salon: Wandesborow (Tiny)
Founded: 1665

Description: Vittorio Volterra was a Master of Ambrogia and nearly undefeated in over four dozen duels (though he never fought to the death). He was a very good duelist, but he was a very, very good student of dueling law and practice. Unlike most Vodacce Swordsmen, he strictly followed the edicts of the Swordsman’s Guild, and he took every chance he could to observe duels between other people, noting their strengths and weaknesses, but also noting the interplay between them before, during, and after the duel. He quickly grew sickened by the rank contempt some Swordsmen felt towards other Swordsmen: in particular, with the absolute vitriol between members of the Villanova School and the Tricomi School. Fed up with the politics of the Swordsman’s Guild, the Great Game, and most of his Vodacce counterparts, he resigned his position in the Guild, retired to Wandesborow on the northern shores of Avalon, and devoted himself to the study of the blade, taking two years to develop the single-weapon rapier School that bears his name.

Master Volterra has very high standards for new students and only accepts the best candidates who come to him for training; money and influence have no bearing on the acceptance process. His students are taught to prize skill at arms above all else, and are always on the alert for a new opponent against whom they can test their abilities. A Volterra Swordsman will never turn down a challenge no matter how hopeless the situation might be. However, the Swordsman will demand that the duels be fought one-on-one and rarely to the death, for Volterra Swordsmen believe that killing is the mark of a sloppy fighter. That said, they recognize that not everyone holds themselves to the same standards, so they are constantly wary for a surprise attack, especially from a group of enemies. Likewise, they are aware that being deprived of one’s weapon in a duel creates a nearly insurmountable disadvantage, so they are trained to hold onto their rapiers at all times.

A Volterra Swordsman’s love of a fair fight and reluctance to decline a challenge are his primary weaknesses. A feigned injury will cause him to hold back, seeking surrender, and leave him vulnerable to a surprise assault. Likewise, the Swordsman can be easily goaded into attacking along an unfavorable line or falling into some other trap laid by a cagey opponent.

Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Fencing
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Volterra), Lunge (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing), Whirl (Fencing)

Apprentice: A Volterra Swordsman develops an uncanny affinity with his weapon, allowing him to make minor corrections along a line of attack to account for an unexpected movement or quick parry by his opponent. The Apprentice may add twice his Mastery Level in Volterra to all attack rolls using Attack (Fencing).

The Swordsman’s Guild has asked Master Volterra to submit his School for Guild sanction several times, but thus far, he has declined. As a result, its students gain the Firm Grip Advantage in lieu of Guild membership.

Journeyman: A Volterra Swordsman must be ready for a fight any time and in any place, and cannot waste time preparing for the fight when it is already upon him. He may draw and attack with his rapier using a single Action. Additionally, the Journeyman’s wariness of large groups allows him to add the benefit of his Whirl Knack to his TN to be hit when being attacked by a Brute Squad.

Master: Volterra Swordsmen prefer to disable an opponent rather than killing him, forcing him to submit through an obvious show of force and the knowledge that the end may come at the Swordsman’s discretion. Masters learn how to use the flat of their blades to attack, raising nasty welts and bruises instead of cutting into their opponents’ flesh. After an attack has been successful, but before the roll for damage is made, the Master may decide whether or not a Wound Check is triggered by the damage inflicted by his attack. In addition, as his experience fighting groups of enemies continues to improve, he gains a free Rank in the Whirl (Fencing) Knack. This should increase his Rank in that Knack to a six. If for some reason it does not, the Master may pay 25 XP at a later date to increase his Rank in Whirl (Fencing) from a five to a six.