Country of Origin: Ussura
Salon: Breslau (Average)
Founded: 724 A.V.
Description: Sometimes called the “Sabre Dance” because of its whirling, leaping movements and paired weapons, Lieven is commonly taught to the boyars (and their families) throughout the kingdoms of Ussura. It dates back to a time when the right to initiate a duel belonged solely to the nobility, who were expected to use swords rather than axes or knives, as the latter weapons were seen as “beneath” the wealthy landowners. While it was developed in patchwork fashion by a number of boyars (some working independently, some together), it was the noble Lieven family of Gallenia who codified it into a formal art and began teaching it to their fellow boyars…for a remarkable fee, of course. Over nine hundred years later, this School remains the exclusive purview of the ruling class of Eisen, and even a minor noble will probably have some training in it.
The secret of this School is to intimidate an opponent with a frenetic display of swordplay, then overwhelm him with a dizzying number of attacks, even going so far as to sacrifice control for speed. An opponent who is constantly defending himself against a barrage of slashes will have little opportunity to counterattack, and the law of averages suggests that even wild strikes from two sabres will eventually produce results.
Because the School is taught only to a select group (with very few members taking their training seriously), and never to more seasoned Swordsmen with vast experience, Lieven has stagnated while other Schools have flourished. While it may seem wild and overwhelming at first, its attacks and defenses eventually become predictable. A seasoned opponent will quickly deduce when an attack is coming and defend against it, while simultaneously calculating the perfect moment for a devastating return strike.
Basic Curriculum: Courtier, Fencing
Knacks: Double Attack (Fencing/Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Lieven), First Strike (Fencing), Flurry (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing)
New Swordsman Knack: First Strike. When you have not yet drawn your weapon and wish to attack an enemy, you can declare a First Strike (using a single Action to draw and attack with your weapon). You roll Finesse + First Strike, and must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Finesse in order for your First Strike 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.
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flurry. You roll Resolve + Flurry, and must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Resolve in order for your Flurry 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: A Lieven fighter is trained to wield a saber in each hand, and never suffers an off-hand penalty when doing so. In addition, his displays of offense, intended to impress and intimidate an opponent, permit him to add twice his Mastery Level in Lieven to any Intimidate Actions he attempts in combat.
While the Swordsman’s Guild would love to sanction Lieven, the Ussuran boyars refuse to cheapen their martial birthright by allowing just anyone to study it. Accordingly, students of Lieven receive a free Rank in the Swordsman Knack of their choice in lieu of Membership in the Guild.
Journeyman: Lieven-trained Journeymen recognize the value of relinquishing precise blade control in favor of sneaking in an additional attack…or two…or three. At the beginning of every Round, the Journeyman may choose to roll and keep one less die (or more) from all of his Attack rolls (including the use of his Swordsman Knacks) for the entire Round. For each die (-1k1) sacrificed in this way, the Swordsman may roll and keep an additional Action Die for that Round.
Master: A Master of Lieven has learned to turn his body with each swing of his sabres, building up momentum not just for that strike, but for the ones that follow. The Master gains one free Raise on each additional attack made beyond the first in a Phase. These free Raises are cumulative, and a Double Attack is considered two separate attacks for purposes of this ability.
For example, suppose a Lieven Master has two Action Dice showing a three. In Phase Three of that Round, he may make two attacks: the first one at his normal Target Number, and the next at the same target number with one free Raise. If he used his Double Attack Knack for one of them, he would make three attacks with bonuses of +0, +5, and +10 on the first, second, and third Attack Roll. If he used his Double Attack Knack for both Actions, the fourth attack would receive three free Raises, for a bonus of +15 to the roll.