Faíleas Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Bryn Bresail
Salon: Unknown (given the nature of Bryn Bresail, the salon could be anywhere, or everywhere, or nowhere, and of any size)
Founded: Unknown

Description: Faíleas is one of the many Schools of swordplay the Sidhe have developed. It teaches the student how to use an attacker’s skills and fighting style against him by following the movement of his weapon and his body language. It is very difficult to master, and requires an extremely keen eye for observation, as well as highly skilled swordsmanship. These motions seem natural to the Sidhe, who are used to observing the actions of humans in minute detail; very few humans have the same ability to perceive another being with such intensity. Any human who wishes to learn this School must have a Rank of four or greater in both the Wits Trait and the Cold Read Knack. Then they must find a Sidhe willing to teach a human.

The Faíleas student always wields his weapon in the hand opposite his opponent’s, which confuses and unnerves most fighters from the outset. He also copies facial expressions in an attempt to gauge what his opponents are thinking (and further unnerve them). He almost always keeps his blade touching his opponent’s weapon, never letting them part so that the Swordsman can feel each subtle movement and counter it. Fighting such a Swordsman is extremely annoying: as you move forward, the Faíleas Swordsman retreats, and as soon as you retreat, he comes for you. The Swordsman seems to know your every move before you make it. The opponent finds his own strengths being turned against him as his style is copied and understood.

The weakness of this School is quite simple. A student who is aware of his own flaws as a Swordsman can pass them on to the Faíleas fighter trying to copy him, and thus gain an opening.

Basic Curriculum: Courtier, Fencing
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Faíleas), Feint (Fencing), Reflect (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing)

Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, taking a number of Raises equal to the opponent’s Wits. If the Feint is successful, the opponent cannot Actively Defend, and the Raises add Unkept Dice to your Damage Roll as usual.

Apprentice: The first thing a Faíleas student learns is misdirection and observation. He always uses his weapon in the opposite (“mirror”) hand to his opponent, so he always gets the bonus of being “Left Handed” while fighting, and also learns to negate the off hand penalty. In addition, he learns to copy the movements of his opponent and may use his Rank in Panache as a Passive Defense Knack no matter what circumstances surround him.

Students of this School do not get free Membership in the Swordsman’s Guild; instead, they receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks.

Journeyman: Journeymen have learned to get inside their opponents’ minds, looking for the expressions and body language that betray an attacker’s next move. If they can make a Wits roll against a TN of 5 times their opponent’s Rank in Wits, they can predict the opponent’s next attack and gain a free Raise for any Active Defense against it, plus an additional free Raise for every Raise taken on the Wits roll. Even if the attack scores a hit despite the Swordsman’s attempted Active Defense, the damage roll is made with a penalty of 1 Unkept Die (-1k0), plus one additional Unkept Die for every Raise taken on the Wits roll, as the defender rolls with the blow. (The Swordsman must attempt an Active Defense to receive this benefit).

Master: Faíleas Masters have learned how to taunt their opponent silently. They convince an attacker that he cannot possibly win the fight because every move he makes will be countered before it is even made. Once per round, when the opponent attacks, the Master may roll his Panache to rattle his opponent’s nerves. (This does not count as an action.) The opponent must make a Resolve roll against a TN equal to the result of this roll. If he fails, his confidence is shaken and he loses his attack. If his opponent succeeds at any of his Resolve checks, he may immediately make his attack and is unaffected by this Technique for the rest of the Scene.