Country of Origin: Numan Empire
Founded: 724 A.U.C.
Description: While most of the other Bargaining Senators or their descendants were forced to develop Sorcery-compatible Swordsman Schools on their own (sometimes over many, many years), knowledge of Esuriit was instead passed on to Senator Albion Necros along with his macabre Sorcery, Mairbh. Though it did not survive for very long, as Senator Necros was found dead in his bathtub within twelve hours of striking his part of the wicked Bargain, details of the School were recorded by the Senator’s clerks. If these original documents could be found, the Esuriit School could once again make an appearance in Théah (to say nothing of the immense value those journals would have to scholars of the occult, or to those who wish to recreate the Bargain for their own wicked purposes).
Esuriit taught that martial superiority could be achieved by discarding the veneer of civilization, along with the higher thoughts that fettered a warrior’s actions. Esuriit techniques relied on channeling the specter of death that flowed through any battlefield, and using it to empower savage strikes and magical techniques that tipped the flow of combat in the Swordsman’s favor. Though the School originally focused on the use of the Numan gladius, a modern practitioner could get by with a smallsword, but at a penalty of one Unkept Die (-1k0) to all rolls (except Damage Rolls) using the modern weapon.
While Esuriit’s magical/martial hybrid attacks were powerful, they were also limited in the number of times they could be used. An opponent capable of weathering the initial onslaught of these potent techniques could easily overpower an Esuriit Swordsman once he had used up his channeled powers. If an opponent was not sure he could hold out that long, he could instead watch for the brief rituals that accompanied the techniques, preparing to defend himself when he knew such an attack was coming, or striking hard and fast before the ritual could be completed.
Note that Mairbh Sorcery is needed to use any of the School’s Mastery Level techniques.
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Gladius
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Esuriit), Flurry (Gladius), Lunge (Gladius), Sidestep, Whirl (Gladius)
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flurry. You roll Resolve + Flurry, and must roll 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: Esuriit Swordsmen did not wield new or custom-made weapons; rather, they borrowed (or stole) their weapons from the graves of well-known and highly capable Swordsmen. This allowed them to use tonal chanting to connect to the weapon via their Sorcerous power and add their Rank in the Enervation Knack directly to damage rolls made after an attack with their “borrowed” weapon.
Esuriit has not been (and never will be) submitted for Swordsman’s Guild sanction. As a result, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: Journeymen of Esuriit studied both swordplay and Sorcery long enough to know that there were lingering spirits everywhere, whose impotent malevolence is easily yoked by those with the knowledge to do so. Before the start of any combat, the Journeyman received a number of Spirit Dice equal to his Mastery Level in Mairbh. These were nonexploding Unkept Dice (+1k0) that could be added to any die roll, so long as their use was declared before the roll was made. If the battle occurred in an area strongly associated with death or dying (e.g., a graveyard, a battlefield, or a haunted house), Spirit Dice were nonexploding Kept Dice (+1k1), instead.
Master: As Journeymen, Esuriit Swordsmen learned to use hungry spirits to guide their sword arms; as Masters, they could feed these spirits to convince them to take a more active role in combat. By spending an Action, discarding a Spirit Die, and using his weapon to inflict its base damage (typically 2k2) on himself, the Master could command these residual spirits to grab hold of an opponent’s arms and legs, rendering him helpless for a brief time. For the next attack anyone made against that opponent in the same Phase, he was considered to have a TN to be hit of 5, and he could not make any Active Defenses against that attack.
Note: A gladius is a short, double-edged weapon popular in Numan lands centuries ago. It is always a Masterwork weapon, and has a Damage Rating of 2k2. Gladius is a Martial Skill consisting solely of the Basic Knacks Attack (Gladius) and Parry (Gladius).