Country of Origin: Montaigne (only a Musketeer may learn this School)
Salon: Charouse (Large)
Description: in Nonus 1670, Anne du Montaigne was crowned Queen of Montaigne (though of course, political power was vested in her brother-in-law, Prime Minister Montegue). Her husband Jean-Marie Rois et Reines du Rogné was elevated to the title of Prince, and naturally had to resign his captaincy of the Musketeers. Looking for a replacement, he turned to his most loyal lieutenant (and cousin) Étienne du Volant, who had been disinherited from his family for running out on an arranged marriage and stewardship of his family’s estates to join the elite Montaigne soldiers. While Étienne was a bit of a fop and quite vainglorious, he was a good Musketeer and Prince Jean-Marie trusted him to lead the group to glory for their home country.
Étienne, a highly-skilled Valroux Swordsman, believed that many of the younger Musketeers were shirking their fencing lessons in favor of seeking favor with the Rois et Reines Academy. They also seemed to be on the losing end of a slight rivalry with the Knights of the Rose & Cross, who often bested them in friendly contests of skill-at-arms. While Captain Volant could learn to be satisfied with the firearms training, losing face, even to as noble an organization as the Rose & Cross, was intolerable. The Captain began perfecting his own fencing techniques: something that the Valroux-trained Knights could not counter so easily, and the Volant School was the result.
Volant can best be described as a flashy School, though one which carries a great deal of substance behind the style. Students are taught to defend themselves in almost any situation (even a wild brawl, if it comes to that), to trust their instincts when pressing an attack, and to dazzle an opponent with complex, elaborate maneuvers designed to dishearten him in the face of the Swordsman’s superior skill. The School was received with great enthusiasm, not just by fresh-faced Musketeer recruits, but by veterans who had long been looking for something to complement their training in Valroux or Gaulle.
The core weakness of Volant is that its fundamentals are masked behind a veneer of showmanship and elegance. An experienced opponent has learned to look past this distraction and find shortcomings in the Swordsman’s technique, attacking and defending accordingly
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Fencing
Knacks: Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Volant), Flourish (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Sidestep
New Swordsman Knack: Flourish. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flourish. You roll Panache + Flourish, taking a number of Raises equal to the opponent’s Panache. If the Flourish is successful, the opponent cannot Actively Defend, and the Raises add Unkept Dice to your Damage Roll as usual.
Apprentice: The Volant Apprentice learns the art of the parade éclair or “lightning draw,” so he is never in a position where he cannot defend himself (or others) from an attack. So long as the Apprentice has a sheathed rapier at his side, he may draw his weapon and Actively Defend with it using Parry (Fencing) as part of the same Action, even if he is Surprised (though he must use an Interrupt Action to draw and parry on “Phase Zero”). Regardless, he receives a free Raise on all Active Defenses using Parry (Fencing).
The Musketeers prefer to keep Volant exclusive to their ranks, so they do not plan on submitting for Guild sanction in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, students of the School receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks instead of membership in the Swordsman’s Guild.
Journeyman: Musketeers are known for their skill at arms, but also for a hefty helping of good fortune as well. Between these two characteristics, their swordplay carries a degree of precision unmatched by most men. When making an attack roll using Attack (Fencing), the Journeyman may reroll any die that rolls less than his Mastery Level. He may only reroll each attack die once; if he gets the same (or a worse) result the second time, he must accept it (even a Musketeer’s good fortune runs out eventually).
Master: A Musketeer must not only attack well and defend well, he must look good at the same time. Whenever you successfully execute a Flourish against an opponent, you gain a Drama Die. You can gain as many Drama Dice as you like through this technique; however, they disappear at the end of the Scene if they are not used, and they never convert to Experience Points under any circumstances.