Zacuto Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Madeira
Salon: San Augustin (Average)
Founded: 1647 A.V.

Description: Emilio Zacuto, the founder of this School, was known as a notorious drunk who spent more time inebriated than sober. Despite his perpetual state of intoxication, he somehow managed to avoid defeat and emerge victorious in the many duels to which he found himself challenged. While it is true that the founder enjoyed a drink or two, he was rarely drunk; his behavior was simply an act of deception designed to catch opponents off-guard and defeat them with his cleverly disguised skill.

Students are taught that deception is the better part of valor. If an opponent underestimates you, he leaves himself open to attack. By acting like a drunkard rather than a master fencer, the student may be able to disarm or trip his opponent and make it look like a total accident. Zacuto Swordsmen are notoriously loud and boisterous, deliberately calling attention to their “inebriated” state and using spilled alcohol, slurred insults, and even lecherous behavior toward an enemy’s loved ones to provoke him into initiating a duel. At the same time, they maintain a veneer of self-deprecation, and continuously apologize to their opponents, hiding behind the illusion of drunken luck, even when victorious. This ruse is is doubly damning for their defeated foe: not only was he beaten, but as far as any witnesses are concerned, he was beaten by a drunkard.

Zacuto Swordsmen have a reputation for being socialites rather than fencers, an illusion they take great pains to maintain. Of course, this only works so long as one’s enemies have no reason to suspect the Swordsman is anything more than a besotted fool, so Emilio disguised his fencing salon as a social club, training his students in a secret room in the tavern he owned and including heavy drinking as a core part of the School’s training regimen. Still, cagey opponents eventually come to suspect that their “drunken” opponents are hiding their actual skill behind an air of false modesty and exaggerated incompetence. These foes are more reserved in combat and do not fall prey to the illusory openings created by a Swordsman’s feigned imbalance and false modesty, reducing the School’s efficacy.

Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Performer
Knacks: Bob ‘n’ Weave, Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Zacuto), Feint (Fencing)

Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint 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: Apprentices of Zacuto learn to disguise trips, shoves, and even successful disarm attempts as nothing more than a drunken fool’s good fortune. The Apprentice may add his Rank in Acting to all Corps-á-Corps attacks and passive Disarm attempts he makes.

The current Master of the School, Amelia Zacuto (the founder’s youngest daughter) has renewed her commitment to protect the style’s secrets, and will not submit it to the Swordsman’s Guild for sanction. Instead of receiving Guild Membership, students of Zacuto receive the Able Drinker Advantage for free.

Journeyman: By acting like a buffoon before a fight begins, the Journeyman lulls his opponent into a false sense of security. Before making an attack, the Journeyman may make a contested roll of Panache + Acting vs. the opponent’s Wits. If the Journeyman wins this roll, he receives a free Raise on his next attack against that opponent, plus an additional free Raise for every ten full points by which he exceeded his opponent’s roll. This ability can only be successfully used against a given opponent once per Scene.

Master: Everyone knows that it’s easy to knock a drunkard off-balance (especially if one strikes him with a weapon). Zacuto Masters exploit this universal truth when they sustain an injury by stumbling backwards and, when their opponents move in to finish them off, striking hard and true. Whenever the Master sustains a Dramatic Wound from a melee attack, he may immediately attempt a Feint against the opponent who wounded him without spending an Action. If the attack inflicted more than one Dramatic Wound, the Master receives a free Raise on his Feint attempt for each Dramatic Wound inflicted beyond the first.