Tschirnhaus Swordsman School

Country of Origin: Eisen (the style may be learned for only 20 HP if the character already knows the Durchsetzungburg School)
Salon: Durchsetzungburg (Tiny)
Founded: 1669
Sanctioned: 1671

Description: Walther Tschirnhaus was always one of the most ambitious Swordsmen in Eisen. Unfortunately for him, he was also one of the clumsiest. He enrolled at Durchsetzungburg University in order to study under the fencing masters there, only to be washed out of the fencing school after injuring a number of his fellow students during training bouts. Utterly despondent, Tschirnhaus began drinking. And drinking. And drinking some more. His studies in other areas suffered, and he ultimately flunked out of the university altogether.

Following his expulsion, Tschirnhaus fell into a deep depression and turned even more heavily to the bottle. Inspired by the pink kobolds he began to see, he began to practice, and ultimately perfect, his own style (as it were) of swordsmanship. A rough mix of Durchsetzungburg and Finnegan, Tschirnhaus ultimately evolved into a unique combat art focusing on the sabre and a mug or bottle (Tschirnhaus’ weapon of choice was an inexpensive bottle of port) in the off hand. Its founder took on students, made enough money to purchase membership in the Swordsman’s Guild (though he only merited an iron pin), and began to earn some success as a duelist, courtesy of his unknown fighting style. Walther Tschirnhaus was ultimately killed in an altercation with a pair of Larsen Swordsmen, who were able to counter some of this style’s most effective tactics. Control of the style passed to his first student, who continues to teach it to interested parties.

The footwork practiced by Tschirnhaus duelists consists of wobbling movements reminiscent of drunken staggering. While this is very effective at catching an opponent off guard with a sudden change in direction, it makes it harder for the duelist to respond to his opponent’s attacks, as his momentum tends to commit him in one direction only. Cagey opponents take advantage of this, and learn to identify the precise planting of a foot that precedes a deliberate change in direction prior to an attack.

All credit for Tschirnhaus belongs to Kevin Boerwinkle, who designed the original School, called Üps.

Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Improvised Weapon
Knacks: Bob ‘n’ Weave, Exploit Weakness (Tschirnhaus), Feint (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Improvised Weapon), Tagging (Fencing)

Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must roll 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: The Apprentice’s staggering gives him a bonus to his TN to be hit equal to his Mastery Level in Tschirnhaus when using Footwork as his Defense Knack. In addition, the off-hand penalty for using a mug, stein, or bottle as an Improvised Weapon is negated.

Journeyman: Walther Tschirnhaus often attempted to flaunt his skills, but he lacked the technique to do it accurately. Rather than wallow in this fact, he turned it into one of the components of his signature style. When the Journeyman succeeds at a Tagging attempt, not only does he gain the usual benefits of Tagging, he also inflicts a 1k1 damage attack, as he has “clumsily” cut too close. The duelist does not add his Brawn to the Damage Roll, but he may take Raises on his Attack Roll to increase the Damage Roll by one Unkept Die (+1k0) per Raise, as usual. Furthermore, when using a mug, stein or bottle as a weapon, the Journeyman never has to check for breakage of his Improvised Weapon unless it is attacked by someone with the ability to break weapons. Alternately, he can choose to have the item break automatically to give himself a sharp weapon rather than a blunt one.

Master: One of Walther Tschirnhaus’ favorite tricks was to take a drink from his bottle (or mug, or stein) and spit the alcohol in his opponent’s eyes, and this surprise attack became a regular part of his fencing style. A Master may attempt the maneuver using his Attack (Improvised Weapon) Knack, with two Raises needed on the roll to hit. If successful, the opponent is temporarily blinded and is considered to be fighting in Total Darkness until he spends an Action to clear his eyes. He suffers a penalty of four Unkept Dice (-4k0) on all rolls relying on vision (swinging a sword, searching for a secret passage, etc.), though this penalty is halved if the opponent has the Night Trained Advantage.