Country of Origin: Vestenmannavnjar
Salon: Fornuft (Small)
Founded: 1474 A.V.
Description: The Valrsson (a name meaning “son of the hawk”) Fighting Academy could only exist in the city of Fornuft, where a moderate Bodilsfolk family teaches a traditional Vestenmannavnjar fighting style to adherents of the old ways as well as Vendel mercenaries seeking an effective, flexible means of defending themselves (and skewering their enemies). The Master of the Academy, a descendent of the style’s founder, still believes that the Vestenmannavnjar and Vendel can coexist peacefully (despite the fact that the very art he teaches is used by each side to slaughter the other). He is paid well for his lessons, and while he expects his students to coexist peacefully within his school (a rule strictly enforced) as well as outside its walls (a rule barely acknowledged, even by the Master himself), it is hard to deny that Valrsson is doing more to divide the warring peoples rather than unify them.
Valrsson relies on the use of a bastard (or “hand-and-a-half”) sword which can be wielded single-handedly (allowing for superior defense) or in two hands (where the sword is more damaging and weapons break more easily against it). A Valrsson fighter can (and often does) switch between the two grips freely over the course of combat, providing him with a more powerful swing when it is time to attack or with speedier reactions and a free hand when defense is a priority.
Unfortunately, a Varlsson fighter provides obvious clues that an opponent can exploit to bring him to ruin. When the bastard sword is wielded in one hand, an opponent knows that the fighter is committed to defense and that attacks are less likely. When the Valrsson fighter switches to a two-handed grip, it is a sign that an attack is coming (and coming hard), so the opponent can plan his defense accordingly.
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Heavy Weapon
Knacks: Beat (Heavy Weapon), Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Valrsson), Fortitude, Sunder (Heavy Weapon)
New Swordsman Knack: Sunder. When making an attack, you can choose to strike at an enemy’s weapon, hoping to break it and leave your opponent defenseless. To make this attack, you roll Finesse + Sunder, taking two Raises to target the enemy’s weapon. If your hit is successful, roll damage as normal; this damage is not applied to the opponent, but compared against the following chart to see if the opponent’s weapon breaks:
|Type of Weapon||TN to Sunder|
|Dagger, Knife, Main Gauche||20|
Game Masters should use their discretion in applying the Sunder Knack to other kinds of weapons. These Target Numbers can be adjusted by the following modifiers:
|Weapon Quality||TN Adjustment|
|Inferior Weapon or Shield||-5|
|Quality Weapon or Shield||+5|
|Djinn or Sidhe Weapon||+15|
Revised Swordsman Knack: Beat. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Beat. You roll Brawn + Beat, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Brawn in order for your Beat 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 Valrsson learn to wield their heavy bastard swords with one hand (though they may not always wish to), and may do so without penalty. Furthermore, they learn to brace for impact when an enemy attacks, allowing them to take a hit and keep fighting. An Apprentice’s Wound Threshold is increased by his Mastery Level whenever he is using this School. This is cumulative with his Fortitude Knack.
Due to its use of an archaic weapon, the Swordsman’s Guide has refused to offer sanction to Valrsson. As a result, its students gain a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild Membership.
Journeyman: As a Journeyman, A Valrsson fighter recognizes that wielding his bastard sword in different grips produces different results. While wielding his sword with one hand, he receives a +5 bonus to his TN to be hit while using Parry (Heavy Weapon) as a defense Knack. Conversely, wielding his sword in a two-handed grip gives the Swordsman a free Raise on all attack rolls (whether using Attack (Heavy Weapon) or one of his Swordsman Knacks).
The Journeyman may change his grip at the beginning of any Phase without spending an Action. However, once he has committed to his grip, he may not change it again until the beginning of the next Phase, or until he spends an Action Die to do so (whichever comes first).
Master: The Valrsson Master has perfected each of his grips and may receive the maximum benefit of whichever one he chooses to use. Wielding his sword with one hand increases his Journeyman benefit to +10 to his TN to be hit. (This replaces, and is not cumulative with, his Journeyman benefit.) Using a two-handed grip forces any opponent who fails a Wound Check against one of the Master’s attacks to take extra Dramatic Wounds as if he had been damaged by a firearm.