Country of Origin: Eisen
Salon: Freiburg (Large)
Description: Like many soldiers, Johanna Zeitler began studying the Eisenfaust School while fighting in the War of the Cross. Unlike many of her Eisen brethren, however, Johanna found that her slight frame and reduced core strength were not well-suited to the heavy weapons of Eisenfaust. Putting aside her broadsword and Panzerhand, Johanna picked up a rapier and began mastering the fundamentals of the lighter, faster weapon. Not long after, one of Johanna’s fellow soldiers disturbed a wasp nest near their campsite. Johanna watched, fascinated, as the little warriors defended their home—and found inspiration for her own Swordsman School.
Zeitler draws much of its inspiration from the wasps Johanna observed, incorporating swift reprisals, repeated attacks, and even the strategic use of poison. Added to the Swordsman’s honed reflexes and dangerous techniques, Zeitler’s use of poisons (especially blade venoms) gives them an edge in combat that they believe to be insurmountable. Many students of Zeitler are quick to challenge Swordsmen of other rapier Schools in an effort to establish their dominance.
While Zeitler attacks are vicious, once a line has been established, they almost always follow that line, perpendicular to the Swordsman’s body. Opponents who are familiar with the School focus their defenses on the side facing the Zeitler Swordsman, as it is unlikely that a strike will come from any other direction. Similarly, the static position of the Zeitler Swordsman’s rapier prevents it from offering a strong defense to either side.
Basic Curriculum: Doctor, Fencing
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (Zeitler), Feint (Fencing), Flurry (Fencing), Lunge (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing)
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flurry. You roll Resolve + Flurry, and must take 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.
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, taking a number of Raises equal to the opponent’s Wits. If the attack is successful, the opponent cannot Actively Defend, and the Raises add Unkept Dice to your Damage Roll as usual.
Apprentice: Even as Apprentices, Zeitler Swordsmen are known for their vicious, darting strikes, and have begun the study of the poisons that set this School apart from its Guild-sanctioned rivals. The Zeitler Swordsman may add his Mastery Level directly to all damage rolls he makes with a rapier, and gains Poison Immunity to one poison of his choice per Mastery Level (typically a blade venom).
Zeitler is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, and never will be due to its reliance on poison to strengthen its attacks. Instead of Guild membership, Apprentices receive one free Rank in the Poison Knack under the Doctor Skill.
Journeyman: A Zeitler Journeyman has begun to master a series of attacks which fall into a deadly rhythm, then climax with a lethal crescendo. Once per Round, after the Journeyman has successfully executed a Flurry, he receives an Action Die showing the current Phase, which can only be used for a standard attack (i.e., using the Attack (Fencing) Knack) or a Lunge on the same opponent, at the same TN as the Flurry. This Action Die disappears if it is not used by the end of the Phase, or if the Master takes any other action before it is used. The opponent does not make a Wound Check until after the free attack is resolved.
Master: The Zeitler Master has perfected the art of the stinging counterattack; an opponent who invades a Master’s personal space should be prepared to reap the consequences. When making a Riposte, the Master no longer halves his Rank in Attack (Fencing). Ranks in Riposte may be added to both the Active Defense and Attack rolls as usual.