Country of Origin: Avalon (any member of the Heralds may learn Ischiros for 25 HP regardless of nationality)
Salon: Luthon (Tiny)
Description: When the super-secretive organization known as the Heralds began sending its members out into Théah to search out lost lore and solve ancient mysteries, its leaders knew that they needed to prepare their agents to defend themselves against attack. The Sorcerous art of Simádi was one approach, but some of their agents lacked the focus or mental discipline to really excel at the training. The most senior Heralds turned to their store of lost knowledge, studying the writings of famous sword masters and cobbling together this Swordsman School to teach to their followers (and only to their followers). Setting up a modest academy in a secret basement beneath a Luthon tanner’s establishment, the Heralds began training their agents and unleashing them on the darkest corners of Théah.
The School relies on the dual-handed use of a longsword, which has proven so effective that the School has not evolved as the longsword fell out of favor and the smallsword and rapier took its place. An Ischiros Swordsman hits hard right from the beginning of combat, leaving his opponents increasingly dazed (and increasingly easy to hit and inflict even more damage). At the same time, the Swordsman absorbs his opponent’s attacks and channels the pain into aggression (and even more damage). Once a Swordsman is ready to end the encounter, he may be cut, and more than once…but his opponent is typically a staggering, bleeding mess and easy prey for a knockout blow.
Ischiros is a power-based style, using a heavy weapon to inflict heavy damage. That means it is susceptible to more agile opponents attacking with a faster weapon. Shrewd opponents who encounter this style will ensure that they keep moving, making them a harder target for the Ischiros Swordsman, and they will opt for surgical strikes that truly weaken the Swordsman rather than empowering him through massive damage.
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Heavy Weapon
Knacks: Beat (Heavy Weapon), Corps-á-Corps, Disarm (Heavy Weapon), Exploit Weakness (Ischiros), Lunge (Heavy Weapon)
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: The student of Ischiros begins his training every morning by absorbing blow after blow from the flat of his instructor’s sword, until his resistance to pain begins to grow—and keep growing as he advances in experience. An Ischiros Swordsman may add his Mastery Level in this School to his Wound Threshold at all times, even when he is not using this School. He also learns to utilize his weapon’s weight to great efficacy, and may add his Mastery Level in Ischiros directly to all Damage Rolls he makes.
As a secret style of the Heralds, Ischiros will not be submitted to the Swordsman’s Guild for sanction. As a result, Ischiros Swordsmen receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: As Journeymen, Ischiros Swordsmen learn to channel their own pain into brute strength, making their blows even more deadly. For every Dramatic Wound the Journeyman suffers, his Apprentice damage bonus is increased by 100 percent. Thus, a Journeyman with one Dramatic Wound will add 4 (Mastery Level 2 x 2) directly to his Damage Rolls. A Journeyman with two Dramatic Wounds will add 6 (Mastery Level 2 x 3), and so on.
Master: Ischiros Masters perfect a stunning blow that leaves an opponent staggered. Whenever the Journeyman inflicts a Dramatic Wound on an opponent, the opponent’s TN to be hit drops by five until the end of the Round. If an attack inflicts more than one Dramatic Wound, the opponent’s TN to be hit drops by five for each Dramatic Wound inflicted.