Country of Origin: Eisen/Vodacce
Salon: Prachtig (Tiny)
Description: The Cesáro style of fencing was developed by Angelo Cesáro, a Vodacce Swordsman and a direct (and unashamed) descendant of the Lorenzo bloodline. After founding the style and secretly teaching it to a number of Vodacce’s most unscrupulous duelists, the man was exposed and subjected to Vodacce justice. Although he was executed, his teenage daughter survived and went into hiding in Eisen. It is unknown whether the Princes are unaware of her, or simply too wrapped up in their own affairs to hunt her down. Either way, she has remained safely in Eisen for many years, slowly spreading her father’s rapier-and-main-gauche style among her adopted countrymen and the occasional Vodacce expatriate who makes his way to her salon in Prachtig.
Cesáro is unpopular not only for its infamous founder, but for its technique: a powerful defense with infrequent, but savage attacks. Its students are trained to face the opponent mostly with their sides, presenting the smallest possible target. Their feet are kept widely spaced, their sword arms straight or bent slightly at the elbow, and their knife hands at waist level with the point aimed at the opponent. By keeping his rapier between the opponent’s body and his own, the duelist presents an impenetrable defense: the opponent cannot attack without addressing the blade that stands in his way. Even if the sword is neutralized, a Cesáro duelist still has his main-gauche available for a quick defense. Cesáro attacks, on the other hand, are often wild and undisciplined, as a student’s training is almost exclusively dedicated to perfecting his defense.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, elements of the style’s defensive stance serve as its primary weakness. While it is effective at keeping an opponent at bay, it also prevents the Cesáro duelist from striking without lowering his defenses and shifting his own position. These adjustments scream to the cautious observer that an attack is coming, allowing him to prepare a defense or launch a counterattack when the Cesáro duelist is most vulnerable.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Knife
Knacks: Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Cesáro), Lunge (Knife), Riposte (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing/Knife)
Apprentice: A Cesáro Apprentice trains with a rapier and main-gauche simultaneously, learning to use them effectively and in combination. He suffers no off-hand penalty when wielding a main gauche, and receives a Free Raise on all Active Defenses using his Parry (Fencing) Knack.
Cesáro has not been (and may never be) sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. Instead of gaining Guild membership, students of Cesáro receive a two-point Infamous Teacher Background for free.
Journeyman: A Cesáro Journeyman has practiced making a desperation attack with his main-gauche by pivoting his body, keeping his rapier in place for a rudimentary defense. If a Journeyman attempts a Lunge as his first attack of the Round (i.e., while his Wall of Steel Knack is still in effect), he may continue to apply his Wall of Steel benefit while his TN to be hit is reduced because of the Lunge. Thus, the TN to hit a Journeyman with a Rank of four in Wall of Steel is thirteen after he performs a Lunge rather than five. Once his TN to be hit returns to normal, his Wall of Steel Knack no longer applies, per the usual rules.
Master: Cesáro is a style predicated on desperation, and Masters have learned that a mere wound is no excuse for not pressing an attack. When the Master attempts a Riposte, even if his Active Defense fails, he may still attempt the attack portion of the Riposte. As usual, his Attack Knack is halved for purposes of this attack, though any dice added to the attack from the Master’s Riposte Knack still apply.