Country of Origin: Vodacce
Salon: None (the style is taught by its founder, exclusively to the Hands serving Prince Marco Vestini)
Description: Upon slaying his father and ascending to Prince, one of Marco Vestini’s first actions was to dismiss most of his father’s Hands, keeping only those he was certain would be loyal to him, including his childhood bodyguard, Umberto Casini. Knowing that his youth would be a severe risk, and that his small group of Hands would need an edge if they were going to defend themselves (and him) from attack, the Prince charged Casini with developing a fighting style: one that would give his Hands a potent tool in the event of an attack.
More of a brawler than a Swordsman (the Prince’s father did not want to waste a particularly valuable resource on guarding his young child), Casini’s effort produced a style reminiscent of his own approach to combat: unarmed (and often cheap) strikes with his main hand, while his off hand held a dagger, “just in case.” This dagger is held downward with the blade parallel to the wrist, allowing for easy deflections and wicked slashes. The main hand does not remain empty for the entire fight, though: a favored tactic of the creator (and thus, of his trainees) was to steal a dagger from an opponent and finish him off with his own weapon.
Like so many unarmed or knife styles, the primary weakness of the Casini style is its range. A fighter armed only with his own fists, or occasionally a dagger, is ill-prepared to face someone wielding a longer weapon or a more evasive style of combat.
Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Knife
Knacks: Disarm (Knife), Double Parry (Knife/Knife), Exploit Weakness (Casini), Pommel Strike (Knife), Sidestep
Apprentice: The Apprentice of Casini learns to fight savagely with his dominant hand while wielding an off-hand dagger for defense and the occasional strike. He receives a Free Raise when using his Attack (Dirty Fighting) Knack, and suffers no off-hand penalty when using a dagger or main gauche in his non-dominant hand.
Obviously, Casini is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. As a result, students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: The Journeyman’s off-hand dagger is a constant danger, and can be used to wicked effect when he needs an edge. After making a successful Called Shot to the head using his off-hand weapon, the Journeyman may elect to forego a damage roll. If he does, he opens a cut across his opponent’s forehead. While shallow and not terribly damaging, such cuts bleed profusely and obscure an opponent’s vision; the opponent is considered to be fighting in Dim Lighting (per the Montaigne sourcebook) until the end of the Scene, or until he receives medical attention for his open wound.
Master: Once a Casini fighter has obtained a second weapon, his parries become much more effective, and he learns to not just block an attack, but to redirect it. After successfully executing an Active Defense using his Double Parry Knack, the Master can essentially capture his opponent’s blade and guide it into another opponent within melee range (excluding the original attacker). That target must make a successful Active Defense roll (verses a TN equal to the result of the Master’s Active Defense roll) or take damage as if he had been struck by the original attack, including all Raises for damage.