Country of Origin: Cathay (the cost of Jingque is reduced by five HP if a character already knows the Bernoulli School, and vice versa)
Founded: Unknown, but probably some time in the Fifth Century AV
Description: Several centuries after the first practitioners of Huan Shu snuck through the Fire Wall and into Cathay, their descendants were embroiled in a bitter war with practitioners of the physical magic known as Qin Fen. With their mystically-hardened bodies, deadly fists, and boosted reflexes, these anti-Sorcerers (many of them former Huan Shu practitioners, themselves) were steadily gaining an upper hand, leaving those who still practiced the Sorcery in need of some sort of strategy capable of turning the tide. Late in the fifth century, an army of Huan Shu Swordsmen armed with a previously unknown Swordsman School were unleashed on Cathay, quickly turning the tide of the battle and ultimately driving the students of Qin Fen into extinction.
The source of this mysterious School, known as Jingque, was a total mystery except to its practitioners, and they naturally remained tight-lipped on the subject. Eventually, they penetrated into the Crescent Empire, where their descendants would one day encounter Vodacce’s Bernoulli family and pass along some of their techniques to the men who founded that family’s signature Swordsman School.
The weapon of choice for a Jingque Swordsman was the jian. Absolute mastery of this sword (and of one’s own body) was the goal of the Jingque School. Using the physical gifts granted by their Huan Shu Sorcery, and with minimal practice, Jingque Swordsmen quickly achieved superhuman skill with their weapons. They wove patterns of steel that dizzied, confused, and ultimately killed with no remorse.
Because body control, good footing, and impeccable timing were so important to this School, it was easy to gain an advantage over a Jingque Swordsman if one knew what to look for. A well-placed thrust, or even a simple foot extended to trip him up, would disrupt his fancy attack patterns and leave him vulnerable to a counterattack.
Note that a character must possess Huan Shu Sorcery to learn the Jingque School.
Basic Curriculum: Acrobat, Fencing
Knacks: Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Jingque), Flurry (Fencing), Lunge (Fencing), Wall of Steel (Fencing)
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. A Flurry is a sweeping series of repetitive attacks designed to wear down an opponent’s defenses. When attacking an enemy, you may declare a Flurry. Roll Resolve + Flurry. You must take a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Resolve. If you manage this, 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 Apprentice of Jingque begins to learn the fancy maneuvers that are the signature of this style, focusing initially on defense. He may add an extra Unkept Die (+1k0) when making an Active Defense using any Advanced Knack in the Acrobat Skill. In addition, if he does not have his jian in hand, he may pick it up or draw it without spending an Action immediately after a successful Active Defense using any Advanced Knack in the Acrobat Skill.
Jingque has not been (and never will be) submitted for Guild sanction. As a result, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: Journeymen of the School learn a technique called the Lightning Throw, where they actually release their weapon as part of an aggressive attack sequence, flinging their blade at an opponent point-first. When attempting a Lunge, the Journeyman may choose to take two Raises on the attack roll. If successful, he adds two Kept Dice (+2k2) to his damage roll instead of two Unkept Dice, but he loses possession of his weapon.
Master: After perfecting the Lightning Throw technique as Journeymen, Jingque Masters learn the art of the Lightning Recovery, where they quickly spin through an attack that misses their target to strike again in a matter of moments. Once per Round, the Master may reroll an attack (including the use of his Swordsman Knacks) that fails to penetrate his target’s Passive Defense. The second attack roll is made at the same TN, and Raises called for damage or any other reason still apply.