Country of Origin: Numan Empire
Founded: Unknown, but most likely in the Eighth Century A.U.C., shortly after the Bargain
Description: Once a small group of Senators invoked the power of otherworldly creatures and struck the Bargain, it was only a matter of time before the more militant of their descendants sought a means to combine their rich, magical power and their skill with a blade. The Senator who received the power of Incubo had already been working on a tactical School to teach to his family and retainers; the gift of Sorcery complemented his work and led to a frightening approach to combat.
Dominare taught that intimidation is the wellspring of a warrior’s true power. The School focused on mental toughness, ripostes, and techniques designed to defeat an opponent whose heart was not focused on victory. A Swordsman usually accomplished this by tormenting the opponent with his Sorcery (particularly the Failure and Terror Knacks) prior to meeting him on the field of battle, though the School provided plenty of opportunities to demoralize an opponent in the midst of combat. The School initially focused on the use of the Numan gladius in the dominant hand with a large metal bracer worn on the other wrist. Modern Swordsmen may substitute the Donovan-inspired combination of a smallsword and buckler should this School somehow resurface in Théah, but at a penalty of one Unkept Die (-1k0) to all rolls (except Damage Rolls) using the modern armaments.
Dominare Swordsmen were accustomed to being feared, and this was the key to many of their victories. An opponent who recognized the Swordsman’s tricks could stand firm in the face of his intimidation tactics, putting the Swordsman off his game and winning a battle with cunning parries and swift strikes while the Swordsman struggled to reestablish his dominance.
Note that Incubo Sorcery is needed to use the Journeyman level technique, and it greatly enhances the use of the Apprentice and Master level techniques.
Basic Curriculum: Bracer, Gladius
Knacks: Attack (Bracer), Beat (Gladius), Bind (Gladius), Exploit Weakness (Dominare), Riposte (Gladius)
New Swordsman Knack: Attack (Bracer). Attack is simply the ability to hit your enemy. A bracer’s Damage Rating is 0k1 when used as a weapon. This is the same as the Attack (Bracer) Knack found in the Bracer Skill, but it is considered a Basic Knack for students of Dominare.
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: Dominare is most effective against opponents who are already afraid of the Swordsman, either through the use of Incubo or some other means. When attacking an opponent, the Apprentice may add twice his Fear Rating to all Attack (Fencing) rolls he makes, even if that opponent has successfully made a Fear Check with respect to the Swordsman. In addition, the off-hand penalty is negated when wielding a buckler.
Dominare 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: If an opponent is not already afraid of the Dominare Swordsman, it is up to the Swordsman to remedy that fact by inflicting heavy damage against him. Whenever the Journeyman inflicts one or more Dramatic Wounds on an opponent with an attack, the opponent must make a Resolve roll against a TN equal to the Swordsman’s Mastery Level in Dominare times his Rank in the Failure Knack. If the opponent fails this roll, the Swordsman’s Fear Rating increases by one (with respect to that opponent only).
Master: A demoralized opponent is a defeated opponent, and nothing is more demoralizing that losing control of one’s weapon. Whenever the Master successfully executes a Bind on his opponent’s primary weapon, he may spend a Current, Held, or Interrupt Action to follow up with a bracer smash using Attack (Bracer). The Master adds a number of Kept Dice equal to his Fear Rating to this attack roll.
Note: A gladius is a short, double-edged weapon popular in Numan lands centuries ago. It is always a Masterwork weapon, and has a Damage Rating of 2k2. Gladius is a Martial Skill consisting solely of the Basic Knacks Attack (Gladius) and Parry (Gladius). A bracer is a metal sleeve designed to be strapped to one’s forearm. It is always a Masterwork weapon, and has a Damage Rating of 0k1. Bracer is a Martial Skill consisting of the Basic Knack Block (Bracer) and the Advanced Knack Attack (Bracer).