Country of Origin: Numan Empire
Founded: Unknown, but probably sometime in the First Century AV
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 descendants of Senator Castillus developed the Incendere School to combine their supernatural command over fire with the use of the gladius.
Incendere focused on quick, tumbling movement and swirling, flaming strikes. The complex spinning and slashing of the blades incorporated into some Incendere techniques were in fact carefully honed gestures that evoked the power of El Fuego Adentro, if performed correctly and with the proper focus. The School originally relied on a set of paired gladii. A modern practitioner could substitute a pair of smallswords (commonly used in Avalon) should the School ever resurface, but at a penalty of one Unkept Die (-1k0) on all rolls (except Damage Rolls) using the modern weapons.
Combining swordplay and Sorcery was a complex process, requiring the practitioner to enter a near trance-like state. While the Swordsman was in this state, his reactions were a hair slower, and he was easily roused from it by an attack, or even a sudden, loud noise. Either strategy provided an opportunity for a cagey opponent to exploit.
Note that El Fuego Adentro Sorcery is needed to reach a Rank above zero in the Wall of Flame Knack, or to use the Journeyman and Master level techniques.
Basic Curriculum: Acrobat, Gladius
Knacks: Charge (Gladius), Exploit Weakness (Incendere), Flourish (Gladius), Riposte (Gladius), Wall of Flame
New Swordsman Knack: Flourish. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flourish. You roll Panache + Flourish, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Panache in order for your Flourish 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.
New Swordsman Knack: Wall of Flame. Through a quick ritual known only to students of the Incendere School, you are able to summon a semi-sentient wall of fire that rises between you and your opponents, flaring out at them when they approach, until you are ready to lower the wall and attack. If you have not attacked yet this Round, then each Rank of this Knack raises your TN to be hit by two regardless of the Knack used to determine your Passive Defense. It only requires a tiny flame (no more than a spark) to ignite a Wall of Flame.
Apprentice: Students of Incendere learn to defend and attack extremely hard with paired smallswords (or paired gladii) simultaneously. The off-hand penalty is negated while wielding a second smallsword in the off hand, and Incendere Swordsmen receive a free Raise when using their Attack (Fencing) Knack.
Incendere 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: Fire burns wildly and can flare unexpectedly. The Journeyman of Incendere has learned to let the flames on his blade lead the way for sudden strikes that catch an opponent off guard. If the Journeyman has used his Fire Trick Knack to create flames on one or more of his swords (via the Flaming Blade trick) at the beginning of the Round, he may roll one additional Action Die. This die adds to the Journeyman’s Initiative total as normal, but it may only be used to attack, including the use of the Flourish Knack. It may not be used to initiate a Riposte.
Master: Masters of Incendere twirl and spin their blades with such power that they can evoke a great burst of fire. When a Master spends an Action to execute this maneuver, he creates a fiery three-dice explosion centered on himself. All combatants or creatures within a fifteen-foot radius, except the Master himself and anyone else who is unharmed by fire, take damage accordingly.
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).