Country of Origin: Vodacce
Salon: Chiarisa (Small)
Description: Founded two generations ago by a Vodacce fencing master (and currently run by the founder’s grandson), Tricomi is more grounded in classical technique than any other Guild-sanctioned School. Fencing purists favor Tricomi for its conservative defense, precise attacks, and exclusive use of the rapier, and feel that it would have spread across Théah by now if it were not for the extreme popularity of Ambrogia and the general Vodacce preference for more aggressive (and dirty) fighting styles. Students of Tricomi study mathematics, physics, and anatomy alongside swordplay, dueling law, and philosophy, and integrate these scholarly pursuits into their fighting style. In combat, every movement is fluid and precise: attacks are made along the optimal geometric plane, targeting whatever part of the opponent’s defense seems the most vulnerable. Likewise, a Tricomi Swordsman’s defensive stance is variable, shifting readily to block an attack from whatever angle will most effectively set up the Swordsman’s next action.
One might expect that a school grounded in the rich tradition and history of fencing, and sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild for twenty years, would produce the most gentlemanly Swordsmen in the Guild. And one would probably be correct…if that school had not been developed in Vodacce. Instead, Tricomi Swordsmen are probably the most arrogant men and women on the face of Théah, convinced that their school is the only “true” style of fencing. They sneer derisively at Ambrogia and Valroux, considering the reliance upon a second weapon undignified and cowardly. Any School that relies on a nontraditional weapon (e.g., the cloaks of Torres fighters, or any Heavy or Improvised Weapon) is branded crude and outdated, while Schools like Aldana and Bernoulli are denounced as ostentatious and vulgar.
While Tricomi Swordsmen ridicule virtually every other style, and tend to pick fights with any non-Tricomi Swordsman they meet, they reserve their greatest disdain for Villanova and its practitioners. They claim the school is sloppy and inefficient, and describe its founder as an overrated hack. This sentiment has endeared the school to Alcide Mondavi, who provided funding for a salon within his lands and, according to rumor, is considering “adopting” the school on behalf of his family. (For what it’s worth, Giovanni Villanova returns their sentiments and would like nothing more than to see every Tricomi Swordsman gutted and their salon burned to the ground. However, he fears such an action would be construed as a direct attack on Mondavi, something he is not interested in doing…at the moment. Meanwhile, conflicts ranging from unsanctioned duels to all-out tavern brawls continue to erupt between students of the rival schools, and each side insists they are the true creators of the Stop-Thrust maneuver.)
Unfortunately, a methodical and conservative school like Tricomi is not fully equipped to deal with the many quick, creative, and outrageous maneuvers employed by most of Théah’s premiere Swordsmen. An attack from an unusual angle or unexpected source, or a maneuver utilizing an unfamiliar technique, can provide an opponent with some measure of success early in a duel. Once an overconfident Tricomi Swordsman has been caught off-guard by a supposedly inferior opponent, he tends to come unraveled, taking unnecessary risks and making uncharacteristic mistakes in a desperate attempt to reassert his dominance.
Basic Curriculum: Fencing, Scholar
Knacks: Cavatione (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Tricomi), Lunge (Fencing), Stop-Thrust (Fencing), Tagging (Fencing)
New Swordsman Knack: Cavatione. A Cavatione is a circular attack, designed to defeat an opponent’s parries and aggressively disengage from a Bind. When attacking an enemy, you may declare a Cavatione, using this Knack instead of your Attack Knack. You must take one Raise, but if successful, the opponent may not attempt an Active Defense using any single-weapon Parry Knack (though he may still Block with a shield or buckler, or attempt a Double Parry). Furthermore, you may use Cavatione instead of Parry when attempting to break a Bind. If you take one Raise on the attempt and succeed, in addition to freeing your weapon you score a hit on the opponent, inflicting Flesh Wounds equal to your weapon’s Damage Rating (this Damage roll is not modified by your Brawn, but may be increased by additional Raises taken on the roll).
Apprentice: The advanced studies of a Tricomi Apprentice make it very hard to catch him off-guard with traditional fencing maneuvers. Whenever an opponent attempts a Feint against a Tricomi Swordsman, the TN for success is increased by 5. Furthermore, when facing an opponent with no Rank in the Exploit Weakness (Tricomi) Knack, he may add his Rank in Mathematics to any attack rolls he makes, whether it is a standard attack or an application of one of his Swordsman Knacks.
Journeyman: A Tricomi Journeyman has learned to forego a lethal attack to take advantage of whatever body parts an opponent’s defense leaves exposed. By sacrificing Unkept Dice from his Damage roll prior to an attack, the Journeyman may lower the opponent’s TN to be hit. Each Die sacrificed lowers the TN by 5. Furthermore, the Journeyman may decide whether or not a successful attack using this technique triggers a Wound Check.
Master: A Tricomi Master has honed his defensive skills so thoroughly that he is never caught flat-footed. At any time (whether he has current Action Dice or not), a Master may attempt a maneuver known as a Reaction Parry: a quick sweep with his blade, designed to knock an opponent’s attack aside. This is a standard Active Defense using Parry (Fencing), even if that was the Knack used for Passive Defense. It costs no Action Dice to perform the maneuver, but the Swordsman’s Rank in Parry is considered half its actual value (rounded down). Should the Reaction Parry fail, the Swordsman cannot attempt another Active Defense, as he is no longer properly balanced and his weapon is out of line. A Reaction Parry may not be attempted if the Master would ordinarily be denied an Active Defense (e.g., after an opponent has successfully used Feint or Beat); however, it may be used after the Master has performed a Lunge.