Country of Origin: Castille (any member of the Inquisition may learn La Cruz for twenty-five HP, regardless of nationality)
Salon: Vaticine City (Large)
Description: When Cardinal Esteban Verdugo had Jeremy Cook killed in 1662, it was only a matter of days before the first assassination attempt was made on the High Inquisitor’s life. The killers were nearly successful, prompting the Cardinal’s guards to pool their collective experience in order to defend their charge more effectively. Drawn from all walks of life, from reformed tavern brawlers to well-educated Swordsmen, the guards gradually developed a unique fighting style that encompassed all of their strengths and a mantra of “strike fast, strike hard.”
While La Cruz was designed to provide protection for Cardinal Verdugo, its focus is not on protecting a charge so much as quickly and efficiently removing threats. That may mean knocking an opponent’s sword out of his hand or launching a sudden, desperate attack, but just as often it relies on a rake of the eyes, an unexpected head butt, or a kick to some vital area. At its inception, La Cruz was restricted to members of Cardinal Verdugo’s personal guard, but with his fall from grace and exile, it has quickly spread throughout the ranks of the Knight-Inquisitors, who use the style to deadly effect.
The “win at all costs” mentality of La Cruz serves as its biggest weakness. An opponent familiar with the style can bait the La Cruz fighter into attacking at inopportune times, making it easy to defend against his attacks and deliver a follow-up strike while the Inquisitor is overextended.
Basic Curriculum: Dirty Fighting, Fencing
Knacks: Beat (Fencing), Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (La Cruz), Lunge (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing)
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: Fueled by an overwhelming (some would say fanatical) religious fervor, Swordsmen of the La Cruz style are known for their fierce, aggressive fighting style. La Cruz swordsmen receive a Free Raise on all attacks made with a rapier. At the Apprentice level, this Raise may only be used for increasing damage.
La Cruz is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild, so its students do not receive Guild membership for free. Instead, a student of La Cruz receives the Membership (Inquisition) Advantage at no cost.
Journeyman: As his expertise grows, a La Cruz Swordsman masters a series of increasingly complex and aggressive attacks, against which it is hard to mount an effective defense. When attacking with a rapier, the Journeyman may make a number of Raises on his attack roll equal to his Mastery Level (or less, if he chooses). If the attack is successful, the target must make the same number of Raises on any Active Defense he attempts. For example, if a La Cruz Journeyman declares two Raises and successfully hits with a roll of thirty-one, the target must roll a forty-one or better to Actively Defend. The Free Raise from the Apprentice Technique may be used in conjunction with this ability.
Master: Masters of La Cruz have added a phenomenal level of blade control to their aggressive repertoire. Many an opponent has attempted to parry a La Cruz thrust, only to have a Master of the style reposition his blade in an eye blink, overcoming his opponent’s defenses. Once per Round, after an opponent has Actively Defended against one of the Master’s attacks, the Master may force him to re-roll his Active Defense. If the second attempt is also successful, the Master must accept the result, and cannot use this ability for the rest of the Round. At the Master level, the Free Raise granted by the Apprentice technique may be used without restriction.