Country of Origin: Avalon (Highland Marches)/Castille (any member of the Invisible College may learn MacHugh for 25 HP regardless of nationality)
Salon: La Sierra de Hierro (Tiny)
Description: In Nonus 1671, a member of the Invisible College (at his leader’s urging) traveled to Kirk to submit the Bonita Swordsman School for Guild sanction. While the College had relied on the School for years to help defend themselves from the Inquisition, it seemed that the fortunes of this fanatical arm of the Church were on the decline; the College wanted to test just how far they had fallen.
While Bonita was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Guild, there were some among the College who felt that giving up their “secret style” was a mistake of epic proportions. Once Bonita was out among the public, anyone could study the School and learn its secrets…and its weaknesses. One particularly militant member of the College, Davinia MacHugh, took matters into her own hands, seducing a Swordsman named Alexander Hagan and persuading him to develop a new School that would be reserved for the College alone. Once the School had been developed and Davinia (a fencer of no small merit, herself) had been trained, she killed her lover, took his creation, and passed it off as her own.
The MacHugh School provides its students with an interesting toolbox of combat strategies. They may choose to attack using approaches that are precise, swift, or downright reckless, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of the strategy chosen, however, the focus is clearly on one goal: attack, attack, attack. Whereas Bonita relied on defending one’s self, even against multiple foes, until an escape could be made, MacHugh focuses on eliminating threats quickly and decisively, one by one or two by two.
Although each of the School’s approaches has its strengths, each has its weaknesses as well. Swift attacks are less accurate, while reckless attacks leave the Swordsman exposed to a savage counterstrike. An opponent well-versed in MacHugh can identify when a new approach has been selected, shift his defenses accordingly, and strike back when the Swordsman is most vulnerable.
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Fencing
Knacks: Exploit Weakness (MacHugh), Lunge (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing), Sidestep
Apprentice: Even as a mere Apprentice, a student of MacHugh has learned to fight with deadly finesse. When using this Swordsman School, the Apprentice may add one-half his Rank in Finesse (rounded up) as a bonus to Damage Rolls made with a rapier. Thus, if the Apprentice has a Rank of three in Finesse, he gains a +2 bonus to Damage Rolls using his rapier.
With the Swordsman Guild’s sanction of Bonita, MacHugh has become the new “secret style” of the Invisible College, particularly the branch of the College known as the Illustrari. As a result, MacHugh Swordsmen do not receive Guild Membership when they purchase this School; instead, they receive the Combat Reflexes Advantage at no cost.
Journeyman: A blazing series of rapid attacks can demoralize an opponent (not to mention defeating him quickly, before he has a chance to strike back). Unfortunately, attacking with reckless abandon requires a sacrifice of precision. At the beginning of each Round of combat, the MacHugh Journeyman may choose to make an attack (using his Attack Knack or one of his Swordsman Knacks) in Phase One of the Round, without using any Action Dice. If he does this, all of his attacks (including the use of his Swordsman Knacks) for the round (including his free attack) are at a penalty of two Unkept Dice to both Attack rolls.
Master: A Master of MacHugh has perfected a deadly lunging thrust that is capable of inflicting serious damage on an opponent without sacrificing any more protection than a standard Lunge. When the Swordsman successfully executes a Lunge, he does not need to call Raises until after he has made his Attack Roll; however, once he has made his roll, he may not add Drama Dice after the fact to increase the result (he may add them before the roll, though).