Country of Origin: Castille
Salon: Vaticine City (Small)
Description: Carla Grima was born in the slums of Vaticine City in 1617. She had several things working against her: she was poor, she was unusually tall and stocky for her age (and still is), and she suffered from a disfiguring skin condition, particularly on her face. Grima was not her surname at the time: that was an epithet given to her by other children as she grew. Loosely translated, it means “the creeps.”
As Carla grew older, she remained larger and stronger than many of the other children her age (even the boys). So used to being bullied and teased, she never retaliated when she was verbally abused…until the day she did. When she was twenty, a young man expressed a romantic interest in her, but it was only so he could make a joke of it to his friends. When Carla found out, she wrestled him to the ground, and punched him in the face until he realized just how grave his error in judgment had been. Carla realized she was on to something; if she could find the discipline to focus her great strength, she could create a style of fighting that would ensure no one ever laughed at her (or any of her trainees) again. She even accepted the horrible name “Grima” as her own, wearing it like a badge of honor while she studied fisticuffs at a local church until she was ready to strike out on her own.
Grima received some notoriety in 1668, when a cadre of nobles appeared before Good King Sandoval, demanding that the salon be shut down. They feared that an army of peasantry, trained in unarmed combat, could conceivably rise up and strike down the upper class. The boy king naturally turned the matter over to his advisors; Don Andrés de Aldana assured the nobles that they could handle any such uprising, while Cardinal Verdugo dismissed the idea that peasants could ever be a threat. Perversely, the Cardinal suggested that men and women of the cloth (particularly those whose orders forbade the carrying of weapons) consider seeking training in Grima, so as to better protect themselves from Montaigne invaders, heretics, bandits, and Legion worshippers. More than a few priests, and a surprising number of nuns, followed this advice.
Basic training in Grima consists of learning to punch harder than your opponent while blocking his blows. Rather than being provided any real instruction, students are paired up and made to brawl until one passes out. This brutality hides the true art of Grima, which is restricted to those Carla feels are most in need of the art for self defense against either physical or emotional abuse. These students are taught how to break bone with holds and locks and to rupture organs with a punch, as well as a secret technique which causes damage to manifest only after some time has elapsed.
Unfortunately, Grima lacks the finesse of most Swordsman Schools. Fancy footwork, elegant displays of precision, and elaborate moves are replaced with a “no holds barred” style comprising hard-hitting punches, elbow strikes, and head butts. While some students do learn how to avoid sword or knife strikes, most remain vulnerable to anyone with a longer (or sharper) weapon.
Basic Curriculum: Pugilism, Wrestling
Knacks: Break, Exploit Weakness (Grima), Flurry (Pugilism), Uppercut, Jab
New Swordsman Knack: Break. Using this Knack, you can cause injury to an opponent’s arm or leg. First, you must first have your target in a successful Grapple. You declare what limb you are attempting to injure and then roll to attack using this Knack. The TN to hit your opponent is raised by ten when using this Knack, but if it is successful, you inflict an automatic Dramatic Wound, rather than rolling for damage. The current Grapple hold is broken if this attempt is successful. This is the same as the Break Knack found in the Wrestling Skill, but it is considered a Basic Knack for students of Grima.
New Swordsman Knack: Flurry. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Flurry. You roll Resolve + Flurry, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Resolve in order for your Flurry 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: An Apprentice of Grima learns the secret of the “combat clinch,” which allows him to hit an opponent with a stomp, elbow strike, or some other dirty tactic in the midst of securing a hold on that opponent. When you roll Finesse + Grapple vs. an opponent’s TN to be hit, if your Grapple is successful, you inflict one Flesh Wound for every point by which your roll exceeded the opponent’s Passive Defense. These Flesh Wounds trigger a Wound Check, as usual.
Obviously, Grima is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild. As a result, its students receive a free Rank in one of their Knacks in lieu of Guild membership.
Journeyman: While some pugilists learn how to deliver lethal damage with their fists, Carla Grima’s students are masters of the art. All of your barehanded attacks (e.g., Jabs, Uppercuts, Attack (Pugilism) rolls) inflict 0k2 base damage instead of 0k1.
Master: A Grima Master knows how to strike an opponent’s vital areas in such a way that the attack appears to do no immediate harm, but in fact upsets his body’s internal functions, causing pain and trauma at a later time. Once per Round, prior to Phase ten, the Master may successfully hit an opponent with an Attack (Pugilism) roll but choose not to inflict damage at that time. He may also choose to delay the Damage Roll from any other successful Attack (Pugilism) rolls made in the same Phase. If he does, on Phase ten of the current Round, all the attacks inflict damage at the same time. The opponent does not make a Wound Check until the Damage Rolls from all these attacks are resolved, and if he fails his Wound Check, he takes damage as if he had been injured by a firearm.
For example, a Master of Grima with a Brawn of three manages to punch an opponent three times during Phase four of combat. He choses to use this technique, so he inflicts no damage at the time. On Phase ten of the Round, before anything else happens (including a grenade exploding), the opponent suffers 3k2 damage three times. Say the Master rolls an eleven, a fourteen, and a twenty-one on his Damage Rolls. The opponent must then make a Wound Check against a total of forty-six Flesh Wounds, taking one Dramatic Wound, plus an additional Dramatic Wound for every ten by which he fails his Wound Check.