Country of Origin: Avalon (any member of High King Piram’s personal guard may learn this School for 25 HP, regardless of nationality)
Salon: Cailleagh, the capital of Breg (Large)
Description: The rulers of Breg have been major players in the political realm of Avalon for many generations. In the past few decades, the “High Kings” of the county have turned an eye towards supplanting the current royal line with their own; they have increased the stakes of their political gambits, and have developed a larger number of enemies as a result. High King Tomos (the current High King’s father and predecessor) charged the captain of his personal guard, a proud woman from Luthon named Emma Castlemore, with creating a systematic method by which he and his family could be kept safe from spies, assassins, and Royalist sympathizers.
Unlike many bodyguard schools, Castlemore does not rely on falling back to defend a helpless charge. Rather, Castlemore Swordsmen are taught to take the fight to their enemies, removing them as threats before any harm can be inflicted (though they do not stray too far from their charges, to make sure no one sneaks up from behind or attacks from a flank). The motto of the Castlemore Swordsman is “Strike Hard, Strike Fast.” Like the Andrews School, Castlemore is a single-weapon rapier School.
At some point, the leaders of High King Piram’s personal guard developed some sort of issue with practitioners of the Andrews School. Though there is no open hostility between the two Schools, Castlemore Swordsmen hold their rivals in particular disdain and will go out of their way to engage them in “friendly” duels that “accidentally” result in bloodshed or injury.
The delicate balancing act between wading into combat and holding back to protect one’s charge is the School’s main weakness. By feigning an opening, an opponent can draw a Swordsman in, only to have him backpedal as he realizes he is too far from his charge. In those moments of hesitation, a wise enemy will turn aside the Swordsman’s strike and counter with an attack of his own.
Basic Curriculum: Athlete, Fencing
Knacks: Charge (Fencing), Corps-á-Corps, Exploit Weakness (Castlemore), Feint (Fencing), Pommel Strike (Fencing)
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must roll a number of Raises equal to your enemy’s Wits in order for your Feint 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: As an Apprentice, students of Castlemore have the “Strike Hard” portion of their mantra drilled into their heads through rigorous training and long hours spent savagely attacking rapidly-moving targets on complex training machines. A Castlemore Swordsman may add twice his Mastery Level to all Attack (Fencing) rolls he attempts in combat, and may also add his Mastery Level directly to Damage Rolls made with his rapier.
High King Piram and the captain of his guard have no interest in submitting this School for Guild sanction. Therefore, instead of Guild Membership, Apprentices of Castlemore receive a two-point discount when purchasing the Commission Advantage (in High King Piram’s personal guard) at character creation.
Journeyman: Just as Apprentices learn to “Strike Hard,” Journeymen are expected to “Strike Fast.” In Round One of any combat, if the Journeyman attacks using the Action Die whose value he lowered with his Charge Knack and that attack is successful, he may immediately apply his Charge Knack to a second Action Die and, if it is now current, he may use it to make another attack against the same opponent. If the Journeyman chooses (or is able to) make the second Charge attack in the same Phase, the opponent does not make a Wound Check until both attacks and Damage Rolls are resolved.
Master: Masters of Castlemore have learned to take advantage of an opponent who has been left off-balance after a successful Feint and remove him as an immediate threat to their charge. After successfully executing a Feint and inflicting damage, the Master may immediately make a Corps-á-Corps attack against the same opponent without spending an Action Die.