Country of Origin: Avalon
Salon: Carleon (Large)
Description: When Queen Elaine unified the warring nobles of Avalon under her rule in 1658, she promised a return to a more civilized age. Many of the courtiers flocking around her banner relished that civility, and among them was Lord Edmond Wiles, formerly of Luthon. A scholar, an artist, but most of all a duelist, he recognized the need for a mechanism by which personal grievances could be settled without resorting to bloodshed (well, without resorting to too much bloodshed). Trained in the Gallegos, Aldana, and Andrews Schools, Lord Edmond drew upon his considerable knowledge of swordplay and created a formal Swordsman School that could be taught to gentlemen (and eventually, gentle ladies) of noble station, so that they may always be prepared to defend themselves, and to avenge a slight unsuitable for solution in the Queen’s court.
The Wiles School draws upon the use of a single rapier and a strong defense to keep an attacker at bay until the time is right for a counterattack. Strikes above the shoulders and below the waist are not expressly forbidden, but they are considered ungentlemanly and therefore avoided by students of the Wiles School. The rapier is held with arm bent, the point at shoulder level to intercept incoming attacks, with the off hand held behind the Swordsman’s back with fingers spread.
For several years, the Wiles School was allowed to operate within Avalon’s borders without Guild sanction, so long as the participants limited themselves to duels against those similarly trained, to avenge personal slights or betrayals, and limited to first touch (or rarely first blood). When Lord Edmond retired in 1667 and his niece Ava took over as Master of the salon, she arranged for the School to receive Sanction from the Guild, but it still receives wide latitude in governing itself within the courts of Carleon and Luthon.
Because the School generally limits itself to strikes against the torso and arms, it is much easier to mount a defense against a Wiles Swordsman because only a small area needs to be defended. Similarly, the School offers only rudimentary training in defending against high and low attacks, so Wiles Swordsmen are particularly susceptible to them.
Basic Curriculum: Courtier, Fencing
Knacks: Disarm (Fencing), Exploit Weakness (Wiles), Feint (Fencing), Riposte (Fencing), Sidestep
Revised Swordsman Knack: Feint. When attacking an enemy, you can declare a Feint. You roll Wits + Feint, and must take 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: Because duels between Wiles Swordsmen can be ended quickly, sometimes even with a single strike, Apprentices are taught to keep their feet moving and their blades ready to deflect an attack. A Wiles Swordsman may add twice his Mastery Level in the School to his TN to be hit.
Journeyman: Over the course of a duel to first blood, a Swordsman may acquire a number of welts and scratches insufficient to produce a bloody wound (though still quite painful) that weaken the skin and make it more likely to be cut open. By turning these wounds away from a following strike, the Swordsman minimizes the chances that he will sustain a deep cut. Any time the Journeyman attempts an Active Defense, he may choose not to roll any dice and instead use his Flesh Wound total as his result. The Journeyman may not use this Technique as part of a Riposte, but Drama Dice may be spent to increase the “roll” as usual.
Master: A Master of Wiles learns a sneaky trick known as a head feint: a false thrust towards the opponent’s face turned at the last minute in to a slash across the chest. By spending two Action Dice (only one of which must be legal), the Master may attempt a called shot against the opponent’s face (requiring four Raises). If this attack is successful, it does no damage; however, the Master may immediately make a standard attack to the opponent’s midsection. For this attack, the opponent’s TN to be hit is five, and the Master does not have to call Raises until after the attack roll is made. This attack may only be attempted against an opponent once per Scene.