Country of Origin: Montaigne (any member of the Freeman’s League may learn Poisson for 25 HP)
Salon: Charouse (Tiny)
Description: The savage, dual-knife style known as Boucher, favored by sailors and street fighters, is a trademark of the lowest classes in Montaigne society, but it tends to rely on brute force and relentless offense. A handful of knife fighters interested in a more athletic, graceful fighting style began experimenting with new techniques, and as one proved successful, it was passed on, improved, and added to. The informal fighting style that resulted can be traced to a fishing village in Montaigne, and bears that village’s name.
The rapid, circling movements of the style were added early, followed soon after by the ability to launch a thrown knife at any point along a turn with great accuracy (and without warning). Defense remained a problem, however, as opponents tended to strike from behind while the Poisson fighter spun in place. The addition of a cloak solved this problem, turning the weakness into a strength. Rather than using the cloak in the off-hand for defense, it is worn throughout the battle, with its edges laced to the fighter’s wrists so that it billows as the wearer moves. When the wearer has his back turned, an opponent can never be sure if he is striking at an exposed back or empty air. When facing an opponent, the swirl of color within the cloak can throw off the enemy’s perception for a split second: just enough to launch a swift knife strike or prepare for a last-ditch defense.
Poisson is a particularly active style, relying on continuous movement and extraordinary agility that can prove exhausting over an extended battle. Opponents who can restrict a Poisson fighter’s movements or stall during the early stages of a fight will be able to exploit the fighter’s unsure footwork or weary limbs to their advantage.
Basic Curriculum: Acrobat, Knife
Knacks: Blur (Cloak), Disarm (Knife), Exploit Weakness (Poisson), Throw (Knife), Whirl (Knife/Knife)
New Swordsman Knack: Blur. Your cloak is an ever-present blocking device, obscuring your footwork and your exact position from your opponents. If you have not attacked yet this Round, then each Rank of this Knack increases your TN to be hit by 2 if you use Footwork to determine your Passive Defense.
Apprentice: Poisson Apprentices are trained to fight with two knives simultaneously, and to replace one quickly if it is hurled away or lost due to mishap. The off-hand penalty is negated when fighting with two knives, and the Apprentice may draw and attack (or defend) with a knife as one action.
Poisson is not sanctioned by the Swordsman’s Guild (and is unlikely to receive such sanction in the future). As a result, Apprentices receive either a free Rank in one of their Swordsman Knacks in lieu of Guild Membership. Note that the Throw (Knife) is considered a Basic Knack for students of this fighting style.
Journeyman: Poisson Journeyman learn the art of the aggressive disarm: if you do not have the leverage to deprive an opponent of his weapon, numbing his hand so he drops his weapon is just as good. When attempting to disarm an opponent, the Journeyman actually delivers a strike to the back of the opponent’s hand. This attack inflicts 1k2 damage, which is not adjusted for the Journeyman’s Brawn, but which can be increased by taking additional Raises on the Disarm roll. Note that anything which helps protect against called strikes to the hand (e.g., certain types of hilt modifications) provides the same benefit against this technique.
Master: By the time they reach the level of Master, students of Poisson have perfected both the swift melee attacks and precise throws that are the hallmarks of this fighting style. When making an Attack, the Master’s Action Dice are always considered one less than the value they show. In addition, a Master who calls Raises on an attack using the Throw (Knife) Knack adds Kept dice (+1k1) instead of Unkept dice to his damage roll.